Monday, June 30, 2014

The Chamber of Commerce promotes the city, the view is great, but City where is the economy?

Canadian Traveller, 4/6/14. "Pacifica - California's natural playground."

rockaway beach
Pacifica, CA best sunset anywhere, but where's the economy?
"One of the most panoramic coastal towns in the San Francisco Bay Area, Pacifica is famous for its beautiful coastline, breathtaking vistas and bohemian ambiance.
The town’s ethereal beauty is further enhanced by its Mediterranean-style weather. Temperatures range from 15to 20 degrees cooler than they do on the central coast, drawing visitors to Pacifica’s shoreline to cool off during the hot summer months.

Just 15 minutes from San Francisco, it is the perfect place to soak-up picturesque views of the rolling hills and crashing waves Californian coastline. The area boasts some of the finest hiking trails in the Bay region, including the new Devil’s Slide Coastal Trail, which opened just last month. Devil’s Slide Coast is a 3,600-hectare network of publicly accessible lands between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay explores dramatic landscapes and crucial ocean habitats."  Read article.

Note:  photograph is from the above article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Pacifica Chamber of Commerce promotes this city

Pacifica Tribune/My Turn, 6/26/14.  "Insight into what Pacifica Chamber does to support our city economy" by Chris Porter

New store front businesses gets our ribbon cutting
"There have been many letters and posts to blogs regarding the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce and why they should even be considered for a $10,000 stipend from the city of Pacifica. The city of Pacifica was funding the Visitors Center, which is open weekends from May through November. Just the payroll for this time frame far exceeds $10,000. 

Within the past 12 months, the chamber has developed Pacifica's visitor website,; launched the mobile app, iPacifica; centralized the community calendar on the website and the iPacifica app; hired a public relations firm to market local hotels and Pacifica; hosted two groups of travel writers on three-day stays within the city, which resulted in coverage in or on VIA magazine (AAA), Travel and Leisure, Senior Living and Diablo Magazine, SF Examiner and Contra Costa Times newspapers, eGloral Travel media,,,, and KGO810News.
Contrary to stated as facts, our membership dues are not used for PAC activities, which are monies voluntarily contributed and earmarked by the business contributing such to go directly to the PAC, but used for the activities listed above. We have contributed to the new Devil's Slide Shuttle, which brings visitors into Pacifica to view the newest tunnel in California and then stay in our town for lunch or at least fill up their gas tank. We have revamped the kiosk in Rockaway Beach to show the latest activities and events in Pacifica. 

We provide tourists information and
internet advertising from our Rockaway office
This past Saturday we hosted Taste of Pacifica, which showcases the restaurants in this town and gives information on how to locate them and make reservations. The event was a sell out with many people coming from out of town to sample our culinary cuisine. This "private organization," as you call it, brings people into this town who spend dollars, which helps the city and our entire community, not just our members.

We do what we can to grow business 
Do you want to target and reach all demographic groups for your business to be successful? The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce provides these 21st-century products and services to help our chamber member businesses succeed. If you feel there is worth to being in the directory, being on our website, being on the iPacifica app, and joining us in community events like the Taste of Pacifica, the Annual Golf Tournament, the Oktoberfest, and the Rockaway Tree Lighting, then join us. If not, do not negate the importance we bring to this city as its marketing arm. 

In 2011, the total transient occupancy tax (TOT) was $940,000, which increased to $1.1 million in 2012 with the 2 percent increase in the TOT voted in by the citizens. In 2013 the $1.1 million increased to $1.3 million through marketing Pacifica as a tourist destination by the chamber. It was always the understanding that the $10,000 funding the Chamber received came directly from the TOT tax and not the taxpayers pocket. 

We are just asking the citizens of Pacifica to give credit where credit is due. No one is promoting this city except the Chamber of Commerce."

Note:  in adapting the article reprint from the original Pacifica Tribune article, a title has been added, and the one paragraph text has been changed to several paragraphs.  Approval for printing the article in full has been allowed by Chris Porter.

Reference Pacifica Chamber of Commerce.

Note:  photographs:   Business opening ribbon cutting (Lovey's Tea Shoppe), from Pacifica Chamber of Commerce, 11/9/12. The business office from InfoUSA, posted on a Fix Pacifica article (Chamber annual award annual dinner, 2/12/12).  Superman helping from CNN, slide 2 of 8, in an article by Kevin Pilley, 6/6/13, "The town where Superman lives".  "Sometimes saving the world involves mundane tasks. Metropolis's resident Superman helps out with a little gardening."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, June 29, 2014

San Francisco is focused on homeless and affordable housing

A compassionate investment in the welfare of people, with better outcome.

