Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fixing California - Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom has a plan

From Silicon Valley Mercury News/Karen de Sa, 7/29/11.  "California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom arrives in San Jose Friday to unveil his plan to hoist the state out of its economic abyss -- borrowing on the successes of Silicon Valley's global reach and the need to restore long-absent state leadership in job creation. The plan aims to expand exports, green industry and new manufacturing in a state with a foreclosure-riddled housing market and the nation's second-highest jobless rate. It comes after several months in which the Democratic second-in-command searched for effective economic-development strategies in dozens of countries, from Singapore to Germany. Newsom also traveled to six other states, even making a trip to Texas with 14 Republicans.

In California, dozens of agencies oversee some aspect of employment, but they have no coordination or accountability -- something that left him "dumbfounded," Newsom said in an interview Thursday. And despite the dictates of the global economy, California has no trade or export agency and no overseas representation, unlike 35 other states. Pennsylvania alone has 23 state representatives in foreign capitals, Newsom noted.

As far as jobs and economic development, "there's no agency and there's no plan," Newsom said after surveying dozens of economists, academics, and business and labor leaders. "I was stunned. I just couldn't believe it." The future economy should be "more export-oriented, more new manufacturing-oriented, more clean economy-oriented, and more high skill-oriented," said Lenny Mendonca, a former chairman of the McKinsey Global Institute, a San Francisco-based economic think tank that contributed to the report.

"The most important thing is that the state actually has a plan and does something about it," he added. "California can no longer rest on its laurels of a history of being a beautiful place with great talent and great universities -- that's terrific, but we're in a global marketplace now and we've got to compete for jobs just like everybody else."
Newsom calls for a 180-day "action plan" aimed at prompting longer-term reforms through legislation and executive orders. The recommendations, which will be presented today at the San Jose-based Wyse Technology firm, include:  

  • Creating a single Cabinet-level office with a "jobs czar." The office would serve businesses and promote regionally distinct economic development strategies.
  • Eliminating a bevy of state commissions with overlapping and fragmented missions.
  • Forming "regulatory strike teams" to resolve problems businesses face in receiving permits and navigating often-conflicting local, state and federal rules.

  • Newsom calls for stepping up exports and re-establishing an official state presence in international markets, beginning with China. He would promote innovation through patent expansion and smooth the way for increased manufacturing." 
    Read more....

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Saturday, July 30, 2011

    SF Examiner: Races empty in 40 percent of San Mateo County elections

    Halfway through the filing period, candidates for the November elections have applied to fewer than half the open seats on municipal, school and special district boards, according to San Mateo County’s Elections Office.

    “These are the contests that voters should really participate in because they affect your day-to-day lives much more than at the state or federal level,” said county Elections Manager David Tom. “But unfortunately, that’s difficult to convey.”

    Applicants only have until Aug. 12 to file their candidacy with the county elections office or city clerk, but 40 percent of the races still don’t have a single contestant.

    “The future and livelihood of the county depends upon the willingness of responsible leaders who step forward to offer themselves in service to the public,” chief Elections Officer Mark Church stated in a news release this month.

    Many applicants will wait until the last minute to file, Tom said, but due to a lack of candidates, a number of elections will never make it to the ballot. Races in which there are fewer or the same number of candidates as open seats will not appear on the ballot, according to election code. Such uncontested seats are filled by the governing board.

    For instance, not a single candidate yet seeks to serve on the West Bay Sanitary District, which has three vacancies. The district, which has oversight on sewer lines for Atherton, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City and Woodside, was recently sued by the nonprofit environmental group Baykeeper for causing sewage spills by failing to keep up its pipes.

    “Unfortunately, public service is not always something that people think about,” Tom said. “It’s very noble, but … it’s a lot of work.”

    Posted by Steve Sinai

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Newly proposed residence on Gypsy Hill

    Planning Commission criticism:  the residential project is still too close to the ridgeline; a different location on the property would be better;  redesign the project; underground the second story; there are drainage issues; debris may fall on Sharp Park road; the residence may be visible from somewhere in Pacifica (bad).  Commissioner Leon had the right idea to accommodate planning for the owner/residents:  if a heritage tree is the cause of obstructing their view, remove the tree.  

    Pacifica Planning Commission Study Session, 7/18/11: Project Summary, pages 3-5.
    "The applicant proposes to develop a 3.5 acre vacant parcel with a 2-story single-family residence that includes a 2nd residential unit at the southwest portion of Gypsy Hill Road in the East Sharp Park neighborhood.  The residence will cover approximately 2.1T of the lot (excludes driveways, walkways, landscaping, and uncovered parking areas and reach a maximum height of approximately 30 feet. The 4 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath, single-family residence would contain approximately 3,420 square feet of floor area, exclusive of an 864 square foot 3-car garage, and 576 feet of patio area. The entry level will feature 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, living room, mud room, kitchen/dining area, a deck, and the 3-car garage.  The lower level plan will accommodate a den, 3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 bathrooms, mechanical/storage area, and second residential unit."

    Reported article: Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, 7/28/11. "It wasn't the first time the Pacifica Planning Commission had heard a proposal to build on a ridgeline property on Gypsy Hill Road. The last time a property owner proposed a home, the commissioners told him to move it back from the ridgeline. That owner never followed up on proposing a new plan and told the commissioners they had essentially quashed his project. He eventually sold the property.  During a study session July 18, a new owner proposed a home for the same property, but taking a cue from the prior owner, moved the building further back from the ridge. Nevertheless, the commissioners asked for a bigger setback. "I'm concerned about the visual impact from other places in Pacifica," said Commissioner Josh Gordon. "I want to be fair and consistent about the hillside preservation ordinance. I want to ask the same of you as we asked the other applicant. Move it to the east. That would preserve the ridgeline."  

    The architect who presented the plans is a member of a family who owns the property. She envisions a multi-generational home for her family, including aging parents who would come from Singapore, to live with their daughters who settled in the area and their children. The main home would be 3,500 square-feet with the second unit 864 square feet. There would be a three car garage.

    The lot is steep and windy but it affords ocean views. The building would be set to take advantage of views to the west and the south. Drainage is a problem on the lot that needs to be carefully engineered. A landslide on the right part of the lot presents challenges for building there. The project would employ green and sustainable designs. There are three homes and one under construction on Gypsy Hill Road already. The architect picked the location for the home behind a large heritage tree. It would be 28 feet, well under the height limit. One and two story options were reviewed, but the owner prefers the two story option. One of the options would put the lower level below the ground level.

