Monday, July 28, 2014

Reminder City Council Meeting, tonight, July 28, 2014

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Or, view on local television or live feed Pacificcoast.TV, (formerly  If you miss civic meetings, view on  PCT 26 You Tube!  The city council meeting begins at 7 p.m., or shortly there following.  City council updates and archives are available on the City website.  
City Council Agenda, 7/28/14.      
Fix Pacifica Agenda, 7/28/14, article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sufficient sewer charges notice, Fiscal Years 2014/15 and 2016/17

Is the following advertisement text found in the Pacifica Tribune, 7/23/14, sufficient notification for parcel owner sewer rate increases?  This year, not only did parcel owners not receive notification by mail (my experience), but the following information is confusing, and seemingly should include two (2) Fiscal Years 2014/15 and 2016/17.  Personally, I don't care about the rate increase schedule, I'm glad the sewer plant and collection system is finally being maintained and updated; I do care about the notification.

  After the cat ate the sewer rate notice,
he advised "something" about that was in the Tribune.
Ad text from the Pacifica Tribune, published 7/23/14.

City of Pacifica 
Notice of Availability of Supporting Documents 
Notice of Public Hearing

"NOTICE IS HEARBY GIVEN that the City Council of the City of Pacifica will hold a public hearing on Monday, July 28, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. at the Council Chambers, 2212 Beach Blvd., to consider the Proposed Resolution Accepting the Report of Sewer Service Charges for Fiscal Year 2013-14 and directing the filing of charges for collection by the County Controller.

Notice of the public hearing will be published in the Pacifica Tribune on Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Copies of the necessary schedules and back-up documents for the above are kept in the Finance Department, City Hall, 170 Santa Maria Ave., Pacifica, CA.  These are available for public inspection and review during regular City business hours.

The City of Pacifica will provide special assistance to disabled citizens upon 24 hour advance notice to the City Manager;s Office (650) 738-7301, or send request via email to o'  If you need sign language assistance or written material printed in a large font or taped, advance notice is necessary.  All meeting rooms are accessible to the disabled."

Kathy O'Connell, City Clerk

ReferenceCity Council Agenda, Jul 28, 2014 7:00 PM.  Public Hearing, Item 10. Summary/Resolution,  and  Sewer Services Charges FY 2014/15 to 2016/17.  Our Children's Earth Foundation vs. The City of Pacifica, see City of Pacifica Litigation - Pacifica Index, (thanks Chris Fogel).

Note photograph: cat with Rubix cube from, "Rubick's Cube Puzzle-Meant".   

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Get even political ethics, a Willy Brown story

San Francisco Chronicle/Willy Brown, 7/26/14.  "Willy Brown aide too sharp to be caught in FBI sting." 

Thanks for your contribution
to my campaign, FBI !
"The revelation in the Matier and Ross column that the FBI sting operation made $20,ooo in phony contributions to Ed Lee's 2011 mayoral campaign hit close to home. They did the same thing to me when I was Assembly speaker.In my case, an undercover FBI agent approached one of my aides with a $2,000 contribution - all in crisp $100 bills.

The aide, Karen Sonoda, had no idea the guy was an FBI agent - he was posing as an economic development man. But she did know the law, and told him, "You can't make a contribution that way."
She walked him across the street to a bank and had him take out a cashier's check, and fill it out with his name and address.

When the operation was revealed a few months later and a couple of legislative staffers were convicted, she saw the undercover agent's fake name in the news coverage. Mortified, she came to me and said, "I took a contribution from these people and I reported it under what was a fake name. I'll return the check and resign."I was both stunned and angry - not at her, but at the FBI.  "First off, you are not resigning," I said. "But you are going to amend the filing report, and where it lists the source of the funds, I want you to write 'FBI' in big, bold letters." And I kept the money."

Note photograph by Lacy Atkins from a San Francisco Chronicle article 4/30/01.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Transactional fairness may be inherent and is expected

Science Daily/American Psychological Association (APA), 7/24/14. "Humans share fairness concerns with other species."  

Working at becoming fair and perfect
"Humans aren't the only species to react strongly to actions they consider unfair. A similar drive for fairness in monkeys and some dogs may offer insight into people's desire for equity, according to experts presenting at the upcoming American Psychological Association's 122nd Annual Convention, August 7, 2014. 

