Sunday, May 30, 2010

A short opinion on ecotourism and Pacifica

I've been an ecotourist in South America, Asia and Africa. In all cases, only a very small handful of hotel owners and tour guides benefited, while daily life for everyone else consisted of trying to scrounge-up enough food for themselves and their families to make it through the day. Often the scrounging consisted of poaching in nearby national parks and wildlife refuges.

Ecotourism is better than nothing, but that's the most you can say for it. It's a last-resort economic plan when there's absolutely nothing else to base an economy on.

Until tourists become interested in admiring views of junkyards, abandoned buildings, and self-storage units from our hills, it won't work in Pacifica either. 30+ years of trying to promote ecotourism in town has produced nothing but failure.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Speculation on Fresh & Easy opening in Northern California, including Pacifica

Here's an excerpt -

...Most of the 37 confirmed Northern California locations are vacant retail buildings in which Tesco's Fresh & Easy is or planned to remodel. A few of the sites are new, from the ground-up construction, such as the planned location at Third & Carrol Street in San Francisco and the planned site in Sacramento's Oak Park neighborhood, for example.

A handful of the 37 Northern California store sites, along with at least one non-confirmed store in Pacifica, near San Francisco, which is completed and has been sitting vacant for well over a year, could be opened in short order.

However, the majority of the planned Northern California store locations are still in various stages of remodeling and construction. And in many cases work has been on hold at the locations for a very long time...

Read more at Fresh & Easy Buzz...

Posted by Steve Sinai

Fight On!

Posted by Steve Sinai

2010 City OF Pacifica 2010 Taxable Pension Obligation Bonds

Submitted by Jim Alex

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jimbo says "check it out"

Memorial Day weekend holiday DUI crackdown - Pacifica, Daly City, San Mateo County Sheriff and Belmont PD was right in front of the Beach Parking lot on Highway 1

Submitted by Jim Alex 

Memorial Day, in remembrance and respect

More history

Memorial Day was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers.

Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, it marks the beginning of summer.  

How much about Memorial Day do you really know?  Short Quiz .  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, May 27, 2010

"Our economy is our coastal ecotourism"?

Some of you may have noticed "Ecotourism" was embedded in the interview with the newly hired (5/24) Chamber of Commerce CEO Courtney Conlon .

Ecotourism, Huh?

During their tenure, city council in their usual stealth-to-the-public manner has transitioned our "city economic plan" from "our economy is our environment" to "our economy is recreation", now it seems to be "our economy is coastside eco-tourism". How about "our economy is nothing and getting worse" brought to you by 8 years city council, who could have turned this city around, but instead chose to drive it into a ditch.

Half Moon Bay Chamber of Commerce is also touting "ecotourism" as a viable "economic plan". Well here it is .

Compare to the current Pacifica Chamber website . Really think this is economic solution for a city?

What is Ecotourism?

"Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promote conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples," accepted definition form the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

Note: "Low visitor impact." Not much money in that one unless you're the safari vendor or rural exhibit destination or guide.


Ecotourism' (also known as ecological tourism) is responsible travel to fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas that strives to be low impact and (often) small scale. It purports to educate the traveler; provide funds for conservation; directly benefit the economic development and political empowerment of local communities; and foster respect for different cultures and for human rights. Eco tourism is held as important by those who participate in it so that future generations may experience aspects of the environment relatively untouched by human intervention. Most serious studies of ecotourism including several university programs now use this as the working definition.

Note: "Fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas". Ecotourism does not produce much tax revenue.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

How to run a city for the benefit of the people

Over heard in the Pacifica Chit-Chat Cafe recently was an educational conversation between Steve Jobs (representing the people) and Bill Gates (representing the city). At the same time city council and most of the patrons were tuned-out. Waldo was absent.

Submitted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wild Equity & Brent Platers new friends.

Read the post and have a good laugh. So many lies!!!! This guy will stop at nothing to shut down the recreational choice of 55,000 people annually!!!!

Do you remember the Thompson Twins song from the '80's? LIES LIES LIES, Yeeeeeeah!!!!

He has changed his tune so many times I'm not sure which song he is singing anymore.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Where's Waldo - Opinion

Once again, the intrepid Waldo DeJarnatt was MIA last night. I believe that's 2 out of the last 3 council meetings. I tender that if he has such a debilitating condition that he finds he cannot perform his duties as an elected official he needs to resign. This city is in a financial mess, facilitated to a large degree by his ineptitude in governance and his wildly exaggerated claims such as "7 million dollar reserve"! He doesn't represent this city on any committees over the hill. He shirks his duty at home. If there ever was an elected official that did not deserve one red cent of compensation it's Waldo DeJarnatt.

Jim Wagner

Bay Area Public Employee Salaries

I thought you might be interested in this:

It specifically says that Pacifica is still one of the cities fighting
about how its data should be released!

Submitted by Laurie Frater

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Proposed Sewer Service Charges 2010-2011

Next year's proposed sewer tax rate increase is 5.3958%. The minimum sewer bill will rise from $468.28/year to $493.54/year.

Past increases in water rates -
FY 2010-2011 : 5.3958%
FY 2009-2010 : 2.5335%
FY 2008-2009 : 18.7761%
FY 2007-2008 : 9.2119%
FY 2006-2007 : 5.6773%
FY 2005-2006 : 7.1344%
FY 2004-2005 : 20.2821%
FY 2003-2004 : 14.6598%
FY 2002-2003 : 0.50%

Comparison of sewer (wastewater) and water rates between various cities in San Mateo County for FY 2009-2010.  

