Friday, February 28, 2014

Climate Action Study Session, Wednesday March 5, 2014

Notice of Study Session 3-5-14, pdf pages 1.  "Notice is hereby given that City Council will hold a Study Session on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 6:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 2212 Beach Boulevard.  

Surf's up
Purpose of this meeting is to:  review and discuss the City's Draft Climate Action Plan (DCAP).  A Climate Action Plan is a plan designed to facilitate a community's response to challenges posed by climate change. 

Comments ton the DCAP must be received by 5:00 p.m. on March 5, 2014 and should be directed to Christina Horrisberger via email at or by U.S. Mail:  Planning Department, City of Pacifica, 1800 Francisco Blvd, Pacifica, CA 94044.  Inquiries may be made via telephone at 650-738-7341.

During the study Session the public shall have an opportunity to address the legislative body on any item described in this notice. " 

Study Session Agenda Packet 3-5-14, pdf pages 40.  Draft Climate Action Plan 3-5-14, pdf pages 88. City of Pacifica/Climate Action Task Force,  objectives and members.
Note:  Sharp Park Beach photograph from Flickriver by A. Grinberg. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Ballot measure to increase our Midpeninsula Open Space property tax

Note:  the Midpeninsula regional open space district does not include Pacifica.

We can see Santa Clara/Silicon Valley from here
San Jose Mercury News/Paul Rogers, 2/27/14.  "Silicon Valley open space bond measure placed on June ballot."

By a 7-0 vote Wednesday night, the board of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a government agency based in Los Altos, placed a $300 million bond measure on the June 3 ballot in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

The measure, which requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass, would increase property tax bills from the current rate of $17 a year per $100,000 assessed value by $3.18 per $100,000 of assessed value. The extra money would add up to 28,000 new acres to the district's total of 62,000 acres, build new trails, restore wildlife habitat and open all of the agency's preserves to the public, including the summit of Mount Umunhum south of San Jose. Currently, because of tight funding, only 54 percent of the district's lands are open to hikers, bicyclists and horse riders.  Read article. 

Reference -  Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District/Funding Measure.  "Overview.  On February 26, the Midpen Board of Directors voted to place a general obligation bond measure on the June 3, 2014 ballot. The decision came after a long public process to help shape the direction and priorities of the District into the future. The resulting vision plan reflects the public’s priorities to expand, enhance, and connect regional trails and open space areas, to preserve open space, and to complete restoration projects. The measure requires a two-thirds vote in Midpen’s jurisdiction in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and a portion of unincorporated Santa Cruz County."


San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Portola Valley
Mountain View
East Palo Alto
Redwood City
Los Altos
Palo Alto
Half Moon Bay
San Carlos
Los Altos Hills
Menlo Park
Los Gatos

Monte Sereno

Note:  Photograph from Black Mountain Skyline ridge (Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, Los Gatos) is from the San Francisco Chronicle by Karl Gohl.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Climate change, the latest scientific view: its still real

The serious issues regarding climate (warming) change are real.  That does not negate the need to resolve outstanding questions.

The Daily Journal/Associated Press/Seth Borenstein, 2/27/14.  "Science academies explain global warming reality." 

....  "The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, which is the national scientific academy of the United Kingdom, are releasing an unusual plain language report on climate change that addressed 20 issues in a question-and-answer format.

Humans !
....  The report said that while the rate of warming is slower in the 2000s than it was in the 1990s it doesn’t negate the 150 years of observations that show the world is warming. The report also says that more the 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases lately has been absorbed into the oceans’ deep water, which for a while slows surface warming but not the long-term trend.

 ....  “We’ve changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere; that’s not a belief system. We know that beyond shadow of a doubt,” Santer said in an interview. “We ignore this at our peril."  Read more.