    Commissioner Tom Clifford liked the plan with two units, but was also concerned about the visual impact of the building from other parts of Pacifica. He asked the owner to return with photos from the golf course and other locations in Pacifica where the home might be seen on the ridge. Commissioner Chuck Evans didn't much like the design and thought a different one would fit better on the lot. "It's a tough spot," he said. Commissioner Leo Leon wanted to see calculations about moving the building to the eastern part of the property. He said he would prefer the removal of a heritage tree that's in the way over the visibility issues. "Visibility trumps trees. The impact to the ridge is more important," he said. "This is a poster child why the hillside preservation district exists," said Commission Chair Rich Campbell. "We have to make sure debris doesn't flow to Sharp Park Road." He also asked for more photos from the golf course, Mori Point and other places where people would have a view of the ridgeline. "There's more at risk than hillside preservation," he said. Former Planning Commissioner B.J. Nathanson, who was in the audience, said she loved the idea of a multi-generational home, but was concerned about the location on the ridgeline. "This is not the place for that large a home. This seems to be a mega-home on this site," she said."

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Opened to humans and bicycles, closed to dogs

    Follow-up sponsor information related to the Fix Pacifica Cowell-Purisima Trail article, 7/24/11.  The new 3 mile Half Moon Bay beach trail which runs horizontal along the Pacific Ocean beach is not open to dogs.  Open to humans, closed to dogs.
    PICTURE: Planning the next trip
    These dogs are not allowed on trails.

    Who are they?  
    Peninsula Open Space Trust. "The mission of the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) is to give permanent protection to the beauty, character and diversity of the San Francisco Peninsula and Santa Cruz Mountain range. POST encourages the use of these lands for natural resource protection, wildlife habitat, public recreation and agriculture for people here now and for future generations." 


    CA Coastal Conservancy.  The California Coastal Conservancy, established in 1976, is a state agency that uses entrepreneurial techniques to purchase, protect, restore, and enhance coastal resources, and to provide access to the shore. We work in partnership with local governments, other public agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private landowners. To date, the Conservancy has undertaken more than 1,800 projects along the 1,100 mile California coastline and around San Francisco Bay. These projects often accomplish more than one Conservancy goal. Through such projects, the Conservancy: 
    • protects and improves the quality of coastal wetlands, streams, watersheds, and near-shore ocean waters;
    • helps people get to coast and bay shores by building trails and stairways and by acquiring land and easements. The Conservancy also assists in the creation of low-cost accommodations along the coast, including campgrounds and hostels;
    • works with local communities to revitalize urban waterfronts;
    • helps to solve complex land-use problems;
    • purchases and holds environmentally valuable coastal and bay lands;
    • protects agricultural lands and supports coastal agriculture;
    • accepts donations and dedications of land and easements for public access, wildlife habitat, agriculture, and open space.
    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Pacifica is not on the post office closure list

    San Francisco Business Times, 7/27/11.  Fifteen Bay Area post offices are being considered for possible closure.  The U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday it is looking at closing or downgrading 3,653 branches around the country because of a 20 percent drop in mail volume and the increasing availability of other postal products. The USPS lost a reported $8 billion last year.  Five branches in San Francisco are under review, along with branches in Daly City, Oakland, San Francisco, San Mateo County and San Jose.   
    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Vote for Pacifica Dog Park

    Remember to vote every day. "Bark for your park" is linked in the article.

    Note, ABC, channel 7 article corrections: 1) Beverly Kingsbury is the 5 year founding member of POOCH, and 2) the dog park location is the south-east side of Sanchez Art Center.

    Dog ParkABC (KGO) News with video, 7/26/11.Some dog lovers in Pacifica want to unleash the power of the Internet to get their pooches a new place to play. They've entered a co
    ntest to win a new dog park; now all they need is people to vote for them.  Meet "Cash" -- he's the canine star of a video produced by a group of Pacifica dog lovers. It seems cash can't find any place to play without a leash in Pacifica, no matter how hard he searches.

    "Dogs have to have exercise. I've had people say to me, 'I'm forced to break the law every day, because I have to exercise my dog and there's nowhere to do it,'" said Lana Lane, the "Pooch" leader.That's why Lane and a few friends started a group called POOCH -- the Pacifica Organization Of Canine Helpers. For five years, they've worked tirelessly to get a dog park built in Pacifica. They found the perfect spot behind a city rec center.

    It seems money has been the main obstacle in preventing a dog park from being built.  The POOCH group has managed to win over the city; they say they've even managed to convince the neighbors. Now they say the one thing they need in order for Cash the dog to lose the leash, is money. "And that's why the video was named 'Money For Cash' because that's all we need is the money so that Cash can have a place to play," said video producer Marisa Ryan. Now, Ryan is hoping the video she produced, along with editor Matthew Levie, will win them that money, in an online contest called Bark For Your Park.

    "That particular shot that's on the screen behind me I think may have taken five, six takes to get right," said Levie.  Animal actors aren't the easiest, but the video won cash a "Woofy" Award from his neighbors and it won Pacifica a place in the final 15.  "I think we have the best video, but in order to win the contest, we need people to vote," said Levie. There's a week left in the contest. The grand prize is a $100,000, from pet company PetSafe, toward building that dog park. The folks at POOCH are hoping to get enough votes to blow away the competition.  If you want to see the entire video and cast your vote for Pacifica at Bark For Your Park."

    Reference - San Bruno city guide to dog parks, 7/10, and dog friendly areas. Note: Mid peninsula Open Space District comments, page 26.

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Whatever, pass the debt ceiling and let the USA stay out of the quicksand

    God's approval rating is 52%, Boehner and Congress 33%. 

    CNN/Belief, 7/27/11. "If you think voters are in cranky mood over politics, a new poll suggests that some of the dissatisfaction may run deeper. God’s job performance has trouble measuring up to many Americans' expectations, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm based in North Carolina. Only 52 percent of Americans approve of God’s job performance, the survey found, though just 9 percent disapprove.  The polling question that prompted this curious response was, "If God exists, do you approve or disapprove of its performance?"

    "When asked to evaluate God on some of the issues it is responsible for, voters give God its best rating on creating the universe, 71-5," the polling report said. "They also approve of its handling of the animal kingdom 56-11, and even its handling of natural disasters 50-13."

    Dino Grandoni cited the poll in a blog for the  Atlantic Wire: On the bright side for the Almighty's re-election chances, God is still more popular than House Speaker John Boehner and both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, all of whom polled at 33 percent in the same poll.

    (snip)  Believers or not, it seems ridiculous for the public to categorically grade God like this, until you realize that it's pollsters who asked the questions in the first place.  Public Policy Polling used automated telephone interviews to survey 928 American voters from July 15 to 17. The voters were represented by a mix of liberal, moderate and conservative voters. The poll's margin of error  was +/-3.2%."

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    15-Year-Old Cyclist Dies After Being Struck By Car

    Submitted by Jim Alex

    Premium or factory outlet mall, why not Pacifica?

