Saturday, December 31, 2011

The City of Pacifica's Financing City Services Task Force needs your input!

Before cuts are made, the City of Pacifica wants to hear your opinion.

Pacifica is facing further major budget cuts and these cuts will affect essential services.

This is your opportunity to let your voice be heard before a plan is developed and insure that your opinion is considered in the plan.

We want to know what is important to you.

Some of the options include:
• Reducing Library hours
• Reducing/eliminating Senior Services
• Contracting with the San Mateo County Sheriff for Law Enforcement
• Additional Tax measures
• Other revenue and service changes

The City’s annual expenses continue to exceed the annual revenues and the difference is being taken out of reserves. The reserves are diminishing and will be depleted in less than five years. This is the case even after $1.5 million in reductions to services were included in the 2011/2012 Budget and $3.5 million in savings in employee costs have been agreed to by City employees.

The City Council has asked the Financing City Services Task Force to examine the options available to the City and prepare a Five Year Financial Plan that will lead to financial stability for the community. It is estimated that at least $3.5 million in service reductions and/or revenue increases are needed over the five year period ($700,000 annually) to achieve financial stability for the City.

This survey is intended to provide some basic information about the options being considered by the Task Force and solicit citizen opinions about these options. The survey responses are anonymous and will be used to provide guidance to the Task Force as it develops the Five Year Financial Plan for recommendation to the City Council.

Please complete the survey before January 20, 2012.

Take the Survey Online.  Estimated time to take this survey is appoximately 20-25 minutes.

(printable Adobe Acrobat PDF file for submission via postal or electronic mail)

Supporting Documents:

Task Force Timeline
Budget Reserves Chart
Number of Fulltime Employees Chart
Options Considered but not Included

Posted by Steve Sinai

Opinion: Reduce compensation for city employees

On New Years Eve we received another lovely note from the city threatening to cut city services once again. The card announced an up coming meeting on January 11 to discuss funding issues like reducing library hours, eliminating senior services, contracting with the county sheriff's department for law enforcement and the ever popular solution of our senior staff... raising taxes.

Missing from this threat notice of course was the one solution our city staff will not consider which is cuts to the compensation and wages we pay them, namely senior staff, department heads, fire and police. 

A very simple solution to our budget issues is a scaled wage reduction for the 80 plus city employees earning over $100,000 a year. If we reduce compensation of our senior staff, department heads, fire and police by a percentage point for every $10,000 earned we will save over one point five million dollars a year and that doesn't include similar reductions in benefits which would bring the total savings closer to two million dollars a year. 

City staff are obviously trying to control the budget issue as evident by the big yellow threat notice and our elected officials seem powerless or uninterested in the solution that must take place for our city to remain solvent.

A scaled reduction in compensation of 1% for every $10,000 earned shares the pain of the evenly for all our employees. It must happen, there is no other way forward that is fair.

Todd McCune Bray

Countdown to New Year 2012 - Happy New Year!

New Years 2012, Time and Date Count down

2012 New Year's Eve celebrations already began in Pacific (8am is Midnight there)  BBC World News, 12/31/11.  Samoa  skips Friday, Slate, 12/31/11 video.

Sydney New Year's Eve Fireworks 2012, 3:39 minutes video (too frantic from my view). Or, view the calmer 2011 finale version 7:38 minutes video.

Naughty New Yorker last quarter in review animated cartoons (back to 9/26), Ring Tales, about 20 minutes total, video. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, December 30, 2011

City council meeting, Monday, January 9, 2012

Hello, who are you?

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).  

Agenda, 1/9/12, pages 1-21
Amendment, 1/4/12, pages 1-3, closed session item added.

Closed session - existing litigation, conference with legal council. 

