Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Help our candidates gain an endorsement from the Sierra Club!

How would you answer these questions to get the coveted Sierra Club endorsement. No interest in economic issues necessary.

2010 Sierra Club, Loma Prieta Chapter

Candidate Questionnaire for Pacifica City Council
           Candidate Information
Election ID (FPPC):
Please Send a JPEG photo of candidate:  Send it to 

Are you a Sierra Club member? (Membership is not required for endorsement)
               Questionnaire  (Candidates’ answers are used internally in our endorsing considerations, and are not published).

1). What’s your preferred vision for the future of the 400 acre Sharp Park property
currently owned by San Francisco but located entirely within Pacifica?
Please be inclusive of the berm/Coastal Trail, Laguna Salada, golf course, clubhouse.
archery range and the majority of the acreage in the eastern portion. 

2). How much growth in housing and office space/commercial is appropriate for Pacifica, and why?  What changes do you favor in the General Plan relating to development and climate change? 

3). What are your priorities for addressing Pacifica’s climate impacts?  Do you support calculating Pacifica’s baseline greenhouse gas emissions, adopting meaningful targets for reduction of emissions, and implementing those targets?

4). Your past record is the best indicator of your work for the environment.  What have you done to protect natural resources and the environment?

5) How do you propose to eliminate waste going to landfills by 2020?   
6). Should construction in Pacifica incorporate green building principles? 

7) The Loma Prieta Chapter’s Transportation Committee has serious reservations about the pending CalTrans/SMCTA proposal for the 6-lane Calera project on Highway 1. Do you favor this $45 MIL project?  If not, what alternative(s), if any, would be most suitable?

8). How can Pacifica better manage its water supply and demand?
9). What do you regard as the major environmental and conservation issues facing Pacifica and the Bay Area?

10) Snowy plovers have abandoned their historic nesting area at Pacifica State Beach due to disturbances. What do you favor to protect their remaining habitat?  Would you support restrictions on human activities as recommended by the Pacifica Open Space Committee?

11). Please provide your ballot statement as submitted to the County at filing.

12). Tell us about your campaign viability (funding, volunteers, organization, endorsements).  Please bring examples of your prior and current campaign literature.

13). Given that the "Quarry" property is located entirely in the Coastal Zone and therefore subject to the habitat protections of the California Coastal Act (particularly as defined by the Supreme Court Bolsa Chica decision disallowing habitat alteration/mitigation for housing related development) - do you favor Pacifica requiring a thorough biological assessment of the entire property prior to planning exercises or processing development applications?

14). Do you support reducing the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers by Pacifica's Public Works and Parks functions?  

End of Questionnaire
Posted by Steve Sinai


Anonymous said...

Why do they need "our help"? Do they NOT have a position? Are they perhaps just too stupid to express themselves? Is it the need to obscure their real beliefs and who better to call upon then the liars that seem to dominate this blog? In any event, an endorsement from "Fix Pacifica" will certainly be the kiss of death to any candidate. Party on!

Kathy Meeh said...

Right, economic improvement, city transparency, and factual accounting and history of these city issues is your reference to "liars"-- what kind of skewed world do you live in Anon?

Steve, if this is the same person who also caused you to knock-down a prior "childish" article post, how long are you going to allow this Anon, who is "a total waste of time" to continue?

Steve Sinai said...

The interesting thing about the survey is the total lack of concern about how to balance environment with the economy. All that matters to the endorsement committee are environmental issues.

Just seeing these questions have made me go from an attitude of "who cares" when it came to a Sierra Club endorsement, to one where I consider a Sierra Club endorsement to be an indication of a one-issue, no-compromises candidate who can't do the required balancing between environment and economy.

I believe the current council members were all endorsed by the Sierra Club. After seeing what's required for the endorsement, it's no wonder the city's an economic (and environmental) mess.

Kathy, I don't think the above Anon is the same as the previous Anon. The current Anon seems to be an upset hippie.

Cala said...

The purpose of the Sierra Club is to protect communities, wild places and the planet itself. The questions in the endorsement survey are applicable to the mission of the organization. They are also pertinent to current issues of concern being discussed in the city... many even covered in this blog.

Why is this being put down? Believe it or not there are people who are in favor of supporting the environment and balancing the economic issues at hand.

Steve Sinai said...

Cindy, the problem with the Sierra Club (which I used to be a member of), Wild Equity,, is that they don't have any stake or interest in the city of Pacifica, and so have no concern as to how much economic damage their positions will cause the city.

The "balance" between the environment and economy has always seemed skewed 90% environment and 10% economy in this town. When I first moved here in 1984 I approved, but over the years I began to see the problems that was causing. The environmental policies, regulations, and NIMBY's in town are such that when buildings and infrastructure start falling apart, it's difficult beyond reason to repair or replace them with something slightly better. (Cue Tom Clifford's Monster House ordinance, where a Monster House in Pacifica is defined as one only 100-200 sq. ft. larger than the average California home.)

That's one of the reasons we have so many run-down, empty buildings in town, and why any talk of civic revitalization, e.g., West Sharp Park, Pacific Manor, is a sick joke.

