Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

To Our Loyal Readers...


    from the editorial staff of Fix Pacifica

Retort to Ron Maykel LTE in the Trib


Mr. Maykel, (using some of your words) it is unfortunate that some Pacificans, like yourself, with the assistance of several environmental associations and their lawyers are endeavoring to obstruct, with the intent to deny Pacificans, San Franciscans and golfers everywhere a gem of a golf course and a game loved by more than 50,000+ plus golfers annually at Sharp Park.

You and your cronies like Mr. Plater have no qualms spreading miss-truths about Sharp Park and golfers in general. When Mr. Plater stands up at the Native Plant Society meeting and accuses the present Management at Sharp Park of under reporting rounds and keeping the money for themselves, that was the last straw for me. Mr. Plater continues to quote Joe Faulkner at meetings, when he was asked by Joe Faulkner to stop doing so.

Yes it is true that some were out of line at this meeting and I apologized directly to Mr. Plater and to Mr. Davidson for their actions. One has to remember that it is hard for people to talk about emotional issues and not get emotional.

Imagine if Sharp Park was already the Frog Park you want, and someone wanted to take it away and say your form of recreation is not important? That you can go hike somewhere else. That we don’t care about your hiking and stewardship and friendships that have been created throughout the years. What if some group wanted to turn it into a golf course? How would feel? Would you all not get a little emotional at meetings? I think so.

Why does Sharp Park have to make money? Why do you as a Pacifican care if it makes money? You pay no taxes towards it. Does Golden Gate Park make money? Parklands are created by cities & counties for its citizen’s recreation. Are parks supposed to make money? When I asked Mr. Plater & Mr. Davidson this question at that meeting they had no answer and actually said that was a good point.

Some myths & omissions by you in your letter of last week.

Your Point #1
Tree Removal.
You do not actually say that no trees will be removed at the Golf Course site if you takeover. In all of the pictures shown on Mr. Plater’s slick little website, there are hardly any tress in those pictures. It was said at the Native Plant Soceity meeting that the Cypress trees on the course are non-native and may need to go. As for tree removal at Mori Point, I do not remember any trees there so of course none were removed. I rode motorcycles there for years as a member of the Coastside Motorcycle Club and no trees then and none now.

Your Point #2
No one I know of in the “golf group” has said anything in regards to closure of the Archery Range.

Your point #3
While the golf course does have some drainage problems, due to the infestation of the tules and reeds surrounding the Laguna Salada, I would not describe these problems as significant ecological problems. You make it sound like a waste dump. Also, for the hundredth time, any financial problems at the course are a fairly tale being told by you and your friends. First you all said it is losing millions. Now your claim is $30,000-$300,000 annually. This spread in dollar amounts is so large it is hard for anyone to take this claim seriously.

Your Point #4
I have not seen anywhere that the majority of SF Supes support giving this property to the GGNRA. Most SF Residents and taxpayers are tired of seeing their city give away valuable property to the Federal Government.

Your Point #5
While playing Sharp Park weekly, I know for a fact that there are more people using the golf course and facilities than are at Mori Point. On Saturdays & Sundays, a group of 4 golfers goes off the first tee every 10 minutes. This is 40 golfers per hour. At any given time, they could be as many as 216 players on the course in a four hour span. Now, obviously not every hour of daylight will have this many players on the course but it is many, many more than are using Mori Point. These players generally stay on the course and out of sensitive areas. Will this happen with your frog park? Will all hikers respect the sensitive area as us golfers do now?

Your other issues and concerns:

1. What part of the sidewalk on Francisco is unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists? I pass by there often and see no threat. Is the sidewalk there under the jurisdiction of Pacifica or SF? I know there are tree and root issues with the sidewalk but you make it sound like a war zone.

2. You are correct, the fence does need some repair but only in a few spots. It is not quite the “visual blight” you make it seem though.

4. The berm walkway is unstable in the winter? I thought you all wanted to tear it
down and return the area to its original condition?

We can all live together on this beautiful piece of land, Frogs, Snakes, Golfers and Hikers. Giving it to the GGNRA/Federal Government will not only take away a classic golf course but impede any co-existence of all who enjoy this property. Leave Sharp Park Golf Course a golf course. Yes improvements are needed to the course, but what a destination for golfers everywhere if these improvements can be done. This is what Pacifica really needs, not more hiking areas.

Butch Larroche
Lifelong Pacifica resident & SPGC tournament Director

SF Bay Regional Water Board Staff Requests $2,300,000 Fine against the City of Pacifica

Author: San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board

Published on Oct 28, 2009 - 6:20:56 AM

OAKLAND, Calif. Oct. 27, 2009 - The City of Pacifica faces a $2.3 million dollar fine for illegal sewage discharges during heavy rains in January 2008. San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) staff issued the complaint for unauthorized sewage discharges into the Pacific Ocean.

The City discharged 6.9 million gallons of partially treated wastewater diluted with storm water on January 25 and 26, 2008, into Calera Creek. The discharge flowed through Calera Creek Wetlands and into the Pacific Ocean. The discharge occurred when high inflow and infiltration of storm water into the collection system generated more wastewater than the City's collection system and wastewater treatment plant capacities. That required wastewater to bypass certain treatment processes and only receive partial treatment.