Consent Calendar (pass through), page 1
1.  Approval of cash disbursements
2.  Approval of Minutes (meeting of 12/12/11)
3.  Local Emergency Proclamation (continuation)
4.  Approval to purchase 2 new F250 trucks from Town Ford, $46,800.98 from Vehicle Replacement Fund 72.
5.  Child care contract increases, CA Dept Education, $12,231 and CA Preschool contract $4,055 (2011-12 fiscal year. $16,286 potential earned revenue to offset program costs.

Consideration (public comment), page 2
6.  Ordinance amendment section 6-1206 to allow dogs off-leash in the city dog park, 1220 Linda Mar Blvd.
7.  Selection of city council liaison and committee assignments, 2012. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Redevelopment ruling "worst outcome"

One moral to this story:  Careful what you "hope" for in court.  Will the Legislature change the outcome? 

Justice rules
From The Daily Journal/Bill Silverfarb, 12/30/11. "Yesterday’s ruling on redevelopment agencies by the California Supreme Court signifies “the death” of RDA in the state unless the Legislature repeals the laws that led to their demise or enacts new ones, League of California Cities President Mike Kasperzak told the Daily Journal. Kasperzak, who is also the vice mayor of Mountain View, said the Legislature’s intent was never to eliminate the agencies as a way to help solve the state’s $13 billion structural deficit.

 The court ruling approved the disbandment of 400 RDAs across the state by upholding Assembly Bill X1 26. The court, however, did not uphold ABX1 27, a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed earlier this year that would have allowed agencies to remain in operation as long as they made a payments to the state, which city officials often characterized as “ransom.” The California Redevelopment Association and League of California Cities sued the state over the legislation and had hoped the court would rule on both bills as a “package,” Kasperzak said.  

The ruling essentially kills redevelopment agencies unless the Legislature takes action, Kasperzak said. The agencies officially dissolved Oct. 26 but yesterday’s court ruling extends the deadline by four months, allowing for the agencies to “wind down.” The ruling jeopardizes a city’s ability to construct affordable housing or to transform blighted areas. The state Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday was the “worst possible outcome” for the city of San Mateo, said City Attorney Shawn Mason."  Full article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, December 29, 2011

CA schools/safety gap funded, say goodbye to Pacifica Redevelopment

Why worry about the lost hope of redevelopment, this city threw away that advantage a long time ago.

From Mercury News/Howard Mintz, 12/29/11. "The California Supreme Court on Thursday found that state lawmakers had a legal right to seize $1.7 billion in redevelopment money to help solve the state's budget woes, at the same time reaching a result that may put the state's nearly 400 local redevelopment agencies out of business forever.  California's high court concluded the Legislature had the authority to raid redevelopment funding and dissolve the agencies earlier this year, rejecting arguments from redevelopment advocates that the budget gambit violated voter-approved Proposition 22, a 2010 measure designed to bar the state from seizing local funding to pay its bills.

The justices, however, struck down a separate state law approved as part of the legislative package that would have allowed redevelopment agencies to stay afloat if they agree to relinquish a large share of their funding to the state. Most redevelopment agencies had planned to take advantage of that safety net to remain in operation, but the ruling is likely to slam the door shut on their ability to fund local projects. In the ruling written by Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, the court concluded the Legislature had a right to dissolve redevelopment agencies and there is nothing contained in Proposition 22 to "impair that power." But the court did find Proposition 22 trumped the ability of the state to enact the second law forcing redevelopment agencies to turn over large portions of their funding in order to survive.

"A condition that must be satisfied in order for any redevelopment agency to operate is not an option but a requirement," the court wrote. "Such absolute requirements Proposition 22 forbids." Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye dissented from that part of the ruling, saying the Legislature had a clear intent to keep redevelopment agencies in business, citing their ability to "successfully create jobs, encourage private investment, build local businesses, reduce crime and improve a community's public works and infrastructure."

For Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers, the ruling allowing the redevelopment money grab is a crucial win because they otherwise would be scrambling to find ways to fill a $1.7 billion gap in funding for the current budget. The ruling comes in time for a Jan. 15 deadline, when half of the redevelopment money is slated to be turned over to the state for the 2011-12 fiscal year. "Today's ruling by the California Supreme Court validates a key component of the state budget and guarantees more than a billion dollars of ongoing funding for schools and public safety," Brown said in a news release." 

Even the state, however, may come up short as a result of the ruling because the total elimination of the agencies may reduce the $1.7 billion figure available in the current budget year, as well as amounts going forward. A lawyer for the state warned the Supreme Court in November that striking down the second law, which would have allowed the agencies to keep operating, could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars to the state. That would increase California's budget deficit."  Read full article. 

Reference Proposition 22 (voted into law 11/2/10):   Voter's Guide, and Ballotpedia.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

More trash - Atherton, they can afford it

Congratulations Atherton!  In San Mateo County your trash rates appear to be #1, highest cost in the county and even substantially higher cost than in Pacifica.

Goodbye 2011 Christmas Tree!
Palo Alto Daily News/Bonnie Eslinger, 12/22/11.  "The Atherton City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved garbage collection rate increases that range from 25 to 35 percent, depending on the size of containers. The new rates will take effect Jan. 15. Monthly rates will increase from $20 to $27 for picking up 20-gallon containers, from $44 to $55 for 32-gallon containers, from $83 to $110 for 64-gallon containers and from $125 to $164 for 96-gallon bins.

The costs for residents who use three or more of the green waste/compost bins also will increase. While the first two bins will remain free, the charge for the third and fourth bins will jump from $6 to $10 each. Each bin after that will cost $15. The rate increases come in the wake of an overall 39 percent hike the council approved in May."

Compare to second place, Pacifica residential container cost:  20-gallon $22.95, 32-gallon $35.95, $48-gallon $53.91, 64-gallon $71.89, 96-gallon $107.84. Extra recycling or green waste carts $3.40 each.

Reference:   See prior Fix Pacifica re-post article,11/18/11. Atherton had a prior financially failed contract similar to Pacifica. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

San Francisco pedestrian friendly street nooks called "Parklets"

Columbus Avenue Parklet
San Francisco Columbus Avenue Parklet built 10/10
From San Francisco Chronicle/John King, 12/29/11. "The most significant change to San Francisco's landscape in 2011 involves a conjuring act that turns parking spaces into pedestrian nooks. They go by the name of parklets, a word that didn't exist two years ago, and when 2011 arrived there were only four. Now there are 22, with six more approved and 44 in various stages of review.

Their reach extends from Potrero Hill to the Outer Sunset, as far north as Washington Square and as far south as one planned for the Excelsior district. The latter parklet will be built by students at the Out of Site Youth Arts Center; by contrast, Audi sponsored a "promenade" on Powell Street that was designed by noted Oakland landscape architect Walter Hood with a budget rumored to approach $1 million.

They're also attracting attention beyond the Bay Area. Parklets have popped up in Philadelphia and Vancouver, British Columbia. Several are planned for Los Angeles. Architectural Record devoted a page this fall to "the ultimate revenge on the modern city: one less parking space, one more park."  Correction: Two parking spaces are sacrificed, not one. In their place goes a platform that sits level with the sidewalk and is adorned with seating, plants and some form of a protective edge.

They've become so popular that there's even a spin-off in four "parkmobiles" near Yerba Buena Gardens that consist of low, customized dumpsters filled by eye-catching plants with an inset bench on one side. Enough generalities. On to the specifics: a guided tour of every parklet now open. Some are more welcoming than others. Some already show their age. The best strive to create destinations, not just seating. It's a design experiment being conducted before our eyes, and it's not going away." Read More.

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Coroner identifies motorcyclist who died in Devil's Slide wreck

The San Mateo County Coroner's Office has identified the man who died Tuesday in a motorcycle crash at Devils Slide as Nicolas Eric Narag, 31, of West Los Angeles.

