Thursday, May 1, 2014

John's view, a primer of "no growth" design affecting our city

Quarry (jobs and services),
offers the opportunity to build
a balanced city economy.
"It's interesting that Pacificans want Pacifica to remain beautiful, in good shape financially, and its infrastructure intact. Folks see that happening in different ways. Most people who live here stay because they want the open space and to be away from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco or Daly City. In fact, I know one person who says we Pacificans are spoiled because our town is so beautiful — that made me smile.
Pedro Point Shopping Center
was once "empty space".
Linda Mar Shopping Center
was once "empty space".

We don't need to fill up our 'empty space' with buildings in hopes that businesses will come here and stay. We have empty business spaces, for instance, Eureka Square. I've been told that rents there are very high; rumor has it the owner wants to sell that or build condos, but who knows. We do need more business, but basic businesses that will stay, not simply niche businesses. Niche businesses are good and fun, too, don't get me wrong.

Folks who think that building is the answer to our problems should ask themselves why they think empty space is 'wasted' space. Someone actually said that to me. If buildings attract business, then why do we have empty storefronts? If that's true, then just move up to Daly City or San Francisco.

As for widening Highway 1, I've driven to San Mateo for nearly 17 years now for work. I leave before 7 a.m. to get there without the hassle of traffic. I can honestly say two things: When school is out, I can leave 10 or 15 minutes later; and widening a part of Highway 1, then narrowing it again, does not truly solve traffic woes — it would be like a heart surgeon cleaning out part of your artery but leaving the rest of it clogged.  
Almost no traffic before 7 AM.

"Gang of No" isolated?
If so, for cause over decades.
'Gang of No' is a label meant to segregate and isolate a specific group of people and give that group a negative connotation. That does not help anyone because it turns ideas into conflict. It is not productive. People will argue. Big deal. But ALL sides need to realize there will be give and take. It's not a contest; it's a process to reach a mutual goal." (Name withheld by request, posted on Pacifica Riptide)."
Related - Fix Pacifica reprint article Disincorporate Pacifica from John's "Wandering and Wondering" column, 3/19/14. "Sixty years ago, during the era of suburban sprawl, highway building, and bland homogenization, creating a new city out of a hodgepodge of disparate districts gave birth to Pacifica. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But now that experiment has run its course and proven a failure."

Note photographs: Quarry from the "Gang of No", Pacifica Quarry Organizatio. Linda Mar Shopping Center from a Pacifica Patch article. Pedro Point Shopping Center from the City of Pacifica. Daily highway 1 traffic from Loma Prieta Sierra Club.  Isolation of man sitting alone from an NPR article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh


Hutch said...

So John wants to disincorporate, Bray wants to un-econimate and Loeb wants to adjudicate. The 3 horseman of the insolvency.

Anonymous said...

Hard to dispute the experiment is close to failure. Much too close to collapse for any of the cures being touted to actually save the patient.
Do the math.

Anonymous said...


I nominate this for the post of the year!

Anonymous said...

Experiment? Plenty of cities go through tough times and even bankruptcy. None have disincorporated because of it. Not going to happen. If we DO go thru BR, it could be the "cure" we need to get out from under these pensions and wages.

The Local Libertarian said...

@ 9:42 PM

One could say, the American experiment itself is a failure if not for its access to bond markets (both local and international) and the military hegemony to back it up.

America has long ceased to be an economy that is feasible of self-sustenance.

My view is that Pacifica has remained viable due to recycling of residents and accompanied growth in real estate value bringing in incremental tax revenues that basically track overall inflation.

As economic opportunities and services in rural California either degrade or cease, we can only expect increased population pressure in the Bay Area. Some of it on Pacifica.

At some point, Pacifica will not be able to match its revenues with citizen expectations.

And then it either has to encourage development or dis-incorporate and encourage development.

Also as cost of living increases (have you noticed, the rents in Pacifica have gone up 25%) and lack of commiserate economic expansion, it is not impossible to imagine a growing trend in homelessness and drug related offenses.

The smart thing for Pacifica to do would be encourage smart development. The Hippie Revival from the 60s worked for teenagers in the 60s. It won't for the septuagenarians in 2014.

We'll see.

Anonymous said...


A couple good points but the "gang of no" are all from about 40 to about 80+ they are getting old. They will die off one by one.

The new "gang of no" the Pedro Point and Vallemar newbie hippie nimby's are far more dangerous than the old "gang of no"

They are better educated make more money and they have access to attorney's and legal matters.

Thus, I think the city is lost in the abysis. Nothing will be developed cause we have the "kick the can down the road" mentality and the "cut the city services to the bone" mentality.

Eureka Square and Linda Mar had pretty high vacancy rates during the 2008 downturn but to think Pacifica never had a boom in the boom economy from 2002-2007.

Houses in Pacifica increased to the point a Linda Mar Rancher ran about $700k+ and Park Pacifica and Vallemar were over $1,000,000 but they crashed down over 50%.

Anonymous said...