The City also discharged more than 100,000 gallons of raw sewage diluted with storm water from various points in its sanitary sewer collection system on January 25, 2008. All spills caused beach closures.

For years, the City has failed to adequately identify and address collection system problems including failure to detect and eliminate storm water infiltration into the collection system. Had the City initiated timely corrective actions, it could have avoided: (1) the collection system overloading (exceeding capacity) and the resultant spills; and (2) the wastewater treatment plant bypass.

In addition to these spills, the complaint also addresses numerous smaller collection system spills reported by the City, one larger spill in 2004 from a pump station, and effluent limit and receiving water limit violations.

For additional information, please visit

The San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board's mission is to preserve, enhance and restore the quality of California's water resources, and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations.

Following is a link to the certifed letter sent by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board to Pacifica Plant Manager David Gromm on Oct 23, 2009:
"Administrative Civil Liability Complaint under Water Code Sections 13385 and 13350 for Unauthorized Discharge Violations, and Effluent and Receiving Water Limit Violations from the Sanitary Sewer Collection System and the Wastewater Treatment Plant in City of Pacifica"

Posted by: Rocky

Below is a link to the City Council Meeting Minutes for 1/28/08.  Scroll to the bottom of page 2 (Council Communications), where Vreeland and Dejarnatt clearly state the beaches were closed for tarballs:

Pacifica City Council Meeting Minutes for 1/28/08

added by Jeffrey W Simons

Julia Scott's article in yesterday's SMCDT:  Pacifica fined for illegal sewage discharges into ocean

added by Jeffrey W Simons

added by: Rocky 10-29-2009 11:37 AM

**NOTE:  Thanks for posting that Rocky!  Check out the sign at 0:45 into the video . . . JEFF

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bruce Balshone, San Mateo Public Policy Examiner

One of my favorite blogs, and not just because I think Bruce Balshone is one of the coolest guys in Peninsula politics.  His latest article about the Measure H and I campaigns in Burlingame is fascinating:

Illegal Campaigning in Burlingame?

Eerily similar to a group in Pacifica who formed as a Political Action Committee to oppose Measure E in 2002 (and helped get the fiscally disastrous City Council elected), then "re-branded" themselves in opposition to Measure L without having filed any FPPC documents in the interim, then decided they knew what was best for Pacifica and its economic future by opposing nearly every development that has now faded into oblivion.

posted by Jeffrey W Simons

Compliment to Riptide – Study on City Council Cafeteria Plan

Comparison of City Council Compensation BY LIONEL EMDE


Lionel's findings from his text:
In San Bruno, a council member who doesn’t take advantage of city health insurance receives no in-lieu cash payment. In San Mateo, in-lieu cash is $100 a month if no health benefit is taken. Pacifica has quite a different plan; any council member who already has his/her own health insurance and does not need city health insurance can take up to $920 of the $1,020 benefit amount as in-lieu cash—taxable income


In private industry Cafeteria Plans (health and other benefits) are offered on a "use it or lose it" basis and clear-out after the end-of-the year; there are  no cash-out provisions on any of these plans that I'm aware of. 

City council voted themselves into the City executive Cafeteria + Cash Plan benefit from 7/06. This addition to their benefits occurred about the same time city council was doing what it could to block advancement of economic development of the 38-44 acre mixed-use redevelopment in the quarry, which would have brought this city a balance city economy. 

There are 3 reliable data spreadsheets in archives of this blog which show Pacifica #1 at the bottom of each economic list, substantially below East Palo Alto:

Also view Chamber of Commerce vs. Daily City. The Pacifica economic plan became recreation over the past 8 years. 

With every opportunity and 8 years in office this city council from my view has been neither responsible nor accountable, and there has been ongoing transparency problems.  Also, the people of this city did not vote for "no growth", it seems that has just been the "crony back of the house plan".  Being careful with city money is important, more so in a self-inflicted "no growth" city.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Deep inside Devil’s Slide Tunnel

October 26, 2009, 03:30 AM By Bill Silverfarb

Bill Silverfarb/Daily Journal
Work on the Devil’s Slide Tunnel is about 65 percent complete. The $1.5 billion bypass is set to open sometime in 2011.

Deep inside Devil’s Slide Tunnel is a dark, muddy place where the air is thin and the noise sometimes deafening. Crews have bored more than 2,800 feet into San Pedro Mountain to ultimately link Pacifica to the midcoast with four lanes of traffic in two tunnels.

It is a public works project that will reach beyond $1.5 billion in costs and be named after former U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, the San Mateo Democrat who secured $750 million in federal funds for the bypass. Lantos had worked for three decades to bring the project to light and lived long enough to dedicate the two tunnels before he died in early 2008 at the age of 80.

The workers inside the tunnels and the Caltrans’ engineers holed up in an office at a Linda Mar parking lot hold Lantos in the highest regard, for it is his name that will live on forever after their work is done. The project is about 65 percent completed now.

In the News - Roadside doctors with no degrees

Lal -- who does not have a license to practice medicine, but claims to be a successful bone doctor and traditional healer -- says this potion of 18 herbs is a cure-all. His large signboard, placed along the roadside, claims he can even treat paralysis.

