Friday, September 30, 2011

Oct. 3 Planning Commission Rage Against Caltrans Cancelled

From what I've been hearing, the main agenda item was for the NIMBY-packed Planning Commission to criticize the Calera Creek Parkway project.

Behind-the-scenes speculation is that higher-ups in the city told the Planning Commission to cancel the meeting.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Small business owners look out for this new scam

About 2 hours ago I received an internet yellow page listing call just verifying business information, a "free" listing.  "Free" because "not contracted" until the 4th recorded confirmation question. The rep said on the 5th question just say "not contracted".  I said no to the 4th question which accepted that as the only answer: "yes". The recording thanked me, and advised $49 monthly would be deducted from my telephone bill."  Along the way and even after the "thanks, we're taking $49 off your phone bill monthly", the rep continued to assure the listing was "free", right. 

A cancellation phone number was advised in the recording.  The phone number turned-out to be Direct TV, with an extension that referred to another Direct TV cancellation number. There the rep said "not us".  I then called AT&T and they will block additional charges, but that will take 30 days; meantime, a note has been placed in their system.

Hopefully you and others will avoid this scam. Over a few years I've managed to dodge the more legitimate versions of these internet listings calls.  No information was requested other than what is easily available through the internet currently.  Follow-up has now taken up more than 2 hours of time, and I expect to dealing with the $49 bogus billing next month prior to AT&T blockage of ALL outside vendor billings.   Do your business friends a favor and get the word out there about this new "free" internet listing scam.

Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Patch poll about Sharp Park


I've posted a poll about sharp park golf course as a followup to this move by plaintiffs for a prelim injunction.


Camden Swita
Editor, Pacifica Patch  | 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Highway 1 Report 1999

A little history on the Highway 1 widening project -

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Do you like pancakes?

Court Motion Filed to Restrict Illegal Sharp Park Golf Course Activities, Protect Endangered Species

SAN FRANCISCO— Six San Francisco conservation groups are seeking a preliminary injunction in federal court against the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to stop illegal pumping of water from wetlands and prohibit harmful mowing and motorized golf-cart use on nine golf course holes near wetlands at the Sharp Park golf course in Pacifica. The injunction will help protect endangered San Francisco garter snakes and California red-legged frogs from these harmful activities.
“No more business as usual at Sharp Park — illegal pumping and mowing of wetlands stops now,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The best scientific experts on endangered species are calling for a moratorium on harmful golf course activities in and near wetlands habitat, and we hope the court agrees.”

The Wild Equity Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association, Surfrider Foundation, Sequoia Audubon and Sierra Club filed a
motion for a temporary injunction on Friday on golf-course activities that are hurting endangered species. The injunction would last until a pending lawsuit is heard or the Recreation and Parks Department adopts an approved “habitat conservation plan” and obtains legal permits under the Endangered Species Act. The plaintiffs are represented by the environmental law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal.
“These science-based restrictions will protect our most imperiled wildlife from harm while allowing golf on many of the course areas,” said Brent Plater, executive director of the Wild Equity Institute. “Their duration will provide us all an opportunity to evaluate proper permitting options and restoration activities at Sharp Park.”
Leading scientific experts on the red-legged frog and garter snake, with collective experience of more than seven decades of research and study of California amphibians and reptiles, submitted declarations in support of the requested injunction. These experts contend that golf course activities impair the long-term survival and recovery of the species and that the Parks Department’s alleged compliance plan is not being followed and is unworkable. See quotes below from these experts explaining why the injunction is justified.
Crumbling infrastructure, annual flooding problems, declining conditions and ongoing Endangered Species Act violations at the golf course require changing how Sharp Park is managed, but such changes are not financially feasible for San Francisco’s strained budget. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote next month on legislation introduced by Supervisor John Avalos to repurpose the golf course and transition management of Sharp Park to the National Park Service’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area to improve recreation and public access, protect endangered wildlife and save San Francisco taxpayers money. The proposed partnership will end the city’s legal and financial liabilities and put the National Park Service in charge of protecting endangered species and providing public recreation, allowing San Francisco to reinvest its scarce resources back into city-based parks, recreation centers and golf courses.
For more information and background, visit:
Quotes From Scientific Experts
Dr. Vance Vredenburg is an assistant professor in biology at San Francisco State University, research associate at the California Academy of Sciences and U.C. Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, and an expert on California amphibians and the red-legged frog.
“Sharp Park must have successful recovery actions implemented, or it will one day lose its red-legged frog population, and potentially jeopardize populations at nearby properties as well.”
“The city is not, and cannot, actually implement the Compliance Plan…making it virtually certain that California red-legged frogs will be taken unless the relief requested by the plaintiffs here is granted...San Francisco must be ordered to cease all pumping at Sharp Park.”
Dr. Marc Hayes is a biologist with four decades of experience studying reptiles and amphibians in California. He wrote the Department of Fish and Game’s “Amphibians and Reptiles of Special Concern in California” and submitted the petition that led to listing the red-legged frog as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Unless golf-course operations that cause ongoing take of these species are halted, both populations at Sharp Park may be lost, and the San Francisco garter snake’s entire species will be in jeopardy.”
“The Recreation and Parks Department should be prohibited from operating the pumps at Sharp Park until a decision is rendered in this matter…the court should grant plaintiffs’ request to prohibit all mowing and golf-cart use within roughly 200 meters of the delineated wetland.”
Wendy Dexter is the principal biologist at Condor Country Consulting, with 20 years of experience in herpetology, particularly regarding the San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog, and specializes in endangered species compliance and permits.
“The San Francisco garter snake’s habitat at Sharp Park has not been secured, and the subspecies has been taken, and will continue to be taken in the foreseeable future, by the continued operations and management of Sharp Park Golf Course…I am certain that undocumented deaths of snakes occur annually if not more frequently.”
“Unless the golf-course operations that cause take of the San Francisco garter snake are halted in areas where the snake is likely to be found, the Sharp Park/Mori Point population will continue to decline, increasing the potential for the population to become extirpated.”
Jeff Miller

