News Briefs

John Deasy

Council meeting postponed

Due to the weather condition, Monday’s City Council meeting was postponed. The meeting will take place on Friday at 11:30 a.m. at City Council Chambers in City Hall.

SMMUSD lashes out at gov.’s speech

Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy read a harsh statement at last week’s school board meeting in response to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s State of the State Address. Deasy called the governor’s proposal to link teachers’ raises to merit rather than tenure “sensational rhetoric.” He said he was offended Schwarzenegger claimed teachers were part of a special interest group.

“I do not know a single teacher or administrator in SMMUSD who I would characterize as a special interest group member,” Deasy said. “In fact, all of our highly qualified and remarkably dedicated faculty, administration and staff have only one interest in their professional work, it being the students with whom they work daily.”

Since Deasy’s statement, Schwarzenegger has released his 2005-06 budget proposal. The proposal includes a $2.3 billion cut for K-12 education. Anticipating a cut, Deasy said that an immediate freeze on SMMUSD expenditures was necessary. He added that a “conservative approach to budget preparation will be the order of the day” for the SMMUSD.

School board to appoint special education official

At its Jan. 20 meeting, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education will hear a recommendation to appoint Dr. Timothy Walker as the new assistant superintendent for special education. The board is expected to approve the job for Walker, who has the backing of Superintendent John Deasy.

Walker’s most recent position was director of special education for the Glendale Unified School District. He has been a teacher, principal and coordinator in special education.

Company receives setback on LNG construction

The United States Coast Guard and the U.S. Maritime Administration have indefinitely delayed approval for the liquefied natural gas facility proposed for construction off the coast of Oxnard, about 15 miles north of Malibu. The federal government agencies sent a notice to the Houston office of the Australian company that has proposed the facility, BHP Billiton, stating that its Draft Environmental Impact Report and Environmental Impact Statement for the project includes deficiencies.

“Because of the limited time available to prepare the final EIS/EIR and to adhere to the statutory timeline, we must stop the clock in order to allow adequate time to obtain additional information from BHP,” the notice read.

The federal agencies said the flaws in the documents included a lack of information on the potential effects on air quality by LNG and a lack of information on whether the area was prepared for a potential emergency caused by an accident at the LNG plant.

Hearings took place last month in Oxnard and Malibu on the environmental documents. Several hundred people attended the hearings, most of them in opposition to the project. They said an LNG facility was a safety risk and a terrorist threat. Those favoring the project said it would bring jobs to the area and said that LNG was a safer and more effective energy source.