Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome 2011 - goodbye 2010

Caution:  many of links below include sound and video.

New Year's Eve.  Webcams from around the world and from New York Times Square (12/31/10).
Overachievers are "not forgotten"
Traditions, history, and the quiz (add your first name to open).

Throw-out old calendars?  Optional.

The tradition of singing "Auld Lang Syne".  Midnight (after hugs and kisses) many people will sing "Auld Lang Syne", which translates to "good times (past)","long time past" or "good old days". Scotsman Robert "Bobby" Burns (1788) is credited with the original poem, as sung in folk song by an unidentified artist, year 2009.

222 years later, the simplified American lyrics (without attachment to other songs) appears to be: "Should auld (or old) acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind?  Should auld (or old) acquaintance be forgot, And days of auld lang syne!  Main chorus:  For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne.  We'll  take (or drink) a cup o' kindness yet, For days of auld lang syne."  Entertainer examples:  Rock- Aretha Franklin and Billy Preston, year 2006, or, Country - Suzie McNeil, year 2007 (loud volume). 

11 years ago, Barbara Streisand (low volume) counter-sings a separate song while the audience of 13,000 sings "Auld Lang Syne".  Remember the chaotic 1999 to 2000 end-of-century computer time-clock change-over worries?  Streisand mentions that everyone in the audience has flashlights in event of possible overhead light failure.  By contrast, this weekend should be another friendly end-of-year transition into the New Year, be careful and stay safe!

New Year's Day resolutions: 
Got some? 
Or need
government self-help.
Wisdom from Mark Twain:  "Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." 

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, productive and prosperous New Year!

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best of Pacifica 2011 online ballot

From the Pacifica Tribune, here's your opportunity to vote for your favorite Pacifica commercial/retail services and entertainment haunts.  There's a certain urgency to get your vote in.  The ballot began November 17, ends January 14th, 2011.  Its a long ballot, but  if you have time here's your opportunity to vote for the services you like and appreciate, add your choice next to each category you choose.  Pacifica Tribune article and "Cast your Vote". 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Last view - Pacifica holiday decorated houses, 2010

Contest co-sponsored by the Parks, Beaches and Recreation Department and the Pacifica Tribune.

Remember this "festival of lights" from the printed Pacifica Tribune newspaper last week?  Don't think you did, because a hard-copy print version does not  translate to these vivid colors!  From many decorated house wonderlands, five (5) were chosen for recognition 12/14/10. Senior Services provided the judges.  Pacifica Tribune website, story and article attached. 

Enjoy this while you can.  It's beginning to feel like we're moving into the New Year! 

Posted by Kathy Meeh  

As Pacifica cliff crumbles, city scrambles for plan B

Updated: 12/29/2010 11:26:43 PM PST

PACIFICA -- Tuesday's storm dug another chunk of soil out from the foundation of a vacant cliffside apartment building on the city's notorious Esplanade Avenue, leaving a building one-third unsupported and hanging over the ocean, according to a building manager. 

Pacifica officials have been waiting for the owners of the two buildings that were evacuated last winter to come up with a strategy to save them, but now the city may have to come up with a proposal of its own.
"They appeared to be developing a plan, but they weren't able to get their funding together," said Doug Rider, a Pacifica building official. "It's unpredictable, and nobody's doing anything."

Pacifica officials evicted tenants from 320 and 330 Esplanade last winter after a series of storms, coupled with surging waves, pulled away as much as 20 feet of horizontal bluffline. Back porches were removed to prevent them from falling off the cliff.

Once residents were out of harm's way, the city sat back and waited for the owners to do something to stabilize the cliff. But the insurance money hasn't come through, according to Bart Willoughby, a caretaker for the buildings and go-between for the owner of 330 Esplanade and the city.


Posted by Steve Sinai

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Posted by Steve Sinai

Friday, December 24, 2010

Let's be careful out there

Happy Holidays.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tracking Santa from the North Pole, Alaska

The countdown and flight:  from North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

It seems Santa has many personas and identities. In Finland his name is Joulupukki,which means "Yule Goat". And in Finland he is the "Yule" of the Winter Solstice (the longest night of the year).  Many questions about Santa exist and NORAD Santa organization has attempted to answer these questions American  style.  

We know that Christmas is a Christian, Pagan and secular holiday in a series of Winter Holidays. These holidays are a time of celebration that allows most of us to think of others, and (for a time) forget about the cold weather conditions.

Anticipating the Christmas holiday is particularly advantageous for commerce, and for Santa who is frequently employed during this season (see SF Gate, 12/23/10).  Santa seems to be "everywhere".  He was  seen on the streets of Pacifica, popping into businesses, schools, non-profits and private parties-- greeting the people of Pacifica. When he popped into Fix Pacifica, he asking if you are being good?  While not waiting for that answer, he left the warmest of greetings:  "Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all!"  Then, he was on his way.   

