Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chamber of Commerce letter to City Council: Oppose proposed GGNRA dog management restrictions


Pacifica City Council
Re:  GGNRA Proposal
More than 50% open space land for all to enjoy
for exercise and recreation. Aren't we people too?

The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce has followed, with concern, the GGNRA's attempt to further limit access to GGNRA dedicated land.  Poor science coupled with overzealousness combined to produce a proposal that will effectively ban dogs from these parks. This is unprecedented overreach on the GGNRA's part, counterproductive to their mandate.

Our city is made up of over fifty percent open space and the great majority of that space is GGNRA dedicated land. Much of this land was moved from private ownership to public lands with the assumption that it would be available for all to enjoy in a myriad of ways. The GGNRA is attempting to change that access drastically.

Dog advocacy groups from Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo County have sent a letter to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, requesting the Interior Department to intercede on behalf of the thousands of dog walkers that use those trails regularly. These groups point out:

"The GGNRA plan severely cuts or entirely bans where people with dogs, who have been welcomed together in these areas for decades, will be able to walk in the future, without offering any evidence to prove the need for such dramatic changes. This supplemental plan, like the draft before, lists impacts and damage that “could,” “may,” or “might” happen, but offers no scientific evidence that those impacts have actually occurred in the GGNRA or are occurring now. Moreover, the GGNRA has not conducted the site-specific, peer reviewed studies required to justify and guide such broad proposed changes in managing this urban recreation area."

Pacifica is home to thousands of dog owners and their pets. Further restricting their ability to recreate with their dogs will impact our local dog parks detrimentally, creating an untenable overcrowding problem. Cutting the use of GGNRA land as proposed will bring undue hardship on dog owners and our city's infrastructure. The dog groups go on to point out:

"The GGNRA plan severely cuts or entirely bans where people with dogs, who have been welcomed together in these areas for decades, will be able to walk in the future, without offering any evidence to prove the need for such dramatic changes. This supplemental plan, like the draft before, lists impacts and damage that “could,” “may,” or “might” happen, but offers no scientific evidence that those impacts have actually occurred in the GGNRA or are occurring now. Moreover, the GGNRA has not conducted the site-specific, peer reviewed studies required to justify and guide such broad proposed changes in managing this urban recreation area."  
The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce requests our City Council send a letter to U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Congress Woman Jackie Speier, State Senator Jerry Hill, and Assemblyman Kevin Mullins expressing opposition to this plan as it stands now. We tout our open space as an attraction yet, if this goes forward, one of our leading outdoor activities, walking with your pet, will be so severely restricted as to be nonexistent.
The Chamber of Commerce believes the move in this direction will impact local businesses and impede the overall enjoyment of these dedicated open spaces. 

Jim Wagner,  Chair, Government Affairs Committee 
Pacifica Chamber of Commerce 

The letter above was submitted by Jim Wagner
Reference   National Park Service (NPS), GGNRA Dog Management Plan.  NPS Dog Management Planning updates.  For related Fix Pacific reprint articles on this site, search "GGNRA Dog Management".  Note:  the above photograph is from Save Off Leash areas in the SF Bay Area.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

City Council, Open Space and Parkland Advisory meeting tonight, 1/29/14

GGNRA/OSPAC criminal
City of Pacifica Calendar, January 29, 2014.

Joint City Council, Open Space and Parkland Advisory Committee meeting regarding dog management. Wednesday, January 29, 2014.  

City Council chambers, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  The public is welcome to attend the meeting. The meeting is not televised on

Note:  photograph from Hello Cupcake, paper and spice make nice.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

City council goals, #1 economic development-- really, then make it happen

"A" (#1), recovery from economic apoplexy
Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, Staff Writer, 1/28/14.  "Economic development tops list of city council goals." 

"City Council met Saturday in an all-day planning session to set its goals for the new year. The goals will set the agenda for staff work.  .... These goals will be presented again at a public meeting, as public input itself was a key priority.

By the end of the afternoon, council members had set their highest priorities. Council's highest priorities, the ones they chose to work within the next year and a half, are:  1. new economic development projects.  2. new projects from the communication plan.  3. new library funding."   Read article.

