Monday, March 31, 2014

An alternative point of view on climate change

Some of you may think I'm a denier. To some extent, they're correct in that assumption. If you try to do any research you find info so contradictory to each other that it makes me wonder if we're looking at the same planet. Powerfull images make a case for calamity. Visually impressive, but if you don't read both sides and just looked at these pictures you'd be a believer in climate disaster too.
I guess you could call me a climate "skepticalier".

Jim Wagner

UN Panel: Warming worsens food, hunger problems

Mar. 31, 2014 5:25 AM EDT

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) — Global warming makes feeding the world harder and more expensive, a United Nations scientific panel said.

A warmer world will push food prices higher, trigger "hotspots of hunger" among the world's poorest people, and put the crunch on Western delights like fine wine and robust coffee, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded in a 32-volume report issued Monday.

"We're facing the specter of reduced yields in some of the key crops that feed humanity," panel chairman Rajendra Pachauri said in press conference releasing the report.

Even though heat and carbon dioxide are often considered good for plants, the overall effect of various aspects of man-made warming is that it will reduce food production compared to a world without global warming, the report said.

The last time the panel reported on the effects of warming in 2007, it said it was too early to tell whether climate change would increase or decrease food production, and many skeptics talked of a greening world. But in the past several years the scientific literature has been overwhelming in showing that climate change hurts food production, said Chris Field of the Carnegie Institution of Science and lead author of the climate report.


CA still talking about water reforms, scarcity and a bond tax to partially fix

San Jose Mercury News/Science and Environment/Paul Rogers, "California Drought:  After years of overpumping groundwater, state may be ready of reforms."  
The severity of California's current drought is illustrated in these images of Folsom Lake, a reservoir in Northern California located 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Sacramento.
Folsom Lake reservoir (25 miles NE Sacramento),
left: 7/20/11, right: 1/16/14

"For nearly 50 years, California has passed sweeping environmental laws that limit private property for the common good -- from the nation's toughest automobile pollution standards to curbs on clear-cutting forests to rules requiring that developers keep beaches open to the public.  However, when it comes to preserving one of the state's most critical and politically divisive resources -- billions of gallons of groundwater that are vital to farms and cities -- California lawmakers and voters have done almost nothing. 

....  Decades of intense pumping have dropped water tables dangerously low in places such as the San Joaquin Valley and Paso Robles. Scientific studies show that the ground is sinking in some places and that aquifers are at risk of running dry. 

"Some people have had the attitude that our groundwater will be here forever," said John Garner, who grows rice and walnuts on 600 acres in Glenn County, 80 miles north of Sacramento.  "But now they realize that 'Holy crow, we could have an impact here and to protect ourselves -- although not everybody is there yet -- they realize they probably really should start better management.'"  Read article, includes KSBW 8 (Salinas, CA) news video, 3:10 minutes.  

Note:  NASA Press release 2/25/14, and photograph from California Department of Water Resources (DWR). 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wall Street Journal - Climate Forecast: Muting the Alarm

The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will shortly publish the second part of its latest report, on the likely impact of climate change. Government representatives are meeting with scientists in Japan to sex up—sorry, rewrite—a summary of the scientists' accounts of storms, droughts and diseases to come. But the actual report, known as AR5-WGII, is less frightening than its predecessor seven years ago.

The 2007 report was riddled with errors about Himalayan glaciers, the Amazon rain forest, African agriculture, water shortages and other matters, all of which erred in the direction of alarm. This led to a critical appraisal of the report-writing process from a council of national science academies, some of whose recommendations were simply ignored. 

Others, however, hit home. According to leaks, this time the full report is much more cautious and vague about worsening cyclones, changes in rainfall, climate-change refugees, and the overall cost of global warming. 

It puts the overall cost at less than 2% of GDP for a 2.5 degrees Centigrade (or 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit) temperature increase during this century. This is vastly less than the much heralded prediction of Lord Stern, who said climate change would cost 5%-20% of world GDP in his influential 2006 report for the British government.

The forthcoming report apparently admits that climate change has extinguished no species so far and expresses "very little confidence" that it will do so. There is new emphasis that climate change is not the only environmental problem that matters and on adapting to it rather than preventing it. Yet the report still assumes 70% more warming by the last decades of this century than the best science now suggests. This is because of an overreliance on models rather than on data in the first section of the IPCC report—on physical science—that was published in September 2013.


Submitted by Jim Wagner

CA Senate unloads Yee baggage, broad Chow context, loose Pacifica connection

Leland Yee and Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow
San Francisco Chronicle/Willie Brown, 3/29/14. "CA Sen Yee's suspension a bid to quickly cleanse Capital." "Make no mistake, the state Senate vote to suspend Leland Yee and two other lawmakers was intended to stop the political bleeding as quickly as possible. It was a move by the body to protect itself, pure and simple. .... "... For the past 10 years, Yee has been a staunch Willie Brown basher, accusing me at every campaign stop of cronyism, corruption and "power broker" politics. But then that is classic Leland: bash you one day, then show up at your event and talk about how long you've been buddies.  I have to say, however, that he has always been an incredibly hard worker. He goes to every event. He says hello to everybody. And he answers everybody's questions the way they want them answered."  Read article.

