Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why is Paul Jones Opposed to Term Limits? A Lesson in Cronyism

Paul Jones, notorious DOG HATER and a member of the Pacifica GGNRA Liaison Committee (the same GGNRA we have reported was deliberately excluded from PROSAC's recommendation for a partnership to keep and maintain the 18 hole golf course at Sharp Park), submitted a letter to the editor to the Pacifica Tribune opposing the movement to establish term limits for Pacifica City Council, calling the movement "unnecessary and misguided."  (Though Jones may need to review his history a little, since Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe adhered to the 2-term limit more on convention, and even Washington noted in his Farewell Address that he was retiring due to one inalienable principle:  his age).

Jones continues his argument against term limits by stating:  "Limiting a term can, in turn, limit the pool of qualified candidates, force officials out just when they are gaining valuable experience, and have the effect of disenfranchising voters who want those people to continue to represent them."

Is Jones being ideological, or perhaps literal?  Is there a specific candidate he DOESN'T want to see termed out?

Hmmm, seems like Jones has been a well-rewarded crony of Councilman Jim Vreeland, with massive land giveaways to the GGNRA, and a focus on trails instead of a vibrant economy.  (Jones is a signatory to arguments against Measure E and Measure L, Quarry development proposals).

Here's Jones standing by his buddy Vreeland for a Pacifica Currents episode on the Pedro Point Headland Trail (you know, the one where the Vreeland and the City Council blew through a $200,000 Coastal Conservancy grant by illegally plowing over private property and county lands, and then authorized another $100,000 of city money to continue):

at the 3:15 mark, Jones says that many of us probably don't know the GGNRA is the largest landholder in the City of Pacifica.  Hmmmmmm, no wonder Jones is such a staunch opponent to term limits . . .a crony always knows who butters his bread, or rather who drops the crumbs along his nature trail.


Kathy Meeh said...

"Business is thriving as the result of the trails and the skate-park" per Councilmember Vreeland on this video. Do you believe this to be true...or after spending another $100,000 of our general fund city money (12/08) just another 7 year city council joke on the citizens of Pacifica?

Rocky said...

FACT! Thank you for this post!

Further evidence of the comprehensive federal land grab and user/public lock-out supported by Jones, Vreeland, DeJarnatt, Digre et al can be found at the new Brent Plater/CBD web site:

Please pay particular attention to the name of the project: 2010 GGNP Big Year. This is no accident. The National Park Service and the extreme environmental community have been trying for years to drop the term "Recreation" from the name Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) in favor of Golden Gate National Park (GGNP). In fact, they attempted to do a last minute end run in 2008 through House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Bill HR 6305 to end recreation altogether in the "GGNRA". See: (scroll down to "Pelosi Betrays Her Constituents)

With the term "recreation" dropped from their name, the former GGNRA will also drop recreation from their legislative mandate. Yes, the 60% plus of the open space in Pacifica that is currently under the domain of the NPS/GGNRA will no longer be considered a recreational asset. Your hiking trails, bike paths, play fields, golf courses, dog walks, etc. will be trumped by stand-behind-the-ropes and view only habitat restoration museums.

Jones knows exactly what he wants. Term limits would certainly get in his way...

Scotty said...

I'm against pretty much all of the current council, except for possibly Mary Ann, but I'm also against term limits. People should vote the bums out the democratic way.

Jeffrey W Simons said...


There are cogent arguments for and against term limits. I think the gist of this post is that Paul Jones has a specific, self-interested reason for his letter, a reason not based on principle.

I'm very disappointed after reading this that I can no longer find the video on YouTube of Jones praising City Council in 2006 for "fixing" the odor problem at Calera Creek WWTP for a mere $200,000.

Jeffrey W Simons said...


Check out the GGNP's "Ethical Principles":


"Leave pets at home."

Steve Sinai said...

