Monday, April 30, 2012

SFPGA Press Release Concerning 4/26/12 Court Ruling


Press Release

Court Halts Case against Historic Sharp Park Golf Course
SAN FRANCISCO – (April 26, 2012) – Federal district court judge Susan Illston, in a ruling issued today, stayed all proceedings in a suit brought by environmental activists seeking to close the historic Sharp Park Golf Course, owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco but located in neighboring Pacifica. The order, which also denied the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, follows the court's decision late last year to deny the plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction that would have shut down 10 of the course's 18 holes. The case had been scheduled for trial in October 2012.
Sharp Park Golf Course, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary next month, was designed by legendary architect Dr. Alister MacKenzie, who created many of the world’s most hallowed courses, including Augusta National and Cypress Point.  The course is a rarity – a seaside links, created by a master and open to the public at modest greens fees.
“The court did the prudent thing in staying the litigation,” said Bo Links, co-founder of the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance, which intervened in the case in an effort to save the course. “This is the second time that the Judge has ruled against the plaintiffs on key motions.  With the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considering the City's Biological Assessment for the golf course, it made no sense for the plaintiffs to insist that the court continue to expend its limited resources on their suit. This winter the frogs once again laid a huge number of eggs at Sharp Park, showing that the city’s efforts to improve frog habitat, while at the same time providing affordable recreation to a diverse and vibrant group of local golfers, are working.”
The plaintiffs in Wild Equity Institute v. City & County of San Francisco had filed a motion asking the court to rule that golf course operations and maintenance "take" red legged frogs in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act. SFPGA and the City challenged plaintiffs' standing to sue, opposed their motion, and asked the court to stay the litigation while the Fish and Wildlife Service considers the City’s measures to address impacts to frogs and snakes and their habitat.
In its 19-page order, the court found that plaintiffs had standing, but denied the plaintiffs’ own motion for summary judgment, and granted San Francisco’s request to stay the litigation. The court explained: “As the FWS may issue a Biological Opinion within months that can at least inform, if not entirely moot, this case, and because the breeding season for the Frog will not occur again until next winter, the Court finds this to be an appropriate case in which to exercise its inherent authority for a stay. The stay will allow for the expert agency to review the City’s plan and evaluate the golf course’s activities on the Frog and Snake.”
SFPGA's lead attorney in the case, Chris Carr of Morrison & Foerster, said: “This is good news for supporters of public golf courses in the Bay Area and beyond. It’s also good news for responsible supporters of the Endangered Species Act, rightly concerned that the Sharp Park case could lead any parade of ESA abuse horribles. Because of the city’s responsible stewardship of Sharp Park, golf fans everywhere, including the many thousands who will be attending the U.S. Open Golf Championship in June here in San Francisco, have reason to be optimistic that extremists will not succeed in misusing the ESA to shut down one of golf’s great historic courses.”
CONTACT:  BO LINKS, 415-393-8099, 

Donations are greatly appreciated. To donate, please visit our website: Donations Page

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Submitted by Richard Harris

Pacifica - Sharp Park golf course is 80 years old, a classic and all-organic

Lets hope to celebrate the 81st year golf course anniversary, and many more to come!

Pacifica Tribune/Horace Hinshaw Sports Editor, 4/24/12.  "Environmental friendly Sharp Park."
"But, who will protect snakes and frogs from me?"

"On April 16, 1932, the Sharp Park Golf Course opened with 400 golfers playing the Alister Mackenzie course. Last week, on Monday, April 16, on the 80th anniversary of the golf course I was at Sharp Park at 6 a.m. to talk to the first golfers of the day.

..."Many people don't realize that for the past four years Sharp Park has been an all-organic golf course," exclaims Kappelman. "We do not use pesticides. No chemical derived fertilizers or chemical treatment for the weeds. It's been a challenge to eradicate some of the weeds and keep them under control and still maintain good playing conditions." 

Everything we are doing here to protect the endangered species by being all-organic, I think we're going far and beyond what most courses or entities would do to protect these species," said Kappelman, who credits the San Francisco Recreation Department for the environmental initiative. "That's really a credit to our department and the golf course. It's been very successful. We've seen the frog population really increase and we're still able to maintain a very good golf course as well. We're one of a few golf courses in the country that is organic." Read Article.

* Wayne Kappelman is Sharp Park Golf Course superintendent.

Course information- World Golf.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacifica (City of) - Interim City councilmember Ginny Jaquith - more background

Ginny Jaquith
San Mateo Daily Journal/Brendan Bartholomew, 4/30/12.  "Pacifica council welcomes back political veteran". 

"When the Pacifica City Council needed to fill a vacancy on the council, it didn’t have far to look — longtime resident and political veteran Ginny Jaquith returned to service earlier this month.