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacifica city hall, services and facilities are open

during the week between Christmas and New Year. Some San Mateo county city services will close. 

Driving by the Pacifica community center (Crespi Drive), I was happy to see the center open, and their neon sign advertising lunch is being served to seniors. Today Silicon Valley Mercury News advised that Belmont, San Carlos, Daly City, and San Mateo city halls, many facilities, services will be closed for the entire week (12/24/10 through 1/2/11).  Of course this is a cost savings measure, but these holidays are also stressful for citizens, and there may be outstanding business that requires completion by the end-of-the-year. Glad to see the city of Pacifica will be "open and doing business" (except for Fridays 12/24 and 12/31) as described by city clerk, Kathy O'Connell.  This year Christmas day and New Year's day occur on Saturday. 
From Silicon Valley Mercury News 12/22/10.  Check out your library books and pay your water bills now, because cities across San Mateo County will be closing their facilities for up to 10 days starting this week in an effort to save money.  In San Mateo, only emergency facilities such as police and fire departments will remain open from Friday through Jan. 2. It will be the first time in memory that City Hall, the main library, the two library branches, the senior center and other recreation centers will all be closed during that span.

Belmont, San Carlos and Daly City will also close city facilities from Dec. 24 through Jan. 2. All cities say they will restore business as usual on the morning of Jan. 3. Even though Christmas and New Year's Day fall on Saturdays this year, all cities in the county say they will observe the holidays and close facilities on the Fridays beforehand, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. In some cases, facilities will close early or all day on the Thursdays before the holidays, Dec. 23 and Dec. 30.

The cities also say they will have their public works crews on standby in case strong rains or wind cause emergencies. In most cities, the employees who typically staff the buildings will have to take unpaid time off, although in some cases they can take paid vacation days. Several cities have implemented mandatory furlough days as part of employee concessions, and a good chunk of the unpaid time off will come next week.  Belmont City Manager Greg Scoles said the closure is about timing, since fewer people typically walk into City Hall or other facilities during the holiday weeks.  And if cities are going to require furlough time, it makes sense to do it at a time when employees want time off anyway, officials said.Scoles said the closure is about timing, since fewer people typically walk into City Hall or other facilities during the holiday weeks. 

"Demand drops down significantly during this season," said Matt Bronson, assistant city manager of San Mateo. "That's why you'll see a lot of different agencies taking this opportunity to save money and let (their employees) enjoy the holidays with their families."  The big savings for cities, almost all of which are going through budget problems, are through employee pay reductions.  In San Mateo, for instance, three-quarters of city spending is on employees.  But the cities will also save some money on utilities and other costs. In San Mateo, the furloughs are part of cuts that will total $2.2 million this fiscal year.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dog owners wary as federal parks ponder leash rule

A rancorous dispute over plans by the National Park Service to put the choke chain on Rover is heating up again as officials consider a new pet policy for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

The park service plans to release an environmental impact statement in mid-January analyzing six alternatives for dog walking in 21 areas of the 75,000-acre park, which encompasses parts of San Mateo, San Francisco and Marin counties.

Park officials would not reveal details, but dog lovers and other interested parties are betting the preferred alternative will be more restrictive than the current policy, which gives dogs free rein on certain beaches and designated locations.

"There will be a range of different approaches to dog walking in the park contained in the alternatives, including no action," said Howard Levitt, director of communications and partnerships at the park. "We know it is a topic of major interest and has been for well over a decade."

Read more:

Posted by Steve Sinai

Friday, December 17, 2010

San Mateo County Lehman recovery update

The Daily Journal 12/16/10.  San Mateo County is joining 10 other Lehman Brothers creditors like hedge fund Paulson & Co. and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System in proposing an alternative way of distributing the $57.5 billion in assets. Rather than accept Lehman’s plan to the bankruptcy court which apportions creditors varying amounts of pennies on the dollar, an ad hoc group whose members have similar investments filed a rival reorganization plan with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York.

The group is collectively owed nearly $12.5 billion from Lehman’s holding company and entities but would recover much less under Lehman’s plan than its own. “Their plan makes no sense at all,” said Chief Deputy County Counsel John Beiers. “When you look at it, it’s kind of shocking that they’re treating all these creditors differently.” Lehman has several entities under its umbrella and the plan aims to pay investors based on which section it was involved. Opponents say the structure would give larger investors like banks more while leaving others, like San Mateo County, getting less. Lehman’s plan offers unsecured creditors 10.4 cents to 44.2 cents on the dollar. General unsecured creditors would recover 14.7 cents on the dollar while creditors of the derivatives and commercial paper units would recover 21.9 percent to 44.2 cents on the dollar.

