Thursday, February 28, 2013

CA portion of the gas tax is increasing to 39.5 cents, 7/1/13

Gasoline excise and sales tax are "perfect" for our weak Pacifica economy.  Not much development needed. Just drive through, stop, fill-up, and leave.   

San Francisco Chronicle, Kathleen Pender Net Worth Plus column, 2/28/13.  "California gasoline tax to jump by 3.5 cents a gallon July 1."

Even so, we appreciate your business
"The statewide excise tax on gasoline will rise by 3.5 cents to 39.5 cents per gallon starting July 1. The California Board of Equalization approved the increase by a 3-2 vote Thursday.

This is the by far the biggest annual increase since the Legislature approved a convoluted system for setting gasoline taxes in 2010 as a way to help fill a hole in the general fund that year.

The legislation lowered the sales tax rate on gasoline to 2.25 from 8.25 percent and raised the excise tax rate to 35.3 cents from 18 cents per gallon starting July 1, 2010. It required this so-called fuel tax swap to be revenue neutral, meaning the tax revenue generated by the two taxes combined should not change as a result of the swap. The legislation required the board to adjust the excise tax by March 1 each year to achieve revenue neutrality, with the change taking effect July 1.  .... Because the sales tax rate is a percentage, not a per-gallon amount like the excise tax, sales taxrevenues vary considerably based on gasoline prices and consumption.Read article.

RelatedFederal, State excise, sales taxes (any local taxes are not included. Wikipedia, 1/13, "Fuel taxes in the United States" (State and Federal combined):  California has the 2nd highest combined gasoline tax  in the nation,  gasoline 67.1, diesel 75.3. Compare to New York with the highest combined gas tax,  gasoline 69, diesel 75.4.  Or, Gas Price, (source the American Petrolum Institute 4/20/12), California combined gasoline tax is 69, diesel 79.5. Compare to New York gasoline 69.6, diesel 75.1.  These taxes do not include any additional local taxes.  Earlier sources for comparison:  CA government Energy Almanac,7/1/10,  and,  Fueling California Consumer Alliance, 4/2009, 7 page pdf,

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Snapshot of 2 p.m. crime in Pacifica last week

This week Pacifica Tribune expanded their  weekly crime report to include each full day. The following includes only the 2 p.m. report (or if no 2 p.m. report, 1 p.m.).   Read more.

Caught on camera, that's right "we got ya!"
Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop and Elaine Larsen, 2/26/13.  "Police Beat"  

"Monday, 2/18 -  Someone who was pulled over for faulty headlights wants to dispute it.

Tuesday, 2/19 -  Driver driving erratically at Manor Center. And, Driver swerving and parked in the red zone at Linda Mar Center.

Wednesday, 2/20 - Woman dancing on stop sign pole at Hickey and Gateway.

Thursday, 2/21- Annoying telephone calls on Sterling Avenue, (1 pm, no crime at 2 pm).

Friday, 2/22 - Neighbors disturbed on Aurora Court as a neighbor is making threatening gestures.

Saturday, 2/23 -  Protesters blocking the overpass at Oceana Boulevard.

Sunday, 2/24 -  House on Crespi Drive egged overnight, (1 p.m, no crime at 2 p.m.)." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

See what California cities pay police, firefighters

2011 data -

Posted by Steve Sinai

Pacifica Index, City Council meeting review, 2/25/13

and other recent civic meetings.

                 Pacifica Index                  

City council meeting of February 25, 2013


With permission from Chris Fogel, Editor & Publisher
Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pacifica's roads are "at risk", among the worst in the bay area

This is an older report (6/23/11), discovered in an information search for the "Worst roads San Jose article, 2/24/13. Its doubtful that much has changed, unless Pacifica's ranking is possibly lower.    

From NBC Bay Area news, 6/23/11. "The streets of Millbrae, Pacifica, Woodside and East Palo Alto are the worst in the Bay, according to the  San Francisco Examiner. They're so bad that they need "immediate rehabilitative work" in order to alleviate tooth-jarring bumpy rides for residents, according to a report released Wednesday by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.  

The MTC scored all cities' roads on a 1-to-100 rating. East Palo Alto received the worst rating, a 53. Woodside received a 57, and Pacifica and Millbrae both ranked 59. Those ratings are all shaky enough to brand the roads "at risk."  

Street grades. The MTC compiled data for every Bay Area city to assign its Pavement Condition Index. Based on that score, each municipality fell into one of five categories — Very Good, Good, Fair, At-Risk, and Poor.


