Sunday, March 31, 2013

San Mateo County 10 year 1/2 cent sales tax to take effect

County sales tax collection occurs from Monday, April 1, 2013, and that's no kidding.

Worse?  April 1st could be your birthday
The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Heather Murtaugh, 3/30/13.  "Sales tax rising on Monday:  Half Moon Bay's rate is 9.5 percent, countywide rate is 9 percent and San Mateo is 9.25 percent."

....  "Voters passed two separate half-cent sales taxes last year, both of which take effect April 1. Nearly two-thirds of San Mateo County voters approved Measure A, a half-cent sales tax measure aimed at generating millions for a wide range of needs including seismic upgrades at Daly City-based private Seton Medical Center which heavily bankrolled its campaign. Measure J, a half-cent sales tax that will raise about $870,000 annually over the next three years for Half Moon Bay, also passed.

This will be the second spike in sales tax this year. On Jan. 1, a quarter-cent hike went into effect as part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 tax package to support education. On Monday, two others go into effect."

....  All the new tax rates have end dates. Proposition 30 is set to end in 2016. The San Mateo County measure has a 10-year life. Half Moon Bay’s higher tax rate will last for three years.   Read more.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Planning Commission passes 355,000 housing development in the quarry

Nope, sorry just another Planning Commission cancellation.

Planning Commission Cancellation Notice, 4/1/13
Economic development in Pacifica?  You've got to be kidding any day.

"Notice is hereby given that the regular scheduled meeting of the planning commission of April  1, 2013 has been cancelled." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Easter Day, March 31, 2013

Along side the religious traditions, there is the fun and the Easter Bunny.
Happy Easter and Happy Spring too! 

Hunt to the Easter eggs
Oh-oh, "What does the Easter Bunny have to do with Easter?"

  .... "The first Easter Bunny legend was documented in the 1500s. By 1680, the first story about a rabbit laying eggs and hiding them in a garden was published. These legends were brought to the United States in the 1700s, when German immigrants settled in Pennsylvania Dutch country, according to the Center for Children's Literature and Culture.

The tradition of making nests for the rabbit to lay its eggs in soon followed. Eventually, nests became decorated baskets and colorful eggs were swapped for candy, treats and other small gifts."  Note:  The rabbit and eggs photograph are from

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Highway 1 traffic congestion is a safety hazard

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 3/27/13.  "Rt. 1 traffic hurts safety" by Sharon Ferguson

Here comes the fire department
"Editor:  I believe the retired Pacifica firefighters when they say Rt. 1 traffic congestion hurts emergency vehicle response times. That is a common sense statement. You can see the delay as you sit in it. And here comes more traffic from the opened tunnel! The delays from Rockaway to Vallemar slow everyone down including fire trucks and ambulances.

Now we have lawyer Bohner playing with the facts when it suits his desire to stop all Highway 1 safety improvements. Bohner claims a fire department "spokesman" says he is not aware of emergency response delays. Mr. Bohner artfully omitted the end of the first sentence and the entire second sentence of the actual statement.

Pacifica landslide rescue
This time not your house
Here is the real two sentence quotation, without Mr. Bohner's selective manipulation: "North County Fire Authority spokesman Matt Lucett said he is not aware of Highway 1 congestion causing the failure of any emergency vehicles to meet 911 response time requirements, but can see the advantage to widening the road. "We definitely would agree it's a good thing. Any time we might be able to improve traffic flow would be beneficial, whether we're responding to an incident on the freeway or using that freeway as a corridor to get to an incident," Lucett said. Here is what the retired battalion chiefs have said, and they drove the trucks in actual traffic: "Emergency Services need a Rt. 1 Fix.

This time not you
"We are retired professional firefighters who have served i in Pacifica collectively for over 100 years. We support the Rt. 1 traffic bottle neck solution being considered. "It is imperative that Rt. 1 be widened with improved east-west turning lanes for very sound reasons. Safety, in our opinion, is the number one reason this improvement needs to be facilitated as soon as possible. Our firefighters are dedicated, hard-working professionals. We understand the consequences that delays in help can cause. The condition on Rt 1 at this choke point is intolerable. "Everyone has seen the commute traffic congestion. Couple this traffic density with poor road shoulders and you have a problem with emergency vehicles getting through. A break down, accident or flat tire only makes matters worse. We have heard the arguments that 'it's only a 15 minute delay.' 15 MINUTES! 15 minutes can be the difference between life and death for someone suffering from an accident or heart attack.