San Mateo County’s expected payout would be 17.4 cents on the dollar, Beiers said. According to Beiers, the issue is definitely financial but also one of principal. “The county considered Lehman to be one business entity when the treasurer invested in it, not a specific subset. We feel we have a compelling argument to the court,” Beiers said.  In comparison to that plan, yesterday’s filing would give all Lehman creditors 24.5 cents on the dollar. Lehman’s right to an exclusive plan expired after 18 months, opening the way for alternatives. Lehman may also file a modified plan in the future with tweaked figures.

San Mateo County lost $155 million from its investment pool when the Wall Street titan failed more than two years ago, sparking the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history and numerous failed attempts to make financially wounded jurisdictions whole. The county investment pool includes 1,050 different accounts from cities, school districts and special agencies. Of that, $20 million came from school districts who have since sued San Mateo County, more than $1 million from Peninsula cities and $25 million from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.  San Mateo County went one step beyond bankruptcy court to recoup its losses, suing the company’s individual executives and accountants, too. While those effort are ongoing, according to county spokesman Marshall Wilson, they have yet to come to fruition. Also stalled are pushes by congressional leaders like U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, and Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, to treat the affected counties, cities and agencies like banking creditors who’ve since been helped by the federal government. Likewise, the rival distribution plan’s proponents say Lehman’s own plan treats the large banks better than the smaller victims and could cause more litigation as the different entities fight over the assets. “It’s a double insult that the large banks who definitely stand to benefit from the plan have already benefited from taxpayers,” Beiers said, referring to past bailouts. There is no guarantee the bankruptcy court will accept either plan and Beiers said there is hope that the recovery could be even higher than the suggested 24.5 cents per dollar.Lehman has told the court it hopes for the bankruptcy to be completed sometime in 2011 but now everyone involved must just wait, Beiers said.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

San Mateo County Boards and Commissions

 Volunteer informational posting for those interested - festive tree logo for the rest of us

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors is accepting applications for appointment to the following Boards, Commissions and Committees:  Commission on Disabilities, Design Review Committee (Coastside), Design Review Committee (Bayside), Housing and Community Development Committee, San Mateo County District (Sam Trans), Commission on the Status of Women, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Recovery Commission, Fatherhood Collaborative, North Fair Oaks Municipal Advisory Council, San Mateo County Employees' Retirement Association (SamCERA).

Full information, on line application.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

AT&T Pacifica Cell Phone Service Restored

John Britton of AT&T informs us that the Montara Mountain cell tower is now in operation, and cell service has been restored.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Bond Girl: Default and bankruptcy in the municipal bond market

by CalculatedRisk on 12/13/2010 12:36:00 PM

There have been quite a few bearish articles recently about the muni market. Not long ago there were even some "scary charts" showing a sharp sell off for the muni market, and at that time Bond Girl pointed out the correction was not because of imminent muni defaults, but because of the end of the Build America Bond (BAB) program.

For those who want to know more about munis, here is an ubernerd post from Bond Girl at Default and bankruptcy in the municipal bond market (part one)

I am just writing this post to demystify a process that evidently needs demystifying. ...

One of the more frustrating aspects of muni market coverage in the news and blogosphere is the tendency to talk about municipal debt as if only one type of bond is issued and traded. There is actually considerable diversity among borrowers in the muni market (e.g., they are not all government entities), and by extension, the types of commitments that are made for the repayment of the debt. Although the relative health of the muni market has macroeconomic consequences, this is in many ways a market that defies generalization. (That’s one reason I find the muni market un
usually interesting ...) The defaults that have taken place both before and during the economic downturn are what finance-types would refer to as storied credits. I often see people describing Jefferson County, Alabama, as the “canary in the coal mine” of muni defaults. Suggesting that Jefferson County, which was the center of a widely-publicized securities fraud case, is a typical muni credit is kind of like portraying Enron as a typical corporate credit. ... Another example would be Florida dirt bonds, which are backed by special assessments on property in a severely depressed market. These are not borrowers that were forced to establish their spending priorities or were muddling through difficult times; these are borrowers that experienced sudden and catastrophic losses and derived their revenues from limited sources.

Types of municipal bonds

The obvious starting place on this topic is to explain the types of muni bonds that are issued. Municipal bonds are broadly divided into two classes: general obligation (GO) and revenue bonds. The difference between GO and revenue bonds is the specific security that is pledged to repay the debt. (Bonds may also be issued with more than one kind of security and may involve a moral obligation pledge that implies contingent financial support from another entity with stronger credit.) GO bonds are secured by the full faith and credit of the issuer, meaning that the borrower is committing to raise taxes and other revenues sufficient to cover the amount owed.