Doctors in India fix sick patients -- City Councilmembers in Pacifica fix sick economy.

Submitted by: Kathy Meeh

Frontierland Park, A Million Dollar Investment

as a follow up to Jim Wagner's post about the missing Frontierland Park remediation funds, here are some photos of the city's "one million dollar" investment into the park:

From the Archives: Recipe for Bankruptcy


·      “Cities that are most vulnerable to financial crisis are those that relied heavily on property tax revenue during the real estate boom.”
·      “Cities with strong industry, business and commercial districts are likely to fare better, experts said.”
·      “A city's budget problems can have a ripple effect in the long run.”
·      “Cuts to the police department usually translate to higher crime rates, while deferred maintenance leads to more potholes and overgrown parks.”
·      “To raise money, cities often increase fees and taxes, which hurts local businesses and homeowners.”
·      “Over time, property values decline and tax revenue falls even further.”
Quotes taken from 2/24/08 SF Chronicle Article:  "Vallejo, others face cash crunch"


Monday, October 26, 2009

City Council Meetings = Waste of Time

 Just finished watching the Pacifica City Council meeting on the web. My Pacifica Net connection was pretty bad so the proceedings were hard to follow, but from what I could make out, lots of time was spent on feel-good, save-the-world environmental issues, with zero time spent discussing ways to improve Pacifica's economy and financial situation. Same-old same-old.

Pacifica City Council - asleep at the wheel. Again.

Ah, as much as things change, they stay the same

part of a conversation i had with a former finance director.
almost 2 1/2 years later. pathetic.

Date: Tue, 8 May 2007 08:51:00 -0700

Of course, we could use the ABAG money...Let me start again with the definition of a "structural" deficit....keeping in mind that wages and benefits for the service provided in the City account for nearly 80% of total spending.  A structural deficit is defined any given year the expenditures exceed the revenue.  So, yes, of course, we could use the ABAG money to close the deficit this new fiscal year ...but, it is one time money...(reimbursed from previous years expenditures),  it could help us "balance" the budget this year by using this one time money to cover our operating expenses...but we would be back in the same place next year with a structural deficit because we would not have solved the "structural" problem.  The only way to actually solve the structural problem is to cut expenditures and/or increase revenues.  We are making attempts to do both right now.  Unfortunately, because the cost of staffing to provide services is the majority of our expenditures....the cost cutting has to involve reducing staffing and thus reducing the services that are provided by that staffing.  We are also looking at revenue enhancements:  For instance, we are looking at a property tax audit of the County to make sure that Pacifica is receiving the property tax revenue correctly; we are looking at developer fees, so when we move forward with development, there will be revenue to improve infrastructure; we are looking at sewer connection fees, so that, again, as development proceeds, we can build a capital improvement reserve for all of the pump stations, sewer lines, etc. using sewer connection fees.
So, basically, we are taking the steps necessary right now to balance a structural deficit by cutting costs and looking for revenue.  We have already made a good start...but, again, that is mostly from not filling positions as people leave or retire...which, reduces our ability to provide services for the community.  I can assure you, that in my experience, this is one of the most thinly staffed municipalities.  We are already down to the bone.

City Closed Session, includes a prior Open Meeting

State of California Reference:

All State of California Codes:

The city of Pacifica city has added an "open meeting" to their city council "closed session meetings" as the result of citizen complaint to the city. Visible on the 10/26/09 Agenda is the change with the trailing language "the public will have an opportunity to comment on this item before the city council goes into closed session". City council agendas dating back to 2006 are available at: .
California Code 54956.8

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a legislative body of a local agency may hold a closed session with its negotiator prior to the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property by or for the local agency to grant authority to its negotiator regarding the price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease.

However, prior to the closed session, the legislative body of the local agency shall hold an open and public session in which it identifies its negotiators, the real property or real properties which the negotiations may concern, and the person or persons with whom its negotiators may negotiate. For purposes of this section, negotiators may be members of the legislative body of the local agency. For purposes of this section, "lease" includes renewal or renegotiation of a lease. Nothing in this section shall preclude a local agency from holding a closed session for discussions regarding eminent domain proceedings pursuant to Section 54956.9.

Prior to 10/26/2009 as far back as the city council Agendas posted in 2006, there is no mention of an "open meeting" requirement prior to "closed session meetings". This is another city transparency and civic rights improvement in a series improvements made by citizens who read this blog, it was a team effort. Moral to this story: following settled consideration, usually "collective intelligence" gives a better outcome when there is action.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

In the news - 5 Lessons for Leadership

Respected White House news columnist and author Helen Thomas has observed 60 years of United States Presidents in office, and offers the following advisement, detailed in the attached article. These leadership qualities are generic enough to be considered valuable in most civic leadership positions, including that of Pacifica City Council. This article follows the Michael Moore's comments about running for office, posted yesterday.

1. Brace yourself: The worst is yet to come
2. Forget your privacy: Your a public servant
3. Open up: The people have a right to know
4. Have courage: Even if it hurts
5. Give us vision: It's your legacy

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Greetings from Riptide Readers (Attempt 2)

Pacifica trash hauler may be purchased, replaced

By Julia Scott 10/25/2009

PACIFICA - Pacifica's troubled trash hauler may be purchased by Recology if the city agrees to award a franchise to the San Francisco-based company, formerly known as NorCal Waste.