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

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

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

So who are you going to believe? Firefighters responding to actual emergencies or a lawyer who finds every possible excuse to oppose a safety modernization to the Coast Highway?" 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, March 29, 2013

Coffee with Mayor Len Stone, Saturday, March 30, 10-11:30 a.m.

"Come and meet the new Mayor of Pacifica.  Len Stone will be at Kerri's Coffee Shop in Linda Mar Shopping Center on Saturday, March 30, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Bring your questions, concerns and even complaints." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Unfair highway 1 widening Easter message from the environmental riptide

Dan Underhill comment from Pacifica Riptide, 3/29/13, March 27, 2013, 9:27 PM

Politicians will take credit for the Tunnel
Politicians are crooks
"I'm beginning to think that organized crime contacts every public officeholder and threatens to kneecap all of their loved ones if that officeholder even thinks of ACTUALLY serving the people instead of the criminals at  the top. 

We have protested in large numbers that fail to be counted, written letters, spoken out in every possible way, and what we get is whatever the crooks want. The tunnel is the exception that proves the rule, but I really think that the powers that be either figured how a tunnel could work to their advantage or it wasn't very important to them either way. 

Got any of that environmentally friendly rabbit stew?
I am sure that politicians who fought furiously against the tunnel will be taking credit for there being one for some years to come. Caltrans magnanimously offered us the choice between a really wide highway or an extra super wide highway.  We will get to fund it or not when the FEIR comes out.

My take on it is this: If one gets a fabulous grant of money to fund the weapon and the ammunition for you to shoot yourself in the foot, it still doesn't make shooting yourself in the foot a good idea. 

I have nothing but admiration for City Council member Sue Digre, and from watching the lineup at that council meeting, I expect it has cost her. I will make time to walk precincts for her next election."

Related - Ballotpedia, "Pete DeJarnatt and Sue Digre recall, Pacifica, CA (2012)."  Lower photograph from  Pacifica Patch, 3/14/12.  Related link, photographs, captions are the choice of the poster.

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sharp Park levee project raises environmentalists’ ire

A project that repaired a beachfront pathway adjacent to the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica has environmental groups once again concerned about the direction of the San Francisco-maintained property.

The Recreation and Park Department, which manages the Sharp Park open space and golf course, recently completed a small re-grading project on a levee that acts as a path along the beach. The department filled in some potholes and leveled off the berm in some places, but it also left behind a new pile of large boulders on the beach.

The Surfrider Foundation and the Wild Equity Institute — two environmental groups that have sued Rec and Park over its plans for the coastal golf course — consider the boulder placement an act of “armoring” the beach, a practice shunned by conservationists.

Posted by Steve Sinai

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Police Services contracting proposals

Computer page 51, Section 7. Cost Analysis, Sheriff Contract.  "Revised savings of contract:  $1,758,561." 

Submitted by Bob Hutchinson

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Highway 1 widening, what traffic? Ha, ha...

 Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 3/27/13.  "Highway 1" by Bob Hutchinson

"Here we go again. The same old motley crew (that put our little city in such a great place) is at it again. Previously they were against any building at the quarry because of the terrible traffic jams it would create.

Now the "gang of no" is against widening Highway One because there IS no traffic. 

No traffic in Pacifica, because no people
Sue Digre, the last of the hippie's leaders on city council has managed put highway widening on the agenda this week to try and throw a wrench in the project.

I hope our other councilmembers do not allow anymore delays in this long over due project. Pacifica Firefighters, emergency workers and PD have all said that widening Highway One is a matter of life and death. We've studied this long enough. Enough meetings, enough public input, enough delay tactics.

BTW, I'm very proud of Councilman Mike O'Neill and how he has been looking out for Pacificans. I was disappointed that other council members recently voted to keep police outsourcing off the table until 2014. Haven't we been stabbed in the back enough on this? I hope the other councilmembers realize Mr. O'Neill won his seat by a huge margin. He has a very strong mandate from the people of Pacifica to drastically change the direction from the destructive secretive path of the past. He is a breath of fresh air. You go, Mike!"

Note:  The photograph above is  from Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, San Pedro Valley Park. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Highway 1 coastal road improvements will move ahead in Pacifica

"What are the takeaways from the final completion of the Devil's Slide tunnel? Well, the button worn at Monday's tunnel opening says it all -- in Pacifica we are not finished with the Rt. 1 safety improvements. 

