Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Some reasons for my opposition to Measure C rent control

Assar Lindbeck is Professor of Economics at Stockholm University

First, I don't believe in price controls. Government regulation to allow for fair competition - yes. Price controls - no. We're not Venezuela, even though at times the rhetoric from the NIMBYS and Pacifica Progressive Alliance folks makes me wonder. Our economy was designed so that when demand and prices are high, new supplies are allowed into the market to drive down those prices. The NIMBYS are not allowing new housing supplies into the market, so demand and prices stay high. 

Did rent control solve the problem of high rents in places like SF, San Jose, Berkeley, or Manhattan? Considering they have among the highest rents in the country, it's tough to say anything other than, "No." 

Second, people think rent control solves the issue of high housing costs, and therefore they ignore the need to increase housing supply. That's what happened in SF. The city finally recognized the problem, and for the last several years has been on an accelerated program to add housing. That's when rents started to stabilize. 

Third, I've known plenty of mom and pop landlords who invested a lot of their savings into buying their rental property, and who work hard to maintain it. Many of them don't have the money to hire a property manager, so instead of relaxing during their free time, they're at their rental properties fixing things, painting, cutting the grass, trimming the bushes. Yet the NIMBYS characterize them as wealthy, greedy property tycoons who can easily afford to take a hit when it comes to rental revenues. 

Fourth, rather than pinpointing people who really need help, it's a lottery. People who could use the help but don't live in affected units don't get a break. Renters who have good incomes and don't need the help end up being subsidized by landlords who could very well have less income than the renters. 

Fifth, in order to make up for limited revenues from existing tenants, landlords have to jack-up rents for new tenants beyond what they otherwise would be. Rent control doesn't solve a problem. It merely pushes the problem from one group of renters onto the backs of other renters and landlords. 

Sixth, landlords lose an incentive to maintain their properties. That brings down property values in the neighborhood, and makes those neighborhoods less desirable places to be. 

Seventh, the rent increases are capped so low that costs could easily exceed revenue from rent. And I don't believe landlords should be made to grovel before a city board for permission to raise rents to cover costs, any more than any business should have to ask the city for permission about what they can charge. I've been in Pacifica long enough to know that any city rent control board will purposefully make it so difficult and expensive to ask for a rent increase that landlords won't even bother. 

Eighth, I hate seeing the NIMBYS that have caused the problem in the first place escape responsibility for their actions. They need to recognize they're a big part of the problem and stop blocking new housing. 

Finally, as brutal as it sounds, if you can't afford to live here, you can't afford to live here. I used to rent and moved out of apartments because of rent increases. It sucked and was stressful, but I survived. If businesses can't find workers because workers can't afford to live here, it's up to the companies to increase pay. It's not the responsibility of landlords to provide a supply of workers to businesses. And again, it would sure help if NIMBYS stopped working to prevent increases in the housing supply. 

All that said, I've publicly commented in council chambers and at rent control study sessions that I'd go for rent control that capped rent increases at 15% per year, and required longer notification times for rent increases. Seems like a decent compromise between those of us who would prefer no rent control, and those who want a more onerous version.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Planning Commission meeting, Monday September 18, 2017

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 planning commission meeting begins at 7 p.m., or shortly there following.  Planning Commission updates, archives are available on the City website: City Council Agendas, and City Planning Commission.  Channel 26 television schedule, see Monday, 09/18/17.  

Interactive Planning Commission meeting, 9/18/17.     Planning Commission meeting, 9/18/17, pdf pages 192.

Communications: Public oral. Study Session, none.  Closed Session report, none. Presentation, none. Consent items, none.

