Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Jeannie Novak: Wedding and Video Game Projects

Professor Jeannie Novak was married to her husband Luis on July 22, 2006. The happy couple had a quiet wedding on the beach. Below are a few pictures. Professor Novak formerly taught several classes at the Academy of Entertainment and Technology (AET) campus at Santa Monica College, including Game Development, eBusiness, and Project Management. Novak is also the author of several books on game design, game development, and artificial intelligence. She also runs a website called Indiespace.

When not teaching or playing video games, she also spends time recording music and is an accomplished pianist. Professor Novak is currently not teaching at AET and her wonderful classes are no longer offered. If you have a chance, take a class with her at another school or check out her online course using Second Life, a 3D virtual world sporting over 559,000 members.

Jeannie Novak's Wedding Photos 01 Jeannie Novak's Wedding Photos 02

Jeannie Novak's Wedding Photos 03 Jeannie Novak's Wedding Photos 04

I am very happy for Jeannie's recent marriage and wish her many happy years.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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PE Classes Still Open for Fall Semester 2006

Professor Maggie LeDuc is teaching some awesome PE classes that still have openings for fall semester at Santa Monica College. They are as follows:

2374 KIN PE 15A 35 9 ..T.H.. 12:45PM-02:05PM LEDUC M M SPECTRUM

This is a spinning class (cycling) taught at Spectrum gym, near the AET campus. The gym will let you stay afterwards and work out on any of their equipment and weights. They also have a sauna and lockers to use (bring your own lock). This gym is state of the art. There is a separate fee for this class.

2381 KIN PE 19B 35 15 ...W... 12:45PM-03:50PM LEDUC M M TRACK

Hiking class. This is usually at Temescal Canyon. So, you get to be outdoors and lose some weight. Students are usually agreeable to carpooling. Bring water!

2382 KIN PE 19B 35 10 ..T.H.. 05:15PM-06:40PM LEDUC M M TRACK

Body fitness and walking. Take the stress off studying to have some fun.

2352 KIN PE 10 45 17 ..T.H.. 08:00AM-09:20AM LEDUC M M FIT CNTR

This is a general fitness class using stationary bikes and weights as well as various outdoor exercises (track and stadium stairs). Maggie loves to take her students to the beach! You will definitely lose weight if you take this class. She will weigh and measure you and test you at the beginning and end of the semester, so you can see how much you improved. She will also work with your eating habits and make suggestions to help you lose even more weight and feel better.

SMC Professor Maggie LeDuc and Saddie

Maggie is one of the best teachers at SMC. A really caring person. She's going to retire in a year, so now's your chance to take some of her classes. I also took surfing and rock climbing with her and loved them both! If she doesn't get the minimum number of students, these classes will be cancelled, so help her (and yourself) out and take one or two.

For those who were interested in the surfing class, it is confirmed that it will be taught at Santa Monica near the pier.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

SMC Bundy Campus Environmental Impact Concerns

On September 26, 2005, Santa Monica Community College District (SMCCD) issued a 19-page Notice of Preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for its Santa Monica College satellite Bundy Campus. Based on the initial evaluation, an EIR was required due to the fact that the proposed project may have a significant effect on the environment. According to the SMC CEQA Initial Study Checklist, the following areas of concern, which were rated as a "potentially significant impact" include the following: air quality, aesthetics, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology/water quality, noise, public services, transportation/circulation, utilities, neighborhood effects, and mandatory findings or significance.

Here's the breakdown of questions that were rated as a potentially significant impact.


Conflict with or obstruct implementation of the SCAQMD or Congestion Management Plan?
Violate any air quality standard or contribute substantially to an existing or projected air quality violation?

Result in a cumulatively considerable net increase of any criteria pollutant for which the air basin is non-attainment (ozone, carbon monoxide, & PM 10) under an applicable federal or state ambient air quality standard?Expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations?


Have a substantial adverse effect on a scenic vista?

Substantially degrade the existing visual character or quality of the site and its surroundings?

Create a new source of substantial light or glare that would adversely affect day or nighttime views in the area?


Create a significant hazard to the public or the environment through reasonably foreseeable upset and accident conditions involving the release of hazardous materials into the environment?

Emit hazardous emissions or handle hazardous or acutely hazardous materials, substances, or waste within one-quarter mile of an existing or proposed school?

