Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Don't Fergit - Pacifica General Plan Meeting, Saturday Morning 10AM-1PM

If you can spare a few hours on sat, I would encourage you to attend this meeting. Our good friends, those devoted to open space at all costs, will be be there in numbers. Preliminary ideas turn hundreds of acres of private land into parks, open space, and open space corridors. No protests and that's what we'll get. Too many people feel that our road to economic self sufficiency is by way of open space and nature trails. I believe we have plenty available now and we need our general plan to focus on avenues for business and economic prosperity. - Jim Wagner

Blogmaster's note: Wagner's right. The last time I went to one of these, the no-growth, "Keep Pacifica Poor" crowd was out in force.

General Plan Update Project

Pacifica's General Plan has not been comprehensively updated since its adoption in 1980.  The General Plan is the City's most important planning tool, and a comprehensive update would help ensure that information in the Plan is current and that the Plan's goals and action items are consistent with current City policy. In addition, a General Plan update will allow Pacifica to add and strengthen policies related to sustainability and economic development. Alternatives Analysis and Evaluation (Current phase of project)
Alternative land use concepts and policy approaches will be presented for community input at the third Community Forum ( details below ). Attendees will be able to discuss these ideas in small groups, and provide feedback to the consultants and City Staff. The community's input is integral to the General Plan Update Process, as Pacifica is your community, and the City strives to provide you with the services, capital improvements, and policies that will guide us into the future.
Community Forum 3
Where: Ingrid B Lacy Middle School
When: Saturday January 29th, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM: Sign In, Table Assignments and Refreshments
10:30 AM – 1:00 PM: Community Forum 3 Presentation, Discussion and Conclusions
For additional information contact: Elizabeth Claycomb, Management Analyst / Project Manager

650-738-7341 Department

650-738-7361 Direct
650-359-5807 Fax                                                         
Community Forum 3 Agenda

Alternatives to be discussed at Community Forum 3

Map 1  Residential Areas                        
Map 2  Commercial Areas Alternative A    
Map 3 
Commercial Areas Alternative B    
Map 4 
Commercial Areas Alternative C    
Map 5  Flooding and Erosion Hazards Areas
Map 6  Open Space and Trails Areas

Posted by Steve Sinai


Lance said...

Curtis, Loeb, and the rest of that group, pretty much wrote the last general plan. If you want more of the same, don't participate because they'll be more than happy to write this one for you too. If you want Pacifica to become an economically viable city, engage.

boss hogg said...

economically viable city....Lance you are killing me..blahahahahaa

todd bray said...

If you can make it to this workshop and participate at least you can say you did rather than moan about who did what to whom.

Pacifica Partnership said...

“Preliminary ideas turn hundreds of acres of private land into parks, open space, and open space corridors. No protests and that's what we'll get. Too many people feel that our road to economic self sufficiency is by way of open space and nature trails. I believe we have plenty available now and we need our general plan to focus on avenues for business and economic prosperity.” - Jim Wagner

It appears that folks are continuing efforts to maintain the polarization between “sides” – those that want open natural spaces and those that want “economic development” --and never the twain shall meet. A balance is required to achieve the most benefit from the character of Pacifica, drawing on what makes it unique from other bay area locations. We need to create strategies that will attract people to the area as well as smart revitalization of the business environment. Consideration needs to be given to developing the visitor base as well as providing positive recreational and shopping experiences for residents.

Looking at the General Plan Meeting maps – and simply by touring the town – it seems that we also have “plenty available” commercial space. Let’s figure out how to work in partnership to improve and capitalize on ALL of the city’s assets. In doing so, let’s recognize that city’s have the ability to push through development that results in a façade of blandness across the nation. Very few cities have the opportunity to create vibrancy by developing plans that maximize the natural capital inherent to Pacifica through our six miles of coastline and surrounding hills.

Kathy Meeh said...

"Pacifica Partnership" 12:11PM, yes, if some of us had just not protested, everything would have been just fine--NOT. And, unfortunately it only takes 3 city council members (those who make city decisions) and their "open space" friends to screw-up the economy and services of a city-- and they did. Under such conditions protest is both reasonable and necessary.

We have plenty of commercial space? Guess we didn't need Mori Point, Cattle Hill, several valleys, several hills, high cost failed or blocked developments, the quarry. Highway 1 infrastructure improvement is quiet again. There was even the recent fight to save "open recreation and tourist space" Sharp Park golf course, and the seawall there. THANKS ALL WHO HAVE PROTESTED, WITHOUT YOU THIS CITY WOULD BE IN WORSE SHAPE THAN IT CLEARLY IS.

Now (in theory) the city economic goal is "tourism" (preceded by "recreation")-- think that's an ongoing, balanced city economic plan? Then again, maybe we will get some tunnel pass-through tourists with the inevitable stalled traffic.

"Pacifica Partnership" 12:11PM, interesting how you chose to devalue the FIX PACIFICA partner (Wagner this time) who is promoting much needed "business and economic prosperity", while the city for decades has been held hostage to the insufficiency manipulation of "open space run amuck".

Pacifica PARTNERSHIP said...

"Dream on", Breath and Relax.

Yes, It is my belief that we have plenty of commercial space -- Manor Shopping Center, commercial flanking Highway One on both Oceana and Palmetto, West Sharp Park Business District including the OWWTP, Eureka Square, Vallemar Business Area, Rockway Beach Business Area, Pedro Point Business Area, Linda Mar Shopping Center, Adobe Plaza, Park Mall and Fairmont Shopping Center. Do we need to develop Mori Point, Cattle Hill, hills , etc? Nope. Do these existing areas need to be revitalized, brought up to date and new businesses brought in to fill the EXISTING EMPTY COMMERCIAL AREAS? ABSOLUTELY! Let's figure out how to do this in tandem -- fixing what we have already in place, protecting the special character of each neighborhood that we have in Pacifica without the need to create another lifeless big box city center. Let's develop (YES... I used the word DEVELOP) something different that isn't everywhere else in San Mateo County and throughout the bay area.