Reference National Academies of Sciences/News, 2/27/14.  News Release:  "U.S. National Academy of Sciences, U.K. Royal Society Release Joint Publication on Climate Change," as follows:

"The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society, the national science academy of the U.K., released a joint publication today in Washington, D.C., that explains the clear evidence that humans are causing the climate to change, and that addresses a variety of other key questions commonly asked about climate change science.  “As two of the world’s leading scientific bodies, we feel a responsibility to evaluate and explain what is known about climate change, at least the physical side of it, to concerned citizens, educators, decision makers and leaders, and to advance public dialogue about how to respond to the threats of climate change,” said NAS President Ralph J. Cicerone. “Our aim with this new resource is to provide people with easy access to the latest scientific evidence on climate change, including where scientists agree and where uncertainty still remains,” added Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society.  "We have enough evidence to warrant action being taken on climate change; it is now time for the public debate to move forward to discuss what we can do to limit the impact on our lives and those of future generations."

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes, written and reviewed by leading experts in both countries, lays out which aspects of climate change are well-understood, and where there is still uncertainty and a need for more research.  

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has risen to levels not seen for at least 800,000 years, and observational records dating back to the mid-19th century show a clear, long-term warming trend.  The publication explains that measurements that distinguish between the different forms of carbon in the atmosphere provide clear evidence that the increased amount of CO2 comes primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, and discusses why the warming that has occurred along with the increase in CO2 cannot be explained by natural causes such as variations in the sun’s output.

The publication delves into other commonly asked questions about climate change, for example, what the slower rate of warming since the very warm year in 1998 means, and whether and how climate change affects the strength and frequency of extreme weather events.

Many effects of climate change have already become apparent in the observational record, but the possible extent of future impacts needs to be better understood.  For example, while average global sea levels have risen about 8 inches (20 cm) since 1901, and are expected to continue to rise, more research is needed to more accurately predict the size of future sea-level rise.  In addition, the chemical balance of the oceans has shifted toward a more acidic state, which makes it difficult for organisms such as corals and shellfish to form and maintain their shells.  As the oceans continue to absorb CO2, their acidity will continue to increase over the next century, along with as yet undetermined impacts on marine ecosystems and the food web.  Even if greenhouse gas emissions were to suddenly stop, it would take thousands of years for atmospheric CO2 to return to its levels before the industrial era.  If emissions continue unabated, future climate changes will substantially exceed those that have occurred so far, the publication says.

The authoring committee offers this brief explanation of the science of climate change to help inform policy debates about the choices available to nations and the global community for reducing the magnitude of climate change and adapting to its impacts.  The publication is available to download for free at and as an interactive website at  The project was sponsored by the Raymond and Beverly Sackler U.S.-U.K. Scientific Forum.  The National Academy of Sciences is a private, independent nonprofit institution that provides science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter granted to NAS in 1863.  For more information, visit The Royal Society is a self-governing fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. The society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding charters of the 1660s, is to recognize, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.  For further information, visit  Contacts:  William Kearney, Director of Media Relations, National Academy of Sciences, 202-334-2138; e-mail  Chloe McIvor, Press Officer,The Royal Society,020 7451 2514; e-mail"

Note:  graphic from British Council/Schools Online, MAPS - Carbon footprint radio show.  Some paragraphs in the Reference News Release (above) have been combined to take-up less space.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

What happens when some of these new species become endangered?

Will anyone care.... their special list hasn't been revised since 1920

Way too esoteric, species come and go.
This individual plover, for example, gone
 "A genus of cockroach in the poorly studied family Corydiidae has been revised for the first time since 1920. The revision has resulted in the discovery and description of 39 new species of Arenivaga, a genus which previously held nine species. The Corydiidae family of roaches is found worldwide and its constituents are frequently found in harsh, dry habitats not usually associated with cockroaches. They are also often subterranean in their habits making their presence easily overlooked.

.... The order Blattodea (cockroaches) which includes termites, comprise some of the earth's greatest decomposers. They are the planet's recyclers and clearly they have a role to play even in terrain with very little plant matter requiring decomposition. We can no longer think of cockroaches as creatures restricted to the moisture of the tropics.'

Hopkins has great admiration and passion for cockroaches. She will continue her work by beginning a revision of the poorly understood family Corydiidae during her post doc at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ."  Read more.