...:In November, the seat being filled by Jaquith will be one of three up for election.  Jaquith is originally from the South Bay, moved to Pacifica in 1964 and began her public service career by interning with the city’s Parks, Beaches & Recreation Department. Her resume also includes teaching recreation classes at San Francisco State University, serving for two years on San Mateo County’s Civil Grand Jury, and providing management consultant services to various cities and government agencies. She describes her consultancy work as, “Helping organizations to look at how they can be more effective at what they do.”  Read Article

Posted by Kathy Meeh

San Francisco - Doyle Drive tunnel is open, traffic is flowing

Amazing effort, completed on time!

Doyle Drive tunnel
San Francisco Doyle Drive tunnel
San Francisco Chronicle/Will Kane, 4/30/12.  "New Doyle Drive opens on schedule"

After a long weekend of noisy demolition, the new Doyle Drive opened on schedule just before dawn Monday.

Cars and trucks rolled through the new tunnel and across the temporary roadway that connects the Golden Gate Bridge with San Francisco's Marina District a little before 5 a.m., said Molly Graham, a spokeswoman for the project.  Read Article.

Project reference - ABC News, 4/29/12, article and video, and interactive construction map.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacifica - Filipino folk dancing at Oceana High School, Friday, May 5

Posted by Steve Sinai

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Redwood City - housing construction boom

Pacifica has had a 10 year housing slump too. There is no expectation of a housing boom though.

Palo Alto Daily News/Bonnie Eslinger, 4/27/12. "Redwood City is alive with the sound of housing construction."  

After a decade-long drought, Redwood City is suddenly experiencing a housing construction boom. Almost 1,000 homes are either being built, have been approved for construction or have been proposed, according to city documents. Most of the homes are or will be priced at market rates, and about half are rental units.

The infusion of new homes will dramatically end the city's 10-year housing slump. According to U.S. Census data, only 246 housing units were added to Redwood City between April 2000 and April 2010, an increase of less than 1 percent for a total of 29,167 units. During that same period, the population grew by 2 percent, from 75,402 to 76,815 residents." Read Article.

Reference - Redwood City new home communities, just "One Marina" condominiums on that site so far.  Peninsula housing market trends, and general market for sale Zillow.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Woodside - Menlo Country Club renovation passes Planning

Menlo Country Club, Woodside, CA
Yes there was an environmental study, and Woodside Planning Commission passed the extensive country club ground facility renovation. The development may be contested by the public until May 7th. 

Palo Alto Daily News/Bonnie Eslinger, 4/27/12.  "Menlo Country Club gets OK to tee off renovation work"

Woodside Planning Commission approves redesign and renovation of Menlo Country Club 141 acre golf course, and tennis court facilities.

"...the private club plans to cut down 345 trees and plant 219 trees elsewhere on the property. The plan also calls for filling in a man-made pond." And, "construction work within the Redwood Creek corridor."   Read Article.

Prior article - Palo Alto Daily News/Bonnie Eslinger, 3/29/12. 
Project -  Town of Woodside, CA:  Menlo Country Club Mitigated Negative Declaration, with attachments.
View of the Club - Menlo Country Club, including  "Golf Link" golf course.  Description: private, 18 holes - Golf Now (California) or World Golf.  Site fly Over tour, 5:40 minutes, (too long).

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hillsborough - truck full of rocks collapes private bridge

"Oops... bridge, sewer, water, gas, electric."

Another reason we need government services... just couldn't pass up this one.

San Mateo Daily Journal/Heather Murtagh, 4/27/12. "Truck weighs heavy on bridge"

"Police and firefighters come to the aid of a dump truck filled with river rocks that got stuck on a private bridge which collapsed underneath it on the 2000 block of Ralston Avenue in Hillsborough yesterday afternoon. 

A sewer line, water pipe and Pacific Gas & Electric pipe were all ruptured due to the collapse, said Hillsborough police Chief Mark O’Connor. Two big-rig trucks were needed to pull the truck off the bridge, O’Connor said. The driver was uninjured, he said. The broken lines were capped. The call took three hours and 14 minutes to clear."   

Article link includes 1 other site picture and a map location.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, April 27, 2012

Environmental lawsuit to close Sharp Park stalled until at least October

A legal filing by environmental groups that are trying to shutter Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica hit a roadblock Thursday when a federal judge issued a stay on the lawsuit until October.

The golf course, which is owned by San Francisco but located in Pacifica, has been a hot topic for environmentalists for years. The Wild Equity Institute and other environmental groups claim that the golf course violates provisions of the Endangered Species Act by infringing on the habitats of the San Francisco Garter Snake and the California red-legged frog. The groups, which assert that water pumping and lawn mowers harm the endangered species, had hoped to shut down Sharp Park immediately.

However, on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston denied those claims, ordering a stay on the lawsuit until the Fish and Wildlife Service completes a biological study of Sharp Park. If that study is not completed by October, however, the lawsuit can resume.

But the day wasn’t a total loss for environmentalists. The city of San Francisco requested the lawsuit be rejected, but Illston also issued a stay on that motion until October.