Be located on a site which is included on a list of hazardous materials sites compiled pursuant to Government Code Section 65962.5 and, as a result, would it create a significant hazard to the public or the environment?

For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project result in a safety hazard for people residing or working in the project area?

Impair implementation of or physically interfere with an adopted emergency response plan or emergency evacuation plan?


Substantially deplete groundwater supplies or interfere with groundwater recharge such that there would be a net deficit in aquifer volume or a lowering of the local groundwater table level (e.g., the production rate of preexisting nearby wells would drop to a level which would not support existing land uses or planned land uses for which permits have been granted)?

Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or area, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, in a manner which would result in substantial erosion or siltation on- or off-site?

Substantially alter the existing drainage pattern of the site or area, including through the alteration of the course of a stream or river, or substantially increase the rate or amount of surface runoff in an manner which would result in flooding on- or off site?

Create or contribute runoff water which would exceed the capacity of existing or planned storm water drainage systems or provide substantial additional sources of polluted runoff?


Exposure of persons to or generation of noise in level in excess of standards established in the local general plan or noise ordinance, or applicable standards of other agencies?

Exposure of people to or generation of excessive groundborne vibration or groundborne noise levels?

A substantial permanent increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?

A substantial temporary or periodic increase in ambient noise levels in the project vicinity above levels existing without the project?

For a project located within an airport land use plan or, where such a plan has not been adopted, within two miles of a public airport or public use airport, would the project expose people residing or working in the project area to excessive noise levels?


Fire protection?

Police protection?


Cause an increase in traffic which is substantial in relation to the existing traffic load and capacity of the street system (i.e., result in a substantial increase in either the number of vehicle trips, the volume to ratio capacity on roads, or congestion at intersections)?

Exceed, either individually or cumulatively, a level of service standard established by the county congestion management agency for designated roads or highways?

Substantially increase hazards to a design feature (e.g., sharp curves or dangerous intersections) or incompatible uses (e.g., farm equipment)?

Result in inadequate emergency access?

Result in inadequate parking capacity?

Conflict with adopted policies, plans, or programs supporting alternative transportation (e.g., bus turnouts, bicycle racks)?


Require or result in the construction of new water or wastewater treatment facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects?

Require or result in the construction of new storm water drainage facilities or expansion of existing facilities, the construction of which could cause significant environmental effects?

Have sufficient water supplies available to serve the project from existing entitlements and resources, or are new or expanded entitlements needed?

Result in a determination by the wastewater treatment provider which serves or may serve the project that it has adequate capacity to serve the project’s projected demand in addition to the provider’s existing commitments?


Will the proposal have considerable effects on the project neighborhood?


Does the project have impacts which are individually limited, but cumulatively considerable? ("Cumulatively considerable" means that the incremental effects of an individual project are considerable when viewed in connection with the effects of past projects, the effects of other current projects, and the effects of probable future projects).

Does the project have environmental effects which cause substantial adverse effects on human beings, either directly or indirectly?

According to a February 25, 2005 Conference Report pertaining to the Santa Monica College Bundy Campus Long Range Master Plan, Bud Allen of the CCS Group pointed out a few financial facts:

State funding for higher education facilities is at an $18 billion deficit.

Current rates of state funding will require decades just to fund current requests.

Even if local money is used for the construction of a building, there is maintenance and operations money that is normally provided by the State but that can be withdrawn if the facilities do not meet the State Chancellor’s guidelines as to their purposes and their amount of use.

One only needs to take a quick glance at those involved in the Bundy Conference to see how all these problems have allegedly developed. Those relevant SMC individuals in attendance include Judith Penchansky, Erica LeBlanc, Randy Lawson, and Katharine Muller’s husband, David Muller. Also in attendance was Zina Josephs from Friends of Sunset Park (FOSP). According to the LookOut News article for October 18, 2005, Josephs "implied that the process was rigged as she read off a list of numbers and facts that have changed from college document to document." Eric Gabster of FOSP accused Santa Monica College of "high-handed dealing."

Also in attendance for the Bundy conference was Shane Parker of Christopher A. Joseph & Associates, the environmental consultant to Santa Monica College. Parker and his firm is responsible for the drafting of the EIR. How much money has Christopher A. Joseph & Associates raked in from the college? Let's look at the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees Minutes.

