News Briefs

Piedad Robertson

SMC head resigns

Santa Monica College President Piedad Robertson announced Nov. 17 that she is stepping down on Jan. 31. Robertson has accepted a position as president of the Education Commission of the States, a national education policy organization in Denver.

Robertson has been the SMC president since 1995. She recommended that the Board of Trustees appoint Executive Vice President of Business and Administration Tom Donner as interim president while college officials look for a permanent replacement.

During Robertson’s tenure, SMC has grown substantially. There are 160 new full-time faculty members. Local voters also approved two bond measures, including a $135 million bond this month. Additionally, Robertson’s time as president has been marked with controversy. In 2003, the college faculty union issued a vote of no confidence for her in response to Robertson’s handling of the school’s financial crisis.

Plane flipped by small wave

An Ultralight airplane equipped with pontoons flipped over Monday afternoon while the pilot was attempting to land off Nicholas Canyon Beach. Los Angeles County Lifeguard Capt. Nick Steers said the pilot was attempting to contact the Coast Guard to tell them he was going to land, but a small wave caused the plane to flip over.

Zuma Beach lifeguards used a personal watercraft to rescue the two uninjured passengers. Steers said the pilot chose to stay with the plane while the female passenger was taken to the beach. Later, when Baywatch arrived, the plane was turned over and towed to shore. The pilot returned overnight to retrieve the plane.

Gas leak raises LNG concerns

A Nov. 18 gas leak from an oil facility, Platform Gail, located off the coast of Oxnard has raised the eyebrows of a group of Malibu citizens committed to preventing the construction of a liquefied natural gas facility in the same area. Citizens Against Crystal Energy, or CACE, stated in a press release that it is concerned because the owner of the oil platform, Venoco Inc., is planning with Crystal Energy to transform another facility, Platform Grace, into an LNG port.

According to the Associated Press, federal authorities have not determined what caused the gas leak, which took place at 10 a.m. It forced the evacuation of 39 workers.

Another company, BHP Billiton, has also proposed the construction of an LNG facility off the coast of Oxnard. The proposal has sparked outrage by many communities in the area, including Malibu. The City Council has come out in opposition to the facility. On Dec. 1, a meeting will take place at Webster Elementary School to give community members an opportunity to give input on the Environmental Impact Report for the proposed facility. There will be an open house from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a hearing at 7 p.m.

Coastal Clash

The documentary “Coastal Clash” that was the subject of a Nov. 11 article in The Malibu Times will be shown in the Los Angeles area on stations in January. Exact times and dates have not been established.

Health warning

The California Department of Health has issued a statement that people should immediately stop using the herbal products Expellin Extract, also known as Chuan Xiong Cha Tiao Wan, and the Shanghai brand of Cardioflex, also known as Chuan Xin Su He Wan, because they contain aristolochic acid, a carcinogen that has been linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer.

Kingsway Trading in Brooklyn, N.Y. voluntarily recalled these products after being notified by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that they contained aristolochic acid. The products, imported from China, were distributed to retail stores and acupuncture clinics nationwide, including California. They also are being sold via the Internet.

The health department said it is investigating how many products were distributed in California.

Memorial service

A memorial service will take place on Saturday for George Coatsworth III. The former Malibu resident died Nov. 15. He was 58 years old and the son of Honey Coatsworth of the Artifact Tree in Malibu. The service will be at The Church on the Way-West Campus, located at 14800 Sherman Way in

Van Nuys. The service begins at 10 a.m.