Friday, September 2, 2016

Immediate City Council policy is needed to protect our coast

Pacifica Tribune/My Turn/Quarry update 9/1/16, "Shoreline protection needed now" by Jim Wagner and Mark Stechbart

"A City Council decision on a shoreline protection policy is needed in the next five weeks. Coastal erosion will get worse in coming years. Pacifica homes, businesses and critical infrastructure are in danger of being flooded if nothing is done. Millions of dollars of our property value could be lost.

Image result for Coastal storm erosion Pacifica, CA picture
Living on the edge in Pacifica, lives
and City infrastructure are affected.
Two committees are studying the coastside erosion situation and will make technical and funding recommendations soon. One group comprises the US Army Corps of Engineers with various state agencies involved. The second consists of San Mateo County.

Image result for Coastal storm erosion Pacifica, CA pictureThe problem is Pacifica does not have a Council policy on ocean erosion protection. To make matters worse, some elements in town actually support the idea of “managed retreat” which sounds warm and fuzzy. In reality it’s a very dangerous idea. “Managed retreat” really means no government intervention and we all step back and let Mother Nature take her course. Another phrase for “managed retreat” is catastrophic ocean erosion. That means homes are lost, roads cut, sewer and water lines destroyed or moved at a huge taxpayer cost.

In the absence of a Council policy, Pacifica Council member John Keener has been attending meetings where he toys with the idea of managed retreat. People attending these planning meetings really cannot tell which side of the issue Councilman Keener is on: protect Pacifica homes and businesses or let erosion chew through town.

Image result for Coastal storm erosion Pacifica, CA pictureHere’s the danger—the shoreline is susceptible to erosion from Pacifica’s northern boundary to south of the golf course. Rockaway has problems. Linda Mar is exposed. Of special concern is everything west of and including Highway 1. Thousands of residents, 75% of Pacifica businesses (most of the hotels), our golf course and most of the city infrastructure—sewer lines, water, telecommunications—are involved. Remember the Esplanade apartments eroding into surf and being torn down? A large portion of our affordable, workforce housing is in this area.

Some of the areas mentioned are protected by rock revetments or a seawall. But these features need maintenance. Unprotected areas in town will need installed rock. Any gaps in shoreline protection give ocean erosion a path to threaten town.

If the north end of town erodes, the middle school, trailer park, French bakery and Palmetto are affected. If for some reason the Beach Blvd seawall is not rebuilt or maintained, the central part of town is gone. If the golf course berm is abandoned, erosion approaches Highway 1 real fast and the Fairway and south Palmetto neighborhoods are in trouble.

We have talked to a number of homeowners and businesses. They are very concerned their property values will take big hit. Their view is “managed retreat” is a code word for give up—on their homes and the town itself. Without firm protection measures in place, property owners seeking to sell will have to disclose fairly soon the erosion threat to their property. Who would buy anything under that Westhreat? But if you are in the east side of town, at elevation, you also would see home values decline. If Pacifica becomes known as The Town Eroding into the Sea, who will buy anywhere in a dying town, with travel out of town on Highway 1 in jeopardy of ocean erosion, with its central core falling apart and infrastructure damaged?

The technology to protect our shoreline and our homes exists, but we need the leadership. The clock is ticking. City Council must adopt a policy that says Pacifica will pursue all available resources and grants from federal, state, county and local sources to protect our shoreline, homes, businesses and infrastructure. We need to tell these committees where Pacifica stands.
Let’s support Congresswoman Jackie Speier in her ongoing work to fund the Beach Blvd. seawall repair. Let’s join Senator Jerry Hill, Assemblyman Mullin and Supervisor Horsley as they advocate for a protected Pacifica in front of these two study committees.

Above all, reject managed retreat. No one suggests SFO, 101 or Google offices be subjected to “managed retreat.” Neither should Pacifica.
Jim Wagner has been a resident of Pacifica for 42 years. He is a former planning commissioner and the chair of the Pacifica Business and Community PAC. Mark Stechbart is a 30-year Park Pacifica resident. He is active in ballot measures to support schools and library."
Permission has been received to post the joint authors' article (above) in its entirety.

