Sunday, September 30, 2012

Candidate Questionnaire: What are your thoughts on the development of the old sewer plant site, Palmetto Main Street, and the new library?

The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce submitted 12 questions to each of the candidates for Pacifica City Council. Every week we will be posting two questions, and the answers from each of the candidates.

Question 6 : What are your thoughts on the development of the old sewer plant site, Palmetto Main Street, and the new library?

Susan Vellone - 4 Year Seat

Great idea. We need an infusion of foot traffic for the Palmetto Business District. As a sole proprietor I would consider investing my capital in a thriving community district. Plans are moving forward to entitle the property which will appeal to future developers. This welcome change may quell the fears of progress with concerned citizens and keeping dialogue open is a must. 

Karen Ervin – 4 Year Seat

I am fully supportive of the development of the old wastewater treatment plant and the Palmetto streetscaping project. This is an excellent idea and will provide a much-needed boost to our revenues as well as enhance our quality of life here in Pacifica. Currently the sewer plant site is an eyesore; I would love to see the creation of a state of the art library with a hotel, convention center, retail shops and restaurants linked to a revitalized Palmetto. This accomplishment will also demonstrate to other businesses outside of Pacifica that we have the wherewithal to see envisioned projects through to completion and we are welcoming to new establishments that make Pacifica a better place to live. I see this project as a definite indication that the city is moving in the right direction and would encourage this proactive stance in future endeavors.

Mary Ann Nihart – 4 Year Seat

While I cannot vote on these issues due to the location of my home, I have long been involved in organizing merchants and property owners on Palmetto, and supporting the process with the library. I served on the West Sharp Park Advisory committee, which helped design the streetscape. I love the economically-driven proposal we are moving forward for the Beach Blvd property itself, and look forward to supporting a bond measure to build the library. We have completed the new sewer mains; laid the pipes for the recycled watering of landscape; prepared the businesses; and will begin the actual undergrounding of the utilities shortly after the 2012 Fog Fest. I can visualize the vibrant street in 2018 and am excited by the possibilities!

Mike O'Neill - 2 Year Seat

I fully support a new library for Pacifica. We need to have a rallying point for our community to get behind and show the civic pride I know we have. Many people I talk to speak of the pride we in our schools and I want the same pride for the City of Pacifica as we have for the Pacifica School District. The return on investment of a new library is 4 to 1 meaning every dollar spent returns four in economic activity. The present design concept which has been discussed at several public meetings will be the economic anchor for the Palmetto Business District.

I think we also need to think of Palmetto Ave as the Main Street of a business district. We need to maximize the  (
The rest of the Dialogue of Mike has been lost.)

Rich Campbell - 2 Year Seat

 - Develop the old sewer site as contemplated by City.

 - New Library should be built as contemplated by Library Foundation. It is a economic engine.

Victor Spano - 2 Year Seat

Mr. Leland (the Beach Blvd. consultant), is an excellent planner, but he is not a commercial real estate broker. I worry the City could be disappointed with the results of the RFQ. It needs to be marketed by a professional broker. I feel the site lays out adjacent to the promenade like the Biltmore Four Seasons in Montecito / Santa Barbara. I personally would like to see something like that. Let's "Shoot for the Stars" here. The proximity to the Golf Course and Ocean makes it a spectacular opportunity.

I support the new Library. Having a strong fiscal picture for our local government here will enable the City to more cost effectively sell bonds for its construction. The library will become a traffic and customer drawing magnet for Palmetto Avenue, or in other words an "anchor". I am hoping that there will be some "night life" that will develop as part of and outside the new library along Palmetto. I feel that Burlingame Avenue or Laurel Avenue in San Carlos are analogs for what Palmetto Avenue can become. We first need to fill the vacant shops and vacant lots....We need to create interest in strolling Palmetto as a "pedestrian friendly" place with early evening events like Downtown Redwood City: Movie Nights, Music, Dance. Perhaps Spindrift and Art Guild can bring events to Palmetto as well. The new Library can serve as a focal point for activity during both day and night. I want to directly contact the owners of the vacant lots and invite them to either develop them on their own, or as part of joint ventures as alternatives to letting them languish indefinitely at prices that have not been accepted by the market and might not be for a long time.