    Pacifica is well situated in the bay area to become a destination city for a premium outlet mall. We are geographically closer to San Francisco and northern San Mateo peninsula than Milpitas, Gilroy, San Jose, Petaluma, Napa, or Tracy.  Our city is set against the natural beauty of the Pacific ocean, the beach, green hills, a golf course; these are recreation and tourism advantages. 

     Outlet malls provide shoppers quality bargains which produces needed city retail sales taxes. And, family "getaway" tourism vacation packages could boost Pacifica's hotel/motel business providing additional city TOT taxes.  Restaurants and other retail business would also benefit. A premium outlet mall could be one solid destination component of tourism economics for this city.   Reference:  Interactive USA premium outlet mall map.

    Article:  Outlet Malls in Northern CA. "Factory outlet Northern California locations are always abuzz with shoppers. Tourists visiting the San Francisco Bay area, San Jose, Sacramento, and Napa often visit these stores and stock up on items. What is a visit to the area without a trip to an outlet? Just visit a location and you will understand our point of view. Factory outlet Northern California locations include those in cities like Milpitas, Vacaville, Tracy, Petaluma, and Napa. Everyone likes a bargain, and these outlet stores will provide you with it. Imagine buying items from Gap, Saks Fifth Avenue, Brooks Brothers, Mikasa and more for less.

    Most of the factory outlet Northern California locations are a distance away from busy cities, but people do not seem to mind the drive. The good thing about the malls that house these outlets is that they usually have a food court or small eateries, and sometimes a movie theater, too. Therefore, the whole family can have something to do while the shoppers do the shopping. The factory outlet Northern California locations also usually have special offers for customers. A visit to their website or on-site office will leave you with a selection of coupons you can use. Talk about discount upon discount! A visit to these special stores will not leave you disappointed. They are considered attractions of the area. One visit and you will be hooked on the savings and products. Factory outlet Northern California stores resemble regular stores. Everything is neat and organized; customer service is great. The only thing that is different is the price.San Francisco Outlet Malls

    San Francisco Outlet Malls.  There are several outlets located near San Francisco that offer great steals and deals for shopping. The biggest malls are the Milpitas Outlet Mall and the Gilroy Outlet Mall.San Francisco Outlet Malls, » American Tin Cannery Premium Outlets, » Anderson Prime Outlets, » Atascadero Factory Outlet Mall, » Folsom Premium Outlets, » Gilroy Premium Outlets, » Great Mall - San Jose, » Mammoth Outlets - Yosemite National Park, » Napa Premium Outlets, » Petaluma Village Premium Outlets, » Tracy Outlets - San Francisco, » Vacaville Premium Outlets."

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Tech - think Burlingame? Why not Pacifica, we have parking and a view

    Discovery while shopping at Fresh and Easy, there is evidence that tech and other urban yuppies live on the coast.
    From Mercury News/San Mateo Times 7/14/11. "Towns such as Palo Alto and Sunnyvale, in the heart of Silicon Valley, are traditionally associated with such firms, but Burlingame is drawing tech companies, too. John Ramey, the founder of isocket, said Burlingame's central location was a big advantage.  "I was in an apartment in Mountain View when we took our venture capital funding," said Ramey, whose company is an advertising marketplace designed to make it easier to buy and sell ads online.

    "When it was time to set up a company, I intentionally wanted to come to this area. Burlingame and San Mateo have been growing because it's  a way to split the difference between  San Francisco and Silicon Valley," he said.  San Francisco is developing its own tech bubble and there is still a tech and social media boom in Silicon Valley, Ramey said. This has created a split culture between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, with some venture capitalists shutting down their Silicon Valley offices and moving to San Francisco. Burlingame is a compromise between the two locations, the difference between San Francisco and Silicon Valley," he said.  Isocket's building, at 270 East Lane, is home to other startups, too.

    "Our primary need as a company is to grow and hire. Hiring is very difficult. By being in this mid-location, you have the widest circumference of hiring. When you are in San Francisco, you are limited to hiring people in The City. When you're in Palo Alto, you can only hire folks there. But Burlingame is 20 minutes from either city via Caltrain or car," Ramey said. "Burlingame has great restaurants and it's a good central location," said Michael Weir, vice president of marketing for DataStax, also at 270 East Lane. Weir said his firm liked the building because it was near the Caltrain station, a factor that others mentioned."  See the full article..

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    Cowell-Purisima Trail

    Another big economic boost to the Coast. Part of the trail has already washed-out. That gives some workers a job.

    Half Moon Bay Review/Julia Reis, 7/12/11. "A new section of the Coastal Trail opened this afternoon after a quarter-century's worth of land purchases, bond freezes and permitting paperwork. The Cowell-Purisima Trail was unveiled Thursday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony involving Peninsula Open Space Trust and the California Coastal Conservancy representatives and volunteers. Representatives of San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley and state Assemblyman Rich Gordon were also present at the event.  "I'm thrilled that we finally pulled it off and got to the end," said Sam Schuchat, executive officer of Coastal Conservancy. "It took awhile, but all good things are worth waiting for."

    The three-mile trail, which is located at Cowell Ranch State Beach in Half Moon Bay, is open to hikers and bicyclists, but no dogs or horses are permitted. POST and the Coastal Conservancy will work in conjunction with the habitat restoration company Go Native, Inc., which signed a three-year contract to provide staffers to maintain the trail. POST officials say that there is a washout on one part of the trail that still needs to be fixed, but that parts of the trail are accessible in the meantime."

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    South San Francisco seeks to revitalize southern El Camino Real

    From Mercury News/Neil Gonzales, 7/23/11. "New homes, new businesses and a new civic center could pump new life into South San Francisco's geographic heart along El Camino Real."We're trying to create a new gateway into the city," Vice Mayor Richard Garbarino said. "This presents a perfect opportunity."  On Wednesday, the City Council is expected to consider approving the El Camino Real/Chestnut plan, which calls for high-density, mixed-use development in the area over the next generation.  However, residents are wary about the height of new buildings and the potential for increased traffic.

    City leaders say the plan would transform the city's southern stretch of El Camino Real from Chestnut to Noor avenues into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly district linked to major transportation routes and hubs such as BART. It would feature restaurants, various commercial development, townhouses, parks, bike paths, a new city library and other projects, leaders said.

    "I do like the proposed open spaces," Garbarino said. "Maybe there'll be a new government center."  He added that remaking the area would tie into the Grand Boulevard Initiative, an effort by about 20 cities and other entities to revitalize El Camino Real from Daly City to San Jose.....

    Summary - El Camino real/chestnut area plan: 1,200 housing units, 4,600 residents, 700 jobs, Building heights of up to 120 feet, or about 10 stories.  Source: Mike Lappen, South San Francisco economic-development coordinator."   Read More..