I'm a big fan of term limits at the state-level because the state legislators came up with a system that guaranteed their re-election, and term limits were a way to overcome that. Ideally, the legislators wouldn't control the redistricing process and therefore, there wouldn't be a need for term limits.

But I don't think the same circumstances apply at the local level, and have never found the arguments in favor of term limits to be very compelling. The only good argument I've heard in favor of term limits is that it gives council members a slight sense of urgency in getting things done before they are termed out.

As it stands at the moment, nothing ever seems to get done in this city, and part of the reason seems to be that issues are endlessly pushed off to the next meeting, and then during the next meeting, they're pushed off to the next meeting, and so on...

Kathy Meeh said...

Hey Steve, urgency does count for something, although 4 of these city councilmembers have been urgent with some issues, giving land away, trails, lawsuits, flaky projects, certificates for citizen volunteerism.

City issues have been pushed-off to the next century for 3 councilmembers, one wouldn't know the difference, one has only been there 1 year. Had term limits been enacted 8 years ago, the 3 incumbent councilmembers expected to be running for office next year wouldn't be eligible. Instead we might be looking at some of their "like minded" friends, even so the campaign playing field would be more even, since incumbent candidates are generally deemed to have an advantage over new challengers. On the other hand, this 7 year city council has taken economic opportunities and turned them all into "open space", then called that an economic plan (Vreeland on this tape, Digre mantra "our enviornment is our environment", Lancelle "you want economic development move out-of-town". Think Pacificans can figure-it-out this time? Hope so, maybe keeping our city depends upon doing just that.

Steve Sinai said...

Kathy, I do think Pacificans are figuring out how much damage the Gang of 4's policies are responsible for. Given the city's financial problems, I expect it will be very difficult for Vreeland, Digre, Lancelle, or anyone running on the typical "environment is our economy" platform to get elected to council.

The only reason DeJarnatt wasn't tossed out was because Tod S. put his name on the ballot without being serious about his campaign. Tod got very few votes, but it was still enough to drain enough votes from Cal so that DeJarnatt was able to stay on the council. We shot ourselves in the foot on that one, and if we're dumb enough to let it happen again, we deserve to lose.

Jeffrey W Simons said...

I agree with Kathy that Term Limits may have helped prevent the shambles that Pacifica has become under this current leadership. But I must also agree with Steve that if Pacifica falls for the same candidates again next election, it deserves to fail.

Moving forward, I think one advantage of this blog is to expose the "minds" behind Pacifica's current crisis. Paul Jones would be FOR term limits in a heart beat if it served his purposes. His letter to the editor is deceptive and shameful.

Michael Vick said...

I think Paul Jones is a standup guy.

Steve Sinai said...

"But I must also agree with Steve that if Pacifica falls for the same candidates again next election, it deserves to fail."

I didn't mean to imply Pacifica deserves to fail. My point was that those of us who wanted to see an overhaul of the council shot themselves in the foot by wasting votes on someone who had no business running nor chance of winning. Pete kept his city council seat thanks to those of us who opposed him.

Jeffrey W Simons said...


I may or may not agree with you in total about Tod S, but you also have to factor in the fact that Dejarnatt got endorsements from SAMCAR, Leland Yee, the Sierra Club, and the San Mateo County Democratic Central Committee. His position papers state he is a "fiscal conservative" and "Even in tough economic times, Pete helped to balance Pacifica's budget and build emergency reserve funds to an all time high."

(He also cut police and fire to all time lows, while rewarding the remaining city staff with unprecedented salary increases. He approved the transfer of $800,000 per year out of the sewer fund into the general fund, despite the obvious failings of the sewer plant.)

We know the truth, and we failed to get that truth to the people giving out endorsements, and to the voters.