The golf course has also been a hot topic in San Francisco politics.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Global Cuisine in Pacifica

Once upon a time, Derek Burns was a hotshot chef in the Bay Area, helping to run places like Vertigo in the TransAmerica Building, Elka’s, 231 Ellsworth, Square One (with Joyce Goldstein), and Stars (the Palo Alto one), places that still linger in the memories of many locals.

Then, his first daughter was born and he started a family.

And, in his words, he disappeared.

Now, he’s getting back in the game, and opening up his passion project in Pacifica, where he lives. Named The Surf Spot, it’s a restaurant, bar and outdoor venue that he’s been working on for over four years. He — and his two partners — are planning to open in June, right next to Sea Bowl.

“People think of Pacifica in lots of ways, and many of them are incorrect. It’s a dynamic, artistic coastal town,” Burns says.

“But there’s nowhere outside to enjoy, so we had this notion that we’d create a celebration of the northern California outdoor lifestyle.”

He says he wants to create the kind of place where locals can come after a hike, or surfing, or a bike ride — as well as to hang out and have dinner and watch a show.

The outdoor component is key: dining tables, fire pits, cabanas made of old shipping containers, a lawn area, beach volleyball pits, horseshoe pits, and a stage for live music. Capacity is 180.


Posted by Steve Sinai

Press Release: Judge Cites Evidence Sharp Park Golf Course Is Harming Endangered Frogs, Awaits U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Input

For Immediate Release, April 26, 2012
Contact:         Brent Plater, Wild Equity Institute, (415) 572-6989
Jeff Miller, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 669-7357
Arthur Feinstein, Sierra Club, (415) 680-0643
Neal Desai, National Parks Conservation Association, (510) 368-0845
Judge Cites Evidence Sharp Park Golf Course Is Harming Endangered Frogs, Awaits U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Input
Order Discusses Harm, Population Impacts to Red-legged Frogs

SAN FRANCISCO— U.S. District Judge Susan Illston today rejected the City of San Francisco’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by six conservation organizations over the ongoing killing of red-legged frogs at Sharp Park Golf Course. Explaining that new evidence and recent Fish and Wildlife Service restrictions have called into question San Francisco Park Department claims that the frog population at Sharp Park is growing, the court ordered the city to obtain authorization from the Fish and Wildlife Service for golf course activities that could harm endangered species. The judge ruled conservation groups have legal standing to bring the case, but stayed the lawsuit until October, when San Francisco could face a court trial over Endangered Species Act violations if it does not obtain a federal permit.
“The court’s ruling lays bare the damage golf course activities such as draining water from wetlands exacts on two of the Bay Area’s most imperiled animals,” said Brent Plater, executive director of the Wild Equity Institute. “We expect the Fish and Wildlife Service to require that the golf course cease killing endangered species and propose a comprehensive mitigation and restoration plan as part of any permit.”
The Park Department argued that draining aquatic feeding and breeding habitats for the California red-legged frog and San Francisco garter snake at Sharp Park Golf Course somehow benefits the species. In rejecting these assertions, the court cited contradictory testimony from the city’s own experts and staff that the golf course activities harm and kill protected wildlife.
“The endangered species permit process will weigh the biological impacts of excessive water pumping and habitat destruction to protect one golf course,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The permit should force the Park Department to change golf course operations to actually protect imperiled frogs and snakes.”
The Park Department has killed endangered frogs six of the past 10 winters, and its so-called “compliance plan” for endangered species has been a complete failure. In February, the department was caught again killing threatened red-legged frogs at the course, draining Sharp Park’s wetlands in a failed attempt to prevent frogs from breeding in their historic ponds.
The Washington, D.C. public-interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein & Crystal represents the coalition of conservation groups in the lawsuit.
The Fish and Wildlife Service last year notified the golf course that it was specifically prohibited from handling or moving frog egg masses at Sharp Park and must obtain a permit for any golf course activities affecting protected species. The Service also denied the Park Department’s request to drain wetlands and dredge lagoons at Sharp Park, cynically referred to by the city as “habitat management and scientific studies.” Water pumping, dredging and other activities harmful to frogs can only occur if the department obtains a federal “incidental take” permit with an accompanying conservation plan.
The city-owned golf course at 400-acre Sharp Park in Pacifica is plagued by crumbling infrastructure, annual flooding problems and ongoing environmental violations. More than three-dozen San Francisco community, recreation, environmental and social-justice groups have called for closing the golf course and creating a more sustainable public park at Sharp Park. A 2011 peer-reviewed scientific study by independent scientists and coastal experts concluded that the most cost-effective option for Sharp Park is to remove the golf course and restore the functions of the original natural ecosystem, which will also provide the most benefit to endangered species.
The Park Department has refused to consider this option, and is instead pursuing a plan that would evict endangered species from the site and bail out the golf course’s financial problems with tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation in December 2011 to prevent this from happening, but Mayor Ed Lee, an avid golfer, vetoed the legislation. Further action by the board is expected this year.
 Submitted by Lionel Emde

Where are City meetings printed in the newspaper?