Note:  graphic from Google play/Dinosaur Park ABC.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

10% voluntary water usage cutback is not that scary yet

 San Francisco Chronicle/Marisa Lagos, 1/28/14.  "PUC water goal:  cut use by 10%"

Last night at our City Council meeting,
the NCCWD spokesperson was suggesting a possible
22% water usage cutback (to be determined 4/15/14). That's scary!
"The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission this week will ask its customers to reduce their water use voluntarily by 10 percent, the latest sign of the drought affecting the state.

SFPUC residential customers already boast the lowest per capita water use in the state - an average of 49 gallons per day - but because of this year's "exceptionally dry winter," spokesman Tyrone Jue said, the utility wants its customers to cut back. And it's not only asking households to do their part: Jue said the agency wants all its commercial and industrial customers to curb their use voluntarily as well.

General Manager Harlan Kelly will tell the SFPUC board about the cutback Tuesday, and make the official announcement Friday.  The SFPUC is the third largest municipal utility in California. It serves 2.6 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Bay Area. The agency's reservoirs are at about 70 percent of capacity."

Note:  photograph from Council for Economic Education.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

To desalinate, or not to desalinate

San Jose Mercury News/Science and Environment/Paul Rogers, 1/25/14.  "California drought: past dry periods have lasted more than 200 years, scientists say."

Charles Meyer Desalination Plant
Drought for how long? Water's got to come from somewhere.
Does the state have a longer term plan, other than hope it will rain?
 ...."California in 2013 received less rain than in any year since it became a state in 1850. And at least one Bay Area scientist says that based on tree ring data, the current rainfall season is on pace to be the driest since 1580 -- more than 150 years before George Washington was born. The question is: How much longer will it last?

If a drought lasted decades, the state could always build dozens of desalination plants, which would cost billions of dollars, said law professor Barton "Buzz" Thompson, co-director of Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment.  Saudi Arabia, Israel and other Middle Eastern countries depend on desalination, but water from desal plants costs roughly five times more than urban Californians pay for water now. Thompson said that makes desal projects unfeasible for most of the state now, especially when other options like recycled wastewater and conservation can provide more water at a much lower cost.  But in an emergency, price becomes no object."  Read article.

Related, a city desalination plant not usedABC/KEYT news channel 3, 1/22/14, video, 55 seconds.  "Restarting desalination Plant would cost $20 million, Santa Barbara plant in mothballs, not considered for use in current drought." City of Santa Barbara/Desalination. "The Charles Meyer Desalination Plant is in long-term storage mode and is not currently producing drinking water for the City. The City constructed the reverse osmosis seawater desalination facility as an emergency water supply in response to the severe drought from 1986 to 1991. Two neighboring water purveyors, Goleta and Montecito water districts, participated in the project but have since opted out of the permanent facility. Due to sufficient freshwater supplies since 1991, the facility remains in long-term storage mode for reactivation within two years in the case of prolonged and severe drought."   Note: the photograph of Santa Barbara desalination plant is from the city of Santa Barbara description. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Another car bites a cliff, last Tuesday

Pacifica cliff rescue
Firefighters and paramedics to the rescue,
seems to happen a lot in Pacifica
 San Jose Mercury News/Erin Ivie, 1/22/14. "Pacifica:  Man hospitalized after driving car 300 feet over cliff."

" Emergency crews rushed a man to a trauma center Tuesday evening after he drove his car off a cliff in Pacifica, officials said.  The victim, who authorities say is about 50 years old, was driving his car about 3:45 p.m. when it went over a cliff in the area of  Manor and Heathcliff drives, said Joe Perez, safety inspector for the North County Fire Authority. The car plunged about 300 over an embankment before coming to a rest in a ravine."  Read article.

Related -  ABC7/Peninsula/KGO,"Firefighters rescue man who drove truck off Pacifica cliff." .... "His pickup landed on the hillside below Manor Drive. Officers cited him for DUI after he was treated for minor injuries at a hospital."  Read more.  Note:  the above photograph is from this short article.

Posed by Kathy Meeh

Planning Commission meeting cancelled 2/3/14

City of Pacifica/Planning Department, "Notice of meeting cancellation". 

"Notice is hereby given that the regular scheduled meeting of the Planning Commission of February 3, 2014 has been cancelled."  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Goose management problem finds little solution

The Daily Journal/Samantha Weigel, 1/27/14. "Fowl foul:  Foster City struggles with managing geese and their ever-present feces."