Please note that the comments posted expressed are my opinion, which differ from those of Mr. Wagner. I didn't realize that an expression of a different opinion would be construed to "devalue" Mr. Wagner's. The introduction to this blog is that it is a place to express differing viewpoints without having these differences be buried. Please respect my right and do not do what you (incorrectly) accused me of.

I will continue to dream that the venom held by some members of the community (on both sides) will diminish and we will be able to develop a plan that embraces both redevelopment and a respect for the natural beauty that is Pacifica. Peace.

Steve Sinai said...

"'Dream on', Breath and Relax."

Some of us prefer a hard drink.

PP, we've been hearing your type of suggestion for 30 years. Nothing's happened. Why?

Pacifica's existing commercial space is too scattered, limited, and out of sight to develop the critical mass of businesses needed to draw people in; it's shabby; it's hard to get to (try getting to the Indian take-out restaurant, or Taco Bell for a beefy treat, if you're heading north on Highway 1); and you can only have so many consignment shops and manicure places.

I'm not hearing anyone seriously suggesting we need to develop Mori Point, Cattle Hill or the hills. Much of that land belongs to the GGNRA already, so it's off limits. The Quarry's the only place where we can develop a project that actually draws new shoppers and diners into town.

Anonymous said...

What are you people on? This town is a broken down dump and has been for decades. The disaster it's been narrowly avoiding for decades is about to happen. I really doubt that even those tax measures would save us, and they have no chance of passing. Even if they did our local elected foul-ups would waste the money on their salaries, cushy contracts, bogus studies and projects and keep giving our resources to the feds and the birds. Remember, you are in Pathetica and we are going to keep it that way. Just you wait and see.

the city council? Recreation? That's going to save us? Business development Who in their right mind would want to develop anything important here in today's economy? You'd think Fresh and Easy was the 2nd coming. It's a pricey little grocery store and what a time and place to open. Major shopping is right over the hill where all the jobs are and that's where they'll stay. We're seeing survival of the fittest and that's how it is right now in the USA particularly California. The local politicians and realtors have done this growth/no growth farce for years. None of them can ever make anything important happen. Remember, it's Pathetica and we're going to keep that way!

Pacifica Partnership said...

The recent renovation and expansion of the Westlake shopping center in Daly City makes one pause in considering the assumption that visibility and ease of access are the only factors that determine where shoppers will be drawn. Not visible from any major freeway or highway, not the easiest place to get in and out of (though with the advantage of the ability to approach from multiple sides, unlike the quarry with only one way in / out) yet it seems to be thriving since the upgrade with people making it a destination -- even many from Pacifica.

When has the city SERIOUSLY worked with local centers to upgrade their facilities? Understandably they could be reluctant to do so with talk of a new center that could deteriorate their business base. Any plan needs to encompass the entire city -- to ensure blight isn't moved from one location to another resulting in zero significant increase.

Lionel Emde said...

Steve, you've hit the nail on the head:

"Pacifica's existing commercial space is too scattered, limited, and out of sight to develop the critical mass of businesses needed to draw people in; it's shabby; it's hard to get to (try getting to the Indian take-out restaurant, or Taco Bell for a beefy treat, if you're heading north on Highway 1); and you can only have so many consignment shops and manicure places."

The clue here is Hwy 1 slicing through the town like a hot knife. It's why we're a pass through and not a destination. When I was a kid, Sharp Park was sort of a downtown, but that ended when the Great Trench of Pacifica was dug for the highway in the 60's.

The poster advocating filling existing commercial spaces is also correct. Pacifica Manor and Linda Mar are it in terms of commercial centers. Pedro Point, oddly enough, seems to be hanging in there. Everything else seems to be dying a slow death.

ian butler said...

Pedro Point is going through a renewal right now. Fresh and Easy should bring enough people there to give the other businesses the boost they need.

Eureka Square suffers from landlord greed, they raised rents excessively during a recession, causing many tenants to move out.

Rent control anyone?

(By the way, due to computer problems I was unable to post here for a while but it's fixed and I'm back!)

Anonymous said...

The commercial centers in the best shape are the ones most visible from Highway 1.

Unknown said...

Regarding what I know about rent control, it does not pertain to commercial properties in California. The people who own the shopping centers use them as a tax write off...therein lays the problem. Revise the tax law. Regarding what I know about rent control properties in San Francisco, it is a nightmare.

Kathy Meeh said...

Lois, think you would have enjoyed today's General Plan meeting, we had a good turn-out and the development considerations (at least for the General Plan) were better than expected. No mention of rent control (proposed as a Pacifica special), but Ian makes a good point about Eureka Square rents (and some other city properties from my view).

Here are some "in attendance" possible schizophrenic statistical information from the prior 2 General Plan forums:

1. 80% like "open space", but 67% want economic development. Compatible idea?

2. 57% favor mixed-use development in the quarry, 18% somewhat do, 12% don't. But, that statistic does not seem to be representative of the Measure L defeat 4 years ago.

3. Those running the meeting also pointed-out: 1) The ABAG housing requirement for Pacifica by 2014 is 311 units, and 2) if the quarry is not developed there will be an unresolved commercial space deficit by 2030.

Of course there is no direct connect to build mix-use with 311 units in the quarry, but if you look at the city redevelopment plan and count the senior and affordable housing numbers that the same number (+or-2).

todd bray said...

Kathy, ABAG suggestions are not mandatory. ABAG can say it feels Pacifica needs X number of units but we as a community are under no obligation to comply. Like you or me ABAG numbers are basically comments.

Kathy Meeh said...

Todd, we belong to the San Francisco regional 9 county, 101 city, Association of Bay Area Governments ABAG don't we? Did we agree to the partnership terms?
Is it also the case that these housing "requirements" are "suggested" minimums?

Steve Sinai said...

We're only in ABAG because they help cover legal expenses when Pacifica gets sued.

todd bray said...

Kathy, ask the planning department if ABAG numbers are mandatory. We don't need to argue this.

abag said...

How does ABAG determine their housing allowances? Why does Pacifica always fall below those numbers?

Lionel Emde said...

"3. Those running the meeting also pointed-out: 1) The ABAG housing requirement for Pacifica by 2014 is 311 units, and 2) if the quarry is not developed there will be an unresolved commercial space deficit by 2030."