Image result for Pedro point, Pacifica, CA picture
Item 3.  Small Pedro Point mixed-use
development.  Welcome, what's in it for me?
Consideration items
1.    Construction of a new Pacifica library:  provide site selection land use criteria to the Library Advisory Committee, report.  a)  City Council agenda SMC JPA summary report, 11/23/15.  b)  City Council meeting minutes, 11/23/15 minutes.  c)  City Council meeting agenda item, 3/27/17.  d) City Council meeting meeting, 3/27/17.  e)  LAC site evaluation matrix.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Pacifica must fight coastal erosion

City Council puts residents at risk

By Jim Wagner, Mark Stechbart        
Pacifica Tribune Aug. 30, 2017

When city council loses focus on the most critical issue facing Pacifica—ocean rise—homeowners and businesses will lose. Or maybe the warning should be homeowners will pay a huge price.
Ocean rise planning for Pacifica coastal areas is underway. Sounds ok, but this plan will decide who wins or loses—which properties are protected and which properties are left to ocean erosion.  Pacifica is faced with a policy menu ranging from uncontrolled erosion known as managed retreat to state-of-the-art engineered artificial off-shore reefs, berms, revetments, boulders and seawalls like the Dutch have used for 1,000 years.
What may shock anyone with a home or business investment along or west of  Hwy 1 is this city council has not taken a position against managed retreat. Yes you heard us right—managed retreat, letting the ocean chew its way east, is on the table for debate through this coastal planning process.
Moreover, the consultant hired by the city for $185,000 to plot the future of west of Hwy 1 has a decided fascination with managed retreat. As an example, the hired consultant wrote a letter to San Francisco stating the Sharp Park golf course should be closed and flooded to wetlands.  This plan would involve removing the protective sea wall, and letting the tides in.
Here’s the homeowner danger-- a flooded golf course with no western seawall blows a large hole in Pacifica right up to Hwy 1. It also brings the ocean to the doorstep of the south Palmetto neighborhood and west Fairway neighborhood.
Your city council hired this outfit on a 3-2 vote.
Managed retreat exposure elsewhere in town certainly involves the Rockaway business district, anywhere in west Sharp Park; the Linda Mar beach ; the middle school and all neighborhood houses.  A huge percentage of Pacifica businesses are west of Hwy 1; most of our hotels;  thousands of homes; a big chunk of our affordable rentals at the north end and millions of dollars of sewer, water, power and communication infrastructure. Let’s not forget the threat to Hwy 1, our only north-south arterial. How will anyone commute out of town if Hwy 1 is cut? How will anyone sell a home anywhere in town if potential buyers are afraid Hwy 1 will be cut?
Congresswoman Jackie Speier recently objected to a managed retreat scheme at Sharp Park, as follows:
“I write to express my opposition to proposals to abandon or prohibit the maintenance of the sea wall at Sharp Park golf course in Pacifica. Proposals like this continue a series of thinly-veiled and ideologically-motivated attacks, all unsuccessful in the courts, against the golf course, the wetlands protecting endangered and threatened species, and the nearby residential neighborhood.”
Here is our suggested work plan for Pacifica homeowners who want to keep their home value and businesses who desire to stay in business—we must make this city council agree to reject managed retreat as a "solution". Anything less threatens this community. Require the consultant to find and design solutions that protect this community.  Additionally, let’s continue to support our members of Congress, State Senate, Assembly and Supervisor as they secure funding to protect our coast.
In the last election, a billion dollar bond was approved to protect the interior of the SF Bay from ocean rise. SF Int’l airport, Google, Facebook, and Hwy 101 will be protected. So will Millbrae, Palo Alto, Foster City and Burlingame. None of those entities agreed to managed retreat, nor should they. So Pacifica can say no as well.
The rest of our task is clear. This consultant will make introductory presentations to the City Council and the Planning Commission in September, 2017. A technical working group and a Community Advisory Group will be organized, each of which will hold 3 meetings, starting in Dec., 2017. Stakeholder/community engagement meetings will also be in Dec., 2017.
As we raise this alarm, we will speak at these meetings even during the busy holiday period. You will get communications to your homes outlining progress, or asking for emails to hesitant council members who won’t commit to rejecting managed retreat.
Your home value and the economic vitality of this town are in question.   We can use existing technology to protect our coast and way of life, or you get to figure out how to move your house and get a boat for your commute.
( Wagner and Stechbart are long term Pacifica residents active in the Pacifica Business and Community PAC supporting forward looking solutions to Pacifica issues)

Submitted by Mark Stechbart

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fall ballot, Measure C panel discussion: Saturday, September 16, 2017

Email from Connie Menefee, President, Pacifica-Daly City Democrats Club, On behalf of the Executive Board, 9/12/17.