"Foster City is known for and substantially invests in its numerous parks, but the neighborhood geese and their messy droppings are taking a toll on the city’s budget and serve as a point of frustration for both city officials and those who frequent the parks.

 Canada Geese and seagulls feed on the lush lawns near Lake Merritt. In the background is 86 year old Alexander Guden who feeds the birds bread every day.
 The City of Oakland wants Canada Geese to go back to Canada -- at least for part of the year. Several thousands of the geese have become fulltime residents, leaving their poop all over the place. But the problem is that the birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Act. Even if Oakland gets approval to chase away those unwanted Canada Geese, there is the risk of distrupting other migratory birds that stay at Lake Merritt, the nation's oldest wildlife refuge.
 Event in Oakland, CA
 Photo by Michael Maloney / The San Francisco Chronicle Ran on: 01-16-2006
 Canada geese and gulls feed on the lush lawns near Lake Merritt. Alexander Guden, 86, sits on the bench in the background. Ran on: 01-16-2006
 Bob Ney Ran on: 01-16-2006
You looking at me?
“First of all, the goose problem in the city is a problem that faces cities throughout the country and typically it’s around cities that are surrounded by water ... the goose issue has to do with the mess they leave behind and we live in a community that’s surrounded by parks,” said Kevin Miller, director of Foster City’s Parks and Recreation Department.

The city has about $25,000 budgeted annually for its goose management program and have tried everything from setting up fences to hiring a goose patrol team with a dog.“We’re well aware of the issues that we have, but again, I say it’s more of a goose management problem and it’s ongoing. We do invest a significant amount of time and funding to try and [manage] it. Because if we didn’t, our infrastructure would look horrible,” Miller said."  Read article.

Related - San Francisco Chronicle/Eileen Mitchel, Special, 10/7/06. "Making peace with geese/Bay Area prefers to discourage rather than destroy these prolific picnic party poopers."  "Ah, the lovely Canada goose. That symbol of grace, flight, freedom ... and feces? Stroll around any local lake, golf course or pond and that's what you'll find. Dodging the plethora of fist-sized goose poop is like tip-toeing across a mine field. Not surprising, since a single goose can produce up to 3 pounds of droppings (urine and excrement combined) per day. Multiply that times an average community of dozens of geese and you've got one gaggle of a conundrum."  Read article.   Note:  photograph from this article by Michael Maloney.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Freeway art, a public cultural enhancement

Shore birds, frog pond, snake habitat, seawall rocks  ......
Something to consider for the one retaining wall of our proposed highway widening improvement.

Contra Costa Times/Denis Cuff, , 1/24/14.  "Freeway art adds flavor and colar to Bay Area highways."

Those drab gray walls found along many Bay Area freeways are getting much more interesting.

Eager to win beauty points with motorists, Bay Area transportation agencies and Caltrans have stepped up efforts in the recent years to adorn new freeway walls with artistic patterns, accents and sculpted scenes of local geography.

....   "These projects become landmarks for an area," Braaksma said. "I've done lizards for Scottsdale, Ariz., and buffaloes and swallows for Denver. People want to something special about their area."  Read article.

Note photograph from Flicker, "West Texan Freeway Art/Marsha Sharp Freeway, Lubbock, Texas.  pretty cool.

osted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Expect Mavericks traffic along the coast, Friday 1/24/14

Waves from 10 AM today are expected to reach as high as 40 feet through Friday (Channel 2 news this morning).  

Friday is a good day for Mavericks
Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 1/22/14. "Mavericks gets green light for Friday contest."

"Contest founder Jeff Clark formally announced the Mavericks date just before 1 p.m. The news came amid predictions for big-wave conditions and sunny weather for spectators.  Organizers expressed some concerns that wind patterns on Friday could compromise the waves hitting the famed surf break.  The surf contest will bring 24 of the world’s best big-wave surfers for waves that can reach up to 50 feet. In addition, as many as 20,000 spectators will flock
to a festival in Princeton that is called to celebrate one of the world’s biggest surfing events.

Parking will be available for $20 at Half Moon Bay Airport. Organizers say they are trying to avoid the long traffic jams that backed up Highway 1 last year.