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Talk to Assemblyman Jerry Hill at the Pacifica Farmer's Market, July 27 @ 4 PM

    From Jerry Hill's July 2011 E-Newsletter -

    200 Rockaway Beach, Pacifica
    4:00 p.m.

    Please join me on Wednesday, July 27 at the Pacifica farmers' market where I will be holding sidewalk office hours. You're invited to stop by and share your ideas, concerns, and questions regarding state issues. My staff also will be on hand to assist you with specific issues related to state government, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, unemployment assistance, and disability insurance. No appointment is necessary.

    Posted by Steve Sinai

    Hit the campaign trail! First primary 7 months away.

    I'm the national training director at Obama for America. My job is to develop the programs and resources our staff and volunteers use to teach others how to grow this campaign in their communities.

    I'm writing because you or someone you know might want to be among a group of people who will play the leading role in our grassroots strategy this fall. They're called our fall fellows.

    By now you've probably heard of our summer organizers program, through which more than 1,500 full-time volunteer organizers have stepped up as the next generation of leaders in this movement. These folks have been the focus and the heart of our movement all summer, and though each and every one of them will remain a part of this organization, their time as Summer Organizers ends next month.

    The job of fall fellows is to pick their work up and carry it forward into the months to come.

    Our fall fellows are going to engage new volunteers on front porches and over the phones. They'll register new voters and develop relationships with other organizers and supporters on campuses and in communities. The people selected will be on the front lines of the most important work we do as a campaign: bringing people together at the local level.

    Apply to be a fall fellow right now -- or pass this message along to someone else you think would be great:

    Organizing is tough work. I started out as an organizing intern in Iowa in 2007, and I can tell you firsthand that the hours can be long, often extending late into the evening and over the weekend. But this will be one of the most rewarding and inspiring things you'll ever do. It's through organizing that I've met some of my closest friends and learned the skills I use in my job every day.

    So even if you're not in a position to join us part- or full-time in the months to come, I really hope you'll forward this message to someone you know who might be.

    This kind of organizing isn't just how we plan to win this election. It's a reflection of the kind of politics that we believe in -- the kind the President himself practiced as a young organizer working with communities devastated by factory closings in Chicago.

    No experience is required -- you might be a veteran organizer or a first-time volunteer. And if you happen to be a college student, you can work with your school to earn credit through this program.

    Bottom line: No matter how old you are or where you come from, it's not too often you get a chance to do something like this.

    Apply now to be one of our fall fellows -- or share this message with someone you think might be interested:

    Thanks, and good luck,


    Sara El-Amine
    National Training Director
    Obama for America

    Submitted by Mark Stechbart

    Remember July 2003? Your house does.

    The Zillow interactive graph with month to month house price averages indicates the housing market in Pacifica may have stabilized from a 31% "fall off a cliff" from May 1, 2007. 

    The Zillow report includes 1, 5 and 10 year data, single family houses and condos, with the most recent comparison as of May 2011, unless otherwise noted. The following cost statistics are round to the nearest hundred, expressed as hundreds of thousands. Thus, the average home as of  May 1, 2011 was valued at $499,600, the statistics listed below indicates 500. 

    2001: $423 (8/1)
    2002:   474

    2003:   489
    2004:   584
    2005:   726
    2006:   725
    2007:   725
    2008:   614
    2009:   526
    2010:   539
    2011:    500

    Posted Kathy Meeh

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    KTVU report on Devil's Slide Tunnel Delay

    Trolls were found hidden in the tunnels, and Caltrans can't get them out.

    Posted by Steve Sinai

    Pacifica Isn't Rand-McNally's Most Beautiful Town

    hopefully, the weeds will get mowed again in 20 years.

    mark stechbart

    City Council Meeting - Monday, July 25, 2011

    City Council Meeting Agenda, pages 1-92.  Amended Overview,  pages 1-4. 

    Consent calendar (pass through, pages 5-63 )
    1.  Cash disbursements approval $2,090,261.27. Quick checks, amount $505,235.65.
    2.  Minutes approval.
    3.  Calera Creek Water Recycling Plant (CCWRP) new Centrifuge Unit and it appurtenances, amount $257,814. 
    4.  2010 Various Federal-Aid Street Pavement Rehabilitation Project, $755,607.85, low bid contract to CF Archibald Paving, inspection services to Mendoza Associates.
    5.  Cancel city council meeting, 8/22/2011.
    6.  Disposal of certain obsolete city documents and papers.
    7.  San Pedro Creek bridge replacement project, $293,096 from Highway 1 Fund Reserve, Wilsey Ham contractor agreement, item 5, pages 45,46, will employ certain outside contractors with written approval and payment by the city.  An archeological project is pending, pages 54-55. 
    8. Financing City Services Task Force, appoint Veronica Romeyn.

    Special presentation (no pages) - Proclamation - Cecilia Quick  

    Public hearing (pages 64-65) -  9.  Sewer service charges for fiscal year 2011-12

    Consideration (public discussion, pages 66-92).
    10.  San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury - standardized use of police Tasers (training, deployment, reporting, review) throughout the county. Include Menlo Park and East Palo Alto who do not use Tasers currently..
    11.   Interim city attorney services and special counsel services agreement with Burke, Williams and Sorensen, LLP.
    12.  Sewer facility construction fund 34 to fund $5,000 to teach 2-6 grade classes about litter and the ocean through Pacifica Beach Coalition. Our Children's Earth Foundation settlement. 

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Blowing-up the Economy? "Not so fast"....continued.

    USA debt ceiling issue may soon get resolved.  The people say federal default?  Go to hell lunatic fringe.  

    "Reporting from Washington—As the debt ceiling debate enters its final stages, House Republicans face increasing political isolation in their opposition to sweeping budget reforms that President Obama has pushed for and polls show most Americans now prefer.

    Republican resistance to compromise has turned a significant bloc of voters against them, according to several new polls, and has frustrated members of their own leadership as well as establishment GOP figures.

    The fear among leading Republicans is that the party may lose an opportunity to lock in budget cuts that go beyond anything Democrats
    had previously been willing to consider. Five-term Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said he had never seen any spending reductions attached to a debt ceiling vote."  Read more  Los Angeles Times/Nation 7/1/11.

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Milne at the Moose

    Hello to all,

    I hope you’re all planning to attend the Bob Milne concert at the Moose Lodge tonight - not only is it a much-needed benefit for the Little Brown Church, it promises to be an evening of extraordinary music. Bob is considered the greatest living player of ragtime piano, that joyous, rollicking, uniquely American genre popularized in the early days of the last century by composer Scott Joplin.

    In keeping with the barrel-house roots of the music, the Lodge will be serving bratwurst tonight, and the $25 admission includes a brat and a beer. Additional fare is available for reasonable cost. The show starts at 7 pm, but come early - Bob considers himself something of a pool-shooter (a sure sign of a misspent youth) and might be talked into a little demonstration before the concert.