City Score
Very Good
Foster City 81
Redwood City 78
Burlingame 77
Daly City 77
San Mateo 73
South San Francisco 73
San Carlos 67
San Francisco 64
San Bruno 63
Millbrae 59
Pacifica 59
Woodside 57
East Palo Alto 53
Source: MTC
Posted by Kathy Meeh

Worst larger city roads, San Jose, CA is #1

Silicon Valley Mercury News/John Woolfolk, 2/24/13.  "San Jose road tax table."  "San Jose's roads are starting to fall apart after a decade of budgetary red ink. Cracks and potholes multiply like spring weeds, the pavement ranks worst in the county and motorists are griping more than ever about rougher rides through town.

Nope its San Jose, not Pacifica
City officials have a plan to fix all this, and will give it an airing before the City Council on March 5. But San Jose residents, grab your wallets, because it's going to cost you. "Funding sources we relied on over past decades are insufficient to cover current needs," said Hans Larsen, San Jose's transportation director.  The solution, he said, is new taxes -- plural. City officials aren't thinking about one tax measure but three to pay for San Jose's current and ongoing road repair and maintenance needs.

San Jose, not us again
.... Larsen has urged city officials to pursue the higher half-cent measure, arguing the estimated revenue of up to $64 million a year would be enough to ensure a significant slice for roads. A quarter-cent tax would deliver about half as much revenue.  Larsen also is recommending the city seek to "amend and extend" the 30-year half-cent countywide sales tax that voters approved in 2000 to pay for BART and other public transit. The idea would be to continue the tax forever and allow some of the proceeds to be spent on city streets instead of just transit.  But that's not all. To tackle the backlog of road repairs, Larsen is recommending a $295 million street repair bond measure, which would cost the average homeowner about $100 a year. San Francisco voters in 2011 passed a $248 million bond measure that included $148 million to repair streets, with the balance to be used for bikeways, sidewalks, traffic signals and curb ramps."  Read article.  Note:  Upper right picture from this article.  

Related -  San, 9/23/10. "It's official.  San Jose has the worst Roads." From the embedded National Transport Research Group (TRIP) report." San Jose has the worst roads in the U.S., with 64 percent of the city’s roads in poor condition."  Worst USA urban roads:  1) San Jose, 2) Los Angeles, 3) Honolulu, 4) Concord, CA, 5) San Francisco-Oakland, 6) New Orleans, 7) New York-Newark, 8) San Diego, 9) Indio-Palm Springs, 10) Baltimore, 11) Kansas City, 12) Riverside-San Bernardino, 13) Oklahoma City, 14) Sacramento, 15 Omaha, NE, 16) San Antonia, 17) Detroit, 18) Philadelphia, 19) Tulsa, 20) Dallas-Fort Worth.."The poor roads take a toll on local drivers, who end up paying $600 to $750 more on car repairs every year because of potholes, cracks, and bumps."  Note: lower left picture from this article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, February 25, 2013

City Council Meeting, today Monday, 2/25/13

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.   City Council Agenda, 2/25/13, direct.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Government in the Peninsula, week of 2/25/13

Palo Alto Daily News,/Peninsula/Daily News/Staff Report, 2/122/13.  "On the Docket."

Monday, February 25, 2013
175 heritage trees gone
Menlo Park - Planning Commission will consider  "approving a series of key steps that would allow the Facebook West Campus project to proceed, including a rezoning of the site and removal of 175 heritage trees." 
Redwood City -  City Council  will consider "installing synthetic turf at Fair Oaks School, assuming management of Docktown Marina and raising garbage collection rates." 
San Carlos -  City Council will "vote on a plastic bag ban, and discuss possible changes to the city's fire service agreement with Redwood City."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 
San Mateo County - Board of Supervisors will "vote on proposed garbage rate increases in North Fair Oaks and consider approving a lease agreement for the county-owned office building at 1 Circle Star Way."  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cutting edge tunnels poised to open

PACIFICA, Calif. (AP) — Two slick new mile-long tunnels are undergoing final safety tests this month, poised to divert motorists away from an ocean cliff-hanging roadway dubbed Devil's Slide south of San Francisco to a smooth, Alpine-like passageway unlike any in the U.S. today.