Gary Mondfrans - 2 Year Seat

Palmetto Avenue renown as central to the Fog Fest can and should become Pacifica's "Main Street" and attract even more of the antiques and collectable businesses and other similar businesses which proliferate and draw tourists and visitors to the area. Distinctive themed development into an historic lighting district utilizing turn of the (last) century (1880's) style lighting and lamp fixtures similar to the way that the old street cars and cable cars draw tourists and visitors to San Francisco should be considered. Core to such development will be use of the former sewage treatment plant consistent with other west Sharp Park business and proximity to the Pier. What will ultimately be decided with respect to the destiny of the adjacent Sharp Park Golf Course will also have an substantial impact on the area. Both sites are valuable commodities and all viable alternatives must be explored so that the residents and taxpayers of Pacifica are not short-changed nor overly impacted. Promotion for development of the former treatment plant can be utilized through creative “web”ertising and RFPs (Requests for Proposals). As the Sharp Park Pier is the only pier in the Bay Area where Dungeoness crabbing is permitted thus making the pier not only a popular draw throughout the area, but something which can be exploited like Fisherman Wharf did in San Francisco. Improvements to the library should be on their on merits and not made a requirement of any specific proposal.

Pacifica needs to attract more of the kinds of businesses that will in turn attract tourist and visitors to Pacifica. Just as Martinez is known as an antiques and collectables center for the East Bay so can Pacifica which is just a few minutes south of San Francisco. Already many tourists and visitors are finding us through our existing hotels and the RV Park on Palmetto. Further promotion and outreach through interaction and advertising is the key. I'll bet few have even seen or heard about the advertising supplement which the San Francisco Examiner distributed last week in their "Discover Pacifica" edition. Fortunately additional copies will be printed and promoted at the Fog Fest. Each and every one of us can also help our neighboring businesses and those who work there by "Shopping Pacifica First".

Candidate Questionnaire : Would you support a detailed economic analysis of all Planning Commission, Planning Department, and General Plan land use decisions? Why or why not?

The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce submitted 12 questions to each of the candidates for Pacifica City Council. Every week we will be posting two questions, and the answers from each of the candidates.

Question 5: Would you support a detailed economic analysis of all Planning Commission, Planning Department, and General Plan land use decisions? Why or why not?

Gary Mondfrans – 2 Year Seat

The use of the word “all” here raises a concern in that such an analysis might become so onerous in and of itself as to become a detriment to what might otherwise may become a more streamlined approval process. A check-off in the review process similar to what is done with preliminary environmental reviews might be utilized instead in that projects which warrant further study due to significant negative and/or positive effects may warrant the need for either further study and/or enhancement.

Mike O'Neill – 2 Year Seat

Yes, like a great meal with several courses you need to have a great recipe and a mix of different spices. I would encourage sales tax, revenue generating businesses vs. the non taxable service businesses that are now the predominant business in Pacifica. I will push for an implement the full power of the City to proper planning. I will not be a doormat to anyone or anything. I am my own person and make my decisions. I will work cooperatively with all my fellow council members as I have with my fellow School Board members but will vote yes or no according to my beliefs and conscience. I am not afraid to ask questions of staff and will challenge staff or fellow Board Members if I have questions or concern. I am also willing to reach a consensus toward the common goal. A council that all think the same and do not discuss but rubber stamp is not good and a detriment to any progress in Pacifica. I will look at data, fiscal impact, sustainability, and benefits when making a decision.

Rich Campbell – 2 Year Seat

No. In general, I want to focus City staff on productive economic activity, not generating reports.

Victor Spano – 2 Year Seat

No. Who is going to pay for the analysis? We need to remove obstacles and barriers here, not erect new ones. A detailed Economic Analysis from a consultant is going to add $10,000 or more to a project cost. This kind of margin can make a project unfeasible. If you are going to have Economic Analysis, perhaps have requirement for larger projects...based on a threshold number of Square Feet proposed. (e.g. 8 or more housing units, 20,000 s.f. of commercial space, etc.)