I'd dispute the second part of that projection. It as unlikely as the projection years ago that Pacifica would have 100,000 people in it by now.
Never gonna happen.

mike bell said...

Develop the damn Quarry would you please?!?!
It's a REDEVELOPMENT ZONE. It will give the biggest return by far for the smallest footprint by far of any contiguous land mass in Pacifica.
Why does Pacifica continue to oppose common sense?

Revitalize Pacifica said...

As noted in the summary comments from the table groups that particpated in the Saturday General Plan Update Forum, common sense might be to realize that after multiple attempts to develop the quarry, and public vote that has defeated all measures to date, it's time to accept that agreement on the quary is not likely to be reached. Common sense might therefore be exercised to move forward with revitalization of existing centers, versus standing firm and still as the city has done for so long. (Kathy Meeh, Absolutely a possibility versus a schizophrenic idea as noted by the statistic quoted of 80% want open space and 67% want economic development.)

New motto for the town: STOP BICKERING AND DO SOMETHING.

Kathy Meeh said...

Lionel (10:57am), at the General Plan Forum yesterday, no one suggested Pacifica would have 100,000 people. On the other hand, maybe the 20 year population growth in other cities (and our scenic coastal view) will cause 100,000 people daily to DRIVE THROUGH this city. The compounded impact of our "non-starter" highway update could be a problem.

Increased development height limits related to infill properties was mentioned several times by those running the meeting. Of course, the cliffs north of town may fall, and the coastline west and south of town may sink under high tides.

The need to develop the quarry for commercial use was made clear by those running the meeting, also as described by Mike 12:13pm in his "common sense" comment.

Todd (11:53pm) not sure why you suggested I "ask the planning department if ABAG numbers are mandatory". Maybe view the city 5 year (2010-2014) quarry redevelopment implementation plan. 309 senior/low/affordable housing units designated to be built in the quarry. Truth be known, I probably like this plan less than you. No matter: redevelopment in the State of California this year may be a relic of the past.

The city will improve through developed and undeveloped land planning and fixing the highway. "Revitalize" 2:51pm, DO ALL OF THESE, that's a better strategy than putting "lipstick on a scattered infill pig".

Lionel Emde said...

If Caltrans' insane highway widening plan comes to pass, everyone will indeed "pass through" on their way to somewhere else.
Caltrans was the one, if I recall correctly, that made the 100,000 population prediction back in the 60's. They are not to be trusted.

todd bray said...

hear hear Lionel

Kathy Meeh said...

Lionel and Todd, when I moved into Pacifica in the early 1980's, I thought the city would build a balanced economy. After all, all that land.

Next thing you know big land chunks (including the geographical heart of what should be a city) disappeared into unproductive "open space", leaving the city with ongoing "empty pockets": backward, rationed and failing services; additional risk, neglect, extra fees; ongoing city proposed taxes, excessive volunteerism; little clans and "thiefdoms"; provincial views and/or city deficiency denial; and the need to protest.

Who is to be trusted? The 30 year city "no growth, Trust Me" leadership machine? City council majority who could have made a reasonable, balanced city economic difference during the past 8 years? Here's the Pacifica map. Half a city: its the Solomon biblical story delivered.

Steve Sinai said...

Lionel, it sounds like you're not happy with Highway 1 as it is now, yet you don't want to see it widened to help alleviate the situation.

What do you want to see happen?

Anonymous said...

"unproductive open space," "excessive volunteerism," yes these are problems to be fixed in Pacifica

Anonymous said...

Business as usual in pathetica. Well, more like
no-business as usual. For decades we've ignored the need to smartly develop and redevelop and now we insanely think it's doable. There's no money people and none coming down that road. None. This is all too little too late and simply busy work spun by those in power to keep our minds off the disaster at hand.

Anonymous said...

we cant even get the pot holes fixed, what makes you think the h-1 will get widened? Infrastruture is doomed. It will get worse before it gets better and better is a long way off. Just ask all the people who are leaving california. Better buy a atv or a bicycle.

The End Is Near said...

We're doomed. Give up. Kiss your ass goodbye.

Look what hippies have wrought said...

We might as well walk to the top of Mori Point and jump off.

Don't step on any frogs or snakes on the way up, please.

Markus said...

Governor Brown's plan to discontinue funding redevelopment agenicies, is this a done deal or does this have to be voted on by the assembly?
If funding is unavailable it will have an negative impact on Pacifica's redevelopment areas, especially the quarry. I believe both the quarry and Old WWTP need to be cleaned up and made more attractive for possible developers. Unlike 'Look what hippies have wrought', I'm not quite ready to take the plunge off Mori Point. I do believe some of the hippies stopped dropping acid long enough to realize their notion of Pacifica as a quaint little country village made up of artists, musicians and naturalists, is far removed from reality. And while I enjoy art, music and nature as much as most Pacificans, I realize we also need more sustainable sources of tax revenues from economic and commercial development. We definitely need better balance between open spaces, trails and smart economic & commercial development. Development will create more local jobs and give Pacificans the opportunity to get their shopping and most services locally. Let's keep the money here. If less people go over the hill to work and shop, we have less congestion on Hwy. 1. It's a win win for all Pacificans.

Why they laugh at Pacifica said...

I love it when someone shouts DEVELOP THE DAMN QUARRY! Have you noticed the "for sale" sign out there? Pacifica isn't holding back the quarry from development, in fact Pebbles threatened to bring in a "big box" if his fake plan didn't pass. The fact of the matter is the quarry is zoned for commercial but no one in their right mind will spend the money to buy and develop it because there's no profit in it. Maybe all of you complainers will pony up the bucks and develop it yourself and show the rest of us what a great opportunity we are passing up.

sinking ship said...

