Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Adios Pacifica

Bruce Hotchkiss says good bye  to Pacifica
From his "Adios Pacifica" Pacifica Tribune My Turn article 1/19/2011 

"It seems so long ago that my then-wife and I crested the hill to descend into Pacifica. We couldn't believe that a town perched on the Pacific Ocean was one of the least expensive housing markets on the Peninsula. We found our little house in Fairway West and moved into it in June 1991. With a lot of work we transformed a rather rundown rancher into a pleasant home.

One of the first things we did was subscribe to the Pacifica Tribune. We felt, and I still do, that a newspaper was essential to the well being of a small town. After a few weeks of reading the Trib, and specifically the "Letters to the Editor" section, I noticed a disturbing trend. Many letters referenced the writer's tenure in Pacifica, identifying themselves as a longtime resident. Why is that so important I thought, why is their thoughts/opinions more important than mine or anyone else's who was not a "longtime resident," and what specifically denoted a longtime resident?

I thought the attitude was pretty provincial. I think I even wrote a letter to the Editor asking just how long one had to live in Pacifica before he/she mattered — never got an answer.  Albert Einstein said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I don't know if people in Pacifica, or at least a certain element, expect different results but over the years it has seemed to be déjà vu all over again.

When I came to Pacifica, Pacifica may be known as the city that never gets anything done. We talk about everything ad nauseum, then we vote and everything stays the same. How many charettes have we had on how many different developments? How many have actually gone forward?the city was broke. The big deal of the day was a vote on a street lighting and beautification tax that really wasn't (or was it?) about street lighting or beautification. The ballot measure lost and we're still waiting for street lighting and/or beautification. In 1991, the Manor overpass and its traffic "nightmare" was a hot topic. That hasn't changed. Over the past 20 years I've seen at least three proposals for the Quarry yet it is still, with the exception of Calera Creek, a scar upon the earth. Despite the best intentions of many citizens, or in another view because of the intentions of others, Pacifica is a mishmash of ugly block buildings with rusting nails, '50s ranchers, and a few architectural gems. Some people blame Caltrans for building the 4-lane Highway 1 through Pacifica. But that happened over 50 years ago and not much has improved since.

Pacifica still has enormous potential; it is still an affordable place to live. The Quarry is still, in my less than humble opinion, a great site for a "downtown." It is time the "build it" and the "keep it green" people started working together. Yes I know this is a simplification but c'mon folks, look around you; you can do better.

None of this is why I am leaving. It's all about the finances and enjoyment of life. Four short years ago I met a woman, Nadine, who I want to spend the rest of my life with. Two years ago I promised her 20 years. Then coworkers started having heart attacks; a man I admired in So Cal who worked for the same government department dropped dead of a heart attack at work. It was then that I decided to retire and enjoy life instead of joining the ranks of those who die on the job.  Because of my divorce and a couple of bad financial decisions I found that it would be impossible to stay here and retire. So we're moving to a part of the country where homes are still affordable.

I will miss Pacifica, not necessarily the damp and cold that chills to the bone, not the salt air that eats away my cars, but the sound of the ocean at night or early in the morning, and the sight of the Farallon Islands when the fog lifts. I will miss the people in town who I have grown to respect even if I don't agree with them. I will miss the Tribune, not just because they've given me an outlet for my writing, but also because it is the voice of Pacifica. There are new, Internet news sources but never, ever let your printed paper die.  All my best to Pacifica. Please, please surprise me when I come back for a visit, show me you can do it."
Submitted by Kathy Meeh


ian butler said...


Pacifica won't be the same without you. Have a great time in your new life!

todd bray said...

Hear Hear,

Paul Slavin said...

Pacifica is losing one of its more interesting voices, and that is indeed a loss. Best of luck, Bruce & Nadine.