Conservation Advocate
Center for Biological Diversity
351 California Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104
Submitted by Lionel Emde

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Moving forward even on the farm: robotics

Time and progress waits for no hippie.

From POPSCI, 9/20/11. "Flemish engineers have announced a new self-driving tractor whose precision rivals that of a human driver. This could mean drastically lower operating costs for farmers, and a step towards automated agriculture. The tractor...can automatically adjust its speed and turning radius during its pre-programmed route over a field. 

Previous driving systems required manual calibration for hard and soft terrain settings. The new tractor anticipates wheel slippage based on the observed terrain and adjusts its speed and turning rate to compensate.  An automated system that could complete this task would fulfill the need for a highly trained operator, without the continuous high cost. FMTC and MeBioS will unveil their robot tractor on September 24 and 25 at the Annual International Agriculture and Horticulture Days of Mechanisation, in Oudennarde, Belgium. 

Meanwhile, today's Wall Street Journal covers an American partnership between Kinze Manufacturing and Jaybridge Robotics that has also produced a self-driving tractor. The Kinze Autonomous Grain Cart system is designed to work in tandem with a human-operated harvester combine, driving alongside the combine and collecting harvested grain, with a surprisingly sprightly, even playful, gait. When the grain cart is full, the autonomous tractor hauls the crop to storage, and then returns to find the combine. Kinze and Jaybridge have also developed an autonomous planting system."  Full article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Governor Jerry Brown signs internet tax compromise

From San Mateo Daily Journal/Associated Press, 9/24/11. "Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday that postpones new sales taxes rules that would have affected online purchases in California, granting more time for traditional and online retailers to lobby Congress for a national standard on the high-stakes issue.  The bill, crafted as a compromise among, traditional retailers and California lawmakers searching for ways to raise revenue, delays until at least September 2012 online tax rules that were implemented as part of this year’s state budget package."   Full article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Reminder about posting guidelines

About 20% of all comments in the last few days haven't been posted because they contain direct, personal attacks.

If you want to attack hippies as a group, call people in favor of highway widening "fat-asses," or bitch about big companies, that's one thing.

But don't be calling people out individually and attacking them. Those comments won't be posted.

Thank you.

Posted by Your Beloved Blogmaster, Steve Sinai

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Highway widening will make our commute easier

Stuck in traffic and distracted

From the Pacifica Tribune letters-to-the-editor, 9/21/11.  "I am constantly amazed by the letters and Blogs from the people against the widening of Highway 1. A very vocal minority of people always say no. The gang of no makes a lot of noise. 

The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce supports this Highway 1 widening. Let's for once be ahead of the traffic problem that the tunnel will exacerbate during commute time. About half of all Pacifica commuters are stuck in this traffic jam every day. Add to this bottleneck all the commuters from Moss Beach down to Half Moon Bay.

This Route 1 traffic solution is merely designed to expand turning so the north-south commute works better. This solution also features de-acceleration lanes and acceleration lanes so those making turns get out of the main traffic stream.

Every other town in this state works to make it's resident's commute easier. Do readers of this letter prefer to sit in traffic, waste gas, hurt air quality, miss appointments, get your children to school late or have Pacifica proactively solve a problem that has been building over the past 20 years."

Chris Porter, President, Pacifica Chamber of Commerce

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Highway widening through Pacifica is a safety issue

From Pacifica Tribune, letters-to-the-editor, 9/21/11. "We are retired professional firefighters who have served in Pacifica collectively for over 100 years. We support the Highway 1 traffic bottleneck solution being considered.

It is imperative that Rt. 1 be widened with improved east-west turning lanes for very sound reasons. Safety, in our opinion, is the No. 1 reason this improvement needs to be facilitated as soon as possible. Our firefighters are dedicated, hard working professionals. We understand the consequences that delays in help can cause. The condition on Rt. 1 at this choke point is intolerable.