Pacifica is its own worst enemy. If you REALLY want to 'fix Pacifica' you'll know that the inverse will work in the 94044. You need to pump 110% of your resources into educating the kids here and fixing what is broken there. Stop bickering and start educating - let the change begin. The next generation of Pacificans are already smoking pot and pregnant: the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. No more rental units and Section 8 housing. Egad, how many do we have here?! You need to fix those issues first. What do you know about our education system? Do you know children from Daly City, Colma, and Brisbane attend our schools? Do you know that Pacifica schools are at the bottom of the barrel in funding and it has little to do with our economy, but a political problem at the county level involving our funding formula? Because these out of district kids are here... what does it do to our coastal culture? Influences, vandalism, bullying, drugs, lack of respect, disinterest in education? Does that affect family life - absolutely! How does it affect quality of life for Pacificans? More than you know. We can develop or not, but until we fix the root problem here: Drugs, low IQ's and our very own Border problem, you're not going to get far.

Lionel Emde said...

" sounds like you're not happy with Highway 1 as it is now, yet you don't want to see it widened to help alleviate the situation."

Trouble is that what they propose for Hwy 1 will finish the job started by the Great Trench of Pacifica. Civic death and a pass-through. Yeah, we have a lot of open space and no downtown, and because of geography and Caltrans, it's going to stay that way.

I also have to say that the "open space v. development" argument is one that misses the point of commercial business and its migration over the hill. As corporations have consolidated and grown bigger, they have opened larger and larger stores which are all over the hill from Pacifica. We used to have car dealerships, furniture and clothing stores, even a Sears catalog store. They're gone and not coming back, and its got nothing to do with our inept local leaders. Whatever businesses that can survive on a fragmented population spread along seven miles of coastline are what we'll get.
And the poster talking about the schools here - that's an old story too. We've been either the lowest or second-lowest funded elementary school district in the county ever since I can remember. It depends on how well or badly Ravenswood in E. Palo Alto is doing as to where we rank. It's a statewide problem that's never been addressed.
So think small, folks, that's the future here.

Kathy Meeh said...

"I do believe some of the hippies stopped dropping acid long enough to realize their notion of Pacifica as a quaint little country village made up of artists, musicians and naturalists, is far removed from reality."

Marcus, the 2/1, 8:27pm comment that follows your post proves that not all hippies stopped dropping acid, while still believing their own BS. But, I did see their later Pacificans for (NO) Sustainable Development quarry alternative plan, which included nothing profitable. Peebles village proposal would have brought-in an estimated $17 million annual tax revenue, enough to run the city, provide needed maintenance, make improvements and pay-off debt. Redevelopment opportunity lost.

12:52am comment, deferred "education solution" affecting quality of life. Nice but no cash. We will be able to do more here in this city with a better city economy.

Lionel, I think your view on some issues is about 180 degrees different from mine. The Caltrans proposal includes 1.3 miles only, period, complete. This kind of transition occurs on other local roads to alleviate traffic congestion. Highway 1, 6 lanes to Los Angeles isn't happening.

Also, I'm pretty sure "think small" is the ongoing "inept" city economic problem. Change is inevitable, including improving the highway. Removing big land parcels really limits options leading to "think even smaller". City council majority and friends? "Inept", with no apparent interest in being or doing otherwise. Unfortunately these familiar "nice and polite" visonless faces keep getting reelected.

Laurie Frater said...

To sinking ship:

It's great that you're aware that our schools are "at the bottom of the barrel in funding" and that it's because of a funding formula that has been in place (and that we've been fighting) since the early 70's. Let's all hope that we can win that battle sometime soon.

While I absolutely agree with your call to invest in education, I have to disagree with your argument about kids from outside the district. Yes, there are some, but they're here not just because they aspire to attend our good schools, but because it makes economic sense for us to accept them.

Imagine that we have 85 kindergarteners enroll at a school. With a maximum 20:1 student-teacher requirement, we must set up 5 classes, but we only get the funding (based on the number of students) for four and a quarter classes. If we can get up to 15 students from outside the district, we get the revenue for them, which mitigates the revenue gap that would otherwise exist.

At the high school level, we get the students from the areas you mention because we're part of a larger district with open enrollment. If it was restricted to just Pacifica's kids, we'd have much lower enrollment (and, therefore, much lower revenue), which would have an adverse impact on the programs our high schools can offer.

Although it might not seem obvious on the surface, having kids from outside the district attend both our elementary and high schools is to the benefit of Pacifica's kids!

Steve Sinai said...

Lionel, simply adding another lane to Highway 1 for a mile or two isn't going to turn it into a pass-through. Removing stoplights or adding underpasses and overpasses would, which is why I'm opposed to those options.

Pacifica's problem is that it does think small. I half-joke about the idea of a premium outlet mall in the quarry, but the idea of putting something there that actually attracts people to Pacifica has always seemed totally valid to me.

todd bray said...

Steve, it is valid, attracting folks to a future quarry development. Unfortunately neither the USFWS nor the CCC will comment on or give a decisive ruling on any proposed development plan so any potential developer whether said entity is working with the city or not, cannot know how much they will finally get to build which makes the whole quarry issue moot. Some think if the community is fully behind a future proposal then it will politically work its way through the process. But that is not really an option either because a third party entity could nullify that strategy by simply suing one or more of the governmental agencies that gave such a project a free walk.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like we need to shut down some high schools in pacifica if enrollment is so low.

Daly City needs to re-open serramonte high school and san bruno needs to re-open crestmoor. Or, let those cities overcrowd their schools. The system is backwards. We have open enrollment for the betterment of who? not our students. Open enrollment is a better benefit for out students? says who? Hogwash. If there is not enough kids shut down the school. Let private schools come in, smaller schools and will see better educated students and increase in tax revenue. The current public school system is old antiquated and no longer works and definitely does not benefit the over all community, except the teachers union.

mike bell said...

Recovery for Pacifica won't start until rational people have a majority vote on Council.
The 3 Stooges running this city for 12+ years for their Stooges, have got to go.
The City of Hercules has the right idea.

i like to fart said...

Anonymous@3:02 PM should learn how to write a clean, coherent paragraph before offering advice on education.

Kathy Meeh said...

Hurray for Mike Bell!!!

NOTE: Last election (11/2/10) there were 3 City Council positions to replace. Some of you voted for 2 city council candidates only, whereas there were really 5 good candidates.