Here's the SMC Board of Trustees Agenda from the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee for January 10, 2005:


It is recommended that the Board of Trustees approve the following consultants to prepare a master plan, environmental studies and public outreach component for the Bundy Campus:

Christopher A. Joseph & Associates: Master Plan environmental consultant and preparation of a full Environmental Impact Report if necessary. Not to exceed $50,000 for Master Plan services; not to exceed $65,000 for EIR; plus reimbursable expenses.

Here's the SMC Board of Trustees Minutes for August 6, 2001:


Agreement with CHRISTOPHER A. JOSEPH & ASSOCIATES for environmental services associated with the Madison Theater project for an amount not to exceed $110,320 plus reimbursable expenses.

Funding Source: SMC Foundation2001-2002
Budget: District Capital Outlay Fund

Comment: This agreement will provide for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report and supporting environmental technical analysis of the proposed Madison Theater project in accordance with the appropriate State laws and SMCC District administrative regulations.

Here's the SMC Board of Trustees Minutes for July 6, 1999:


It is recommended that the Board of Trustees approve the following for consulting services related to the completion of the City of Santa Monica Environmental Impact Report for the parking structure addition at Santa Monica College. Services to be provided for the period of July 1 through December 31, 1999 in the amount indicated:

Christopher A. Joseph and Associates, in an amount not to exceed $10,000.
Funding Source: Parking C.O.P.

Comment: The City of Santa Monica is requesting the College to prepare technical responses to issues raised in the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report for the Parking Structure. The consultants will assist with the architectural responses.

Here's the SMC Board of Trustees Minutes for July 6, 2005:

Agreement for Environmental Consulting Services

Agreement with CHRISTOPHER A. JOSEPH & ASSOCIATES to prepare an Environmental Impact Report on the Corsair Field Renovation project for an amount not to exceed $107,510 plus reimbursable expenses.

Comment: This agreement provides all necessary environmental consulting services in the preparation of an environmental impact report for the renovation of Corsair Field and related underground parking. This firm has participated in other major projects with the District.

So, SMC shelled out approximately $342,830 to Christopher A. Joseph & Associates in only four separate consulting contract deals. It will be most revealing to see what the college and its community received for all this money.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Thomas J. Baker Properly Served

Here is another set of email correspondence between me and Defendant, Thomas J. Baker. Since I sent my email response to him yesterday, I have not heard another word from him. As in his previous email, it appears in my opinion that he is being directed by Santa Monica College's legal counsel, Robert Sammis. Defendants often use delaying tactics to forestall answering a civil complaint in court. You can read our previous email correspondence HERE.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

---------------------- MY EMAIL TO THOMAS BAKER ----------------------


August 4, 2006


Dear Tom:

I have again spoken with my process server who indicates that you were properly served and is willing to testify in Court to this effect. To reiterate my previous response to you, you were personally served at your residence at approximately 9:15 pm on Wednesday, August 2, 2006 with both a conformed copy of the summons and verified complaint for damages as well as the verification and attached exhibits.

The process server knocked on your door and an older woman who appeared to be your mother answered. The process server asked for "Thomas J. Baker," and your mother went inside your bedroom and brought you to the door. You had a brief conversation with the process server. Although your mother told you, "You don't have to accept that," or words to that effect, the process server indicated that you were served and dropped the summons and complaint at your feet. The process server thereafter personally witnessed you pick up the summons and complaint from the ground.

There is no requirement under California law that you sign any documents accepting or acknowledging personal service. Again, by virtue of your two emails to me, you have acknowledged that you were served. The proof of service will be filed with the Court. If you wish to challenge the service, then I will ask the Court for sanctions as your motion is frivolous, without merit, and merely a delaying tactic in this matter.

Although you indicated in your last email that you were retaining an attorney and "will provide you with his information shortly," I have yet to receive such information.

Very Truly Yours,
Des Manttari

----------------------- THOMAS BAKER'S EMAIL TO ME -----------------------

Thomas Baker wrote:

Like I said, I did not receive any documents. They were dropped in front of my door which is not an applicable method of being served in a legal matter.

I provided no acceptance of service which is required in a legal matter. If you wish to file a proof of service without acceptance, that is your preregotive [sic].

I will be retaining a lawyer and will provide you with his information shortly.

Best regards,
Thomas J. Baker

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Thomas J. Baker's Response to Service of Lawsuit

Yesterday, Santa Monica College student Thomas J. Baker was personally served with a summons and complaint for damages for libel and slander. The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Within a short time thereafter, he emailed me, claiming he was improperly served and threatening a counter-suit for harassment and punitive damages. I contend that he was properly served and find his claims to retaliate with a counter-suit and his alleged claims for damages without merit.