The $439 million project, paid with federal emergency funds, features massive exhaust fans, carbon monoxide sensors and a pair of 1,000-foot bridges soaring 125 feet above a grassy horse ranch. A series of 10 fireproof shelters are staggered between the double bores, and remote cameras dangle from the ceiling, monitored by an around-the-clock safety staff of 15.

The tunnels, the first in the U.S. designed and built with an Austrian technique, have a Euro-glossiness to them, with white, glistening walls and shiny pipes gliding down a rounded ceiling. There's a bit of theme park vibe as well, with retaining walls and fake boulders at the entrance sculpted by the man who shaped and molded Disneyland's Indiana Jones ride.

"A new highway tunnel is a rare beast in this country, and what they are doing at Devil's Slide is certainly different than anything we've seen in the U.S.," said Neil Gray, director of government affairs at the Washington, D.C.-based International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association.

The Tom Lantos Tunnels, named after the late congressman, are the first tunnels built in California in more than 50 years. There are only a handful of tunnels under construction in the U.S. today, including the Alaskan Way Tunnel in Seattle, and the fourth bore of the Caldecott Tunnel, just 34 miles east of Devil's Slide in the eastern San Francisco Bay area.

Unlike those tunnels built to relieve commuter congestion, this new pair, 15 miles south of San Francisco, will divert a treacherous 1.2-mile stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway that constantly erodes and frequently collapses.

It's a spectacular section of road that was never meant to be.


Posted by Steve Sinai

Pacifica Five-0 front parking lot closed on 2-25 and 2-26

On 02-25-13 and 02-26-13, the front parking lot of the Pacifica Police Department will be closed to accommodate large vehicles conducting maintenance on the building.

The police building will remain open to the public during this time, and visitors will be required to park in the overflow parking lot in front of the police department, adjacent to Highway 1.

Thank you for your patience during this brief period.

Jim Tasa
Chief of Police

Submitted by Captain Daniel Steidle, Pacifica PD

Endangered species? No problem, move them or grow them

Palo Alto Daily News/Staff, 2/22/13. "Starting anew:  Volunteers release Bay Checkerspot butterfly caterpillars into Edgewood County Park.

Euphydryas editha bayensis
This, Bay Checkerspot butterfly   
"Volunteers, under the direction of scientist Stuart Weiss, released 400 Bay Checkerspot caterpillars into Edgewood County Park and Natural Preserve in Redwood City on Thursday. 

Euphydryas editha bayensis
From that, Bay Checkerspot caterpillar
The park's butterfly population became extinct in 2003. The Bay Checkerspot butterfly is on the federal threatened list of endangered species.

The caterpillar release was done as part of a celebration commemorating the 20th anniversary of the park becoming a nature preserve. For more about Edgewood County Park, visit" 

RelatedBerkeley University, CAL photos, photographs are from this website.  San Mateo County, Edgewood Park in Redwood City, CA.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Whale migration watching time of the year, boat trips from Half Moon Bay

The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Sally Schilling, 2/23/13. "Underwater giants."  Four three-hour boat tours from Half Moon Bay are listed with phone numbers at the bottom of the article.

Visit Half Moon Bay
Wow, you may see this
More likely, you might see this  
For Tom Mattusch, captain of the Huli Cat, spotting whales is something you get a feel for after spending decades on the sea.  This year, he has already been out whale watching near Half Moon Bay a few times and seen gray whales, which are about 45 feet long, and the smaller minke whales.

The captain tells fantasy-like stories of his encounters with whales. Once a blue whale — the largest mammal on the planet at up to 98 feet long — was swimming right at his boat. As it went by, Mattusch looked down at a blowhole that could easily fit a five-gallon bucket, he said.

Most likely, you would see this
Gray whale migration.  This time of year, gray whales are migrating between the polar waters of Alaska and the warm lagoons in Baja California. This movement creates a spectacle for eager whale watchers boating out of Half Moon Bay. "We are on the gray whale highway," said Izzy Szczepaniak, a marine biologist who leads whale-watching tours for the Bay Area-based Oceanic Society.  ..."We have the opportunity to see them going both directions," he said.   Read article.

