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Dec 01st
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Town Hall

News - Town Hall

Assemblymember Bill Monning

Assemblymember Bill Monning

Many local educators are skeptical about Race to the Top, the federal program in which states are competing for education funding.  What potential problems are they worried about, and do you agree with them?

Like me, many of the local educators I have spoken with are supportive of the goals of the Race to the Top (RttT) program, which include improving the lowest-performing schools, developing systems that measure student growth, and providing more support and training to California’s teachers.  However, many local educators have also expressed legitimate concerns about how these goals will be met and whether sufficient funding will be provided to carry out the reforms that are being proposed.

News - Town Hall

Congressman Sam Farr

Congressman Sam Farr

What projects are in store for the Central Coast through the 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act, which passed in December?

Congress had already passed five of the appropriations bills that fund the federal government. The omnibus appropriations bill, which passed in early December, included six separate bills; the final bill was passed soon after.

There are a number of local projects funded through those seven bills, including anti-gang programs in Monterey County, ocean research and education programs, agriculture training programs and more.

News - Town Hall

Supervisor Tony Campos

Why is it necessary to build a new levee for the Pajaro River? What has been your involvement with the 100-Year Flood Protection Project?

The 100-Year Flood Protection project is intended to correct a levee system built on the Pajaro River in 1949 that has been declared inadequate (and proven inadequate as evidenced by the floods of 1955, 1958, 1995, 1997, and 1998) in providing 100-year flood protection for the area.

As a member of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors representing the Fourth District (South County), I am concerned by the property and economic damage another flood will bring to our community. The senior communities of Bay Village and Pajaro Village are adjacent to the levee—as is some of the most bountiful agricultural land in the country. To disregard the threat of another flood is irresponsible. I have participated in meetings with all stakeholders, including holding community meetings to ensure residents are informed of the status of this project. The safety of the residents is important to me.

News - Town Hall

Assemblymember Bill Monning

Assemblymember Bill Monning

Last month, the University of California’s Board of Regents passed a 32 percent student fee increase for undergraduates, leading to statewide protests including several at UC Santa Cruz. What do you think of the increase? What does this mean for the future of higher public education in California?

I have great concerns about the decision by the UC Board of Regents to increase student fees, especially on top of the fee increases that have already been imposed. As one of the intentions stated in the original Master Plan for Higher Education adopted in 1960, a priority was to have higher education remain accessible and affordable for all.  While it is somewhat understandable why the Board of Regents implemented these sizeable increases during this unprecedented budget crisis, these fee increases represent a shortsighted solution that will most likely result in enormous unintended consequences.

News - Town Hall

Congressman Sam Farr

Congressman Sam Farr

When we look back on 2009, what will be the most significant government advances, actions or mistakes?

History has a funny way of evolving. Without the pleasure of hindsight, some of the most far-reaching actions the government took in 2009 have been caught up in a whirlwind of criticism. But I’m confident that when everything shakes out, we’ll come to see these measures as effective and absolutely necessary.

Of course, pretty much the whole year has been consumed by two issues: health care and the economy.

The final actions on health insurance reform may slip over into 2010 and it’s not at all certain what the outcome will be, but we’ve already seen historic support for reform.

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Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


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