Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve celebrations 2013 are underway

Sand sculpture in Puri, India

Italian tourists at Pueta del Sol in Madrid *
Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations
Detroit Free Press, 12/31/12.  "Video:  Australia, Asian nations give enthusiastic welcome to 2012."

"Sydney's skyline erupted in fireworks as Australia ushered in 2013 on Tuesday, while extravagant displays soon followed in Hong Kong and Beijing, and even the once-isolated country of Myanmar joined the party for the first time in decades. Asia greeted the new year with an atmosphere of renewed optimism despite the "fiscal cliff" impasse of spending cuts and tax increases threatening to reverberate globally from the U.S. and the tattered economies of Europe, where the party was expected to be more subdued. Celebrations were planned around the world, culminating with the traditional crystal ball drop in New York City's Times Square, where 1 million people were expected to cram into the surrounding streets."  Updated celebration link  Read article.  The Hong Kong event video is fun, 2:24 minutes.

2013 Times Square, New York City  New Year's Eve Ball Drop, and live NOW, telecast from 2:55 p.m. west coast, (5:55 p.m. east coast).

Telegraph, UK, 12/31//12, and 1/1/13.  "New Year's Eve celebrations around the world:  live.",  live music, audio, photos, text.  Note:  photographs  are from this article. The sand sculpture is from Reuters.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Goodbye 2012

San Francisco Chronicle/Justin Berton, 12/30/12. "Chronicle's top local stories of 2012."
   Coyote outsmarts Road Runner almost *

So long, 2012. And don't let the "fiscal cliff" hit you on the way out.

In the Bay Area, the biggest news stories of the year had all the familiar themes - crime, political scandal, money.

But this year, more so than in the recent past, it was largely about the money. California voters, tired of underfunded schools, approved more taxes. Facebook went to cash in its chips and tripped at the cashier's cage. The Bay Area's real estate market tightened up and those rituals of the past - bidding wars - returned with vigor.  Read article.  

Related -  The New Yorker/The Borowitz Report/Andy Borowitz, 12/30/12, "Senate outraged at having to work weekend to save nation." “We’re hearing a lot about the country plunging back into recession and millions of people being thrown out of work,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). “What we’re not hearing much about is how our Sunday is being completely and irrevocably ruined."  

* Note:  "Favorite Road Runner clip" video is 39 seconds

 Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, December 30, 2012

New legislation from Jerry Hill and Joe Simitian arriving January 1, 2013

The Daily Journal (San Mateo), Michelle Durand, staff writer, 12/28/12.  "New Year brings new laws."

New party bus rules, more accountability
....  "As the state prepares to ring in 2013 with the rest of the world, California residents should be getting ready for new legislation that significantly changes juvenile sentencing laws, protects students and job seekers from sharing private passwords and tries expanding the transparency of government. Thanks to the efforts of San Mateo County legislators, duplicate contracting services have been eliminated, transit districts can enforce parking rules, motorists are better equipped to challenge red light camera tickets and women will be informed if they have dense breast tissue. 

All of the new laws are based on legislation passed in 2011 and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown by the end of September. Unless otherwise specified, each become effective Jan. 1."

Many of the new laws seem like minor legal tweaking of existing law.
Have a safer bus ride
Example, the party bus law..  "....  A bill cracking down on underage drinking on party buses closes a loophole that holds limousine operators but not buses responsible. The law requires companies to make the person reserving the bus responsible for disclosing if alcohol will be served and if passengers are under age.  A separate bill by Hill lets charter party carriers keep trip reports in a hard copy or an electronic format."
For Jerry Hill and Joe Simitian, the legislation proved their swan songs for their just-ended terms. Hill was termed out of the Assembly and is now a state senator for San Mateo; Simitian termed out of the Senate and was elected to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.  Hill’s 18 bills signed into law include several that grew out of tragedies.  “They are both so significant and have the potential to save many lives in the future,” Hill said.   Read article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Offshore Half Moon Bay live/work ship project may launch late 2013

Well, here's another way to deal with broken immigration reform. 

Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 12/27/12. "Offshore startup incubator nets seed money."

Blueseed Modern Hull - ship and ferries
Blueseed Artful Containers - top-starboard view
Another variation: a repurposed barge 
"An outlandish business idea to moor a startup community off the shores of Half Moon Bay may have just hooked a whale of an investor. The Sunnyvale company Blueseed announced last week it has received a round of funding from a new group of Silicon Valley venture capital firms, including the acclaimed Floodgate Fund.

Blueseed officials believe they have a solution for immigrant entrepreneurs to tap Silicon Valley’s talent and investment money without having a permanent work visa. They propose anchoring a cruise ship about 12 miles off the U.S. shores, where they say U.S. immigration laws won’t apply. Tenants would work and live on the boat, and they could get temporary visas to take a ferry to the mainland via Pillar Point Harbor."

Proposed off shore business location
Floodgate Fund managing partner Mike Maples Jr. noted he was investing “less than $300,000” in Blueseed. The company also received recent seed money from Correlation Ventures and the ZhenFund. If the idea is to ever set sail, Blueseed backers say they’ll need anywhere from $15 million to $35 million to purchase and retrofit a cruise ship or barge."

Reference - Blueseed Company.  "Blueseed is a project to station a ship 12 nautical miles from the coast of San Francisco, in international waters. The location will allow startup entrepreneurs from anywhere in the world to start or grow their company near Silicon Valley, without the need for a US work visa. The ship will be converted into a coworking and co-living space, and will have high-speed Internet access and daily transportation to the mainland via ferry boat. So far, over 1000 entrepreneurs from 60+ countries expressed interest in living on the ship."

Related article - Huffington Post/Associated Press/Brooke Donald, 12/16/12.  "Blueseed startup sees entrepreneur ship as visa solution for silicon valley." "  "A bill to address so-called brain-drain was reintroduced this year by Sens. Mark Udall, D-Colo., John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind. The Startup Visa Act would allow immigrant entrepreneurs and foreign graduates from U.S. universities to appeal for a two-year visa "on condition that they secure financing from a qualified U.S. investor and can demonstrate the ability to create American jobs."  .... "Our solution is an entrepreneurial solution," said Dario Mutabdzija, Blueseed's president.  From cruise ships to oil rigs to military aircraft carriers, there are several examples of individuals living and working on ships. This one would accommodate about 1,000 people and be docked 12 miles southwest of San Francisco Bay, in international waters. It would be registered in a country with a reputable legal system, maybe the Bahamas or the Marshall Islands, Marty said. Residents would be subject to the laws of that nation.  ....  Blueseed wants to raise $10 million to $30 million over the next year and a half. The goal would be to launch in late 2013."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Fireworks on Linda Mar Beach, CA State requirement says no

Meantime, paid parking at Linda Mar Beach is moving forward

 Pacifica Tribune letters to the editor, 12/18/12,  "Re Fireworks" by Ray Ramos

"Editor.  After reading your Jane Northrop's article "City Council forms fireworks task force" in the December 12-18, 2012 Pacifica Tribune and watching the Dec. 10, 2012 City Council meeting on PCT at which the Council provided direction/guidance to the City Manager on the formation and focus for a nine-member Fire Works Task Force (FWTF), I would like to offer the following:

Fireworks in the paid parking lot?
The City Council indicated that the FWTF should try to bring consensus recommendations rather than by vote recommendations to them ideally prior to July 4, 2013 and that a recommendation on a total ban of fireworks in Pacifica should be provided. During public comment it was noted that there already exists a State of California mandated ban of all fireworks at the Linda Mar State Beach. The City of Pacifica has a lease to manage and operate the Linda Mar State Beach from the State of California. If there is already a State of California ban on fireworks at the Linda Mar State Beach then all the FWTF would need to do is confirm the prohibition exists and perhaps offer some recommendation regarding compliance measures to lessen or eliminate the need to clean up fireworks from Linda Mar State Beach.