True, 5 good candidates are 2 candidates too many, but voting for 3 candidates would have been a better attempt at WINNING. Anonymous who lately likes to call other people "stupid" was one of the people who insisted upon voting for 2 good candidates only, and "blew off" 1 other good candidate. Like losing? Great strategy.

Next election (2012) there are 2 City Council positions available. The opposition CAN count, so they will probably have 2 candidates only running, just as they had 3 candidates running last election (2010).

We will likely have 5 candidates running, just as occurred last election. Of course we will likely lose because we will continue to have too many good candidates, and big egos won't remove themselves from the campaign. Nevertheless, LOSERS hope you will THINK to vote for 2 good candidates next time, rather than 1 (and try to keep your weird national politics out of our NON-PARTISAN elected city government). We live here, and we need a workable city economy.

Anonymous said...

You can slice and dice it any way you want but the reality is that the people spoke with their votes in November. They didn't like what they saw in the challengers other than Stone who ran a strong, smart campaign. The others were a bunch of losers and yikes! they lost. Term limits passed because it made sense to people on its own merits but clearly not as a commentary on the incumbents who were easily re-elected. Two separate issues there no matter what the bitter authors of the ballot measure pretend. Lionel's
observations on what really ails Pacifica are right on target and not stunted by petty politics.
Love Steve's outlet village in the Quarry..high quality outlets only, no 99cent stores... because an outlet village solves the problem of attracting visitors and dollars...visiting shoppers mean ongoing revenue, jobs creation, and the growth of collateral businesses--without the additional increasingly hard-to-fund burden on city services that new residential would bring. And don't tell me about property taxes coming to the city...less and less all the time for the foreseeable future. And who the hell would buy all these houses? Right next to the stinky sewer plant. All sewer plants smell folks. We need a source of ongoing revenue and jobs and outlets could do it. Look at Vacaville, Gilroy and Milpitas nearby and revitalized. Why not Pacifica?

Anonymous said...

Just because an outlet mall is a nice idea doesn't mean that it can be done or that there's a developer who wants to do it. There are huge hurdles to overcome to build anything in the quarry. The numbers just don't pencil out. New premium outlet malls are not being developed. You might as well wish for 49ers stadium in the quarry.

todd bray said...

Mike, your surrogate voice of reason moved out of state. Do you have anymore?

Kathy Meeh said...

Todd (11:49am), Mike Bell (2/2, 5:58pm) said "Recovery for Pacifica won't start until rational people have a majority vote on Council." That's a majority of 3.

Most of us having graduated from 1st grade should be able to count to 3. And, 3 votes control city council: not 2 but 3. Anon (2/3, 2:44am) didn't figure it out, nor did others who claim to care. Don't worry the concerned: "no growth", no money, no progress is alive and well in the city of Pacifica.

Kathy Meeh said...

"There are huge hurdles to overcome to build anything in the quarry. The numbers just don't pencil out." Anon 8:55am, really? Do tell us more (even facts, data, statistics) with a name attached.

Peebles corporation did the research, and my understanding is that following the narrow defeat of Measure L, Peebles corporation planned to build the commercial Plan A without the housing-- until the regulatory city council sub-committee (Vreeland, Lancelle) presented the "no growth partnership" overlay.

Anonymous said...

Peebles Corp. never submitted anything approaching a real plan for a commercial project in the quarry. Maybe now that Michael Crabtree is retired, he might be willing to talk about it. Peebles never had any real interest in building a project. They wanted to increase the value of the property tenfold, then sell it. Pump it and dump it. They were pursuing a strategy of a legal challenge to the city when they realized that would take years, probably wouldn't succeed, and the city couldn't give in to these tactics anyway because a project would still have to get the blessings of other agencies. So Peebles folded and defaulted on the non-recourse loan. They ended up making money and everybody else was left holding the bag. That's the Peebles Principle.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anonymous 1:43pm, I was around from near the beginning of the Measure L campaign, and from my view city council (with exception of Cal Hinton) seemed to have done everything they could to assure that the quarry development did not happen. And, that seems to have continued until Peebles Corporation decided they had had enough, goodbye Pacifica.

So, goodbye $17 million annual city income, goodbye services, jobs, developer highway mitigation (all part of the solution).

According to the Measure L project planner (the drawings and plans I saw), the city had the same copies, as well as a project outline letter, and I think the ballot Measure intent was clear enough.

The underlying issue is that city council 4 (with exception of Cal Hinton) and their "friends" did and do not want to improve this city. Following the last city council subcommittee (Vreeland, Lancelle) meeting with Peebles Corporation, the Pacifica Tribune front page quotes Councilmember Vreeland saying "good, now we can develop the quarry the way we want to with private-public partnerships".

The "pet" city council biodiesel plant fiasco did not pass through city planning and was considered a "private-public partnership, as was the GGNRA "open space development". As you suggest at 8:55am, the numbers pencil-out there: -0.

The "Peebles Principles" is a book authored by Don Peebles with a set of business principles he adheres to (all very transparent). If anything his corporation may have attempted to continued the impossible Pacifica project too long.

Steve Sinai said...

"Peebles never had any real interest in building a project."

Of course there's absolutely no evidence this is the case. That Peebles spent well over $1 million trying to get approval would seem to show otherwise.

Anonymous said...

The money Peebles spent was borrowed and he didn't have to pay it back. It cost him nothing and it proves nothing about his intentions of ever developing a project. In fact, he made out on the deal. That's what his Peebles Principles are about. Read the book. "Make your money going in."

It's amazing that people still don't see that he was running the Magic Money Machine big development hustle. There never was going to be $17 million annual city income. He was going to sell the property with the approved project and some poor suckers including the city would go broke trying to figure out how to build the Emerald City on endangered species habitat in the coastal zone. We're back in Kansas, Dorothy, not in the Land of Oz. Reality is harsh in black and white.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon 8:12pm, why don't you try harder to get facts? Lots of studies were performed by Peebles corporation when they considered building the quarry property, which they intended in good faith to build-- that's why they invested the money up front as Steve mentioned. And, the financial studies ($17 annual tax revenue income) were said to be "conservative".