....  Responses to Inequity in Non-human Primates.  Sarah Brosnan, PhD, of Georgia State University, will talk about how research involving chimpanzees, monkeys, gorillas and other non-human primates has shown that other species respond to unfairness and it appears to help in cooperation. For example, chimpanzees and capuchin monkeys will refuse a reward for a task completed with a partner if the partner receives a better reward, according to one of Brosnan's experiments. Brosnan will talk about how these results help us to better understand the evolution of humans' own sense of fairness. 

....  An Economic Perspective on Fairness.  Kevin McCabe, PhD, of George Mason University, will present research from economics experiments suggesting that people's sense of fairness depends on whether they consider the behavior acceptable. He will then examine brain imaging research that suggests people's desire to act fairly and to respond to fair and unfair behavior has evolved over time. One study talks about how trusting a person to share returns equitably on a financial investment is more likely to stimulate reward-related areas of the brain if that person has a reputation for acting fairly."    Read article.

Related -  Science Daily/University of Missouri-Columbia, 424/14. "Small business owners not always worried about being treated fairly researcher finds. "Businesses constantly are concerned about the importance of fairness in their relations with customers," Scheer said. "However, less emphasis is placed on views of fairness among different business partners.

Note: graphic from Super Consciousness Media, the voice for human potential.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sewer fee protest letter to City Council

Memo to city residents, citizens:
Regarding transparency. Whatsamattayou?
This procedure sounds all right to me
Dear Pacifica City Council,

I understand Council will vote on increasing sewer fees 10% on Monday with no clear notice provided to citizens.

From what I understand this is a 10% increase compounded annually.  This is outrageous.  After Council just borrowed from the sewer fund it is a big mistake to try and raise fees again only a month later.  The City has already commingled the sewer fund with the General Fund in an attempt to circumvent a vote on increasing taxes.  

Pacificans spoke loud and clear when they said they are against sneaky tactics to increase taxes.  This is just as sneaky in my opinion.

The wording on the "notice" printed in the paper was misleading and nowhere did it state the amount or that this clearly is an increase.  Very sneaky.  This is not sufficient or proper notice to citizens of a fee increase.

I believe there will be a lawsuit if Council approves this burdensome increase.  I would urge Council to vote no on this unfair measure.

Bob Hutchinson
Sharp park

Note:  City council phone numbers and email here.  Photograph from 2 Oceans Vibe News.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

City Council meeting, Monday, July 28, 2014

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Or, view on local television or live feed Pacificcoast.TV, (formerly  If you miss civic meetings, view on  PCT 26 You Tube! 
The city council meeting begins at 7 p.m., or shortly there following.  City council updates and archives are available on the City website. 

City Council Agenda, 7/28/14.       Full Agenda Packet packet, pdf 160 pages.

Closed session, 5:30 p.m. 
Item 10.  Sewer system improvement
CA government Code 54956.8.  Conference with real property negotiator:  Lorie Tinfow.  Price and terms of payment, 1220 Linda Mar Boulevard, Sanchez Art Center location, Stephen Johnson, photographer.
CA government code 54957.6.  Conference with labor negotiator. Agency Negotiator: Glen Berkheimer.  Firefighters Local 2400, Battalion Chiefs Local 856, Department Directors Local 350. Wastewater Treatment Plant Employees Local 856. Miscellaneous Local 856.  Managers Local 350.  Police Officers Association, Supervisors, Management Local 350. 
Open Session, 7:00 p.m.  Consent Calendar 
1.    Approval of Disbursements, FY 2013/14, 6/17/14-7/10/14-FY13/14.  Approval of Disbursements, FY 2014/15, 7/01/14-7/11/14.
2.    Approval of  City Council Minutes, 7/14/14.
3.    Cancellation of the 8/25/14 City Council Meeting (This meeting is cancelled annually.)
4.    Notice of completion for the Pacifica Fishing Pier Repair project,  Summary/Resolution.
5.    Advertise for Sealed Bids the 2010 Cal EMA 380 Esplanade Lateral Drain Construction Project. Summary.
6.    Approval of the final parcel map and subdivision improvement agreement, 2-lot subdivision 251-261 San Pedro Avenue, Benaiah Ventures. Planning Commission approval 3/7/14, map Sub 223-14. No fiscal impact.  Summary,  map,  agreement.
7.    Approval to purchase five (5) police interceptor utility vehicles from Town Ford, $131,743.00. Summary.
8.    Grant permit extensions of  a  9-unit unit, 3 story condominium building with a subterranean garage at 1567 Beach Boulevard.  Summary, in reference to "Growth Management Ordinance:  Issuance of New Allocations". 

