Tag: Santa Monica College

Apr 04 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: April 4, 2012

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Santa Monica, California

Good Wednesday morning!

The California Legislature is adjourned for Spring/Easter break and will resume on April 9, 2012.

On to today’s California headlines:

Santa Monica College to probe campus police use of pepper spray on students

Santa Monica College officials plan to launch an investigation into a clash in which campus police used pepper spray on a group of disgruntled students outside a Board of Trustees meeting, a college spokesman said today.

About 30 students were treated for pepper spray exposure outside a board meeting room Tuesday evening, and three people were taken to hospitals, said Capt. Judah Mitchell of the Santa Monica Fire Department.

More than 100 students converged Tuesday evening on the meeting room where the trustees and several college administrators were discussing a two-tiered system of fees due to go into effect this summer, significantly increasing the cost of attending the college, said Patty Del Valle, a counselor at the college.

The meeting room was too small to hold all the students expected to attend, so an adjacent overflow room was opened, equipped with a closed-circuit video link, said college Public Information Officer Bruce Smith.

But the students wanted to express their displeasure in person, and when some of them attempted to get into the board meeting room, police used pepper spray on them, he said.

The pepper spraying and what led to it will be the subject of an investigation, according to Smith, who said officials of the two-year college probably would issue a statement and possibly hold a news conference today.

Campus police tried to limit the number of students inside the board meeting room to about 12 or 13 people, Del Valle said. Some students shouted “Shame on you,” and “Let us in.”

“The crowd was very spirited . There was some degree of turmoil,” Smith said, adding that no arrests were made.

Mitchell estimated about 200 students came to the meeting to protest. Smith put the number at a little over 100.


Proposition 8 campaign architect leaves Sacramento firm

Sacramento political consultant Frank Schubert, who guided Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage to victory in 2008, announced today that he is leaving the firm he founded.

Schubert suggested his advocacy for conservative causes — opposing abortion rights and same-sex marriage — was hindering Schubert Flint Public Affairs’ work with corporate clients.

Schubert was back in the news this year with the release of “Question One — The Battle for Same-Sex Marriage in America,” a documentary about his work on the Maine ballot measure to repeal a same-sex marriage law passed by the Legislature in 2009.

Schubert said his new company — Mission: Public Affairs LLC — will work on national “conservative and social issues.”

Besieged California marijuana advocate vows to ‘fight on’

A day after federal agents rousted him from his apartment and seized his famed Oakland cannabis college, a renowned California marijuana advocate said Tuesday he knows “they can indict me any day” and “arrest me any time.”

So Richard Lee, the founder of Oaksterdam University and the architect of an unsuccessful 2010 ballot measure to legalize marijuana for recreational use in California, hid in plain sight Tuesday.

He quietly pushed his wheelchair to the base of San Francisco City Hall, where hundreds of people, waving signs reading “Cannabis is Medicine,” barely noticed him as speakers made fiery condemnations of a months-long U.S. government crackdown on medical marijuana businesses in the state.

The rally, scheduled before Monday’s raid of Lee’s properties, was staged to protest property forfeiture letters targeting landlords of medical marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco. Members of the city’s Board of Supervisors promised to expedite permits for marijuana stores seeking to reopen in new locations if they are closed by the U.S. government.

Meanwhile, the crowd, which later marched on the nearby U.S. courthouse here, chanted, “Stop the war on Oakland!”

California: Brad Sherman Leads Howard Berman in Internal Poll

An internal poll for California Rep. Brad Sherman found him ahead of fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman by 27 points in a potential general election matchup that is expected to be a close race as November nears.

Sherman took 52 percent to 25 percent for Berman, while 23 percent remained undecided in the poll conducted by the Feldman Group. In the top-two primary, Sherman led with 40 percent, followed by Berman with 17 percent and Republican businessman Mark Reed with 12 percent. Another Democrat, two Republicans and a Green Party member totaled 13 percent, while 20 percent were undecided.

The survey of 500 likely primary voters was conducted March 26-28 and had a 4.4-point margin of error. The results were similar to a Feldman Group poll conducted for Sherman in August.

“Sherman remains better known and more popular in the San Fernando Valley, especially in the portion of the district that he represents now, which has almost double the number of voters as Berman’s current district,” Diane Feldman said in a polling memo.

Sherman currently represents just more than half of the redrawn 30th district, which includes the homes of both members of the Foreign Affairs Committee. They opted not to run in neighboring districts to avoid the matchup, and both are likely to advance beyond the June 5 all-party primary and continue the contentious campaign through November.

Enjoy your morning!