City Council meetings
 Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 4/25/12.  
"News blackout." by Lionel Emde

"Editor:  One would think that Pacifica is running on autopilot, and has no governing body directing it, by the looks of the Pacifica Tribune. There was a city council meeting on Monday, April 9, and not a word about it appeared in the Tribune. Then there was a budget study session on Wednesday, April 11, and again, not a word in the Tribune.

I understand that newspaper budgets and staffs are small, but what are the priorities at the newspaper, and how are resources there being directed? Are these meetings of any importance to the community? If it wasn't for a letter to the editor in the April 18 edition of the Tribune, we wouldn't have heard that "...low-income patrons of the Resource Center and kids using the library are threatened with loss of services."

Are these issues of any importance, or should we be satisfied with "question-and-answer-time" on the front page? The Tribune has lost its way, and needs to face up to a serious re-ordering of priorities." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacific Grove - newborn fawn waits for mom on neighborhood doorstep

The family cat gave its okay.
"Who am I, why am a here?

Central Coast Herald/Kevin Howe, 4/24/12. "Fawn on the doorstep in Pacific Grove"

The Namgui Chang family of Pacific Grove had a baby arrive on their doorstep Tuesday morning. The "baby" was a fawn, born within hours on their driveway

....Eventually, he said, the mother doe appeared, the fawn got up on its legs and went to her, and the two disappeared.

State Department of Fish and Game officials say fawns found alone should be left alone, since their mothers will often leave them to go forage, and then come back.  Read Article, includes video.

Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reminder - City Budget meeting tonight 4/25/12, 6pm

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Budget meetings begin at 6pm. Or, televised on  Pacifica community television, Channel 26.  

Televised from 6pm, confirmed by Jill, City Manager's office after verifying with Channel 26 this afternoon.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Redwood City - Bair Island tidal wetlands restoration

Silicon Valley Mercury News/Paul Rogers, 4/22/12.  "Restoration of huge bay wetland in Redwood City nearing completion"

Bair Island Postcard
Redwood City Bair Island marsh at sunset
"For hundreds of thousands of motorists driving along Highway 101 every day, it is a vast expanse of dirt and grass, framed on the north by Oracle's world headquarters and on the south by the Port of Redwood City. But to environmental groups and biologists, it is a crowning symbol of the ongoing restoration of San Francisco Bay, 2,635 acres that prove not everything has been diked, filled and paved.

Now a six-year effort to restore Bair Island in Redwood City to tidal wetlands -- bringing back conditions not seen since the late 1800s, along with a wide range of ducks, herons, egrets, salmon, even harbor seals to the heart of Silicon Valley -- is reaching its apex. Work crews with heavy machinery are hauling in up to 500 dump trucks of dirt a day, reshaping the landscape after decades of political battles.

Work began in 2006 and is set to be completed in December, with access for hikers, bicyclists and school groups expected by next year."  Read Article.

ReferenceCity of Redwood City, Restoration of Bair Island project,  Bay Nature.
Mercury News 18 project photos. Living at a Bair Island address:  Zillow.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

San Mateo County cities study a plastic-bag ban

Palo Alto Daily News/Bonnie Eslinger, 4/21/12.  "Plastic carry-out bags may be banned throughout Peninsula by next year"  

"All 18 cities in San Mateo County with retail businesses have agreed to join in the preparation of an environmental study of the proposed plastic-bag ban. The study purportedly would help them fend off potential legal challenges.
"To save or not to save.." bags the question.

In Santa Clara County, the cities of Los Altos, Mountain View, Campbell, Cupertino, Los Gatos and Milpitas have agreed to participate, Peterson said. Sunnyvale and San Jose already ban plastic bags, he said; Palo Alto also bans plastic bags, but only in large grocery stores."  Read Article.

Why the environmental study?  Santa Cruz Sentinel/Kimberly White, 4/24/12.  "Scotts Valley puts plastic bag ban on the back burner over legal issues".  ".... lawsuits are pending against Marin County, San Francisco and San Luis Obispo County. Before passing their bans, those counties should have conducted environmental impact reports that would have shown how plastic and paper bags impact the environment, and how much counties and cities should charge in paper bag fees to mitigate those impacts..."   Read Article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

42nd Earth Day - 10 new things learned since last year

If you've been following science updates, you may be ahead of  Smithsonian research.

"Red feet, not red legs."
", 4/19/12. "Surprising Science, 10 things we've learned about the Earth since last Earth Day." 