RelatedSan Francisco Chronicle/Phil Matier and Andrew Ross, 3/29/14, "Yee case started in 2006 after killing of Chinatown leader."  The federal investigation that snared state Sen. Leland Yee and 25 others in a wide-ranging racketeering and corruption case was triggered by the 2006 slaying of San Francisco businessman and tong leader Allen Leung

....  As one of their first acts in trying to solve the murder, San Francisco police and the FBI staked out the swearing-in of Leung's successor, Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow, according to the 137-page affidavit made public following Yee's arrest Wednesday. Chow was a local Chinatown mobster who three years earlier had been released from federal prison after snitching out his former crime boss.  Leung had told police before his death that Chow had been trying to extort $100,000 from him and that he feared for his life, law enforcement sources tell us.

....  In 1992, law enforcement sources say, a federal wiretap revealed that Chow had planned to send three hit men to Boston to knock off a rival tong leader - only the attack was called off when he and his crew got wind that the FBI had caught on to their plan. Later that year, however, Chow and 14 Wo Hop To cohorts were busted for a home invasion robbery and for running a brothel in Pacifica. That one finally landed Chow behind bars."

Note:  Yee and Chow photographs from VEOOZ World/Alabama local news.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Participating McDonald's to offer free coffee for two weeks, from Monday 3/31/14

McDonalds FREE Small Coffee 300x178 FREE Small McCafe Coffee at McDonalds on 3/31 4/18
Let us know if the local McDonald's are participating
San Mateo Patch/Susan C. Schena, 3/29/14.  "McDonald's offers free coffee for 2 weeks in breakfast wars vs. Taco Bell. 

"McDonald's is firing back at Taco Bell for its new breakfast campaign. As a result ... free morning cup o' joe for you March 31 through April 13.

.... "Wake up and taste the free coffee! McCafé invites coffee drinkers across the U.S.

to stop by their local participating McDonald's restaurant for a freshly brewed small McCafé coffee during McDonald’s first-ever national Free Coffee Event, says the fast-food giant's corporate officials."

Free McCafé coffee is available during breakfast hours starting March 31 through April 13 in participating restaurants.   Read article, includes a CNN Money video, 1:48 minutes. 

Related Hunt 4 Freebies.  "Get a FREE Small McCafe Coffee at McDonald’s during breakfast hours starting March 31 – April 18 at participating locations. Before you head out give you local McDonald’s a call just to be sure they are participating." (Source:

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Tax time, a few deductions to consider or not

Tax filing?  I didn't think
to claim my parents
CNN Money/Blake Ellis, 3/26/14. "13 crazy tax deductions", #4 of 13 articles.

 "A 85-year-old woman from Massachusetts surprised tax preparer William Philbrick by trying to claim her parents as dependents on her tax return ... even though they were long deceased.

"When I questioned the exemptions, she whipped out the instructions and proceeded to go through the tests: no income, related to her, did not file a tax return [and weren't claimed as dependents by anyone else]," said Philbrick, senior vice president at Greenberg, Rosenblatt, Kull & Bitsoli, P.C.

While he thought the woman was pretty clever, Philbrick still turned down the deduction.

Related - Related: 10 tax audit red flags.

Note:  Not related photograph from  Diabetes diet dialogue, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to be 122 years old, died in 1997, Aries, France.

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Bicycle view riding down Devil's Slide Trail, and public transportation to the Park

Not racing you down this trail

View of the entire Trail.  "Coastsider joined the San Mateo County Parks Department’s media day for the new Devil’s Slide trail.  We recorded the descent from the top of the northern end of the slide to the south, coasting (almost) the whole way. We’ve added some notes to the video to give you some idea what the trip was like and what you’ll see on the trail. The video was recorded by Julia Parr, Age 12."  See bicycle view riding down Devil's Slide Trail by Julia Parr (video, 4:24 minutes).   Coastsider/Barry Parr, 3/25/14, "Video:  Coasting Devil's Slide."


Public transportation.  "Parking at the new Devil’s Slide trail is limited, but there are two options for Coastsider who can’t drive there, or would prefer not to. 

Pacifica's weekend shuttle
SamTrans Route 17 has new bus stops at the trail’s head at the south end of the tunnel. Route 17 runs on Highway 1 between Pescadero and the Linda Mar Park and Ride lot in Pacifica. The new bus stops, on either side of Highway 1, are marked with new signs, which include bus stop identification numbers. The unique ID number can be used to get real-time bus departure information from 511 and  Just call 511 and say “departures” and give the stop ID number.