Reference - from Bug Guide:   Family Corydiidae (former Polyphagidae), includes genus Arenivaga. And Order   Blattodea, cockroaches and termites. 

Note:  photograph of Nile Crocodile with Egyptian Plover from  Warren Photographic, ID:  WP00955.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Highway 1 at Linda Mar closed from June 2014 to replace San Pedro bridge

Think you have a traffic delay now in south Pacifica? We fix.
Memo to Coastsiders:  spend money in Pacifica, or sit in traffic
The detour is from Highway 1 at Linda Mar Boulevard onto San Pedro Avenue (that funny frontage road which runs parallel to highway 1 along Pedro Point Shopping Center).  From June, 2014, highway 1 road closure with detour is expected to continue 1 year, 4 months. 

Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, 2/25/14.  "Highway traffic detour upsets Pedro Point residents." 

"Pedro Point residents complained last Wednesday about the city's plan to detour Highway 1 traffic onto San Pedro Avenue starting in June and lasting until October 2015.

....  The construction will happen in two phases, the first one expected to begin in June and last until October. Phase one removes the existing bridge.  Construction resumes the following April to October 2015. The break occurs so the habitat for the wildlife in the creek will have an opportunity to flourish. The highway will remain closed through the break. 

Construction resumes the following April to October 2015. The break occurs so the habitat for the wildlife in the creek will have an opportunity to flourish. The highway will remain closed through the break."  Read article.  The article includes two graphic site maps, with caption information.

Note:  The photograph is from CA Dept of Transportation, District 12. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Senator Jerry Hill Appointed to California Coastal Conservancy (not Commission)

News Release
Office of Senator Jerry Hill
February 25, 2014
Contact: Leslie Guevarra, 650-212-3313 (office), 415-298-3404 (cell)

Senator Jerry Hill has been appointed to the California Coastal Conservancy, the state agency established to help preserve and protect coastal resources.
 “I’ve enjoyed the beauty of the coast throughout my lifetime and welcome the opportunity to ensure that all can enjoy our state’s wonderful coastline for generations to come,” said Hill, D-San Mateo / Santa Clara counties, following the announcement of his appointment by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg.
Hill is now one of three senators and three assemblymembers who provide legislative oversight to the Conservancy and participate in its activities.
The California Legislature created the Conservancy in 1976 to work as an intermediary between local governments, citizens and the private sector to improve, protect and enhance coastal resources of the state, from Oregon to Mexico.
The Conservancy serves as a repository for coastal lands. Under the state Public Resources Code, the Conservancy is required to preserve lands in concert with the California Coastal Act. Preservation efforts by the Conservancy can also go forward under certified local coastal programs and under the San Francisco Bay Plan, as implemented by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission.
 Posted by Steve Sinai

The serious need for affordable housing in the Bay Area, including our city

Pacifica Tribune Letters to the Editor, 2/25/14.  "Housing issues" by Gloria Stofan 

Year 2060, GGNRA property
finally becomes productive
"Editor:  Housing issues have become even more dire since the economic downturn hit our country and even more so here in the Bay Area.  Because of this, the need for more "affordable" housing is so important for us and for our community of Pacifica.

I am frequently told by my friends, my co-workers and my family, some who still live in Pacifica, that it is too expensive to live here. It's not affordable! These are hardworking people who support our schools, our stores, our churches, and our community--families and individuals who are loyal to and love Pacifica. 

Many are being "priced out" of the community. The rents in general are very high. According to U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development data, area housing can be approximately anywhere from $2,100 for a 1-BR to $2,400 for a 2-BR. This can be very high when you're only earning $15 to $25/hr. Also, many renter households pay more than half of their income on rent, leaving little for other critical expenses. Is this considered affordable?"
Related - Gloria Stofan is a member of SFOP/PIA San Francisco Organizing Project (SFOP).  "San Francisco Organizing Project (SFOP) welcomes low and moderate income families and seniors to become involved in public debate on issues that they deem important." 

Note:  Small house from Tumbleweed houses, (the design is "weebee"). 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fix our city economy

Our city could offer developers
and businesses some incentives to move-in
KTVU/Katie Utehs, 2/23/14.  "City waives all business license fees." 