Below are both his original email and my response. At a later point, I will place the lawsuit online. Perhaps Mr. Baker should seek his legal advice in the future from an attorney other than Robert Sammis.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

---------------------- MY EMAIL TO THOMAS BAKER -------------------------


August 3, 2006

Dear Tom,

This is a response to your recent email to me. To the best of my knowledge, you were properly served at approximately 9:15 p.m. last night at your residence. My process server was over the age of 18 and not a party to the action, as required by law. Furthermore, he personally served you with both a conformed copy of the summons and the verified complaint for damages in this action in which you are a named defendant pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure Section 415.10. The complaint included three labeled exhibits as well as my verification.

By virtue of your email to me, you have acknowledged service. Service is deemed complete at the time of delivery and is both effective and valid. Although you may wish to entertain a motion to quash the service, the Court would most likely reject it as frivolous and without merit. I will file the proof of service with the court at my earliest convenience and mail a copy to you for your records.

You are welcome to correspond with me at this email address. Furthermore, if you have any written correspondence or documents in this matter that you would like to send me, please direct them to my post office address as follows:

Des Manttari
P.O. Box 64563
Los Angeles, CA 90064

You can either represent yourself in this matter or hire an attorney. However, if you represent yourself, you should carefully review the law to make sure you file the proper legal documents, such as an answer to the complaint, within the time limits required by law. At any time during this action, if you wish to propose any sort of settlement on this matter, I will be happy to review such and respond accordingly. If you do retain an attorney, please email me his phone number and address at your earliest convenience.

In response to the second part of your email, if you would like to provide me with the name of the person you reference as to making allegations against me, I would greatly appreciate it so that I can address these false claims accordingly. Although you are correct in your assertion that truth is an absolute defense to libel or slander, it appears on the face of your written statement to the SMCPD and your answer to your TRO to the Court under penalty of perjury, that you have more than one version of the "truth."

I find your claims to counter-sue me for harassment and for punitive damages without merit. For all the foregoing reasons, I will proceed to vigorously defend my rights in this matter in accordance with the law. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to email me.

Very Truly Yours,

Des Manttari

----------------------- THOMAS BAKER'S EMAIL TO ME ----------------------

Thomas Baker wrote:

Dear Des,

I got another summons from you, but I received [sic] none of the relevant court information about the suit.

A suspicious person arrived at my door, and when I questioned who we was, he answered very rudely, "That doesn't matter, you've been served!" and dropped a pile of papers in front of my door. None of the papers has any of the relevant court information on it, so I am requesting that you re-serve the appropriate documents.

Also, I don't know if you are aware, but truth is an absolute defense against any claims of libel or slander. The claims about threats that I referenced came from a person who claimed to witness the threats that were said that you made. Also, if you choose to continue this, I will be retaining a lawyer and seeking punitive damages. If anyone has suffered through this ordeal, it has been me. You've tried to embarrass [sic], harass, and discredit me falsely in public school arenas, without any action on my part, you tried to discredit me similarly at E3, and have caused me a great amount of demonstratable distress and injury.

I have come to the end of my rope. If you do not stop this behavior towards me, I will be issuing a counter-suit for harassment, as well as a retraining order for the maximum amount of time that can be achieved.

Sincerest regards,
Thomas J. Baker

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

California Public Records Request: Set Six

Yesterday, I sent another public records request via certified mail to Santa Monica College in care of President Chui L. Tsang. This will be the sixth request for public records for SMC and its satellite campus, the Academy of Entertainment and Technology (AET). You can view the request HERE. To date, SMC has failed to disclose many records under the law. Robert Sammis, Vice-President of Planning and Development, has found every excuse and delaying tactic possible to stonewall our access to vital public records. We had previously filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court pertaining to the first two requests. If SMC fails to comply within the mandated time frame under the California Government Code, another lawsuit may be necessary to enforce our rights.