Everyone has seen the commute traffic congestion. Couple this traffic density with poor road shoulders and you have a problem with emergency vehicles getting through. A break down, accident or flat tire only makes matters worse. We have heard the arguments that "it's only a 15 minute delay".....15 MINUTES! -- that can be the difference between life and death for someone suffering from an accident or heart attack.

For most of the coast, the nearest hospital is north of Pacifica which requires ambulance runs north on Rt. 1. If a fire emergency breaks out during commute times, fire engines are en-route as well. If a large fire is in the north end of Pacifica, equipment has to be sent north to assist or repositioned to the south to provide standby coverage. Firefighters and EMT personnel absolutely cannot afford to be delayed during emergency service calls.

In any event, we believe it irresponsible to wait any longer to implement a Rt. 1 widening to solve traffic congestion we have seen increase for over 20 years. Rt. 1 is a regional highway and thousands of Pacificans use it as their only way out of town. For emergency personnel, Rt. 1 is our lifeline to protect Pacifica. We do not want to tell any Pacifica resident we were late to a fire or medical emergency because we were stuck in traffic."

Jim Bonner, Battalion Chief, Pacifica Fire Dept, retired. 38 years of service
Bob Trapp, Battalion Chief, Pacifica Fire Dept, retired. 33 years of service
Steve Engler, Battalion Chief, Pacifica Fire Dept, retired. 30 years of service

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, September 23, 2011

Highway improvement from the activist fringe

If you missed the Highway 1 widening DEIR meeting last night, the following are a few unhinged citizen highlights and comment trends read into the Caltrans record.  Activist do attend most of these key meetings while you and I may not. For them, human safety or time efficiency was not an issue.  

Really its a red-legged frog!
The NIMBY party of no, aka Pacifica environmentalists in conjunction with their coastal friends, say "build a bike trail", not a highway improvement for people in cars.  They questioned the San Mateo County Transit Authority DEIR/EA, the process, the research and the conclusions.  Some advised they had not been properly notified. Most claimed there is no traffic congestion problem. They suggested highway alternatives such bike paths, buses,  ride-sharing, (anything but fix the structural problem). One suggested Chris Porter, who drives 25 minutes, 5 miles across town to work should ride a bicycle.     

The NIMBY party of no, aka Pacifica environmentalists in conjunction with their coastal friends, claimed that 1) fixing the 1.3 mile Calera Creek highway bottleneck would create a "freeway". Others claimed that 2) adding 2 lanes through the highway bottle neck would not solve the congestion, (DEIR/EA researched studies indicate time savings during peak hours would be about 8:20 minutes round-trip now, over 20 years about 28:00 minutes. A few acknowledged 4)  highway 1 has a congestion problem, yet these are the same people that blocked the 88 acre quarry social, civic and economic development because of  5) traffic congestion on highway 1 during what would be the build process.  Reality:   6) most of these same people want "nothing", no improvement, while most expressed wishful, not practical "what if" thinking-- the same kind of thinking identified more than 23 years ago with near zero action since.

The party of no, aka Pacifica environmentalists in conjunction with their coastal friends, claim their amateur ideas are better than the highway professionals. They claim special knowledge of our community, (that lopsided adverse City impact conspiracy I do believe).  They complained about not being consulted, their entitled ideas were not considered, their "due process" was vacated.  They contended that Caltrans' plan to update and improve the 45 year old existing highway 1 is calloused and intended to wreck havoc on the entire community.  A few demanded a detailed accounting of each discarded idea.  Whereas, the final simplified 1.3 mile highway 1 design would fit easily into the coastal space available, extend the existing highway, intrude by right-of-way on a minimum number of existing properties, and fulfill California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) guidelines.

Finally, most NIMBY Pacifica the party of no, aka Pacifica environmentalists in conjunction with their coastal friends, objected to the cost of improving  highway 1, although taxes, including county Measure A, would  pay most of  the related capital improvement cost.  Personally, I think most of these NIMBYS might prefer a beach party, in exchange for the proposed city and regional highway updating.  The future?  Without better visionary city council majority leadership put into practice, unfortunately most of these same people will continue to work against progress and influence the destiny of this city. Good luck to us all.

Posted by Kathy Meeh  

Fog Fest - this weekend, September 24th and 25th

Pacifica Tribune 9/16/11.  "Fog Fest -- Pacifica's own community celebration -- coming this weekend to Palmetto Avenue. Pacifica celebrates Fog Fest this weekend with special activities designed to entertain the whole family. This year's theme is "Pacifica Celebrates Music."

fog festThe big community parade opens Fog Fest on Saturday at 10 a.m. with dazzling floats, marching bands and local organizations marching to give people an idea who they are. There's still time to join this year's parade to play music of any kind -- form any kind of band you like. Sing Karaoke with friends. The folks in the crowd, who often recognize so many people in the parade, cheer loudly and show their support. It's a moment many in the community treasure as it shows how connected everyone is.... 