Note photographs. Apartments by Dave Kent (YouTube video 1:17 minutes/ABC News/Meghan Keneally, 1/26/16, "Dramatic photos show apartments just feet away from falling into the ocean.".  Waves by John Green, Bay Area News Group, from Daily Republic/Associated Press, Fairfield-Susun, CA, 1/24/16, "Pacifica declares local emergency after damage to sea wall." Erosion by fenced land area by Michelle Roberts from NBC News /Michelle Roberts, 1/14/16, includes video 2:03 minutes, "El NiƱo accelerating Bay Area beach erosion." 

 Posted by Kathy Meeh


Anonymous said...

If Keener cannot figure out a solution and recognize losing shoreline is crippling to town, he should be removed from these committees and meetings. He does not represent me.

Anonymous said...

The guy who wrote this supports the library in an active flood zone.

Anonymous said...

Let's remember that Digre is attempting to sit on the fence on this issue. She just can't figure out how to reconcile compassionate care for people and the loyalty of all of her eco wacko supporters.
What a dilemna!
Frogs vs people. Rent control vs wiping out thousands of homes.

Anonymous said...

Keener is evil. He flat out doesn't care about what the costs are. He's said that before. If his hand picked candidate, Martin, wins Sue won't be able to figure out what is happening and will read the script Keener writes for her. This election is pivotal for Pacifica. Will we be known as the town that let its neighborhoods fall into the ocean!

Sharon said...

It's all good! Right? Who cares about the infrastructure west of the highway? Sewer service - don't need it, install outhouses, everyone east of the highway has a backyard they can do that in right? Communications - install a few more cell phone towers. Electrical - buy your own generator. Water ummm truck it in, Flint, MI been doing it for a while now. I'm sure they are surviving OK. As for the froggies, they can run right thru Plater's critter tunnel since the golfers won't need it anymore. Oh and all ya all out there looking forward to destroying the golf course and turning it into your dream park, forget about it, I guess you'll get more beach front. You can just park and surf right off the highway.

Anonymous said...

The City Manager has taken all necessary steps for outside funding sources.It takes time.If flooding occurs,just clean up!

Anonymous said...

John Keener, Sue Digre, Deirdre Martin, Bob Battallio, all support "managed retreat" for West Sharp Park.
This is a reckless and dangerous policy that will not only destroy the neighborhoods, it will financially kill all of Pacifica.

Steve Sinai said...

"The guy who wrote this supports the library in an active flood zone."

I don't recall the site of the proposed library ever flooding. And the consultant hired by the city to study the area said it wasn't in danger from flooding.

Anonymous said...


Before the city put in the retaining wall.

Prof Irwin Corey said...

Paying attention to the consultant isn't convenient to their argument. When have these zealots ever cared for facts!6000 housing unit west of Hwy 1 and our infrastructure and historical sites. In the way. Let 'em go. Nuts. Just Nuts.

Anonymous said...

the active flood post at 753AM is deliberate misinformation. Or a sign of a severely misguided agenda. Or someone with a closed mind already made up...Doubletalk like this is so damaging to efforts in this town to move Pacifica forward. If the geotech report does not match your shutdown agenda, you don't believe the experts.
city report is here.

Overspray at the seawall means you get wet standing there. No flooding. You have to maintain the seawall, just like you maintain your house, any infrastructure. A no-brainer for most people. Keener apparently on another page somewhere.

The same geotech guy testified at Council and shut Keener down. Will have web link shortly.

Anonymous said...

"before the city put in the retaining wall". You know of course, if you want to go on the way back machine we could talk about our coastline out to about where the Farallon Islands are now. Doesn't make any sense in my timeline or anyone walking the earth now or for the next 200 centuries. The truth of the matter is, Keener and his proxies want to take the golf course and any tactic is OK. Any tactic. This will destroy Pacifica as a city, pure and simple

Anonymous said...

