Thursday, March 31, 2016

Public survey results may mean many things, San Carlos, CA

San Mateo Daily Journal/Staff/3/27/16, "Survey: San Carlos residents feeling 'satisfied'."

"The latest 'satisfaction survey' of San Carlos residents show that 96 percent of residents feel the quality of life in the city is good or excellent and that 83 percent feel satisfied with the job the city is doing.  .... When it comes to quality of life, 47 percent reported it excellent while 49 percent reported it good. Just 4 percent indicated the quality of life was fair and less than 1 percent said it was poor or very poor.

Image result for Magic picture
Happy report to City of
San Carlos: 83% of residence are
satisfied with city performance.
Image result for Magic picture
96% of residents think this rabbit trick is
"good or excellent"; but 49% of those think
the rabbit trick is only good, not excellent.
....  Respondents were less satisfied with the city’s efforts to manage traffic congestion on city streets, 57 percent; provide public parking, 64 percent; and maintain local streets, 72 percent, according to the survey.  .... When it comes to traffic, just over half, 54 percent, of residents rated traffic circulation overall in the city as excellent or good, with 40 percent providing similar ratings for traffic circulation on major streets.

Related to growth, about half, 49 percent, of residents surveyed felt that the pace of development in San Carlos has proceeded at about the right pace in the past three years. ....  Respondents were divided on their opinion of mixed-use development, with 57 percent saying there is about the right amount or having no opinion, 21 percent indicating there is too little and 22 percent saying there is too much, according to the survey."  Read article.

Reference, the research company.  True North Research, aka: True North Insights (Research Marketing, Consulting, Coaching).  From Truth North Research. "True North is a full-service survey research firm dedicated to providing public and private entities with a clear understanding of the opinions, perceptions, priorities, and behaviors of their residents, voters, customers, employees, and stakeholders." ...  Then again, Yelp/True North Research/Marketing, 1 star, 1 review.  James M., San Diego. "Waste of money. ... The reports I read are long, have lots of numbers and words, but are mostly just fluff. .... What a wasted opportunity to learn some real insights. ... " 

Reference, population sampling on line and by telephone.  Suburban Stats, San Carlos, California Population 2016, 2015: 28,406.  The survey included 700 participants, thus the sampling included 2.46% residents.  Related, the city. City of San Carlos.  Facebook.  Wikipedia.    Note graphic and photograph. Hat from Ann Roth, romance author, "Pocket full of ... Magic, 9/8/14.  Rabbit by GK Hart/Vikki Hart/Getty images from The Guardian, UK/Elisabeth Mahoney, 7/30/10, "Radio review: Magic people and places." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

NCCWD explains the quality and testing of our water

Pacifica Tribune/Local Views/Cari Lemke, North Coast County Water District General Manager/week of 3/16/16. "Water quality and safety."  Print copy only, page A6, continued on B8.

"The Flint, Michigan water crisis has understandably made people concerned about their own town's water safety.  As the general manager for North Coast County Water District, I would like to convey to the public that the lead contamination seen in Flint is a tragedy, and something we strive to prevent ever happening in Pacifica. Water quality and safety has been and remains our number one priority since 1944.  

Image result for drinking water picture
Okay I'm drinking this stuff.
Image result for drinking water picture
So much better for you than soda.
Image result for drinking water picture
Hey, you've got a water leak!
....  The North Coast County Water District complies with very strict regulations of water safety, following state and federal standards, including EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Drinking Water (formerly California Department of Public Health) guidelines. Our certified laboratory, equipment and logs are inspected annually. The State-mandated Consumer Confidence Report is generated each July and mailed to every customer and property owner in Pacifica. Within this report, lead and copper testing results are disclosed. A regulation which was established by the EPA in 1991, the Lead and Copper Rule, requires agencies to monitor drinking water at customer taps. The rule states, if lead concentrations exceed an action level of 15 ppb (parts per billion) or copper concentrations exceed an action level of 1.3 ppm (1300 ppb) in more that 10% of of customer taps sampled, the system must undertake a number of additional actions to control corrosion.

To meet the terms of the EPA's Lead and Copper Rule, the District must collect 30 samples from the State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Drinking Water pre-approved list of test sites within Pacifica. These sample sites include residences throughout Pacifica. Using the 90th percentile reading formulated by the 30 samples, the most recent lead results were 2.9 ppb, well below the EPA standard 15 ppb. Copper test results taken at the same time were 78 ppb, also well below the 1300 ppb standard.

Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. There are no known lead service lines in our water distribution system.We are responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in home plumbing components. If yo are concerned about lead levels in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Additional information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the US EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline 800-426-4791, (or visit the reference US EPA Basic Information link below)."