Think highway safety
One with the people
But the tunnel's long road to completion should be instructive in Pacifica's effort to fix a one-mile bottleneck on Rt. 1. Forty years to tunnel completion because way too many people argued is troubling.

The upside is the tunnel was completed in a very environmentally productive manner. Endangered species were protected and even moved to a larger, more protected site down the coast. Native California plant species were used in the landscaping. A large group of Bay Area elected officials from Congress and supervisor to city councils all assisted in the funding.

One with nature
The same geography that made Devil's Slide a funnel for coast traffic also affects Pacifica. We are defined by the same coast geography that funnels fully 50 percent of Pacifica traffic through the Rockaway-Vallemar stretch of road. When you have only one north-south road, safety becomes paramount.   

Even a Pacifican can figure it out
In discussions with elected officials and invited guests during Monday's tunnel opening, we came away with a renewed belief that Pacifica's safety improvements on Rt. 1 will continue to move ahead. Half Moon Bay is also making long-awaited improvements to their Rt.1 lifeline. The congested 92 and Rt. 1 intersection with Main Street has been vastly improved to everyone's relief.

So the real tunnel lesson? Say yes to a long overdue congestion and safety solution on a one-mile stretch of road that currently holds up thousands of Pacifica residents a day. We can improve this stretch of road in an environmentally conscious manner.

That is not only common sense but it's the law. We can draw upon the support of area-elected officials to secure the funding. The tunnel has shown us the way." 

These opinions are those of Mr. Wagner and Mr. Stechbart and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Pacifica Tribune.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacifica Index, City Council meeting review, 3/25/13

Also see other recent civic meetings, and featured articles.

  Pacifica Index

       City Council meeting of March 25, 2013

        With permission from Chris Fogel, Editor & Publisher

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacifica Index, City Consultant cost, 2012 through 2008

Scroll past the 3/25/13 City Council meeting.

Pacifica Index

             CONSULTANTS, 2012 through 2008

              A City Consultant listing provided by Therese Dyer

             With permission from Chris Fogel, Editor & Publisher

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Release of Contracting Report and Scheduling of Community Meetings on the Report


In 2012, Management Partners was tasked with analyzing data and information related to the possible contracting out of police services.  In July of 2012 Management Partners prepared a verbal and power point presentation which was never finalized into a written report.  A written version of that presentation is being completed by Management Partners and that public record will be available on March 28th at City Hall and on the Citys website at under City Focus on the homepage.
To provide additional information and answer questions with regard to the Management Partners written report, the City has scheduled two public forums which will be held:
•   April 4th at 6:00PM in the Council Chambers located at 2212 Beach Boulevard
•   April 6th at 9:30AM in the Mildred Owen Concert Hall located at 1220 Linda Mar
At the forums a representative of Management Partners will present the report and respond to questions regarding the information contained in the report. These forums are informational only and no action or deliberation by the City Council will be undertaken.
Members of the public are encouraged to submit questions regarding the report in advance by sending them to the City Clerk or by email to .
For further information, contact City Manager Steve Rhodes at 650-738-7401
Kathy O’Connell
City Clerk
City of Pacifica
170 Santa Maria Ave.
Pacifica, CA  94044
(650) 738-7307

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Devil's Slide twin tunnels opened at 2 a.m. this morning

ABC 7 News/Bay Area Traffic, 3/26/13.  "Devil's Slide twin tunnels now open to traffic."

Pacifica highway 1 here I come
Traffic is flowing smoothly through California's newest tunnel system at Devil's Slide in San Mateo County today, a California Highway Patrol officer said. 

Beginning at about 2 a.m. today, traffic was permanently redirected away from a notorious cliffside stretch of state Highway 1 south of Pacifica and steered instead into the Tom Lantos Tunnels, CHP Officer Mike Ferguson said. There have been no reports of any problems, he said.
The tunnels, a pair of north- and southbound bores that run 4,200 feet through San Pedro Mountain, are California's longest tunnels and are the first to open in the state since the Caldecott Tunnel was unveiled in Oakland in 1964, according to Caltrans."  Read more, includes embedded video drive through the tunnel this morning, 1:25 minutes.  Note:  photograph from HNTB News, 3/26/13, includes video, 1.31 minutes.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Recent Comments

Blogmaster's update - I found an ugly Recent Comments widget, but at least it's working. I'll see if I can pretty it up when I get the chance.

As some of you have noticed, the Recent Comments section on the left stopped working. I went to replace it a few minutes ago, and the site where I get the code says it's currently broken.