The grand marshal of the parade will be Benjamin Wade, best known as Coach Wade on the television show, "Survivor." The annual arts and crafts festival takes over Palmetto Avenue Sept. 24-25 as artisans fill the street with booths containing one-of-a-kind clothing, handcrafted jewelry and artistic household items for sale. Community organizations and businesses set up booths to give people a chance to learn more about them, as well. Local non-profit organizations man the food booths, providing hearty festival food that's fun to eat and delicious while strolling down the street or sitting at a stage area. Musicians will perform throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday on three stages.....

Fog Festival Pacifica CA in My Photos by
On Sunday, the Family Fun Fest provides all day activities for the whole family. Kids love the face painting and the many special activities designed just for them on the yard of Ingrid B. Lacy Middle School, 1427 Palmetto Ave. Trained volunteers and the city's Parks, Beaches and Recreation employ ees staff the event. Also on Sunday, the Fog Jog Run and the Fog Jog Stride, sponsored by the city's PB&R Dept,. the Pacifica Rotary Club and the Pacifica Tribune will be held. The five-mile run begins at 9 a.m. at Salada Blvd. and Francisco Blvd. Men's and women's divisions from age 13 to 70 and up are available. The Stride is a three-mile walk that begins at the same place. Check in between 8 a.m. and 8:45 a,m. at the PB&R office located at 1810 Francisco Blvd. to join. Entries cost $20.
Additional referencePacifica Fog Fest & Parade.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Highway 1 widening poll

Over on Patch, Camden has a very unscientific poll running about Caltrans's plan to widen Highway 1. At the time this is being posted, it's 75% in favor, 22% against, 2% undecided.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reminder: SMCTA Pacifica Highway 1 widening meeting, Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fix highway 1 traffic congestion!

Where:  Pacifica Community Center, 540 Crespi Drive,  Pacifica, CA, (Crespi at Highway 1, there is a parking lot). 
Time:     6:30pm, Open House, 7:00pm - 9:00 pm  Meeting.
Why?     Tired of being stuck in traffic, and never a fix on highway 1 through Pacifica?  Its to your advantage to attend this meeting.

Completed DEIR/EA:  1.3 mile widening from 4 lanes to 6 lanes to reduce traffic congestion at Calera Creek Parkway, extending from Fassler Avenue/Rockaway Beach Avenue through Reina Del Mar Avenue.  "The project includes improvements to the two intersections within the proposed project limits.... The purpose of this project is to improve traffic operations by decreasing traffic congestion and improving peak-period travel times along a congested segment of SR 1 within the City of Pacifica... the project will conform with the State Implementation Plan, including localized impact analysis...."

Support letters and comments must be received by 5:00pm on October 7, 2011, and may be submitted by e-mail, fax, or US mail to:  Yolanda Rivas, Branch Chief, Division of Environmental Planning & Engineering, California Department of Transportation, District 4, Attn: Thomas Rosevear, 111 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA 94623, fax 510-286-5600, email"  These comments must be received by 5pm, October 7, 2011. 

EIR/EA and Public Notice, and Full DEIR/EA (287 pages).
Previous Fix Pacifica articles from Pacifica Tribune:  What you need to know, and Chamber endorses.  And from Barbara Arietta, Chair SMCTA/CAC Public Comment period opens.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, September 19, 2011

City Council Agenda, Monday, September 26, 2011

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Or, view on local channel 26, also live feed internet  The meeting begins at 7pm (but usually starts a few minutes late).

City Council Agenda, 9/26/11.  1-126 pages, Agenda outline as follows:   
Closed Session
a.  Conference with labor negotiator, Teamsters miscellaneous local 856, and Teamsters waste water local 856.
 Consent Calendar (pass through)
1.  Approval of Disbursements
2.  Approval of Minutes
3.  Resolution authorizing contract with San Mateo county human services agency to provided after school STEM program grant, $39,600, pending city attorney approval.
4.  Appoint member (Joseph Kell) to the Financing City Services Task Force.
5.  San Pedro Creek Bridge replacement, amendment #6, approve contract with Wilsey Ham Consultant. $55,892 paid from Fund 12, reimbursed by TEA-21 (grant).
Special Presentation
a.  Proclamation - Fire prevention month.
b.  Pacifica partnership, responsible alcohol merchant award.
Public hearing
6.  Establish Palmetto Underground Utility District.  Remove existing overhead structures, wires and facilities and install new underground structures, wires and facilities. Include Birch Lane and West side of Montecito Avenue in the Utility District.   
Consideration (public discussion)
7.  General Plan land use update alternatives, Planning Commission recommendations.
8.  Civil Grand Jury Report - "County Officials need to make noise about aircraft noise".  Review Mayor's draft letter response, authorize Mayor to sign.
9.  Write a letter requesting further extension of State Route 1/Calera Creek Parkway DEIR comment period? 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Planning Commission Meeting, tonight, Monday, September 19, 2011

Agenda 9/19/11  City council chambers, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 7pm, or view on Channel 26 through cable television or live feed internet.