The city of Pacifica offers a weekend shuttle which runs roughly hourly from various spots in town. See the schedule on the city’s website. The iPacifica app tracks the shuttle in real-time via GPS as it follows its route through 17 stops from the Devil’s Slide Trail at the south to Oceana Terrace / Good Shepherd in the north. More information is on the Devil’s Slide Ride Facebook Page."  Coastsider/Barry Parr, 3/27/14.  "SamTrans and Pacifica provide public transportation to the Devil's Slide trail." 

Note photographs - Bicycle riders on Devil's Slide Trail trail from a KQED/Science article, 3/25/14, and the transportation shuttle from the SamTrans/Pacifica route Coastsider article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Weather depressing you this morning?

Pedro Point never looked so good
"Even though we haven't had our fair-share of rotten weather, and although we appreciate the needed rain, today just seems unnecessary bleak.  

How about a little cheering up from,"Paw de Deux" by Will Branden?  (video, 2: 6 minutes.)  Yes, the video is cat depression philosophy, but sometimes you already know what your cat is thinking."

Related -  The hourly weather forecast indicates the rain will clear-up soon.

Note:  photograph from Brian Flaherty, looks like Pacifica, but its actually Crystal Springs.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Worried that changing times may be hurting our important local newspaper

Newsstand Tribune is available,
subscribing is better
 Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 3/26/14,  "How can Pacificans help the Tribune?" by Victor Spano

Waiting for Tribune all week,
news worth reading
Editor:  The Pacifica Tribune is a valued member of the Pacifica community.

I have lived in other towns and when local papers go out of publication, the sense of community is much less. I have talked with many in town who feel our paper is really struggling. Fewer subscribers, less advertising, outsourcing staff and changing times are cited as reasons.

The loss of the Tribune would be a shame, as the Tribune is unique in providing coverage of local politics, local opinions, sports and other happenings. I don't want to see our Tribune go the way of the Daly City Record, San Bruno Herald or South San Francisco Enterprise Journal. How can we as residents help the Pacifica Tribune?"

Note photographs:  Woman reading newspaper from I love newspapers.  News paper vending machines from Flickr, "George Kelly vending machines".

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, March 28, 2014

Climate Change Committee gone nuclear

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 3/25/14.  "Self-directed Armageddon" by Jim Wagner
Self-directed citywide financial Armageddon,
you mean this "good stuff" costs us money?

Editor:  The Climate Action Plan committee and the city council held a study session Wednesday March 5. The draft plan is loaded with little mandates to lower Pacifica's carbon footprint. It has lots of charts and makes a lot of claims about the dire straights we are in due to global warming.

Whether you are in the climate change camp or are still undecided, this "plan" will cripple Pacifica's economy even further. There are residential retrofits, commercial retrofits, garbage police, school start changes, school districts forced to buy buses, and much more.  Pacifica is staggering under an anemic economy now, this wish list will bring Pacifica to her knees.

It appears this report was written with no thought what so ever to the costs involved for the people being forced to comply. When asked by council how much this stuff would cost the committee had no numbers. Pacifica deserves to have a full economic impact report done on the cost per component so that a cost/benefit analysis can be conducted. This is overkill citywide. These mandates go far beyond what is mandated by the state. Pacifica can not afford this and the vast majority of people in this town do not want this.

Note:  graphic from  NABNYC blog.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, March 27, 2014

San Mateo County Parks will do its best to maintain Devil's Slide trail

Someone say,"dogs on leash?"
Half Moon Bay Review/Julia Reis, 3/27/14.  "Devil's slide trail will cost $500,000 a year."

"When San Mateo County Parks officials unveil their newest recreational gem with the opening of Devil’s Slide Trail on Thursday, they will do so knowing that it will cost nearly half a million dollars a year to keep it pristine and safe.

Much of the trail’s operating costs result from salaries and benefits for two additional park rangers for the Midcoast, totaling $95,000 each. But there are numerous expenses for equipment that will keep the trail free of large rocks and maintenance required to keep the stretch of road paved and even.

Annual crack sealing, patching and paving of the trail, for example, is estimated to cost $80,000. That is the cost expected for clearing large rocks and cleaning inside the curbs. Keeping the toilets working comes with an annual price tag of $42,500, which accounts for regular toilet pumping and bathroom necessities. Removal of the nonnative pampas grass and possible monthly weed eradication will cost $40,000."  Read article.