Revenue bonds are secured by a defined stream of revenues. Whether the principal and interest on these bonds is paid in a timely manner depends upon: (1) the reliability of the specific revenues pledged; and (2) whether that revenue stream has been pledged toward other debt or is used for other purposes.

It is important that you understand what kind of bond you have. ...
There is much more on munis at the post.

Submitted by Jim Alex

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

AT&T Pacifica Cell Failure

att cell service disappeared monday 10AM in south pacifica along linda mar blvd, oddstad and eastern Park Pacifica Ave.

Called into repair. No time for a fix. Still down right now. Same tower/cell failed last year december.

To make a modest effort in repairing the squalid ATT rep per Consumer Reports evaluation, how about a time for a fix?
John Britton

Calif ATT Media Inquiries Contacts

mark stechbart

San Francisco kills plan to charge $6 entrance fee from south

Updated: 12/14/2010 02:41:08 PM PS

Bowing to intense pressure from the Peninsula, San Francisco supervisors today killed an idea to charge commuters up to $6 daily to enter and exit the city from the south.

The supervisors, acting as the city's transportation authority, voted 9-2 to scrap the proposal and instead will study whether to charge a toll only to downtown commuters.

Under the plan struck down today, commuters would have paid up to $1,500 per year to cross the San Francisco-San Mateo County border via freeways and major streets during morning and evening rush hour. Officials in San Francisco would have collected up to $80 million annually in revenue to fund local transportation projects.

Instead, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve an in-depth study of a proposal that would charge commuters $3 each way to enter or exit the city's downtown, bordered by Laguna and 18th streets, during peak traffic times. They also approved study of an idea to toll commuters $6 per day to leave the downtown in the evening.

If either of the ideas is approved by city leaders some two to three years from now, the state Legislature would have to approve the toll before it could take effect in 2015. Voters may also have their say.


Posted by Steve Sinai

Monday, December 13, 2010

There's a reason they're called the SF Board of Stupidvisors

Office of Assemblyman Jerry Hill – Media Advisory
Aurelio Rojas, communication director for Assemblyman Jerry Hill, 916-747-3199 cell or 916-319-2019 office
Description: Assemblymember Jerry Hill - Representing the 19th District
Assemblyman Jerry Hill, the only state legislator whose district is entirely in San Mateo County, will appear Tuesday before the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to announce he will introduce legislation to block the board’s efforts to impose a $6 daily toll on motorists who enter or exit the city via the Peninsula on highways or major streets during peak commute hours.
The Supervisors – acting as the city’s transportation authority  -- are scheduled to vote on whether to launch a study of the toll program, which would require approval by the Legislature and take effect in 2015.
11 a.m., Tuesday, December 14, 2010
San Francisco City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco 94102
Board Chambers, Room 250
Aurelio Rojas, communication director for Assemblyman Jerry Hill, 916-747-3199 cell or 916-319-2019 office
Under the proposal, all drivers would pay $3 upon entering or exiting San Francisco from the south via highways and major local streets from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and another $3 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. The toll would cost Peninsula commuters up to $1,500 a year. Assemblyman Hill said the toll would place another burden on residents already facing the toughest economic climate since the Great Depression. Hill predicts the toll would also ignite a “border war” with neighboring jurisdictions “trying to out-toll each other.” 
Nate Solov
Office of Assemblymember Jerry Hill

Posted by Steve Sinai

Sick of political wing nuts?

No Labels: Not left. Not right. Forward.

The No Labels Movement Officially Launches today, and over 1,100 citizens from all fifty states will gather together to let their voice be heard.   Now, more than ever, we must ask our leaders to put their labels aside and do what’s best for America.

We are pleased to say you can actively participate in this historic moment by engaging online: RSVP now to watch the No Labels Launch streamed live on NoLabels.Org. Please share this information with your friends, families, and colleagues who can also participate in this historic event.  Featured speakers and panelists include David Brooks, Joe Scarborough, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Evan BayhSenator Joe LiebermanSenator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Charlie CristCongressman Michael Castle, Mayor Villarigosa, and David Gergen among others.  Please share this information with your friends, families, and colleagues who can also participate in this historic event.

Want to do more? We are looking to recruit Republicans, Democrats, and Independents from every district.  There are citizen leader positions available all around the country as well as opportunities to participate in town hall meetings, host a No Labels gathering in your area, and organize a No Labels Meetup. Contact getinvolved@nolabels. org to get more information.

Let’s work together to do what's best for America.