Here is San Bruno's brochure that notifies its residents of an increase in water and sewage rates. Compare San Bruno's professional and informative brochure with the green, junk-mail-looking piece of paper that Pacifica sends out.

Posted by Steve Sinai

May 24, 2010 Pacifica City Council Meeting Agenda

Submitted by Jim Alex

Voter information guides

California State wide election - Tuesday June 8, 2010, or by mail-in ballot prior.

From the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Includes San Mateo County and statewide the full directory of partisan and non-partisan candidate and proposition measures and related links.

Easy Voter Guide
ncludes statewide Governor and US Senate Primary information: pictures, links, background statement and 3 top priorities.
Includes statewide proposition measure statement summaries: current status, what would change, argument for, argument against.

From the Official California Voter Information Guide
Includes statewide candidate statements and ballot measure propositions.

From San Mateo County Voter Registration and Elections Office
Under "Resources" includes register to vote on line, or check your registration status.
Note: May 24th is the last day to register to vote by US mail for the June 8th election.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wavelength Spotlights Lawsuits Against Pacifica

On Monday, May 24th at 6:30PM, Wavelength will feature Ian Butler interviewing 2 people involved in lawsuits against the city of Pacifica.

The first interview is with Chril Sproul, a lawyer working for, an environmental group that is suing Pacifica for sewage spills in violation of the Clean Water Act.

The second interview is with Lionel Emde, who is suing Pacifica for it's garbage contract with Recology, which he believes is in violation of prop. 218.

The show will be informative for anyone who wishes to know more about these important issues. See it on Comcast Cable 26 in Pacifica or on the internet at

Submitted by Ian Butler

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vote for CA State Superintendent of public instruction

State of California Department of Education

Eh gad there are 12 candidates, how to begin sifting through this? Article from Inside Bay Area 5/18/10 "Among the dozen candidates, there are three serious contenders: Larry Aceves, Gloria Romero and Tom Torlakson".  UC Davis held a 1:23 hour forum 3/15/10 which includes Larry Aceves, Tom Torlakson and Diane A. Lenning. Gloria Romero could not attend. Here's the connection to that webcast video (Windows Media, Flash Video, QuickTime) .

Who to vote for?
1.  Larry Aceves -  endorsements from several superintendents,
2.  Gloria Romero -
3.  Tom Torlakson* - huge list of endorsements,  (scroll all the way down)
4.  Diane A Lenning- various endorsements,

Recommendations (so far)
California Teachers Association (CTA) recommends Tom Torlakson (bottom of page 1).
5/18/10. Oakland Tribune newspaper editorial recommends Larry Aceves.
5/20/10. Santa Rosa Press Democrat newspaper recommends Gloria Ramero .

Local connections
Tom Torlakson is the brother of Jim Torlakson who lives in Pacifica and teaches college level Art. Tom Torlakson is generally known as a "good guy".  "He listens and gives due consideration" (Bruce Hotchkiss).  Tom Torlakson  responds to the Governors State of the State address

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Coastsider Endorses April Vargas for Supervisor

April Vargas offers the Coastside a rare opportunity to get a member of our community on the Board of Supervisors, and an even more unusual opportunity to vote for someone who embodies our community’s values.

For those of us in Montara, Moss Beach, and El Granada, the Board of Supervisors is our city council. Unfortunately—because supervisors are elected at-large and there are only five seats on the board—the interests of the Coastside are poorly represented, if at all, on the board.

If you live in Half Moon Bay, the quality of your life is greatly affected by the way the county manages planning, parks, public works, and other issues on the Midcoast. April would make Half Moon Bay a better place to live as well.

April Vargas supports district elections for the board, something you won’t hear from any of the current incumbents.

In the meantime, the issues of the Coastside are barely recognized by the current board. It would be refreshing to hear the needs of Coastside residents acknowledged by the Board of Supervisors.

April is a longtime community activist who played an important role in making the Devil’s Slide Tunnel a reality. She’s a major presence in our community, and she has been involved in county issues for more than a decade. I know that when I attend a Board of Supervisors, Coastal Commission, or community meeting, I’m more likely to see April there than anyone else. April has worked tirelessly to improve our local environment, and was an early advocate for Barack Obama’s candidacy for president.

April Vargas is an ideal candidate for the Board of Supervisors, and an ideal representative of the Coastside.

Read original editorial...

Submitted by Ian Butler

Reminder: Meet and Greet with County Supervisor Candidate Don Horsley on May 24

Click here for a printable brochure

Submitted by Diane Brodeur

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Half Moon Bay Review: Horsley would best represent coast in Redwood City

Original editorial...

American governance has rarely been this difficult. The money that pays for everything from transportation needs to health care initiatives is scarce. Taxpayers are in open revolt. Meanwhile the issues are more complex than ever before. Global climate change, increasingly intricate international partnerships, a spider’s web of state and regional entanglements, even the constantly evolving technology that theoretically makes things easier conspire against our president, our congressional representatives and our local politicians.

Leading a modern-day county government requires a range of assets that goes far beyond the prerequisites of the past. That is why we recommend Don Horsley for the District 3 seat on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. He brings a unique set of skills to the job.

Experience matters: Horsley, a former San Mateo County Sheriff, is the only one of the five candidates to have worked inside the county bureaucracy. He has managed a complex government agency. He has worked with employee unions and stayed within a budget. Before a career in law enforcement, he worked as a public school teacher.