Related - Oceanic Society. "The annual gray whale migration, one of the world's most magnificent and accessible wildlife spectacles, is underway. Each year approximately 15,000 of an estimated total population of 17,500 gray whales swim south from Arctic feeding grounds, en route to their Baja California breeding and calving grounds."  Queen of Hearts. "Most of the migrating whales remain close to the coast, in water less than 100 fathoms (about 600 feet) deep." Coastal Views magazine. "Whale watching in Half Moon Bay." "It’s whale watching season again on the San Mateo County coast. Here are some popular venues."  Fix Pacifica articles, Whale migration.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pacifica Chamber of Commerce is good for business and the community

Pacifica Tribune, Courtney Conlon, Guest Columnist Columnist, 2/19/13. "Your Chamber Matters

Hey, careful who you hangout with
According to a national survey, it is an effective business strategy for businesses to be active in their local Chamber of Commerce. The Schapiro Group, an Atlanta-based strategic consulting firm, also found that two-thirds of consumers surveyed believe Chamber member companies use good business practices, are reputable, care about their customers and are involved in their community.

When you invest in your business by joining the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, we actively promote and support your business, which helps create a strong local economy. Being a membership-driven organization, we strongly believe that every Pacifica business will not find a greater return on their investment than belonging to the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce.

Your support allows us to continue to deliver on our five strategic core objectives:  •Creating a strong local economy, •Promoting business and the community, •Providing networking opportunities, •Representing the interests of business with government, •Endorsing political action.   Read article.

Reference Pacifica Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center.  Note:  Photograph from Pacifica Patch article, 10/15/12, "Cutting the tape on Goodwill Boutique," (Linda Mar Shopping Center).

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Goodbye Pete Pereira, we will miss you

Pete Pereira was a good friend in the effort to promote better city government and economic development.  He was also generous in lending his highway 1 lot for many community causes, including informational signs.  

Pete Pereira lived 87 years, died 2/14/13
Pacifica Tribune, 2/19/13.  "Life and times of longtime Pacifica custom home builder, mover Pete Pereira."

"Pete Pereira passed away peacefully Feb. 14, 2013, surrounded by his loving family in his Pacifica home of 58 years.

....  He then went on to develop and build custom homes throughout Pacifica and San Francisco. Pete left his mark on Pacifica and is well known for voicing his opinion on issues dear to his heart and his generous nature. He could often be found enjoying a meal at the Vallemar St ation, whether it be for a quick lunch or a large family gathering, where he would proudly announce "I started all this" as he toasted to his family with his decaf coffee.  ....  He will forever be missed but never forgotten. "  Read article, includes photograph. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, February 22, 2013

City Council meeting, Monday, February 25, 2013

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.  

City Council Agenda, 2/25/13.  Items listed may include embedded pdf documents, illustration and photographs of interest. Information below is from the city agenda documents.

Looking to skip a city council meeting?  Just saying...
A.    Closed session, (6:15 pm)
1 .   Government code 54957.6.  "Conference with labor negotiator. Agency negotiator: Ann Ritzma. Employee organizations: Pacifica Fire Fighters Local 2400; Teamsters Local 856 Battalion Chiefs; Department Directors Local 350.
2.    Government code 54954.5 (b)."Conference with real property negotiator. Discussion will concern price and terms of payment. Property: APN 023-132-160 1050 Crespi Dr. Agency representatives attending session: Steve Rhodes. Negotiating parties: City of Pacifica and Spindrift School of Performing Arts."

B.   Open session, (7:00 pm)  -  Closed session report 
Consent Calendar  
1.    Approval of cash disbursements. 1/30/13 to 2/08/13, fiscal year 2012/13. 
2.    Minutes of  the 2/11/13 meeting.
3.    Approval of amendment 10, Wilsey Ham (Engineering, Planning, Surveying consultants).  Route 1 San Pedro Creek Bridge Replacement and Creek Widening ProjectAdditional  budget, from Highway 1 Fund 12, $164,467 (to be reimbursed by San Mateo County Transportation Authority, SMCTA. This is a $13 million project.  
 4.   Amendment to Resolution 64-2008, "Palmetto Underground Utility District" ordering removal of overhead structures, wires and installation of underground wires and facilities": date change only to "not later than 12/31/14." Cost is taken by PG&E from Pacifica's Rule 20A credits, currently valued at $4,090,982. 
 5.    Form a city council subcommittee (2 members) to consider formal, standard reporting requirements for budgeted city non government organizations (NGO's), discussion.   
6.   Designate a city council liaison to the Beautification Advisory Committee, amendment to Resolution 58-2012, creating the Committee.
7.   Selection of search firm for City Manager recruitment. City council subcommittee (Stone and Nihart) recommend that "city council interview Alliance Resource Consulting, Inc. and Avery Associates."   