Sunday (4/22/12) was the 42nd celebration of Earth Day, which was started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson to help educate people about environmental issues and demonstrate public support for a conservationist agenda. With that in mind, we decided it was the right time to recap the most surprising, awe-inspiring and alarming things that we have learned about the Earth and the environment since last year’s holiday:

1.   Undiscovered species are still out there.
2.   Global warming is already driving up food prices.
3.   Natural gas is not so great.
4.   Offshore wind farms are good for biodiversity.
5.   A fungus causes white-nose syndrome in bats.
6.   The oceans are in bigger trouble than we thought.
7.   Large wildlife are surviving the conflict in Afghanistan.
8.   Pesticides play a role in bee colony collapses.
9.   Eating meat warms the planet
10. Millions likely to be trapped by climate change." 

Read Article.

Submitted by Alysanne McGaffey

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, April 23, 2012

City Budget meeting - Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Use Fund 12 money for trails.
Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Budget meetings begin at 6pm. Or, televised on  Pacifica community television, Channel 26 confirmed by Jill, City Manager's office, although not shown on the PCT, channel 26 calendar.     City Budget Calendar, 2012-2013.

General Fund, Budget workshop #1, 4/11/12.  General Fund presentation, fiscal year, 2012-13.

Other City Funds Budget workshop #2, 4/25/12.   Budget Presentation, (added 4/25/12).  

Last year's Other City Funds, 2011-12. This year should follow similar order.  Last year's funds include page listings. 

Fund 09:   Street Construction Fund -  pages 1-9
Fund 10:   Gas Tax Fund - pages 10-14
Fund 12:    Highway Improvement Fund - pages 15-19
Fund 14:    Manor Drive Improvement Fund - pages 20-23
Fund 16:    NPDES Stormwater Fund - pages 24-29
Fund 19:    Planned Local Drainage Fund - page 30-33
Fund 22:    General Capital Improvement Fund - page 34-40
Fund 26:    Parks/Playfield Capital Improvements - pages 41-45
Fund 27:    PB&R - R. Davies Trust Fund, pages 46-49
Fund 40:    Debt Service Fund - pages 50-54
Fund 65:    Self-funded Dental Plan Fund - pages 55-58
Fund 66:    Workers Compensation Self-insurance Fund - pages 59-62
Fund 67:    General Liability Self-insurance Fund - pages 63-66
Fund 71:    Motor Pool Operations Fund - pages 67-71
Fund 72:    Motor Pool Replacement Fund - pages 72-75
Fund 90:    Redevelopment Agency Fund - pages 76-81
Fund 92:    Redevelopment Housing Authority Fund - pages 82-85
Fund 18:    WWTP - Operations Fund - pages 86-93
Fund 34:     Sewer Facility Construction Fund - pages 94-99

Reference - Adopted City Budgets (2006/07 through 2010/11) and City Finance Department Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFR).Prior General Budget meeting article, 4/11/12. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Reminder - City Council meeting tonight, April 23, 2012

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, 4/23/12, 22 pages,  and City Council meeting article.  Should be a short meeting.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Crystal Springs lower and upper reservoirs upgrade

San Mateo County Times/Aaron Kinney.  "Seismic overhaul of Hetch Hetchy system reaches midway point."  

Crystal Springs reservoirs, a Bay Area shared water resource
Nearly 10 years after voters approved a seismic overhaul of the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System, the $4.6 billion undertaking has reached the halfway point.  ....The dam is part of the Hetch Hetchty Water System managed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that provides drinking water to 2.6 million people in the Bay Area and supplies water for firefighting throughout the region.   

...The parapet of the dam just west of Interstate 280 in unincorporated San Mateo County has been raised 9 feet, and the spillway has been widened from 88 to 208 feet. These improvements will enable the Lower and Upper Crystal Springs reservoirs to return to their full capacity of 22 billion gallons, ensuring there will be more water available in case of emergency. 

Without the improvement program, the system would be vulnerable to severe damage when the next big one hits, SFPUC officials say, with water service disrupted as long as a month or more. The goal once the overhaul is complete in 2016 will be to restore service within 24 hours of a major temblor.  Read Article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Wrecking Crew - the modern conservative movement

"How conservatives ruined government, enriched themselves and beggared the nation." (Thomas Frank)

From  Thomas Frank Books, The Wrecking Crew, how conservatives rule, includes audio book sample, and video tour though Washington D.C. 

'The Wrecking Crew'
Publication 8/5/08
..."Casting his eyes from the Bush administration’s final months of plunder to the earliest days of the Republican revolution, Thomas Frank uncovers the deep logic behind the graft and incompetence of conservatives in power. He shows how leaders dedicated to a doctrine of government by entrepreneurship proceeded to sell off the state, channeling the profits to cronies and loyalists. He surveys the federal agencies doomed to failure by the inept and even hostile staff appointed to run them. He charts the practice of wholesale deregulation and the devastating results now clear for all to see. From political scandal to mortgage meltdown, Frank documents the consequences of enshrining the free market as the logic of the state. As conservatives retreat to lick their wounds and a new administration prepares to undo the years of misgovernment, The Wrecking Crew makes clear the challenges before the nation. A brilliant and audacious stocktaking—now thoroughly revised and updated—this is Frank’s most revelatory work yet".