Irrespective of what a few may wish, Pacifica is not a wildlife sanctuary or national park. (Or a quaint, oceanside artists colony.) Pacifica is a city, and needs to be run like one. That hasn't been happening.

The city's destroying itself for no other reason than to let a small, yet vocal group of local environmentalists feel good about themselves by pretending that they're saving the world. The town is withering away because a majority on council, including Digre and Vreeland, are overly-focused on pleasing one particular pro-environment, anti-economy interest group at the expense of the city as a whole.

I'd like to see more people on council who can genuinely balance environment with economy. (That doesn't mean 90% economy, 10% environment, either. The flip side of one extreme is just as bad as the other.) From the look of the questions, anyone who gets the approval of the Sierra Club won't be able to implement that balanced approach.

Kathy Meeh said...

Steve has stated this issue very well. Cindy here's a couple of problems which occurred as the result of insufficient city money, which have a negative affect on the environment.

1. Repeated sewer spills, not good for the ocean or streams, resulting in water quality fines and current law suits.
2. Sewer collection leakage, not good for the earth (estimated $150 million neglect).
3. Not fixing highway 1, not good for air pollution. (Also less safe for humans).

Responsible environmental practices, fixing the above, green building, civic improvement, maintaining Sharp Park golf course (and protecting the RLF/SFGS habitat), urban Linda Mar beach (humans/dogs/Snowy Plovers and other shore birds), dog parks, city museum, library improvement, fulfilling our regional requirement to build at least a minimum share of housing, utilities undergrounding (safety), local jobs/services so that people can stay in town and not travel so much, healthy businesses, near zero waste goal (Recology is making a reality)-- these are all issues most pro-economy citizens support.

This city has also needed money to hold back ocean erosion in Sharp Park and Manor areas. This is a serious issue, and without that containment, not withstanding the loss to humans and habitat, the line could be highway 1. No highway 1, no route through Pacifica, no Pacifica.

Just something for you to think about in green world.

Twirly-dancer said...

"No highway 1, no route through Pacifica, no Pacifica."

What a wonderful, green, sustainable thought. It makes me want to twirly-dance!

Markus said...

Steve, nice post and your comment @ 4:03 is right on the money. Twirly-dancer, my guess is you are not a property owner in Pacifica. I've lived here for some 28 years and Steve's comment pretty much summarizes my feelings. I am supporting candidates with a more balanced vision for this city. Our environment is NOT our economy! This city simply can't take another 4 years of no progress and a miniscule commercial business tax base. I want to be able to take care of all my needs without driving over the hill. Lets get out of the seventies already.

Anonymous said...

The Quarry is not in the coastal zone. Per the California Coastal Commission, because it is in a Redevelopment Zone they technically don't have oversight. A good land use attorney can make their oversight go away. Oh, wait, we had a developer with a good land use attorney...

Anonymous said...

"The Quarry is not in the coastal zone."

I don't think that's correct.

todd bray said...

The "No Trespassing" signs Peebles Co. put in the quarry required a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) from the Coastal Commission. Since the signs where not permitted by the CCC Peebles Co was required by law to remove them.

The Watcher said...

So, how can Vreeland get an endorsement from labor, the Sierra Club, and SAMCAR? It would especially seem that the Sierra Club would want answers and assurances that would conflict with the other two. Of course, Vreeland is expert at pimping for votes. Pacifica should demand that all candidates make their questionaires public.

Kathy Meeh said...

The quarry is in the coastal commission zone as Todd mentioned, (west of highway 1). However, the quarry is not considered part of the tsunami zone, which may make it more valuable for development (except for being located in "no growth", nonfunctional Pacifica). Also, the frogs and snakes don't love most of the quarry, because its limestone and greenstone.

So, Watcher guess we should ask for copies of the endorsement questionnaires, keeping the process transparent for a change; or, report back that these were not released keeping the process non-transparent; and, advise the public either way.

Cala said...

Appreciate the additional input. Absolutely, lack of funding has impacted the environment in some significant ways. And I too would like to see a re-engerized Palmetto district and other parts of town.

I don't personally agree, however, with the statement that "by the looks of the questions anyone who gets the approval of the Sierra Club won't be able to implement a balanced approach." More people (and organizations) are coming to an understanding that true sustainability involves a balance between economic, environmental and ethical ideals. The inability of a few people to find the balance and get things done shouldn't discount that there could be others out there that can do this job.

I think my only open concern is with the lack of transparency. I hope that all candidates will respond to these important questions and publicly disclose their answers and how they will impact their decisions if elected.

Steve Sinai said...

It really would be interesting to see all the endorsement questions and answers from each candidate. The only way I can see someone getting an endorsement from both the Sierra Club and SAMCAR is if they answer the questions according to what they think the endorsing organizations want to hear, rather than their own personal beliefs.

Kathy Meeh said...

Cindy, balance is the way we look at it: "responsible environmentalism". That hasn't happened in this city in the past 8 years. Rather, the incumbents and their friends have given us "irresponsible environmentalism".

