Monday, January 17, 2011

Mayor Mary Ann Nihart's "State of the City" address

Meeting minutes in their entirety through permission of Pacifica Democrats Board  

January 15, 2011 


 Barbara Arietta, President; Jack Waldbewober, Vice President; Suzan Getchell-Wallace, Treasurer; Mari Brumm-Merrill, Secretary


Representatives in Attendance

 Assemblyman Jerry Hill & District Manager, Marc Hershman; Supervisor Don Horsley & Chief of Staff, Chris Hunter; Board of Supervisors President Carole Groom; Pacifica City Council Sue Digre & Len Stone; Chamber C.E.O. Courtney Conlon; Candidates for 1st District Supervisor-Burlingame Mayor Terry Nagel, Millbrae Council woman Gina Papan, and S.M. Union H.S. Trustee David Pine; Pacifica School Board members, President Eileen Manning-Villar & Mike O’Neil; and JUHSD Trustee Laurie Frater.

Guest Speaker
Mayor Nihart provided a comprehensive & motivational talk to an audience of over 70 on ‘Where we are at”. There were 3 main topics addressed followed by a positive flow of dialog and questions from the participants of which she candidly answered.

1.  People are Pacifica’s most valuable resource and major contributors to the well being of the city. She cited a small faction among a large base as examples.
a.      $300,000 raised by the Historical Society for the renovation of the L.B.C.
b.     $250,000 garnered for teachers & curriculum by the Pacifica Education Foundation, with $150,000 as the next goal.
c.      The Rotary Club projects, which include the painting of the Library, the Rotary Plaza located at the Pacifica Center for the Arts, and the recent check presented to the city for Police Dog Training.
d.     The newly energized Chamber who provided funds for the fire rescue vehicle & amenities for the Palmetto Business District.
e.      The Fog Fest volunteers who bring revenue, visitors, and exposure to the city.
f.       The many citizens who serve on task forces and Committees.
These are just a few examples of the groups who offset costs for the city by providing support, funds, responsible stewardship, and public relations through their endeavors. 

    2.  Economic Development
a.      Survey completed to address streamlining and the user- friendly aspect of the permit process.
b.     Hiring of a new Planning Director who has tremendous background to address the issues facing the city.
c.      Focus on the revitalization of the business districts.
d.     The formation of the non-profit Palmetto Business Association and acquisition of a stimulus grant for utility under-grounding along with the city’s purchase of lighting.
e.      The development of a Marketing and Branding strategy to ‘sell’ the virtues of Pacifica.
f.       The combined efforts of the City, Chamber, and San Mateo Convention & Visitors Bureau to outreach to visitors and groups for promoting Pacifica as a destination.
g.     The future consideration of the formation of a Beautification Task Force for purposes of improving the appearance of Pacifica from the South to North end & to look to groups to take ownership of identified areas of need.
h.     Reinstating the ‘Mayors Walks’ to see how the city interfaces with businesses and to find out their perspective on how the city is doing. (Monday, the Mayor, City Manager, and Department Heads will walk the Rockaway Beach Business area).

    3.   City Finances  - Sustainability
a.      Facing continued state/city deficits for a minimum of 5 years is projected.
§        Local Government only receives 21% of property taxes and only ONE penny of sales taxes.
b.     The State is facing a 25-28 Billion deficit.
c.       City’s 5-year plan includes 8 million in employee concessions with 6 million from the public, i.e. Fire Assessment is phase two as phase one, TOT tax, passed:
§        5 union contracts have made concessions with 4 more units to go.
§        Reserve is close to zero and bankruptcy is not an option. For example, Vallejo spent 9.5 million in legal fees for bankruptcy.
§        Public will need to decide what services are important and what they are willing to pay for as Draconian cuts are the downside of the equation.
§        The City has already consolidated Fire Services (North County Fire) and is in the process of working on the sharing of police dispatch services with other cities. All areas are being explored as to how we do services.
§        The debt for the Waste Water Treatment plant is paid down to the original cost of the loan. Considering the cost in present time for this type of plant, this is positive news.