Many thanks,
Nancy Jacobson & Mark McKinnon
Co-Founders of No Labels

The National Anthem
Performed by Deborah Cox - Award-winning actress of Broadway’s Aida

Nancy Jacobson, Bill Galston, John Avlon and Mark McKinnon
No Labels Founding Leaders

No Labels Video
“Conversation Nation”
David Brooks - Award winning New York Times columnist, commentator and author

“Short Takes”
Testimonials on the need for No Labels
Moderated by Michael Smerconish, CBS Radio host and author

Senator Joe Lieberman - U.S. Senator from Connecticut
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
- U.S. Senator from New York
Congressman Bob Inglis
– U.S. Congressman from South Carolina
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa - Mayor of the City of Los Angeles
Congressman Tom Davis – Former U.S. Congressman from Virginia

“Calling for a Cease Fire”
College Republican and Democratic Presidents from Iowa and New Hampshire

“Hyper-Partisanship in America”
Morning Panel Conversation

Moderated by Mika Brzezinski
Co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe

Joe Scarborough
Co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and four term U.S. Congressman from Florida
Senator Evan Bayh
- U.S. Senator from Indiana
Senator Joe Manchin - U.S. Senator from West Virginia
David Gergen CNN Contributor, Author and Professor

What It Takes: How to Build and Grow the Movement
Jon Cowan and Lisa Borders
No Labels Founding Leaders

“Citizens’ Meetup” Lunch Breakout Session
Getting to know your fellow Citizen Leaders and launching the movement

Electoral Reform in America”
Afternoon Panel Conversation

Moderated by Dylan Ratigan
Host of The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC

Mayor Michael Bloomberg – Mayor of the City of New York
Governor Charlie CristGovernor of Florida
Lt. Governor Abel MaldonadoLt. Governor of California
Congressman Michael Castle – U.S. Congressman from Delaware
Ellen Freidin – Campaign Chairman of Fair Districts Florida

Afternoon “Short Takes”

Marie Wilson – Founder and President of the White House Project
Treasurer Rob McCord – State Treasurer of Pennsylvania
Congressman Joe Sestak
- U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania
Hon. David Walker - Former U.S. Comptroller General on “Dealing with the Deficit”

No Labels Call to Action and Concluding Remarks
Kiki McLean
- No Labels Founding Leader

Posted by Steve Sinai

An Irishman abroad tells it like it is !

Submitted by Jim Alex

Ron Paul

When it comes to the Fed, military spending, bailouts, and upholding the constitution, Ron Paul stands alone, and he is about to make Bernanke miserable.

Please consider The Fed? Ron Paul’s Not a Fan
On Thursday, House Republican leaders announced that Representative Ron Paul of Texas, the outspoken Republican libertarian who ran for president in 2008, will become the chairman of the subcommittee that oversees the Fed. His position on the central bank is captured in the title of his 2009 book, “End the Fed”. Here’s some of what he wrote:

The Gold Standard

“Whenever I talk of a gold standard, there are always people ready to accuse me of having some obsession or fixation. Fetish is a word thrown around. In fact, I’m only observing reality: the idea of sound money in most of human history has been bound up with gold money.”

A Full-Time Counterfeiting Operation

On Mr. Bernanke: “There is something fishy about the head of the world’s most powerful government bureaucracy, one that is involved in a full-time counterfeiting operation to sustain monopolistic financial cartels, and the world’s most powerful central planner, who sets the price of money worldwide, proclaiming the glories of capitalism.”

New Money Out of Thin Air

“Only the Federal Reserve can inflate the currency, creating new money and credit out of thin air, in secrecy, without oversight or supervision. Inflation facilitates deficits, needless wars and excessive welfare spending.”

Low Interest Rates

“Artificially low interest rates are achieved by inflating the money supply, and they penalize the thrifty and cheat those who save. They promote consumption and borrowing over savings and investing. Manipulating interest rates is an immoral act. It’s economically destructive.”

The Obama Legacy

“For the same reason a disease cannot be cured by more of the germ that caused it, the inflation and debt accumulation of the Obama years will not inflate our way out of it. This depression will likely last and last.”
See the article for more select quotes regarding The Bailouts, The Beginning of the End, and Fed Chairman He Has Known

Submitted by Jim Alex

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Green regulations

As an Architect it seems that my job in the last ten has become the bearer of bad news to each potential client, which are mostly homeowners. Between Zoning Ordinances, Fire Codes, Seismic Requirements, Neighborhood Associations, Energy Codes and recent changes to the Plan Check Process the cost of getting a permit and construction here has become the highest in the Country. The process has become so distasteful that many folks feel that it is just not worth the hassle to improve their property. 