Compassion counts: Horsley was the only candidate to step forward when the Coastside Family Medical Center shut down more than a year ago. His idea — that the Sequoia Healthcare District might annex the coast to provide a safety net — was not fully realized and may not have been the answer. But at least he was interested. As sheriff, he formed teams trained to help the homeless and mentally ill and not merely treat them as lawbreakers. As a member of the Sequoia board, he has worked to bring more nurses to our community through an innovative incentive program.

Coastside connection: Horsley lives on the bayside of District 3, in the unincorporated Emerald Hills area near Redwood City. He does not have the feel for the Coastside that he would if he lived here, but he is no stranger. Horsley and his family actually lived in Moss Beach in the 1970s. And he is a familiar face at Coastside events. Some of the candidates are strangers here. Not Horsley. Further, he pledged that one of his aides would hail from the Coastside and said he would make sure that county meetings with particular Coastside implications are held here.

Influential friends: Horsley has the endorsement of all four of the supervisors he will call colleagues. U.S. Reps. Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier support him. So do four of the five sitting Half Moon Bay City Council members. Modern governance requires constructive partnerships. Horsley has a leg up on his fellow candidates in that regard.

This is the first time in more than a decade that the incumbent is not a shoe-in. (Incumbent Rich Gordon has termed out of the position and is running for state Assembly.) Consequently, the race for the seat has drawn a competitive and strong field. We were impressed with aspects of each candidate.

We were particularly pleased to see Montara resident April Vargas running such a strong campaign. She is knowledgeable and connected and would make a fine supervisor herself. In our interview, she didn’t articulate her vision as well as Horsley did, but our endorsement of the former sheriff should not be construed as a judgment against Vargas; we simply don’t think she is the strongest candidate in a strong field.

So vote for Horsley. And do so knowing that the Coastside will not be neglected.

— Half Moon Bay Review

Don Horsley

Essentials: 66 years old, former San Mateo County Sheriff, Emerald Hills resident

Priorities: Horsley stresses his experience and ties to power brokers. He is endorsed by U.S. Reps. Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, as well as outgoing District 3 Supervisor Rich Gordon. Currently president of the Sequoia Healthcare District board, Horsley favors expanding the taxation district countywide to assure better health coverage for all.

Learn more:

Michael Stogner

Essentials: 60, volunteer victims’ rights advocate, San Carlos resident

Priorities: Stogner says he would make the county a safer place to live, in part by keeping a close eye on other elected officials within San Mateo County. He has strong views — calling aspects of the proposed high-speed rail system “fraudulent” and the Coastside’s proposed Big Wave development “ridiculous.” He says it isn’t government’s job to create jobs.

Learn more: Search “Stogner for Supervisor” on Facebook

Jack Hickey

Essentials: 75, retired research scientist, Emerald Hills resident

Priorities: Hickey is a longtime political activist in the county. He lists helping to block a sales tax hike in 1991 among his greatest political accomplishments. He is a member of the Sequoia Healthcare District board and calls himself a taxpayers’ advocate. He says many aspects of government — notably education — are inefficient and is generally for smaller government.

Learn more:

April Vargas

Essentials: 60, small business owner, resident of Montara

Priorities: Vargas has been active in Coastside politics for many years. She was active in the drive to construct a tunnel through Devil’s Slide. She is a member of the county’s Agricultural Advisory Committee and Green Building Task Force and is an alternate on the California Coastal Commission. She calls caring for the county’s needy a sacred trust, and promises to be a fiscal conservative.

Learn more:

Matt Grocott

Essentials: 51, small business owner, resident of San Carlos

Priorities: Grocott is a member of the San Carlos City Council. He says the best government is local government. He thinks the California Coastal Commission is too powerful and stressed that he would be a champion of open government. He favors studying the consolidation of government functions, such as the county’s many public safety agencies.

Learn more:

Submitted by Mark Stechbart

Jimbo's best - check it out

Best and worst states for business 2010

After losing contract, garbage company hikes pay

It's a gusher: water rate hikes approved for Menlo Park

Submitted by Jim Alex

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Luigi's Italian Restaurant "Partners Together" With the Pacifica Historical Society in a Fundraiser For the Restoration of the Little Brown Church Building on Thursday May 20, 2010!

Barbara Arietta
Pacifica Historical Society
On Thursday, May 20, 2010, Luigi's Italian Restaurant will be "Partnering Together with the Pacifica Historical Society" in a fundraiser for the restoration of the Little Brown Church building, which is planned to be the new home of a Pacifica Museum West Sharp Park. The event will take place from noon until nine in the evening. 
Come enjoy family oriented old fashioned Italian dishes and "live" Italian music! A portion of the day's proceeds will be shared with the Pacifica Historical Society to help restore the Little Brown Church Building. Please mention the Pacifica Historical Society and the Little Brown Church Fundraiser when purchasing your food. Luigi's is located at 950 Linda Mar Blvd in Pacifica. For more information, please contact Clorinda Campagna at 650-355-4668

Mirkarimi's Power Grab


Is Rec and Park shakeup plan heading to the ballot?

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi will introduce a proposed ballot measure today that would loosen the mayor's grip over the Recreation and Park Department.

Under his plan, the mayor no longer would have sole appointing authority over the department's oversight commission. Instead, the mayor would get three picks, the Board of Supervisors would get three picks and a seventh member would be selected jointly by the mayor and the president of the Board of Supervisors.