What didn't get mentioned at the City Council meeting nor in Jane Northrop's article was what may be of interest in regard to the FWTF and Linda Mar State Beach is that on Nov. 15 the California Coastal Commission (CCC) granted approval of the City's application to institute paid parking at the Linda Mar State Beach, and that City staff is now beginning the process to put the plan in place. This information was conveyed to me in an e-mail communication from Mr. Steve Rhodes, City Manager for the City of Pacifica in which Mr. Rhodes also indicated that he anticipates that it will be either May or June before the program is actually commenced at the Linda Mar State Beach. The parking fee program at the beach includes funding for two beach rangers dedicated to the management, operation, and enforcement of the beach rules who will have citation authority. The CCC indicated whatever funds generated by the parking fee program need to be dedicated to expenses incurred as a consequence of the management and operation of the Linda Mar State Beach.

Mr. Rhodes represented the City of Pacifica at the Nov. 15 CCC meeting held in Santa Monica. For those who may be interested, the CCC meeting may be viewed at after clicking to video archives for the Nov. 15, 2012 meeting.  I hope the nine-member FWTF will be able to reach consensus recommendations and provide them to the City Council in a timely manner to enable community stakeholders to adapt appropriately prior to July 4, 2013."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gun regulation, a rational view

Pacifica Tribune/John Blanchard, Columnist, 12/25/12. "A left coast view: on guns."

Gun control, "reload" if you qualify for a license
....  "Social and medical sciences must continue to study the mental health issues associated with gun violence but these studies alone will not eliminate all chance that these tragedies don't continue to repeat themselves -- not without  trampling on a lot more freedoms than that to simply bear arms.But we can regulate gun use. Here's how:

First, reintroduce the ban on assault weapons. They have no place on America's streets or in our homes. Second, restrict availability and proliferation. We will never win the argument against the "if teachers had guns none of this would have happened" crowd so the Second Amendment should be revised to read that "every citizen has the right to own a gun." As opposed to "bear arms." It should be one only. That gun will be registered, licensed and assigned to the individual possessing it. It will be that individual's responsibility as well as his or her constitutional right. The individual's information will be tied to that firearm's serial number in a database and there will be no legal way to transfer that firearm without going through the necessary steps. Background checks will be the norm. Other criteria can be proposed.

....  The technology employed in today's guns make them appropriate for any potential legal use for which they may be intended. We're not talking muskets and flintlocks anymore. One gun is enough. No one needs to have more. Our "gun culture" needs to become a thing of the past. Let it die with the old west."   Read article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pescadero saves lagoon fishes this year, and its brilliant

"Following the natural breach last year, observers found 235 dead steelhead trout, a federally protected species," (see related Half Moon Bay Review article).

Samantha Weigel, correspondent, 12/29/12. "Pescadero breach deemed a success,
Digging a trench to ocean *2

 Breaching the lagoon *1
The ongoing momentum of state and federal marine conservation agencies geared toward preserving the Pescadero lagoon and preventing fish kills was determined to have paid off in early December. 

Eighteen years ago, experts began to recognize a significant impediment at the lagoon winding under Highway 1 that resulted in the death of hundreds of steelhead trout. The population of steelhead trout has diminished from 600,000 in the 1980s to a scant 200,000, said Chuck Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Game. During yearly months of disconnect, the temperature of the lagoon rises and decreases oxygen levels in the water, affecting the procreation and resiliency of the native fish. As the fresh water rises above a layer of salt water, the water column begins to stratify and creates unsafe conditions for endangered and threatened coastal marine life.

....  “For the first time since 2000, no fish kills occurred in the Pescadero lagoon following the breach of the sandbar,” said Jim Milbury, spokesman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries.  ....   “We lowered the volume of the lagoon by a full ‘foot’ and created a channel that introduced cold, oxygenated seawater into the lagoon. The lagoon lowering also stopped water from flooding the marsh and tules, which prevented a water quality issue from setting up,” Rutten said. 

“We had no fish kill and subsequent water quality monitoring indicated the lagoon had high quality steelhead conditions from the surface to the bottom,” Rutten said.  ....  A major factor in assuring continued support of the lagoon relies on the formation of an independent science panel.  Read article.  *1,  photograph by Patrick Rutten/NOAA from article.  