A history of delinquent franchise fee payments and shoddy accounting by Coastside Scavenger has already prompted city officials  to announce they would request proposals for a new trash hauler come 2012, when the company's franchise agreement expires. That could change sooer than expected now that Coastside Scavenger is courting Recology to purchase its assets and take over its operations, provided the city agrees to sign the existing franchise agreement over to Recology.

City Council members will vote on whether to enter into negotiations for such an agreement with Recology at a meeting on Monday.

Coastside Scavenger and its sister recycling company, Seacoast Disposal, are owned by local resident Louie Picardo and have served Pacifica for 50 years.

The company will owe the city roughly $650,000 in unpaid franchise fees as of Oct. 31, according to Administrative Services Director Ann Ritzma.

Some of the company's checks have bounced over the years.

In June, the city attempted to draw on a $250,000 line of credit Picardo put in place in 2007 to keep the company afloat, but discovered that only $100,000 was available.

A carefully-negotiated agreement with Recology would resolve those money issues, said Pacifica City Manager Steve Rhodes.

"Coastside Scavenger is going to make it whole in the mix. However they work it out, that's not an issue for us. They have to pay the money before we will agree to the assignment."

Picardo approached Recology about the sale a few months ago and the city suspended its process of soliciting proposals from new trash haulers as a result.

"It would be crazy to run both processes simultaneously," said Rhodes, who added that he'd just as soon avoid the legal costs and "contentious" discussions that often accompany a request for proposals.

If the City Council decides to enter negotiations with Recology, Pacifica will hire a consultant to help with the negotiations and analyze three years' worth of audited financial statements to make sure Recology is on solid financial footing.

The city also plans to hold a public meeting to hear from residents about the kind of garbage and recycling services they want.

In addition to its rate increases -- a recent survey found that Coastside Scavenger was charging more for its service than any other trash hauler in San Mateo County -- residents have complained that the company doesn't make curbside composting and recycling easy enough.

Rhodes said the city will ask Recology to provide single-stream recycling and improved composting services, as well as keep rates down if possible. In return, he expects Recology to ask for a new franchise agreement that extends past 2012.

"If I were coming in and buying something, I would want a little longer-term agreement to amortize my investment. That will be one of the issues we negotiate over," said Rhodes. "Of course, you try to reduce your rates but the potential of trying to do that when we're trying to increase service is not certain."

Recology already serves neighboring San Bruno and is poised to greatly expand its presence on the Peninsula.

Starting Jan. 1, 2011, Recology will replace Allied Waste as the trash and recycling service provider in 12 other communities in San Mateo County, including San Mateo, Burlingame, San Carlos and Redwood City.

"We're close by. It's another logical place for us to offer our services. Pacifica seems to want the kinds of things that we can help them do, such as reduce the number of things that go into the landfill," says Michael J. Sangiacomo, president and CEO of Recology.

Sangiacomo addressed local concerns over layoffs in the transition, saying Pacifica employees would have to reapply for their jobs but the company would not be looking outside the company for replacements.

"To the extent that the business needs employees, we're prepared to keep the ones they have. Does that mean every employee will continue to be needed?" We're not planning on going in and making mass layoffs," he said. "I can't guarantee everyone will like working for us. They'll have to make their own decisions."


You'll never get this type of honesty at Ripoff, the Trib or from City Hall for that matter. Ripoff has only the Wandering Blunderer, Mayberry (sp?) to please -- no executive committee; no other editors. He is the solo judge and jury of his content.

The Trib, well if you're not taking water samples at Calera Creek or embarking on some other self styled environmental feel good project under the guise of "Saving the Planet", fahgeddaboudit!

And as for City Council, this type of discussion would be occurring off-line in City Attorney Cecelia Quick's office (that is, if she didn't have to bring in consultants), or in the shadows of the always convenient "closed session".

And how about little ol' us? Well we have several editors who don't always agree on things. What a surprise! So what do we do? We wear our hearts on our sleeve. All of our cards are on the table (please give me a second and I'll come up with even more metaphors). Bottom line: we are doing our arguing in public for all to see. What more evidence can we provide as to our open, no censorship policy? And yes, editors censoring each other in no way affects the policy we have put in place for our readers.

So AnnoyingMouse and others who offer us nothing more than persistent whining as you excitedly wait to see us fail, well, you're just going to have to put up with us for a while longer. And yes, mommy and daddy will continue to fight. But don't worry, you kids can always call social services or sue us if you don't like the way we are treating you.

'nuff said...


Michael Moore: 15 Things Every American Can Do Right Now

Not to dent our "FOX" credentials (as so eloquently misrepresented on the uber liberal environmental blog Riptide), but here's an interesting piece by Michael Moore from today's Huffington Post:

15 Things Every American Can Do Right Now

While we may debate and argue about Michael Moore and the Democratic Party (some of us are staunch liberals, some Libertarians, some conservative Republicans), we are particularly fond of this bullet point:

"3. Recruit someone to run for office who can win in your local elections next year -- or, better yet, consider running for office yourself! You don't have to settle for the incumbent who always expects to win. You can be our next representative! Don't believe it can happen? Check out these examples of regular citizens who got elected: State Senator Deb Simpson, California State Assemblyman Isadore Hall, Tempe, Arizona City Councilman Corey Woods, Wisconsin State Assemblyman Chris Danou, and Washington State Representative Larry Seaquist. The list goes on and on -- and you should be on it!"

