I wouldn’t wish a torn quadriceps tendon on my worst enemy. It is a scary and painful injury with a long, uncomfortable recovery. Bill Clinton survived his, so he is my role model.
On November 1, I was at the Saguaro Inn in Palm Springs to attend my nephew’s wedding. On my way downstairs in the morning to find coffee, I stumbled on the carpeted stairs and heard or felt an ominous pop in my right knee. I crumbled to the (luckily) carpeted landing, dragged myself out the door into the hallway, and called for help. Hotel maids, maintenance men, and a front-desk clerk raced to my aid. They got me into a wheelchair and back to my room.
I couldn’t raise my badly swollen right leg, so I was driven to a Kaiser-affiliated urgent-care facility nearby. X-rays were negative, but the doctor said to see an orthopedist as soon as possible. I bought a cane and a knee immobilizer for the trip home. My wonderful traveling companion had to drive, of course, and she has been at my side ever since the accident, helping me in every way.
On November 13, I underwent successful surgery. I am still in awe of the surgeon and nurses at Kaiser South San Francisco. I was totally freaked out as my 1 p.m. surgery appointment stretched into 5 p.m. due to an inpatient emergency. But once I went into the operating room, everything was stress-free and pain-free. I never felt the spinal block or the surgery, just a little tugging sensation as they sewed up my knee.
I was awake the whole time; only a towel prevented me from watching the operation (which I would have done if they had let me – don’t ask, it’s a journalistic thing). Next thing I knew, my surgeon announced, “Thirty-three minutes, no complications.” I told him and his OR staff that they were my heroes.
Then I was wheeled into recovery and finally a private room, where I spent 24 hours absorbing saline solution laced with painkillers and antibiotics. I was fascinated with the purple and blue globs of chemicals trailing down my IV line into the back of my hand.
When the spinal block wore off a few hours later, I felt a wave of pain from the surgery, but the expert nursing staff pumped me so full of Percocet, Advil, Dilaudid, Toradol, and God knows what else that, except for a few minutes of excruciating pain in my operated knee, I drifted along in a drug-addled state of bliss.
The entire Kaiser staff, including my new inpatient and in-home physical therapists, are top-notch caregivers and also delightful people to talk to, especially when you are flat on your back and have no means of escape.
So now begins the long six months of wearing a splint and a cast, rebuilding strength in the knee, and not being able to swim or bike until 2015. Stir crazy much? Realization: It could have been a lot worse.
(This account also appears in my "Wandering & Wondering" column in the November 26 Pacifica Tribune.)
In the Dutch town of Eindhoven, artist Daan Roosegaarde has paid homage to its most famous resident, Vincent Van Gogh, by creating a glowing bike path that relies on solar-powered LED lights and interprets his classic painting Starry Night.
Roosegaarde says he wants his work, illuminated by thousands of twinkling blue and green lights, to speak to everyone. "You have people who are interested in technology to make landscapes which are energy neutral," he tells NPR. "You have people interested in cultural history and experiencing it in a contemporary way. You have boys and girls who have a first date and want to take their date to a special place."
And, he adds, "You have an artist like me who wants to create something just incredibly poetic; and all that comes together. A good project generates new stories."
The path, which covers about a half-mile, opened last Wednesday as part of celebrations marking the 125th anniversary of the death of Van Gogh, who lived from 1853 to 1890. He lived in Eindhoven for a few years and used the town as a backdrop for his paintings.
As we reported last week, another Dutch town, Krommenie, installed solar panels on a bike commuter path outside Amsterdam. The power generated by the panels will be funneled into the national energy grid. (NPR)
Pacificans should be interested to learn that the City of Pacifica appears to incorrectly calculate its annual sewer charge. I will briefly summarize the main points as I understand them.
The city calculates the annual sewer charge based on each residence’s water use. Up front, it's important to know that all Pacificans have the same six bimonthly water billing periods for any sewer charge (February-March, April-May, June-July, August-September, October-November, December-January), irrespective of when meters are read for any bill period.