If you want to know what Bob Battalio actually thinks, you should watch his talk at the sea level rise forum last April. You can see it here:

His talk begins at the 43 minute mark, but his breakdown of Pacifica's options begins at the 1 hour mark and last 10 minutes. It is required viewing if you are to have an informed opinion of his views (hint: they are nothing like the caricature offered here on fixPacifica).

Kathy Meeh (save our City from Mother Nature, and NIMBIES) said...

1213, thanks for the link to the Pacifica sea level rise forum, 3/24/16, 1 hour, 52 minutes, and your clue to tune-in Bob Battalio at 1 hour for 10 minutes, (which is followed by Joshua Cosgrove, President North County Water District board.
Informed facts, and opinion are valued here. Consider next time submitting an article, which would include your name.

The City has also brought-in qualified professionals to evaluate our coastal area, including Beach Blvd, and the related areas north and south.
I believe Bob Battalio said, "maintain Beach Blvd, which is CA State owned (?),... we did not consider the sewer lines", etc., more comments from about 1:30. Josh Cosgrove considered the WWTP, water and sewer lines.

Of course, we have had decades of experience with local NIMBIES, and the Gang of No shows up at City Council, fights City development, progress, infrastructure, creates lawsuits, etc.

Anonymous said...

Excellent talk by Battalio. He goes over each of Pacifica's problem areas and shows which options are available to deal with expected sea level rise through 2100. Sand enrichment, artificial reefs and hard armoring all have their place, but no matter how much effort and expense is exerted, some erosion is inevitable and should be planned for, which is the actual definition of managed retreat. Scientific expertise has been rebranded into environmental extremism by fear mongers warning us that all of our coastal houses will be destroyed, which has nothing to do with reality.

Larry said...

All well and good 7:35 but if it's your house that is eroding all this BS about managed retreat goes out the window. Keener has said on the record that he will not vote to fund ANYTHING west of Hwy 1. That's pretty clear. Martin is this band's hand picked yes girl and we all know Digre has everything scripted by Keener and Bohner. Not real reassuring. They are extremists. Period!

Anonymous said...

7:35 Thanks for your rational comment. Now prepare to be trashed by the extremists who say that managed retreat means the destruction of Pacifica.

Anonymous said...

Batallio is spinning a politically palpable happy speech. Ask him the point blank question "Do you favor a seawall being built along Beach Blvd north of the pier?" If he is truthful with you, his answer will be "NO". Ask him why not, he will say, "Sea Level Rise is inevitable and it will eventually inundate all coastal land west of Highway One. We should retreat and not put resources into areas that are doomed to erosion and flooding." He will also add that, "If you armor one part of the coast it causes beach erosion downstream which is another reason to not build a seawall on Beach Blvd." Obviously Deirdre Martin is a student of his because this is the same language she uses to avoid verbalizing the lightning-rod phrase "managed retreat". Instead she calls it "Saving the Beach". The big problem with this back-asswards story is that the northern seawall, the pier, the southern seawall and the earthen berms along the golf course have all been in place for over 30 years. Newsflash! Sharp Park Beach is the biggest beach with the most sand in all of Pacifica. That contradicts the erosion theory that Battallio is pushing to scare everyone. Also of note, Batallio is the professional engineer who provides all the erosion data to Brent Plater of The Wild Equity Institute. If you don't know who he is, he's the serial litigating attorney who continues to sue to shut down Sharp Park Golf Course. He wants to halt maintenance of the earthen berms so they will breach and flood the entire golf course and the surrounding neighborhoods to provide habitat for red legged frogs. I believe he is on his third failed lawsuit for which he then bills the taxpayers for his fees. Bob Batallio is his hired gun on this money making scheme. Bob's a Vallemar local, so if you see him in Safeway or surfing in Linda Mar ask him these questions directly and if he is honest you will learn what this guy is really all about and why he and his followers (Keener and Martin) are very dangerous threats to Pacifica.

Anonymous said...

912 As if Pacifica has a dime to spend on this. It's up to the Feds. Seems like all the ducks are lined up to ask, Horsely, Hill, Spier. When have we ever said no thanks to federal funds?