In addition, the proposal would allow commission decisions to be appealed to the city's Board of Appeals.

Mirkarimi's proposal comes after the Recreation and Park Commission joined the Planning Commission and voted in favor of a controversial condo project at 555 Washington St. that would have cast shadows on nearby parkland. The Board of Supervisors ultimately overturned the project.

Faced with having to close a mounting budget deficit, the commission also has signed off on revenue-generating measures, some of which have faced public opposition.

Mirkarimi said the intent of his proposal is to ''foster greater harmony'' between the municipal government's executive and legislative branches. In addition, he said, the proposed changes would ''create a giant step toward democratizing the city's rec and park system.''

With today being the deadline to introduce ballot measures, look for at least one other power-sharing proposal to be unveiled.

Some supervisors are seeking more influence over the Municipal Transportation Agency and are looking to change the governance structure with split appointments. The mayor now nominates all seven directors to the transportation commission, although the supervisors can reject the picks. City voters rejected a similar idea in 2005. The new proposed charter amendment, which was still being crafted late Monday, is expected to be significantly broader in scope.
 Original Chronicle story...

Posted by Steve Sinai

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2010 Amgen Tour of California in Pacifica

A few photos of the Amgen Tour of California Bike Race through Pacifica, May 18, 2010. I came to cheer on my favorite rider, Floyd Landis. GO FLOYD! CRUSH LANCE!

The big crowd awaits...

Here they come...

Zoom, zoom...

Does that guy have a wicker flower basket on his bike?

They blew by in 15 seconds. Where was Floyd?

Posted by Steve Sinai

Yogi claims no food or water for decades for 70 years

Can City Council learn to run a city from this Yogi?

This Yogi is walking, talking proof that you can survive with simple prayer and light. Ok, now I sound like I drank the kool-aid! This guy is an Indian yogi named Prahlad Jani.He’s 82 years old and said he hasn’t had one bite to eat since he was 10 years old. Interesting right? Why would you not eat for 70 years?It doesn’t make much sense unless you’re trying to prove that God permits miracles on Earth, so that you can convey some spiritual message. (more…)
But that’s simply impossible, said Dr. Michael Van Rooyen an emergency physician at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an associate professor at the medical school, and the director of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative – which focuses on aid to displaced populations who lack food and water. Van Rooyen says that depending on climate conditions like temperature and humidity, a human could survive five or six days without water, maybe a day or two longer in extraordinary circumstances. We can go much longer without food – even up to three months if that person is taking liquids fortified with vitamins and electrolytes. Bobby Sands, an Irish Republican convicted of firearms possession and imprisoned by the British, died in 1981 on the 66th day of his hunger strike. Gandhi was also known to go long stretches without food, including a 21-day hunger strike in 1932.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, May 17, 2010

Amgen Bike Tour goes through Pacifica today (May 18) around 11:30 AM

The Amgen Tour of California will again be coming through Pacifica on Tuesday, May 18. As occurred last year, portions of Highway 1 will be closed to all traffic to allow the racers unimpeded access to the roadway.

This year, this stage of the race will begin at Golden Gate Park, and enter Pacifica from Skyline Boulevard. Racers are expected to arrive in Pacifica between 11:30 and 11:35 a.m.

At that time, all of southbound Highway 1 will be closed to traffic. Portions of northbound Highway 1 will also be closed to traffic, from Linda Mar Boulevard through Crespi Drive. These road closures are expected to take effect at 11:15 a.m. and the roadway is expected to be closed for 20 minutes during this event. During that period, motorists should plan any travel through Pacifica accordingly and utilize alternate routes to avoid these road closures. Motorists may avoid closures to northbound Highway 1 by taking alternate routes to Fassler Avenue.

The Pacifica Police Department will be assisting the California Highway Patrol with some of these road closures.

Permission for this race, and the authority for these road closures come from the Office of the Governor. Any comments, complaints, or concerns should be directed to that office.

For additional information about this event, go to

— Pacifica Police Department

Meet and Greet with County Supervisor Candidate Don Horsley on Monday, May 24

Click here for a printable brochure

Submitted by Diane Brodeur

The Crumbly Cliffs lawsuits begin

Engineered Soil Repairs (ESR), the company that was hired to prevent the Esplanade apartments from falling into the ocean, is suing the owners of of 310 and 320 Esplanade for non-payment.

Engineered Soil Repairs, Inc vs. Millard W. Tong and Does 1 through 50

Editor's note - If I were Tong, I'd just give the land and buildings to ESR. I also expect Tong and the other owners to sue the city for not granting permission to lay a seawall and make further emergency repairs in a timely manner. Remember, the city delayed the process by crassly trying to extort $60,000 for a hiking trail from the apartment owners as a condition for granting permission for the seawall, and from there refusing permission to allow heavy equipment to access the beach.  By the time permission was finally granted in both cases, it was too late.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Man suing Pacifica to force notification to residents of trash fee increases

By Julia Scott
San Mateo County Times
Updated: 05/16/2010 11:21:55 PM PDT

A Pacifica man is suing the city to prevent officials from voting to raise trash fees without notifying residents, which he says would violate the California Constitution.