At issue is whether the "two consecutive highest rainfall months" methodology used by the city is a correct restatement of the "bi-monthly water billing period of highest rainfall" as found in the Municipal Code.
According to the Municipal Code, the city must compare each residence’s total water consumption for the year to six times its water consumption in the "bi-monthly water billing period of highest rainfall". Then the lower of the two values is multiplied by the predetermined sewer rate to arrive at the sewer charge.
The main idea behind this rationale is that during the water billing period of highest rainfall, irrigation should be lower, and so water consumed should more nearly match actual sewage produced. Residents with low water consumption (and lower actual sewage produced) pay the minimum amount, or about $580 for the most recent sewer charge year.
For the most recent sewer charge shown in the figure below (Sewer Charge Methodology Errors), the city did not select the "bi-monthly water billing period of highest rainfall". Instead, it used the "two consecutive highest rainfall months" of November 13 and December 13, which totaled 1.26 inches of rain; since these two consecutive months bridge two different water billing periods (October-November & December-January), the city selected one of the two (December-January) for multiplication by 6.
But neither October-November (0.91 inches) nor December-January (0.36 inches) represent the "water billing period of highest rainfall". According to the Municipal Code, since the "water billing period of highest rainfall" was February-March (1.16 inches), each residence’s water use in February-March should have been chosen in the calculation.
The city has not selected the correct water billing period in three of the past five years, as shown in the Five Year History at the bottom of the figure below. Rainfall totals for the city’s chosen bill periods are ranked and compared to the correct bill periods; note the years for which the city has selected the bill periods of third-highest or fourth-highest rainfall.
For the two years in which the city correctly calculated the sewer charge, note that the "two consecutive highest rainfall months" coincided with the "water billing period of highest rainfall". Pacificans whose water use was lower in the "water billing period of highest rainfall" than in either the city's chosen bill period or the annual consumption were overcharged.
Tell MTC, Commute.org, SamTrans, and your elected representatives (city and county) to include the San Mateo County Coastside in all future transportation planning and services. Existing SamTrans bus lines do connect the Coastside to Colma and Daly City BART (including some limited express service), but Coastside commuters really need direct, dedicated, speedy shuttle buses to Oyster Point, Caltrain, and BART transit hubs like Millbrae, Colma, and Daly City.
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"Thanks for maintaining the best blog in Pacifica." (City Councilman-Elect John Keener)
Caltrans projects are causing big problems throughout the state. Here in Pacifica, while replacing the San Pedro Creek bridge, Caltrans got off to a bad start with its Highway 1 detour. Bottlenecks were particularly bad due to inadequate, poorly located signage. Caltrans paid a little bit of attention to criticism and improved the signage.
But every time I see the lighted sign Caltrans added just past Rockaway that says, “SB detour, right turn ahead,” which gives no hint of how far ahead the detour is, I can’t help but wonder how many cars are wandering around one of the Linda Mar beach parking lots before they get to the detour.
These traffic problems will look small compared to what will come with the permanent devastation to Pacifica’s scenic coastal area if Caltrans goes ahead with its ill-conceived plan to make Highway 1 wider than 280, from Reina Del Mar to Fassler.
We all know about the problems with the Bay Bridge cost overruns due to bad bolts and leakage. Recently, Caltrans actually blamed cost overruns to dismantle the old bridge on the cormorant birds!
But people in the Bay Area may not know what Caltrans is doing up north. In Humboldt County, Caltrans came up with a plan to widen Highway 101 through the Richardson Grove of ancient redwoods to make it easier for large, commercial trucks to drive through. The plan involved destroying tree roots and cutting down old-growth redwoods. In January 2014, a California appeals court ordered Caltrans to reevaluate the environmental impacts of this project.