Channel 26 was present to film the Mayors address to the club. Check the local paper and/or contact PCT for dates and time.
Pacifica Historical Society ( Jan. 22 @ 9 a.m., volunteer work party for L.B.C.- Contact Shirlee at 355-6625; Feb. 26 is ‘Prom Night’ at Winters Tavern, benefits going to L.B.C.; March is the Giant Rummage Sale with items needed; Castle Tours resume in August.
Chamber of Commerce: Jan. 27 is the Awards dinner, 6 P.M. at Nicks Restaurant; Resource Directory will be out soon  & they are looking (ASAP) for photos that capture the essence of Pacifica, contact Courtney Conlon @ 355-4122.
Beach Coalition: March 4 is a fundraiser movie “100 Foot Wednesday” (Mavericks); April 16 is the Earth Day Clean-up.
Rotary Club: March 6 is the annual Bowlathon at Seabowl to fundraise for projects-local groups are encouraged to put a team of 4 together to compete and play.

- General Plan Meeting on Land Use Alternatives -Jan. 29 @ 10 a.m./IBL middle School.
-Annual Report on public education -Feb. 7 @ 7 p.m./Vallemar school.
-Fresh and Easy is coming soon and will be employing 20-25 people at each of their bay area markets, information can be found at
-The San Mateo Transportation Authority Board, C.A.C. (SMCTA/CAC ) recently elected Barbara Arietta (Pacifica) as Chair and April Vargas (Montara) as Vice-Chair of the TA’s Executive Board Citizen Advisory Committee. This is the first time in the history of the SMCTA/CAC to have two coastside residents elected to both leadership positions. Arietta is the first coastside resident to hold the position of Chair.
-The San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury Association is currently seeking citizens interested in applying this spring for a place on the S.M.C. Civil Grand Jury’s July 1, 2011-June 30, 2012 term. It is a one-year assignment offering great education and insight into what’s going on in San Mateo County and its individual cities and special districts. If interested, please contact SMCCGJ’s new board President, Barbara Arietta at or 415 246-0775.
-The Pacifica Democrats Annual Dues Drive is in progress and thank you to the many people at this meeting who signed up as new members and to those of you who renewed. 
Dues may be sent to Pacifica Coastside Democrats/P.O. Box 1343/Pacifica, CA 94044. Please include your Name, Address, City, Phone number, and email.
Member applications are provided at the meetings.
Individual  $15   Couple  $20    Seniors  $10   Heroes  $25 & up.
Thank you for supporting the Pacifica Democrats.

February’s Guest Speaker is Assemblyman Jerry Hill

Respectfully submitted,
Mari Brumm-Merrill, Secretary, Pacifica Democrats            


Kathy Meeh said...

Why do I think nothing economically significant will ever happen in Pacifica? Bruce Hotchkiss said it all in his "Adios, Pacifica", Tribune My Turn column today: "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."

Regarding the proposed for Spring ballot new version of the Fire Tax, in Tribune letters-to-the-editor today, Denny Delk amd Wallace Rapozo made some good points. Delk: "governments are first obligated to provide essential services..." And, Rapozo: "here we go again". As Hotchkiss suggested it isn't necessary to be Albert Einstein to understand and act on solutions in front of and handed to you.

There is a direct connection between city council doing as little as possible to improve the economic stalemate in this city, and inadequate city funding. The default solution from them always seems to amount to: tax you.

One simple example of continued justification to do nothing: when 8 year city council implied "we can do nothing" with regard to the old WWTP at Beach/Palmetto, a well respected local Real Estate agent replied "you can put a For Sale sign out."

The "state of the city" outline (above) illustrates how forcing more cost on citizens and businesses is kind of a "chiseling around the economic improvement edges" approach (small improvement by self-inflicted cost). Whereas improved structural change occurs through bold solutions, namely fully develop the quarry, and fully develop Palmetto/Beach.

Right now, prior to the next election, want city improvement, one thing you can do is show-up Saturday, January 29th, 10-1pm for the General Plan process at Ingrid B. Lacy Middle school, 1427 Palmetto Avenue.

PPP said...

Pedro Point Shopping Center looks great. I noticed the retail stores and restaurants are getting a new makeover also. That whole centers redevelopment is such an improvement. In the summer time visitors coming out of the slide/tunnel will see this new beautiful center. Good Job Pacifica.

Kathy Meeh said...