Some of us have run for office, a grueling process that favors the incumbents and the insiders regardless of their lack of commitment to the betterment of the common welfare of Pacificans (though most of us are, in fact, fond of Mary Ann Nihart and her commitment to a better Pacifica). But it seems to be the unanimous position of the Fix Pacifica editorial staff that our current leadership is lacking and the city is in dire need of a new City Council. The city needs to replace the 3 incumbents up for re-election, and the process needs to start NOW!

Quote of the Week

"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone." -John F. Kennedy, Remarks at dinner honoring Nobel Prize winners of the Western Hemisphere, April 29, 1962

Greetings from Riptide Readers

I made the executive decision to pull down this post. Nick Nolte was OK, but I really did not think Richard Ramirez was appropriate in any way. We're trying to find out which Fix Pacifica editor posted these pictures, and hopefully we can continue the productive dialogue we have started here.


Saturday, October 24, 2009

San Mateo County Board of Supes District Map

Since there's been some discussion in the previous "Global Warming" post about  whether San Mateo County Supervisors should be elected on a per-district basis vs. a county-wide basis, I thought I'd post a link to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors District Map.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors District Map

Personally, I prefer keeping things on a per-district basis, rather than countywide elections.  The complaint I've been hearing regarding district elections is that District 3, which Pacifica is in, stretches all the way down to places like Menlo Park and Atherton, which don't share the same concerns as Pacifica. If districts were drawn in a more rational manner, I believe that would take care of many of the complaints.

Posted by: Steve Sinai

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Birthday To You . . .

Steve Sinai!  May you live to be as old as Joe Paterno!!

Sharp Park Golf Course Fundraiser - Great Turnout!

Hello everyone!

What a night October 22nd turned out to be at Sharp Park Golf Course. The cars were overflowing in the parking lot,the rooms were overflowing in the clubhouse and the money was overflowing in the coffers! Over 300 community supporters, from both San Francisco and Pacifica, walked through the doors at the stroke of 6 o'clock. And why, might you ask? The answer was a fundraiser given by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance (SFPGA) to help support the efforts of the Sharp Park Golf Club(SPGC) and the newly organized Pacifica Community Coalition To Save Sharp Park Golf Course(PCC), in their joint battle to save the embattled Sharp Park Golf Course. Co-Chairs of the SFPGA, Bo Links and Richard Harris, appointed SF Supervisor, Sean Elsbernd, and SF Assemblywoman Fiona Ma as Honorary Co-Chairs of the event, with the winner of the 1964 U.S.Open, Ken Venturi, as the Honorary Chairman.

In a matter of minutes the lines to get into the rear meeting room of the Sharp Park Golf Course Restaurant wound peripatetically throughout the dining room and spilled into the restaurant's bar area... It had become very apparent that these folks came with a definite purpose in mind and check in hand...They were "stepping up to the plate" and declaring their support for keeping the golf course an 18 hole golf course, as well as restoring the habitat for any endangered species...This battle for Sharp Park Golf Course has come a long way since a group of golfers and non-golfers got together at a Pacifica Democrat's breakfast meeting to listen to speakers voice their concerns, one Saturday morning 2 and 1/2 years ago, about the fate of Sharp Park Golf Course.

From observing the fervor of Thursday night's crowd, the effort to help save Sharp Park Golf Course appears to be catching on substantially. The phrase,"Save Sharp Park Golf Course!", could be heard on everybody's lips as one walked through the crowd... A quick scan of the audience looked like a page from "Who's Who" in both San Mateo and San Francisco Counties political circles. Standing in the front of the room off to the side was Supervisor Sean Elsbernd from San Francisco (One of the most important Supervisors in San Francisco, if not the most important, as far as the golf course issue is concerned) He was in deep conversation with the City Attorney of San Francisco, Dennis Herrera, who is rumored to be running for Mayor of SF next year. Both gave very strong speeches.

In the same location in the front of the crowd could be seen San Mateo County Supervisor Carol Groome from San Mateo County's 2nd District, Don Horsley, San Mateo County Supervisorial candidate for the 3rd Supervisorial District seat, Joe Galligan, San Mateo County Treasurer Candidate, Mark Hershman,  District Director for Assemblyman Jerry Hill of the 19th Assembly District, along with a number of Administrative Supervisorial staff from both San Mateo County and San Francisco County, in attendance. And to top it off, the meeting was also graced by the presence of "that venerable grand old man of golf" and past President of the PGA, Sandy Tatum, himself...There were so many people in attendance that it was difficult to get an actual head count, at any given time.

Only at the end, did the registration data tell the tale of how many actually arrived. They were practically "hanging from the rafters", as they say, while flowing out the doors and standing against the walls . The crowd became so large early on that the room(s) could not comfortably contain them. They spilled out the  back door on to the periphery of the golf course, out the side door and out the dining room door into both the restaurant's dining room and bar area.

