Monday, September 1, 2014

Homeless man made a difference assisted by Social Services and Caltrans

San Mateo County Times/Gary Richards, 8/31/14. "Roadshow:  Father Serra rest stop savior given six months to live."

Junipero Serra statue, 280 freeway
Jerry Morissette, the caretaker at the rest stop on 280 in Hillsborough may have to leave his home in a trailer at the reststop and his volunteer job there. He has put in a beautiful zen garden, growing many species of plants.
Jerry Morissette protected,
cleaned-up the site,
and planted gardens
....  "I first wrote about Jerry in 1993, after Greg Bayol of Caltrans called me and said I should visit the rest stop and check out what he was doing. Jerry Morissette had gotten a job as a supervisor with Social Vocational Services in San Mateo County. Among his duties was to organize the cleanup of the rest stop known for the statue of Father Junipero Serra pointing his finger at the freeway.

The rest stop was disgusting -- covered in graffiti and littered with bottles and used needles and condoms. Then Morissette took over.

The eccentric former monk, Disneyland worker and Navy medic, who was living out of an old ambulance he owned, parked it in the rest stop and made it his new home. Later he moved into a shed where maintenance equipment was stored. Eventually Caltrans erected a trailer on the site for him to live in.  ....  The state refurbished the rest stop several years ago, and it remains a pleasant oasis." Read article.

Related articles -  San Francisco Chroinicle/Ryan Kim, Staff, 1/6/03.  "Morissette first pulled into the rest stop in 1990, took the initiative to set up home in a storage room behind the bathrooms and began cleaning up the rest area, including shooing away anyone he suspected of breaking the law. A priest in Oceanside (San Diego County) in the 1970s, Morissette had quit the clergy after two years because he said it wasn't for him. He moved to the Bay Area a few years later and landed a job with Social Vocational Services, a San Mateo County nonprofit organization that contracts with Caltrans for menial help. It was that organization that assigned him to the rest stop."

San Mateo Daily Journal/ Bill Silverfarb, Staff, 5/27/14.  Nearly eight years ago, the rest area became the center of controversy as its former caretaker Jerry Morissette refused to leave the state-owned trailer he occupied on the land after Morissette allegedly acted belligerently toward 911 dispatchers. Morissette moved onto the property, located along northbound Interstate 280 in Hillsborough in 1991. In 12 years, he turned a plot of land ...  into a mini-oasis replete with gardens and various fruit trees. Giving him a trailer to live in, Caltrans eventually allowed Morissette to stay in exchange for deterring the unsavory activities.  Caltrans, however, ultimately ended the California Rest Stop Caretaker Program and evicted Morissette from the land. Now, CHP security cameras will monitor the area for suspicious activity. Construction on the rest area facilities began in September 2009." 

Related Services -  Day and residential programs, Social Vocational Services, San Mateo County.  Care, Social Vocational Services, South San Francisco. 

Note photographs from related articles: Father Serra statue by Bill Silverfarb from San Mateo Daily Journal; Jerry Morissette by Deanne Fitzmaurice from the San Francisco Chronicle article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Planning Commission meeting cancelled, Tuesday September 2, 2014

Work done, next chapter ahead

Planning Commission Cancellation Notice, 9/2/14.

...." Notice is hereby given that the regularly scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission of September 2, 2014 has been cancelled."

George White, Planning Director, 8/25/14

Note photograph: from Faiza Raintree.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Look back at Measure V, phone tax to pay for general services

San Mateo County Election/Smart Voter 11/5/13, "Measure V Utility Tax, City of Pacifica."

Measure V, majority approval required.  Official results 1/15/14:  34.1% yes, 65.9% no.  Measure failed.

What, another tax in lieu of
city economic development-- again!
The measure. "Without raising the current 6.5% rate, and to fund fire protection; emergency services; police protection; Meals on Wheels and other senior citizen services; street, sidewalk and pothole repair; and other essential services, shall an ordinance be adopted to amend the City of Pacifica's Utility Users Tax adding telecommunications services, requiring equal treatment regardless of technology used, maintaining senior exemptions and adding independent citizens oversight, with all funds staying in Pacifica and no funds for Sacramento?"

Impartial analysis.  "State law authorizes the City Council of the City of Pacifica to levy a Utility Users' Tax ("UUT") on the users of utilities in the City if the ordinance proposing the tax is approved by a two-thirds vote of all members of the City Council and the tax is approved by a majority vote of the City's voters. On July 8, 2013, the City Council by unanimous vote approved an ordinance to amend the Pacifica Municipal Code to establish a UUT on telecommunications services in the City for a period of eight years to raise revenue for general City purposes.