Easy to read Introduction: "Follow this dime". NPR Books,"Thomas Frank's indictment of conservatism"  Book cover through Chapter 1, "look inside" text,

Related books by Thomas Frank What's the Matter with Kansas? (publication 6/1/04). One Market Under God,  New York Times/Business Day, 12/21/2000 article. The new book:  Pity the Billionaire, The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right, published 1/3/12, Huffingtonpost/Politics, 1/9/1, (book link to Amazon and "look inside" text).

Article link requested by Todd Bray

Posted by Kathy Meeh

South Crystal Springs Reservoir - Bald eagle pair missing from nest

"Better fishing, let's fly north"

San Francisco Chronicle/Peter Fimrite, 4/22/12. "Bald eagle pair may have left nest." 

Bird enthusiasts are worried that the first nesting pair of bald eagles seen on the San Francisco Peninsula in nearly a century has pulled up stakes... If an egg were to hatch, it would be the first bald eagle chick in the county since 1916... 

Bald eagles were removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007. They now exist in 41 of California's 58 counties, according to state fish and game officials. Read Article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Making an informed decision in developing larger parcels

Pacifica Tribune/Op Ed guest columnist, 4/17/12.  "My Turn: Chamber urges fiscal evaluation of General Plan impact." by Sandi Anderson 
Prudently develop parcels for "highest and best use" 

The Chamber of Commerce is very aware of the challenges facing our city in these tough economic times. Pacific's economy, in our opinion, could remain soft for the next five or six years. Our city services will need to continue through this trough and every nickel will have to be accounted for and allocated strategically. 

There are perhaps 10 or so underutilized parcels available at this time in Pacifica. Developed prudently, these parcels could be an excellent source of funding for the foreseeable future. If we fail to utilize these parcels to their highest and best uses, Pacifica will continue to struggle financially. The evolving General Plan must clearly delineate the highest and best use for these properties. The zoning also needs to be evaluated so that we attain the maximum reasonable revenue stream.

Our community has been encouraged to participate in the General Plan update. That is good government. We need to realize that there will be a lot of differing opinions concerning what is the best use of a particular parcel. Those suggestions need to be means tested to assure that we understand the impacts changes in use and zoning have on our community as a whole.

Once we identify and evaluate the possible revenue each parcel is capable of generating, we as a community and the council can make informed decisions based on actual numbers and benefits to our city. If we decide to change parcels to use less than what could be expected should full development take place, we will then know what loss in revenue we can expect and make adjustments to our level of city services. 
The alternative

An example of this process is not hard to imagine. Perhaps a large parcel, that if fully developed to generate maximum revenue by way of some mix of housing, retail, or office space, is designated public park, we will know what level of revenue will be impacted and what future costs associated with that parcel designation will be incurred. Intelligent, informed analysis can replace excited rhetoric.
The Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of our membership, urge our city leaders to make an economic analysis of our General Plan a priority. Unless we know what fiscal impacts result from our decisions we cannot evaluate the highest and best use of our remaining parcels. 

Sandi Anderson is President of the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Time to stop kicking the budget can down the road

 Pacifica Tribune/Letters-to-the-Editor, 4/17/12  "Budget discussion lacks facts." by Sharon Ferguson

"Editor: I watched last Wednesday's City Council budget meeting and I am less than thrilled with what I saw and heard. This city spends real money, despite what some on council may think. Pacifica has a budget that has been historically consistent at around $25 million a year and provides many vital services. Our budget funds increasingly important programs such as the Resource Center. Many times, this is the last place people with nowhere to turn seek out. However, our budget discussion seemed to go in circles.

Mayor DeJarnatt made this observation from the dais: "we have had a structural deficit since 1996."  Well, Mayor DeJarnatt, you were on council for all these 16 years of structural deficit spending. How could you have let this continue for so long: spending money council did not have? You have had plenty of time to find a solution over these 16 years on council. Where has your focus been? One could surmise that you have been ignoring the problems. Kicking them down the road. For 16 years!

At no time last Wednesday night did anyone talk about final budget figures incorporating possible contracting with the sheriff for police services. No one has seen what the taxpayers will save by contracting the police to the sheriff . No details about the expected savings (thought to be around $1.5 million per year) or the staffing. Will it make sense or won't it?

End the guessing game. Stop guessing about the budget; stop focusing on a temporary tax as the easy way out without all the figures in front of you. I don't run my household budget by guessing or ignoring big expenditures that may be accomplished more inexpensively.

Let's also focus on a sustainable Pacifica economy so we don't do this high wire act every year. Stop complaining about the cards you're dealt and start on a plan to improve the economy so we have stable revenue. We can't continue to operate without reserves. We are one major problem from a total melt down.

Mayor DeJarnatt, let's focus. Your lack of financial understanding has left this town with such a wobbly budget and thin economy that low-income patrons of the Resource Center and kids using the library are threatened with loss of services. Will the remaining eight months show some turn-around, or are we again kicking the budget down the road for a 17th year?"