To view any of our previous requests for public records or our compliance demand letter, please refer to our AET database under the legal section. SMC student Jeff Higley has also filed a public records request under the California Public Records Act to Deyna Hearn, Assistant Dean of Student Life. His request can be viewed HERE. Robert Sammis is also handling this request and Mr. Higley is eager to see if he complies with the law.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mel Gibson DUI Arrest Police Reports and Apology

This past Friday, July 29, 2006, Hollywood megastar and Oscar winning director Mel Gibson, 50, was pulled over on the PCH by a police officer, allegedly driving his Lexus 87 mph in a 45 mph zone, while under the influence. His blood alcohol content was over the legal limit. To make matters worse, Gibson allegedly went into a bigoted and Anti-Semitic tirade against the officer. Gibson was arrested and booked. A parody arrest report issued by the Greater Thunderdome County Police Department can be view HERE in Adobe PDF format. Compare it for the real report below.

A copy of the narrative from the real arrest report can be viewed
HERE in Adobe PDF format. In the narrative, Gibson allegedly "attempted to escape arrest." Gibson allegedly sought revenge for his arrest, stating: "I'm going to f--k you. You're going to regret you ever did this to me." He also threatened to "get even" with the officer, claiming that he "owned Malibu."

Gibson allegedly stated: "My life is f--ked." Gibson also allegedly called the officer a "mother f--ker." Although not perhaps the wisest choice of words given his circumstances, profanity is fully protected by the First Amendment. In the Supreme Court case of Gooding v. Wilson, 405 U.S. 518 (1972), the words "White son of a bitch, I'll kill you" to a police officer by a young man was protected. The judges in Papish v. Board of Curators of the University of Missouri, 410 U.S. 667 (1973) ruled that the headline in a student newspaper that declared "Motherf--ker Acquitted" was protected and the court ordered reinstatement of the journalism student who published this phrase.

Anti-Semitic ranting that "induces a condition of unrest" and "even stirs people to anger is also protected by the First Amendment as set forth in the case Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949). Gibson allegedly exercised this free speech clause when he "blurted out a barrage of anti-semitic remarks about 'f--king Jews'." He blamed Jews for "all the war in this world" and asked the officer if he was Jewish. The officer wrote that Gibson's "conduct concerned and frightened me to a point." Given that the officer was most likely armed with a weapon and Gibson was restrained in handcuffs and quite intoxicated, I doubt Gibson would have been capable of acting on his threats.

Yesterday, ABC unsurprisingly announced that it would no longer produce Gibson's proposed Holocaust miniseries. Gibson has a history of problems with alcoholism and a prior charge of drunk driving. Although in recovery since 1991, he blames his relapse for his behavior and statements. While many will continue to be fans of his films such as Braveheart, Mad Max, Lethal Weapon and perhaps his forthcoming Apocalypto, others will take measures to distance themselves from him or otherwise renounce him. Gibson plans to enter rehab and make amends for his wrongs to both the Jewish community and to his family.

Having worked with Mel Gibson on the film "Conspiracy Theory," I admire his professionalism and talent as an actor. However, being Jewish, I was very disappointed by his alleged comments against Jews, now confirmed by his own apology below.

There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of Anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge.

I am a public person, and when I say something, either articulated and thought out, or blurted out in a moment of insanity, my words carry weight in the public arena. As a result, I must assume personal responsibility for my words and apologize directly to those who have been hurt and offended by those words.

The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God’s child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.

I’m not just asking for forgiveness. I would like to take it one step further, and meet with leaders in the Jewish community, with whom I can have a one on one discussion to discern the appropriate path for healing.

I have begun an ongoing program of recovery and what I am now realizing is that I cannot do it alone. I am in the process of understanding where those vicious words came from during that drunken display, and I am asking the Jewish community, whom I have personally offended, to help me on my journey through recovery. Again, I am reaching out to the Jewish community for its help. I know there will be many in that community who will want nothing to do with me, and that would be understandable. But I pray that that door is not forever closed.

This is not about a film. Nor is it about artistic license. This is about real life and recognizing the consequences hurtful words can have. It’s about existing in harmony in a world that seems to have gone mad.

Hopefully, Gibson will finally admit that he is powerless over alcohol and that his life has become unmanageable. Having overcome that first hurdle, he will take steps to look at the root of his Anti-Semitism and take active steps to make amends to those he has harmed. I, for one, am willing to forgive him for his drunken tirade. Even the
Anti-Defamation League (founded in 1913 to combat Anti-Semitism) accepted Gibson's apology. The ADL's National Director, Abraham H. Foxman, issued the following press release:

This is the apology we had sought and requested. We are glad that Mel Gibson has finally owned up to the fact that he made anti-Semitic remarks, and his apology sounds sincere. We welcome his efforts to repair the damage he has caused, to reach out to the Jewish community, and to seek help.