Go back and read the endorsements letters in the Tribune . . . Lois Rogan wrote an excellent LTE about how could the Sierra Club endorse Pete when he lied about the sewer spill, and former mayor (and City Council meeting bully) Pete Loeb ran a "rebuttal" the next week saying how dare someone accuse Pete of lying and what a terrible thing to accuse someone of lying! Of course, the accusation of lying became the histronic cover for the actual lie, which has been well documented here.

Next election, we need to get our voice out there, and continue pushing the truth on the public. I don't put all the blame on Tod's shoulders. There were other accomplices and they all need to be called out for their complicity.

Steve Sinai said...

Agreed, Jeffy. My original point, which kinda' got lost, was that the city is ripe for change. Running on a platform of "I'm for trails" isn't going to cut it anymore, and if incumbents try to run on their record, they're going to be in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Incumbants and their friends are the majority who vote. The rest who don't vote, hate wimpy democrats and refuse to vote at all. The people do enjoy watching you sabotage each other. Get ready for all of City Council to be re-elected, they have the support of the crazy greenies who will wave the banner for them. The rest of you who continue to blather on about this and that, are exactly the same as the City Council and their supporters. Hypocrites.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anonymous, what you say makes no sense: "..those "who don't vote, hate wimpy democrats and refuse to vote at all". Not voting is a vote for what you don't support, so are you just a little confused, or are you the hypocrite you're talking about?

Having an economically sustainable city and being a responsible environmentalist city are notable goals, which have nothing to do with extended political labeling and "name callings" you have voiced. Most of us will just continue to "blather", share information, distinguish fact-driven dialog and satire from lopsided propaganda and spin-- that why we have a such a mainstream city blog. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

You ain't cutting it Kathy. Your Fix Pacifica City Council poll had over 1/3 of the votes saying keep things the same. And this is your BLOG!! You have home court advantage. Also, if I recall correctly, you only had 20 or so votes for the new Council member, Barbara Arieta(sp?). How are you going to change things with so few votes?

Jeffrey W Simons said...

yeah 9100 web hits in 2 months, we're nothing.

Kathy Meeh said...

Oh too funny Anonymous, ha, ha, ha,-- what are you contributing???

Most of the articles and posts are wonderful, crisp and intelligent. The cooperative editors of this blog and the article posting contributors are consistent and even brilliant at times.

Actually, I realized the other day, the unifying factor is that our reasoning, rationale and considerations about this city is all very mainstream. I think Steve is right we can win next year's election as the population understands the issues.

You're right we could use additional exposure, and you could be helpful, rather than working against your own core belief system.

Lionel Emde said...

Funny post: Paul Jones has every right to oppose term limits or any other political issue that comes up in this town.
The "smear-by-association" smell of this post stinks.
"Dog Hater", what the hell does that mean?
He disassociates form the crazies?

Jeffrey W Simons said...


Paul Jones has every right to oppose term limits, but his letter smacks of cronyism at its worst. It does not appear he is taking a principled stand, so one should consider WHY he would write such a letter before believing for a second he gives a damn about term limits. And Paul Jones has probably done more than any person in the City of Pacifica to restrict off leash dog access to parks and beaches than anyone else.

Rocky Golub said...


Do you have a dog? If so, do you like having to drive out of town in order to give your family companion their proper exercise? Were you at the City Council meetings where Sharp Park Beach was designated as an off-leash park for companion dogs by the City Council circa 2001 (unanimous: Gonsalves, Hinton, Carr, Vreeland; DeJarnatt absent). The off-leash park was approved by the SF Recreation and Parks Dept. The only "on record" objection to SP dog beach was Paul Jones who threatened to file suit if the project went through. Guess what? The project never went through to Consent Calendar.

Jones also sided with the extreme environmental stakeholders, led by Brent Plater and CBD, in the recent Negotiated Rulemaking for the GGNRA Pet Management Policy. Jones and Plater's side recommended that the entire 1979 Pet Policy (which specified multiple areas for off-leash recreation) be abolished.

Dog hater? What else would you call him? As for "term limits", please, don't insult our intelligence.