Pacifica resident Lionel Emde was first in line to criticize the city's decision to sign an eight-year, no-bid contract with Recology in February to replace Coastside Scavenger as Pacifica's trash hauler.
Coastside owed Pacifica more than $800,000 for unpaid fees and legal costs, and Recology offered to pay off all the debts — and throw in an extra $100,000 "assignment fee" as a sweetener. Faced with the chance of losing the money, and a clause in its existing contract that allowed Coastside Scavenger to select another company to replace it in case of financial hardship, the city signed on.
At the time, Emde condemned the move as undemocratic. Now he says the city will attempt a 5 percent rate increase in August without giving residents sufficient notice under state law — and the opportunity to protest. The new contract allows Recology to raise rates in August and to submit a request to raise rates again in March 2011, a projected increase of 4 to 8 percent.
Pacificans already pay the highest trash and recycling fees in San Mateo County. A basic 32-gallon trash toter costs residents $30.19 per month in Pacifica, $22.34 in San Bruno, and $12.16 in San Mateo, according to a staff report put together last week in San Bruno, which uses Recology.
"It's basic outrage on my part. I don't feel the city government cares at all about the struggles people are going through in terms of pay cuts, losing their jobs and even losing their homes," said Emde, who filed the suit in San Mateo County Superior Court on May 3.

Emde said he understands that Pacifica needs the revenue — Pacifica's existing waste-disposal contract collectively charges residents $1.15 million a year over and above the 11 percent annual franchise fee. He just wants the city to fulfill what he says is its legal obligation to notify each resident of any attempt to raise trash collection fees. If a majority of residents protests, the city cannot proceed.
Pacifica City Manager Steve Rhodes said he would not comment on pending litigation.

The crux of Emde's argument is that the city has told him it does not intend to mail any type of notice regarding a rate increase to Pacificans, which he contends is a violation of Proposition 218. The proposition, passed in 1996, requires voter approval on all local taxes and most charges on property owners.
Emde may win the day in court. Lori Hsu, senior policy analyst on state and local finance for the California Legislative Analyst's Office, said public notification requirements do apply if the fees involved are tied to ownership of a property — and that waste fees, like sewer and water fees, are considered to be a property-related fee.
"Local governments need to notify property owners for imposing local property-related fees," said Hsu.
The text of Proposition 218 specifies that cities mail information regarding the proposed fee to every property owner and hold a public hearing at least 45 days after the mailing.
Contact Julia Scott at 650-348-4340. 

It's pretty obvious that Pacifica must notice the ratepayers for each and any rate increases for garbage collection, and allow protest, as dictated under the law of Proposition 218. The California Legislative Analyst's office is not given to hyperbole.

I would urge readers to call or email our city council members and ask them to change course and NOT fight this suit in court. It would be, very possibly, a total waste of taxpayer's money.

-Lionel Emde

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sewage spill lawsuit filed against Pacifica by environmental group

Another money and resource draining lawsuit against the city, this time filed by one of Council's green "friends." With friends like this...

Our Children's Earth Foundation (Plaintiff) vs. The City Of Pacifica (Defendant)

This is what happens when you have a city council that takes money meant for maintaining city infrastructure, and instead uses it to build trails.

Submitted by Jeff Simons

Pacifica Crime News

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Budget called ‘devastating’

May 15, 2010, 02:44 AM By Michelle Durand Daily Journal Staff

Local officials are still penciling out exactly how much of the May budget revise released Friday will slash and burn through San Mateo County, but there is agreement on one point — it’s bad.

“We all know this is devastating,” said Connie Juarez-Diroll, legislative coordinator for San Mateo County.

County departments are now scurrying to figure out exactly what the budget message by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger means. As with most painful budgets, health and human services programs feature prominently on the chopping block. Schwarzenegger wants to completely eliminate CalWORKs, slash In-Home Support Services, cut mental health services by 60 percent and do away with all after-school programs aside from preschool.

Beverly Beasley Johnson, director of the Human Services Agency, said the cuts will most hurt already struggling families and children who need basic living and safety needs met.

“Upwards of 5,000 San Mateo County children would lose financial support for basic living needs such as shelter, clothing and utilities. Parents who rely on quality, affordable child-care in order to go to work will lose child-care assistance and children from all economic sectors will suffer from the cuts to child welfare services which include the child abuse hotline, child protective services and foster care.” Johnson said.

Those in the Health Department are equally concerned, particularly the proposal to cut local mental health services nearly in half.

“These funds are used to treat the most seriously ill people in our communities. We have a serious budget deficit to deal with, but the solution cannot be at the cost of our most vulnerable residents,” said Health Department Chief Jean Fraser.

Deputy County Manager Mary McMillan expects more information to be available beginning next week and cautions that the figures released Friday are just the beginning. The question now is how those proposals will be massaged and what will ultimately be passed by the Legislature.


Posted by Steve Sinai

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Supervisors Forum - on video

For those of you who missed the County Supervisor Forums or want a second look , here's the 5/2/10 forum in Montara

The video is sectioned into: opening statements, district large elections, LCP update (CCC vs county), infrastructure, business environment, big waive, MCTV, roads, first priority if elected, closing statement. You can view this video one section at a time at your convenience. Our Spring election is June 8th, and many of us will be receiving our vote-by-mail ballots very soon.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

County Supervisor Candidate April Vargas - my impressions

I should be writing this while I'm wide-awake, rather than about to fall asleep, but here goes -

At the moment, I expect to be voting for Don Horsley for San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in the upcoming June 8 primary. He's been involved with county politics forever and I remember him from when he was County Sheriff.  I also happened to meet him a few months ago at a local meet-and-greet. After talking to him, and then later doing some research, I felt he had the experience and competence to serve as an effective Supervisor.  Still do.