Image result for rent control for me, not you picture
Rent stabilization for some:
any other ideas?
"On Saturday, September 16th, Mayor Pro Tem John Keener, Thursday Roberts (Campaign Manager, Fair Rents 4 Pacifica), Councilwoman Sue Vaterlaus and Kathleen Moresco (Chairperson of the Stop the Hidden Tax Committee, No on C) will participate in a panel discussion at the Pacifica-Daly City Democrats Club monthly meeting to examine all sides of Measure C (Pacifica Rent Stabilization & Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance) and assist Pacifica voters in making an informed decision on how to vote on November 7th.

The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. in the rear banquet room at the Sharp Park Golf Course Restaurant.  Breakfast is available at $12, or continental at $6 or just coffee at $3.  However, no purchase is necessary and the meeting is free and open to the general public."

Submitted by Connie Menefee, President, Pacifica-Daly City Democrats Club

Reference.  City of Pacifica, "Rent stabilization and Just Cause Eviction."  Related organization promoting Measure C, Fair Rents for Pacifica, Facebook, Petition wording/comments. Related.  Pacifica Riptide/Deirdre Martin/Fair Rents, 5/13/17, PCTV 4/19/17, "Fair Rents community meeting."

Related articles. The Daily Journal/Samantha Weigel, 4/13/17. "Rent control in the works for Pacifica:  First local City Council to pass tenant protection measures, may head to ballot." "For the first time in decades, a city council in San Mateo County is about to enact controversial tenant protection measures. Pacifica renters could see some temporary relief from rising rents or sudden evictions after the coastal City Council narrowly voted Monday to place a moratorium on landlords issuing steep increases or removing tenants without cause. The rules would be temporary as the council returns next month to discuss placing a measure on the November ballot — a year after divisive elections in Burlingame and San Mateo voters ended without changes. Six Bay Area cities had rent control measures on last year’s ballot with those in Richmond, Mountain View and Oakland succeeding. In San Mateo County, only East Palo Alto has such provisions for renters.Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop/Staff Writer, 4/26/17. "A divided Pacifica faces rent control again."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, September 10, 2017

City Council meeting Monday, September 11, 2017

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor. Or view on local television or live feed Pacific Coast TV. If you missed meetings, view on PCT26 YouTube!  The city council meeting begins at 7 p.m., or shortly there following. City Council updates and archives are available on the City Council website.      Channel 26 television schedule, see Monday, 09/11/17. 

Interactive City Council meeting, 9/11/17.      City Council meeting, 9/11/17, pdf pages 263.