Reference. North Coast County Water District.  Facebook.  US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), "Basic information about lead in drinking water."

Related. US EPA/Learn the issues, "Clean Water Rule. Clear Protection for Clean Water." "Streams and wetlands matterStreams and wetlands form the foundation of our nation’s water resources. Clean water upstream means cleaner water flowing into rivers, lakes, bays, and coastal waters. What the Rule does: The rule ensures that waters protected under the Clean Water Act are more precisely defined, more predictably determined, and easier for businesses and industry to understand. What the Rule does not do: The rule does not protect any new types of waters, regulate most ditches, apply to groundwater, create any new permitting requirements for agriculture, or address land use or private property rights." 

Note photographs.  Boy from Healthy Child Advocacy/Megan Boyle/8/20/15.  Filling water pitcher facepage image to Wisconsin Watch/Silke Schmidt and Dee J. Hall, 2/1/16, "Lead pipes, antiquated law threaten Wisconsin's drinking water quality." Cat drinking water image from Buzz Hunt/UK/

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Effort to control retirement costs, UC Regents

Image result for Retirement pictures
Let's see if I put away 10 cents
today, and don't spend it tomorrow
The Sacramento Bee/Associated Press/Janie Har, 3/24/16. "UC Regents approve retirement plan aimed at cutting costs."
warren buffett
Retirement? Not for me.

The Board of Regents of the University of California on Thursday approved a retirement plan for new employees that President Janet Napolitano says will save the fiscally shaky system a significant amount of money. The retirement plan would apply to future employees hired on or after July 1. It caps how much of salary can be used to calculate pension benefits, with anything above the annual salary cap of $117,020 going to a 401k plan. New employees also could opt to put all of their retirement into a 401k.

The retirement plan is part of a 2015 budget agreement that gave the university system $436 million to help pay down the system's massive unfunded pension liabilities. In return, Napolitano agreed to implement a pension cap in line with other state employees.  She says the changes will save the system about $99 million a year, on average, over the next 15 years. The plan would not affect current employees, of which there are roughly 200,000 on 10 campuses, five medical centers and other offices throughout the state.

Image result for Retirement pictures
UC has provided great
retirement benefits.
Registered nurses were among critics who urged the board Thursday to reject the plan, saying it would hurt the quality of patient care and reduce the system's ability to recruit staff.  Critics also objected to a provision that grants a more generous contribution from the university system to faculty but not to staff. Employees generally prefer traditional pension plans that guarantee a fixed monthly income, but the trend in recent decades has been toward 401k plans that may not be so secure for retirees."

Related. Redhawk Research/Green Money/Jennifer, 2/27/13, Who's paying for your retirement?".
"All the recent surveys are pointing to the fact that the world is horribly unprepared for retirement.  Globally, when taking the years expected to be in retirement, combined with the amount of money needed there is a 56% shortfall in retirement savings.  That’s a huge amount!  Who is going to pay for aging people around the world to live out their retirement?

Photographs Man counting change from the related Redhawk Research. Couple from Art Bistro/Kim Lankford. Warren Buffett by AP Images Business Insider, 11/11/15.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Warm seasonal greetings from Mexico

USA Today/David Agren, 3/27/16.  "Mexicans burn effigies of Trump in Easter ritual."

Image result for Trump effigy burned in Mexico picture
  Donald Trump was a very
popular "evil" effigy burn this year.
Image result for picture of Donald Trump
"Mexicans like me.."
"MEXICO CITY — This country's artisans usually set fire to effigies of unpopular Mexican politicians in their “burning of Judas” ritual every Easter weekend. This year, the politician they love to hate the most is an American: Donald Trump .... “Every year they pick some corrupt politician, but this year it had to be Trump,” said Julio César Rodríguez, 26, a nurse who watched the burning of Judas in Mexico City. “He’s an obvious choice. He’s a bad person.”

 ....  Other effigies included recently recaptured drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, President Enrique Peña Nieto, a devil branded with an Islamic State logo, Pope Francis and President Obama.  “(Obama) really hasn’t done much for the region,” said artisan Leonardo Linares, who made the image of the president and whose family has been making and burning Judas figures for five generations.  

....  “It’s something closer to humor than political protest,” said Ilán Semo, political historian at the Iberoamerican University. “Humor has always given a little space for blowing off steam. This is critical, but it’s humor.”....  For two decades, Mexico's establishment courted better economic and security ties with the United States, said historian Semo. “They bet everything on free trade. Then one day, a member of this (U.S.) establishment attacked them for internal electoral purposes. They don’t get that here.”  Read article.