The Examiner/Chris Roberts, 6/27/14.  "Mayor: building supportive housing key to ending homelessness." 

Homeless housing, a good space
Mayor Ed Lee getting it right again
"San Francisco is working to build its way out of the homelessness problem. A total of 19,000 "chronically homeless people" have been moved off of the streets and into housing or sent back home to their families over the past decade, Mayor Ed Lee announced Thursday.

And of those longtime homeless, 11,362 people are living in The City in supportive housing, apartment complexes with mental health and other service workers on site. Building more of that housing is the key to ending chronic homelessness, Lee and other city leaders said Thursday, which marked the 10-year anniversary of The City's first 10-year plan to get people living on the streets indoors.

....  San Francisco's housing crunch is affecting people in all social classes and income levels. Lee has repeatedly said building or fixing up 30,000 new units of housing by 2020 -- 10,000 of which are supposed to be below market rate -- is a top priority."   Read article.

RelatedSan Francisco Chronicle/Heather Knight, 6/28/14. "San Francisco's new ideas for ending chronic homelessness." "San Francisco Chronicle  San Francisco officials believe their decade long attempt to place homeless people in permanent housing with services attached remains the smartest way to get them off the street, but they're trying, or at least considering, several additional approaches to finally curb one of the city's most stubborn problems."

San Francisco Chronicle/Kevin Fagan, 2/21/05.  "Homeless respond to good quarters."  "Design buildings that make the homeless want to live in them, or at least walk inside and apply for assistance, and you will have an infinitely better chance of getting them to stabilize their dysfunctional lives, the 58-year-old professor told an audience earlier this month at Cody's Books on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. And every time a homeless person starts living indoors, society is able to spend less on jails, hospitals and all the other expensive emergency services that become revolving doors for most people living on the street. The math is borne out in national studies showing that housing with counseling services on site -- called supportive housing -- costs about $1, 000 a month to maintain, while hospital beds cost about $30,000 a month, and jail cells cost more than $3,000 a month."  

The Examiner/Joshua Sabatini, 6/1/14. "Mayor's budget plan boosts workforce, increases investment in homeless services and housing."  "The budget proposal comes as San Francisco has a growing income inequality gap, soaring rents and increasing evictions, ongoing problems with pedestrian fatalities and more than 6,000 homeless adults for more than a decade. The mayor's investment in these issues is expected to take center stage as the spending plan undergoes a review by the Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks. .... He said it "protects social services for people who need them most, is affordable over the long term, increases city services including public safety and supports our continued economic recovery.  .... As a result of the voter-approved 2012 Housing Trust Fund, the mayor's budget includes investing $44.4 million in below-market-rate housing during the next two fiscal years. Lee, who has called for the construction of 30,000 housing units by 2020, is also proposing to issue debt backed by the future trust fund increases to generate an additional $50 million in the same time frame."

Note photographs:  Housing unit by Brant Wart from related San Francisco Chronicle, 2/21/05 article. Mayor Ed Lee by Mike Koozmin from The Examiner, 6/1/14 article. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Forward thinking, sea level rise containment

CBS/KCBS channel 5, San Francisco Bay Area, 6/27/14.  "San Mateo County planners grapple with expected 3-foot sea level rise."

At least our county is thinking about sea level rise now
"FOSTER CITY (CBS SF) — The threat of rising seas in San Mateo County was the focus of a planning conference in Foster City Friday morning hosted by federal, state and county government leaders.  “Sea level rise is one of the most critical issues we face in San Mateo County, and there are no more crisis-oriented issues than this one,” said Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City, one of the conference hosts.

....  David Pine noted that of the 20 cities in San Mateo County, 19 were in attendance. In addition to city staff and elected officials, officials from special districts and regulatory agencies were in attendance. ....“The first concept is to introduce the reality of a 3-foot sea level rise, and the significant effect it will have on San Mateo County’s people and property. The second concept is to design an organizational structure on how to prepare for this, and the third is to create a task force to make recommendations and explore options for funding,” Pine said."  Read article.