Public hearing:  Renovation and improvement for a Pedro Point home. Staff recommendation:  approve permit subject to conditions listed on pages 7-10.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Taking the scary out of our neighbor - Mars

At this crater location, Mars looks kind of like some dry areas of Earth.

From SF Gate, 9/2/11.  The two Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, landed on the plant in January 2004 on a mission planned to last only three months. Spirit's wheels got stuck on a sand patch more than two years ago and has fallen silent, but Opportunity's six wheels have carried it more than 20 miles from its original landing site. It has found evidence that many rocks contain minerals like iron oxide - ordinary rust to everyone on Earth - which must surely mean Mars once had plentiful water and may still.  Read more...

Posted by Kathy Meeh

No more plastic bags in San Jose, beginning January 1, 2012

What a drag the trend of ridding our modern world of plastic carry bags is. I love plastic grocery store bags, so light, convenient, clean, easy to recycle. Besides, with repeated use cloth bags are subject to internal collection of dangerous bacteria. We're so 21st century, why can't these plastic bags be evolved to  biodegrade, or is that called paper? Personally, I hope Pacifica does not consider adopting a "no plastic bag" ordinance.  Plastic bags keep our vegetables clean, and newspapers dry.  Take care in recycling plastic bags always, no ocean or creek wildlife should have to die because a human was not careful. 

Mercury News/Carol Rosen, 9/15/11. San Jose-  "It might be a good idea to add reusable cloth shopping bags to this year's Christmas lists. Beginning Jan. 1, San Jose's plastic bag ordinance goes into effect. Grocery stores, pharmacies, small and large retailers will no longer be allowed to provide plastic carry-out bags at checkout counters. Stores may still offer paper bags made of 40 percent recycled materials and charge a minimum of 10 cents per bag.

Californians use 4 million plastic bags a year. While the bags are convenient, they create numerous environmental problems. The bags are the most commonly found items during creek and beach cleanups. Plastic bags are dangerous to sea life, including sea turtles, which mistake the bags in the ocean for the jellyfish that are part of their diet.

Cloth or heavy plastic reusable bags can be purchased at grocery stores and gift shops. Most cost less than $3 and provide more room than plastic ones. In addition, local branch libraries sell bags for toting books, but they work just as well for groceries and other items. The city no longer collects plastic bags at curbside because single-use bags interfere with machinery used at recycle plants. Single-use plastic bags can be returned to grocery stores and pharmacies for recycling."

Reference:  "What you should know about plastic bags", from the American Chemistry Council, Inc.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, September 18, 2011

First Annual Pacifica Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament 10/17/2011

Calling all golfers!!! Please click the link below for the First Annual Pacifica Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament.

The tournament will be held at Sharp Park on Monday October 17. Proceeds will be benefit the fight to Save Sharp Park and the SF Golf Alliance.

The format is a 4 Person Scramble.

The $150.00 per player entry fee includes:

Beverages during golf
Dinner at Sharp Park

There will be many prizes awarded and a few special guests offering prizes during golf.

This is a don't miss event!!! Make up your own foursome or sign up as a single. We will find a group for you.

Hope to see you there!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

From the Land of Lois - Dr. Joe Harrop: Mulligans, mutants and ugly ducks

Dr. Joe Harrop

It is estimated that over 99 percent of all the species that have ever existed are now extinct. Some of that extinction is a result of natural processes, some caused by natural disasters such as meteor strikes, and some by humankind. As climates change, new predators arise, and habitats are destroyed, some species pay the consequences; when you add to that volcanic eruptions, large meteor strikes, and severe climate change because of obscured sunlight, you have a formula for change.  nvades.Humankind also plays a role as it intrudes on "natural habitats" and modifies the ecologies it invades. 

Humankind occasionally has a guilty conscience about its role and takes steps to reverse the damage it may have caused. Condors are raised in captivity and released into the wild. Sea otter habitats are protected. Sharks are the subject of legislation to prevent removal of their fins.


Posted by Steve Sinai

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Medical cannabis: drive to get it , or have it delivered

At city council Monday night, the impression from the city was that having a medical cannabis dispensary in town (however humane) would be a low priority and a money loser. So, setting human compassion aside, why do some  cities make a profit on medical cannabis dispensaries, or do they?

San Mateo County Times/Julia Scott, 9/14/11. "For 25 days in August, Pacifica had a medical marijuana dispensary. The city thought it was a flower shop. That not-too-subtle discrepancy cost owner Ruben Salvatierra his business license Tuesday night when the City Council voted to deny his appeal and close down the Wellness Solutions Group, the "flower shop" he opened August 1.

Salvatierra said he would have applied for a business license as a pot dispensary, but the city's tax code doesn't recognize that category. That means pot dispensaries are de facto outlawed, and Pacifica police shut down the dispensary Aug. 25. Salvatierra lost his appeal Tuesday night. "It's what I expected," he said after the meeting. "We'll discuss with our attorney about that to do next."