Narag collided with a Toyota pickup truck shortly before 3 p.m. south of the new bypass tunnels in unincorporated San Mateo County, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Tony Tam.

It appears Narag fell from his motorcycle before colliding with the pickup, Tam said. Witnesses reported seeing the motorcycle moving at a high rate of speed.

"It looks like speed was a factor," Tam said. "How fast, we can't say that right now."

Highway 1 was closed in both directions for about two hours while officials investigated the crash.

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-435

Posted by Steve Sinai

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fatal motorcycle crash prompts closure of Highway 1 at Devil's Slide

Updated: 12/27/2011 10:03:47 PM PST

A motorcyclist was killed Tuesday in a head-on collision with a pickup truck at Devils Slide, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.

The crash occurred shortly before 3 p.m. south of the new bypass tunnels in unincorporated San Mateo County. A man riding a Yamaha motorcycle collided with a Toyota pickup, CHP Officer Tony Tam said. Witnesses reported seeing the motorcycle moving at a high rate of speed, he said. The man's identification and other details weren't immediately released.

Highway 1 was shut in both directions for about two hours while officials investigated the crash.
Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357.

Posted by Steve Sinai

UC broadening their high achievement admissions "lotto"

UC Berkeley and UCLA already use a "holistic review".  UC San Diego and UC Irvine, similar to UC Santa Cruz, will change to a "holistic review" next Fall.   Still the requirements, acceptance and cost are brutal. 
From Palo Alto Daily News, 12/24/11. "As it becomes increasingly selective, UC Santa Cruz is putting a new emphasis on personal achievement in shaping next fall's freshman class. This major shift in its admissions process means that people, not computers, will read all 30,000 or more applications. And while strong test scores and good grades are still important, they're not everything. Other factors will also be considered -- such as special talents or whether a poor student from a weak school took advantage of every educational opportunity. Put simply, this new approach, called "holistic review," broadens the concept of "merit." "There are more nuances," said Michael K. McCawley, UCSC's associate director of admissions. "We can really try to judge the student in the context of their educational environment. It tries to take into account more information. It's more fair."

The policy applies to this year's college-bound seniors, who submitted their applications by the Nov. 30 deadline. It comes at the same time as another big change to overall UC admissions rules: While students still need to take the SATs, they no longer need to take the separate SAT "subject tests." These two reforms are expected to diversify the acceptance pool. They will particularly help students whose statistics -- test scores and GPA -- are less impressive because they come from schools with few advanced classes......" 

CHANGES IN UCSC's ADMISSION METHOD:  Before: A fixed-weight score was assigned to each of 14 criteria. Then a computer analyzed the scores, using a special algorithm, assigning different points to different parts of the application. The GPA and SAT scores represented more than 60 percent of the final tally; other factors, such as extracurricular activities, were read by humans and accounted for the rest. Now: The same 14 criteria are still reviewed -- but by a human, not a computer. Then the application gets an individualized, single score (1-5), with no fixed weights for particular criteria. This allows admissions officers to better exercise their judgment in individual cases. Included in their assessment: high school demographics, socioeconomic status and academic stature". See full article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Ohlone history program in Santa Cruz

Acorn sifting basket and grinding mortar and pestle
From Mercury News/Central Coast, 12/27/11. "In the past two months, 1,253 students and 438 adults connected with native Californian Ohlone history and culture at the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History.

 Students' appreciation -- quoted in their own words from recent thank-you notes -- reveals details of our Ohlone programs: "When I was there I felt like an Ohlone Indian." "I appreciate when you let us use the equipment to make fire.""I think it was fun when you told us the coyote story."  My favorite was . . . "sitting on the rabbit skin," "getting to touch the tule," "playing the stave game," "learning how to smush acorns," "cooking with rocks," "when you dressed Sean as a deer hunter." Volunteer docents lead these museum tours. Docenting is gaining knowledge and passing it on to the next generation.  Docent Sylvia Patience reflects, "I really enjoy watching how kids quiet down and listen when I tell a story -- the power of story is amazing. And I love how they become engrossed in activities, such as grinding acorns or playing the stick game." Full story..