In addition to the attendees who gave donations, absentee donations were also sent in from those that could not be there in person that evening, but were definitely there in spirit. And speaking of spirit, it was apparent that the spirit and fervor of saving this historical golf course had gained momentum in recent months, not only in Pacifica and San Francisco , but also in other areas of San Mateo County, as well.. Looking around the room(s) and listening to the speeches, it could be seen that this was clearly a coalition of players, environmentalists, youth advocates, senior advocates, neighborhood activists, organized labor, preservationists and other allies, who were demonstrating a remarkable affinity for one another, while building a bridge of cooperation among themselves for the upcoming battle of not only saving Sharp Park Golf Course, in particular, in the City of Pacifica, but of also saving municipal golf, in general, in the City of San Francisco...

Speeches were deliverd by: Pacifica Mayor Julie Lancelle, Bo Links(Co-Chair of San Francisico Public Golf Alliance), Barbara Arietta (Chair of the Pacifica Community Coalition To Save Sharp Park Golf Course), Dave Diller (President of the Sharp Park Golf Club), Elaine Harris(youth golfing advocate), San Francisco Supervisor Sean Elsbernd and San Francisco City Attorney Donald Herrera.

A number of attendees were listening to the impassioned speeches, while standing outside the meeting room's windows, which overlooked the golf course, because they could not get within several feet of entering the room where the meeting was being held...However, with the help of a PA system and their ability to press their faces against the windows, those on the outside were able to understand what those on the inside were saying...

SF Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, after the meeting, commented that the newly created organization, Pacifica Community Coalition To Save Sharp Park Golf Course, a citizens group that encompasses everyone, man, woman, young, old, golfer, non golfer and multi-cultural was an absolutely fundamental and instrumental addition to the campaign for saving the golf course. He remarked that it will be very important for all supporters to stand up and be counted in the very near future, when the fate of Sharp Park Golf Course goes to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for their decision-making. Elsbernd indicated that some very important meetings will be taking place at both the San Francisco Recreation and Parks PROSAC Committee level and the Board of Supervisors level in November and December of this year.

Community members interested in joining the local grassroots effort to save the Sharp Park Golf Course should contact: Pacifica Community Coalition To Save Sharp Park Golf Course, P.O. Box 941, Pacifica, CA 94044 or email

Barbara Arietta
Pacifica Community Coalition to Save Sharp Park Golf Course
P.O. Box 941
Pacifica, Ca 94044

City Council 10/26/09 Meeting Agenda

Interesting agenda. Closed session, Sanchez Art Guild and Stephen Johnson leases. Guess we're going to subsidize the arts again, IN CLOSED SESSION! Look at the consent calendar. Why are we paying a consultant 55k to negotiate our garbage contract? Why doesn't the city require Recology to pay for all our expenses in their re-negotiation?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pacificans for Sustainable Golf Courses??

I’ve been perusing the Tribune and Riptide, and pretty much every nook and cranny, for the position of the foremost experts of all things Pacifica on the current Sharp Park Golf Course pie throwing contest (it seems remiss to call it a debate since the pro-golf course side has a very reasonable and well articulated position based on facts, while Brent Plater and the CBGBs are more prone to baseless assertions, wild conjecture, and crafty videos on youtube).  Where has been the public comment from Pacificans for Sustainable Development?  This issue is, after all, significant to Pacifica in regards to its environment, its economy, and the welfare of the people.
What’s that?  They haven’t taken a position?  How odd.  Doesn’t surprise me.  I haven’t been able to follow too much of their positions on anything for very long.
First of all, they seem to have a hard time understanding the term “sustainable development.”  PSD formed as a Political Action Committee to oppose Measure E (the Trammel Crow proposal for the Quarry), failed to file a California Fair Political Practices Commission report for 2 years, then one magic yellow sticky note in their file later, reformed to oppose Measure L.  Even their organization wasn’t very sustainable.
But what is “sustainable development”?  According to the 1987 Report of the U.N. sanctioned Brundtland Commission (from which the term was first derived), sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."  (Read my full analysis HERE)
Pacificans  for Sutainable Development seem to have the rallying cry:  “What do we want?  NOTHING!  When do we want it?  FOREVER!”
I don’t blame them for being confused.  Take the Quarry (which PSD apparently believes it has a right to do, for the good of all Pacifica) . . . though Trammel Crow and Don Peebles followed 2 entirely different processes for development approval of the Quarry, and envisioned 2 entirely different projects, PSD still managed to copy and paste their objections from Measure E to Measure L.
They seemed against projects like The Prospects and Harmony@1 (2 projects that literally defined eco-friendly and sustainable development), until they were reminded what the name of their group was and suddenly fell half-heartedly in favor of these projects.  Until they undermined them again and again.
When there was talk of updating the General Plan, they took two totally different positions in the form of a letter to the editor in the Tribune, and a letter to then mayor Pete “$7 Million Reserves” Dejarnatt.
In regards to the need of a General Plan update, they said:
PSD – “A General Plan designation should not be changed lightly, and not without a broader understanding of its city-wide impacts . . . what good is a designation that holds only until someone wants to build?  We feel that a move in this direction is an erosion of carefully though-out and publicly supported plans . . . “ – LTE, Pacifica Tribune, 5/16/07
PSD – “We are encouraged that you have taken the task of strategic planning for our city forward, and will soon be setting your sights on the next step –the crucial and overdue updating of Pacifica’s General Plan . . . Anyone who is involved with land use issues in Pacifica is aware of the urgent need for a General Plan update.” – Letter to the Mayor of Pacifica, 4/4/2007
Should current development plans conform to the General Plan, or a revision of the General Plan?
PSD – “A truly sustainable development must not only embrace green building practices, but must conform more closely to existing General Plan and HPD requirements.  We urge the Planning Commission and The City Council to up hold the General Plan designation . . . “ - LTE, Pacifica Tribune, 5/16/07
PSD – “Pacificans for Sustainable Development urges the City Council to move forward with appropriate General Plan/Site Specific Plan revisions to avoid confusion, conflict, and misinterpretation.” - Letter to the Mayor of Pacifica, 4/4/2007
Is there a danger to making these kinds of revisions?
PSD – “These areas could be at risk for denser building in the future if these designations are weakened and a new precedent is established.” - LTE, Pacifica Tribune, 5/16/07
PSD  - “We urge the City Council to proceed in a revision process that has been in play for several years now, to ensure our Site Specific Plans are the most well-crafted, inclusive, and up-to-date planning guidelines we can provide.” - Letter to the Mayor of Pacifica, 4/4/2007