Locals lined up to profess their support for a carefully regulated, well-run medical cannabis shop in town. From high-heeled professionals to retirees in their 70s, they used the case to urge the city to craft a detailed legal strategy that would allow pot clubs to operate under certain restrictions. "This is not a fringe issue. This is a mainstream issue in the eyes of Pacifica voters," said Ian Butler, who uses medical marijuana to treat his joint pain and has been urging the City Council to take a stance on the issue long before the recent controversy.

Marijuana dispensaries are banned in many cities on the Peninsula, and there is only one currently operating in San Mateo County in East Palo Alto. There are also delivery services that provide medical marijuana.  Some of the Pacifica audience members turned the hearing into a referendum on the merits of medical marijuana. They saw hypocrisy in the fact that the Pacifica has dozens of places to purchase alcohol. More...

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Are Invited: Measure L Parcel Tax Forum - Pacifica Democrats - Saturday 9/17th

On Saturday morning, September 17th, the Pacifica Democrats Club will host a Measure L Local School Parcel Tax Forum at its monthly breakfast meeting, scheduled to be held in the rear banquet room of the Sharp Park Golf Course Restaurant, Hwy 1 and Sharp Park Blvd, in Pacifica.
Kalimah Salahuddin, mother of three school age children and campaign manager for the "Yes on L" campaign, as well as being president of Saving Pacifica Schools, a political action committee dedicated to preserving the quality of education in Pacifica schools, will share the Measure L Forum with Matt Levie, a professional video and film editor, who also teaches Junior Achievement to fifth graders at Sunset Ridge school. They will discuss the need for both the renewal and increase of the local school parcel tax, originally called Measure N in 2008, but now known as Measure L in the upcoming November 8, 2011 election.
In 2008, the local school parcel tax was passed because the state threatened to cut the Pacifica School District's budget by a million dollars...a move that would have been the elimination of a critical number of programs and teachers in the Pacifica School District (PSD). The Pacifica community refused to let that happen. The community came together and passed a funding measure to support Pacifica schools. The students, teachers and district leaders continued to work hard to achieve educational excellence. The local funding, which the state cannot touch, helped attract and retain qualified teachers, support math and science programs and aid struggling students. Today, every school in the Pacifica School District maintains an API score well above 800, the state's target for academic performance. The latest API Score is 845.
One result of this attained level of academic performance in the PSD is the fact that while other school districts continue to lose population, it has been reported that the Pacifica School District is growing. The schools are attracting new families to Pacifica, which helps keep property values stable. However, this 845 API score is a remarkable achievement by the students, because the Pacifica School District remains one of the poorest funded school districts in San Mateo County, with a current per pupil funding of $4,982 in 2011, down from a per pupil funding of $5,531 per pupil funding in 2007.
The combination of fundraising efforts and volunteer labor, by both PSD parents and other community members, have greatly contributed in helping to retain programs and teachers who, in turn, have helped the PSD students to attain the current levels of academic achievement. However, in light of the constant shrinking of revenues, other sources of funding, such as those that come from local parcel taxes are of fundamental importance.
Since 2008, the state has kept slashing--it has cut more than $1.7 million from Pacifica's elementary and middle schools during the past four years. Also, as federal stimulus funds expire in the upcoming year, the district stands to lose more than $500,000 in current funding, meaning potentially more significant cuts to academic programs, as well as the additional potential loss of great teachers in the district. The local school parcel tax funding measure, which at this point, is a small percentage of the school budget, but a critical one, is up for renewal on November 8th.
If passed, the parcel tax, based on an unanimous decision by the PSD School Board on August 9th,  will be increased from $96 a year to $118 a year and extended until 2017. It's reported that this new tax would replace the old one before it expires, but there would not be two taxes levied at once. Seniors over 65 years old can continue to receive an exemption and revenues from the tax will still be under the watchful eye of the Pacifica School District Citizen's Oversight Committee.
To learn more about how to apply for a senior exemption, please contact the District Office at 650-738-6600.
The renewal must receive a two-thirds majority approval by voters on November 8th. The new tax would generate a much needed $1.2 million annually for a variety of needs such as core academic programs in math, science, reading and writing and the retention of qualified teachers and staff. Additionally, the money will go to various areas of concern, including library programs and classroom computer instruction, as well as programs for struggling students, among others.
All members of the general public are invited. It is not necessary to be either a club member or a Democrat to attend.
A full breakfast is available for $12; continental breakfast for $6; coffee for $3. Doors open at 9:00 a.m. Seating is between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. and runs until 11:30 a.m. For any questions or to RSVP, please call 415-246-0775 or email
Barbara Arietta
Correspondent - Pacifica Tribune

City of Pacifica - General Plan Update

Task 4: Land Use Alternatives and Key Policy Issues Report
Contact: Elizabeth R. Claycomb, Management Analyst, Project Manager

Land Use Alternatives and Key Policy Issues Report: General Plan Update

The City of Pacifica is undertaking a comprehensive update of its General Plan, the guiding
document for development and public improvements over a 20-year period. The General Plan update
process began with two community forums in the spring of 2009, and extensive research on existing
conditions culminating in the Existing Conditions and Key Issues report in July 2010. A third community
forum was held in January 2011 regarding alternatives, with results presented in the Land Use
Alternatives and Key Policy Issues report released in May 2011.