Once he completes his rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, we will be ready and willing to help him with his second rehabilitation to combat this disease of prejudice.

Without such a formal apology, support and understanding from the Jewish community, and some sort of Twelve Step Program such as Alcoholics Anonymous, it is doubtful that Gibson will be able to recover either personally or professionally. One thing is certain: Hollywood and the public love to lap up a scandal, as was apparent in the
O.J. Simpson murder trial a decade ago. It takes years to build up a reputation, but one stupid quick mistake to make it all come tumbling down. As stated in Wensley Clarkson's Mel Gibson; Living Dangerously, at page 202: "Hollywood is a factory. You have to realize that you are working in a factory and you're part of the mechanism. If you break down, you'll be replaced."

Hollywood Actor and Director Mel Gibson Hollywood Animator and SMC Professor Jim Keeshen

Photos from left to right: Hollywood Filmmakers, Mel Gibson and James Keeshen.

In sharp contrast, Hollywood animator James Keeshen, 57, (a.k.a., Jim Keeshen) of Jim Keeshen Productions, Inc. and professor of animation at Santa Monica College's Academy of Entertainment and Technology has continued to fail to apologize for his bigoted comments about autism. On or about March 1, 2006, Professor Keeshen allegedly made a formal announcement to his students in his ET 18 Storyboarding class that autism is a "mental disease" that causes a person to be a "problem" and "destructive." Like Gibson, he also threatened retaliation. Keeshen allegedly stated his intention to "come after" his students, get them to the "letter of the law," have them "kicked out" of school and that they would suffer "other consequences." At the time Keeshen made his comments to his class, there were approximately 21 students enrolled, including one disabled student. Keeshen allegedly justified his comments and threats under the guise of school policy.

Despite an outcry by various autism advocacy groups and a written request for an apology, Keeshen has yet to follow Mel Gibson's lead by providing either a formal or informal apology. In fact, Keeshen had allegedly previously stated to his students on or about February 22, 2006: "Lying is better than not lying." On or about this same date, he made other questionable comments to his disabled wheelchair bound student: "Okay, so park yourself where ever you feel comfortable." When she asked to use the restroom, he remarked: "Just no video taping, okay?"

On or about April 21, 2006, Robert Sammis, Vice-President for Planning and Development and legal counsel for the college, remarked about Professor Jim Keeshen's March 1, 2006 speech:

Jim was speaking on his own behalf. He was not articulating any position on behalf of the college. It's not something we would condone. ... Official in his mind. And school policy in his own mind. That's not our policy. He was speaking completely on his own. He had no authority to represent the college. And quite honestly, if he were ever to be sued for that, we would not defend him. We would not be liable for it. He was on his own when he said those things.

At the time Professor Keeshen made his negative comments about autism, Santa Monica Community College District had written guidelines governing the rights of disabled students and anti-discriminatory policies. Although students at public colleges such as SMC have wide protection under the First Amendment, colleges may reprimand, suspend, or dismiss a faculty member whose speech in the classroom does not confirm to the school's mission, policies, or public image, including its statements on diversity, anti-discrimination, and multiculturalism.

Keeshen, like Gibson, allegedly admitted to "being f--ked up." Last August 2005, Keeshen also alleged that he was using the school to finish his film. James Keeshen's "El Día de Los Muertos" (The Day of The Dead), recently was a
finalist in the 2006 Moondance Film Festival held in Hollywood, California this past June. The film won the Moondance Seahorse Award. Given Keeshen's lack of substantial film credits, his previous legal entanglements with Seth MacFarlane over the highly acclaimed Family Guy animated series by Fox, and his failure to issue a formal apology for his negative comments about autism, it is highly unlikely that Hollywood will embrace him with open arms in the near future.

One thing is certain, despite all the efforts to erase hatred against the Jewish people, African-Americans, and those with physical or neurological disabilities, the hatred and bigotry remains. We can only pray for those who cannot see through their hatred while continuing to educate the general populace. By exercising our respective rights under various civil rights and anti-discriminatory laws as well as making known these public issues, the sunshine of knowledge will perhaps prevail.

-- Des Manttari,
Phoenix Genesis

(c) 2006: Phoenix Genesis/MBS LP

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