Mary Ann Nihart – 4 Year Seat

Economics must be a component of land use decisions. However, a DETAILED analysis of “ALL planning commission, planning department, and general plan land use decisions” is simply not feasible. The cost and burden of this could be unfair to private landowners and unduly burdensome to the City. While I understand the sentiment, and strongly support making economics a part of the decision making process, I cannot agree with the extent and scope of the question due to the cost.

Susan Vellone – 4 Year Seat

Yes. The potential for economic growth does not need to be hindered. A progressive majority on Council can re-evaluate the Planning Dept. and Planning Commission, streamline and determine the proper course for economic stability. The current General Plan is not in line with this proactive process, reflects a different agenda, and is not good business for our community.

Karen Ervin – 4 Year Seat

Yes, it is important to have a clear and current evaluation of how viable the General Plan outlook is. Pacifica’s current economic plan is over 20 years old and we are currently developing a new one. Pacifica is over 50% open space; the land remaining needs to be properly zoned. We need a downtown and commercial opportunities.

New California animal protection laws

Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle (baby) - official CA marine repitile
"For much of 2012, issues like taxes and schools dominated the discussion in California's state Capitol. But lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown also spent considerable attention on the animal kingdom.  ....  But Brown -- who continued to sign and veto hundreds of bills Friday as a Sunday deadline for his actions loomed -- signed roughly a dozen other animal welfare bills this year as well, often with much less fanfare.

Improved laws include spectator fines doubled for animal fighting, even jail up to 6 months. People charged with animal cruelty will not easily regain their animals, and must pay veterinary bills when animals are confiscated.

"....  "Two bills that affect the state's Fish and Game operations. One, AB 2402, by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, changes the name of the agency to "Department of Fish and Wildlife," which downplays hunting. Another, AB2609, by Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, requires that members of the Fish and Game Commission have wildlife backgrounds and that the commission's president be elected by other commission members."  Silicon Valley Mercury News/Paul Rogers, 9/30/12.  "California lawmakers pass a wave of new animal protection laws."   Read article.

"Californians will no longer be allowed to use dogs to hunt bears. Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 1221, making California the 15th state to pass this type of ban.

-- Brown signed several other bills related to animal protection. SB 1229 bans landlords from requiring owners to declaw their cats or devocalize their dogs. SB 1500 is designed to improve the handling process of animals seized during cruelty or neglect cases. AB 1776 names the endangered Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle as the official marine reptile of California."  My Mother Lode.News/B.J. Hansen, 9/27/12. "Wave of animal protection laws approved in California."   Read article. 

Related -  Jane Goodall, "Hope for animals and their world"/Dr. Scott A. Eckert, includes picture of full grown Leatherback Turtle.
"Leatherback Turtle", Dr. Scott A. Eckert 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I'm reading a book called, "Energy for Future Presidents" by Berkeley Physics Professor Richard A. Mueller. I thought the following excerpt about buses was relevant, considering so many people complain about lack of Sam Trans service in Pacifica.  Also, some insist that increased bus service would alleviate the need to expand Highway 1, even though the San Mateo County Transportation Authority and Sam Trans have determined that 60 full buses per hour would be required to move traffic through town at the same rate the highway widening would, and therefore ruled it out as being too expensive and unrealistic.

Mueller is writing about efficient energy use rather than traffic congestion, but he offers his idea of when buses work and when they don't -

"Many people take it for granted that increased public transportation is the obvious solution to our overreliance on autos. Buses carry more people per pound than does a car, so you might think they would get more miles per gallon per person. And they would – if buses were always full. Public transportation can save enormous energy when used in crowded urban environments, but ironically, it can waste energy when used in suburbs and countryside.

If buses don't fill up, and if they have to make round-trips during rush hour – empty on return – then they might not save net energy. You can improve efficiency by using smaller buses during the slow hours, but then you run the risk of having to pass by people at some stops. It's hard to win. Moreover, buses make lots of stops and starts – and that frequent acceleration is when fuel efficiency drops enormously. If the bus has to take circuitous routes in order to get close to where passengers live, the passengers wind up traveling greater distances than if they drove their own cars. To get people into the habit of riding buses, buses must be available all during the day without long waits; otherwise people will take their cars. All this means that a lot of the buses spend a lot of time with only a few passengers.