BTW with the test traps set to catch SF Garter snakes, I believe they caught none. There were some RL frogs in the pond and wetland created by the city from the WWTP. Generally speaking, frogs and snakes and almost no other critters like limestone and greenstone (the major land component of a quarry).

Try google, you'll see that Peebles Corporation has built lots of big high rise, mostly hotel projects. That doesn't happen through flaky financing. Anon, THE HUSTLE IS YOU.

Anonymous said...

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Kathy Meeh said...

Thanks for your apology. We all need to thrive.

Scotty said...

There are none so blind as those who make up and then passionately advocate bizarre conspiracy theories on both sides of this issue.

Kathy Meeh said...

Is that like the clapping of one hand, Scotty?

Whatever it is, the conspiracy theories do not need to thrive.

Steve Sinai said...

"The money Peebles spent was borrowed and he didn't have to pay it back. It cost him nothing and it proves nothing about his intentions of ever developing a project. In fact, he made out on the deal."

What an absurd statement.

I did read Peebles' book, and borrowing money without any intention of paying it back was not a strategy I remember. If that worked, the people who are losing their homes to foreclosure should be making out like bandits because they aren't repaying their loans.

It's been a few years, but what I remember from his book was that Peebles liked to buy distressed properties at a very low price, and then he'd try to find partners willing to take about a 50% financial stake in projects involved with those properties. That way Peebles would both reduce his risk and gain access to capital, while both Peebles and the partners would have still have enough money invested to have every incentive to see the projects succeed.

Basically what I'm seeing from Anonymous (who won't back up statements with a real name) is that instead of being able to provide real evidence when asked, he/she/it can only resort to angry hyperbole.

todd bray said...

Kathy, if you are going to mention the trap and release study by Swaim Biological that was paid for by your buddy you must also reference the USFWS permit that was given to allow that study. In it's two brief sentences it says not matter what the results the Service considers the critters present and that the habitat is ideal for them currently and historically.

Steve, if you are going to deny your buddy borrowed a substantial amount of money to purchase the property and fund the permitting process to entitle the property you are denying public statements by your buddy to the contrary.

If you two want to debate this publicly once and for all to FINALLY put it to rest I'll take you both on in a setting of your choice. I respect you both but lets be honest about all this quarry business.

Anonymous said...

OK, here's how the deal works in simple terms and round numbers for the financially challenged: Peebles buys the quarry for $7 million. He pays for it with a $16 million non-recourse loan (the property is the collateral, none of his money is at risk). He spends, say, $1 million of that loan on consultants (financial, planning, architectural, etc.) and another $1 million on the Measure L campaign. The goal is to get an approved project making the property worth $70-90 million. But Measure L fails. Peebles considers getting approval for a commercial-only project which would increase the value of the land so he could still flip it for much more than the purchase price, but it could take a few years and there are no guarantees, especially considering the regulatory issues. He could eat up the rest of the loan amount and end up with nothing to show for it. Instead, he defaults on the loan. The lender is left holding a distressed property. Peebles walks away with $7 million profit. That's how you "make your money going in."

Anonymous said...

Leave the quarry alone. My uncle lives there.

Steve Sinai said...

Nobody here knows what the settlement was between Peebles and his lender. To assume that Peebles just walked away without paying back all or part of the loan is pure speculation. My guess is that Peebles and the lender both lost money.

If Peebles developed a reputation as a guy who made a profit by sticking it to his lenders, he'd be finished as a businessman.

Todd, at what point did I say Peebles never borrowed money against the Quarry?

Anonymous said...

It's funny how the Peeble's supporters continue to kiss his ass even after he's left town. If he is so ethical and moral then explain why he "walked away" from paying his parcel taxes on the quarry even before Prop L? Maybe it's because he had no intention to ever pay them. Does "sticking it" to the county that is desperate for revenue count for much in the eyes of you ass kissers?

Kathy Meeh said...

"... if you are going to mention the trap and release study by Swaim Biological...reference the USFWS says not matter what the results the Service considers the critters present and that the habitat is ideal for them currently and historically."

Todd, Peebles Corporation also said the State required them to resurface the land (a requirement for building). On the surface, the soil is limestone, greenstone, and dumped Caltrans and other mixtures. The USFWS permit does not prohibit development. Critter habitat exists "currently and historically" EVERYWHERE, including all our yards, hopefully to a lesser extent in our dwellings. Does that mean that private property land is prohibited to build? Of course not.

This city people habitat needs an efficient, profitable, tax revenue income stream to exist comfortably and without hazard. A downtown would also be a positive inclusion. Measure L would have been an opportunity for this city and a quality, green (Leed 5) build, less than 50 acres on blighted but ocean front land.

Anon 9:29am, now you're concerned about county tax revenue, when you didn't support this beautiful civic, economic and profitable project that would have produced an estimated $17 million dollars tax revenue for this city? Ha, ha, ha.... and, well, that's very "moral and ethical".

todd bray said...

Again I offer to publicly go over all of this with you Kathy, and Steve.

Anonymous said...

There is more than one Anonymous posting in this thread.

Kathy Meeh said...

Todd, speaking for myself, comments on this blog are public enough. The Peebles quarry is a 4 year old back issue, the corporation has moved on to successful developments since. I'm just a citizen who wants a positive and improved balance city economy, with responsible environmentalism. If that's debatable to you, your reasons are of interest.

Anon 12:20pm, you said "there is more than one Anonymous posting in this thread". So what? You chose the generic name. Want to be distinguished from others, maybe go to and get a gmail account. You can change your "face to the world" identity there or at

Anonymous said...

Hey Meeh you have no idea if I supported it or not, so STFU. Second, IF the project had been built I would have expected everyone to have paid their legal sales and property taxes, but since it wasn't built and those revenues never existed why are you moaning about it as opposed to someone actually evading existing taxes?

Steve Sinai said...

Todd, why would debating things elsewhere be any better than debating things here? If you or angry Anonymous have any REAL evidence in regards to Peebles' intentions and final profit or loss, beyond the wild speculation that's been offered so far, you can present it here.

Anonymous said...