Related article,  Reuters/Mexico City/Henry Romero and Tomas Bravo, 3/27/16, "Mexicans burn Donald Trump effigies in Easter." "The burning is part of a widespread Mexican Holy Week tradition where neighborhoods burn effigies to represent Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ according to the Bible. The effigies are often modeled on unpopular political figures. .... Donald Trump, the front-runner to win the Republican nomination for the Nov. 8 election, has drawn fire in Mexico with his campaign vow to build a wall along the southern U.S. border to keep out illegal immigrants and drugs, and to make Mexico pay for it. ....  Trump, who has also aroused concern among many in his own party with his proposals, has accused Mexico of sending rapists and drug runners across the border and vowed to increase fees on some Mexican visas and all border crossing cards to help make Mexico pay for the wall."  

Note Donald trump photograph/graphic/effigy.  Feathers from Gawker/Andy Cush, 9/16/15, "What Donald Trump Actually Stands For: An Investigation."  Donald Trump effigy by Yuri Cortez/AFP/Getty Images from NBC 6 South Florida, "Mexicans Burn Donald Trump Effigies in Easter Ritual. Trump effigies burned across Mexico, from Puebla to Mexico's industrial hub Monterrey."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, March 28, 2016

Apple iPhone unlocked by FBI

Los Angeles Times/Joel Rubin, Contact Reporter, "FBI unlocks San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, drops Apple legal fight."

"Federal officials said Monday that they have unlocked the iPhone belonging to one of the San Bernardino shooters and are dropping a request in front of a federal judge that sought to  force Apple  to help with that effort.

Image result for cracking syber code picture
FBI hired 3rd-party to
unlock the terrorist iPhone
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Apple customer crime privacy vs. FBI
Image result for Apple iPhone being dropped picture
Cracked the code
The move comes a week after officials announced a "third party" had come forward to help investigators unlock the phone without help from the computer giant. It's unclear what the FBI found on the phone.  "Our decision to conclude the litigation was based solely on the fact that, with the recent assistance of a third party, we are now able to unlock that iPhone without compromising any information on the phone," prosecutors said in a statement."  Read more. 

Related articleSan Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate/Associated Press/Technology/Tami Abdollah and Brandon Bailey, 3/28/16, "Justice Department cracks iPhone; withdraws legal action." ....  Apple was headed for a courtroom showdown with the government last week, until federal prosecutors abruptly asked for a postponement so they could test a potential solution that was brought to them by a party outside of the U.S. government the previous weekend.  .... The withdrawal of the court process also takes away Apple's ability to legally request details on the method the FBI used in this case."

Note graphic and photographics.  Scales facepage image from CNN Money, 3/3/16, "Who's with Apple and who's with the FBI."  Eye from Cyber Security Daily.  Cracking an I phone  by Fone Fox from The Guardian news/US Edition 9/28/15, "iPhone 6S: bent, scratched, dropped and dunked in water - how durable is it?" 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Highway 1 road work through June, 2016, Montara

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Montara road work on Highway 1, 3/28/16-6/30/16.
Half Moon Bay Review/Julia Reis, 3/24/16.  "Emergency work along Highway 1 to start Monday." Between 9th and 10th streets.

....  Caltrans will begin embankment and drainage repairs on Highway 1 in Montara on Monday, work that is necessary to prevent an eroding slope from impacting the roadway. 

.... After Tuesday, the repair work will happen weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. At this point work will take place behind a temporary barrier with no planner traffic control, but some evening and weekend work is possible. .... Construction activities will continue through June. Speed will be reduced to 35 miles per hour through the construction zone.  Read more, includes map.

Note:  photograph from Summit Post organization.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Vote Yes on Measure D - Pacifica School District Parcel Tax


Posted by Steve Sinai

Bay Area housing crisis fueled by (NIMBY) greed, study finds

March 10, 2016 Updated: March 10, 2016 8:18pm

There are numerous reasons why the Bay Area has a housing crisis. The reason we most often hear about is the influx of new residents to the area. The one we hardly think about, however, can be found in our own collective backyards.

“Not In My Back Yard” is a phrase that’s been used quite often in California over the last 30 years, usually as a precursor to challenge, block, delay or kill construction projects across the state. And NIMBY activists’ bludgeoning tool of choice is the California Environmental Quality Act. Like NIMBY, it’s better known by its acronym: CEQA.

The spirit behind the state’s environmental law is sound, but its application in all manner of building proposals is not, experts say, and decades of abuse has punched a good-sized hole in the state’s housing stock.