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Note: photograph by Michael Short, #7 of 30 from the San Francisco Chronicle, 3/26/14 article, "Devil's Slide, once hellish, opens Thursday as heavenly trail."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Devil's Slide trail opens today, the geology

Caltrans photo
Old coastal highway becomes a trail
KQED/Quest/the science of sustainability/Andrew Alden, 3/28/13. "The rocks of Devil's Slide"

"With the opening of the Lantos Tunnel this week at the notorious Devil's Slide on state Route 1, the work is not finished. The winding, vertiginous old road and the 70 acres of land it sits on will be handed over to San Mateo County, which has pledged to give it a makeover and splice it into the California Coastal Trail, adding a new attraction to the Devil's Slide Coast. The facilities will include parking lots at each end, water, bathrooms, trash bins, rails and pedestrian crossings.

Hikers and bicyclists will be thrilled with the high views up and down the coast. They may feel a tickle as they look at the surf hundreds of feet below. And some of them will feel curiosity as they look inland at the sides of the road, about 1.3 miles of it, that they could never stop and see before.

This stretch of road passes through two very different sets of rocks. The south end is the granite of Montara Mountain; I showed you some of this at Quarry Park in El Granada, a bit farther south, in 2011. It holds up the rugged headlands around the tunnel's mouth. It dates from Cretaceous time, just like the granite in the Sierra Nevada—and in fact it's the same stuff, ripped out of the range and pulled northward here by the San Andreas fault. The same granite is found as far north as Bodega Head and south to San Luis Obispo County (including Pinnacles and Fremont Peak, part of a sliver of tectonic plate that geologists know as the Salinian block."  Read more.

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Note:  photograph from the above KQED article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BREAKING: Common Sense Prevails in San Francisco Board of Supervisor Vote on Sharp Park

Photo: Thomas Levinson, The Chronicle  
 It was a big win for Sharp Park supporters at City Hall yesterday.

The Chron's coverage features a terribly inaccurate headline. The work approved for the course is not in spite of the frogs and snakes as the headline suggests, but specifically to improve the habitat for the frogs and snakes:
Frogs, snakes can't stop Sharp Park Golf Course construction
Marisa Lagos
"Construction at Sharp Park Golf Course will move forward after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday rejected environmentalists' concerns that the project will threaten the frogs and snakes that call the course home. The Pacifica golf course, which is managed by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, is home to the threatened California red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake. Built in 1932 by famed golf course architect Alister MacKenzie, Sharp Park for years has been a point of contention between golfers and conservationists, who want to see it shut down so the land can be used as a sanctuary for the wild creatures.

On Tuesday, environmentalists - led by the Wild Equity Institute - made another effort to force the parks department to conduct a full environmental impact report of the project. They contend the work will hurt the animals' environment, while the city says it will improve habitat for the frogs and snakes. The proposed project involves clearing reeds and sediment from a pond and waterway, doing construction around a pumping station, and digging a new, small pond on the site.

Environmental impact reports are costly and can take months to complete.  The work has been approved by the Recreation and Park Commission and the Planning Commission. The board voted 7-4 to allow it to move forward without an environmental study, with Supervisors Jane Kim, Eric Mar, John Avalos and David Campos voting no."
 Doesn't seem like much. A 7-4 vote by the Board of Supervisors for - by any measure - a small project to improve both the frog habitat and golf infrastructure at Sharp Park. Its significance is this - We finally have a project at Sharp Park that has completed it's tortuous path through the bowels of City government, will move forward, and actually do something useful for the park.

Also significant - The political arena at the Board of Supervisors level is exactly where the future of Sharp Park is most vulnerable. This is where we lost a 6-5 vote in December of 2011 and Sharp Park was saved only by a Mayor Ed Lee veto. That is what makes this 7-4 victory so significant. Two votes shifted from votes against the course in 2011 to votes for the course yesterday. And the specific votes that shifted were significant in and of themselves. London Breed filled Ross Mirkarimi's seat in district 5 and voted for the course.  Mirkarimi spearheaded the "Destroy Sharp Park" forces when he was a supervisor. David Chiu is President of the Board of Supervisors and  my Supervisor in District 3. He voted against the course in 2011 and voted for it yesterday.

It was a small victory on a small project, but the Sharp Park haters threw everything but the kitchen sink at this to try and kill it. They know a politically motivated Board of Supervisor decision was where they have their greatest strength. And they lost. Again. Common sense finally prevailed.

Of course it's not over. The ex-CBD attorney who founded WEI already stated he will be filing another lawsuit against the City over this decision. So what else is new? We know the lawsuits will never end and we know the reason why.  But, so far, they always lose in court. The vote by the Board of Supervisors was their best chance to prevail, and they lost. This outcome may very well mean that the tide has turned. Good for the California Red Legged Frog. Good for the San Francisco Garter Snake. Good for fans of the landmark Alister MacKenzie golf course. Good for San Francisco. Good for Pacifica. Bad for Wild Equity Insitute.

Mike Wallach
Fix Pacifica Foreign Correspondent
San Francisco Bureau
Cross-Posted from MW Mobile Blog