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Nine golf students' synchronized hole in one

Rewarding, unified focus and task accomplished, bravo!  

New York Daily News/Lee Moran, 2/18/13. " Video:  Holy hole in one times nine!  Golfers sink simultaneous putts in same hole.Seniors at North Carolina's Campbell University accomplish neat feat in viral video.  

9 Putts Into One Hole
Hole in one video, noisy 34 seconds 
"Seniors at Campbell University's PGA Golf Management program, in North Carolina, performed the stunt for a student association sponsored contest.

Two cameras captured the action - which has now been seen online more than 12,000 times - from different angles. Students at the private Baptist University said they were thrilled with the feat - which beat the best efforts of the Golf Academy of America in Apopka, Florida.

Seniors in the Sunshine State (Florida) rose to fame last year with a similar stunt, but only managed to sink six shots in a row."  

Related Article -  ABC 15 news/Jason Davis, 2/18/13. "The Campbell University PGA Golf Management program has a competition each month between the different classes. The January competition was to see how many people could line up and make a putt at the same time.  The winner was their senior class with nine people simultaneously sinking a putt. You could call it a hole-in-nine!"

Reference - Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, Campbell University PGA Golf Management."The PGA Golf Management Program at Campbell University allows students to acquire the specialized knowledge and skills necessary for success in the golf industry. Students at Campbell University will earn a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with a major in PGA Golf Management. Students will begin taking golf specific courses beginning with the first semester on campus. Class topics include Tournament Operations & Rules, Introduction to Teaching, Facility Operations, Turfgrass Management, and Golf Shop Operations. In addition to the extensive classroom studies, students are required to complete the PGA’s Golf Management Program, pass the Playing Ability Test (PAT), and complete 16 months of internship work experience."

Note:  The above are short articles, what you see is what you get.  The best video to view is the you tube under the photograph above.  The others include advertising.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Speier Corps Volunteer Opportunities (including @ Sharp Park)

February 21, 2013

Dear Friends,

This time of year, I like to send thanks to everyone who gives a helping hand to those most in need. Many of you joined your friends and neighbors on January 19 for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service, volunteering your time to serve your community. Now I invite you to keep the momentum going and continue your engagement with public service, and consider registering for an upcoming event with the Speier Corps team of volunteers.

If you have already participated in previous Speier Corps activities, you know how much fun it is to work together. We have sorted and packaged holidays gifts for underprivileged children, planted, painted and cleaned up local County parks, and volunteered for CORA and Second Harvest Food Bank. Looking forward, we are planning three opportunities over the next month, which I hope you will join if you have the free time to do so:

SPEIER CORPS DAY on San Bruno Mountain on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 9AM- 12PM
We need 20-30 volunteers to weed and paint the Edward Bacciocco Jr. Group Area on San Bruno Mountain. This is a .3 mile walk up from the main parking area at 555 Guadalupe Canyon Parkway, Brisbane. Please wear comfortable attire appropriate for the weather and outdoor work. Water and snacks will be available for breaks. San Mateo County Parks will provide all needed materials, such as tools and gloves.

Please register here.

SPEIER CORPS DAY at Sharp Park, Pacifica on Friday, March 8, 2013, 9AM-12PM
This is a unique volunteer opportunity to help support the habitat of the endangered red legged frog by removing invasive ice plant alongside Natural Areas’ Program staff. Due to the sensitive nature and bio-monitoring required for this project, we have limited space for just 20 volunteers. More specific site information will be sent to registrants.

Please register here.

SPEIER CORPS DAY at Lake Merced, San Francisco on Saturday, March 16, 2013, 9AM-12PM
Learn more about Lake Merced and support the community that relies on this incredible park resource in the heart of the Park Merced neighborhood. Volunteers will engage in habitat and park restoration, with an opportunity to plant new sites after removing debris. We can accommodate up to 60 volunteers. More specific site information will be sent to registrants.

Please register here.

Please remember to regularly check my website for future volunteer opportunities and legislative updates from Capitol Hill. To learn about legislation that raises awareness of national service and expands service opportunities for all Americans, visit the webpages of the National Service Caucus.

If you have any questions about the Speier Corps, please contact my Volunteer Coordinator, Judy Bloom at or call my District Office at 650-342-0300.