Planning consultants from Dyett & Bhatia presented the land use alternatives and key policy
issues to the Planning Commission at its August 15, 2011 meeting, along with preliminary
recommendations for how to proceed. The Commission received additional input from the public,
discussed the material and the community response, and made preliminary recommendations to the City

On September 26th, City Staff and the Consultant team will go before City Council to present the
recommendations made by the Planning Commission on the land use alternatives and key policy issues.
This process will influence the final alternative map, which will then influence the General Plan policy

With the conclusion of this task; which includes receiving direction from City Council, we will
formally move onto Task 5; the Drafting of the General Plan and Local Coastal Plan Outlines and then,
the document drafting will commence. We are now at the half way mark in the General Plan update
process, and will continue this work on the General Plan update through 2014.

Please join us on Monday September 26th at 7:00PM at City Council Chambers located at 2212 Beach
Boulevard to hear the direction City Council gives on the land use alternatives and key policy issues. For
More information, contact Elizabeth Claycomb, Management Analyst and Project Manager at 650-
738-7361 or via email at: . You may also visit us on the Web at:

Posted by Steve Sinai

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jerry Hill Press Release: Primary Accomplishments this Legislative Year

Office of Assemblyman Jerry Hill – Press Release
Contact: Aurelio Rojas, 916-747-3199 cell or 916-319-2019 office
Jerry Hill Completes Productive Legislative Year
SACRAMENTO – Ten bills introduced by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, were approved by the Legislature during the 2011 session, including four bills that have already been signed into law.
Among the bills now before Gov. Jerry Brown is legislation to improve natural gas pipeline safety, to prohibit members of the California Public Utilities Commission from soliciting contributions from entities it regulates, and to allow San Mateo County to lower pension benefits for new sheriff’s deputies.
These bills the governor has to sign or veto within 30 days of reaching his desk:
AB 56 – Prompted by last year’s deadly San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, this bill would require remote-controlled shut off valves in high population areas and the comprehensive testing and record-keeping of transmission lines. It would also prohibit utilities from using ratepayer money to pay penalties for safety violations assessed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and require natural gas corporations to meet annually with local fire departments to review emergency response plans.
AB 1055 – Would prohibit a commissioner or employee of the CPUC from soliciting contributions from any persons or entity that the commission regulates. Last year, the CPUC created a foundation that solicited money from utilities that they regulate to pay for activities not authorized by the Commission’s budget.
AB 89 – Would allow San Mateo County to implement a memorandum of understanding providing lower retirement tiers for new employees represented by the Deputy Sheriff’s Association. The county recently negotiated a six-year MOU with the union that will require new hires to choose reduced retirement formulas.
AB 75 – Allows the Secretary of State office to use its discretion and refuse to process documents that are clearly intended for fraudulent purposes. During the past few years, deceptive solicitation schemes have arisen that take advantage of statutorily required filing with the Secretary of State. The misleading solicitations sent to companies sometimes appear to be official government documents and imply that the company must pay an exorbitant fee in order to file the documents with the Secretary of State.
AB 320 – Clarifies that the “real party in interest” named in a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit for a particular project are those identified by the lead agency as persons undertaking the publicly-funded project or receiving the permit. Currently, to prevent important cases from being dismissed by procedural tactics, CEQA practitioners are forced to name and serve parties that neither want nor need to be involved.
The governor has already signed these bills:
AB 1 X15 (Chapter 3, Statues of 2011) – Provides tax certainty for solar energy companies located in California.  Clarifies the types of financing mechanisms that can be used to make it more affordable for people to install solar on their homes and will make the state be more competitive in luring solar firms. One example is Maryland-based SunEdison, which is relocating its corporate headquarters to the city of Belmont in San Mateo County.
AB 50 (Chapter 18, Statutes of 2011) – Exempts San Bruno residents from paying state taxes on recovery money they received from Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the Red Cross and the City of San Bruno after last year’s pipeline explosion.  After the disaster, PG&E began making payments ranging from $15,000 to $50,000 to cover immediate day-to-day expenses such as temporary housing, food and transportation.
AB 459  (Chapter 188, Statues of 2011) – Seeks to enact a national popular vote for President wherein whichever candidate receives the most votes will be guaranteed to be elected.  Currently, candidates campaign exclusively in a few battleground state and often ignore issues of particular importance to California.  Under this bill California, in conjunction with other states, will award all of its electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  The legislation does not go into effect until it is adopted by states representing a majority of the Electoral College. 
AB 1349 (Chapter 185, Statues of 2011) – Strengthens the legal rights of non-biological parents in California. The bill allows courts leeway in cases where there is both a non-biological parent who has an established relationship with a child and a man who signed a voluntary declaration of paternity. It was written in response to a ruling that found that courts could not recognize a non-biological parent who has raised a child, even though the biological father had no relationship with the child.
The governor vetoed this bill:
AB 293 -- Would have required local elections officials to establish a free access system by which a vote by mail voter could determine whether his or her ballot was counted and, if not, the reason why it was not.