Special presentations -  Commendation:  Officer Smith and RN Pineda.

Public hearings  
10.   Consider resolution to adopt Sewer Service charges, FY 2014/15 and 2016/17. There is an annual 2.9% rate increase sewer service charge until 2017, which is part of the operations and capital improvements 20 year master plan.  FY budget 2014/15 impact:  Sewer Fund 18 revenue will increase, $13,658,700. Summary/resolution.  Sewer fees, FY 2014/15-2016/17.
11.   Designate City Council voting delegate (and up to two alternatives) to attend the annual League of California Cities business meeting (September 3-5, 2014, Los Angeles).  Summary.

Note:  photograph from HDR wastewater system management, Honolulu, HI.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, July 25, 2014

Missed some civic meetings? PCT now has them on You Tube

Camera operator following event action

Pacific Coast Television now has civic meetings televised on You Tube. Meet PCT 26 You Tube!

Also new from Pacific Coast Television:   PCT will televise in High Definition (HD) beginning in August, 2014.  

"What is HDTV?  HDTV is quickly becoming the standard in home entertainment. It refers to the number of lines of resolution in a picture. While standard definition has fewer than 600 lines of resolution, High Definition (HD) has 1080 lines.  This means a clearer, better image. Comcast will still broadcast PCT in standard def for the near future. having an HD source however will dramatically improve our signal and make for crystal clean copies and other digital transmissions."

Note photograph from Pacific Coast TV/Fog Fest 2vents, 2013.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Finding a way to pay for a new library, Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 7/24/14.  "Library dream comes closer to reality. City reviews initial plans for building."

Funding a city library is not complicated, choice of:
Vote A:  2/3 votes, "general obligation" bond, property tax;
Vote B:  1/2 + 1 votes, "lease revenue" bond, general fund
The long-sought dream to build a larger library came a little closer to reality this week as planners showcased conceptual designs to detail how it would look and feel. The question for city leaders now comes down to how to pay up to $26 million for the new facility. Financial experts hired by the city advised elected leaders that issuing bonds would be a necessary step to afford the upfront costs of a new building. San Mateo County has promised to cover about half the costs of a new building, but the city would still need additional revenues to cover its portion.

Gary Kitahata, a finance consultant hired by the city, suggested the city’s best option would be to bring a bond measure before voters. A general obligation bond measure would require two-thirds approval from voters, and local residents would essentially be agreeing to add on a new charge to their property tax bill. On the plus side, the bonds had the lowest interest rate and were the most equitable of all funding mechanisms.

... The alternative was to issue lease revenue bonds, which the council could issue on their own through a majority vote. This would draw money from the general fund, but it would end up costing the city about 20 percent more in interest over the life of the bonds. General obligation bond would have the lowest interest rate, but it would require two-thirds approval from city residents."  Read more.

Note photograph from UMAMI MART, (a food and drink report).

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Bedroom community waking up, Millbrae

The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Angela Swartz, 7/24/14.  "Millbrae city manager gets salary bump:  officials say $43K raise is long-awaited, Marcia Raines is 'critical' to city's growth."

Good morning, Millbrae!
"Although one councilmember was against a nearly $43,000 raise and $20,000 bonus given to the Millbrae city manager, the supermajority of members believe the raise is well-deserved and is in line with what she was promised from the get-go. Councilman Reuben Holober was the one vote against the 22 percent boost in Marcia Raines’ pay from $192,996 to $235,800 following her performance review.

 ....  The City Council did show some concern when its 2014-15 budget was approved in June, with some worrying that the city is not bringing in enough profit. That’s with approximately $23 million in revenue and about $26 million in expenditures. Mayor Wayne Lee said this is the very reason why Raines needs to stay.....  The important thing right now is to invest in increasing our revenues and Marcia is critical to our investment strategy.”

 ....  “The City Council recognized the city manager’s leadership in: strengthening the city’s financial condition, effecting regional cost effective partnerships in the areas of law enforcement and fire services, driving and fostering economic development opportunities, expanding recreational programs and addressing infrastructure deficiencies of the city,” the report stated. “The city felt it was critical to continue the progress achieved to date under the successful leadership of the city manager and considered the difficulty and cost to replace her with a person of comparable experience and knowledge.”