Open session, 7:00 p.m.  
Call to order, roll call, salute to flag.  Closed Session: none, any report. Special presentations: none. 
Proclamations: 1) International Peace Day; 2) Annual Fog Fest presentation; 3) Local business, Tripp Distillery. 
Image result for highway congestion through Pacifica, CA picture
Item 9.  City Council NIMBY 3 terminate
structural Highway 1 widening design. Redirect
Measure A monies to probable "alternative
no plan, no viable action, pie in sky."
Consent Calendar 
1.     Approval of financial disbursements:  a) FY 2016-17: 8/3/17 - 8/31/17;  b) FY 2017-18: 7/27/17 - 8/28/17. 
2.     Approval of City Council meeting Minutes, report. a) 8/14/17. 
3.     Proclamation confirming existence of a local emergency: Pacifica coastline from Westline Drive to the end of Beach Blvd., report. a) 400 Esplanade bluff failure, photographs 9-5-17.
4.      Complete environmental review second amendment with WRA, Inc. consultant services agreement, amount $12,002:   801 Fassler Avenue, APN 022-083-020 and 022-083-030,  (24 condominium units), report. a) Second amendment.
5.      Approve partnering agreement with Sierra Mountain Construction, Inc., and ORG Metrics, amount $90,000:  Wet Weather Equalization Basin project, report. a) Org Metrics agreement.
6.      Approve Intrensic (GoPro) police body worn camera system (BWCS) equipment and cloud storage, amount $168,751.70, report.  a) Intrensic contract; b) Audio/video recorder use policy. 
7.      Authorize San Mateo County housing and community development program cooperation agreement (HUD funding), report. a) Resolution.b) Agreement.
8.      Extend the Illegal Fireworks Task Force to 8/31/18, report/resolution. a) Resolution 64-2016 to review.
9.      Terminate Calera Parkway Highway 1 widening design phase Measure A funds, amount $375,000; and rescind previous City Council Resolution 64-99, which supported construction of the Cal Trans Calera Parkway Project.  Re-purpose the $375,000 toward the study peak hour traffic congestion Alternatives, or in combination with construction, report/resolution. a)  NIMBY community support letters. b)  NIMBY majority (3) promoted Letter to SMCTA.
10.     Adoption of electric vehicle charging station regulation ordinance, report/ordinance.
11.     Adopt flood damage prevention ordinance amendment (chapter 5, title 7), 2nd reading, report/ordinance. 
Communications - Public (Oral); City Council; City Staff.


12.     Adopt resolution appointing Kevin S. Woodhouse City Manager, and approve his employment agreement, report/resolution.  a) Resume.  b) Agreement. 
Public Hearings 
13.    Use Permit (UP-080-16) amendment, 2.1 million gallon capacity Equalization (EQ) Basin and associated structures, 540 Crespi Drive, report/resolution. a) Addendum to initial study: heavy equipment/trucking hours.
14.   Accessory dwelling units replacement, and amendments ordinance, conforming with CA legislature code section 65852.2, report. Continue to the regular City Council meeting, 9/125/17. 
15.    Regulation concerning alternative financial services (AFS) businesses (payday lenders), report.
16.    Make Pacifica a Sanctuary City, adding chapter 16 to title 4, report/ordinance.
17.    Resolution calling for and supporting CA Legislature and the US House of Representatives to investigate offenses leading to impeachment of President Trump, report/resolution.

Adjourn.      Note Traffic photograph from Pacifica Riptide (where "NIMBY alternatives are appreciated"), 8/5/15, "Highway to Hell..." article.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, September 8, 2017

This council is friggin nuts

Look at this agenda. This is the courtesy flush. The next one will be the city going in the toilet.

Please see the attached Full Agenda document for the following meeting:

City Council
Regular Meeting
Monday, September 11, 2017 7:00 PM
2212 Beach Blvd, Pacifica, CA 94044

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Blogmaster's comment - On the agenda are measures to declare Pacifica a Sanctuary City, and to withdraw a previous measure supporting Highway 1 widening while turning down $6.9 million that was meant to be used for highway widening.

John Keener, Deirdre Martin and Sue Digre are progressive ideologues that have forgotten their job is to run a city. I say that as someone who considers himself moderately liberal. They only care about their far-left social experiment to turn Pacifica into some kind of hippie & NIMBY utopia, and they're no better than far-right politicians who try to put prayer into public schools, defund climate science, and regulate Planned Parenthood clinics out of existence. 

Please remember, the only reason these three form a majority on council is because Deirdre Martin pursued the endorsement of the San Mateo County Democrats, which turned the city council election from being classified as "non-partisan" to "partisan". That forced VA employee Mary Ann Nihart out of the race because the Hatch Act says government employees can't run in partisan elections. That move was criticized by our US Congresswoman Jackie Speier, our State Senator Jerry Hill, and our State Assemblyman Kevin Mullin.  If Martin hadn't gamed the election to guarantee herself a seat, Nihart would be on council rather than Martin, and this issue probably wouldn't even be coming up. 

BTW - Martin's campaign manager was Cynthia Kaufman, who is also one of the leaders of the Pacifica Progressive Alliance, and author of a book called, "Getting Past Capitalism : History, Vision, Hope". I haven't read it (although if it was available through the library I would), but reading the introduction, Cynthia is very upfront when she says that she opposes capitalism. Folks, these are the kind of people currently running Pacifica. 