Blogmaster's note: One thing he did vote for, which I'm not happy about, is AB353.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Twin towers and Flight 93 - September 11, 2001

10th year anniversary look back. 2985 died on that day. through

End of Serenity

Bells of Remembrance

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Supervisor Avalos vs. Sharp Park



Fight for the Course:  Defeat the Avalos Ordinance to Close Sharp Park; Write letters to Supervisors; Good News!: Planning Department determines Sharp Park Golf Course to be "an historical resource"

1.  Public Golf Alliance Responds:  Calls Avalos' Ordinance to Close Sharp  misinformed, unrealistic and an attack on middle class, ethnically diverse, affordable public recreation, on jobs and small business, and on an historic landmark.  To download the full press release, click here.

2.  Avalos' give-away Ordinance:  to download the full text of the draft ordinance introduced Sept. 6 to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors by Mr. Avalos, click here.

3.  Good News:  S.F. Planning Department classifies Sharp Park Golf Course as Historical Resource, protected under the California Environmental Quality Act:  this was made public as part of the Planning Department's Draft Environmental Impact Report, published Aug. 31, 2011.
    a.  To read a copy of the Planning Department's Historic Resource Evaluation Response, click here (and turn to Exhibit C, pages 2-5, 10-37, and also 39-56).

4.  S.F. Planning Department Releases Draft Environmental Impact Report on the Rec & Park Department's Significant Natural Resource Areas Management Plan (including the Department's plan to recover habitat for frogs and snakes at Sharp Park, while saving the historic 18-hole golf course).  A public hearing will be held October 6, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. ; and public comments must be submitted not later than October 17, 2011.  To read a copy of the Draft Environmental Impact Report, click here.

5.  Don't Forget to Write your letters to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors, raising your voice to keep Sharp Park Golf Course open for future generations.  Say it in your own words.  For a blank letter form addressed to the Mayor and Supervisors, click here.

And please send us a copy:

Far & Sure
San Francisco Public Golf Alliance

Donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please visit our website: Donations Page
Submitted by Richard Harris

Friday, September 9, 2011

City Council Agenda, Monday, September 12, 2011

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Or, view on local channel 26, also live feed internet  The meeting begins at 7pm (but usually starts a few minutes late). 

City Council Agenda, 9/12/11, 1-80 pages, Agenda outline as follows:   
Closed Session 
1.  Litigation - Buckle v. City of Pacifica.
2.  Conference with legal council - 1 anticipated litigation.
3.  Conference with Labor negotiator, Teamsters Locals: Miscellaneous 856, Management 350, Waste Water 856. 
Consent Calendar (pass through)
1.   Approval of Disbursements
2.   Approval of Minutes
3.   Continuation of local emergency proclamation
4.   Approval of contracts with San Mateo County office of education (fiscal year 2011-2012).
5.   Approval resolution with CA State Department of Education to provide $371,352 subsidized child care and child development services (fiscal year 2011-2012).
6.   Contract to SFE Global to test WWTP collections system smoke, budget $77,000.
7.   Resolution adopting an updated integrated pest management policy.
8.   Re-advertise for Dog Park project fence bids.
9.   Proclamation - Prostate cancer awareness month.
10. Proclamation- National recovery month.
Special Presentation
1.  Sargent Dan Steidle - State traffic safety award for excellence.
2.  Fog festival presentation - Peter Loeb. 
Public hearing
11.  Appeal by WSG and its owners to not resend its business license, issued 7/27/11.  This is the medical cannabis dispensary that represented its business license as a "flower shop". 
12.  Consider us of supplemental law enforcement service fund to budget $100,000 when available toward a new CAD/RMS system.
13.  Palmetto utility district undergrounding. Removal of overhead wires and facilities, including Birch Lane and west of Montecito Avenue.  
Consideration (public discussion)
14.  Resolution creating a Pacifica beautification task force, appoint members, chair Ginny Jaquith, Council liaisons.
15.  Response to 2010-11 Grand Jury Report - "running on empty?". Suggest cities use consistent language in defining city reserves and statements. 
16. Approve requests proposals (RFP) for contracting-out City Attorney Services.
17.  Headlands trail budget amendment, $50,000 from Fund 26 (Parks and Playfields) pending the $660,000 acquisition, approve as a capital project (2011-12). ($360,000 from SMTA and $250,000 grant from Coastal Conservancy).
18.  Builder in-lieu park development fees report update.
19.  San Pedro Creek bridge replacement update.

Posted by Kathy Meeh