Well like my good friend Two-Face would say, flip a coin, son.  Seems like PSD has used every trick in the book to make sure Pacifica has no more coins.
posted by Jeffrey W Simons aka The Joker

Widgets and doo-dads

I think we're getting a little carried-away with the scrolling banners and countdown clocks. Those died out in the 90's.

S. Sinai
Semi-Professional Web Developer and Graphic Artiste

Tonight I'm Gonna Party Like It's 1999

Fix Pacifica passes 1999 Web Hits

Celebrity Death Match

now the ultimate match would be nihart vs. veeland
community center
center ring

we could do preliminary matches
ian butler vs. jeffrey simons
kathy meeh vs. nancy hall
todd bray vs. tod schlesinger

what a ticket

Submitted by: Lance Fernork

The Best of Letters to the Editor (10-21-2009)

This week we have a three way tie for the "Best of Letters to the Editor" published in our local newspaper. Congratulations to the winners. -- Editor

More on budget decisions

After reading Councilwoman Nihart's letter in the Tribune it is obvious to me that she chose to ignore the facts. At the regular council meeting on June 8 she and fellow council members announced and voted on item #7 and stated that because of hard times, they were untying themselves from the management cafeteria plan and taking a cut of $5,580 a year on their benefit plan. What Ms. Nihart did not tell you was that resolution 45-2009 was attached to item #7 that gave the council members an additional $100 for their dental plan. This raised their benefits back up to $1,020 a month. This resolution was never revealed to the public. It was unanimously passed with a single vote on item #7 with no mention of the attached resolution 45-2009. Does not this action therefore negate the so called benefit cut? With resolution 45-2009 the council's pay and benefit package now comes to $1,020 a month per member. When their wages are added at $700 a month the sum comes to $1,720 a month. This council's entire budget for this year comes to $157,500. So much for honesty and transparency. The public and the employees of this city deserve better.

Vi Gotelli
Former Vice Mayor

Save public golf

(This letter was originally adddressed to "Dear Friends of San Francisco Golf"):
As a native San Franciscan, I was both thrilled and very proud this week as the greatest golfers from America and around the eorld met at Harding Park to contest the President's Cup. As I watched the competition unfold, I reflected back through my own seven decades playing golf in the great golfing town of San Francisco.

With my thoughts returning to my youth in San Francisco , however, I have been alarmed by news that the city's other wonderful 18-hole municipal courses, Sharp Park and Lincoln Park, are in jeopardy. The news of Sharp Park is particularly distressing. To me it is unthinkable that San Francisco would seriously contemplate the destruction of that Alister MacKenzie masterwork.

Sharp Park is a great course of the old school: a seaside course, designed by one of history's greatest architects, where the wind and weather dictate the play of the game. Dr. MacKenzie's beautiful design does not punish with narrow fairways and heavy rough, but rather charms and inspires and exhilarates with beauty. Dr. MacKenzie does not force golfers to hit any particular shot, but instead gives them options to challenge their imaginations. Sharp is an unpretentious place, where golfers enjoy a scenic walk in the salt air, then a sandwich and a beer in an old-fashioned pub. In these ways, Sharp connects golfers to the Scottish public course roots of the game. This is Dr. MacKenzie's great gift to the American public golfer.

Without the public courses, golf becomes inaccessible. The game shrivels and dies. The glorious restoration of Harding must not be at the expense of Sharp or Lincoln. So I write this letter to urge my friends and fellow-San Francisco Bay Area golfers to preserve Dr. MacKenzie's legacy, and defend San Francisco 's golf heritage and public courses. Defend them with your time, your money, and your passion. Do not let anybody destroy Sharp or Lincoln .