The result of this kind of thinking creates a lose-lose situation for all concerned. I figured out that any one of my typical projects (addition and alterations), depending on its scope of work, will create as little as 10 and as many as 40 jobs for engineers, contractors and the array of tradesmen to complete the work. Think about this statistic. This is one project in a small two-man office. Multiply the possible jobs created or not by 10-15 projects a year in one office and then factor in the hundreds or thousands of other professional offices, which are usually larger firms, the result of discouraging these permits becomes a staggering loss of revenue for the Cities, the Professionals, the Contractors and all the hard working Craftsmen (the back bone of our Country and Economy).
With that being said I have to strongly object to the adoption of the new Pacifica "Green Building Ordinance." The last thing we need in the worst economy in 50 years is more expensive regulations and more government intervention in our lives. People are really fed up with having the Building Department in their living room. I guess "Green" is the appropriate term for the money it takes to implement all these sustainable practices and systems. Now don't get the wrong impression about my viewpoint. For those that have worked with me and know how I live, they will attest to the fact that you will not find a person who is more concerned about the environment, waste, passive/active design and alternative energy. 

Five years ago I had the opportunity to add on and alter my own home. I incorporated solar energy, better than code values of insulation where possible, energy efficient appliances, fixtures and finishes. For the past five years my electric bill has been under $500.00 and that includes a home office with radiant heat. The irony for me is that I have been studying and practicing "Green Building" since 1976, when I took a course in grad school called "Alternative Energy Design".  My professors, at that time, called all these newly renamed principles of sustainable design "Good Architecture". 

I also grew up in a family with parents that were born during the "Great Depression". It was considered a sin to waste anything and in 1960 (I was 8 years old) I assisted my Dad in bundling up paper, plastic and aluminum, loading up the trunk and driving several miles to the newly opened recycle center. He was truly way ahead of his time. So you see that you're preaching to the choir when it comes to "Sustainable Practices". The difference for me is that I CHOSE to do all these things because I believe it is the right way to go and I set my financial priorities to pay for it all. Human nature is an unpredictable variable, but it is my experience that the more you try to force (legislate) behavior, the more people resist. Anyone who has raised a child knows this to be true.

Regulations create an antagonistic atmosphere between the public and private sector. If you really want people to change or do something different, then give them incentives (monetary ones are a bit hit) not penalties. By the way, P.G. & E. paid for 1/3 of my photovoltaic system. That is the way to motivate people and bring about change. More government is not the way and its result is usually an erosion of community.

The above article was also a Pacifica Tribune letter-to-the-editor, printed 12/8/10.  

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Pacifica Dog Owners shall fight them on the beaches!!

The Pacifica City council voted in their last meeting to put up fences and to hire police to arrest people on Pacifica State Beach. They talk about "High profile arrests" and "Making examples".  I want to protest  this in every way.  Please come to the first Pacifica Dog walk!  If you have a distribution list please send this flyer  to as many people as you can.  I have contacted the City of Pacifica Parks and Recreation and the Pacifica police. They say that we will be doing nothing illegal (yet).  We will have to divide into groups if there are more than 50 there.  You know that this is just a first step. If you don't want our beaches to be like the ones in Half Moon Bay then it is time to protest!  


Join the First Pacifica Dog Walk, Sunday 12/19/10 at 1:00 PM!    Protest the Pacifica City Council’s moves to ban dogs from our beaches!
Bring your dog (on leash) and a sign to the parking lot at Pacifica Community Center, 540 Crespi Dr.  
Walk your dog on the beach while it is still legal to do so! 

We live by the California Coast because we love to go on the beaches.  We feel a special connection with nature there.  For generations we have walked our dogs there, our children have played there and we have socialized there.   Now that way of life is threatened.  Eco Extremists planted grass there then used it to claim control of the beaches.  Now they want to put up fences and arrest people for walking dogs on the beach.  The Pacifica City Council just voted to put up signs and fences and to hire guards.  Next you will be banned from the beaches altogether.   It happened in Half Moon Bay and it is happening here too.  We must fight them on the beaches, we must fight them in the council and we must fight them in the elections!

3:00 Meet at the statue of Portola,  Pacifica Community center
3:15 divide up in to groups of 50 if necessary.  
3: 30   Cross the street, go to the beach, go to the parking lot, return by the sidewalk.
Bags will be provided, please pick up after and keep your dog on leash. 
To see more,   Google  “Paul at Pacifica1”  or go to  

Email to RSVP                      Please pass this on! 

Submitted by Paul Cowan

Scenes from the latest Center for Biological Diversity/Wild Equity Get-Together

Posted by Steve Sinai

Here they go again

City Council agenda for next Monday, December 13, 2010

"Here they go again", city council, same stuff.  December meeting, city council always slips through items they might not want the public to focus on.  Last year, it was the Sanchez Art Center (give away) contract, the year prior it was the $98,000+ for Pedro Point trail.