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, April 20, 2012

Kevin Mullin Democrats' guest speaker, tomorrow Saturday 4/21/12

For those not participating in Saturday morning Earth Day work events....

Pacifica Tribune/Barbara Arietta, 4/17/12, "Assembly candidate Kevin Mullin guest speaker at Democrats' meeting Saturday."

"On Saturday morning, April 21, South San Francisco Councilman and current Assembly candidate Kevin Mullin, will be the guest speaker at the Pacifica Democrats' morning breakfast meeting. The 9:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. meeting will be held in the rear Banquet Room of the Sharp Park Golf Course Restaurant, located at Hwy 1 and Sharp Park Blvd in Pacifica. 

Mullin, endorsed by the Democratic State Party for the newly created 22nd Assembly District seat, which will encompass the current 19th Assembly District territory, is running for the seat currently held by Assemblymember Jerry Hill, who, in turn, is currently seeking the newly created 13th State Senatorial District seat.

Councilman Mullin is campaigning based on a strong record of leadership during very challenging times in South San Francisco, where he has also served as Mayor and is presently in his second term on the City Council." Read More. 

Reference Kevin Mullin Campaign website, includes video, about 3 minutes. Kevin Mullin, South San Francisco City Council website.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Attention All Hippies!!

Assemblymember Jerry Hill - Representing the 19th District

Celebrate Earth Day 2012 with Assemblymember Jerry Hill
Saturday, April 21, in Pacifica


Earth Day activities abound in San Mateo County with a roster that includes beach cleanups, restoration projects and an afternoon of celebration in Pacifica. Assemblymember Jerry Hill will be on hand to welcome participants at Linda Mar Beach.
Here’s information about how you can join the fun:

Pacifica’s Earth Day 2012 Celebration

What: Assemblymember Hill joins the Pacific Beach Coalition, U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier, San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley, Pacifica Mayor Pete DeJarnatt, noted sea turtle experts Dr. Wallace J. Nichols and Dr. Chris Pincetich, and more at Linda Mar Beach. Pacifica’s Earth Day 2012 Celebration, called “Be Turtley Cool, Take Action,” is dedicated to the sea turtle.

9 - 11:30 a.m. The day’s activities begin with beach cleanups and restoration work at 9 a.m. Visit the Pacific Beach Coalition’s website ( for information about registration, specific locations and tips for volunteers.

11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. The celebration begins at 11:30 a.m. Welcome by Assemblymember Hill at 11:45 a.m. Other highlights include the presentation of Earth Hero Awards by Congresswoman Speier, music by Jim Ocean, Ian and the Humpbacks and Haunted by Heroes. Participants are asked to bring a reusable cup or water bottle to the celebration, which is a zero-waste event.

Where: Pacifica State Beach, (Linda Mar Beach), Highway 1 at Linda Mar Boulevard.

San Mateo County Department of Parks’ Earth Day Activities

San Mateo County Parks celebrates Earth Day with seven events this coming weekend. Visit the department’s Earth Day 2012 page for more information including registration requirements, specific locations, meeting times and places for volunteers, and other tips on what to wear and what to bring.
Saturday, April 21

Coastal Cleanup:
Mirada Surf, West: 9 a.m. - noon

Habitat Restoration:
San Pedro Valley County Park: 9 a.m. - noon
Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve: 9 a.m. - noon
San Bruno Mountain Park: 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Trail Work:
Huddart County Park: 8:30 am - 3 pm
Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve: 9 a.m. to noon

Sunday, April 22Coyote Point Recreation Area: 10:30 a.m. Bay land cleanup
California Assembly Democratic Caucus
Website: Assemblymember Jerry Hill
Capitol Office:
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 94249-0019
Tel: (916) 319-2019
Fax: (916) 319-2119
District Office: 1528 South El Camino Real
Suite 302
San Mateo, CA 94402

Tel: (650) 349-1900
Fax: (650) 341-4676

Posted by Steve "The Happy Hippy" Sinai

Illinois small city comptroller busted, embezzlement

This one skipped scrutiny for a while.  Dixon, Illinois population 15,000, vanishing money $33 million. Some cities are worse-off than Pacifica.  "I have heard Pacifica has many accounts that the public is not aware of. I'm not saying there is a problem, but there should be more transparency." (Robert Hutchinson)

No more horsing around, maybe 20 years

Huffingtonpost/Business/Harry Bradford, 4/19/12.
"Dixon, Illinois Comptroller allegedly embezzled $30 million to fund horse breeding business (update)." " Municipal budgets around the country have been squeezed tight in recent years, and a city official in one town allegedly exacerbated those financial woes to fund her horse breeding habit. Rita Crundwell, the comptroller and treasurer of the small Illinois town of Dixon, was arrested Tuesday on charges of embezzling $33.2 million from city coffers, the Chicago Tribune reports. ....If convicted, Crundwell will face 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, International Business imes reports.   