A detailed study of bus transportation in the suburbs around the country done by the Institute of Transportation Studies at Berkeley found that the average break-even point is determined by population density. If there are more than 15 households per acre, then public transportation works. If the population density is lower, then using buses increases energy use. This means that if you live in a suburb with quarter-acre or even one-tenth-acre lots, your community will not save energy by establishing bus routes.

So beware of simplistic solutions such as “more public transportation.” There are often hidden subtleties and unintended consequences."

Posted by Steve Sinai

Improving retirement savings one state at a time, begin with California

The Sacramento Bee/Jim Sanders, 9/29/12. "Jerry Brown signs package to advance private retirement savings plan."

Pension/savings  plan for the working poor, way to go CA
Legislation designed to pave the way for a private retirement plan affecting millions of California private-sector workers was signed into law Friday by Gov. Jerry Brown. The goal is to create a savings program in which workers who have no access to a pension can count on a guaranteed rate of return for contributing about 3 percent of their salary.

Brown's signing of Senate Bill 1234 signals support for the program, but he signed separate legislation, Senate Bill 923, that requires a feasibility study and a final vote by the Legislature before launching it."

....  "With his leadership, we are setting the path for middle-class, hard-working Americans to prepare for retirement so they won't be forced into poverty," de León said in a written statement ."With his leadership, we are setting the path for middle-class, hard-working Americans to prepare for retirement so they won't be forced into poverty," de León said in a written statement."   Read article.

Related -  New Jersey Hearald/Associated Press/Judy Lin, 9/28/12 "California creates state-run private retirement plan."  The bill will establish the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program for more than 6 million lower-income, private-sector workers whose employers do not offer retirement plans. ... He said the program will act as a supplement to Social Security by offering private-sector workers a portable savings plan with a guaranteed return. He said the program is not a pension but rather acts as a savings account, which could be a national model for improving retirement savings.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Still fighting over employment wage and benefit scraps are you?

Silicon Valley Mercury News/Pete Carey, 7/16/12. "Yahoo, HP, PG&E showred departing execs with millions."

Are corporate executives worth the cost to all of us?
"Call it the golden goodbye. Four of the Bay Area's biggest companies handed out $67 million to five chief executives who retired under pressure or were shown the door t
his year and last.

While these parting gifts were dwarfed by the pay of Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook, whose $378 million topped our annual survey of executive pay and mirrored the company's stellar year, the money showered on some departing chief executives is seen by critics of CEO pay as questionable rewards for poor performance. 

.... Consider the outcry over a $34.8 million retirement package for PG&E's Peter Darbee, who left the company in April 2011 with the company's reputation in ruins after the deadly San Bruno gas line explosion and subsequent federal safety investigation. "Most of us would not expect to walk away from a fatal explosion that destroyed an entire neighborhood with $35 million," observed Mindy Spatt of the ratepayer advocacy group TURN."   Read Article. 

Note:  The picture graphic above is from the Mercury News article.  

Related - article and list of 498 top paid corporate chief executive officers. Forbes/Scott DeCarlo, 4/4/12, "America's highest paid chief executives, gravity-defying CEO pay.  The boss' take outstrips investor gains again. Did we learn anything."  "Our report on executive compensation will only fuel the outrage over corporate greed. In 2011 the chief executives of the 500 biggest companies in the U.S. (as measured by a composite ranking of sales, profits, assets and market value) got a collective pay raise of 16% last year, to $5.2 billion. This compares with a 3% pay raise for the average American worker. The total averages out to $10.5 million apiece. The value realized from exercised stock options and vested stock awards are the main components of total pay, accounting for 61%. The average stock gain was $3.2 million, up from $2.7 last year. Average value of vested stock awards was $3.1 million, up from $2.5 . Combined salary and bonus was up an average 8% to $3.5 million."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pacifica Fog Fest this weekend Saturday and Sunday