Lastly, Dan Walter’s discusses all of that California Lottery money going to California schools:

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Mar 15 2012

Flap’s California Morning Collection: March 15, 2012

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Los Angeles Marathon Map at Race Expo

Good morning!

The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Dan Walters Daily: Jerry Brown paddles on the left

Brown’s revised plan would hike income tax rate on $500,000 earners

In a hairpin turnabout, Gov. Jerry Brown is seeking a last-minute change to his tax proposal, a move to capture the energy of the populist ire toward the wealthy while trying to clear the November field of competing measures.

Brown said he wants to revise his initiative to incorporate elements of the chief rival proposal, a move rife with risks that include a fast-approaching deadline and potential new opposition. In return, backers of the so-called millionaire’s tax are withdrawing their ballot initiative and putting their weight behind the governor’s new plan to boost the hit on the wealthy while easing Brown’s previously proposed sales tax hike that all voters would pay.

“This united effort makes victory more likely and will go a long way toward balancing our budget and protecting our schools, universities and public safety,” Brown said in a joint statement with the California Federation of Teachers, President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.

A deal came together over the weekend, when Brown promised to make his tax hike more progressive.

“Our values and principles are clearly reflected in this new initiative,” said Josh Pechthalt, the president of the teachers union.

Brown’s revised plan would put a larger burden on individuals who earn $500,000 or more a year, raising their income tax rate by 3 percentage points instead of his earlier plan for a 2 percentage point increase, while reducing his sales tax hike proposal from a half-cent to a quarter-cent. Those earning $300,000 to $500,000 would also see more of a tax hike: a 2 percentage point increase, rather than a 1.5 percentage point hike.

The new proposal also is expected to extend the period of the income tax hike from five years to seven.


Higher community college fee plan in Santa Monica would be a first in California

Depending on your perspective, Santa Monica College’s plan to charge students four to five times the normal fee to add sections to oversubscribed classes  is either a brilliant idea to cope with its shrinking revenues, or a misguided strategy making it more difficult for low-income students to reach their academic goals.

Given the depth of the community colleges’  financial woes, and the fact that there are 112 of them around the state, it is surprising that more of these revenue generating ideas have not surfaced.  But the Santa Monica plan is now being discussed across the system, as every college struggles to reconcile increasing demand with shrinking resources.

“To some, it offers increased access,” said Paul Feist, a spokesman for the California Community College’s Chancellor’s Office, referring to the Santa Monica plan.  ”Others will argue that this is a move to privatizing public colleges.  We recognize that this debate is going on.”

The interest that the plan has triggered is reminiscent of San Francisco City College Chancellor Don Griffin’s idea in 2009 to sell naming rights of college courses for $6,000 a course.

When the City College’s  Board of Trustees heard of the plan, they nixed it.

Santa Monica officials say they have no choice but to come up with a creative plan to meet student needs and stay solvent.  Since the 2008-09 school year, the college has had to cut the number of courses its offers from 7,434 to 6,288 this year,  a drop of 15 percent.  If voters fail to approve a tax initiative this November, that figure will jump to 23 percent.  Currently the college is serving 500 full time equivalent students without receiving any support from the state to do so, officials say.

CalPERS ‘smoothing’ eases employer rate shock

CalPERS is planning a two-year phase in of a rate increase resulting from a lower earnings forecast adopted yesterday, continuing a “smoothing” policy that softens the impact of rising pension costs on deficit-ridden state and local government budgets.

Lowering the investment earnings forecast from 7.75 to 7.5 percent is expected to increase the annual state payment to CalPERS by $303 million, pushing the total to $3.8 billion.

Critics contend CalPERS and other public pension funds use overly optimistic earnings forecasts to “discount” or reduce future pension debt, concealing a massive “unfunded liability” and the urgent need for cost-cutting reforms.

But CalPERS says its earnings averaged more than the 7.75 percent target over the last two decades. The new forecast stays the course and does not change the basic average investments are expected to earn, 4.75 percent.

What the board lowered is the forecast for 3 percent price inflation, which when added to the basic 4.75 percent return totaled 7.75 percent. The new inflation forecast of 2.75 percent drops the total earnings forecast to 7.5 percent.

“Your proposal is driven by an inflation assumption that I just don’t buy,” board member J.J. Jelincic told chief actuary Alan Milligan at a committee hearing. “I do admire your courage for bringing it forward.”

Jelincic, the apparent lone “no” in a board voice vote, argued that the U.S. Federal Reserve and central banks in other countries have “flooded” their economies with money, a stimulus likely to lead to inflation.

Enjoy your morning!

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