Newly elected U.S. Rep. John Garamendi was sworn into office two days after his election last month and has been given two plum committee assignments. Garamendi will be on the Committee on Science and Technology, which has jurisdiction over science education, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The College looks forward to working with Congressman Garamendi and his staff on issues important to Saint Mary's.
As you probably have heard, the 2010 California state budget is already $20 billion out of balance. As the recession persists, state revenue continues to decline. The chronic budget shortfall remains an issue of concern for several programs, including the Cal Grant program. In January, Governor Schwarzenegger's office will release his first proposed budget, which will be debated for several months. The real proposed budget will emerge in May when the "May revise" is released.
The last several budgets have been balanced mostly by program cuts and one-time fee increases, leading most observers to believe that balancing the next budget will require even deeper cuts. Most state workers are taking unpaid furlough days for the foreseeable future. While the Cal Grant program was spared in the last state budget, experts are cautioning that this year it may be cut.
The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) says there will be another battle to defend Cal Grants. Fortunately, some new U.S. regulations exist that put other fedÂ¬eral funds at risk if the state reduces Cal Grants. That extra ammunition will help, but AICCU members, including Saint Mary's, should prepare for a fight.
I will use this space to keep you posted on advocacy measures the College will use to get our message out. I am gathering arguments for the continuation of Cal grants by identifying as many alumni as I can who have benefited from the program. If you received a Cal grant or know of someone who did, please send your name to me for our database of recipients. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to term limits, members of the California Assembly are limited to three two-year terms, for a maximum of six years in the Assembly. As a result, the practice for selecting a speaker has lately been to name a young member of the Assembly who can serve as long as possible and gain experience in working with the governor's office and the Senate. With this in mind, the Assembly recently elected freshman Assemblyman John Perez, D-Los Angeles, as speaker of the Assembly. Perez continues the recent trend of speakers from Los Angeles, while the president of the Senate has been from northern California. Interestingly, Perez is a cousin of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, himself a former Assembly speaker. Perez is scheduled to be sworn in January.
Dave Trotter, Moraga's mayor in 2009, gave his State of the Town address on Dec. 7 and outlined several accomplishments he and the town have made during the year. Read the full report.
Also Councilmember Ken Chew was selected by the Town Council as mayor in 2010. I would like to congratulate Dave Trotter on a successful year as mayor and wish Ken Chew well as he assumes his new duties.