Date:   Saturday, September 29, 2012, and Sunday, September 30, 2012
Time:  10 AM to 6 PM.
Where:  Palmetto Avenue, between Shell Street and Montecito Street 

Information from the Pacific Coast Fog Fest website,  (also enjoy the slide show on that site):

Parking - There are several acres of parking at the North end of Palmetto Avenue, where Palmetto intersects with Highway 1, and at the South end, near Palmetto and the golf course (exit Oceana Blvd. when coming from the South, and exit Francisco Blvd coming from North). These parking areas will be operated by local non-profit groups, who will ask for a $7 contribution. There will be free parking around Francisco and Oceana Boulevards and other side streets. Police will be citing for illegal parking, so read signs carefully.

FINAL_MAP2Bike Parking - We will be offering free secured bike parking during the Fog Fest at the corner of Palmetto Ave. and Santa Rosa. 

Handicapped Parking - There will be Handicapped Parking at either end of the festival, situated within the paid parking areas operated by local non-profit groups (see above). 

Street Closures - Palmetto Avenue will be closed to traffic from Shoreview South to Montecito throughout festival weekend. Palmetto will re-open on Sunday at approximately 9 PM. 

No Pets -Pets are not allowed at the festival. The City of Pacifica will be enforcing its ordinance prohibiting pets on the festival grounds. Please be kind to your animals and leave them at home. 

The Pacific Coast Fog Fest promotes the City of Pacifica, attracts visitors, celebrates our community, and raises funds for local non-profit community groups. The Fog Fest is produced by the Fog Fest Organizing Group (FFOG). Local non-profit/community groups contribute time, energy, and enthusiasm to the running of the festival. All profits generated by the Fog Fest will be distributed to these groups, as well as a contribution to the “A Gift for Pacifica” fund.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Regional electrified, high speed Caltrain on board for 2019

San Mateo County Times/Aaron Kinney, 0/27/12.  "Speier, state and local leaders hail Caltrain milestone."
Say goodbye Caltrain relic..  

"We are here to reboot Caltrain," said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, after the California Transportation Commission voted earlier in the day to release $39.8 million for work designing a new electronic brain to manage Caltrain's fleet, a critical first step in the roughly $1.5 billion project to overhaul the rail line. 

The overall modernization will entail switching Caltrain from diesel to electric power by 2019 between San Francisco and San Jose and replacing all the trains that run along that corridor. It will also prepare the system to handle high-speed rail trains when they arrive sometime next decade.

Caltrain backers say electrifying the rail line will make the cash-strapped system solvent, cut down on greenhouse gas emissions by 90 percent, and increase service. "It will be faster, it will be better, it will be safer and it will be cheaper," said Speier, dubbing the planned railway the "Silicon bullet." 

The electrification project will be paid for with $706 million in Proposition 1A high-speed rail funds the state Legislature approved in July and $500 million from the federal government, with the rest coming from local and regional sources including Caltrain's three member agencies: San Francisco, the San Mateo County Transit District and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority."  Read article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Ian Butler interviews Shelly Masur, candidate for County Supervisor

 Ian Butler interview
Shelly Masur, candidate for county supervisor, discusses county issues with Ian Butler on his 9/14/12, Channel 26, Wavelength program. View there or on  Vimeo video, The program runs 29:26 minutes. And as always, an Ian Butler interview is worth viewing. Thanks Ian! 

Shelly Masur
In the interview, Shelly Masur discusses a range of county issues, including  public health services, schools, the budget, pending ballot taxes.  She also talks about county at-large vs.district supervisor elections and representation. In San Mateo county there are 5 at large supervisors. Shelly Masur and Warren Slocum from district 4 (Redwood City/East Palo Alto areas) are competing county candidates in this election.

Our district 3 supervisor is  Don Horsley.. At-large candidates represent a district, but also represent and campaign in the entire county (which is a very expensive campaign for them). In California, San Mateo is the only remaining county with at-large supervisor representation and elections.  Measure B in our 11/6/12 ballot will again ask voters if we wish to amend the Charter, but in the past similar measures have failed.  

Reference information - County supervisor candidate websites:  Shelly Masur, and  Warren Slocum.
San Mateo county ballot, 11/6/12, see Smart Voter (League of Women Voters).

