Anyone who has followed City Council elections in Pacifica knows that if you don't have a recognizable name, you have a slim chance of being elected to council. That John Keener (a virtual unknown before the November election) was elected to council, running mainly against Caltrans' Highway 1 widening project, should be a clear indication to council how opposed so many Pacificans are to this project that would make that portion of Highway 1 wider than Interstate 280.
To me, that is simply absurd! Council should realize that if it votes to go forward with the project, I truly believe there will be a recall petition circulating in no time at all, and I believe it would be successful. This is a much bigger issue than the Landscape & Lighting Assessment issue that was the impetus for the last recall, for those of you who were here then and can remember how terribly it divided the community.
To my knowledge, there has not been even one public meeting on this issue, and the Chamber of Commerce and Caltrans seem to be ramrodding this project down our throats, when it's NOT the best alternative, and without hearing citizens' input. I'm not an engineer and know nothing about highway widening, but it seems to me that there is plenty of room to put a frontage road on one side or the other of that stretch of Highway 1 to accommodate emergency vehicles during heavy traffic.
So there, I brought up the "R" word. I think this issue is that important.
Ward Schumaker, Disappear for a While, 2010, mixed media on paper on board, 50” x 38”
An exhibit of paintings, mixed media, collage, and sculpture by Ward Schumaker, titled do | undo, curated by Jerry Ross Barrish. On Sunday, March 29 at 4 p.m., the artist discusses his work in a free Artist’s Talk in the Main Gallery. Also showing at Sanchez are Apolitical, Be Political, a group exhibit presented by the Art Guild of Pacifica; and Printmakers – San Francisco Art Institute, curated by SFAI professor Timothy Berry. All three exhibits run through March 29. Sanchez Art Center is at 1220 Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., and by appointment during exhibits. Information: 650-355-1894, sanchezartcenter.org.
Midcoast Community Council met March 11 in Moss Beach to discuss Highway 1 traffic improvements. Click the link below to read our correspondent's report about the meeting, how attendees voted, which alternatives were discussed, and how to submit a public comment. The council meets again April 15 to continue the discussion. See clarifying comments in this thread by Lisa Ketcham of Midcoast Community Council and other interested parties.
Pacifica Art Connection proudly presents a one-woman exhibit of 2014 photography and ceramics by Judy Quitoriano, a multitalented artist who works in many media. Here she presents a series of 18 West Coast photographs sure to heighten appreciation for our exquisite California landscapes. In the sculpture bay are nine of Judy’s organic ceramic works also exhibiting facets of land, sea, and sky.
Photographs include Tranquil Autumn, taken at Sonoma Quarry Botanical Gardens. Reflections in the water are reminiscent of Monet, with an added canopy of beautiful autumn foliage overhead. Tree trunks and branches artfully frame the photograph of Pigeon Point Lighthouse. Local scenes are from San Pedro Valley Park and Rockaway Beach, including Clouds at Dawn and Incoming Tide. Heading south, there are scenes of Carmel and Point Lobos: Abutment, Rocks and Sea, and Carmel Beach, which includes a sea otter with a clamshell on his chest.
In the sculpture bay is a mixture of fired and air-dried ceramic pieces, including a sailing ship in full sail on a platter, a clown fish on a vase, and other more organic pieces suggesting sky, golden sand, and ebbing tide.
The gallery is at 255 Rockaway Beach Avenue (between Pacifica Chamber of Commerce and Avanti Salon). This exhibit runs till Monday, March 30. Hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and closed Sundays.
Better Business Burro confirms that the Fresh & Easy grocery store in Pedro Point Shopping Center, Pacifica, is going out of business at the beginning of April. This is not the first time the tough-luck market has faced extinction.
Leo Leon's photos (top to bottom): pelicans at Point Lobos State Park; porpoises south of Pacifica Pier; harbor seal at Point Lobos; young sea lion stranded on Sharp Park Beach near the pier; fishermen on Sharp Park Beach. Leo says that sea lions come from Southern California and are having a tough time; the mothers have to go farther out to sea to find food and are forced to leave their young behind on the beach. The Marine Mammal Center has been rescuing stranded sea lions from Pacifica beaches, but on the other hand, Leo says, Northern California harbor seals are faring much better.
On March 5, 2015, Pacificans for a Scenic Coast (PSC) and Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) sent letters of intent to sue Caltrans for violations of the federal Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act for the Highway 1 widening project. These notices are about a federal lawsuit, not the state lawsuit awaiting final judgment.
The notices were prompted by a notice that Caltrans published in the Federal Register in December 2014, which said that if there would be be a federal lawsuit on the highway widening project, the suit would have to be filed by May 8, 2015, or PSC/PH1A would be forever barred from filing a federal lawsuit.
This forced our hand. We had to look at whether there were grounds for a federal lawsuit, and then filing if there were grounds. If we didn’t, the door would be permanently closed to this option. We determined that there were grounds.
Then it turns out that to file a federal lawsuit, there has to be a 60-day notice of intent to sue or the federal suit can’t go forward. To keep our option open, we were required to send notices so that they were received by March 8. We had to put a placeholder down or we would forever lose the opportunity to file a federal suit if one was warranted.
If Caltrans had not published its notice in the Federal Register, we may never have considered a federal suit. The Federal Register notice made us look at whether there was a reason that Caltrans would want to bar us from filing a federal suit. Our research showed that there are some very good reasons why it wouldn’t want us to do that — Caltrans has violated federal laws.
The 60-day notice of intent to sue for violations of the Endangered Species Act was sent to Caltrans, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, GGNRA, and Army Corps of Engineers.
The 60-day notice of intent to sue for violations of the Clean Water Act was sent to Caltrans, San Mateo County Transportation Authority, and the City of Pacifica because the city is legally a “necessary and indispensable party” to any decision in that lawsuit.
The two notices of intent to sue (click links below for downloadable/printable PDFs) explain the violations of federal law:
Tuesday, March 31 at 6 p.m., South San Francisco Municipal Services Building, 33 Arroyo Drive. From Marshes to Air Travel Masses: The Origins and Development of San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Ranked seventh-busiest airport in the United States, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) serves tens of millions of air travel passengers yearly. From its humble origins as cow pasture and marshland belonging to the Mills Estate, to major international airline hub and gateway to the Pacific and Asia, the history of SFO’s development is presented by Dennis Sharp, curator of aviation at SFO Museum, through words and images. The presentation includes an overview of SFO’s exhibition program, SFO Museum.
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"Thanks for maintaining the best blog in Pacifica." (John Keener, Pacifica City Council)
Twenty years on the coast and I finally got to film live whales from the beach. I was driving north on Highway 1 just south of Devil's Slide Tunnel when I caught a glimpse of what I thought might be a whale spout. I turned the car around, pulled to the side of the road, and there they were.
At first I was not sure what I was seeing. Was that a flash of a tail fin slapping the water next to a roll of an arching back? The next second I saw what I thought were two pectoral flukes and a bit of a whale belly right next to a spout. Then one leaped and I could see the striations on its throat. I quickly realized I was looking at a small pod of three or four gray whales cavorting and tumbling over one another in the water.
How many whales passed by during that half an hour I spent looking down on the water? Dozens at least. With all of them tumbling and twisting around and around it was impossible to get a good count. Watch the video above and you will see what I mean.