Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Water purity, protection from Pacificans and others

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 7/30/13, "Green and beyond" by Jenny Apodaca
Yep, no place for potted ferns either

"Editor:  Pacificans' water is endangered and is being destroyed by the use of fuels, oils, pesticides, cleaners, herbicides, pampas grass, scotch broom, yellow star thistle and treatment plants. Pacifica needs to make it illegal to use watering systems for lawns and gardens.

Pacifica needs to prohibit hunting, fishing, harassment of fish, wildlife, taking of vegetation, flowers, foliage, seeds, fruit, berries of plants, mold, humus grass, turf, shrubs, cones, ferns, mushrooms, feathers, talons, habitat nests, dens, water bodies, soils, archaeological artifacts, amphibians, frogs, salamanders and silt fence in creeks.

Pacifica needs a watershed status. This status would convert the police and fire to the forestry department. Pacifica needs to maintain and improve the water quality to protect the public health and safety."

Note:  The above Letter to the Editor was printed in the Pacifica Tribune as one paragraph.  The  potted fern photograph is from NPR, "Three-minute fiction".

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Non-commercial use of drones, surfer site video

 O'Neill Coldwater Classic world surfing tour event
Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Cruz Sentinel/Jason Hoppin, 7/30/13.  "Drones arrive at Steamer Lane."

"SANTA CRUZ -- The drones have arrived at Steamer Lane.  An underwater photographer and drone hobbyist is giving Santa Cruzans a previously unseen view of the legendary surf spot, taking a remote-control "quad copter," equipping it with a GoPro camera and sending it out over the break for a video that seems destined to go viral.    

Filmed July 21, the video was shot using what is essentially a souped-up toy helicopter, equipped with a GoPro tricked out with a stabilizing gimbal, pitch control and a monitor allowing Cheng to see what he's shooting.

As cool as the video is, don't expect to see something at the Coldwater Classic or any surf competitions anywhere: The commercial use of drones is all but banned by the Federal Aviation Administration.  An FAA spokesman said as long as Cheng's copter is kept below 400 feet and away from critical infrastructure such as airports, and the footage is noncommercial, he is well within the law. The agency has had model aircraft guidelines for more than 30 years.  But surf contests are commercial ventures, so no drones."   Read more, see 5:31 minute embedded video by Eric Cheng.

Related, "Steamer Lane," surfer history.   Note:  photograph above from  Surfers Village, O'Neill surfing tour 11/2012.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Grand Jury report on recent outsourcing of police services

The Daily Journal/Michelle Durand, 7/26/13.  "Grand jury lauds Sheriff's Office contracting."

 Police services vs. sheriff services
in San Mateo County
"The outsourcing of police service by three San Mateo County cities to the Sheriff’s Office was a smart move that saved significant money while maintaining or even bolstering services, according to the civil grand jury which recommends the contracts continue.

In the report “Cash strapped cities that hired the sheriff ... Is it working?” the grand jury concluded that San Carlos, Millbrae and Half Moon Bay have all improved by handing over their public safety services to the Sheriff’s Office.

.... Half Moon Bay’s $2.3 million contract saved it approximately $500,000, Millbrae’s $5 million contract saved $532,000 and San Carlos’ $7 million contract saved about $2 million, according to the report."  Read article.

Reference - San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury Report.  "Strapped cities that hired the it working?" 

Note:  Graphic from Unity of Nobility,

Submitted by Bob Hutchinson

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Devil's Slide park plans discussed in Moss Beach

Half Moon Bay Review/Clay Lambert, 7/26/13.  "County unveils Devil's Slide trail plans." 

Devil's Slide Park
Devil's Slide coastal map
"Coastsiders got their first virtual look at what could become the crown jewel in the San Mateo County Parks system when staff presented plans for the finished trail along Devil’s Slide.

The plans were unveiled Thursday during a meeting at Cypress Meadows in Moss Beach. San Mateo County Parks Superintendent Gary Lockman characterized the plans as “20 to 30 percent complete,” but it was clear that a great deal of thought has already gone into the trail. Engineers presented detailed drawings of elevations and composite photos of what a finished trail would look like. The county is accepting public comment via email at through Aug. 8.

Plans call for 38 parking spots split between lots on either end of the 1.3-mile trail. The existing roadway would be smoothed in spots and covered with a new surface. The 24 feet of pavement would be divided with 12 feet dedicated for bicyclists in lanes hugging Montara Mountain and the 12 feet closest to the edge set aside for hikers."  Read article.

Related San Mateo County Times/Aaron Kinney, 7/24/13,"Devils Slide takes shape." This article includes 12 photographs of the site location, and work being done.