In Mendocino County, Caltrans is building an oversized freeway bypass, and in the process has destroyed sacred Indian cultural sites and more than 40 acres of wetlands. Caltrans completely destroyed an ancient village after saying it wouldn’t touch the village, violating several laws. Caltrans claimed this was an accident due to faulty maps. Caltrans also passed the buck to the Army Corps of Engineers, which has jurisdiction because of the wetlands. But Caltrans still plans to destroy more Indian sites to build the bypass that local people don’t even want.
Caltrans Watch is a statewide coalition formed to connect the many local groups fighting Caltrans projects. Several members of Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) brought the PH1A banner to the first Bay Area Caltrans Watch protest on November 18, at the Army Corps of Engineers offices on Market Street in San Francisco.
The Army Corps refused to meet with tribal leaders of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, who sat down in front of one of the doors of the building, which was locked by building security when the protest started. Tribal leaders had contacted the Army Corps requesting a meeting, but had received no response.
The tribe wants the Willits Bypass project to stop or scale down, and an end to the destruction of ancient sacred cultural sites and wetlands. Joining in the protest were people from Humboldt, Mendocino, and other areas, including the American Indian Movement and Earth Defenders.
For several hours, the crowd of 100 was steadfast with drumming and chanting (“Army Corps, open the door!”), as Pomo tribal leaders tried to negotiate with the Army Corps of Engineers and the San Francisco Police Department.
Finally, two tribal representatives were allowed into the building to meet with Army Corps staff. Despite the government’s continuous despicable treatment of American Indians, including Caltrans’ violation of Pomo rights, it was inspiring for us to be there representing Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives, and to be part of this coalition victory as the Pomo Indians continue to fight against Caltrans to save their community.
Escape into nature and bring the family for fun, tree hunting, planting, and wreath making: How will you burn off that turkey and stuffing this year? Pacifica Land Trust invites you to escape to nature right here in Pacifica at one of the most scenic, pristine open-space properties! Join us on Sunday, November 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for our 5th Annual Charlie Brown Tree/Wreath event in the Pedro Point Headlands.
Participants should check in at the Castle Kitchen and Bath parking lot in Pedro Point anytime between 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. From here, you will be safely transported to and from the Pedro Point Headlands staging area to start your adventure. Planting and wreath making will be in the staging area. Hiking to the ocean for spectacular views of the ocean, Devil's Slide, Shelter Cove, and beyond is considered rigorous but worth it. Long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and sturdy shoes are recommended.
If you want to cut your own Charlie Brown Tree, bring a saw or borrow one of ours. There are still trees close by, but the right tree might require a hike to the far reaches of the Headlands, even to the North Ridge! Along the way, you will be rewarded with the most amazing views, fresh air, and hopefully some wonderful family memories.
While Charlie Brown trees may be elusive, there will be a plentiful supply of wreaths, holiday decor materials, good cheer, fun, and friends to make your traditional foray to the Headlands well worth it. And there will be ample opportunities to plant a tree or native plant to restore yet another area of this special 246-acre coastal gem.
We will celebrate the kickoff of a recently awarded $1.1 million OHMVR restoration grant with hot cider and refreshments, and are happy to talk with you about the planned restoration project.
Donations to Pacifica Land Trust are truly appreciated and will help preserve, protect, and restore these magnificent headlands for us and future generations. To learn more about our ongoing stewardship and restoration efforts, go to pedropointheadlands.org or call 650-355-1668. All Pedro Point Headlands restoration events are organized by Pacifica Land Trust, funded by California Coastal Conservancy, and supported by Pedro Point Community Association.
As long expected, Pablo Sandoval is leaving the Giants and accepting a five-year, $100 million offer by the Red Sox, basically confirming that the Giants never really were serious about trying to keep him, and that Sandoval actually never really intended to stay anyway, according to media reports. The rest has been p.r. fluff.