UPDATE: Ms. Crundwell has been released from federal custody with asset and travel restrictions, according to the Wall Street Journal. Dixon Mayor James Burke told residents that the city has put Crundwell on unpaid leave and is trying to recoup as much money as possible through asset seizures. Read Article.

Chicago Tribune/Andy Grimm and Melissa Jenco, 4/18/12,  (includes and embedded video,  26 seconds) .... Crundwell's apparent downfall came because she took off four months a year — all but a month unpaid — to operate the horse business and travel to shows. During one of her stints off last October, an employee filling in for Crundwell asked the city's bank for all its statements and discovered a suspicious account that was the source of multiple six-figure transactions, authorities said. Burke, Dixon's mayor since 1999, said he went to the FBI.

According to prosecutors, Crundwell tried to cover her tracks by shifting funds among multiple city bank accounts. From last September to February, she moved nearly $2.8 million in city funds into an account called the Capital Development Fund, authorities said. By March, she had written 19 checks totaling more than $3.5 million from the account, payable to "Treasurer," authorities said, then deposited them into an another account she controlled — the one the mayor said he never knew existed. Read Article.

Submitted by Robert Hutchinson

Posted by Kathy Meeh

San Carlos mayor resigns

It appears that Mayor Andy Klein made a personal decision. There nothing in the article or related news source that indicates Andy Klein was missing meetings, and could not function well as Mayor or as a city council member.
San Carlos Mayor Andy Klein resigns

San Mateo Daily Journal/Michelle Durand, 4/19/12, "San Carlos Mayor resigns."

"San Carlos Mayor Andy Klein, who took the position nearly a year ago after the unexpected death of Omar Ahmad, announced his resignation yesterday, citing “some major setbacks” in his personal life including the dissolution of his marriage and alcohol issues.

“It’s a lot of things. It’s alcohol, it’s my marriage, it’s stress. I haven’t been taking the time to appropriately deal with everything and I can’t keep bulldozing ahead. At some point, people hit their breaking point,” Klein said.In his resignation letter, Klein, 30, said remaining a public servant during this time is no longer feasible." Read article.

ReferenceMayor Andy Klein profile.  Related, 4/18/12.

Submitted by Jim Alex

Posted by Kathy Meeh

City Council meeting, Monday April 23, 2012

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, 4/23/12, 22 pages.
Sting quick meeting

A.  Closed session (6:30 pm)
 1)   Labor negotiations, conference with labor negotiator with Pacifica Police Officers Association, Police Supervisors Association, Police Management Teamsters local 350, Firefighters local 2400,  Teamsters local 856 Battalion Chiefs. 
2)   Conference with legal counsel-anticipated litigation, 1 potential case.

B.  Open session (7:00 pm)
Consent Calendar (pass through)
1.   Approval of cash disbursements
2.   Approval of Minutes (meeting of 4/9/12)
3.   Resolution, notice of completion of the for the Pacifica Dog Park project
4.   3rd addendum agreement, mutual agreement city and San Mateo county "to toll statues of limitations (fiscal year 2010-11) for any claims of property tax administration fees. Neither will file claims nor litigate against each other.

Special presentation - Proclamation - West Nile Virus and Mosquito and Vector Control Awareness Week.
Public hearing - none. 

5.  Review and modify city council council liaison and committee assignments.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

City Council CLOSED Meeting, Tuesday April 24, 2012

City Council at work, labor negotiations, do not disturb
 Closed City Council meeting, 4/24/12. 
1810 Francisco Blvd, PB&R conference room, 6pm.

Notice of special meeting closed session with the following Unions:
Labor union closed session meeting.  
Pacifica Police Officers Association (PPOA)
Pacifica Police Supervisors Association (PPSA)
Police Management, Teamsters Local 350
Fire Fighters, International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 2400
Battalion Chiefs, Teamsters Local 856
Department Directors, Teamsters Local 350
Management Unit, Teamsters 350
Miscellaneous Unit, Teamsters Local 856

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reporting of Abandoned Vehicles to The Pacifica Police Department

Please be aware of the process for reporting abandoned vehicles with in the City of Pacifica to the City of Pacifica Police Department.

To report a vehicle that is parked on a public street and has not been moved for three or more consecutive days,  Please call The South San Francisco Police Dispatch Center at:  650-829-3939. This is a guided recorded line for the reporting of abandoned vehicles in the Cities of Pacifica and South San Francisco.

Before making the phone call to report the abandoned vehicle you will need the following  information:

The street address of the abandoned vehicle.
What is Make, Model and Color of the abandoned vehicle.
What is the  license plate number, if known, of the abandoned Vehicle.
How long has the vehicle has been in its present  location.

Thank you and Please have a Safe and Magical Day!

Very Best Regards
Pete Olinger
Pete Olinger
Crime Prevention Unit
Pacifica Police Department