All the best,


Washington D.C. Office
211 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3531
Fax: (202) 226-4183
San Mateo Office
155 Bovet Road, Suite 780
San Mateo, CA 94402
Phone: (650) 342-0300
Fax: (650) 375-8270

Posted by Steve Sinai

City council is responsive

But who has city council been listening too?  The budget problems are structural.  The easy answer is more taxes and fees again, and the economic development solutions are always just 5 years away. 

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 2/19/13.  "Budget problems" by Gayle Fried 

10 year city deterioration solution
"Editor:  Due to the reports of Pacifica's budget problems, I called four members of our city council. Three returned my calls, one did not. When I asked their priorities, the answer was the Resource Center first. Why public safety, i.e. police, fire and roads for them to travel on, wasn't even mentioned amazes and upsets me.

The replies told me these folks are equating public safety with community television (accessible only if you have cable, yet all of us pay for it) and the visitor center etc.

To me, public safety is the No. 1 priority. After that money, plus funds for a reasonable reserve are allocated, the council should articulate priorities for the taxes left. In the Feb. 13 Tribune, one council person stated, "that the $108,792 funding for six months of library hours, community television and the Resource Center are not going to put us on the brink of bankruptcy." How about $217,584 for a year? What are the council's priorities?  

The message is that only budget items that cost more need to be considered for cuts. I truly cannot understand equating the visitor center, community television, etc. with public safety.  Is this the budgeting process of our city's elected officials?" 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

City sideways budget solutions

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 2/19/13.  "Budget solutions?" by Bob Hutchinson

"Editor:  What a surprise! Reported in the Tribune last week, Pacifica has less than $700,000 in reserves. That's barely enough to pay two weeks salary to city employees. We are now less than one lawsuit away from bankruptcy. 

Celebrating our city
Hey, but they have some great ideas to fix Pacifica's impending insolvency. Yep, you guessed it. Tax us more. That's a great solution, tax tax tax tax tax. Oh yeah, I forgot. Cut services too, cut cut cut cut cut. Give us less and make us pay more, that's the ticket.

And all the while we have dozens of city department heads and managers making well over $100,000 a year. Many making $150,000 to $200,000 a year or more. And not one peep about making cuts here. Not a peep.

But they say, "Oh, but we made big cuts to wages in 2011; we can't cut them any more now." Well, the numbers on the State website don't bear that out. According to the State Controllers site Pacifica increased total wages and benefits by $260,169 in 2011. And we increased another $333,023 from 2009 to 2010. Why then are our officials telling us they cut $1.5 million in wages and/or benefits in 2011?  

You can easily see all the city wage and benefit information here on the State Controllers website for 2009, 2010 and 2011:  Pacifica government compensation (scroll down).  The State made cities post this information after officials in Bell, Calif. paid themselves a little too well and are now facing prosecution.

But some say "oh, we can't cut salary because people will just go work somewhere else." Where are they going to go? Every city is cutting salaries. San Jose and many others cut 10 percent last year. And private industry is not hiring much nor do they pay at these levels for these kinds of positions. California's unemployment rate is still at 9.8 percent. There are plenty of highly qualified skilled people willing to work for much less.

Many of Pacifica's taxpayers suffered large reductions in pay and benefits since 2007. Many seniors are on fixed incomes. Why should taxpayers that are already hurting be asked to pay more so that management in Pacifica can ride the gravy train?

So call, email or write your council members and tell them we don't need more taxes. We don't need to cut services. Tell them to cut back on the absurd amounts being paid to the upper management people making up to $200,000 a year before you try and make us pay more.  And while you're at it ask them what ever happened to the police outsourcing report that we paid over $20,000 for. How can we decide about outsourcing without the facts? And who were they to decide for us?" 

ReferenceCity councilmembers website, includes phone numbers and email addresses.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Sharp Park Sea Wall Closed For Renovation

Blogmaster's note: I normally won't post things sent in without full names, but I received the following and it seemed pretty harmless.


These notices were posted on both ends of the seawall west of the Sharp Park Golf Course. Could it be that somebody is actually trying to fix (a very small piece) of Pacifica? Maybe fixing some of the erosion rills identified in the December 2009 ARUP assessment of the seawall?

Submitted by Ed O.

Cancelled civic meetings Wednesday, February 20, 2013

City council budget study session - cancelled.  A City Council budget study session was held February 13, 2013, and another is scheduled March 20, 2013. 

Open Space committee meeting - cancelled.  "The Open Space Committee generally meets on the third Wednesday of every-other month."

See the City Calendar  for other meetings of interest.