Residents on the Coastside should prepare for traffic slowdowns and other local impacts from the event. The Cabrillo Unified School District will continue to hold all normal classes on Friday, although they are expecting delays for students coming to and leaving school. An automated call is going out to parents today to encourage them to bring students by carpool to reduce traffic on Friday, wrote CUSD Superintendent Tony Roehrick in an email."   Read article.

Related - Surf  Note:  photograph by Jennifer Hernandez from this website.   San Mateo County Times, 1/24/14.

Update - Half Moon Bay Review/Staff, 1/24/13, "Grant 'Twiggy' Baker wins second Mavericks contest." "2:30 p.m., South African Grant “Twiggy” Baker won his second Mavericks surf contest on Friday. He dominated the final heat on a perfect day at Pillar Point that brought 20- to 40-foot wave faces all day long.  ....  The festival was also underway, with thousands of spectators surrounding two jumbo screens. San Mateo County Sheriff’s officials said the festival was nearing capacity even at 9:15 a.m."
Posted by Kathy Meeh

City Council meeting, Monday, January 27, 2014

Attend in person, 2212 Beach Boulevard, 2nd floor.  Or, view on local channel 26, also live internet feed,  The meeting begins at 7 p.m., or shortly there following.  City council updates and archives are available on the City website.   

City Council Agenda, 1/27/2014.

Dorsetta Hale, Pacifica Poet Laureate
Closed session CA government code 54957.6.  Conference with labor negotiator. Agency Negotiator: Glen Berkheimer.  Firefighters Local 2400, Battalion Chiefs Local 856, Department Directors Local 350. Wastewater Treatment Plant Employees Local 856. Miscellaneous Local 856.  Managers Local 350.   Police Association Officers, Supervisors, Management Local 350. 

Open Session, 7 p.m. 
Consent Calendar 
1.    Approval of  disbursements, fiscal year 2013-14, 12/01/13 -1/15/14.
2.    Approval of  Minutes, 1/13/14. 
3.    San Pedro Creek Bridge replacement and creek widening project, contract amendment 13, Wilsey Ham, increased budget from Highway 1 Fund 12, $265,820.  Report, includes construction timetable.
4.    Palmetto lateral replacement project, advertise for sealed bids, Sewer Facility Construction Fund 34, estimated cost $600. 
5.    Approve draft long-term trash load reduction plan and assessment strategy, required by city's stormwater discharge permit (to be finalized and submitted to the Regional Water Quality Control Board by 2/1/14). 

Special presentations
Proclamation - Poet Laureate Dorsetta Hale
6.    City council liaison and committee assignments for 2014.  Attachment (view sideways). 

Note:  Photograph and article by Jean Bartlett, Pacifica Tribune, 1/22/14.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

City Council goal setting workshop, Saturday, January 25, 2014

The City Calendar advises City Council will hold another goal setting workshop,  Saturday, January 25, 214, 9 AM until 5 PM.  The workshop study session will be held at the Pacifica Police Station EOC Room, 2075 Coast Highway.  Although the public is welcome to view the study session in person, according to the PCT26 calendar this all day event will not be a televised.  

The Notice and Agenda document was found on Pacifica Index, not on the city website. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Conserving water during our drought

Conservation of water may be something the city could add to its "Communication Plan".

San Jose Mercury News/Science and Environment/Paul Rogers, 1/20/14.  "California drought:  tips for conserving water."

So easy, a child and kitty can do it.
"Remember not flushing the toilet? Putting a bucket in the shower? It's time to dust off those tips, as California finds itself in a brutally dry spell. On Friday, following the lowest rainfall year in the state's 153-year history, and with the Sierra snow pack at 17 percent of normal, Gov. Jerry Brown called a drought emergency and asked California residents to cut their water use by 20 percent.    "It's pretty easy to save 20 percent. You want to remember that your plants -- even with it being dry outside -- are not needing as much water this time of year because it is cooler than in the summer," said Chris Brown, former executive director of the California Urban Water Conservation Council, a nonprofit group in Sacramento. "The easiest way to save water is to save it outdoors." 

In California, more than 50 percent of residential water use occurs outdoors. A typical lawn consumes about 57 inches of rain a year, according to the Association of California Water Agencies. Rain quenches some of that thirst, but it's not enough in most places. Both San Jose and Los Angeles receive 15 inches of rain in a normal year, for example, but last year each received barely 3 inches.