PPP thus is the example of "chiseling around the economic edges" thanks to property and business owners, plus services to citizens delivered there. And that's all.

What has evolved at Pedro Point is commerce which benefits many of us, but is in itself hardly a dent in an overall economic, services, jobs, city infrastructure strategy for this failing city.

City council wants to tax us again with more taxes and fees to us planned. Additional fees and proposed taxes have been happening for several years. City council has worked against development in the quarry and Palmetto area.

What is city council doing right now to change the direction of this city, and to deliver a balanced economy to this city-- other than tax us that is?

Anonymous said...

Majority of them are democrats , what else would you expect? No taxes? Get real.

Kathy Meeh said...

City council kind of reminds me of kindhearted big business republicans, with the vision and reasoning of the Tea Party. The rest of us are somewhere in the middle trying to affect a better, more reasoned city with balance and a solid infrastructure.

Kathy Meeh said...

Anyone reading the side-bar news on this blog? Pacifica received the Palmetto street light grant they wanted from the Department of Energy. $140,600 part of which will be used for the 1,700 streetlights project.

If you miss it on the side-bar here are the links: award announcement outline. And, article.

what the city isn't telling you said...

Did you know that in order to fix the wiring under Palmetto it will cost over 1 million dollars to fix the grid in order to make these street lights work?

PGE, Comcast, ATT says since the street will be opened up they need to do work in the area also.

Where does the city get the 1 million bucks from?

Kathy Meeh said...

Well "what the city isn't telling you" Anon, "empty pockets" Pacifica won't be paying most of that bill, unless there is a grant or tax for that. You might ask the city, but I suspect PG&E and AT&T and Comcast are on board.

My concern is that the main sewer artery from the north that runs along the beach in that area was also supposed to be moved inland, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

beach blvd said...

Beach Blvd is slowly falling into the ocean. When it does it will lead to a massive sewage spill.

Once again the City Council was warned and chose not to do a thing.

Kathy Meeh said...

Some of you keep electing me, we have trails, what else do you want?

Anyhow I know an "expert" geologist riding the tide against the USGS and other professional knowledge. He's our "go to" guy advising building sea walls only makes the situation worse HERE (Pacifica north). As you see "we can do nothing", so we're planning ahead at our usual "cutting edge" pace for rising sea tides 100 years in advance: By doing NOTHING, we're improving "everything".

Anonymous said...

Ventura is doing "managed retreat."

Anonymous said...

told you. this "managed retreat" has been well thought out and out of your control. did you not read the writing on the wall? I was going to post that article , but then the ss would call me a wingnut and paranoid. Pacificans are the most uninformed people being led to the slaughter by a bunch of commies who call themselves democrats. Government is in control, not you. Get your microchip here! Get your microchip here! Microchips for all sizes and types. Its in the Health Care.

Anonymous said...

"Managed retreat" refers to the idea of letting Mother Nature take her course - letting the blufftop apartments go and not trying pointlessly (and at great expense) to hold the sea back by building seawalls. Sea level is rising and erosion is carving away the coast. If that's a commie plot, then so is common sense. Government cannot control the ocean and the weather.

todd bray said...

Managed retreat allows for people to make way to before things like apartment complexes fall off cliffs or bluffs. We've been really lucky in Pacifica that the structures lost in the last few years didn't take anyone with them.

Managed retreat said...

I thought managed retreat was what politicans do when shit hits the fan and they hide out. I know in Russia they send all the malcontents to Siberia. I thought this was a new program where politicans when the heat is on go and hide out for a while.

Kind of like Doctor Drew's show but for wayward politicans.

Steve Sinai said...

Managed retreat in Pacifica will be used as a tactic to block any new development within a mile of the beach.

I'm hardly a global warming denier, but the way the hippies use global warming to justify their no-development policies is getting ridiculous. Why don't we just go all the way and say we shouldn't build anything because one day everything will be destroyed by a collision with an asteroid?

mile from the beach said...

Wasn't the Coastal Commission set up to try to block everything from the high tide mark up to highway one?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


Kathy Meeh said...

"Don't build a mile from beach Anon", too frequently the mythology in Pacifica is "don't build anything, anywhere", including a sea wall to save Sharp Park and the "open space" golf course.