Nobody has any "real" evidence of Peebles' final intentions and actual profit or loss, one way or the other. To a certain extent, what anybody says is speculation regardless of what they say. But speculating from facts and observed behavior is likely to be more accurate than speculating from marketing and campaign spin. Some things are known because they are public record: the quarry purchase price, the amount of the loan, the fact that Peebles defaulted on the loan, and the fact that he did not pay property taxes on the quarry.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon 1:40pm, of course I get you. If what you say is true rather than myth, your obsession is with a 1x tax that grows due to penalty, vs. an estimated $17 million annual city tax revenue (including about 3,000 jobs for mostly Pacificans).

1x "chump change" vs. year-after-year incoming sustainable tax revenue. I got that too, did you?

About your vulgarity, that doesn't make what you say more credible, it just make you more vulgar.

todd bray said...

Fair enough Kathy. Understood.

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Very interesting. My post was deleted. I guess some people can't deal with facts that don't support their views.

Anonymous said...

FixPacifica is a bunch of lying hypocrites. You will never do anything positive to fix Pacifica. You just repeat the same old whine. I'm done with you losers.

Kathy Meeh said...

"...angry Anonymous have any REAL evidence in regards to Peebles' intentions and final profit or loss, beyond the wild speculation that's been offered so far, you can present it here." Comment from Steve Sinai, Blogmaster 2/4/11, 2:33pm.

Anon 9:10am, I viewed and voted to remove your post. There were no supported "facts", just repeated non-supported speculation under an anonymous name. Can't do better than that, well?

Anonymous said...

No speculation, FACTS: quarry purchase price, amount of non-recourse loan, fact that Peebles defaulted on the loan, fact that he didn't pay property taxes. It's all public record.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon 9:19AM, 10:50AM, 12:18pm, think you're "stuck" on something meaningless, but take your word for it when you could link to "the public record"? No thanks.

Apparently you are one of the myth-based 30 year "winners" that has driven this city into a "poor city" ditch. BTW "Heck of a job"!

Why don't you get honest? Want green? Stop mindlessly using the frogs and snakes as an excuse to fail responsible ecology. Think green, but work toward the financial and social good for those of us who live in this city (including you).

Kathy Meeh said...

Who knows, maybe we won one!

Steve Sinai said...

Anon@9:10 AM, I restored your comment. There was nothing wrong with it. (Of course I disagree with it, but that's something else.)

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon 2/4, 3:47pm, "...speculating from facts and observed behavior is likely to be more accurate than speculating from marketing and campaign spin. Some things are known because they are public record:..."

So, Anon, you want to talk about facts and "observed behavior"???? let's take a quick look at the city council and "friends" action side (its only fair).

Through their actions City council 4: (1996) had no interest in developing the quarry then 21-23 years designated for cash advantaged redevelopment. Not building this site (if only producing $10 million annual tax revenue x 20 years (partial length of the tax advantaged redevelopment duration) is $200 million income loss to this city.

Previously, through their behavior the same city council 4 were not interested in the somewhat similar (not as classy or profitable) Trammel Crow development (2002).

Prior to that, some of these same council members worked to assure 100% of Mori Point would never be developed. Mori Point was voted by the people of Pacifica to be developed, that history has almost been erased.

City council 4 are neither stupid, nor were they ever ill-informed. Therefore, its clear through their actions and behavior they DO NOT and DID NOT intend to solve serious city financial and structural issues. Through their actions it is also clear that city council 4 did not intend to comply with national, state and regional Association of Bay Area Government minimum housing requirements to build 315 housing units (more than a suggestion I think Todd).

Elections and accountability matter, as does confusing information intent. Some of us did not just read the quarry development "campaign literature", although that was important too.

Scotty said...

"Peebles considers getting approval for a commercial-only project which would increase the value of the land so he could still flip it for much more than the purchase price, but it could take a few years and there are no guarantees, especially considering the regulatory issues."

Angry annoying anonymous, it's already zoned for commercial, so please adjust your tin-foil hat... It's apparently constricting blood flow.

Anonymous said...

Just because the quarry is zoned commercial doesn't mean that a commercial project will automatically be approved. It still has to go through the planning process and get city approval. And because the quarry is in the coastal zone and has state and federal environmental and habitat issues, it also has to pass muster with other regulatory agencies. Before you go making tin-foil hat insults, learn a little about the planning issues involved. Your ignorance is showing.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon 2/5, 11:37pm why are you unhappy? Most of us paying attention or directly affected understand the impact of regulatory development obstructionism in Pacifica.

The "tin foil" (referring to extreme, irrational view and action) goes way beyond "normal process". And, if the hat fits, you're the one wearing it. Enjoy the insult, you earned it.

Lionel Emde said...

Sorting the wheat from the chaff here, whoever is the poster reviewing how Mr. Peebles did the deal knows it when he/she sees it.
When Mr. Peebles had a piece of the Rincon project in the city, he financed his share for a couple of million and sold for about $11 million. Not bad for having done very little work. Of course, he was aided by an insane real estate bubble that's still deflating.
Then there was Prop 90. If Measure L had failed and 90 had passed, history might have been quite different, as he would have been handed a legal weapon of uncertainty to use agains Pacifica.
If you don't follow the money, it won't make any sense. The man's all about money, nothing else.

Anonymous said...

Huh? Prop 60 and 90

PS: A developer visionary and business should make a profit, and know when and where to build. Pacifica LOST big time.

Anonymous said...

"regulatory development obstructionism" - California Coastal Act, California Environmental Quality Act, federal Endangered Species Act.

Anonymous said...

Not THAT Prop 90, THIS Prop 90, the one that didn't pass in the 2006 election.

Anonymous said...

This whiny coulda shoulda nonsense never stops. As if any of those currently in office here or any who ran for office and lost could improve anything at this late stage. We had to choose between hairdressers, life-long civil serpents, insurance salesmen, compulsive committee-joiners, fuzzy idealists and so on. Most are well-intentioned but all are way out of their league in this mess. The sad thing is there is very little anyone can do at this point to change the short term 5-7 year outcome. What was for decades just a silly little position for small town politicians has now become pallbearer for Pathetica. Maybe one of them has regional connections which will be useful if they use them as this disaster continues to unfold. Pay careful attention to these 2 upcoming ballot measures and all the fine print because these pallbearers will do and say just about anything to get them passed. Time to stop the waste and begin anew. To be heard you must vote!