....  The report also notes that she will become the president of the City Manager’s Department in the League of California Cities Association in September.  ....In other city news, the city has hired Chip Taylor as its new Public Works director and Deborah Nelson as the new Community Development director. Steve Toler, former assistant city manager in Foster City, is being added to Millbrae staff as an assistant city manager.    Read more.

Note photograph from California Watch.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Man dies at beach in Half Moon Bay - what were they thinking?

Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 7/21/14.  "Man who died in beach cave-in ID'ed."

Francis Beach, Half Moon Bay
Eemergency crew workers and volunteers try to rescue a man who died after being trapped in the sand at Francis Beach in Half Moon Bay, Calif., July 21,
Too late to save a man
who dug a hole that collapsed.
A San Lorenzo man died on Monday afternoon at Francis State Beach after a tunnel he was digging in the sand collapsed and buried him. The 26-year-old man was at the beach with a group of friends and family and working to dig a hole estimated to be eight to 10 feet down in the sand, according to emergency responders. The tunnel was wide enough to fit inside, and it was dug at an angle into the slope of the sand dune. Around 5:20 p.m., the sides of the tunnel caved in and trapped him under a mound of sand. No one else reportedly was in the hole when it collapsed.

.... Although uncommon, life-threatening incidents involving sand cave-ins have been reported along other California beaches. In 2008, a cave carved into the side of a sand dune at Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz collapsed on three boys who were playing nearby. One of the boys died in the incident. Similar incidents have also occurred at other part of the state, but this is the first instance on the San Mateo County coast, according to state parks officials."   Read article.

Related articles -   The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Staff, 7/23/14.   "The Daily Journal/Staff, 7/23/14.  "Man dies on beach after being buried alive:  Half Moon Bay Visitor get trapped in 10-foot-deep hole."  ....  "The victim, identified by the San Mateo County Coroner’s Office as Adam Jay Pye, of San Lorenzo, had been digging angled tunnels in the sand with friends or family members, said Capt. Jonathan Cox with the Cal Fire Coastside Protection District. ....  The hole was dug about 10 to 15 feet from the waterline near a campground just north of Kelly Beach, Cox said. ....  Firefighters are also reminding residents to be aware of hidden dangers at the beach. People should stay back from cliffs, use caution when swimming in big surf and not dig too deeply in the sand, Cox said."

San Mateo Times/Erin Ivie, 7/22/14.  "Half Moon Bay:  Man dies after being buried by sand at Francis Beach."   "The man was spending time with family friends at a spot just off the RV park where he and another young woman dug two large, diagonal holes about 10 feet deep, then tried to connect them to make a tunnel, Cox said. While officials could not immediately say what caused the tunnel to collapse, Cox said the tide was about six to 10 feet away and that no water infiltrated the hole. ... While beachgoers are continually urged to exercise caution near cliffs and to avoid swimming in big surf, Cox urged residents to avoid digging holes too deep in the sand. Hidden dangers of the beach do not only exist by sea, Cox said, and as Monday's tragedy demonstrated, sand can be just as unwieldy the tides. "The sand had just engulfed this young man -- he was standing up straight, like a soldier with his hands to his sides," Frey recalled. "He was buried alive. He was buried alive in that hole that he dug."

Note photographs.  Francis Beach from California's best; rescue attempt by Dean Coppola from the Half Moon Bay Review article above.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Linda Mar Boulevard median beautification project

Pacifica Tribune, 7/22/24.  Linda Mar Boulevard -- keep Pacifica Beautiful ribbon cutting."

NCCWD Board adopts the first median
Visions Seaside Spa adopts a median,
so does Mike Durkin, Realtor,
so does Coastside Community Church
"After several months of planning, preparing and planting, the Beautification Advisory Committee along with the city's Public Works Department and sponsors celebrated the completion of the Linda Mar Boulevard median strip beautification project with a ribbon cutting. The beautification project is part of the Keep Pacifica Beautiful program being implemented by the Beautification Advisory Committee. Special guests at the ribbon cutting were the project sponsors including business owners Susan Vellone of Visions Seaside Spa and Mike Durkin of ReMax Star Properties, along with the North Coast County Water District and members of the Coastside Community Church.