I went to a couple of other Blogger sites that have Recent Comments, and they aren't working, either. It looks like the source of the problem is at Blogger's end. I'll keep fiddling around, but we may have to wait for Blogger to fix it.

This seems to happen about once a year.

Steve Sinai

Monday, March 25, 2013

Coastside Preparedness Day, April 6th

The San Mateo County Sheriff's Office of Emergency Services in conjunction with the City of Half Moon Bay is pleased to invite you all to attend a great event for the Coastside community.   
Community Preparedness Fair and Grand Opening of The New San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Department Emergency Operations Center 
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on April 6th, 2013 
537 Kelly Street, Half Moon Bay 
The Sheriff's Half Moon Bay Substation 
Opening comments will be delivered by Sheriff Munks at 10:00 AM 
This event will be an opportunity for the public to see special resources that operate in the Coastside community, receive information on preparedness, and see the new Department Operations Center. 
The new DOC will be a hub for information and coordination in times of emergency, providing the community a command center capable of helping in the recovery from a significant disaster.   
Exhibitors providing emergency preparedness information will include: 
San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, San Mateo County Search and Rescue, Coastside Fire Protection District, CalFire, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oil Spill Prevention and Recovery, Pacific Gas and Electric, and other agencies that serve and protect the Coastside 
We hope that you will be able to attend.

Sent by Jeff Norris to Miramar, Princeton, San Gregorio, Moss Beach, Coastal Communities, El Granada, Pacifica, Pescadero, Half Moon Bay, Montara (E-mail accounts) through SMC Alert

Tom Lantos Memorial tunnels opening ceremony

Half Moon Bay Review/Sara Hayden, 3/25/13, "Ribbon cut on Tom Lantos Tunnels."

Tunnel opening ceremony
Sen. Jerry Hill speaking to guests at today's ceremony
"Against the drum roll of the Half Moon Bay High School and Terra Nova High School bands, the ceremonial ribbon of the Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil's Slide has been cut.

The project has been years in the making. State and local dignitaries commemorated the event by sharing memories and paying their respects to the countless people who made the tunnel possible.

The tunnels, the first to be built in California in 50 years, cost more than $430 million, but will provide a safe, reliable and environmentally sound passage to travelers between Pacifica and Montara. They will open to the public Tuesday morning."

Note:  The photograph is from the article above. The opening ceremony occurred early afternoon today, Monday, 3/25/13. 

Related - San Mateo County Times/Aaron Kinney, 3/25/13. "The event included remarks by Reps. Jackie Speier and Anna Eshoo, who first entered the debate over Devil's Slide while serving together on the county Board of Supervisors in the 1980s, and Annette Lantos, wife of the late congressman for whom the twin 4,200-foot tunnels are named. Afterward a parade of cars, some from the early 1900s, made their way through the tunnels for the first time."  The article includes an embedded video of the car parade, 54 seconds.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, March 24, 2013

City Council meeting Monday, March 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, 3/25/13.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tunnels expected to open for traffic by Tuesday morning 3/26/13

Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, 3/19/13. "Devil's Slide tunnels to finally open next Monday."

"The long-awaited opening celebration of the Devil's Slide tunnels on Highway 1 between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay will take place this coming Monday, March 25, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, marching bands and a parade of historic vehicles.   ....  The project features two new bores, one northbound and one southbound, each 4,200 feet long, with a 12-foot lane for traffic and an eight-foot shoulder on the right side and a two-foot shoulder on the left. ....

....  Caltrans District 4 Director Bijan Sartipi said, "We take great pride in this project, not only for the relief it will bring to the local communities, but also for the great care we took in preserving the surrounding environment. Both the tunnels and the new bridges were designed to have the lowest impact possible."

Once the 11 a.m. ceremony is finished, construction crews will finish the final reconfiguration of the roads leading to and from the new tunnels. The tunnels will open to traffic later Monday evening or early Tuesday morning, said Bob Haus, Caltrans spokesperson.  The ceremony will include a parade of vehicles from 1913-2013, organized by Pacifican Mitch Reid."   Read article. 

Related -  Fix Pacifica reprint articles.  Photograph from  NBC Bay Area, includes embedded video, 37 seconds.  San Mateo County Times/Aaron Kinney, 3/24/13, "Devils Slide tunnels open at last," includes 50 embedded photographs, and ABC Channel 7 news video, 2:16 minutes.