3 year contracts for wetlands management:
1.  Habitat snake management in depressional wetlands areas..................$34,295
2.  Invasive ivy control upper Calera Creek...............................................39,000
3. Native plant control riparian corridor Calera Creek................................41,550

  Here's the Consent Calendar item listing:

Posted by Steve Sinai

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

UCLA report: California recovery is still far off

Click here: UCLA report: California recovery is still far off - Sacramento Business, Housing Market News | Sacramento Bee

By Dale Kasler
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 6B

The California economy will come back strong.

Just not right away.

That's the gist of the UCLA Anderson Forecast, one of the most closely watched economic crystal balls in the state.

The latest quarterly edition of the forecast, to be released today, says unemployment in California won't dip below 10 percent until the fourth quarter of 2012. The statewide unemployment rate as of October was 12.4 percent.

Among the factors holding back stronger economic growth in the near term: the ongoing slump in housing, weakness among overseas trading partners, and the state's budget deficit.

UCLA senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg said in an interview Monday that the recovery in California will be led largely by exporters. That bodes well for the high-tech and manufacturing industries. But two of the state's most troubling sectors could eventually contribute to the recovery, he said.

In the housing market, "we are getting closer to a take-off point," he wrote in his forecast. The coastal markets will rebound a lot more quickly than inland areas, he wrote.

As for the government sector, Nickelsburg said the November election results could bode well for California. First, Gov.-elect Jerry Brown is from the party that controls the Legislature, the Democrats. Second, voters eliminated the two-thirds vote requirement to pass a budget. Third, they struck down initiatives aimed at raising some fees.

In effect, voters have given Democrats in Sacramento a mandate for solving the state's budget problems without raising taxes, Nickelsburg said.

He said chronic uncertainty about California's budget tends to frighten off businesses.

Submitted by Jim Alex

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Economist Magazine: Repairing California

The tide begins to turn


For once, California’s prospects seem better in the long term than in the short

CALIFORNIA has changed direction this year. This is not because of a conservative backlash in the mid-term elections, for there wasn’t one—California bucked the national trend and elected Democrats to all eight of its statewide offices. The legislature remains solidly Democratic. Even the new governor who takes office next month is in fact an old one: Jerry Brown last had the job in 1975-83.

Instead, the change of direction is constitutional, and comes as the cumulative result of a number of decisions that voters made this year, through the state’s peculiar brand of “direct democracy”. In the three decades since Mr Brown’s last reign, voters had created, through the cumulative effect of ballot initiatives, a Byzantine system of governance, taxation and budgeting that left California helpless when the Great Recession hit. In the course of 2010 they have passed reforms that could make the system work again. It will, however, take time.

In the near term, things may get worse before they get better. Unemployment, at 12.4%, remains higher than in any state except Nevada (wrecked by a property crash) and Michigan (devastated by the downsizing of the car industry). A lot of houses are still in foreclosure. Tax revenues remain far below their pre-recession levels though October was a strong month. 

A state budget was finally signed in October after a record delay of 100 days, but it was based on silly projections and gimmicks. Mac Taylor, the legislature’s independent analyst, estimates that the budget remains $25.4 billion, or about 29% of spending, in deficit for this and the next fiscal year, with annual deficits of about $20 billion thereafter until 2016. State spending—on welfare, education and much else—has already been cut by about $16 billion in three years, and must be cut more.

This is the mess that Mr Brown is about to inherit. He takes office on January 3rd and must present a balanced budget to the legislature just one week later. And Mr Brown knows better than anybody else how hard that will be.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Terra Nova Rolls to First CCS Crown Since 1988

Submitted by Jim Alex

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The lamest college mascot ever?

Penn State's mascot. Is it a lion, or a vampire squirrel?

 Posted by Steve Sinai

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Planning Commissioner resignation - another one bites the dust

Pacifica lost another valuable voice of reason. BJ Nathansan resigned from the planning commission at the first meeting of November. Why? She very eloquently explained that the commission has lost its' way. I was a member of the planning commission when BJ was first appointed. My first thought, "another environmental ideologue". I was only half right. BJ was a true environmentalist, however, she was no ideologue. I was extremely impressed, as were the other commissioners, with her thoughtful and pragmatic evaluation of the tasks at hand  and what her charge as a commissioner actually was.