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Season's Greetings from SF Public Golf Alliance


Alister MacKenzie Toasts You

 We are on Twitter (@SFPublicGolf), Facebook and our website
Contact us at
Submitted by Richard Harris

Beginning 2012 with the same 'ol national immigration nightmare

Why can't this Congress fix the draconian immigration laws which negatively impact the productive lives of people, and the entire community? After all the people are here. Negating seasonal visas, and a path to legal residency and citizenship contributes to a 3rd tier social under-class society, and an underground economy.  This is a waste of resources and people.  Everyone is affected with this human "bad mark", even in Pacifica. 

UC Davis students Orozco and Chahal - path to nowhere
From Sacramento Bee/Stephen Magagnini, 12/26/11, a thoughtful, well written article, worth reading in full content.  Concluding excerpt comments....

"When Chahal and Orozco get discouraged they watch a video of Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, a former school teacher from the village of Palaco near Mexicali who jumped over the border at age 19. He worked as a janitor, a welder and a migrant farmworker from Fresno to Stockton. He went from community college to UC Berkeley to Harvard Medical School and is now Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncology and director of the Pituitary Tumor Center at The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore.

Quinones-Hinojosa obtained his citizenship under President Ronald Reagan, who signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, legalizing several million undocumented immigrants."My life's been dedicated to fighting brain cancer," said Quinones-Hinojosa, 43. "I work the same way I did when I first came to the U.S., seven days a week, 14 to 18 hours a day." "I can assure you our brains work the same way as anybody else's," he said, "and if we are given the opportunity we will succeed and help this country."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Age 15, sucessfully climbed world's 7 highest mountains (wow)!

      Jordan Romero age 13, Carstensz Summit, Indonesia
Mercury News 12/26/11.  "BIG BEAR, Calif. -- A Southern California teenager became the youngest person to successfully climb "the Seven Summits," the tallest mountains on each of Earth's seven continents, according to his website. Jordan Romero, 15, called his mother, Leigh Ann Drake, on Saturday to confirm that he'd reached the top of Mt. Vinson Massif in Antarctica. The Big Bear native beat the record previously held by British climber George Atkinson, who completed the ascents at age 16 in May.

Romero's team began the Vinson Massif climb Wednesday. Romero's Facebook page, "Find Your Everest," marked reaching the summit."It's in the books. The kid and team summit with all fingers and toes. Descent still to come then we celebrate," a post to the Facebook page read. Romero completed the climbs with his father and stepmother.

"It's my dream we are following to the highest points on every continent," Jordan says on his blog. "I know it's a big goal and lucky for me my family is supporting me every step of the way." At age 10, Romero climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, and at age 13 he climbed the world's highest mountain, Mt. Everest in Asia. The others are Denali (McKinley) in North America, Aconcagua in South America, Elbrus in Europe, and Carstensz Pyramid in Oceania. ("Oceania" is the list's broader designation for Australia and nearby islands; an alternative Seven Summits list designates Kosciuszko in Australia.) Drake declined further comment, saying the family is not seeking attention for the boy's achievement."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacifica Tribune "Best of Pacifica 2012" Contest

From Pacifica Tribune, 12/20/11. "Celebrate the best of Pacifica as the Pacifica Tribune launches its annual search to find the most popular services and businesses in our town.

Pacifica Photo
Anonymous flying over Pacifica
Vote for your favorite hair stylist, nail salon, restaurant, waiter, hotel, happy hour.Who makes the best pizza? Tell us your favorite places to go in Pacifica. Take this opportunity to vote for that business you love. Which little shop is Pacifica's best kept secret?Which massage practitioner is your favorite? Vote for your favorite real estate firm and bookkeeper. Vote for your favorite professionals, too, including veterinarians, chiropractors and orthodontist. Auto repairs, roofing, plumbing and other trades are all covered in our search to celebrate the best.