Posted by Kathy Meeh


This is the only article I've seen on disincorporation, it's so rare that no one knows of the consequences.  -Lionel Emde


Author(s): Julia Scott,    Date: August 28, 2010  Section: Local
Between budget losses and payments to settle a lawsuit, Half Moon Bay's financial situation has become so dire that if a local sales tax measure doesn't pass in November, officials say they may have to disincorporate the 51-year-old town. 
City leaders have raised that possibility for a few weeks now as they try to persuade voters to pass Measure K, a one-cent sales tax increase that would help the city balance its budget with an extra infusion of $1.4 million a year for the next seven years. 
Dissolving Half Moon Bay -- handing the city's budget, operations and services to San Mateo County -- would be an absolute last resort, but the city may not have many other options left, City Councilman John Muller said. "The council has done everything in its power to keep the city whole," Muller said. "If it doesn't pass, we could seriously not be in business much longer."
 At first glance, disincorporation could save taxpayers some money: no more city administration to support. Police services would be contracted out, and the county would cover planning, building and public works projects from its offices in Redwood City.
 On the other hand, county officials said there is a chance that locals would end up paying more than they do now for fewer services. City Manager Michael Dolder concedes disincorporation is one of the options on the table. The City Council already cut $900,000 from the current budget -- including half the city's employees -- and imposed furloughs on those who remain. Some of the cuts were needed to pay for the Beachwood lawsuit settlement, a $15 million burden the city will shoulder in bond payments for the next 20 years.
Despite those efforts, the city will finish the current fiscal year with a deficit of more than $500,000. And tourist dollars, the city's economic mainstay, aren't likely to increase anytime soon.
"We're digging ourselves into a hole, and the hole keeps getting deeper regardless of whether the sales tax comes in," Dolder warned.
 Too much to lose
Across the state, cities are struggling to provide the services residents have come to expect with fewer revenues and staff. People are looking for a way out, according to Bill Chiat, executive director of the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions. "There certainly have been cities in this economic climate that have inquired about disincorporation," Chiat said. "But once people who talk about it actually find out what happens in disincorporation, they generally don't want to pursue that path."
Dolder ticks off the drawbacks of disincorporation: a county-controlled police department, sporadic road maintenance, no City Council to which to complain; and no recreation department to offer yoga classes or soccer workshops. "The majority of residents in San Mateo County choose to be in a city because they get better service," Dolder said. "If the county provided better service, more people would choose to be in the county."
Ironically, Half Moon Bay chose to incorporate in 1959 in large part because residents wanted a local police force and local control of street maintenance. Muller was born in Half Moon Bay. For him, disincorporation would be more than a question of losing face -- it would be a loss of identity. "Do you have pride in the city? Do you want keep it as Half Moon Bay? Do you want to have local control over your government?" he asked. "Over the hill, nobody knows you." Debt would remain 
Disincorporation is so rare in California that it's almost without precedent. The last city to do it, Cabazon in Riverside County, had fewer than 2,000 residents and no functional government to speak of when it voted to give up cityhood. The process is so complicated that county officials said they don't know what kinds of services the Board of Supervisors would choose to provide or how much they would cost. Although the law lays out a clear procedure for disincorporation, including public meetings and a final majority vote by residents, it's unclear how it could work from a practical standpoint, said Martha Poyatos, executive director of the San Mateo County Local Agency Formation Commission. "We're in uncharted territory," she said. 

One thing is certain: disincorporation is not a bailout. The county would lay claim to revenues from Half Moon Bay's property tax, sales tax, hotel tax and others, but not its liabilities. Today's Half Moon Bay residents would be required to assume the debt burden of Beachwood bond payments, which would likely be added as a lien on their properties, according to Assistant County Controller Bob Adler. The county currently takes in 21.7 percent of all property taxes that don't go to the state. The county cannot unilaterally raise taxes to make up for a loss. So service cutbacks are a possibility, said Adler. "The costs don't go away just because the cities go away," he said. "You still need to provide the services. You still have the same problems out there." 
 The rural city of Isleton, in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, toyed with disincorporation in 2008 when faced with a budget deficit of $1.12 million (the city only has a $1.35 million budget). In the end, officials decided to sell bonds to pay off its debts. Now it is struggling to make bond payments. 
"I've cut everything I can cut, and we're right up against the wall," Isleton City Manager Bruce Pope said. "We're not (facing disincorporation) now, but we could go there at any time."
Submitted by Lionel Emde