Click image for larger version and photo credit information.
Watertide Gobi
San Francisco Garter Snake.
Related article -  Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack,12/23/12.  "Experts report success in averting fish kill. .... "Described as one of the largest and most unique habitats on the California coast, Pescadero Marsh features 10 threatened species, including two listed as federally endangered: the tidewater gobi and the San Francisco garter snake. But for years, independent experts and local citizens have warned the marsh was becoming a lethal environment for its native fish, particularly the steelhead trout.  .... On two workdays in October, volunteers dug a channel about the length of a tennis court to connect the freshwater marsh to the ocean waves."  *2,  photograph from a the October workday file.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, December 28, 2012

Don Horsley breaks campaign promise not to double-dip as San Mateo County supervisor

Updated:   12/28/2012 03:18:44 PM PST

When Don Horsley was campaigning for the District 3 seat he now holds on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, he pledged to forgo the job's salary if elected, citing the county's economic struggles.

The former county sheriff still collected his annual pension, currently $215,000 according to his office.

This week, Horsley announced he is going back on his election vow, saying he now needs the $120,000 annual supervisor's salary more than the county.

The board vice president and his wife have begun paying for long-term medical care for her mother, according to a statement from Horsley's office.

"I did not take a salary for two years, but circumstances do change and they've changed significantly,"


Submitted by Lionel Emde

Devil's Slide tunnels update

The tunnels will be open soon, which should also mean less rental revenue for Pacifica.

San Francisco Chronicle/Michale Cabanatuan, staff writer, 12/27/12. "Devil's Slide tunnels not ready yet."

"When it rains, the towering rocky hills and cliffs that hold Highway 1 high above the Pacific Ocean in San Mateo County start to slide.  That's how Devil's Slide earned its name, and it's why Caltrans is building the state's first highway tunnel in almost 50 years - to carry drivers safely around the precarious stretch of pavement that pulls toward the Pacific when it rains, causing many road closures, some that have lasted for months.
Cal Trans workers look over a recent rock slide along Highway 1 at the Devils Slide area on April 3, 2006 in Pacifica. Photo: David Paul Morris / SF
Soon goodbye to this part of highway 1 at Devil's Slide, photo 4/3/06 *
When the tunnels open, McHugh said, they'll deliver two big benefits to the San Mateo County coast, the most important of them a dependable highway. "The road will no longer go down every few years and turn us into the longest cul-de-sac in the world," she said.

The tunnels, she said, may also lure more visitors by eliminating a stretch of highway many drivers have considered too dangerous to brave for a weekend drive or a quick trip to the communities on the San Mateo County coast.

Bike riders and hikers will benefit, too. When the tunnels open, Caltrans will abandon the 1.2-mile stretch of Highway 1 and turn it over to San Mateo County, which will spend about nine months converting it into the first phase of the Devil's Slide Coastal Trail. Then it will be turned over to hikers and bikers. "It's a wonderful, beautiful view," McHugh said, "and we really don't get to see it while we're driving by."  Read article.  * Photograph from the article by David Paul Morris, 4/3/06.

Previous Fix Pacifica articlesDevil's Slide.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

More on gun control, a national issue

Reasonable people may disagree on important issues. But, current gun registration includes a 40% loophole in a country that arguably has too many guns.

Science Daily, 12/27/12.  "Broader background checks and denial criteria could help prevent mass shooting castastrophes, experts say."
USA 40% of all world civilian guns, 40% unknown owner trace

"Garen Wintemute, a leading authority on gun violence prevention and an emergency medicine physician at UC Davis, believes broader criteria for background checks and denials on gun purchases can help prevent future firearm violence, including mass shooting catastrophes such as those that occurred at Sandy Hook, Aurora, Virginia Tech and Columbine.  .... Wintemute's views posted on the Online First section of the New England Journal of Medicine website as a Perspective article, entitled "Tragedy's Legacy," on December 26, 2012. It also will appear in the journal's January 31, 2013 print edition.