Do I agree with John, on city politics. NO. Do I want him to be a yes man and do ass kissing. NO.

It's ok we just don't agree. He wants the trees, and the beach and the flower and frogs and snakes. I want development on 3 parcels. The quarry, the old waste water treatment plant(minus the pie in the sky library, and the Carlson project.

The new nimbys like Sam Casitas, are having spasms about the Carlson property. I thought Sam, was going to have a massive stroke when he was cranking up the drama at city council. Waa your master plan that hasn't been updated since 1982 is greatly flawed? What gives Mr Casitas the ability to tell if its flawed, he is a nimby they know all.

This town has lived its best days and its dying. No ifs and ds or buts.

Anonymous said...

"America has long ceased to be an economy that is feasible of self-sustenance"

Local Lib, you like the doom and gloom huh? It fits into your dim world view. The US still has the #1 economy in the world by far even though we are out numbered 2 to 1 by the Chinese.

I do agree we need development, not necessarily "smart" development.

The Local Libertarian said...


America also has the largest amount of govt debt in the world.

And its paid for, by yours truly. And I am sure you as well.

If you think you can sustain that level of debt without raising taxes and/or vacuuming up savings then it may be you your economic understanding is lacking.

You can borrow from future. Deficit financing they call it. But I am sure you know how it ends if you have to borrow to pay off current debt.

todd bray said...

Thank god none of you Yessies and Fixies get out much if at all. You really need to just stay home in your padded cells and not mingle.

Anonymous said...

809 Bankruptcy provides no real relief from either of the issues you mention. It gives court-ordered priority to pension and benefit obligations that are guaranteed for former and current workers. Bankruptcy judges avoid even the hint of anti-union rulings so wages are off-limits to the court. However, resident-serving programs and services will be cut with an ax. We truly would become a city whose only purpose is to pay pensions and wages for a shrinking work force providing neglible services. Worst of all, bankruptcy solves nothing for a town with Pacifica's real problem, which is no way to pay the bills once we leave the courthouse.

The old Local Libertarian points to the only real game-changer, ie, revenue-producing development, and makes a good case for its inevitability. We'll get there but the road to it is going to get a lot rougher.

Anonymous said...

1038-1050 What the hell is an abysis? BTW it's Casillas and Calson. Are you writing to amuse or persuade?

Anonymous said...


They are pulling your short leash back over to Riptide.

The Local Libertarian said...

@1:02 PM

Todd, at which God?

I mean, pursuing your line of thought, we should all be:

1) Evacuating Pacifica
2) Searching for last known descendents of Ohlone and Costanoan Indians
3) Repopulating Pacifica with indigenous natives with their indigenous lifestyle

So, why isn't the liberal left pursuing this?

In this spirit, perhaps you should leave Pacifica and set an example for the rest of us to follow you!

Do it, I'll cheer for you.

Anonymous said...

You fancy pants Pedro Point people think you are so smart. So you can spell? BFD!

Anonymous said...

220 Better, much better.

Anonymous said...

220 Blue jeans with paint splotches,
way back in LM, but I can see Pedro Point.

Anonymous said...

Somehow the attempt to insult us with the words Yessies and Fixies seems like a funny fail. What happened to all the nazi insults Todd? You realize you sounded like a fool? Good guess.

Anonymous said...

It's not like Bray's got a monopoly on all that.

Anonymous said...

Twinkle toes over on riptide just posted the scary Pacifica budget. Folks I am warning you it is much uglier that you ever imagined.

It's a good thing the city council made our new city manager write 1000 times as a condition of employment.

I shall get you a library!

Anonymous said...

6:30 so as usual no future concessions from employees are planned. They pay 12% of pension? Whoopie. Most people pay at least 50%. Same old BS. They will probably try another tax soon.

Anonymous said...

120 soften us up first with cuts. prepare the lambs. worked for jerry brown.

Tom Clifford said...

No new taxes yet. What they are going to do is "borrow" $2 million a year from the sewer fund for the next five years. Don't worry if the fund runs short they just raise your sewer fees to make up the difference.

Anonymous said...

You got that right Tom! This bunch is soooo much better than the old regime. Probably sharing a brain with them.

Tom Clifford said...

The old council took $750,000 a year out of the sewer fund each year until the courts made them stop. This bunch is calling it a loan to get around the laws.
I remember the last loan the council made, $5 million to the Rockaway Beach Redevelopment Agency. For years they found one reason after another not to pay it back, when the State took over we the Pacifica taxpayers lost that money. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.

Council leave the Sewer fund alone.

Anonymous said...

There are loopholes/exceptions in the Bighorn Decision that stopped cities from legally looting their sewer funds. One of them is the loan thing Clifford mentions. Another is basically for the city to "bill" the sewer fund reserve for costs such as use of roads and streets and public safety services. Have they already done some of this? What's the process? Bury it in an agenda and describe it poetically, ie, "smoothing". I want to hear the words borrow, loan, repayment loud and clear.