....  The "Keep Pacifica Beautiful" campaign is part of the city's beautification plan to beautify 22 sites throughout the community that are available for adoption by community groups, businesses and individuals. Adopting groups work with the Beautification Advisory Committee to design and plant the site and are responsible for funding the project and maintaining the site for two years. For details about adopting a beautification site contact the Beautification Advisory Committee at 355-0805 or Aren Clark in the Public Works Department at 738-7360."   Read article.

Related -  Pacifica Tribune, 2/11/14. "NCCWD and City of Pacifica beautify Linda Mar Boulevard Median."  "North Coast County Water District Board members and staff joined the City's Public Works Department and members of the Beautification Advisory Committee to transform the first median on Linda Mar Blvd. into a drought tolerant, low maintenance garden as part of the City's Keep Pacifica Beautiful program. The median was adopted by NCCWD and designated a drought-tolerant demonstration project as part of the District's on-going water conversation efforts."  

Pacifica Tribune/Ginny Jaquith, 3/25/14. "Visions Seaside Spa adopts Linda Mar Median."   Susan Vellone, owner of Visions Seaside Spa, has become the first Pacifica business to adopt a beautification project as part of the Keep Pacifica Beautiful campaign being implemented by the City's Beautification Advisory Committee.  "This is a great way for my business to invest in our community. Beautifying the entrance to Linda Mar Boulevard gives residents and tourists a great feeling about our community and says that we care," commented Vellone when asked about her decision to adopt the median.  The median was initially prepared with compost and mulch and planted with drought tolerant California natives and Mediterranean climate plants with a focus on conserving energy and water consumption and requiring low maintenance. The medians are being planted in partnership with the City's Public Works Department due to their high volume traffic location."  

Note photographs:  NCCWD (4 shovels) from Pacifica Tribune, 2/11/14; Visions Seaside team (2 shovels) from Pacifica Tribune 3/25/14. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Life beyond pyrotechnics

Take the pledge to give-up fireworks:
so much trouble, worth it? 
San Mateo County Times/Erin Ivie, 7/22/14. "Pacifica man gets probation for possessing hoard of illegal bombs, explosive materials."

 ....  "Marc Ormando was arrested by San Francisco police March 6 after a months-long investigation into an explosives incident at a North Beach nightclub corridor, San Francisco police Sgt. Danielle Newman said. ....  prosecutor Kari Gannam said the evidence against Ormando indicated he had no nefarious intent when it came to his explosives. ....

"He is a pyrotechnic buff who attends conferences throughout the country to learn how the explosives could be used for special effects for fireworks shows, music videos, etc.," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. He noted that the defense submitted multiple letters from community members discussing fireworks shows he put on for neighborhood kids.

....   Marc Ormando was convicted in San Mateo County court and sentenced to only three years supervised probation.  He was released from jail and ordered to go through counseling; possess no weapons, ammunition or fireworks; and pay upwards of $100,000 to have the explosives removed from his home."   Read article. 

Note:  Photograph from  Linda Mar Veterinary Hospital, "Pets and Fireworks." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Fruit recall where some of you shop out of town-- (you know who you are)

Feel sick just looking at this salad?
The Daily Journal/Bay City News, 7/22/14.  "Fruit sold at Costco, Trader Joe's recalled."

Good, unless contaminated
"A California packing company is recalling whole fruit sold through Costco, Trader Joe’s and other retailers after possibly harmful bacteria may have contaminated their produce, the company announced Saturday. No illnesses related to the potentially contaminated peaches, nectarines, plums and pluots have been reported, but the Wawona Packing Company of Cutler issued the recall after internal company testing indicated the potential for infection.

Listeria infection can cause high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea in healthy people and can be fatal in young children, elderly people and people with weakened immune systems. It can also cause miscarriage and stillbirths in pregnant women. 

....  Anyone who purchased the fruit at the store should throw it out and not eat it, the company said."   Read more.

ReferenceUS Department of Health and Human Services, 7/19/14:  Recall Press Release.  "Wawona Packing Company takes precautionary step to voluntarily recalling fresh, whole peaches, plums, nectarines, and pluots because of possible health risk." See press release for more detail.

Note photographs:  Peach, plumb and nectarine from Organic authority; fruit salad from

Posted by Kathy Meeh