Posted by Kathy Meeh 

Twittered, as in hacked (been there)

San Mateo County Times/Associated Press Business, Candice Choi and Joshua Freed, 2/18/13., "Burger King Twitter account hacked, made to look like McDonald's"

Shop fronts of Burger King and McDonald's
Separate, competitive companies
Tweet:  "Hello, you just got sold to McDonald's"
"Somebody hacked Burger King's Twitter account on Monday, posting obscene messages and changing its profile picture to a McDonald's logo.

The tweets stopped after a little more than an hour, and Burger King said it had reached out to Twitter to suspend the account. A Twitter spokesman did not immediately respond to a phone message left on Monday. .... But just after noon EST on Monday, someone tweeted via Burger King's account, "We just got sold to McDonalds!" They also changed the icon to rival McDonald Corp.'s golden arches and the account's background picture to McDonald's new Fish McBites.

....  About 55 tweets and retweets followed over the next hour and a quarter, including some that contained racial epithets, references to drug use and obscenities. The account tweeted: "if I catch you at a wendys, we're fightin!"  

...  White House officials and some lawmakers are pursuing legislation that would make it easier for the government and industry to share information on how to defend against hacking.  .... Twitter acknowledged on Feb. 1 that cyber attackers may have stolen user names and passwords of 250,000 users. ...."  Read article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Planning commission meeting tonight, 2/19/13

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 website,  and  Planning Commission archives. 

Planning Commission Agenda, 2/19/13, includes Staff Report, project summary, recommendations and findings, 15 pages.  Fix Pacifica article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, February 18, 2013

PH1A - a flu virus or what?

In 2006, this was pretty much the same group that claimed that there was too much traffic to let the quarry be developed.

Now it seems we don't have enough traffic to justify the repair and safety additions. This also reads like a list of those most responsible for the financial morass we find ourselves in after 30 years of development obstructionism.

Jim Wagner

Pacifica Five-0's Captain Realyvasquez moves on

After 26 years with the Pacifica PD, in addition to 3 years as a reserve, Captain Fernando Realyvasquez has decided to retire from the Pacifica PD. He has accepted a position with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department.

Good luck, Captain Realyvasquez.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Millbrae working toward economic development

From growth as a bedroom community, Millbrae is investing to develop and balance economic development. 
The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Healther Hurtagh, 2/16/13.  "Millbrae puts focus on economic development."

From the hill
Looking at the bay
"Step one to spurring development and increased revenue: Create a plan. Millbrae is hoping a plan accepted by the City Council Tuesday will be that first step. The Economic Development Plan, put together by Kelly Associate Management Group, outlines what the city currently has, how it could improve and what steps should be taken in both the short and long term. Now staff will create a timeline for completing tasks ahead as well as a budget for achieving the goals.

Mayor Gina Papan explained it's about investing in the city to boost tax income down the road from hotels and retail. There was a little extra in the current budget which could be put toward such an investment, she said.  The report found that Millbrae needs "to embrace programs that entice unique boutique services and retailers. With the [BART/Caltrain station] being a major transportation magnet, the city's goal needs to be to maximize that opportunity."  

Bart transportation
Parks, trails, open space
Specifically, the suggestions focus on the city achieving five goals: retail enhancement, job diversification, business retention and expansion, improved development processing and external communications. In the short term, this will include creating marketing material, enhancing the city's website for economic development, working with hotels to shuttle people to and from downtown, fixing downtown parking issues, supporting more downtown events and encouraging family-owned recreational businesses in town. The goal will include revisiting the city's general plan and using capital improvement funds to assist in key infrastructure projects, according to the report.".    Read article.

ReferenceCity of Millbrae.  And

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Government problem solving in Washington DC, and in Pacifica

Aka:  waiting for some outside force to fix Pacifica...

The New Yorker/Andy Borowitz, 2/17/13. The Borowitz Report, the news reshuffled (spoof), "House science committee questions existence of meteors."

Another Task Force "spot on the map" plan to bring tourism to Pacifica
"The chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology said today that the committee would hold hearings next week “to settle the question, once and for all, of whether meteors exist.”

“The media has been in something of a frenzy recently on this whole topic of meteors,” said chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas). “I think it’s irresponsible of them to frighten the public about something that, at the end of the day, may be about as real as unicorns.”

....  As for the scientific theory that meteors may have killed the dinosaurs, Rep. Smith chuckled, “That theory would also have us believe that there were dinosaurs.”   Read more.