Behind the scenes, Panda was angered by the Giants' initial, shockingly low offer of a three-year, $40 million deal, which was made in spring training -- shock and disdain that never went away. In the end, the Giants only offered him $95 million, but reportedly agreed -- finally, at the last moment -- to raise it to being open to going as high as $100 million.
They refused to get into a bidding war that would have kept Sandoval, but would have also lowered their remaining budget for other players, which (please see below) they are well aware they will desperately need to retain some of their key players, even as others depart. It's also believed Pablo liked the idea of switching because of the location of the Sox spring training camp: Florida, where some Sandoval family members live.
With so many Giants players now free to cut their own, post-World Series deals as free agents, a number of them -- and the agents and advisors who represent and guide them -- love the idea of getting a huge pay increase. Most likely, this is just the start of the end of the dynasty team we've seen win three of last five World Series. A number of stars, including several top pitchers, are going to go.
What's the good news? The Giants aren't going to take their hefty, new $100 million and store it away in the bank. They're going to use it to go after some great new players. Who knows, they could be even better than the ones who are going.
San Mateo County Library (including Coastside branches in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay) now offers streaming video to its library cardholders. Video collections include:
IndieFlix, online streaming of award-winning independent films, shorts, and documentaries from around the world, with unlimited access to thousands of streaming film-festival hits, including the best of Sundance, Cannes, and Tribeca.
Criterion Collection, more than 200 acclaimed films from Gus Van Sant, Guillermo del Toro, Federico Fellini, John Ford, Jean-Luc Godard, Alfred Hitchcock, Akira Kurosawa, Francois Truffaut, and Orson Welles.
PBS Video Collection, hundreds of great PBS documentaries and series, including films of Ken Burns, Great Performances, and Frontline.
World NewsreelsOnline (1929-1966), full runs of newsreels (short documentary films) in their original form, including nine newsreel series from the United States, Japan, France, and the Netherlands, bringing history to life.
No special setup or software required—all you need is a San Mateo County Library Card, broadband Internet connection, and a device to instantly stream video. For information and instructions, visit your local San Mateo County Library branch or click this link
Benicia Mayor Elizabeth Patterson stands up to Big Oil and questions the safety of Valero oil trains coming to its Benicia refinery. Read more at the link above. And let this be an encouragement to all local government officials to think and act for themselves, and not get pushed around by corporate business interests.
The updated Housing Element will be reviewed by the San Mateo County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors in December 2014 and January 2015; public comments on all aspects of the draft are encouraged, and will be accepted through December and January. Comments may be made through the websites listed above, or directly in English to William Gibson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-363-1816, or in Spanish to Bryan Albini at email@example.com, 650-363-1807. There will be two public workshops on the draft Housing Element:
Coastside Workshop Tuesday, December 2, 6:30 - 8:30 PM Granada Community Services District Offices 504 Avenue Alhambra, El Granada
Bayside Workshop Tuesday, December 9, 6:00 - 8:00 PM Fair Oaks Community Center 2600 Middlefield Road, Redwood City
William Gibson Planning and Building Department 455 County Center, Second Floor Redwood City, CA 94063 (650) 363-1816
We already have some seriously good writers and photographers contributing to Riptide, but now we want to have our own editorial cartoonists and graphic artists. So come on, people, put on your thinking caps, get out your old Rapidograph pens, and start drawing for Riptide. Email Mayburrito AT Goofbuster.com when you are ready to be published. You won't make a dime here, but you will be famous in your own lifetime.
The statue of Gaspar de Portolá (top) on Highway 1 in Pacifica had long reminded me of the Passion Façade (bottom) of the Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Spain. As farfetched as it seemed, I decided to look into whether there was a relationship. To my utter shock and delight, it turns out that both works are by the Catalonian painter and sculptor Josep Maria Subirachs. Take a closer look at the sculpture of Portolá, and you see that it is a very impressive work – making Pacifica the lucky home of world-renowned art.