There are a few new details in this year's contest that will make this a better contest than ever before.
Each category will have a number assigned to it. Ads in the Pacifica Tribune will display the appropriate numbers. Merchants and service people: advertise your business with your category number to let the community know to vote for you. Get started soon since you only have until Jan. 31, 2012....  Winners will be announced in February and will be invited to a free continental breakfast at the Tribune. The winners will have the opportunity to include their businesses in the Best of Pacifica listings online and in the newspaper once a month all year.  Winners will also receive a special certificate from the Tribune to proudly display in their place of business for patrons showing that they were chosen No. 1!....Be a part of the search.... Make your vote count." VOTE for Best.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lone gray wolf headed south from northest Oregon

Two different Associated Press accounts of the wanderings of a  a gray wolf traveling south from northeast Oregon to establish his new territory and find a mate. This wolf is studied by tag as  OR-7, and  has traveled more than 750 miles, about 320 from home.   

1.  The off to California version, SF Chronicle/Assoicated Press/Tracie Cone, 12/24/11. "A young gray wolf that is an Oregon media darling after meandering hundreds of miles southwest into new territory over the past three months could have even more significance for California. The wolf is now within a two-day walk of the California border. If his wanderlust continues, experts say he could start the repopulation of a vanished species.  The last gray wolf in California was killed by trappers in 1924 in Lassen County. The lone roaming wolf was part of a pack of 24 that lives in northeast Oregon. Experts say he likely left the pack looking for a mate. Cattle ranchers are wary but say it would be years before there would be enough wolves in California to be a threat."  Longer version:   Mercury News, 12/24/11.

2.  The settled in south western Oregon version, Statesman Journal/Associated Press, Jeff Barnard, 12/22/11. "Oregon's famous wandering wolf seems to be staying out of trouble after settling for now in the southern Cascades, but there are no signs he has found a mate yet.,,,  "He's stopped wandering, for the time being.... "We're glad to see he's feeding on elk, and not on livestock."... "He has settled in a 100 square mile area of the Cascade Range in Jackson and Klamath counties, where a wolf has not been seen in 65 years." The full article is a good read.

Two versions of the same story, same time period. Who has the right information?  I'm going with the more scientific settled in Oregon version vs. the more speculative off to California for now.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

No Holiday shoes for one Richmond man

But, most humans may not be smart enough to own a gun without harming themselves or others.

San Francisco Chronicle/Ellen Huet, 12/24/11. "Richmond man allegedly fired a gun accidentally that he had been holding in his pocket while waiting in line this morning to buy sneakers at the Richmond Hilltop Mall.

The man was one of hundreds who lined up outside the mall to buy limited-edition Nike Air Jordan Retro Concord shoes that went on sale today (12/23/11), said Richmond police Lt. Bisa French. Shoppers and shoe collectors, commonly called "sneakerheads," around the Bay Area lined up for hours before mall openings Friday to get their hands on the shoes, which retail for $180 and are replicas of the sneakers Michael Jordan wore at the 1994-1995 NBA playoffs.

The 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of gross negligence, French said. Police have not released his identity. No one was injured."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Congrats to Pacifica Net for its well-earned one star out of five

I've hardly had any internet access for three days with these clowns. And it happens a lot.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to All....
Have a lovely, warm Christmas Eve and

Audio Christmas Songs, with something for almost everyone.

                                                                                            For those smothering in too much Holiday froth and excess, worry not the Holidays countdown out-of-here is on.                                                           

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Happy Holidays from outer space

Holiday 'Wreath' Nebula
Barnard 3 "holiday wreath"

From ABC News, 12/24/11, along with 70 pictures mostly from the NASA WISE telescope.  These pictures are awesome, and a real treat for those of us who like to get out of Pacifica once in a while.  