And, given the nature of their questions, those city council candidates endorsed by the Loma Prieta Sierra Club are expected to be pro-economic "losers" just as they have been in the past, in the context that Steve 8/19 @4:03pm mentioned.

After 8 long years of so many "sustainable economic opportunities" missed, now compounded, this city is in trouble. If there's a way to put "humpty dumpty" Pacifica back together, this time it will occur through pro-economy city council challenger candidates (Arietta, Vellone and Stone).

If the city goes into bankruptcy, property owners will forced to pay the considerable outstanding debt and deficit accumulated over the past 8 years, the land will revert to the county. That's where we are.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Coastal Commission stated that they don't have oversight over the Quarry during the Biodiesel hearing. Just because they claimed oversight and Peebles aquiesced, doesn't mean that they do. Legally, because it is a redevelopment zone, they don't have jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

The Coastal Commission has jurisdiction over the coastal zone, which is everything west of Hwy 1. If it's true that the Coastal Commission doesn't have jurisdiction over the quarry because it is in a redevelopment zone, Peebles and his attorneys apparently didn't know it. Do the city and the Coastal Commission know it? Is there a citation for this or is it a legal theory that has not been confirmed?

Anonymous said...

Wow, if a candidate can not answer these questions in a thoughtful manner, they really should not be a candidate, with or without the Sierra Club endorsement. This is governing so welcome to the real world!

Anonymous said...

Go back to the Coastal Commission website and play the hearing for the biodiesel plant. The local staff stated it was NOT in the Coastal Zone as it was part of a redevelopment area.

Peebles attorney's did know this and advised them (as stated in their presentation at the Pedro Point Firehouse) to work with the Coastal Commission anyway, spending more money on legal costs but intending on on a good relationship with the Coast Commission. Too bad our City Council couldn't figure out how to work with them as well.

Anonymous said...

I listened to the hearing. I did not hear staff say that the quarry was not in the coastal zone because it is in a redevelopment area. I heard them state several times that the site was in the coastal zone. The Coastal Commission has jurisdiction. That's why they were having the hearing and approving the biodiesel plant with conditions. It's not true that being in a redevelopment area means that it is not in the coastal zone and that the Coastal Commission does not have jurisdiction.

todd bray said...

Steve, are you going to publish the realtors assoc. candidate questionaire? or is that not subject to transparency?

Jeffrey W Simons said...


Here are the questions from the SAMCAR 2008 Candidate Questionnaire (and I believe all questionnaires should be made available to the public, and should be governed under the FPPC regulations):

1. Why do you want to run for office? If elected, what are the main components of your legislative agenda?

2. What do you see as the major challenges for San Mateo County in the near term?

3. Much has been written and much has been said about the escalating costs of housing in San Mateo County. What do you believe are the main causes of this housing crisis? In your view, what are possible short and long term solutions?

4. To address the current housing crisis in San Mateo County, some cities are suggesting that their General Plans require inclusionary zoning, also known as below market rate ordinances/programs. These programs require all new housing developments above a certain threshold to set aside a percentage of units at below market rates. What do you perceive as the pros and cons of inclusionary zoning?

5. What are the necessary elements of a successful inclusionary zoning ordinance?

6. It is often suggested that certain regulations be enforced at the time of sale. For example, quick releases on burglar bars must be installed, or sewer laterals inspected prior to the sale of real property. What are the benefits and detriments of these “point of sale” ordinances?

7. If a large budget gap existed and you had to identify additional sources of revenue (assuming budget cuts could not be made), what type of funding measures would you most favor? Please rank the following funding mechanisms (1 indicating the most favorable and 8 the least favorable).
a. _____ transient occupancy tax (hotel tax)
b. _____ real property transfer tax
c. _____ special assessment district
d. _____ utility user tax
e. _____ sales tax
f. _____ parcel tax
g. _____ business license fee/gross receipts tax
h. _____ developer fees

8. Please discuss in detail, your views regarding rent control.

9. The California Coastal Commission retains authority over many areas of development within SAMCAR’s region. In your view, what is the appropriate role of the Coastal Commission, and do you believe it should have unfettered discretion in determining whether development is justified?

10. What community organizations do you work with and what key groups or individuals have supported you?

11. Should you be elected or re-elected to your city council, would you agree to contact the San Mateo County Association of REALTORS® when issues relating to real estate and property rights come before your council?

Jeffrey W Simons said...

from the feedback I received 2 years ago, a candidate has to be unequivocally opposed to any form of rent control (including rent stabilization), inclusionary housing ordinances, or point of sale ordinances. No nuances, no exceptions. Your support (or lack thereof) for housing projects is irrelevant.

Steve Sinai said...

"Steve, are you going to publish the realtors assoc. candidate questionaire? or is that not subject to transparency?"

If I can get one. Thanks to Jeff for the 2008 questions.

Anonymous said...

Todd Bray,

You seem to know it all and have all the answers why didn't you run for city council?

Anonymous said...

Todd Bray tried to file false charges against Don Peebles. This is fact.

Anonymous said...

Copy and Paste Sinai = Hypocrite

Anonymous said...

Copy and Paste Sinai = Tea-bagger