The other candidate who gets mentioned a lot is April Vargas, whom I finally got to meet at last Tuesday's candidates forum at Sharp Park Library. After the meeting, I was able to talk to her for about 10 minutes. While I was personally impressed with her, I can't vote for her.

She came off as very professional, and stressed business-development as an important issue. So far, so good. We both agree that it's better to elect supervisors by district, rather than in a county-wide election. She and fellow Board of Supervisors candidate Michael Stogner explained how expensive it was for a newcomer to run for the Board of Supervisors, mentioning it required $80,000 just to be heard, and a minimum of $200,000 to have any chance of winning. This is one issue where I disagree with Horsley, who prefers county-wide elections.

We both agreed that with five Supervisor candidates, no candidate will reach the 50% +1 vote total required to avoid a runoff in the November election, and that it will likely be Horsley and Vargas in the runoff.

When April was talking about the pros and cons of district elections, she said one of the cons was that people like Chris Daly get elected, which I thought was pretty funny. She wasn't as loony as I had feared. (Daly is a crazy SF supervisor who makes Sharp Park Golf Course nemesis Ross Mirkarimi look like the most reasonable guy in the world.)

The problem was, when discussing Pacifica's economy, she believed ways to improve the city's business climate were to revitalize West Sharp Park; she thought giving land to the GGNRA was good for the economy; and she seemed to be against development in the Quarry.  Heard that before?  She also used the term "visitor-serving" in describing which types of businesses would work in Pacifica, which basically is a shorthand way of saying April believes in the long-held and demonstrably failed idea that  "our environment is our economy." She was promoting the same "nice-sounding, no results" ideas that have been responsible for destroying Pacifica's economy.

She was wishy-washy on the topic of the golf course. When asked whether she preferred that Sharp Park remain a golf course or be "restored," she wouldn't answer directly, but did say it was inevitable that SF would eventually restore it. The other supervisor candidate, Michael Stogner, said outright we should keep it as a golf course, and even the Coroner's candidate who was there, Stacie Nevares, said she wanted to see the golf course remain. (Horsley is also pro-golf course.)

Supervisor candidate Michael Stogner is a very interesting guy. His motivation for running seemed to be that he was unhappy at the way Carol Groome was appointed to the county Board of Supervisors to replace Jerry Hill, when Hill went to the State Assembly. Stogner felt she should have been elected rather than appointed, and he's right.  He was taken aback at the way County Sheriff Greg Munks and Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos were not disciplined after they were busted during a raid in a Las Vegas brothel.   I guess you could say Stogner was running on a platform of "reform" or "change." I would have no problem if he were elected, although I still plan to vote for Don Horsley.

As long as I'm at it, when listening to Coroner candidate Stacie Nevares, I remember thinking she would have made a pretty good Supervisor. She had opinions on all kinds of county issues beyond the Coroner's office. As far as the Coroner's office goes, she's very unhappy with what she believes is an unprofessional and uncaring attitude within the office. It was interesting to listen to her describe the responsibilities of the Coroner, which is something I'd imagine very few people know anything about unless they used to watch "Quincy, M.E.". She mentioned the current Coroner's propensity for attracting lawsuits, which really hits home considering the way Pacifica's City Council does the same thing. After doing some web research on both Stacie and her opposition, incumbent coroner Robert Foucrault, I'll be voting for Nevares.

More candidate info, along with further info on some of the issues they talked about -
Michael Stogner's blog

Posted by Steve Sinai

Friday, May 14, 2010

San Mateo County measure would add $10 to car registration

By Mike Rosenberg
San Mateo County Times
Updated: 05/12/2010 11:48:38 PM PDT

San Mateo County drivers would pay an extra $10 to register their cars under a proposed ballot measure that would fund projects to help loosen local traffic jams.

The county's congestion management agency will begin considering today a ballot measure to raise the vehicle registration fee that drivers pay annually to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

It would be placed on the November ballot at a cost of $300,000 to $500,000 to the county.

If approved by a simple majority of San Mateo County voters, the fee increase would generate an estimated $6.8 million annually for the county.

The revenues could be used to fund local transportation improvements such as street paving, Caltrain and SamTrans subsidies, the safe routes to school program, and bike and pedestrian projects, among others.

The county's congestion management agency, called the City/County Association of Governments, is overseen by a board that consists of one city council member from each city in the county.

The agency's staff plans to research the measure more, including possible polling of local voters, before the board votes in July on whether to place the measure on the ballot.

Several other counties around the Bay Area and state are considering similar measures. Executive Director Rich Napier said other counties have found "favorable" polling results.


Submitted by Jim Alex

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Don't forget: SMCCD Trustee Richard Holober Joins 3rd District Supervisorial Candidate, Don Horsley, At Pacifica Democrat's Forum on Saturday, May 15, 2010

On Saturday morning, May 15, 2010, San Mateo County Community College Trustee, Richard Holober, will join 3rd District Supervisorial Candidate, Don Horsley, in addressing the monthly breakfast meeting of the Pacifica Democrats in the rear banquet room of the Sharp Park Golf Course Restaurant. The 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. meeting will conclude a series of Spring Campaign Forum presentations to the Pacifica Democrats. 