So how does that "don't build anything west of highway 1" work? The quarry is not for the most part a "flood zone", Palmetto Avenue is zoned to build mixed-use downtown business. A few years back city council wanted to turn the OWWTP into city hall and a library. Other development plans for that area have been considered.

A few years ago Walgreen build their building in Manor, and the shopping center did some remodeling. The building for "Fresh and Easy" in Pedro Point was remodeled. Lots in Sharp Park, Manor and Pedro Point are being build, if people can afford the delays, anti-growth nonsense and high city fees. And, of course people and businesses live and work west of highway 1.

Anyhow, I've heard the same "coastal commission" rumor, or suggestion repeated by those who work hard to assure Pacifica has "nothing" but volunteerism, taxes and pending disaster. Maybe someone out there has the factual details of where that comes from and how it works.

Confused said...

Does anyone understand what Kathy just said?

todd bray said...

Steve wrote "Managed retreat in Pacifica will be used as a tactic to block any new development within a mile of the beach."

Steve, the Coastal Commission requires a developer/applicant to indicate on their site plans 100 years of coastal bluff/cliff erosion at 2.5' year if the project is located on a bluff or cliff. That is a state requirement not a local one.

todd bray said...


the Coastal Commission is not there to say no to anything. They insure a project complies with sate law, nothing more nothing less. The CC staff work with applicants to move projects forward. Any input is to help an applicant conform to existing state law.

You can call the CCC offices in SF and confirm this.

Kathy Meeh said...

Thanks Todd for that State/CC clarification.

Also, is it the case that building west of highway 1 includes a review by the Coastal Commission? And, in Pacifica the "Open Space" committee was working on something like a Coastal Commission review for all building in the city. Don't remember if city council passed that.

"Confused anon" 10:50am, "Cannot build west of highway 1" is clouded rumor out there which needed, or continues to need clarification.

Anonymous said...

Any building west of Hwy 1 must get approved by Coastal Commission. That's why biodiesel had to go to Coastal Commission and why any project in the quarry or old WWTP will also have to go to Coastal Commission. Fresh & Easy too.

todd bray said...

@Anon 12:09, not true. There is a CEQA process for every project which includes a check list. In areas that the city has an approved LOCAL COASTAL PLAN (LCP) projects do not usually go before the CCC unless the CEQA check list indicates it should. Often an opponent will appeal a project to the CCC only to be informed the city has jurisdiction because of the LCP. If you have paid attention to some meetings you will often hear that a project is considered exempt from CEQA, usually because it's impacts are negligible, like a simple addition. The process is geared toward approving projects not rejecting them.

If you want to see a copy of the CEQA check list go on line.

Anonymous said...

"Reserve is close to zero and bankruptcy is not an option. For example, Vallejo spent 9.5 million in legal fees for bankruptcy(.)"

I've got news for you: Bankruptcy is always an option when no one's running the ship.

Anonymous said...

10:14 why don't we appoint a citizen's task force to do the bankruptcy? Isn't that how we manage, er mis-manage our finances here in pathetica? DIY bankruptcy, why not? Really those poor task force schmucks have been used badly. Wise up people. Council just wants somebody else to blame and that would be you.

Anonymous said...

Managed retreat is a place where ever-better ways to shear the taxpayers are discussed and strategized. The government class deserves it~!

mike bell said...

"I'm hardly a global warming denier, but the way the hippies use global warming to justify their no-development policies is getting ridiculous. Why don't we just go all the way and say we shouldn't build anything because one day everything will be destroyed by a collision with an asteroid?"
Steve, it's well known that the Andromeda Galaxy will crash into our Milky Way Galaxy in 3 billion years. We need to start managing our retreat NOW.

todd bray said...

heh heh, Mike and Steve, you should collaborate on a children's book together.

Steve Sinai said...

Mike, I ran the simulations on my Amiga, and the asteroid hits first.

Emperor Zorg the Illustrious and Magnificent, Ruler of Universe 863 said...

We are coming to earth to make human casserole out of you, earthlings.

todd bray said...

Oh mighty Emperor Zorg, the Illustrious and Magnificent, Ruler of the Universe 863, How you have made my day. I'm on the phone with AT&T customer service in like India and LMAO. Thanks for that!!!