San Leandro -- "An East Bay city built around manufacturing is offering a unique incentive to gain modern business.  The city of San Leandro has announced it will be waiving business license fees for all of 2014. 

....   Leandro’s Mayor Stephen Cassidy was eager to accommodate. ....  To lure new companies to the city, it is waiving the business license fee for 2014 and started doing so back in September.  ....  “We’ve had over 135 businesses come into San Leandro since we started the program,” said Cassidy.

....  However, the city is taking an initial hit. So far more than $38,000 dollars is forgone because of the licensing holiday, but Mayor Cassidy says the program will pay-off." “There’s a tremendous amount of venture capital that’s flowing into San Francisco, into Silicon Valley, and we’re trying to siphon some of it off to come here,” said Cassidy." Read article.

Submitted by Bob Hutchinson 

Note:  photograph from  A girl with glasses blog.  "Pacifica retrospective", but the location is further south toward Santa Cruz. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, February 24, 2014

McNider and Christy: Why Kerry Is Flat Wrong on Climate Change

Contrary to many pronouncements, climate changer/global warming is not a proven science by any measure.

Jim Wagner

It was the scientific skeptics who bucked the 'consensus' and said the Earth was round.

By Richard McNider And John Christy
Updated Feb. 19, 2014 7:31 p.m. ET

In a Feb. 16 speech in Indonesia, Secretary of State John Kerry assailed climate-change skeptics as members of the "Flat Earth Society" for doubting the reality of catastrophic climate change. He said, "We should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists" and "extreme ideologues to compete with scientific facts."

But who are the Flat Earthers, and who is ignoring the scientific facts? In ancient times, the notion of a flat Earth was the scientific consensus, and it was only a minority who dared question this belief. We are among today's scientists who are skeptical about the so-called consensus on climate change. Does that make us modern-day Flat Earthers, as Mr. Kerry suggests, or are we among those who defy the prevailing wisdom to declare that the world is round?


Most of us who are skeptical about the dangers of climate change actually embrace many of the facts that people like Bill Nye, the ubiquitous TV "science guy," say we ignore. The two fundamental facts are that carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased due to the burning of fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, trapping heat before it can escape into space.

What is not a known fact is by how much the Earth's atmosphere will warm in response to this added carbon dioxide. The warming numbers most commonly advanced are created by climate computer models built almost entirely by scientists who believe in catastrophic global warming. The rate of warming forecast by these models depends on many assumptions and engineering to replicate a complex world in tractable terms, such as how water vapor and clouds will react to the direct heat added by carbon dioxide or the rate of heat uptake, or absorption, by the oceans.

Submitted by Jim Wagner

Reminder City Council meeting, tonight, Monday February 24, 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.   

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Government oversight and accountability, San Mateo County Harbor Board and other Commissions

Careful with our money,
you're not the only one endangered
The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Opinion: John McDowell, 2/22/14. "Special district dysfunctions"

.... " As reported last fall, one San Mateo County harbor commissioner in 2012 received pay and benefits working out to $1,100 per hour for attending commission meetings. Of course, attending meetings actually required some work. A former harbor commissioner received $18,348 in benefits, and she’s dead. Lifetime benefits for commissioners require payment to her son, who is on her health insurance policy until he is 26.

....  The San Mateo County Harbor Commission is one of the more egregious examples of special district dysfunction.  ....  ...Reportedly in the middle of a Harbor Commission investigation, the civil grand jury has already investigated the commission.

Special districts play an important role in our county, many times delivering vital services. However, their small size should not let them escape oversight and public scrutiny. It’s up to voters to pay attention." ...   Read article.

Note:  photograph of an American Bald Eagle from Breaking Energy.  Related - American Bald Eagle, "Status of the bald eagle - On June 28, 2007 the Department of Interior took the American bald eagle off the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened...  Bald eagles will still be protected... The US Fish & Wildlife Service Bald and Golden Eagle Post-De-listing."
Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Lyme disease widespread in Bay Area Open Space

San Mateo Patch/Renee Schiavone, Editor, 2/19/14 from Bay City News, Inc.  "Study finds Lyme Disease widespread in Bay Area Open Spaces.  Some simple precautions can be taken..."