The latest addition to the Democrat's May 15th Forum, Richard Holober, is Executive Director at Consumer Federation of America and a Trustee of the San Mateo Community College District. He will speak to the Pacifica Democrats on Measure G, the Education Parcel Tax of the San Mateo County Community College District. Measure G's tax would provide College of San Mateo, Skyline College and Canada College with local funds that the State cannot take away and would ensure affordable quality education for students, including training for careers in nursing, healthcare, technology, engineering, sciences, police, firefighting, maintaining core academics in reading, writing, math, preparing students for universities, and keeping libraries open. If Measure G is approved by the electorate of San Mateo County, the San Mateo County Community College District would levy $34 per parcel annually for four years and establish Citizens' Oversight, exempt seniors, and prohibit proceeds for administrators' salaries.

Holober, a long time advocate for education and working families, has more than 16 years experience on the San Mateo County Community College Board and the Millbrae School Board, and has dedicated himself to making sure that schools and colleges are once again a top priority in California. His other past and present affiliations include: President, San Mateo County Community College Board, Legislative Advocate for the California Nurses Association(2000-2002), Trustee of the Millbrae School Board (1993-1997), Founder of the Californians for Privacy Now(2001-2002), Founder of the Livable Wage Coalition , which raised the minimum wage in 1995-1996, Legislative Advocate of the California Labor Federation(1987-1999) and Executive Secretary of the San Mateo County Central Labor Council(1981-1984).

Holober, a Peninsula resident for 19 years and Bay Area resident for 29 years lives with his wife Nadia in Millbrae, where they have raised two sons. He is a graduate of Rochester University and has dedicated his career to improving education and healthcare and winning justice for working families and consumers.


The second Forum participant, 3rd district Supervisorial candidate Don Horsley, after earning a Bachelor's degree with Honors from San Francisco State University in 1969, worked as a juvenile counselor with the San Mateo County Probation Department and as a classroom teacher for middle school students. Subsequent to that experience, Horsley decided to dedicate himself to a career in law enforcement.

No stranger to Pacifica, Horsley has made several visits to San Mateo County's northernmost coastal city this past year, in an attempt to find out both the current concerns and issues of Pacifica residents and also to work with the leadership of the  Pacifica Community Coalition To Save Sharp Park Golf Course (PCC), in their efforts to help save Sharp Park Golf Course as a viable and affordable recreational opportunity for both San Francisco and Pacifica golfers, including a great number of senior golfers and high school golfing students.

Presently, the Director and  President of the Sequoia Healthcare District, Horsley was a former Sheriff of San Mateo County for nearly 14 years. His initial law enforcement experience included positions as both a Daly City police officer and a Pacifica police officer, before going to the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department, as a patrol deputy in the City of East Palo Alto in 1972. Horsley then rose through the ranks and spent extensive time  upgrading the training of deputy sheriffs and correctional officers throughout the County.

Later in his career, Horsley was instrumental in the planning and building of a new correctional facility, which resulted in changing the way the County Correctional system was managed. The new facility included mental and medical healthcare facilities and Horsley was responsible for the adoption of a new management called Direct Supervision, which resulted in a sharp, near total, decrease in incidents of violence among the jail population. With the dubious reputation of one of San Mateo County's cities, East Palo Alto, being dubbed the "murder capital of the United States", Horsley, upon his election to the Sheriff's office, took up the challenge to combat violence, drug dealing and gangs and organized a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement "gang task force" effort that was highly successful in helping East Palo reduce the number of homicides dramatically.

Other affiliations of Horsley's include: Co-chair of the Attorney General and State Superintendent of Public Instruction's Safe Schools Task Force, 1998-2000 Chair of the American Heart Association's San Mateo County Executive Board of Directors, Board member of Advocates for Children, 2000-2009 Board member of Garfield Charter School, Past Chair of the World Community Service Committee for the Redwood City Rotary Club, previous Vice Chair of San Mateo County's Narcotic's Task Force, Past President of the 100 Club of San Mateo County-an organization dedicated to assisting the families of peace officers slain in the line of duty, past Chair of the 2000-2001 San Mateo County Criminal Justice Council, and Board of Director memberships in the California Peace Officers Association, the California State Sheriff's Association and the High Technology Crime Task Force.

Don Horsley lives with his wife Elaine and one of their adult children, Matt, a community college student, in Emerald Hills, in the hills above Redwood City. He has two other adult children, Christine, a legal secretary in Redwood City and David, an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of California at Davis, who is married to Meng-Hsuing Kiang. They are the parents of Don's granddaughter, Juliette.

Meeting Info:

All Pacifica Democrats meetings are open to the general public. One neither needs to be a club member, nor even a Democrat to attend. A full breakfast is offered for $12; continental for $6 and coffee for $3. RSVPS are recommended. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. and seating is between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Meeting begins at 9:30a.m. and runs until 11:30 a.m. For further information or to make an RSVP for this presentation, please contact Barbara Arietta, President, at 415-246-0775 or email .

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pre-reclined seats good for city council meetings

City Council Meeting - May 10, 2010

Spirit Airlines (the people's airline) installs seats that recline slightly.

Spirit Airlines is installing seats with a slight permanent lean back, which seem perfect for watching city council meetings, while nodding-off with one eye open but not comfortable enough to fall asleep. Here's a few items of importance from city council this week.

1.  City council voted 5-0 for smoke free movies.  No movie theater in this city.

2.  Sewer rates up 5.39%, zero operational cash reserves. No discussion about that this year, and no explanation. No discussion about a whopper of a sewer bill coming next year  (50 year old city wide collection pipes need replacing). Its election year, so this issue has been deferred. Discussed ad nausea were the rules and requirements of citizen protesting sewer rate "fees":  51% of mailed protest letters would need to be received and verified as authentic citizens who own property. As we know roughly 38,000 people live in Pacifica, assume 25% own property, the sewer rates are usually disclosed about 1 month prior to city council approval, well you see how that goes.  About 30 property owners did accept the sewer advisement rate increase green sheet "invitation to protest" by mail (e-mail response is not accepted). In any event this exercise in drama took-up about 15 minutes this meeting, and about the same last meeting. 

3.  Mega home ordinance: 2,800 square foot review - finally back after last meeting and 1 year. Where did this ordinance go for 1 year, hello, anyone home at city hall?
Isn't 2,800 square feet a little above average for most suburban cities outside Pacifica?  4-1 approval, not much conversation this time.  Only Councilmember Mary Ann Nihart thought a higher square footage (possibly 3,000) would be a better Planning Commission review trigger. In dialog (as I recall) one city councilmember mentioned some people in  live in 900 square feet houses. And, as we know some people in Pacifica would prefer an even smaller living-space foot print, video .

In reference to your perceptive 5/12/10, 9:12 am comments Sharon, I've been watching the existing city council and their meetings for 8 years, and the following is my view.  The vital, necessary, important economic planning and improvement issues are not being attended to by city council except by default.  The directive is thumbs down on a sustainable city economy, contractors and developers have given-up. Last year city council attempted to pass another tax to citizens (Measure D)  with more planned next year (not this election year), and two more attempts at permanent taxes following that.

The role of 8 year city council has become ceremonial, a "feel good" approach to governance, embracing the joys of unproductive open space, volunteerism and "pet projects".  Council meeting are more like show and tell, pat on the back for friends, a dog and pony show, the circus with the clowns in charge of the ring. That why this city need a change of direction, replacing city council with genuine pro-economy candidates in an attempt to save what's left of this city. This is the year to do that, join campaign efforts. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

San Bruno may hike trash rates - San Jose Mercury News

By Joshua Melvin
San Mateo County Times
Posted: 05/10/2010 06:59:25 PM PDT
Updated: 05/10/2010 11:21:32 PM PDT

The city of San Bruno is looking at increasing trash rates by about 5 percent in order to cover rising equipment and labor costs.

Before the City Council votes whether to approve the hike at its regular meeting tonight, residents will get a chance to voice their opinions on the matter. As of Friday, eight residents had sent letters to the city opposing the increase, which will push monthly rates for a 32-gallon can from $22.34 to $23.44, according to a staff report.

The 4.92 percent increase comes one year after the City Council raised rates by 2.46 percent.

Finance Director Edmond Suen said the increase is a typical annual adjustment to cover cost increases for the city's waste hauler, Recology. He added that the increase, if approved, would take effect on July 1.

City resident Glenda Rego, who has sent a letter protesting the increase to the city, said she already pays too much.

"We overpay our garbage company in San Bruno," said Rego, 69. "And yet they want more and more money."

San Bruno's rates are the sixth-highest among those of 12 San Mateo County cities listed in a staff report. Pacifica clocks the highest trash rate at $30.19, and San Mateo comes in lowest at $12.16, according to the report. However, the frequency and type of service delivered vary from city to city.


Submitted by Jim Alex

Recreation not an economic plan

"Our economy is our recreation"

Enjoy the article from Coastsider 5/6/10, horseback riding through beautiful country is a great experience for the adults and children. This ride is from Moss Beach Ranch to Shamrock Ranch in Pacifica, and includes a potluck lunch at Shamrock Ranch. This was great fun and such a worthwhile adventure, but clearly not an economic plan for the city. Neither is hiking trails, biking, skate park, tending frogs and snakes, fishing from the pier, picnicking at the beach.
City council deemed "recreation" to be our city economic plan. Clearly recreation which does not produce much tax revenue is not an economic plan, so what were they really telling us, no economic plan except increasing taxes?

Posted by Kathy Meeh

National Neighborhood Watch Institute

National Neighborhood Watch Institute, NNWI, is dedicated to supplying Crime Prevention Materials to aid in the reduction of criminal activity both Domestically and Internationally.

We offer a cohesive Neighborhood Watch program involving: training materials, window warning decals, work sheets and quality street signs. Additionally, we have been the first to offer Homeland Security street signs. NNWI also offers Operation ID decals and property logs. All our products are designed to assist the crime prevention professional, as well as the public, in the process of crime prevention. 

We strive to provide excellent educational materials and products that build observation and reporting skills, as well as signage warning of the obvious presence of crime prevention activities. 

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Monday, May 10, 2010

Memorial Day Observance

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Don't forget - candidates forum on Tuesday, May 11, 7 PM at Sharp Park Library

A forum for all candidates for county supervisor and the position of county coroner will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. May 11 at the Sharp Park Library on Hilton. Please RSVP to Therese M. Dyer at 355-9568.

Posted by Steve Sinai

April Vargas out door knocking today

April Vargas, knocked on the door today and she was out introducing herself. We started talking about the City Of Pacifica and she knew exactly what my concerns where going to be.

We chatted for about 15 minutes and she took notes on my comments.

First time someone running for office came out with the door knocking approach.

We both agreed that is the best way to get the public to know a candidate 

Submitted by Jim Alex

*Editor's note - April is running for 3rd District San Mateo County Supervisor