According to Wintemute, the United States represents only 5 percent of the world's population, but it owns more than 40 percent of all firearms that are in civilians' hands. In addition, he believes that policies governing gun purchases and use have allowed the widest possible array of firearms to be available to the widest group of people, for use under the widest array of conditions. Wintemute specifically cites the "Stand Your Ground" laws, enacted at the state level, as dangerous experiments that have been used to legitimize shootings that once were considered to be murder.  Wintemute emphasizes taking a broad approach."

And ...  "Some 40 percent of all firearm transactions, for example, involve private-party sellers, who are not required to keep records and cannot obtain a background check," Wintemute said. "We need policies that prevent these quick, anonymous and undocumented sales. We also need policies that deny gun purchases to those who we know are at high risk for violence."   Read article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pacifica government compensation, fiscal years 2011, 2010, 2009

Welcome to the State of California
Government Compensation in Pacifica, CA.  The website is interactive and easy to compare information.  Example, it seems the city attorney salary went up $100K to $300K in 2011, and the city has the same number of employees as in 2009.   What happened to the big cuts Pacifica said would be made in 2011? 

37,526 residents
383 employees
97:1 ratio of residents per city employee
$48,133 average wages for all Pacifica employees
$18,434,878 amount spent on total wages by this city
$491 amount spent on total wages per resident

40,431 residents
374 employees
108:1 ratio of residents per city employee
$48,595 average wages for all Pacifica employees
$18,174,709 amount spent on total wages by this city
$450 amount spent on total wages per resident

39,995 residents 
383 employees
104:1 ratio of residents per city employee
$47,263 average wages for all Pacifica employees
$18,101,855 amount spent on total wages by this city
$453 amount spent on total wages per resident

Submitted with comments by Bob Hutchinson

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Our County Supervisor, Don Horsley, finally begins taking pay

Why not he's doing the job.  Reforming the Federal/State/Local government benefits/payroll/retirement system is a separate, outstanding issue.

The Daily Journal/Michelle Durand, Staff, 12/27/12.  "Supervisor changes mind, decides to take pay."

Click here to view larger photo
"Read Aloud Day" Ortega School
Click here to view larger photo
"Third District Artist Highlight"
Retired sheriff Don Horsley, who opted to forgo his county supervisor salary while collecting a $200,000 pension after being elected to the board two years ago, began collecting a paycheck again this month.

Horsley's special salary waiver expired on Nov. 10 and Horsley decided to begin accepting payment, he announced Wednesday.

Horsley said he fulfilled his campaign commitment to avoid double-dipping but that his financial obligations recently increased significantly with the long-term medical care of his mother-in-law.  Horsley represents the Third District which includes San Carlos, Woodside, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay and Redwood Shores.  Read article.

Reference -  Third District County Supervisor Don Horsley.  Photographs, including the local related photographs are from the website photo galleryThe Pacifica artist displayed is Andrew Leone.

Related updated article -  Half Moon Bay Review, 1/3/12

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Another city tax idea - vehicle license fee

San Francisco may again be a Bay Area trendsetter producing more revenue.  Maybe Pacifica needs a consultant to test this one. 

San Francisco Examiner/Will Reisman, staff writer, 12/17/12.  "Vehicle license fee would generate $70 M-plus for San Francisco."

Only 2%, you'll never notice
San Francisco lawmakers and agencies are working to put a vehicle license fee increase before voters in hopes of generating more than $70 million for city coffers.  California Senate Bill 1492 allows local municipalities to put on the ballot a fee of up to 2 percent of a vehicle’s value — the rate before former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reduced it in 2004.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will have to decide whether to put the fee increase before voters. It would then need a simple majority to pass, and would probably go on the November 2014 ballot.  The board has the option of setting the percentage fee for the initiative — anywhere from its current rate of 0.65 percent to the maximum of 2 percent. Increasing the rate to 2 percent would generate $72 million annually for The City’s general fund, said bill author state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. A motorist with a vehicle valued at $15,000 would see his or her annual fee increase from $97.50 to $300 if the 2 percent rate is restored.

