Santa Monica Observer Issue 53 : Page 1

Christmas in SM, PAGE 9 Volume XI Number 53 Community, Diversity, and other Overused Words™ December 22 - 28, 2008 Lighting the Menorah Cantor Keith Miller, right, and Rabbi Michael Gotleib, leading Hannukah classics on the Third Street Promenade, December 22, 2008. Conservative Congregation Kehillat Ma’arav welcomes all. INSIDE: Star Trek’s Majel Roddenberry Dead at 76, page 3 City Arrests Illegal Billboard Owner, P 3 IDreaming of a wet Christmas, Page 9 Annual Nativity Display, Page 10 Huntington Hotel Classifieds, page 18 Services Directory Page 19 Tops Nob Hill, P. 20 ARhetorical Question: Obama or Palin? Obama Eloquently Croons, while Palin Talk Good An Essay by Erin Nadel “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute con- versation with the average voter” -- Winston Churchill Aristotle defines “rhetoric” as: "an ability in each particu- lar case to see the available means of persuasion" (Rhetoric 1.2.1). This does not, however, limit rhetoric to an exclusively learned and proper endeavor; instead it leaves the definition to interpretation as anything that persuades others. Americans today associate the word “rhetoric” with lofty vocabulary, splendid phrasing, and bravura delivery. While this perception correct- ly identifies one form of success- ful rhetoric, modern politics demonstrates that less stringent styles of rhetoric are equally suc- cessful in swaying a public audi- ence. As the recent election has made apparent, one can certainly be a successful public speaker while employing traditional high rhetoric, but it is also possible to succeed as an orator while eschewing unestablished forms of speech. In the 2008 Presidential election, the two candidates that gleaned the most attention and media coverage were Barack Obama and his opponent’s running-mate, Sarah Palin. While one would assume that the public eye would immediate- ly focus on the two Presidential candidates, Palin’s unique pres- ence as a speaker stole the spot- light from her ultimately more important running-mate. However, despite their shared celebrity status, the rhetoric of these two candidates could not be more dissimilar. First, it is not difficult to rec- ognize that President-elect Barack Obama employs and excels in classical rhetoric; his PALIN, Page 2 Former Lincoln Teacher Beltran Pleads Guilty By Alyssa Ganezer Observer Editor A former Lincoln Middle School teacher, charged in May with multiple counts of sexual- ly molesting female students, pleaded guilty on December 22, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced. Thomas Arthur Beltran, 61, entered the plea just prior to the start of his preliminary hearing. Deputy District Attorney Robin Sax Katzenstein of the Sex Crimes Division said Beltran entered the guilty plea to 10 counts involving nine female victims as charged. He also admitted sexually assaulting two victims who were not included because molestation was outside the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations is one year for a misdemeanor count, and ten years for a felony count. Katzenstein could not com- ment on which type of counts were outside the statute. Beltran, who had been with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District for 30 years and who had taught at Lincoln for about 20 years, was immediately sentenced by Judge William Hollingsworth to 14 years in state prison. Beltran, if convicted, would have faced life in prison. The case was complicated, however, by the geographical dispersion of alleged victims, some of whose complaints went back as far as 2000. Alleged victims came from Ukraine, Korea, Mexico, and Iran. Beltran, a seventh-grade teacher of English as a second language, was arrested on May 3, 2008, after a 12-year-old female Lincoln Middle School student reported alleged abuse to her parents and they noti- fied Santa Monica Police. During the investigation, 10 additional girls made similar allegations of sexual molesta- tion. One of the alleged victims told authorities she had been BELTRAN, Page 2

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