Lyme disease is more widespread in Bay Area open spaces than previously thought, according to the results of a new study announced today by Stanford University researchers.

Like hiking our Open Space? Be aware of Deer ticks.
Deer ticks are not very big, compare their size to a dime.
Got bit by one?  Probably best to go see a physician ASAP.
The study, called "Tick-borne Pathogens in Northwestern California," also revealed that Bay Area ticks carry a second bacteria, previously undetected in the region, that can bring on flu-like symptoms in infected humans, such as relapsing fever and severe aches and pains, according to Dan Salkeld, a disease ecologist at Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

The two strains of bacteria were found by researchers who fanned out into 12 open space preserves in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties...  "We found it in every single (test) open space, and every type of terrain."  Read article.

Reference - Medicine Net, "Lyme Disease".  Web MD, Lyme Disease slideshow: "Symptoms, causes, treatments", 12 slides.  Lyme Disease Association, Inc.  Tick identification -  U Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center, "Deer ticks".  Tick information, "Deer Tick and related species." 

Related - The Sparkling Goat.Facts about deer ticks:  "They love warm, humid climates. This past winter was especially that, so their numbers will be up! They carry Lyme Disease.  If you are bitten, send the tick in for testing. More info on how to do that below. They are attracted to dark clothing. Wear light colors when walking through the woods. Click here for some first aid tips from the Mayo Clinic. If you find a tick on you, brush it off outside or flush it. If it's ATTACHED, pull it off carefully with tweezers or use a lit match (blow it out first) to have the tick detach itself.  IMPORTANT: if the tick bit you, save the tick and bring it to your doctor for testing."  Note:  Photo/graphic from this website.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Save the 110 year old HMB bridge and let it fall down by itself, then what?

This article is about competing interest in a city, and the wasted time, energy and resources caused by that. This is a bridge that cannot be saved, yet those who would save it push forward increasing civic cost and delaying the replacement. And yes, replacing the deteriorated bridge is also a safety issue.

San Mateo County Times/Aaron Kinney, 2/19/14.  "Half Moon Bay bridge controversy headed for citywide vote."

Half Moon Bay Mayor Rick Kowalczyk walked the bridge area the day of the City Council meeting last week. Photo: Christa Bigue
The bridge is cracked, and potentially
so is the effort to save this 110 year old bridge
"Faced with a prospective ballot measure from citizens who oppose the city's plan to tear down and replace the century-old bridge, the City Council may put forth a competing measure and let residents choose.

The council will decide March 4 whether to simply place the save-the-bridge group's measure on the June ballot, allowing the preservationists to forgo a signature-gathering campaign. The council will also consider putting its own measure on the ballot that would allow the city to pursue its preferred plan.  Read article.

Related - Half Moon Bay Patch/Christa Bigue, Editor, 9/26/13.  "5 reasons why Half Moon Bay Mayor wants to replace Main Street Bridge."  "On a recent tour of Half Moon Bay’s historic Main Street Bridge, mayor Rick Kowalczyk outlined his rationale for why he favors replacing the bridge over fixing it, a decision that he says was “extremely difficult to make” in light of the blowback from a collective group of residents and merchants, part of the "Save Your Bridge" campaign, who say they would rather see the bridge restored instead. 

“If restoring the bridge would take care of the safety issues, then of course I would consider that option. But it can’t be restored and solve the safety issues,” said Kowalczyk. “I am listening to the people but I have to go against the grain for safety, and that’s a big part of my rationale for supporting the replacement of the bridge. It is my responsibility in a leadership role to factor in safety above all else, and having a safe bridge is critical to me.”  Note:  photograph by Christa Bigue from this article.

Half Moon Bay Review, two pictures of the 110 year-old bridge by Lars Howlett.  The second picture shows another major crack across the structural bridge arch.  Good luck with that!

Posted by Kathy Meeh