Leno noted that both the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and Labor Council back the initiative, along with Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors. In the past, similar initiatives have gained support here. In 2010, more than 58 percent of voters approved a $10 vehicle license fee increase.   Read article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

San Mateo county financial highlights report, fiscal year 2011-12

County of San Mateo,  Financial Highlights, Fiscal Year ended 6/30/12,  (pages 10). 

Index::  page 1, county profile;  page 2, who we are;  pages 3-4, controller's message;  page 5 major initiative;  page 6 economic indicators;  page 7 economic outlook;  page 8-10 financial summary.  

Your Taxes - Property Taxes - For every dollar in property taxes, the following receive: Schools - 45%, San Mateo County - 22%, Cities - 17%, Special Districts - 9%, Redevelopment Agency Obligations - 7%

".San Mateo County Budget FY 2012-2013.  Property tax is the county's largest discretionary General Fund (main operating fund) revenue source.  The picture below depicts how each dollar of property tax collected is allocated: .... Using Shared Vision 2025 community outcomes as the long-term direction for County programs and services, the budget allocates resources to those areas that can significantly contribute to building a healthy, safe, livable, prosperous, environmentally conscious and sustainable community."  San Mateo County Budget Central.

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

You Lost, Brent

From the Wild Equity website -
Sharp Park: When You Win, The Other Guys Say You Lose
23 December 2012 - 23:59

A restoration vision for Sharp Park.

Some of you may have read an article recently saying that Wild Equity’s lawsuit over Sharp Park Golf Course was dismissed, case closed. This article was spawned by a misleading press release by a golf industry front group. Here’s what really happened:

After our lawsuit was filed claiming that the golf course was killing endangered species without a permit, the golf course applied for the very permits our lawsuit claimed it needed.

In October a permit was issued: and it is a doozy. It contains over 50 pages of terms and conditions that burden the golf course with hiring biological monitors to walk in front of mowers, building new breeding and feeding ponds for endangered species, and restoring habitat to create a biological corridor connecting Laguna Salada to the national park next door, Mori Point.

Since a permit was issued, the legal issue we raised was over or “moot,” and Wild Equity is in the process of recovering fees and costs from the City for catalyzing this legal change.

While the permit didn’t order the creation of a new National Park at Sharp Park, we never asked the Court or the permitting agency to do that: because we know that move will have to come from San Francisco and nowhere else.

And we are very close: on five different occasions the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have voted to move forward with restoration planning at Sharp Park in partnership with the National Park Service. While the last vote was vetoed by new Mayor who never met with us, we have a new Board of Supervisors next year.

There will be more legal challenges and legislative work on this campaign in 2013, so stay tuned as we restore Sharp Park!

Posted by Steve Sinai

CA completes legislation for marine reserves along our entire CA coastline

And, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) opens public hearings to protect ocean habitat 30 miles further off Sonoma and Mendocino county coastlines.

San Francisco Chronicle/Los Angeles Times, 12/24/12,  "California wraps up undersea park network."

Live Garibaldi fish, that's me
Marine reserve life is better, fish may live longer
"Surviving budget cuts, mobs of angry fishermen, and death threats, California officials have completed the largest network of undersea parks in the continental United States - 848 square miles of protected waters that reach from the Oregon line to the Mexican border.

The final segment of marine reserves, along the state's North Coast, reflect an unusual consensus reached between American Indian tribes, conservation groups, and fishermen to preserve tribal traditions while protecting marine life from exploitation.  All told, the dozen-year effort has set aside 16 percent of state waters as marine reserves, including 9 percent that are off limits to fishing or gathering of any kind.

State officials got to work shortly after the Legislature passed the Marine Life Protection Act in 1999. It directed them to consider a statewide network of protected waters, modeled after a familiar strategy on land - setting up parks and refuges to conserve wildlife, said Michael Sutton, a California Fish and Game commissioner. ."It's not rocket science," Sutton said. "If you protect wildlife habitat and you don't kill too many, wildlife tends to do well. We've done that on land with the waterfowl population. Now, we've done it in the ocean for fish."  ....  Initially, these reserves were seen as "an insurance policy" against inadequate fisheries management that had allowed rockfish and other marine life populations to plunge to record lows, said Steve Gaines, dean of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara."  Read article.