....As proposed by Measure V, the UUT on telecommunications services will include the following tax rate, exemption and cap on certain users: 6.5% tax rate; an exemption for senior citizens (residential service users who have reached the age of 62); and a $500 cap for business service users."

For arguments for and against Measure V, rebuttals, and full text, see the link above.      Note photograph from the Accounting Today website. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Labor Day, Monday, September 1, 2014

USA Federal Holidays, "Labor Day, Monday, September 1, 2014".
Happy Labor Day, we've all earned it

"Labor Day is a United States federal holiday which is observed on the first Monday in September each year. The holiday originated on September 5, 1882 as the Central Labor Union of New York City sought to create a day off work for the working citizens.

Today the people of USA celebrate Labor Day with a little less fanfare than they did at the end of the 19th Century.  Some cities hold parades and community picnics.  Many politicians "kick off" their political campaigns by holding rallies on Labor Day.  Most Americans consider Labor Day the end of the summer, and the beaches and other popular resort areas are packed with people enjoying one last three-day long weekend."

Note photograph by Carlos Osorio/Associated Press from New York Times, "Labor Day archives".

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Look back at results of last city council election, 11/6/12

San Mateo County Shape the Future, official election results of November 6, 2012 election (recorded December 4, 2012).

Number To Vote For: 2
Completed Precincts: 28 of 28
Vote Count Percentage
KAREN ERVIN 10,290 38.9%
MARY ANN NIHART 9,354 35.4%
SUSAN VELLONE 6,779 25.7%

Completed Precincts: 28 of 28
Vote Count Percentage
MIKE O'NEILL 5,302 35.0%
VICTOR A. SPANO 4,060 26.8%
GARY J. MONDFRANS 1,765 11.6%  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Anti-Highway 1 widening lawsuit ruling delay, and plan to eat the project

PH1A plan to fix forever 
Highway 1 improvement
Pacifica Riptide/Peter Loeb, Correspondent, 8/30/14.  "Pacificans for a Scenic Coast gets its day in Court."

".... The judge has 90 days after the hearing to deliver her ruling, so the outcome may not be known until the end of November. But a ruling could come much sooner than that.

 .... The PSC lawsuit is unlikely to stop the project, but a second group, Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A, is doing a variety of things to stop the project, including trying to get the city to apply for grant money to hire a traffic consultant to evaluate all alternatives for reducing traffic, raising the issue in the current City Council race, and considering a referendum or initiative on the project."

Fix Pacifica referenceHighway 1 lawsuit continues, 8/29/14.

Graphic from a Mother Jones article, "Justice Delayed."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Labor Day weekend, annual Kings Mountain Art Fair - day trip

San Mateo County Times/John Horgan column, 8/26/14. "Kings Mountain"

6 miles south on Skyline Blvd from Highway 92   
Redwoods, free parking, bring money
"The Kings Mountain Art Fair is the well worth the effort to visit. It's been conducted beneath the redwoods since 1963 off Skyline Boulevard high in the quiet hills of Woodside on the Labor Day weekend. Traffic and parking can be a bit daunting, but the free fair can be a rewarding experience. It's being held this weekend, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (breakfast at 8 a.m.) Saturday through Monday at 13889 Skyline Blvd. (six miles south of the Highway 92 intersection).

Proceeds benefit the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade, Kings Mountain Elementary School and other worthy community entities."   Read more. 

Reference Kings Mountain Art Fair/About.  "The Kings Mountain Art Fair is an annual event, held every Labor Day weekend. The Art Fair benefits the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade and other community activities, including the Kings Mountain Elementary School, and is staffed completely by volunteers from the local community. Known for its stunning location among the redwoods and for its unique and varied artists (selected by jury), the Kings Mountain Art Fair celebrates 50 years of art and ambiance. Come visit! Fair admission and parking are free."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

San Mateo, New Community Development Director, hello George White

Posted on Topix 8/29/14.  City of San Mateo Press Release, "City hires new Community Development Director." 

Jane Northrop - staff photoPlanning Director George White, left, with City Planner Lee Diaz
Pacifica Planning Director vacancy.
Goodbye George White...
"FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE.  City of San Mateo Hires Pacifica’s Planning Director, George White as new Community Development Director.

San Mateo, CA (August 2014)… Following an extensive recruitment, the City of San Mateo announces that George White, Planning Director for the City of Pacifica will begin the next phase of his career as San Mateo’s Community Development Director.