Half Moon Bay Review/Julia Reis, 6/13/13, "Devil's Slide park may open sooner." "Chris Hunter, legislative aide to County Supervisor Don Horsley, says relinquishment is planned for late summer or fall.  He anticipates the park could open several weeks after that but stresses it is dependent upon Caltrans’ schedule.“We’re hoping to be opening it earlier,” Hunter says. “We didn’t want the public to have to wait a year. It’s going to be very exciting, but we’re not doing anything until Caltrans finishes their project.”  The park will include a new section of the California Coastal Trail. There will be parking, restrooms and informational kiosks at either side of the tunnels."  Note:  Map graphic above from this article.      

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, July 29, 2013

Paying the cost of infrastructure development in a city

The Daily Journal (San Mateo), Bill Silverfarb, 7/29/13. "City to levy a special tax for Bay Meadows."

The benefit to you justifies the cost to YOU
"The San Mateo City Council will meet Monday in a special meeting to authorize the levy of special taxes for the Bay Meadows Phase II development currently under construction. 

The levy will generate about $1.9 million in its first year, will expire in 2042, and will help pay down $57 million in bond debt used to build all the infrastructure in the state’s newest and biggest transit-oriented development.  ....   The annual assessment will increase over time and eventually all of the new home owners will pay the special tax, said the city’s Finance Director David Culver.

...  The infrastructure includes the roads, traffic signals, drainage, sewer system, utilities and more needed for the new community. .... When complete, 1,170 housing units will ultimately be constructed on the 83-acre site by several different builders. Some will be rental units. In phase 2, there will be five buildings of Class A office space for rent, ranging from 95,000 square feet to 185,000 square feet and the private Nueva School. The development sits between the Hillsdale and Hayward Park Caltrain stations."  Read article.

Note:  The photograph is from The Puget Sound Chapter.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sharp Park Golf Course / Alister MacKenzie Tournament / Photo Essay

Here is a link to a Photo Essay, "Summer Solstice Celebration by the Sea at Alister MacKenzie's Sharp Park,"  
reporting on the Alister MacKenzie Tournament, June 22, 2013, co-sponsored by San Francisco Public Golf Alliance.
Pacifica Historical Society, Pacfica Chamber of Commerce, and Sharp Park Men's and Women's Golf Clubs.

Photo Essay: 

Richard Harris: 415-290-5718
Bo Links:  415-393-8099 

Submitted by Richard Harris

City calendar this week, July 29 - August 2, 2013

City Calendar, week of July 29 - August 2, 2013.  Any event you may wish to add, please advise. 

Too basic, what?  I'm over age 30
No city meetings this week.

The PCT26 calendar, indicates they have various computer workshops for a $20 fee each, RSVP.

Monday, 7/29Basic computing 101 (easy to use the computer), 6 pm. to 9:00 pm.
Tuesday,  7/30. New Media 101 (video and social medial marketing on the web), 6 pm to 9 pm.
Wednesday, 7/31. Director workshop (pre-requisite TD workshop), 6 pm-9 pm. 

Note:  photograph from a Simply Placed blog, "Tech talk" article. 

Posed by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Spending your money to tax you

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 7/23/13.  "Hold onto your Wallets" by Bob Hutchinson 

"Hold onto your wallets, there's a new con game in town. The City of Pacifica has spent $30,000 of your money to run a slick campaign in order to raise your taxes yet again. The sole purpose of this sneaky UUT tax increase campaign is to convince you how great it will be to pay more of your money to the City. They even conducted a phony $20,000 poll with loaded questions so they got the answers they wanted. And this is before they've taken any meaningful steps to reduce their own waste and overspending.
And where is that money going?

Even the way this tax measure was written is deceptive. It says "WITHOUT RAISING THE CURRENT 6.5%". Well, doesn't that just sound like they don't even want to raise your taxes? Very deceptive! The fact is they want to add a 6.5% tax on all your phones which they estimate will cost you $200 more. That's $1,600 or more in extra taxes you'll pay over the life of this measure. And that's IF you believe their low ball numbers.

But the city says "we need the money and we have nowhere else to cut." Deceptive again! Little Pacifica still has over 50 department heads and managers making $100,000 to $200,000 and more in pensions and benefits. And we have an over million dollar surplus and growing.

BUT the city says "we already made big cuts to union contracts." That's deceptive too. The total city wages have actually increased over $330,000 in the past few years, according to the State Controllers website That's in spite of us supposedly laying off 50 (part-time) employees. So we obviously didn't make any real cuts. Our neighbor, the City Millbrae, just negotiated an actual 5% across the board wage reduction. That's what we need to do, too, and we also need to freeze wage & benefit increases for at least five years before we end up in bankruptcy.