Related Afternoon invitation to meet Shelly Masur, hosted by David Pine, 9/30/12.  Articles - San Mateo Daily Journal, 6/30/12, "District 4 tally matched countywide results," (picture of Shelly Masur above)  Half Moon Bay Patch, 4/20/12, "Candidate for supervisor visits downtown HMB."  Pacifica Tribune, 9/4/12, "Karen Ervin kicks off campaign for city council," see embedded picture.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sure you've registered to vote, but if not here's another opportunity

Registered today
Pacifica Tribune, 9/25/12.  "Register to vote online."

Online , how easy can it be?
"You can now register to vote online. Visit the San Mateo County Election Office to learn more and to register.

Go to

You can also check your registration status and find other valuable information.

Oct. 22 is the last day to register to be eligible to vote in the Nov. 6 General Election." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Last look at first round of city council candidates forum

Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, 9/25/12.  "Chamber of Commerce candidates' forum shows positions on key issues."

Palmetto Avenue downtown Pacifica?
....  The candidates behaved with the utmost respect for one another. They had different approaches toward fixing Pacifica's challenges, but all expressed a desire to work collaboratively to seek solutions.  

....  The first question asked the candidates to say if they were in favor of the plans in place for Palmetto's "Main Street" and the redevelopment of the Beach Blvd. property and asked if they would advocate the plans to the California Coastal Commission. 

....  The second question asked candidates about Highway 1, and what they would do to alleviate traffic delays and access for rescue personnel. 

....  The next question asked the candidates to propose a plan to grow local businesses and support the local economy."   Read article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Half Moon Bay has financial options

Hey its government, why pay off the $18 million debt if you don't have to. What would Pacifica do?

Go shopping investing
Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 9/24/12. "City:  Sales tax still necessary after insurance judgment."

Pay down some debt, collect sales tax
"With a successful insurance lawsuit expected to net Half Moon Bay $10 million, city leaders now face a different task for convincing voters their local government needs a sales tax increase to provide more money. Elected leaders say the revenue from the lawsuit doesn’t change the need for a citywide sales tax increase, but they are unsure whether voters will agree.

Half Moon Bay voters go the polls in November to decide the fate of Measure J, a half-cent sales tax hike that would provide an estimated $867,000 per year for city infrastructure projects. 

... Half Moon Bay leaders intend to convene a special meeting sometime next month to gather public input on how the money should be spent. Before that meeting, city officials will prepare a series of spending recommendations for the public to consider.

....  Those bonds were scheduled to be paid off over 30 years, at a total cost of more than $32 million, but the city also has the option to pay off some of the bonds early to preclude mounting interest payments."

Related article - Fix Pacifica reprint and background. . 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, September 24, 2012

SMCTA may approve Pacifica Highway 1 project funding, 10/4/12

Some of you who want an improved highway might consider attending the San Mateo County Transportation funding meeting:  5 PM, October 4th in San Carlos (1250 San Carlos Avenue, San Carlos, 2nd floor, Bacciocco Auditorium).  Local NIMBIES (including Loma Prieta Sierra Club) will be there to advocate for their newly considered alternatives.

The Daily Journal/San Mateo/Bill Silverfarb, 9/24/12  "Highway projects get tentative approval, but not all of them."

20 year Vallemar traffic jam straight ahead
"Some of the area’s most congested traffic corridors along Highway 101 will get some much-needed traffic relief as the San Mateo County Transportation Authority is set to approve more than $81 million to fund 23 local highway projects.

The biggest project the agency will fund, depending on board approval, will be for the construction of a new seven-lane overcrossing at Broadway in Burlingame which will include bike lanes and sidewalks, the reconfiguration of the existing on-and-off ramps at 101 and ramp-meter installation for $36 million.

Another recommended project is for $8.9 million to fund the reconfiguration of the loop ramps at Highway 101 and Woodside Road in Redwood City.