Rather than dealing with failing infrastructure and figuring out how to bring more revenue into town, Martin, Digre and Keener have prioritized implementing the Pacifica Progressive Alliance's checklist of goals - sanctuary city, rent control, stopping Highway 1 fixes, managed retreat, blocking any development, putting Pacifica's version of Steve Bannon onto the Planning Commission as a reward for helping force Martin's election opponent out of the council race...

Through her actions to get herself a seat on council, Deirdre Martin has proven that she has no interest in what the majority of voters thinks.  Martin, Digre and Keener are doing locally what Trump is doing nationally - caring only about the 1/3 of the voters that form their base, and making everyone else dismayed and angry.

- Steve Sinai

Thursday, August 31, 2017

News for those unhappy with NextGen's aircraft rerouting

FAA Ordered to Vacate their 2014 NextGen Routes in Phoenix

After three years of misery and sleep loss, residents in the Phoenix area may finally see some relief. This Judgment was just announced:


Submitted by Andy Narraway

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sanctuary City

Pacifica is attempting to out progressive San Francisco without the money. I personally think our immigration policy is in the toilet. We're a country of immigrants and the better for it. That said, our council needs to come back to the hard work of running this town. Our streets are a mess, there is garbage and potholes all over town. Quit fooling around pushing our city deeper into debt and farther out on the fringe. Pay attention to city business, councilmembers!

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Housing crisis: Will California force its cities to OK more building?

State lawmakers are desperate to address a statewide problem that has been decades in the making.

 By | | Bay Area News Group

Amid a housing crisis that is displacing the poor and forcing millennials and countless others to look outside the Bay Area to live, all eyes turned this week to the tiny Peninsula town of Brisbane where a developer wants to build thousands of homes on a 684-acre swath of wasteland.

Powerful tech companies, state lawmakers and pro-growth activists from around the region implored the City Council on Monday to allow housing on land once used as a rail yard and a landfill ​— an idea many residents oppose. But after hearing passionate arguments from both sides, the City Council shelved the decision, prolonging a land-use debate that has dragged on since 2005.

 “There is a paralysis when it comes to decisions about housing, and the Brisbane project is the poster child for that,” said Matt Regan of the Bay Area Council, a business-sponsored public policy group.

The standstill in Brisbane crystallizes a challenge for state lawmakers desperate to address a statewide problem that has been decades in the making: Local governments wield tremendous power in decisions about whether and what kind of new housing to build, and they are not building enough. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates California is so behind that it needs as many as 100,000 more housing units a year — on top of what it typically constructs — just to stabilize prices.

In the nine-county Bay Area, the median price for a single-family home has topped $800,000. And nearly one-third of renters statewide — 1.5 million households — spend more than half their income on rent, according to state estimates.


Posted by Steve Sinai

Rent Control Signers

In the interest of "transparency" I thought it would be interesting to see who signed the argument for rent control. 

John Keener
Evelyn Stivers
Zenaida Cortez
Carolyn Jaramillo
Jerome Foley

It will be interesting to see who signs their rebuttal to argument against Measure C.

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

City Council study session, Monday, August 28, 2017

Image result for funny vacation rentals pictureAttend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor. Or possibly view on local television or live feed Pacific Coast TV.  According to Channel 26 television schedule, this Study Session may not be televised.   
If you've missed regular meetings, view on PCT26 YouTube!  City Council updates and archives are available on the City Council website.

Interactive City Council Study Session, 8/28/17      City Council Study Session 8/28/17, pdf pages 40.

Open Session, 6:00 p.m.
Call to order, roll call.

1.   Short term rental regulation guidance: management of operation, report.  a)   Coastal Commission Zone.  b)  21 Elements San Mateo County/regional vacation rentals options. c)  Pacifica Bed and Breakfast ordinances.

Public comment.   Adjourn.         Note photograph image from Pinterest.

Posted by Kathy Meeh