Kathy Meeh said...

Lionel, no doubt this Proposition 90 "red herring FEAR frog-bate" promoted by Dinah Verby was worth 600 votes against Measure L.

Prop 90: "Should the California Constitution be amended to require government to pay property owners for substantial economic losses resulting from some new laws and rules, and limit government authority to take ownership of private property?"

Based upon some eminent domain takings I know of (such as the one in Daly City near Bart to build movie theaters), I probably voted "yes" on this proposition.

Anyhow here are two easy links. Prop 90. And, the good reference from Anon 11:40am: League of Women Voters Explanation.

But, please tell us how Proposition 90 (had it passed) applied the quarry. The Peebles quarry property was a private ownership transaction (from a private party to a private party).

Further, the mixed-use development was designed to be profitable (for the developer, owners and the city). Why would the city want to "take" this property after it was developed? And if the city or other government did want to "take" the property, should this practice not be limited and rare with fair compensation to those affected?

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon 12:43pm, and your point is???

Also, as I recall "Superman" was not on the ballot, but we know who the pro-economy candidates are. 2 didn't win, that is unfortunate (5 good candidates were running, which diluted the vote).

As you say, it is important to vote for pro-economy candidates (last election 3), rather than those who created the mess we are in.

Since you chose to slur those who own and run their own businesses, and those who broaden their civic knowledge through committee leadership-- do tell us your ideal of the "perfect candidate" for city council?

Steve Sinai said...

"When Mr. Peebles had a piece of the Rincon project in the city, he financed his share for a couple of million and sold for about $11 million."

Lionel, I have to ask again - where are you getting these numbers?

Kathy Meeh said...

Steve, I found what Lionel may be looking for or recalled. I have a PDF copy from San Francisco Business Times, "Talk of the Town" Jim Gardner (faxed date 3/30/09) that states: "He (meaning Peebles Corporation) made an $11.4 million profit on 250 Brannan, buying for $19.8 million and selling for $31.2 million the following year". (FYI a copy is being emailed to you and Lionel).

But, think about this: given positive business conditions, to generate a lump sum profit wouldn't it have been more profitable to build, establish, lease, then sell? Selling once built and leased would potentially bring maximum value and appreciation.

A quick example of Peebles Corporation selling interest once the property was developed and leased: G Street, Washington DC. "At the time construction commenced, 75,000 square feet of the building was pre-leased. By the time construction was completed in September 1997, the building was 97% leased. As co-developer of 10 G Street, N.E., Peebles has since sold its ownership in the project."

Taking a development full circle to profitable stabilization looks like smart, corporate business style to me. Fooling around further with non-start, "unfriendly" Pacifica city council sub-committee (Vreeland, Lancelle; bolstered by city legal), not so much.

Anonymous said...

The web site for the Peebles Corporation lists a total of 6 completed projects. Only 1 of them was completed in the last 10 years. The other 5 were all done before then.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anon 2:48pm, try google. These are large development projects that don't happen overnight, and include management follow-up. Plus, the website may be dated (2008).

Without much searching, here's a few recent projects that I found. Las Vegas somewhere in process, and
Queens Gate-Peebles-Scottish Boarders. And, Peebles seems to be considering a transit/office hub project in Maryland as described by The Washington Post 10/11/10.

Compare to Pacifica progress. Rockaway Quarry has been zoned for commercial development in the general plan 31 years, zoned for redevelopment 25 years. Zero progress.

Then again, the people of Pacifica voted to build a downtown conference center at Mori Point 15-20 years ago. Its now a "goodbye land" GGNRA frog and snake park. Guess some of you think that's progress, go figure.

Anonymous said...

The Peebles site is dated 2010. It lists 6 completed projects in the past 22 years and 1 planned project.

Kathy Meeh said...

Project copywrite 2008 is what I saw, but really Anon what does it matter? There's a larger world out there.

Anonymous said...

Well Peebles is gone. All hail the man-myth Peebles. Don't worry Fresh and Easy will save us all. I saw it in the 5 year plan.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, did you also see all those additional fees, proposed taxes and service cuts?

Sinking Ship said...

I just love the dialogue on this blog. Kathy, you need to run for office. (I'm sure that will start a barrage of new threads.) Anonymous: why don't you post your real name? I am sure you're asking the same of me, but I don't need anger management classes. You certainly have an interesting opinion. Laurie Frater: thank you for the clarification.

Kathy Meeh said...

"Sinking Ship" (10:51am), keep reading and posting comments. As expressed in your 2/2, 12:52pm comments, some of your concerns about our schools, drugs, vandalism, etc. would likely be mitigated if the city followed the economic principal of "a rising tide lifts all boats" (John F. Kennedy), vs. "no thanks, a sinking ship is inevitable" (could be NIMBY again). As you've suggested these issues affect "quality of life for Pacificans."

There are many intelligent, thoughtful comments here. The bottom line as expressed by Mike Bell is: 1) build the quarry for "best use", and 2) vote for those who will right our "economic ship". And, (remember as Steve Sinai reminded us), this "city economic ship" has been sinking for 30 years.

"Sinking ship" probably just like you, I won't be running for city council, but will plan to support 2 pro-economy candidates who do run. If there are more than 2 pro-economy candidates, hopefully some of these great candidates will step aside and support the 2 who have the best chance of winning. Sailing in a city "sinking ship" is not reasonable or fun (no offense to your pen name intended).

mike bell said...

Vreeland's chronic and excessive absenteeism must be accounted for. He is our employee. If he cannot or will not produce a note from his doctor he needs to request a formal leave of absence or submit his resignation.
Pacifica is in critical condition. We need fully engaged representatives to help get us out of this mess.

Anonymous said...

DOA in less than a year. Will anybody even notice the difference?

Anonymous said...

Don't be confused. It's Pacifica that's DOA>