Other projects recommended for approval include $7 million for traffic improvements in Half Moon Bay along Highway 1; $7.5 million for projects in Pacifica including the widening of Highway 1 from four lanes to six lanes between Fassler and Reina Del Mar avenues; and $3 million for improvements to the Holly Street intersection at Highway 101 in San Carlos.
NIMBY efficiency plan:  go through the quarry
The authority’s role is to administer the proceeds from Measure A to fund a broad spectrum of transportation-related projects and programs. It is an independent agency and is governed by an appointed board of seven directors, who are elected officials, representing the county, cities and the San Mateo County Transit District."   Read Article.

The opposition, local Sierra Club - Sierra Club/The Loma Prietan, January/February, 2012."Pacifica city council waffles on Calera Parkway." "The Chapter has made its opposition clear. We wrote to the San Mateo County Transportation Authority in 2010. We also expressed our reservations when we questioned Pacifica City Council candidates during our 2010 election endorsement process. The project could cost over $50 million to solve a problem that could be better solved other ways, and it poses threats to nearby wetlands and endangered species." Oh sure.

The opposition, Pacifica NIMBIES.   Pacifica Patch. 9/6/12.  "New community group opposes widening highway 1."... The group is calling itself "Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives," or "PH1A."  And  Pacifica Tribune, (PH1A PAC (no author disclosure), 9/18/12, Pacificans for highway 1 alternatives."  New  NIMBY ideas after 20 years of CalTrans research.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Reminder - City Council meeting tonight, Monday, September 24, 2012

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Or, view on local channel 26, also live internet feed,  The meeting begins at 7pm, or shortly there following.  City council updates and archives are available on the City website.  Direct  City Council Agenda, 9/24/12.

Fix Pacifica article reprint of city council agenda, 9/24/12. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Opportunity to view Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum

3 City Council EMMYS awarded 11/6/12 through your vote 
Channel 26 will replay the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum, from this last Friday nite, on Tuesday 9/25/2012 at 10AM and Thursday 9/27/2012 at 5:30PM.

Here:   Pacifica Community Television, Channel 26  

Tuesday, 9/25/12, 10 AM until Noon, or
Thursday, 9/27/12, 5:30 PM until 7:20 PM 

And, Channel 26 on demand Microsoft playback link:

Submitted by Jim Wagner
Pacifica Chamber of Commerce

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Bell, CA former police chief wants to double his pension

Pacifica's pension problems are very small by comparison with Bell, CA

Smarter than you think
Silicon Valley Mercury News/Associated Press, 9/12/12. "Former Bell chief testifies, seeking big pension."  "Fomer Bell Police Chief Randy Adams testified before a state pension panel as he seeks to increase his pension to more than a half-million dollars for his stint as top cop in the scandal-plagued city—but gave few answers while he was on the stand.

The Los Angeles Times reports ( Adams invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself 20 times while he was on the witness stand Thursday.

Adams is challenging a California Public Employees' Retirement System decision not to include his year as chief in Bell in the calculations for his pension.  If he wins his claim, he'll get $510,000 and become the second-highest-paid public pensioner in the state.Adams is not among the eight former city leaders facing criminal public corruption charges."

Fix Pacifica reprint background articles - Los Angeles Times, 2/7/11, and several others scroll down 7/24/10, 11/1/11, 7/20/10, 2/8/11

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Half Moon Bay gets back liability cost from Beachwood lawsuit

Half Moon Bay Review/Clay Lambert, 9/20/12.  "Arbiter awards $10 million to city of Half Moon Bay in Beachwood case."

Beachwood property, 6/29/12
"The city of Half Moon Bay announced Thursday it has received an interim award of $10 million from a former insurer following a long-standing dispute over liability coverage related to the Beachwood land-use case. The award is the result of arbitration the city’s attorney considers binding and the money could be forthcoming in a matter of weeks, according to City Attorney Tony Condotti.

The award was rendered by retired California Supreme Court Justice Edward A. Panelli and could cost the Insurance Company of the West millions of dollars. It represents the culmination of the first of two phases of arbitration. The second phase could add interest to the total payout. That phase of discussions has yet to be scheduled, Condotti said."
....  The city has already recovered $5 million from a separate claim against a liability plan run by the Association of Bay Area Governments. The $10 million award means that the city has recovered 84 percent of the total judgment from its insurers."    Read article.   