    Tickets are available at the door. The Moose Lodge is located at 776 Bradford Way, just off Hwy. 1 in the Fairway Park area. Hope to see you all tonight. I’ll be tending bar, so there’ll be no question of weak drinks or short beers.

    Paul Slavin

    Redevelopment - East Palo Alto

    No news update yet about East Palo Alto City Council accepting the State redevelopment deal.  Its assumed they will.

    Mercury News 7/19/11.  "While many of California's roughly 400 redevelopment agencies have come under fire for straying from their original mission, East Palo Alto's can point to a bustling retail patch along Highway 101 to justify its existence. Where liquor stores and bars once crowded out other small businesses in a blighted landscape once known as Whiskey Gulch now stand three office towers with ground-level shops and restaurants, along with the luxury 200-room Four Seasons Hotel. And on University Avenue east of Highway 101, chain store titans IKEA, Home Depot, Best Buy, Nordstrom Rack and Sports Authority pad city coffers with sales tax revenue. All were made possible by the tools a redevelopment agency wields, according to Council Member Ruben Abrica.

     "We are one of the cities that have benefited from what the state put in place," Abrica told The Daily News. "Without the redevelopment agency, the city would have had a difficult if not impossible task of attracting investment into the city." But the city's progress is now threatened by recently passed state legislation that dismantles redevelopment agencies to redirect their earmarked property tax revenues to local schools, special districts and other local entities. Unless a lawsuit succeeds in overturning the legislation, the only way for redevelopment agencies to remain in business is to accept an offer from the state that some local officials have called a "ransom" -- give the state a sizeable chunk of the tax revenue collected and nobody gets hurt. Tonight, the East Palo Alto City Council is expected to accept the deal, which would require the city and its redevelopment agency to make a $2 million payment this fiscal year and $400,000 annually in subsequent years.
    East Palo Alto's redevelopment agency has too much invested in its projects to pull out now, interim finance director Brenda Olwin said, citing future improvements within the Ravenswood Business District as an example. About 368 acres of East Palo Alto are located within the redevelopment agency's project areas, according to city documents."We have things that are happening," Olwin said. "We want to keep going with this."  About 368 acres of East Palo Alto are located within the redevelopment agency's project areas, according to city documents. "We have things that are happening," Olwin said. "We want to keep going with this."

    Though still in the planning phase, the Ravenswood/4 Corners plan envisions hundreds of new homes, parks and a community center, as well as new retail, office and industrial space in an area bordered by Tulane Avenue, University Avenue, Weeks Street and San Francisco Bay.  Making the payments will be a stretch, Olwin acknowledged. East Palo Alto's redevelopment agency has about $1.3 million in annual "cash flow," she said, plus about $1.5 million set aside for housing projects. Additional tax revenue generated as a result of the increased values of improved parcels gets reinvested into other redevelopment projects.

    Redevelopment agencies frequently invest in property or infrastructure improvements that give developers a financial incentive to build within blighted areas. That doesn't just benefit businesses and builders, Abrica said. New jobs come with redevelopment, and sales tax revenue follows, he noted.  "If it wasn't for that, we might not be able to fully fund our police department," he said. Not every city can afford to opt into the state's redevelopment alternative and many are facing the possibility of seeing their agencies abolished, said Kathy Fairbanks, a spokeswoman for the California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities.

    The two organizations, along with San Jose and Union City, filed a lawsuit Monday calling the state's two legislative options for redevelopment agencies unconstitutional. They claim the laws violate Proposition 22, passed by voters last year to prevent the state from raiding local tax coffers."

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    San Mateo/Santa Clara county parks culling oak trees due to disease

    Sudden oak deathSan Francisco Examiner, 7/17/11.  San Mateo County forests show clear signs of a pathogen that’s killing oak trees in such large numbers that even environmentalists have started swinging axes. Between now and July 28, state workers will remove some 250 bay trees in San Mateo and Santa Clara County parks that could infect about 50 nearby trees with sudden oak death.

    Caused by the mold Phytophthora ramorum, the disease is renowned for its ability to turn oaks brown within six weeks and kill mature trees in as little as six months. The bay trees may or may not carry the pathogen. But they all stand within 15 feet of oak trees thought to be hundreds of years old, so their removal is an important precaution, said Cindy Roessler, a biologist with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. With trunks up to 14 feet wide, the oaks are the largest trees in the forests and have managed to evade numerous rounds of lumbering, Roessler said. By comparison, she said, the bay trees range from 3 inches to 1.5 feet in diameter and provide less benefit to local wildlife.

    Funded by a Proposition 84 grant worth $31,697, the removal will be performed by young workers with the California Conservation Corps, said spokeswoman Susan Levitsky. The district will train the workers how to fell trees in a dense forest and properly dispose of possibly contagious debris. Phytophthora may have been spawned in the forests of Asia, and spreads its spores via air or water, often jumping from bay trees to oaks. Just climbing an infected tree and later touching your shoe to a coastal oak can transfer the disease, said district spokeswoman Rhea Maze. The pathogen kills trees by preventing the transport of water to leaves, Roessler said.

    Coast live oak, California black oak, Shreve oak and canyon live oak are the oak species most vulnerable to the disease. These trees provide nesting, roosting, hiding and hunting places for 6,000 insect species, numerous plants, and more than 300 species of wildlife, including birds, bats, salamanders, squirrels, raccoons, skunks and rodents.
    Over the past 10 years, sudden oak death has caused the most massive oak die-off in known history. Infected trees can be spotted by their wilting or browned leaves, a “bloody” area where portions of the tree have been killed and ooze sap, and by the dust trails beetles leave after boring into the rotten tree. The disease also can affect bay laurel and huckleberry trees, albeit more slowly, and kills the flowum, the part of the tree that transports food to the leaves and branches, and the cambium, the growth-intensive layer of the tree between the bark and the inner trunk. First spotted in California in Santa Cruz County back in 2001, sudden oak death has since spread to seven coastal counties. It is most virulent in Sonoma and Marin counties, and in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Infected trees should be pruned during summer, when the disease is least active, according to the district.

    About the tree cutting - Susceptible oaks: Coast live oak, California black oak, Shreve oak, canyon live oak Immune oaks: White oaks, including valley oaks and blue oaks Local animals that eat acorns: Woodpeckers, jays, turkeys, deer, deer mice, pocket gophers, squirrels, gray foxes, dusky-footed woodrats, insects. Source:  Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District.

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    Only 17 Days Left-Pacifica Dogs Need Your Votes!!!

    Pacifica is a FINALIST in the PetSafe "Bark for Your Park" contest! If we win, PetSafe will give us $100,000 to build a dog park on the east side of the Sanchez Art Center. We made a hilarious video to convince the public...please go watch the video on the voting pages below and vote for PacificaFor a peak behind the making of the video check out the bark for your park blog.  We need to get as many votes as possible before August 3, 2011.