Listen, I don't care what you're paying top positions in Pacifica as long as you don't come to me for more tax money to pay these high salaries or try to cut services. If you can't afford to pay that much than you need to negotiate more bigger reductions. Other cities are doing it, why can't you? I know these are your friends and co-workers but you have a much bigger obligation to the citizens not to tax them to death.

The proponents of this regressive tax are also trying to deceive voters when they tell you this tax will go to improve sidewalks, streets, fire and police response and help the poor. They are using scare tactics mostly directed at senior citizens who they think are easy to manipulate. There is nothing in this measure that says where this money must be spent. The fact is it will go in the general fund to pay increased salaries and benefits to upper management. The city made the same promises with the fire assessment tax then they turned around and cut the Fire Dept. Don't believe it.

Meanwhile thousands of Pacifica families and lower income Pacificans struggle to get by. Those are the people this tax is really going to hurt. And Pacifica businesses who will have to pay hundreds more a year. This will hurt our economy at a time we are trying to build it back up. 

Don't be fooled by this slick ad campaign they are waging (with your money). This tax measure is bad for business, bad for people and bad for Pacifica. Tell them where to stick this tax and to live within their means before they try to take more of your money." 

Note:  Graphic from Los Angeles Times/Books, "Money Walks".

Submitted by Bob Hutchinson 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

San Mateo County Measure A Sales tax, funding public services

San Mateo County Supervisor process in funding Seton Medical Center, Health Plan of San Mateo, and SamTrans paratransit services.

The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Michelle Durand, 7/24/13.  "Seton gets $11.5 million in county sales tax revenue:  Suervisors tentatively give San Mateo County Transit District $10 million."

Seton Medical Center
Seton Medical Center, Daly City      
SamTrans Redi Wheels paratransit Service
"County supervisors outright approved $11.5 million in Measure A sales tax revenue for seismic upgrades at private Seton Medical Center and tentatively agreed to give the San Mateo County Transit District $10 million over the next two years. ....   However, Seton took a different path with supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting unanimously agreeing to the $11.5 million arrangement between the Daly City hospital and the Health Plan of San Mateo beginning Oct. 1 and running through June 30, 2014.  Supervisors said the agreement was a win all around because the private hospital provides care for a substantial portion of the north county’s low-income population.

....   A similar quest to bolster the county’s safety net also propelled the SamTrans $10 million proposal to subsidize paratransit. Paratransit, which transports those with mobility issues, is federally required but not funded."   Read article.

References -  Seton Medical Center.  "Opened as Mary’s Help Hospital in 1912, Seton Medical Center serves the highly diverse 1.5 million residents of San Francisco and San Mateo counties with a comprehensive range of inpatient and outpatient services."   SamTrans paratransit, "Paratransit is for persons with disabilities who cannot independently use regular SamTrans bus service some of the time or all of the time. The San Mateo County Transit District provides paratransit using Redi-Wheels on the bayside of the county and RediCoast on the coastside. Trips must be prearranged."

Note: Photographs, Seton Medical Center, Yelp by Joanne O., SamTrans bus from  US Dept of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

"Our highway is our bottleneck"

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 7/23/13.  Why a lawsuit? by Gil Anda 

Lawsuit?  "My way" is outside public process.
No lawsuit?  Allow the FEIR process to continue.
Regional safety and the future are key public issues. 
"Editor:  First a few disclosures: I no longer live in Pacifica, I do have an ownership interest in property in Pacifica (one property adjacent to Highway 1), I'm not a lawyer, scientist or planning commissioner. That said; I do have comments I want to make regarding the lawsuit filed by Hal Bohner and Peter Loeb. According to the Tribune article, the complaint 'alleges the widening plan did not take into account elements of the local coastal plan, ...certified by the California Coastal Commission.

For the past year or more, these individuals have endeavored to derail a public process that they apparently have a problem getting their way with. Judging by their complaint, they need to keep their grievances within the planning process itself and make their appeals in front of the Coastal Commission, if they think the highway plan doesn't conform to the local coastal plan. I certainly don't think that this is something that belongs in the courtroom at this time.

I would urge the council to stay on track. There are far too many issues that have to do with public safety and the capacity of this highway going into the future."

Note:  Related Highway 1 articles are archived in the search section of Fix Pacifica blog.  Graphic from the Arden Forester blog.

Posted by Kathy Meeh