White will begin his new role with San Mateo on September 22nd and brings 26-years of community development and planning experience to the position.   White is familiar with the Bay Area and in addition to Pacifica also worked for the cities of Saratoga, Palo Alto and Petaluma as well as the counties of Monterey and Calaveras."   Read more.

RelatedPacifica Tribune, 1/13/11. "New Planning Director hired." "After a three month recruitment process, the City Manager, Stephen A. Rhodes, is pleased to announce the hiring of George White as the city of Pacifica's next planning director. White will join the city's management team on Jan. 31. He fills the recent vacancy created when Michael Crabtree retired on Dec. 29."

 Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, Staff, 4/7/14. "New planning director takes the help in Pacifica." "While he's excited to come on board in Pacifica, he named the economy and the budget as the greatest challenges facing him."

Note photograph of Planning Director George White with City Planner Lee Diaz by Jane Northrop from the related 4/7/14 Pacifica Tribune article.   

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, August 29, 2014

Spindrift Players' 'Meet Me in St. Louis' clangs to life


Clockwise, from top left, Sven Schutz, John Espejo, Nicole Lopez-Hagan and Isabel To appear in the Pacifica Spindrift Players’ production of “Meet Me In St. Louis.” Image courtesy Michael Lodick. 

Pacifica Spindrift Players director Jenny Hernandez thinks “Meet Me in St. Louis” has endured because audiences like its theme of love conquering all.

Although the musical about a family preparing for the 1904 World’s Fair seems quaint by modern standards, the humorous way the Smiths deal with adversity and each other was charmingly unconventional when the iconic film starring Judy Garland debuted in 1944, says Hernandez, who is at the helm of the show’s local production, which runs through Sept. 7.

Originally based on a series of short stories in The New Yorker, the plot’s conflict arises from the family’s impending move from St. Louis to New York City, which threatens to separate the Smith girls from their love interests and force them to miss the World’s Fair.

While many of the movie’s outdoor scenes, such as Garland singing “The Trolley Song” on a moving streetcar, cannot be recreated on the Spindrift Players’ intimate stage, Hernandez still manages to place the characters at the big fair, albeit without a Ferris wheel or similar props.

Some of the show’s chorus numbers boast added town folk, to highlight the fact that, after the World’s Fair, St. Louis was a “pretty poppin’ place to be,” Hernandez says.


Posted by Steve Sinai

Fremont is building a downtown, 58 years after becoming a city

KQED News Staff, 8/27/14. "Fremont's search for a downtown - and for stronger link to Silicon Valley."

One view of proposed Fremont downtown.
Project groundbreaking ceremony, 7/25/14
.... "Fremont was born when five different communities merged in 1956 for fear of being annexed by Hayward. Those five areas — Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Niles and Warm Springs — had their own centers, but the new city of Fremont never had a real heart.

....  At a groundbreaking for the city’s downtown initiative in July, food trucks and live music were on hand to give residents a taste of the more urban feel that Fremont seeks. “I’ve been waiting forever for a downtown,” said Sally Morgan, a resident of 27 years who attended the event. “I just would love to live near a downtown. I mean, that’s part of the community, right? 

....   The funding for the first step being celebrated at the groundbreaking comes from a $5.8 million One Bay Area Grant awarded to the city in 2013. The project will extend Capitol Avenue, connecting employment and retail centers and developing, Mayor Harrison promises, a real Main Street feel." Read article.

Reference - City of Fremont, Downtown Community Plan, pdf pages 168.  City of Fremont Capital Avenue extension groundbreaking event 7/25/14Note the artist rendering of the future Fremont downtown is 1 of 5 from this event article.

  Related articles San Francisco Chronicle/Carolyn Jones, 3/9/13. "Fremont leaders want a downtown - again." ... "For 50 years we've grown out. Now it's time for us to grow up and mature," said former mayor Gus Morrison. "Having an identity is important to us. We need one." ... The city plans to spend about $15 million on acquiring property, but most of the project will be done by private developers. Some of the project is already under way; the rest is in the planning stage."

 San Jose Mercury News/Chris De Benedetti/The Argus, 7/11/14. "Fremont moves to create new downtown's 'Main Street'."  "...  Fremont is finalizing details on using eminent domain to acquire a commercial building that must be torn down to make way for the project, city leaders said. ...The longer Capitol Avenue will create a visible gateway to the 110-acre area anchored by City Hall near the Fremont BART station. ... The project's groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled at 5 p.m. Friday, July 25, on Capitol Avenue, near City Hall and the Fremont Family Resource Center."

Submitted by Bob Hutchinson 

Posted by Kathy Meeh