The average home in California uses 192 gallons of water a day, according to a 2008 study by the state Department of Water Resources and the Urban Water Conservation Council.   Read article. 

Water saving references -   Eartheasy, "25 ways to conserve water in the home and yard." EPA "water Sense/Kids,"Simple ways to save water."  American Water and Energy Savers, "Save water 49 ways".  Reference from the Mercury News article:  CA Department of  Water Resources and the Association of California Water Agencies,  Save our water/ or selection "Save Winter Water". 

Local reference North Coast County Water District, "News Updates and Information."

Note:  graphic from  Little Steps Publishing, book cover by author, illustrator Nicola Chait.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Enjoying the nice weather? Might as well

San Francisco Chronicle/Peter Fimrite, 1/19/14, "California drought:  Water officials look to rules of '70s."

Do you even remember the water rationing of 1977?
  Seriously dude, it couldn't have been that bad
...."...1977, was one of the driest in California history, a drought that inspired a water conservation movement, along with low-flow toilets and showerheads, water-saving washing machines and dishwashers, drip irrigation and recycled water.

....  While Californians are environmentally conscious and mindful of conserving natural resources, water demand has never been greater. The state's population has nearly doubled since the '70s, from 20 million to 38 million, and agricultural needs remain significant: The Golden State produces nearly half of the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables.

....  The problem, according to meteorologist Jan Null of Golden Gate Weather Services, is that an area of high pressure has been changing the trajectory of the jet stream, guiding storms away from California and the western United States, like a boulder in a creek blocking the current. What the jet stream is trying to do is equalize the cold air from the poles and the hot air from the equator," Null said. "That balance has always changed in the past, but when the right balance is reached, it can stay there for a long time."   Read article.

Note:  photograph from Pacifica Hotels.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, January 20, 2014

In recognition of Martin Luther King Holiday, January 20, 2014

CNN/John Blake 1/20/14.  "The greatest MLK speeches you never heard."

Rev Martin Luther King Jr, American hero
January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968
....  "King may be a national hero whose birthday the country commemorates on Monday, but to many he remains a one-dimensional hero -- the vast body of his work unknown. Though he wrote five books and delivered up to 450 speeches a year, he's defined by one speech and one letter.

....  King may be a national hero whose birthday the country commemorates on Monday, but to many he remains a one-dimensional hero -- the vast body of his work unknown. Though he wrote five books and delivered up to 450 speeches a year, he's defined by one speech and one letter."

In reference to his 5th book "Where do we go from here: chaos or community", "I get so tired of people turning Dr. King into a dreamer," says Doreen Loury, a sociology professor at Arcadia University in Pennsylvania, who says she was blown away by the book when she first read it in the 1960s. "They made him safe. He was a revolutionary."   Read article.  The article is comprehensive with lots of links, and 23 slides with historical pictures and captions.  

Related  Nobel Prize Organization. "Martin Luther King Jr.- Biographical."  "Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family's long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor.  

....  In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience."   Read article.

Note photo/graphic from VP wallpapers. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Surfer's beach sand radiation is also not from Fukushima

Princeton Harbor and Surfer's Beach
Red dot, radioactive hot spot from Ja
pan? Fortunately no.

Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 1/16/14.  "Radioactive sands known for 50 years, experts reiterate beaches remain safe."

Catch myself a waive,
Fear? Today its sharks
"Government and independent experts last week gave a new round of reassurance that higher-than-normal radiation levels along the Surfer’s Beach were not from the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in Japan and nothing to be concerned about. In fact, the relatively high level of radioactivity has likely been around Half Moon Bay and other spots on the California coast for a long time.

Thomas Ward, a nuclear consultant with the U.S. Department of Energy, believes Surfer’s Beach is what is known as a “black sand” beach, a sandy spot that accumulates rare earth metals and other heavy elements. Last week, independent analysts confirmed that the main source for the heightened radiation at Surfer’s Beach was naturally occurring thorium and not cesium-137 released when the Fukushima plant melted down in 2011. Ward indicated that shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

“This beach has been known for the last 40 to 50 years to contain these radioactive sands,” he said. “It’s not considered a radiation hazard, so long as you’re not eating it, and you’re not living on it, 24/7.”  Read article.

Note surfer picture from New Nooz, graphic map from Ocean Surfing.

Posted by Kathy Meeh