“It (CEQA) has been abused in this state for 30 years by people who use it when it has nothing to do with an environmental reason,” said Carol Galante, faculty director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Galante spoke to me by phone as she traveled to Sacramento to provide testimony on the housing crisis to the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee.

“NIMBY-ism is connected to the fact that for everyone who owns their little piece of the dream, there’s no reason to want development next door to them,” she said.

“CEQA gives them a tool to effectuate their interest,” she said. “It’s a sense of entitlement that comes with an incentive, because it makes their property worth more money.”

That’s downright disgusting. It’s an entitlement fueled more by greed and selfishness than any legitimate environmental claim.

In a study released in August by the San Francisco law firm of Holland & Knight, lawyers researched three years of state Environmental Quality Act challenges and came up with some startling findings.

Among them, the study found that 49 percent of all CEQA filings target taxpayer-funded projects.

The usual targets are transit and renewable-energy projects often approved to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental quality. It found that 80 percent of such filings challenged urban in-fill projects. And the most frequently targeted private sector development is housing.

“CEQA has been singled out as one of the key causes of runaway housing prices and as a major reason California has fallen far behind other states in creating, retaining and on-shoring the middle-class manufacturing jobs that have helped create a manufacturing renaissance in other states,” said Jennifer Hernandez, head of the law firm’s West Coast Land Use and Environment Group and lead author of the study.

The study offered possible remedies: requiring anyone filing a new lawsuit under CEQA to state their environmental concerns, eliminating duplicate lawsuits for plans and projects that have already won approval, preserving the right of environmental review and public comment, and scaling back court-ordered invalidation of project approvals that harm health, destroy tribal resources or threaten the environment.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if suburban sprawl is blocked for environmental concerns, and open lands are protected and urban in-fill is limited, it’s going to be very difficult to provide housing of any kind, except for the very wealthy.

If the Bay Area’s housing crunch is a byproduct of overzealous use of environmental law fueled by no-growth supporters, it’s the responsibility of the local and state elected officials to change that, even if means adopting measures to rein in state environmental laws, which were passed to preserve our environment, not bar the door to all new growth.

“We need to fundamentally rethink how the CEQA process works in this state,” Galante said. “I’m an academic. I say it like I see it, and this is a major issue that needs to be tackled.”

Posted by Steve Sinai

Reminder City Council meeting tonight Monday, March 28, 2016

The bunny holiday is done.
Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor. Or view on local television or live feed Pacific Coast TV. If you missed meetings, view on PCT26 YouTube!  The city council meeting begins at 7 p.m., or shortly there following. City Council updates and archives are available on the City Council website.

9.     Recognition naming and renaming of public facilities.
10.   City Council work plan, FY 2015-16.
11.    Hotel developer selection update, 2212 Beach Blvd.

Note graphic from Barbara Benton blog. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter, Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mirror News, UK/Ian Leonard, Jon Dean, 3/26/16. "Easter 2016: Key facts for Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday."

Can you find the EGG amongst the bunnies?
Egg hunt, good luck!
Image result for Easter Bunny picture
Happy Easter! Why am I here?
"It's that time of year when many people's thoughts turn to chocolate, egg hunts, bunnies and the resurrection.  And for many, the first bank holiday weekend of the year - with four straight days off work - will also be appealing. But Easter is that most confusing of dates - one that is never fixed and changes according to the lunar calendar.

Perhaps you're planning a break with the family or a weekend visiting friends. Or maybe you're just looking forward to spending a long weekend relaxing at home or wondering what the religious origins of Easter actually are.Whatever your plans, you can get organized - and maybe learn a bit about Easter too - by reading our guide."  Read more.

Related, the Holiday.  USA Federal Holiday Calendar, "Easter 2016."People celebrate the Easter holiday period according to their beliefs and their religious denominations. ... Throughout America, children wake up on Easter Sunday to find that the Easter Bunny has left them baskets of Easter eggs or candy. In many cases, the Easter bunny has also hidden the eggs that they decorated earlier that week. Children hunt for the eggs all around the house."

Related, a puzzle.  Mirror News, UK/John Shammas, 3/26/16, "Can you find the Easter egg amongst these bunnies? It's NOT easy." "It's the Easter weekend, so bunnies and eggs are all the rage. But this puzzle by Hungarian artist Dudolf may leave you in a quite literal rage. Hidden amongst these bunnies, there is an egg. It's there - trust us. It will just take you a while to find it."  Problems finding the egg in the puzzle?  Scroll all the way down this Mirror News article.