Unfortunately, this commission has lost that ability to judge a project by the merits brought forward. It's a sad day when a builder says to me "if a project has to go to the planning commission, I won't bid on it". What's that say? That simply tells me that this commission has become something it should not be, a policy setting body and a roadblock to every project. This is the fault of the council majority. They are appointed by the council majority to reflect the majority view. The commission has ended up with a very narrow representation of our city's residents. Their views and decisions don't reflect what I believe the majority of Pacifica believes. That's too bad. This town needs to modernize, develop, and build it's way to fiscal independence and it won't happen with this commission. I want to extend my thanks to BJ for her many years of service to this town and thank her for being a voice of reason in a sea of irrationality. i wish her nothing but good luck, and hope she recharges and re-engages her talents and returns to help Pacifica move forward. 
The above article was also a Pacifica Tribune letter-to-the-editor, printed 12/1/10.

Submitted by Jim Wagner, Planning Commission 2001-2005

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Seawall reply

Nov. 29, 2010 

Jeff Miller’s “My Turn” reply in the Tribune last week to my article of the previous week on the Sharp Park seawall did not so much rebut the points I made as much as it simply steered around them. My main concerns, and that of many of my neighbors, are (1) the potential vulnerability of the existing seawall, (2) the need for a detailed and impartial structural study of the seawall, and (3) the Center for Biological Diversity’s attempts to block that study. I believe I offered more than sufficient evidence to support each of those points. Instead of addressing these matters, however, Mr. Miller re-hashes his tired and tattered plan to turn our venerable, historic, 77-year-old Sharp Park Golf Course into a frog and snake sanctuary. 

(*Blogmaster's note: Here is a link to Jeff Miller's "My Turn" column regarding Sharp Park. )

This plan is based on two premises that don’t stand up to the light of day. The first is that the golf course loses money, and the second is that it kills frogs and snakes. In fact, every time Mr. Miller, or his cohort Brent Plater, refers to Sharp Park, it is “…that money-losing, species-killing golf course”. Simply put, those accusations are not true. But as they are the basis of the “Restore Sharp Park” campaign, Mr. Miller & Co. cannot accept that.

On the question of finances (and the correlated accusation of the course being “underused”) Sharp Park generates an average annual revenue of $1,228,160. Now, where that money goes, where it is tabulated, is up to the City of San Francisco. Money is routinely moved from the Sharp Park account to other accounts at the discretion of the city. There is nothing illegal or even unusual about this. But it is, understandably, tough to accurately say where any monies come from and where they wind up. A ‘Sports Illustrated’ writer a while ago called San Franciscos Park and Rec bookkeeping “laughingly deceptive”. Mr. Miller has obtained some figures from some department that shows the course in a negative light. He disregards any figures that show otherwise. Any reasonable observer would conclude that Sharp Park operates in the black. With over 50,000 rounds a year played, it’s a moneymaker.

The question of “species-killing”, however tentative it may have originally been, has been put to rest by San Francisco’s adoption of a program developed by its environmental consultants, Tetra-Tech, Inc., with the support of Karen Swaim, the GGNRA’s biologist at the neighboring Mori Point project and a recognized authority on the San Francisco Garter Snake and the Red Legged Frog. She testified that both critters would “thrive”” in Sharp Park under the conditions now being implemented.

This program took some time to wind its way through the various departments of San Francisco city government, and at every level Mr. Miller and Mr. Plater had ample opportunity to participate. Their arguments were disproved and rejected by the San Francisco Rec and Park Commission, the S.F. Park, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC) and the S.F. Board of Supervisors Budget Committee. All these bodies conducted open, lengthy hearings, considered their evidence, listened to their testimony, and, time after time, rejected it. The Pacifica City Council and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors have also adopted unanimous resolutions in favor of preserving Sharp Park.

So why are Mr. Miller, Mr. Plater, and their various organizations still trying to close our golf course? I have to wonder. No one could deny that a substantial amount of Pacifica is already sequestered for hiking and biking trails, beaches, parks, hills, snowy plover habitat, etc. And I don’t object to that at all. As a matter of fact, I often walk my dog up Mori Point, a well-planned and beautifully executed renovation that should be the envy of the coast. I note, however, we have yet to see the bonanza of ecotourism dollars we keep hearing about. No matter how much land we set aside, Mr. Miller & friends want more. And they won’t quit. With all the really serious environmental problems facing us today, these guys are committed to closing a popular public golf course.

But I think that they have kind of painted themselves into a corner with this Sharp Park business. I mean, they are now forced into situations where they have to say that the frogs and snakes would do fine in salt water, that more people would use a frog park than a golf course, and that our homes in Fairway Park would be safer WITHOUT the seawall (and worth more, too). They are certainly entitled to their opinion. And with environmental litigation being the growth industry it is today, there’s no shortage of “experts” to back them up. But I’d still like to have the Army Corps of Engineers come in and take a look around. Just on the off chance that my house is NOT safer without the seawall.

Submitted by Paul Slavin