RelatedKQED, blog 6/13/14.  "Rising seas will likely lead to unprecedented flooding along parts of California’s coast within 20-60 years, according to new research by Climate Central. Driven by climate change, global sea levels have already risen several inches over the past century." 

Inside Bay reference - State of CA/BCDC, San Francisco bay areas. "..  Data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to produce a series of sea level rise maps showing areas vulnerable to 16 inches of sea level rise at mid-century and 55 inches at the end of the century. Coastal reference - Cal-adapt, "Sea level rise" "Global models indicate that California may see up to a 55 inch (140 cm) rise in sea level within this century given expected rise in temperatures around the world.  The following map tool displays areas that may be in threat of inundation during an extreme flood event (100 year flood).  These data were developed by scientists from the USGS (Bay Area) and Pacific Institute (Coast)." 

Note:  graphic from  Resilient by design.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Hwy 1 Design Alternative

Click image to enlarge

(2 lanes thru at Rockaway, 3 lanes thru at Valleymar)

Some people in town have voiced concern about the number of lanes and the width of the Cal Trans Hwy 1 design, and how it fits into the aesthetics of our coastal community.

I too felt the new design was a little large so I went ahead and looked at the intersections from all directions in attempt to improve traffic flow while minimizing the width and number of lanes.

Here is what I came up with:

I call this the ( 2 + 3 ) concept which has 2 thru lanes at the Rockaway/Fassler intersection, just like now, to reduce unnecessary width, and 3 thru lanes at the Valleymar/Reina Del Mar intersection to increase capacity.

Note the frontage road in front of the Shell/Tire Shop now extends all the way to the Valleymar. This lane then becomes both a turn lane and thru lane in front of the Valleymar Station, to increase capacity at this critical section.

Heading South from SF an additional 3rd lane is added near the Sewer Plant to increase capacity, then as you travel toward Rockaway the thru lane becomes a turn only lane at Fassler, leaving only 2 thru lanes heading Southward.

There are other improvements like adjusting the width of the Median and Margins and removing the kink in the roadway near the lumber yard for example. I am sure you have your own suggestions. But I think the first step is to settle the lane configuration, and then add the bells and whistles later.

So go ahead and take look at the lane configurations in the North & South directions and try to improve it! Add a lane here, or remove one there. Add a turn lane, or move the bus stop and then see the results for yourself. Good luck!

Submitted by:
Scott McIntosh
Linda Mar Resident

Changing times, San Bruno ballot initiative will raise downtown building limits to 90 feet

The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Angela Swartz, 6/26/14.  "San Bruno looking at new height limits:  allowing buildings up to 90 feet could help the downtown grow."

San Bruno downtown
"In an effort to revamp its downtown, San Bruno officials are considering putting a measure on the November ballot to modify its ordinance that limits building heights, potentially raising them from 50 to 90 feet. 

Established in 1977 as a result of a voter initiative, Ordinance 1284 was intended to preserve the existing character of San Bruno by requiring voter approval for high-rise developments, increased density in existing neighborhoods and projects encroaching upon scenic corridors and open spaces. Permits and approvals can’t be issued to allow construction of building taller than 50 feet or that exceed three stories unless approved by a majority of voters at a regular or special election.

The discussion on building heights started in 2012 when the city concluded a strategic vision process with a transit corridor plan, said City Manager Connie Jackson. The transit corridor plan outlines a number of different areas in the transit corridor, including along El Camino Real, San Bruno Avenue and San Mateo Avenue. In the plan, proposed building heights range from three to seven stories in some areas.“The plan is critical to the city’s achievement to transform those key areas of our city into the future,” she said.

....  “There was a strong interest to make sure there was thoughtful integration of new development areas with existing residential neighborhoods,” she said. “Keeping the character and quality and to make sure taller, more densely populated buildings didn’t create a negative impact for neighbors.”   Read more.

Reference -  City of San Bruno.  population 42,165 (2012), household income $72,185 (2011), per capita $33,339 (2011).  Note photograph:  San Bruno downtown from a County of San Mateo Newsroom article.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moving Pacifica forward, good news/bad news with solutions

"Moving Pacifica Forward" by Jim Wagner and Mark Stechbart 
After all that, good news Smiley,
the city may have a future after all.

"Years of debate and artificial delay are coming to an end regarding the Hwy 1 safety widening. Final approvals for the Beach Blvd hotel, restaurant and library site are at hand, however, the ongoing City budget train wreck only gets worse. Good news and bad news.  