This "holiday 'wreath' in space is "actually a star-forming nebula named Barnard 3. The red and green areas are interstellar gas of different chemical composition." (NASA). 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, December 23, 2011

Welcome to tracking Santa

In the spirit of perpetuating the NORAD Tracks Santa's journey hoax, Santa's flight over earth may be tracked  Christmas Eve in real time. And, for those who want a quick look-back, Santa's 2010 flight is archived. Some of you may think the 2010 flight looks a little fake, but that's just your humbug analysis.  From the webiste:

"All the preparations for this year are in place! Come back each day to discover new surprises in the Kids' Countdown Village, where we'll offer a new holiday game every day until December 24th...

Why we track Santa. For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight. The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement for children to call Santa misprinted the telephone number. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations "hotline." The Director of Operations at the time, Colonel Harry Shoup, had his staff check the radar for indications of Santa making his way south from the North Pole. Children who called were given updates on his location, and a tradition was born.

In 1958, the governments of Canada and the United States created a bi-national air defense command for North America called the North American Aerospace Defense Command, also known as NORAD, which then took on the tradition of tracking Santa. Since that time, NORAD men, women, family and friends have selflessly volunteered their time to personally respond to phone calls and emails from children all around the world. In addition, we now track Santa using the Internet. Millions of people who want to know Santa’s whereabouts now visit the NORAD Tracks Santa website. Finally, media from all over the world rely on NORAD as a trusted source to provide updates on Santa’s journey."

Is Santa Claus popular, you bet he is.  Associated Press, 12/23/11, "Santa Claus passes new poll with flying colors".

Posted by Kathy Meeh

There's a reason its called "Yahoo TV"

How Did 'A Christmas Story' Double Dog Do It?The Today Show 
Good Day N.Y.From Yahoo TV, populist TV recap of 2011 news Holiday style.  If this doesn't drive you nuts nothing will. 

Of course, some of you might stay tuned-in for the duration, good luck!

This junk TV link from Yahoo came-in as an email this morning. The gentleman who sent it said he didn't want the credit, neither do I.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Last evening for live nativity exhibit in Redwood City

Mercury News,12/22/11. Animals arrive for live nativity exhibit"Organizers and volunteers with the "Bethlehem A.D." in Redwood City spent Wednesday after noon getting ready for their live nativity event that opened Wednesday night. After a two-year break, now for the 15th time, diverse church and community groups have come together to present what they consider their unique Christmas gift to the San Francisco Bay Area. With lavish sets and costumes, a cast of 200 a menagerie of exotic animals (about 85 in total), "Bethlehem A.D." recreates the ancient village of Bethlehem on the night of the first Christmas. The show is staged at 1305 Middlefield Road near Main in Redwood City from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday night. The event is free (though donations are welcome)."

 Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chris Porter does another good deed

"Editor:  I'd like to thank Chris Porter of Recology for helping out last minute with a secret romantic surprise I had for my wife. Yesterday we received a long-awaited kitchen range by freight. I had the old range in the back of my truck and I wanted to drop it off at the recycling yard so my wife would not see it when she got home from work. I headed over to the recycling yard but it was closed. As I passed the Recology main office on the way home I spotted Chris just as she was leaving work for the day. I explained the situation, asked for her help adding it was for love and romance and she let me drop off the old stove in the adjacent garbage truck garage.

I'd like to thank Chris Porter and Recology for helping me pull off a wonderful romantic surprise for my hard-working wife who was so delighted when I told her the how Ms. Porter and Recology helped out in the surprise she wife insisted on emailing a personal thank you to Chris which included a photo of the Mandarin Orange Chicken with Olives she was baking in her new shiny oven. Thankfully, our waste haulers, like Chris Porter, are hopeless romantics! Happy Holidays."

Todd McCune Bray

Posted by Kathy Meeh.  Jim Wagner also sent an email asking for this article re-post.