    You can vote once per day here:

    And you can ALSO vote once per day here:

    Please vote as often as you closes August 3!  You can register with multiple emails, so please vote with all of your power!

    If your name was collected at one of our bark for your park events and you don't recall your password, please recover your password by clicking the link on the registration page.  Petsafe will not sell your name.

    Recruit your family and friends...Pacifica needs as many votes as possible.
    Thank you Pacifica!  We can do it!

    Submitted by Susan Vellone

    HELP PACIFICA WIN $100,000!

    Pacifica is a semifinalist in the PetSafe "Bark for Your Park" contest, and the winner gets $100,000 to build a dog park. If you finish second, you get nada. We are currently stuck in 11th place and we need your help to win!

    Among the cities that are currently whipping us are Huntington, West Virginia; Lynchburg, Virginia; and Bullhead City, Arizona. You're not going to let them beat us, are you?!

    We need Pacificans to vote every single day from now until the contest closes on August 3, and to get their friends, family, distant acquaintances, high school classmates, and teenagers to vote, tweet, and Facebook this!

    You can vote every day here:

    And you can also vote every day at the PetSafe Facebook page:

    Don't let us lose this money!

    Matt Levie

    Mayor Delivers Mid-Year "State of the City" Address Update and Installs Officers of Pacifica Democrats

    "This past week was a really great week in Pacifica!", exclaimed Pacifica Mayor Mary Ann Nihart, as she began her "State of the City" update at the Pacifica Democrat's monthly breakfast meeting on Saturday morning, July 16th.
    Members of the Pacifica Democrats, as well as members of the general public, had eagerly come to the Sharp Park Golf Course Restaurant's Banquet Room that morning to hear the Mayor deliver her mid-year update...And, in view of the recent failure of the fire assessment tax, and its subsequent economic ramifications on the City's budget, the lack of "doom and gloom" in the Mayor's opening remarks was both refreshing and heartily welcomed by the mid-morning diners.
    The Mayor's initial statements described the highly successful hosting, earlier in the week, of the "McNavigators", a man and wife "Best of the Road" evaluation team from the Rand McNally Road Trip Contest, who had been traveling during the previous three weeks, from the East Coast to the West Coast, in search of the Most Beautiful Small Town in the United States. Pacifica, through an aggressive on-line voting push initiated by the Mayor, landed as one of the finalists in the nationwide competition, thus giving the various local organizations and businesses of Pacifica the challenging goal of quickly coming together, to work in concert with the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, the City's Dept. of Public Works, and the State of California's Caltrans staff, in making both the town and its roadways as attractive as possible in the telescopic timeframe given to them...a challenge everyone energetically met and skillfully executed.
    "The Rand McNally thing wasn't a city function or anything like that..Why did we do it? This was about advertising Pacifica," Nihart told the audience. ""When Rand McNally and USA Today initially began this contest, their goal was to have 50 million hits on their website. It was an advertising stunt. They wanted to advertise their maps, their on-line sites etc,. and work with us by taking pictures of Pacifica and its attractions. The week before the McNavigators arrived, the Rand McNally website had 250 million hits... There are now well over 350 million hits on its website and all of the other connected sites to its website. We are now all over the internet," exclaimed Nihart.
    ( The Rand McNally On the Road Best of the Road website currently features pictures of many of  Pacifica's various attractions including: the "wide open spaces" of San Pedro Valley County Park and Frontierland Park, Sam's Castle and its Resident Ghosts, the Segway Tours at Rockaway Beach, the already famous Gorilla BBQ, the historic Alister MacKenzie-designed Sharp Park Golf Course, the L-Shaped "Reverend Harkins" Pacifica Pier, the Grace McCarthy Vista Point, and some additional  "one of a kind" places such as the Pedro Point Boat Dock, Shelter Cove, and the home of Captain Dollar Radio ..Go to:                                   ) 
     "This wasn't a city venture. This didn't have any budget. It had nothing, but donations and enthusiasm. The Chamber did the event. It also brought many of us together that have never worked together before. And this is why Pacifica is so wonderful...when we work together, we do outstanding things," Nihart said.
    She thanked various members in the Pacifica Democrats audience for their participation in the week's events, including: Segway Tours for providing the Segway lessons and coastside touring, Directors of the Pacifica Historical Society for portraying the Resident Ghosts at Sam's Castle who told the "Tales of the Castle" to the Rand McNally team and Cindy Abbott, from the PBR Commission, for escorting the Rand McNally Team from place to place, and also in helping with the co-ordination of the overall operation.
    The Mayor then advised that Pacifica is a finalist in yet another on-line contest called, "Bark for Your Park!", which has a grand prize of $100,000 from Pet Save. The contest is ongoing and the Mayor passed out flyers with instructions on how to participate, by voting on the internet, in order to secure the grand prize money for the City. "There are 15 finalists and, at present, we are number twelve out of the 15, so we have to vote a lot more in order to win," Nihart said."Vote every day and from every email address that you have and on Facebook too. Vote at: .
    With that said, the Mayor's message then developed a more serious tone...
    "With $1.5 million being cut out of our budget, that meant reducing services," Nihart revealed. "Ultimately, it impacted 19 people, one way or the other, including layoffs. We found some places for all, but four of those folks. But, basically, it impacted people's jobs significantly," said Nihart. She advised that they had to eliminate the official City Attorney's position, but now have an interim attorney who works for, basically, a law firm that,ultimately,can provide all of the services that the City needs. And, hopefully, according to the Mayor, by not having to have additional attorneys to do court time, the City will save money.
    "One of the things that the City has done that is the most controversial is that Pacifica's Police Dispatch is now run out of South San Francisco," the Mayor said."We are going to see more of these kinds of things throughout the County, as people struggle with these  issues of combining services." Nihart explained that such a move means that now when people go to the police station, with an emergency, at nights or on weekends, and pick up the phone, they will be talking to a dispatcher in South San Francisco, however, the police may be actually at the police station.
    Nihart remarked that the City's new Police chief, James Tasa, was sworn in on July 13th and that the swearing in ceremony was widely attended, which she believes to be a sign of support from the City's various groups and it's citizenry.
    Nihart then stated that the City is also contracting out: street cleaning, tree trimming and the City's street lights. The  Mayor pointed out, however, that the City is looking at a pilot program with P G and E concerning street lights in the future and has only done a temporary contract concerning the street lights, at present.
    "We have also laid-off four additional positions in PBR,  on top of the four positions that got laid-off during the course of the year, or that we eliminated," Nihart said."The list goes on in other departments and it's significant. That's the bottom line."
    In answer to the criticisms of the City Council's decisions and actions that are currently on the blogs in town, the Mayor stated that they didn't have the language in their current contracts to make a "10% emergency cut across the board", but that is changing so that when an emergency crisis occurs, there will be language in the contracts with some other things to do than what they are currently allowed to do..and there will be more tools available than what they have now in their contracts to grapple with emergency situations. "This issue is a significant piece of the contract negotiations that we are now having with employee groups," Nihart said.
    "But, when people come up to me and congratulate me on having a balanced budget, it makes me nervous, because we are still deficit spending... Despite all of the cuts, we had to take another $650,000 out of reserves," the Mayor revealed. "We're down about 2 and 1/2% in our property taxes, which is not bad, compared to other cities, not bad at all. Might things change over the course of a year? Might we do better over the course of the year? Might we do better with our TOT? Yes, things can change, but if everything goes as predicted, at the end of this year we will be under $1,000,000 in reserves...just shy of it, but under it ,and that's where we're at, as a City, that's what we have," said Nihart.
    The Mayor then spoke about what's happening concerning Redevelopment and some of the changes that have occurred in the budget from the State. She pointed out that the "good news" concerning the Redevelopment issue in Pacifica is that it doesn't have a lot there and because of that, Pacifica's increment wasn't huge, and so, what the State is asking back from Pacifica, in its share of the $1.7 billion that the State needs, is only about $35,000. To stay in and continue Redevelopment, it will cost Pacifica about $35,000 and that,compared to some other places, is fairly small.
    Nihart then delivered the "bad news", stating that what Pacifica has collected from the TOT this past year and the previous year has not been enough to support the debt service, and that, in order to continue, a little bit has been taken from the General Fund to keep the RDA going. That becomes an ongoing problem, according to the Mayor. Nihart wants to think aggressively about how to change that, but is waiting for the facts and figures to be on the table so that they can make the right decision. The deadline for deciding on whether Pacifica stays in or gets out is August 26th this year. "If we get out, we assume the debt," Nihart stated."So I'm thinking, what are we going to do here? We have a lot to work on."
    "If I think about it, it seems grim. But, I don't know...It's just what is, it's just what is," said Nihart." I have to remind folks that we can all point fingers, we can all point that this happen because of X, Y and Z, and we shoulda, coulda, woulda, but, I honestly can't go there right now, because I want us to survive and that's why I'm looking at everything," Nihart stated. "We start next month again with the "Financing City Services Committee. We are expanding some members. If you are interested, please get your application in very, very quickly. If you are interested at all, attend the meetings. There is no mystery in Finance here, except for the fact that there are funds that get dedicated," Nihart advised."For example, Measure A funds go for highways and street improvements and we can't use it to pay for salaries somewhere else...When you have certain fees like developer fees, they have to go for recreation and parks, because that's what they are. We can't just move it around. Dedicated Funds can't be interchanged with the General Fund Budget"
    Nihart revealed that 55% of the General Fund Budget is paid to police and fire and everything else that goes for city works from day to day comes out of the General Fund. She stated that the City only makes money in a few ways. There are fees that can be charged for services and permits and sometimes there's money from property rentals or sales. If Pacifica gets more people in town to purchase things, then it gets more money from sales tax. If it gets more people in town to stay at its hotels, it gets more TOT money. And, of course, it still gets a large portion of it's money from property taxes.
    As far as current improvements in town, the Mayor reported that the Pedro Point Shopping Center recently had a "shot in the arm" from the opening of the Fresh and Easy store earlier this year and that the recent improvements made to the other business store fronts in that same center were also good for business overall. She reported that there currently are some plans for improvement in the works up in the Pacific Manor Shopping Center and that they got a "shot in the arm" with the new bus stop and the new trash cans, and that she would also like to see the Eureka Square Shopping Center get its own "shot in the arm" as well.
    The "Beach Blvd" property, formerly known as the old sewer treatment plant, where the City Council still conducts its meetings, will be having a RFQ to look for a developer for the design that Nihart, personally, thinks is workable: a hotel, some residential that creates a transition, and breaking it up into three pieces. Nihart said that the City Council is now looking more at selling than leasing the property, at this point.
    The next "shot in the arm", according to Nihart, is for the Palmetto district. The new street lights for Palmetto have been sitting in a warehouse awaiting the undergrounding of the wiring by P G and E, which has pushed back the installation schedule each year, from its orignal installation date of 2008. Now it is scheduled to happen in 2012. Nihart reported that there is some capital set aside from the old wastewater treatment plant that can actually be used for improving Palmetto and revitalizing that neighborhood.
    In reference to the issue of paid parking at the Linda Mar Beach, Nihart reported that the Coastal Commission has finally deemed Pacifica's application as complete. The Coastal Commission has 180 days to respond. 
    The Mayor asked for all of the citizens to work with the City Council, the City and with each other, in order to achieve a truly successful financial outcome for Pacifica in the future.
    INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS: At the end of her presentation, Mayor Nihart officially installed the Officers of the Pacifica Democrats Executive Board for the 2011-2012 term:  President - Barbara Arietta; Vice-President- Jack Waldbewohner;         Treasurer - Suzan Getchell-Wallace; Secretary - Mari Brumm Merrill.