Related articles - Timeline, San Mateo County Times, 9/21/12.  Background, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/6/08,  includes the lower photograph by Katy Raddatz. Use of returned money?  Daily Journal (San Mateo), 9/20/12. Upper photograph, Half Moon Bay Review, 6/29/12. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, September 21, 2012

Candidates Questionnaire: What innovations would you propose to increase our business base?

The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce submitted 12 questions to each of the candidates for Pacifica City Council. Every week we will be posting two questions, and the answers from each of the candidates.

Question 4. What
innovations would you propose to increase our business base?

Karen Ervin - 4 Year Seat

In order to streamline the business permitting process the city needs to continue to develop a “one stop planning and permitting” system, where all information is accessible and readily available.  Provide incentives such as a tax rebate to new businesses that move into vacant sites or invest in property.  As funds can be invested into economic development offer short-term financial assistance to new restaurants, shops, retailers, entertainment or office space that improve their sites and construction/renovation incentives for new or existing commercial buildings.  There are many potential opportunities to increase our business base, which should be thoroughly explored by City Council and the Pacifica Planning and Economic Development Department.

Mary Ann Nihart - 4 Year Seat

Our Economic Development Committee has begun a major effort to move businesses from homes into storefronts via an incubator business model.  Victor Spano and Mary Brown have been instrumental in this work. While the dedicated volunteers on the EDC have done an excellent job, but I believe we need a City staff member who specializes in economic development.  We also need an ongoing strategy to recruit new businesses to town.  Finally, I support improved resources for new businesses via the city website and a supportive permitting process.

Susan Vellone - 4 Year Seat

Open dialogue with the Corporations that own the larger retail areas and identify the people who are able to enact change. Find solutions for a win-win situation for our City, businesses, and those entities by the continuation of streamlining the planning dept process. Adjust fees when possible to entice smaller businesses, and be receptive to new ideas.

Victor Spano - 2 Year Seat

On the Economic Development Committee we have been working on a Small Business Incubator and High Tech Workspace. The idea with the Incubator is to grow currently Home Based Retail businesses with low-cost shared storefront space and services, technical assitance from mentors, Chamber of Commerce, lenders, and volunteer groups such as the Service Corps of Retired Executives, so that within one year they have the velocity and wherewithal to 'graduate" from the Incubator into a currently vacant storefront.....creating jobs, and producing Sales Tax Revenue. 

The "High Tech Workspace" is modeled on "Co-Working" trend which is growing in popularity and practice. Popular with programmers, salespersons, and other solo practitioners, this is the new way to will find a lot of these people at Starbucks. There is a place for them in our Incubator too, they can benefit by the services the Incubator will offer, such as reception, conference room and other amenities.  If anyone out there reading this is interested in participating in our Incubator / High Tech Workspace as a user, please contact me.

Gary Mondfrans -2 Year Seat

A climate of leadership needs to be created in order to counter the present reputation that Pacifica is not business friendly, by streamlining the application and approval process at City Hall, and by outreaching and promoting Pacifica and our city's position as the Gateway to the San Mateo south coast. The opening of the Devil's Slide Tunnel Bypass will present tremendous opportunities to discover Pacifica and to drive coastal Devil's Slide for the last time before the old roadway is closed open and that open even more opportunity in the future for so many more to safely explore our south coast after the bypass tunnel is open.

Pacifica city staff has already been given direction to find ways to make the permit and application process more expedited and streamlined and that needs to be followed through from the top down.

Mike O'Neill - 2 Year Seat

Outreach to business, commercial brokers, and franchise operators.  Depending on cost look at setting up booths at trade shows.  We need to do outreach and share our demographics 65% are between the ages of 25 to 54, 63% have a household income of $75,000 or higher, 81% regularly dine out.

I think we need to pay attention to the needs of business and will talk to individual businesses to hear the concerns.  I will also be willing to visit and chat with usurious landlords.  I will be willing to make the tough calls that need to be done.

Rich Campbell - 2 Year Seat

            -Promote establishment of a sprint triatholon in Pacifica to capture recreational sports market.