After nearly 30 years of debate and delay, City Council took another step forward by denying an appeal of the City's capital improvement program by opponents of the Hwy 1 widening. A small group of Hwy 1 opponents have made every imaginable last minute objection to fixing this bottleneck that really wrecks the commute. In their appeal, opponents pushed an old "solution" of building frontage roads on either side of this stretch of Hwy 1, wiping out every business along the east side. Other last minute "alternatives" are a break down lane for emergency vehicles only, dooming commuters to sit in the gridlock; a light rail system running north out of town. We'll stick with the retired firefighters and the Teamster driver--put one lane in each direction and don't monkey-wrench our commute.

After almost 20 years, the Beach Blvd project on the abandoned old sewer plant site will be before the final permitting agency, the Coastal Commission, hopefully by the end of the year. That's good news. Several million dollars from a developer to build the project that will generate $500,000 annually in revenue is in sight. A new restaurant for Pacifica on prime oceanfront property will be an instant revenue producer. the bad news, it took way too long and we could have used the money this year to avoid another budget mess and lost library hours. However, we are one step closer to a real Main Street in Pacifica.

The City budget remains front page news. A huge deficit. Millions of fees and taxes collected for one purpose but moved around into unrelated programs. Unclear past plans to repay these "loans". An employee pension plan that needs a "loan" from the sewer fund to buy it down. Council bit the bullet and a tough audit will bring clarity. What remains to be discovered is why this went on for eleven years since 2003.

With a renewed focus, Council and this community can adopt a sustainable local economy. Some old bad habits have to be corrected, but the recent actions discussed above provide us with a positive roadmap forward, benefiting everyone." 

Note:  the above text was published in the Pacifica Tribune as a My Turn article, 6/25/14. Permission to reprint the full article was allowed by the authors.   Graphic: the "good news/bad news smiley is from DJ Rootbeer music blog. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

General Plan Open House Saturday June 28, 2014 (for those who missed the first open house)


There must be a Red-legged frog
on this property somewhere
"Community Open houses City of Pacifica General Plan update.

Notice is hereby given that the City of Pacifica Planning Department will be holding two (2) Community Open Houses on the General Plan Update.  The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and the Draft General Plan/Local Coastal Land Use Plan are also available for review during this period.

Date:      Saturday, June 28, 2014
Where:  Pacifica City Council Chambers, 2212 Beach Boulevard, Pacifica
Time:     11 AM to 1:00 PM

Please note:  this is a repeat General Plan Open House.  The same material presented at the June 18th Community Open Houses will be presented at this second meeting.  More information, 2 pages (pdf).

Note photographs:  lot view from 3888 Palmetto Avenue ($4,300,000, 2+ years on site) from Home Finder.  Red-legged frogs from Knights Science Journalism, MIT.  The prior Fix Pacifica announcement, was pretty much the same for the prior 6/18/14 meeting.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Atherton parcel tax for public works projects and police services renews

A parcel tax is another economic solution if city voters approve, and pass the measure.

The Almanac (Menlo Park, Atherton, Portola Valley, Woodside), Renee Batti, 6/24/14.  "Atherton city council oks maximum parcel tax."

"Atherton property owners will pay the maximum rate -- $750 annually for most of them -- in parcel taxes for the next fiscal year, the City Council decided at its June 18 meeting. The parcel tax, which raises about $1.86 million annually for public works projects and police services, was set to expire next month, but was renewed by voters in 2013 for four years. The council must approve charging the tax rate each year, and can set it lower than the voter-approved maximum. The tax has always been charged at the maximum rate.

At the study session, Councilman Widmer said that even with conservative projections on the town's surplus revenues -- which this year are estimated at about $6 million and projected to grow as high as $11 million in five years -- the town should be able to lower the parcel-tax rate this coming year without promising reductions in the future.

Councilwoman Lewis noted that the town must focus on deferred maintenance for infrastructure and "significant capital projects" in the future, and keeping the tax rate at its current level would allow it to accelerate some of the work. Referring to the town's study of alternative revenue sources, she said, "Hopefully we won't have to pass another parcel tax in four years."  Read more.

Reference -  Town of Atherton, CA website., population 7,191 (2012), median household income $232,953, per capita $125,933 (2011). Population change since year 2000, -0.0% (2012).

Note photographs:  Old Atherton city hall from the Town of Atherton, CA website above, the sign from Way

Posted by Kathy Meeh