RelatedCNN, 2/18/13, article and embedded videos. "Russian scientists track down fragments of Urals meteor."  "Scientists from Urals Federal University found 53 small meteorites on the surface of the lake and believe a larger fragment is under water, said Viktor Grokhovsky, the scientist who led the effort.
The fragments point to a rocky meteor with about 10% iron mixed in, Grokhovsky told CNN."

San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press, 2/15/13. "Skyfall: Meteorites strike Earth every few months." 
Q. What's the difference between a meteor and a meteorite?  A. Meteors are pieces of space rock, usually from larger comets or asteroids, which enter the Earth's atmosphere. Many are burned up by friction and the heat of the atmosphere, but those that survive and strike the Earth are called meteorites. They often hit the ground at tremendous speed — up to 30,000 kilometers an hour (18,650 mph) — releasing a huge amount of energy, according to the European Space Agency.  Q: How often do meteorites hit Earth? A: Experts say smaller strikes happen five to 10 times a year. Large meteors such as the one in Russia on Friday are rarer, but still occur about every five years, according to Addi Bischoff, a mineralogist at the University of Muenster in Germany. Most of them fall over uninhabited areas where they don't injure humans.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Presidents' Day, Monday, 2/18/13

The Washington Post political blog, "Happy Presidents' Day", Anne Groer, 2/17/13.  Review of The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia.
Perfect President's Day Reading: "The Smithsonian Book of Presidenital Trivia"
 What could possibly be unusual, or go wrong?
"Happy Presidents’ Day, that concocted celebration marking the birth of Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12) George Washington (Feb. 22) and the other 42 chief executives. Dreamed up by Congress–which always seems to be on recess— P-Day is part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act giving workers several long weekends a year.

Sure, you can shop the sales or clean out the garage this Feb. 18, if you’re lucky enough to be off.  But I suggest curling up with “The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia” by Amy Pastan, which provides copious ammo to start or settle a barroom wager or dinner table debate. The breezy guide is way more fun than Google, Bing or Yahoo! and, as befits a tome from America’s storied museum complex—aka “the nation’s attic”—it is long on White House esoterica.

Such as?  The first lawyer to win the White House? John Adams, who would be succeeded by 24 other men possessed of legal training, heaven help us. Moreover, at just 5’4″, Adams remains our shortest president. (Got that, Mayor Bloomberg?)"   Read article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacifican Care award for community service, Tuesday, 2/19/13

Pacifica Tribune, 12/12/13. Pacificans Care names Helen James and Pacifica Rotary as 'People who care" award recipients."

"The Board of Directors of Pacificans Care will present its 2012 'People Who Care' Award to long time community volunteer Helen James and the Rotary Club of Pacifica for their outstanding contributions to the community. The People Who Care Award was created by Pacificans Care to recognize individuals, organizations and/or businesses, who through their actions have significantly contributed to making Pacifica a community that cares. The award will be presented at an evening reception at the Community Center on Tuesday, Feb. 19, starting at 7 p.m. Friends of the recipients and members of the community are invited to attend the presentation. Refreshments will be served after the festivities.

Pacificans Care, Pacifica's community foundation, was created in 1982 to provide supplemental support to Pacifica Child Care and Senior Services, the Pacifica Resource Center, a project of the Tides Foundation, and the Pacifica Youth Services Bureau, now affiliated with YMCA. Over the years Pacificans Care has provided more than $580,000 to support the specific needs of these core agencies including senior transportation services, Meals-on-Wheels programs, facility renovations and furnishings, child safety programs, counseling services in schools, field trips for youngsters, and emergency funds for families in need. All the donations collected by Pacificans Care go directly to Pacificans." 

Locals helping locals.. 
And welcome to Pacifica!
Reference Pacificans Care organization,"about".  "Every year since then, Pacificans Care has worked to raise funds and to allocate them to meet specific agency needs, as identified in grant applications, including:
• senior transportation, • meals on-wheels vehicles, • facility renovations and furnishings, • staff supplementation, • child safety programs, • field trips for youngsters, • audiovisual and electronic equipment, • staff funding, • counseling fees, • operating support."   Honored award recipients:  Rotary Club of Pacifica, and Helen James.

Related - Memories of Pacifica, told by Helen James, 7:54 minute video.  They bought their Linda Mar rancher on Washington's birthday, February 22, 1954.

Posted by Kathy Meeh