Not so fast....
Related article - KPBS, 6/28/11, San Diego Marine protected areas considered.  * Picture from the article (courtesy of NOAA). 

Related  - What's next?   San Francisco Chronicle, 12/20/12, "US moves to protect ocean habitat." The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration moved Thursday to protect 2,093 square nautical miles of ocean habitat off the coast of Sonoma and Mendocino counties.  The decision, at the behest of President Obama and congressional representatives, sets in motion an 18- to 24-month public review process that, if approved, would more than double the area covered by the Gulf of the Farallones and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries. The expansion would fulfill the long-held dream of Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Petaluma, to protect the entire coast extending some 30 miles out to sea, permanently prohibiting oil drilling and other environmentally damaging industrial uses."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

More Japanese tsunami debris expected this winter

Humm, treasure hunt?  (Jim Wagner)

Contra Costa Times/Associated Press/Alicia Chang, Science writer, 12/25/12.  "West Coast girds for more tsunami debris in winter."

A dock that washed up prior *
.... "The March 2011 disaster washed about 5 million tons of debris into the sea. Most of that sank, leaving an estimated 1 1/2 million tons afloat. No one knows how much debris—strewn across an area three times the size of the United States—is still adrift. Tsunami flotsam has already touched the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii this year. The West Coast is bracing for more sightings in the coming months as seasonal winds and coastal currents tend to drive marine wreckage ashore.   Like the past winter, scientists expect the bulk of the debris to end up in Alaska, Washington state, Oregon and British Columbia. Last week, the Coast Guard spotted a massive dock that possibly came from Japan on a wilderness beach in Washington state. 

....   Even in the absence of a direct connection, California coastal managers said it helps to know if a beach is being covered with more marine debris than usual.   ....  Health experts have said debris arriving on the West Coast is unlikely to be radioactive after having crossed thousands of miles of ocean. Tsunami waves swamped a nuclear power plant and swept debris into the ocean. The debris field, which once could be spotted from satellite and aerial photos, has dispersed. More than 18,000 residents were killed or went missing. 

Volunteer Julie Walters has combed Mussel Rock Beach south of San Francisco for wreckage, but all that's turned up so far are wave-battered boat parts and lumber of unknown origin. If she did find an object with a direct link, "I would find it quite intriguing that it made this incredible journey across the Pacific," said Walters, a volunteer with the Pacifica Beach Coalition. "It would also sadden me to think of the human tragedy."   Read article.    

*  Note:  The dock photograph by Rick Bowmer is from an Associated Press file.  This dock washed up one mile north of  Newport, Oregon, 6/6/12, reprinted on Fix Pacifica 6/9/12.  Related Fix Pacifica -  Tsunami articles.

Submitted by Jim Wagner 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa Clause journey tracker today, Monday, 12/24/12

Same ol' annual story, new technology.  

The Washington Post/Technology/Hayley Tsukayama, 12/24/12.  "NORAD teams with Microsoft to track Santa this year. 

Get ready....
Here we go....
"Who’s that ping on the radar screen? Must be Santa Claus. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD, is firing up its Santa tracker again this year to keep track of the jolly old elf’s path around the globe.   

 Tracking Santa has been a tradition since 1955, when a misprinted ad gave the phone number for what was then known as CONAD as the contact information for a Santa hotline. The director at the time, Air Force Col. Harry Shoup, directed those on duty to give Santa’s location on the radar to any child who called. The tradition has continued ever since.

For me?
This year, NORAD expects more than 1,500 volunteers to help with the effort, said Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, NORAD’s director of public affairs. Volunteers take two-hour shifts, and the command relies on partnerships to provide the all-day service without using taxpayer money. NORAD, of course, keeps up its normal operations during its Santa watch. It is able to house those volunteers in a separate, non-classified facility on its base in Colorado.