    Barbara Arietta

    President - Pacifica Democrats

    Golf happens with focus, skill and being a rare prodigy

    Hitting a hole in 1 just 85 yards away is so easy even a 6 year old can do it.
    CBS news/Sports, 7/12./11.  Move over Rory McIlroy, here comes Reagan Kennedy.  Kennedy, a six-year-old girl from Illinois, sank a hole in one last week - and calmly walked back to her cart as if it were a normal day at the office. No incredulous scream. No fist-pumping. Just a ho-hum hole in one. 

    According to the (Bloomington) Pantagraph, Kennedy made the 85-yard shot on the third hole at The Links at Ireland Grove last week and showed no emotion because she was told by her father not to make a lot of noise on the course."We told her this is one time you can scream," her 13-year-old sister Cheyenne Broquard told the newspaper. "It didn't hit her until the seventh hole and she said I'm going to get another one. We said 'OK, hot shot.'"

    Could the ever-confident Kennedy be following in the footsteps of the 22-year-old McIlroy - another self-assured golf prodigy with poise beyond his years?  The 22-year-old Northern Irishman and U.S. Open champ, like Kennedy, was nudged into golf by his father at a young age.  And like Kennedy, McIlroy is famous for being a golf prodigy - he hit a ball 40 yards by age 2 and sank a hole in one at age nine.  Age nine? Sounds like Kennedy is three years ahead.  If we do the math, we can expect Kennedy to win the U.S. Open by age 19.

    Posted by Kathy Meeh

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    We love your vegetable garden!

    Awaiting further details on where these were taken.