See you around the links.
Ken Venturi
Honorary Chairman, San Francisco Public Golf Alliance
(Editor's note: Ken Venturi is one of two former U.S. Open champions who graduated from San Francisco's Lincoln High School and who support saving the Sharp Park Golf Course in its entirety. The other is Johnny Miller.)

Gotelli vs. Nihart

Putting both Oct. 14 letters up for comparison it clear that both Past Councilmember Gotelli and Councilmember Nihart were presenting accurate information the 2009-10 budget.

Ms. Gotelli was focused on the entire legal department with a four-year look back. Her information is both comprehensive and accurate. The primary reason the city legal budget was reduced this year is because $300,000+ was removed from the former use of outside legal contractors.

Ms. Nihart was intent on defending the salary of City Attorney Quick, removing from consideration such items as four weeks vacation pay, benefits, and a huge lifetime pension — personally, I think that's all real money spent by the public. Ms. Nihart also defended the $100 City Council salary reduction, approximately the same amount as their increase on the health benefit side.

By comparison, city council compensation may have been rolled back to 2006 levels, whereas this week the stock market Dow rose to 1999 levels, and the overall economy fell to 1945 levels.

Previously in a booming economy, and with multiple opportunities, in full knowledge of our civic need, this city council of eight years failed to deliver a sustainable economic program for this city. How much is that loss worth? Want a more edgy view of Pacifica, wake-up to the new blog in town

Kathy Meeh
Sun Valley

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Public Servants Hard at Work

Submitted by: Lance Fernork

Mental Illness: The Stigma of Silence

Glenn Close Editorial from Huffington Post


*Editor's note . . . I posted this because I took issue with John Maybury posting some comments by Ian Butler on Riptide which I felt made fun of people who suffer from mental illness.  Having a family member who suffers from Bipolar Disorder, I feel it is important that we work through the intense negative stigma society puts on people who suffer from mental illness.  I hope we can move forward to a world were making fun of someone with a mental disorder, or denigrating people who suffer from mental illness, is no longer brushed off as acceptable. 

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

A few Sharp Park related links:

San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, an All-Volunteer Coalition of Golf Supporters
Support the Alliance with a PayPal Donation Today
Become a Fan of the SF Public Golf Alliance on Facebook

Save Sharp Park fundraiser 10/22/09 6:00 pm

We want to remind you that the S F Golf Alliance’s fundraiser is tomorrow at 6 p.m. at Sharp Park Golf Course. Over 125 S F Golf Alliance members have confirmed that they will be in attendance, but we would love to see more of you there. This event is open to people who want to preserve golf at Sharp Park. Feel free to forward this message to friends. The event will feature several great door prizes and help rally the community behind our common cause of preserving affordable, eco-friendly golf for future generations of golfers.

If you cannot attend, we would greatly appreciate your generous contribution through PayPal or by mailing a check payable to the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance care of: Lauren Barr, Treasurer, 2840 Jackson Street, San Francisco, CA 94115.

Thank you very much for your support.

See you Thursday.
Butch Larroche
SPGC Tournament Director and lifelong Pacifican

Quote of the Week

I am thankful for all the complaining I hear about our government because it means we have freedom of speech.  ~Nancie J. Carmody

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frontierland Remediation Funds Go Missing

I have in my possession a report submitted to the Grand Jury about a year ago for their review. For whatever reason, and it could be anything, they chose not to issue a report or notify the authors to their reasoning. That is as it is. This report concerns the Frontierland Park Remediation Fund. A one paragraph description describes exactly what this fund is to be used for. To date, a visit to the park will find it somewhat "un-remediated".

I would encourage anyone interested in what the city does with this fund to check for yourself. This is not a tax, it's a fee. It must be used for one purpose and one purpose only, park remediation. Lot of money floating around somewhere.

Read the Report  (6.7 MB, i.e., it's long.)

(Some pages are flipped on their side, so you may want to right-click on those pages and select "Rotate Clockwise")

Posted by: Jim Wagner

Guess who's at the bottom of another economic list

Following are Construction permit revenues per resident in San Mateo County for FY 2005/06, the last year statistics are available. Guess who's at the bottom.

Portola Valley
Menlo Park
South San Francisco
San Bruno
San Mateo
Half Moon Bay
Foster City
Redwood City
Daly City
East Palo Alto

Pacifica At the Bottom of Another List: Redevelopment Revenue

A recent article in the Sacramento Bee detailed the estimated revenue cities would lose from their Redevelopment Agencies to the state of California in order to balance the 2009-2010 budget.  This number reflects a uniform percentage of total redevelopment revenues of the cities.  Once again, Pacifica ranks dead last, proving the old adage its hard to rob a man who is broke.

Redevelopment Agency                               Est. Amount taken by State
Belmont                                                               $2,318,015
Brisbane                                                              $1,715,862
Daly City                                                               $2,430,124
East Palo Alto                                                     $3,260,360
Millbrae                                                               $1,201,952
Pacifica                                                                 $114,686
Redwood City                                                    $3,559,141
San Bruno                                                           $1,989,164
San Carlos                                                           $1,599,312
San Mateo                                                          $4,137,995
South San Francisco                                        $8,519,894