California's State Budget vs. The State of Education
Community College Update by Scott Lay, President and CEO of Orange COast College
Congratulations to President Reid Milburn and the entire Student Senate Council for a great event.
Also yesterday, the League hosted the Phi Theta Kappa honors luncheon. This annual event recognizes some of the best and brightest students in our system as identified by the national Phi Theta Kappa honors society. Many CEOs that joined us to honor their students and I personally find it one of the best events to participate in each year.
If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to browse the program brochure to read the biographies of these students, which are emblematic of the students served by our colleges every day.
They include veterans and students who have re-entered college because of the economy, refugees who were resettled here as recently as 2007 and several first-generation students. They are future artists, business owners, lawyers, nurses, physicians and scientists, and are a representative portrait of our system.
Please join me in congratulating the following outstanding California community college students.
All-California Academic First Team
August Anderson, Napa Valley College
Jon Baza, Cosumnes River College
Justin Bricker, Oxnard College
Atrina Brill, Fullerton College
Sheila Burson, Butte College
Jeff Doolittle, Mt. San Jacinto College
Timothy Fuller, Hartnell College
Ashley Good, Skyline College
Francine Hooper, Cosumnes River College
Jacqueline Jao, Irvine Valley College
Dung Le, San Jose City College
Alyssa Martinez, Rio Hondo College
Jeremy Morales Madrigal, Canada College
Deanna O'Bryan, Pasadena City College
Isaac Powell, Mt. San Antonio College (New Century Scholar)
Christian Ramirez, Citrus College
Isaiah Roggow, Canada College
Narjisse Sarehane, American River College
Leo Savage-Low, Butte College
Amelie Sherry, Santa Rosa Junior College
Meredyth Warren, Long Beach City College
Peter Zitko, Napa Valley College
All-California Academic Second Team
All-California Academic Third Team
Bahareh Abadian, Orange Coast College
Solomon Abdella, Pasadena City College
Tim Aguilar, Rio Hondo College
David Barrera, Long Beach City College
Kian Behmanesh, Los Angeles Pierce College
Sandra Coronilla, San Diego Miramar College
Alayna Eaton, Solano Community College
Derrick Hau, Skyline College
Eric Ibrahim, College of the Canyons
Brendan Joyce, Diablo Valley College
Soojeong Kelsey Kim, College of the Canyons
Ryan Krebs, Moorpark College
Paul Muhumuza, Los Angeles Pierce College
William Neri, Santa Ana College
Eric Nolan, Irvine Valley College
Jeremy Orosco, MiraCosta College
Heather Paulson, San Diego Miramar College
Duc Phan, Orange Coast College
Amber Lee Rafferty, Porterville College
Sarah Ridenour, Porterville College
Karina Rivera, Fullerton College
Terry Thomas Jr., Los Angeles Southwest College
Delgertsetseg Batsaikhan, American River College
Linda Carroll, Merritt College
Ashley Cook, Mt. San Jacinto College
Michelle Cotrupe, MiraCosta College
Dustin Crown, Mendocino College
Sheila Dharod, Los Angeles City College
Brooke Dotson, Mt. San Jacinto College
Mark Drucker, Diablo Valley College
Jose Estrada, Los Angeles Valley College
Heather Gardner, Mendocino College
Francisco Hernandez, Long Beach City College
Ricky Kelly, Long Beach City College
Hee Yeong Kim, Cerritos College
Cody Lewin, Los Angeles Valley College
Duke Marine, Moorpark College
Martin Medrano, Mt. San Antonio College
Meghan Sheeran, Riverside Community College
Allen Tung, Citrus College
Guy Torres, Riverside Community College
Katsiaryna Tronza, College of Alameda
Where Does the Money Go? California's Huge Anti-Terrorism Grant
The Golden State is a leading recipient of anti-terrorism grants in the country due to its population, major attractions and powerful political representatives. At least $1.9 billion from major grant programs poured into the California between 2003 and 2009.
State auditors in a Sept. 2006 report called California’s structure for emergency response a bewildering “labyrinth of committees, advisory bodies, and state and local agencies.” Despite threats posed by earthquakes, wildfires and 9/11, one entity responsible for advising the governor on preparedness issues, the California Emergency Council, hadn’t bothered to meet for four years, auditors found.
Lawmakers in Sacramento only recently established the California Emergency Management Agency to help consolidate responsibilities long after complaints that the existence of multiple offices fostered confusion among emergency responders and local communities applying for federal funds.
Earlier this year we decided to take a closer look at California’s grant spending and submitted an open-records request to state authorities asking for all performance reports that might show how well cities and counties had managed their anti-terrorism grants. We received hundreds of pages of so-called monitoring reports produced by state officials who are responsible for visiting local grantees to inspect purchased equipment and make sure records supporting expenditures are in place.
The result was a story [http://centerforinvestigativereporting.org/articles/homelandsecuritymarkedbywastelackofoversight] circulated with the help of more than two-dozen news organizations across California on the anniversary of Sept. 11 that detailed several problems. Madera County, Calif., couldn’t produce for inspectors adequate paperwork proving how it spent $1.4 million. Officials there told the state that records needed to verify more than $279,000 in spending may have been “inadvertently destroyed.”
Poor accounting systems led other communities to overcharge the government for grant purchases, including $92,000 that had to be paid back by the city of Oakland. Placer County spent $47,000 on a computer software program for a local police department that wasn’t used. Another county attempted to buy a lawn mower with grant cash, and a university campus police department purchased a $2,300 plasma TV.
The story package included an interactive map that enabled visitors to click on their county, see how much the area had received in major grants and view a list of top purchases, from chemical-resistant gloves in Inyo County to ballistic body armor in Butte County. We also showcased a selection of photographs depicting purchased equipment and explained what emergency personnel used it for.
An accompanying story profiled [http://www.centerforinvestigativereporting.org/node/4185] one southern California company that specialized in building incident-command vehicles for which there was a high demand after Sept. 11 by police and fire departments flush with grant funds. At the height of the homeland security boom, Mattman Specialty Vehicles defied the seemingly impossible and went bankrupt in 2006 leaving some communities with half-finished trucks and lost deposits.
California officials only began carrying out site inspections years after the fact, which meant many problems that occurred with grant spending at the local level were allowed to languish before eventually being uncovered.
Despite improvements in oversight, however, auditors found in 2009 that the state had still failed to properly monitor another $28.7 million in federal funds awarded to California through a program designed to help communities pay for reconstruction and debris removal following presidentially declared disasters. As it has in the past, California blamed staffing shortages but promised to begin looking more closely at its disaster-recovery projects.
Who’s responsible for homeland security grants in California?
California Emergency Management Agency [http://www.calema.ca.gov/]
3650 Schriever Avenue
Mather, California 95655
· Grant award totals and spending summaries for California by county and agency in Excel format
State of California [calipurchases]
Audits and other reports
· Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General
State of California’s Management of State Homeland Security Program Grants [OIGcaliMarch2009]
· California State Auditor
Emergency Preparedness: California’s Administration of Federal Grants for Homeland Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness [calispecial]
· California State Auditor
Single audit report finding – 2008 [calisingle]