    Submitted by Jim Alex

    You’re Somebody’s Type

    I have been in the throes of an email/techno disaster and thought that I had sent announcements weeks ago that we are hosting a blood drive at the Rockaway Beach CoastsideFarmer's Market on this coming Wednesday, July 20th from 2:30 t0 6:30 - 

    Here is the link folks can use to make an appointment to donate at the Market.  We will be providing lots of lovely summer fruits from our market farmers to freshen folks up after they donate! 

    I would love to make a blood drive an annual event, and so could really use your help in getting the word out. 

    Thanks so much - 


    Erin Tormey
    Founder, Manager
    Coastside Farmers' Markets
     May - December

    Half Moon Bay @ Shoreline Station•Saturdays - 9 to 1
    Pacifica @ Rockaway Beach•Wednesdays - 2:30 - 6:30 

    "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you are a thousand miles from a cornfield."  Dwight D. Eisenhower

    7/15/2011 General Plan Update Project - Land Use Alternatives and Key Policy Issues Report

    The City of Pacifica is in the process of undertaking a comprehensive update of its General Plan, the guiding document for development and public improvements over a 20 to 30-year period. The General Plan is a plan that will provide guidance as people propose projects, and help the City make informed decisions. The plan will provide a vision and policies for land use, economic development, environmental protection, and infrastructure investment through 2030. The General Plan update process began with two community workshops in the spring of 2009, and extensive research on existing conditions culminating in the Existing Conditions and Key Issues report in July 2010.

    Currently, we have just released the Land Use Alternatives and Key Policy Issues Report. This is a stage in the process of updating the General Plan and Local Coastal Plan. It will inform land use designations and policies that will apply citywide.

    In this phase, alternative land use scenarios are evaluated and approaches to key policy issues are considered, based on community priorities expressed in the preceding workshops and on findings of the background research. The report presents land use scenarios that highlights issues related to commercial development, future residential development, and land conservation. It presents approaches to sustainable development, adaptation to sea level rise, open space preservation, and development of the parks and trails system.

    A successful General Plan reflects the goals and values of the community. Public input is sought at key stages of the update process, ensuring that community members can take an active role in shaping the city's future. The land use alternatives and policy approaches discussed here were the subject of the third community forum, held at Pacifica's Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School on January 29, 2011. 

    On August 15, we will be holding a public hearing of the Planning Commission, during which a presentation on the Land Use Alternatives and Key Policy Issues will be given by the General Plan Consultant team. At this meeting, the public will have an opportunity to comment on this document.  A subsequent City Council meeting will be held to further discuss the document some time in the early fall.

    For More information, contact Elizabeth Claycomb, Management Analyst and Project Manager at 650-738-7361 or via email at: .

    Posted by Steve Sinai

    Comment moderation turned on

    The usual reason - Jeff Simons is throwing a tantrum again.

    According to the web logs, there were 40+ attempts from an address in Plano, Texas to post personal attacks between 9:47 AM and 11:54 AM. Most were blocked by the spam detection system, but not all.

    Steve Sinai

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Pescadero looking for solutions to main road flooding

    Another "our environment vs. our environmentalists" story.  

    Pescadero, CA: Seals everywhere!!
    San Mateo County Times/Julia Scott, 7/13/11. "Locals say they're tired of talk when it comes to solving the flooding problem that cuts off the main road to town during heavy winter rainstorms, sometimes for days.  On Tuesday night, the Pescadero Municipal Advisory Committee vowed not to wait for another disastrous winter flood or another scientific study on Butano Creek, which strands dozens of motorists each winter when it overflows onto Pescadero Creek Road. "We need to go out there with shovels and buckets and say, 'We need action,'" declared Catherine Peery, a member of the committee.  

    Residents feel their problems have been overlooked for years as various state and federal natural resource protection agencies argue over what to do about the larger crisis in Pescadero marsh, an adjacent estuary where unhealthy environmental conditions strangle steelhead trout each year when the sandbar breaks. The environmental issue is tied up in a lawsuit brought by several locals. But plenty of Pescadero stalwarts, including members of the advisory committee, believe they can solve the problem simply by dredging a stretch of creek with tractors and excavators. They remember when the Butano Creek channel was 11 feet deep and full of fish. Now it's a foot deep in places, and fish passage is rare.

    "The problems have been here for 25 years. The solutions have been known for 20 years. There have been innumerable studies, and no one will step up," said Steve Skinner, a committee member and owner of a local inn. He loses all his customers when the road floods. Other businesses have similar complaints. But locals note their concerns go way beyond inconvenience. The flooding is so extreme it's dangerous. Sheriff's deputy's cars have stalled in the water. The well-equipped CalFire station, just a few hundred feet from town, happens to be on the wrong side of the massive puddle. If elderly patients need care or there's a medical emergency, they may be out of luck.

    In 1998, El NiƱo storms flooded not just the creek but the entire town, saturating septic systems and covering houses and other property in sewage.  Part of the problem is that much of Pescadero's town center lies in a floodplain, so water problems aren't unusual. Locals rejected a county offer to raise the roadway several years ago because it would permanently flood adjacent farming fields. Building a
    bridge over the roadway is perceived as too expensive -- and people are quick to add that it wouldn't actually fix the problem.  Residents pine for the days when farmers regularly dredged the creek. That was before State Parks started managing the creek as a natural resource and before many threatened and endangered wildlife -- including the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake -- took on the status of protected species.

    San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley toured the marsh with Assemblyman Jerry Hill last week. He isn't convinced that the solution is as simple as some locals believe. "Their idea for fixing it is not really workable as a long-term solution," he said. "It will clear up one year but get silted up all over again."
    Horsley said the flooding issue can't be resolved until state and federal agencies agree on an overall plan for Pescadero marsh. The San Mateo County Resource Conservation District is working on a plan, he said.

    Meanwhile, a Pescadero citizens' group called the Coastal Alliance for Species Enhancement sued State Parks, the Department of Fish and Game and other state agencies in November for failing to enforce the Endangered Species Act in Pescadero marsh. That case will have a hearing in August. The group is likely to file a similar suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in September, according to attorney Ronda Lucas.

    On Tuesday, Pescadero officials backed a proposal to launch an online information hub called "Pescadero flood watch" with flood updates, an archive and a discussion board devoted to solutions. They also agreed to launch a major PR campaign directed at local legislators, top public agency officials and Peninsula environmentalists who may be able to help them with their cause. "We are not going to wait for someone to tell us to do something. We are going to take this to the county," vowed committee Chairman Greg Bonaparte. Horsley said he has requested $1 million in federal funds to back a solution in Pescadero marsh once a plan emerges. To prepare for this coming winter, he said he would ask the county to clean out the silted-up culverts on either side of Pescadero Creek Road. He also mentioned giving the advisory committee the financial flexibility to buy a pump to get water off the road."  

    Posted by Kathy Meeh