Stop at your house?
Microsoft is the headline partner for this year’s effort, using its Azure cloud platform to help NORAD deal with the annual traffic spike it sees from the effort.The command center has also rolled out a series of free game and tracking apps for Apple, Google Android and Microso
ft phones, as well as Windows PCs, to make the effort more accessible for parents and kids. So far, Davis said, NORAD has seen more than 1.7 million app downloads across all devices.

 Google is still continuing with its own version of the Santa Tracker this year, separate from NORAD, for those who want to stick with Google Maps as they follow Santa’s sleigh around the world." Read article.

Reference North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORA) is tracking the Santa Claus annual journey right now.  And see the Google tracker,  its more than just pings on the radar screen. The sleigh moves, presents are delivered if you stay on the website for a few minutes. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Dear Santa" letters from Pacifica children

The following is a sampling of "Dear Santa" letters provided to the community, 12/11/12 and 12/18/12, from the Pacifica Tribune.  Thanks Pacifica Tribune!  

Dear Santa, 12/11/12 Letters  

"Please heal people who need it"
I would like a puppy because they are so cute and they help me fall asleep. I would also like a case for my retainer so I don't lose it. Can you please heal people who need it?  Hugs and Kisses, Ella, age 9, Good Shepherd.  

This is my list for Christmas:  I want a real puppy that's a boy. It has to be a German Shepherd. I want this so my dog can have a friend.  I want an I Pad mini, because my friend has one and she can get a lot of games on it. I want to give this girl that losed her mother, her grandfather in less than a month. All she has left is her brother. This is what is want you to give her : a new parent that can take care of her.  Love, Keara, age 9, Good Shepherd 

Conor is trying real hard to be a good boy this year. Please bring him a nice present.  Conor Gavney, age 3 , Terra Nova Christian Preschool.  

How are your? We can't wait for Christmas Day! ... A wind-up puppy on a leash.  Max. Includes other children's Santa list, students of La Casita Preschool. 

Dear Santa, Read 12/18/12 Letters
"Please bring me a planner"
How are you doing? I have been naughty. What I did is I've been talking back to my mom because I never get to explain what happened. For Christmas can you bring me a camera? Thank you.  Love, Amaya, Cabrillo second grader.

How are your reindeers? I was nice because I do not give my parents a hard time. Can you please bring me a planner? Thank you!  Love, Stephanie, Cabrillo second grader.  

I wanted to know if the reindeers are ready to fly? I was very helpful this year. Sometimes I help mom or dad make breakfast before I go to school, and sometimes I even make it myself. I really want a wireless microphone and electric guitar for Christmas to use with my band. Thank you, Santa.  Love, Ryan, Cabrillo second grader.  

I would like a mermaid present and new sparkly pink shoes. I also would like some hats, a Minnie Mouse oven and a real zebra from the zoo. I am being a good girl. Thanks. Brookelynn Bordessa, age 3, Jody's Daycare. 

"real zebra from the zoo", Santa!
Please bring me books, tomatoes and a big snowman.  Natalie Vescia, age 2Jody's Daycare. 

I would like a new vacuum and a race car. A green race car. I am a very nice boy at home. I also would like a telephone. Thanks.  Josh Reede, age 3, Jody's Daycare.

I am 5 and my friend Steve is writing this letter. I try to be a good boy almost all year long. Can you put a junior contractor kit in your sleigh for me this year? I have fun with saws and nails. I also want a baby sister to play with. I promise to be good and not eat too much cheese. Also a fishing pole. Thank you, Santa, Your friend,  Jimmy Wilson, age 5, Pacifica Tribune. 

I want to ask you about Batman and Robin. I hope you have a Batman house. Say hello to the reindeer.  Love, Declan Golden, age 3Pacifica Tribune. 

I've been a good boy this year. Except sometimes I've been bad. So this is some of the things I want: a water bed, lacross gear, drum set, electric guitar, $70 cash, flat bill hats.  Amador, age 9, Pacifica Tribune.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh