Thursday, July 22, 2010

City Council meeting agenda for July 27, 2010

Submitted by Jim Alex


Lance said...

Looks like council is discussing density transfers. Never good when they get involved in anything that has anyting to do with property rights. Brought to them by those bastions of property rights, the open space committee and planning commission. I can just imagine how this will turn out.

Also, designated signatories for the TOT ballot measure. If they don't all sign it then they haven't all bought into it. No ducking because it's an election year. Any bets the Vremeister weasels out?

Anonymous said...

Why would you want all five members of the council to sign the TOT ballot measure?

Only five names may appear on the FOR argument that will appear on the ballot. I'd imagine voters would want to see someone from the Chamber, perhaps a hotel owner or other affected business-person, and others from a political cross-section appear in support.

We already know the Council supports it as they voted to enact the recomendations of the report.

Kathy Meeh said...

Why would the Chamber of Commerce or affected businesses support this regressive TOT tax increase to visitors in lieu of actual economic development in this city? This city council has consistently supported taxes, and no significant economic development for this city. Remember the temporary 5 year fire tax, Measure D, all the fees increased on their watch, all the downsizing and volunteerism-- that's their legacy.

And with 3 new taxes planned, more fees, fewer services, and the additional embedded utilities tax coming-- where's the significant fix city infrastructure economic development plan? 8 years, no plan, no effort to fix, just taxes, no thanks.

How about selling-off more city land, this time to private developers and "save this city" (rather than downtown Mori Point) for a change?

Lance said...

Why would anyone want all 5 to sign the ballot measure? I'll tell you why. They ducked supporting their own Measure D. No shows anywhere. The four council members responsible for the economic malaise this city is suffering are no shows in the community. Nihart is out on her own shilling this tax package and she had nothing to do with the problem. The other four are content to lie low, blather on about economic development with a wink and a nod to their handlers. I say bullshit. So what if they all voted to put it on the ballot. Support it and explain to us why it has to be voted in. The old adage, "we'll have to lay people off and cut services" doesn't cut it for me any longer. Call me jaded, but I've had enough of their misguided notions of economic development. A trail on the beach! Now that's a good one. A scateboard park. WOW! Look at the cities coffers get fat on that one. They have been stonewalling charging for beach parking since forever. I want anyone to name one economic engine those four have come up with. ONE!

Anonymous said...

Geez you guys need to relax and switch to decaf or something.

It isn't about "ducking the issue," it's simply good salesmanship if you're looking to "sell" the measure to voters because having other people sign off on the ballot measure indicates a broader base of support for the measure beyond the Council Chambers.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anonymous @2:01pm. Oh, the broader base wants more taxes and a failed city - good one! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. And, ah yes, Lance in his wisdom mentioned "the other four (city council members) are content to lie low, blather on about economic development with a wink and a nod to their handlers. I say bullshit."

Anonymous said...


Nowhere did I ever suggest that "the broader base wants more taxes and a failed city."

Are you feeling okay?

Kathy Meeh said...

You said "it's simply good salesmanship if you're looking to "sell" the measure to voters because having other people sign-off on the ballot measure indicates a broader base of support for the measure beyond the Council Chambers." And, what does that imply or suggest? 1) "Sell" the taxes to the voters, 2) have others (the boarder base) sign-off on higher taxes and the failed city.

Once again, the city council attempt is to snooker the people of Pacifica, rather than fix the problem.

I agree with Lance, city council 4 should be out selling this regressive TOT tax. Possibly it could be part of their campaign strategy. Councilmember Nihart and general manager Steve Rhodes did not cause the economic/financial short fall in this city-- city council 4 did.

Anonymous, feeling or not feeling or how I feel has nothing to do with "fixing pacifica". This city council 4 does not get an economic planning "amnesia pass" because they're friendly and irresponsible. 8 years they've made a significant economic mess here, campaign on that.

Anonymous said...

Kathy Meeh wrote: I agree with Lance, city council 4 should be out selling this regressive TOT tax.

I don't know why you think they should be doing this. I think the TOT increase is a lousy idea.

Kathy Meeh said...

The regressive TOT is a lousy tax for visitors in an underdeveloped city, so we agree. You didn't say "underdeveloped city" but it is, reality (from my funny view) the TOT should be reduced to about 8%, similar to some of those central valley towns.

Markus said...

Lance & Kathy, I totally agree. ANON, I can’t figure out what you are saying. The 4 council members most responsible for our city financial problems, are desperate to get the forecasted revenue the TOT increase will generate. I don’t believe there is a hotel owner or even a Chamber member in support of the increase. You are asking why should the council members be out there selling the TOT increase since it’s a bad idea? It is 1 potential source for revenue, according to the 5 year plan submitted by the City Financial Services Task Force. So, if the 4 members do not support the TOT increase, let us hear from them with any alternatives. Personally, I will not vote for any additional increases. I’ve learned my lesson. A friend of mine had a good question in regards to the recommendations of the task force to bring down the deficit. Option “A” calls for a 5 year freeze on city workers salaries and retirement contributions. This will save the city nearly $8.5 million. So what happens when the 5 years lapse? Do they then ask the workers to go 5 more years? Perhaps they are working on some potential future commercial or business development they haven’t yet revealed? -NOT! Certainly I don’t see how they can further cut city services which are anemic and sparser than all other SM County cities. Advising citizens to pave their own street, is just 1 example.
The bottom line is we have at least 2 prime properties sitting there for several years generating nothing but vermin. However, I don’t think any potential developers are interested to deal with the Fab 4 council members and their long history of anti-development. I believe, we must replace all incumbents in November, to regain any credibility with developers. Easier said than done. There is lots to do in the next few months!

Anonymous said...

We have no idea what the state of employee negotiations are for the coming year.
But, if employees of the city don't agree to significant freezes and/or reductions in their salaries and benefits, forget about voting for hotel taxes, or parcel taxes, or toilet taxes, or...

sneaky pete said...

Everyone remain calm we have a 7.5 million dollar surplus.

Anonymous said...

The Chamber should support the TOT since they get money from the City of Pacifica. Yeah, they are making changes but they have done little to improve business in this town, which is their stated job. Our hotel owners should work with the city to make needed changes and develop strong marketing plans.

You all complain about the trails we have built but people do come to use the trails, they use our beach, they use our streets, they get rescued off of our cliffs and more so why shouldn't visitors pay? We need to get the paid parking at the beach going as well.

Kathy Meeh said...

Hopefully the Chamber won't support the 2% TOT increase, its regressive. A better solution is lower the TOT 2%, add to advertising which would promote business (a spread of 4%). Otherwise, its business as usual, with the hungry city chomping every tax and fee they can gain without building a proper city infrastructure, in this instance for tourism. After all remember the 8 year city council economic plan: recreation.

Our highway 1 money, and money from our general plan was used to build trails-- think these are big city money makers? Everyone uses highway 1, that's the road that gets the majority of traffic, and now needs updating.

Don't blame the Chamber, they've just done the bidding of this 8 year city council. Take away the annual $10,000 to direct tourism, okay lose more than $10,000 in city tax revenue. That's where that threat goes.

Anonymous said...

It's a 20 percent increase in the TOT, not "2%."

San Francisco has a ballot measure to increase their TOT to 17 percent! Seems to me that when you get a $7 spread between SF and Pacifica, you might be able to entice a few people to come to a beach town. We're close to the city anyway.

Lance said...

Don't lose sight of the bigger picture. It's now what it costs so much as what it represents, the failure of this council to address the inherent failures of their tenure on council. Now they have a 3 tier plan to stick it to just about everyone. Visitors, homeowners, and anyone that uses a phone-computer-cell etc. I haven't heard any plans for economic revival. THERE IS NONE!! Just more of the same. What happens in 5, 6, 7 years when all these new taxes sunset? Panic like always. Boils down to, do you trust this council to govern wisely, use your money frugally, and make smart decisions? Answer that question and you can only come to one conclusion, no new taxes, of any kind until you prove you can make fiscal revival a top priority.

Kathy Meeh said...

Good point, 2% = 20%. For clarification Pacifica's current TOT is 10%, and an increase of 2% is therefore 20%. I agree with Lance the #1 top priority of this city is a "fiscal revival".

Of course, fiscal revival has been the #1 top priority for the entire 8 year tenure of this city council. This didn't happen on their watch, and there is no reason to believe it will happen to any significant extent in the future.

Lionel Emde said...

I think people ought to start asking the Tribune to do a story on our gigantic six-hotel community. How do the owners feel about a TOT increase?

How's business? What do they see this TOT increase doing to their business? Did any staff person or councilperson talk to them before putting this on a council agenda? (I won't laugh here, I promise.)

Menlo Park just abandoned a proposed similar increase in their TOT from 10% to 12%. The two biggest hotels asked them not to do it. One hotel manager told that council that they have cut payroll by 18 percent and staffing levels have been cut by 19 percent. This hotel is also closing their restaurant two days a week due to lack of business.

If Menlo Park, with all the tech startups and high income residents, is having business problems, what's the solidity of Pacifica's picayune estimate of $160,000 yearly revenue from a 20 percent increase in the TOT?

I know, the answer's in the fog.

Mr. Sir said...

Remember that the TOT increase isn't happening unless the voters approve it and I don't know what the odds of this are, to be honest.

Would anyone happen to know if this measure would require a 2/3 YES vote or simply a majority?

I have a question said...

Looks like council is discussing density transfers.

Does this mean Sneaky Pete is going to transfer his density to Julie, Sue, and Jim?

Kathy Meeh said...

Lionel, the Lighthouse manager mentioned at city council two weeks ago that the business owners were not consulted and he thought the TOT increase might impact their businesses (surprise, surprise). Unlike the Menlo Park example, this City council (or the city, or blame it on the citizen Finance Committee) did not bother to inquire in advance about how this tax would impact their business. As you mentioned its a foggy issue.

Mr. Sir, good question. Same city council meeting, (from legal) TOT money which goes directly to the city general fund and is not shared with a separate entity or designated fund requires only a 50%+1 vote. If there was a special fund for tourist promotion or a percentage were given to the Chamber of Commerce to promote tourism, the requirement would be 2/3 +1.

Even so, city council was not interested in doing anything other than the city taking the money. And justification for not continuing a plan to use part of this money to promote tourism came from Councilmember Julie Lancelle "we (the city) provide and maintain trails and the beach. She at least made a comment, but as usual no effort to suggest a tourism stimulus plan from this city council occurred. And, the tax, well its regressive, Menlo Park figure that one out. Needless to say the concerns of the Lighthouse manager were ignored.

And, I continue to say the "economic plan" from this city council for this city is clear: Tax everyone, raise fees, cut services, increase volunteerism, promote dumb city projects while draining-off potential private enterprise profit. Oh its election year, so city council talks about "economic development", but the issues of this "actual economic plan" get worse as the inadequacies increase and compound over time.

Mr. Sir said...

I guess Council wouldn't want to commit a TOT increase to a promotional fund as it would make it that much more difficult to pass (66% YES vs. 51% YES).

But, of course, the real reason was quite clearly spelled out in the Financial Report.

I'm inclined to vote no on the TOT increase, phone utilities tax and safety assessments. If we were maintaining services, that's one thing, but we're being asked to give more while getting less and less.

That doesn't sit well with me and is an indication of a greater, systemic issue that needs addressing. Maybe a NO to all these will force the Council to address the realities in a meaningful way.

Anonymous said...

Wow - YOU are not being asked to give anything with the TOT increase and this is all that is out there right now, along with serious negotiations and maybe eventually imposed contracts with employees. I read the city plan and I think it says we then go to loss of service or worse, if those things do not happen. You people seem to be talking way down the road. I think this will all get bad before the new year. That's why I am giving my City a chance. Vote the council out of office, but the TOT is the right thing.

Lionel Emde said...

Just an addendum to the Menlo Park info: Business at the hotels there is down 20 percent.

Call the Tribune and ask for a story on the hotels. Then people can make up their minds as to whether or not a TOT increase is "reasonable."

Is $160,000 in projected revenue worth putting further pressure on an anemic business community?
I don't think so but I'd like to hear the hoteliers weigh in.