Related, inclusively religious.  Aljazeera/Associated Press,3/25/16, "Pope Francis washes feet of refugees for Easter Week. The traditional Easter Week foot-washing ceremony by the pontiff is meant as a Catholic gesture of service." "Pope Francis has visited a refugee center to wash and kiss the feet of Muslim, Orthodox, Hindu and Catholic refugees-- a gesture of welcome at a time when anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment has risen after the Brussels and Paris attacks. Francis celebrated the traditional Easter Week foot-washing ceremony at a refugee shelter in Castelnuovo di Porto, outside Rome, inaugurating the most solemn period of the Catholic Church's Easter season. Francis was greeted with a banner reading "Welcome" in a variety of languages as he processed down a makeshift aisle to celebrate the outdoor Mass.  A fraction of the 892 asylum seekers living at the shelter attended, although others milled around nearby and filmed the event on their smartphones."


Note photograph/graphic. Bunny and chick from Inhabitots, "5 reasons you should NOT give your kids real bunnies, chicks and ducks for Easter." The egg hunt puzzle is from the related Mirror News article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Quarry village, smaller than the 2006 proposal

Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, Staff writer, 3/24/16. "Voters to weigh in on Quarry Village." 

Image result for Pacifica Quarry picture
The proposed development is a NIMBY special.
Restoration, 25% development or nothing?
"The owner of the Pacifica Quarry plans to put an initiative on the November ballot asking voters to approve a housing development. The housing portion of the mixed use development includes 181 apartments and 25 live-work units on a Quarry Village that includes retail and office space. A road will be built where footpaths are now to reach hotel bungalows and an amphitheater on the west, as well as drive to the new Quarry Village and connect with San Marlo Way on the south.

Petitions to support such a ballot measure are being circulated by Pacificans Mike Mooney and Gerald Trecroci. Their notice states any development will include open space amenities and trail improvements. The development will be smaller than the last Quarry development proposal, the notice states.

The development will include a 188-room hotel and conference center, that includes 12 hotel bungalows of 2,500 square feet each, retail, restaurant and entertainment sites along with an ocean-facing plaza and amphitheater suitable for public gatherings.

Traffic mitigation, green building standards and compliance with California Environmental Quality Act will be accomplished through the city’s planning process. The initiative states it is necessary for City Council to approve a rezoning of the Quarry site for mixed use development that includes multi-family residential, retail, recreational, hotel, office and open space."

Image result for biting off chocolate rabbit ears picture
Quarry development, off Highway 1
needs more retail/commercial,
and far less open space.
Reference, general.  City of Pacifica Planning, "Proposed Pacifica Quarry Reclamation Project."  The Quarry website/Restore and Connect/Vision. "Community benefits. The Quarry offers residents and visitors a newly activated destination that complements Pacifica’s coastal, small town character. An oceanfront Quarry Hotel & Conference Center will host community events and help support costs of site restoration while sparking economic benefits for the City. A mixed use Quarry Village, with shops clustered around an oceanfront plaza, will extend the Rockaway Beach district. And a new internal roadway will provide a safe frontage road along Highway One. .... Natural Open Space. The majority of the property — including the Calera Creek corridor, hillside areas, the central wetlands, and the quarry bowl — will be maintained as open space."

Reference, detail. The Quarry/Conceptual Site Plan/updates + resources. "The conceptual plans shown here demonstrate the project’s strong emphasis on open space, with over 75% of the 86-acre property designated for wetland open space, a Creekside Park, an amphitheater and meadow within the quarry bowl, upgraded and safer trails, and extensive open hillside areas. The plans accomplish this by clustering development in compact, easy-on-the land footprints that respect the current community use of the site. A Creekside Park extends 100 feet into private property to separate live-work units from popular community walking routes along Calera Creek. The project’s access road, Quarry Road, will provide an emergency route parallel to Highway 1. ... Summary: Compact, mixed use “Quarry Village” including neighborhood serving retail/restaurant space with an oceanfront plaza and about 200 apartments (including live-work units and a healthy mix of affordable residences).Hotel and Conference Center of about 200 rooms, providing substantial tax revenue to the City of Pacifica. ... Mission: Restore the Land, Connect the Community The Quarry will restore the old quarry site to a landscape of renewed open space and community-friendly uses. Sensitive and limited redevelopment of this private land will set the stage for public access and permanent open space at a vibrant new destination along the coast."

Note photographs. Chocolate bunny from Geocaching. Quarry land facepage image from Coastsider/Ken Restivo, 8/17/06, "Backgrounder: The Quarry vote in Pacifica."

Posted by Kathy Meeh