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October 2010

September 2010

Rockaway Quarry: On Again, Off Again

Our source looked at the website listed on the Rockaway Quarry real estate signs (pacifica-oceanfront.com), and the site says "Project Not Active. Thank you for your interest in Pacifica—Rockaway Quarry. Unfortunately, this project is no longer available." Recently, our source noticed that the brochure had changed to include an offering price of $10.9 million, with offers due in late September. "So maybe there's been a sale," our source muses.


Take Caltrain to the Shark Tank

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Take Caltrain to all Sharks home games http://sharks.nhl.com/club/index.htm  at HP Pavilion. With its San Jose terminal across the street from the hockey arena, Caltrain service makes it easy to avoid the hassle and expense of driving and parking. Several trains arrive in time for face-off. The last weekday and Saturday northbound trains leave San Jose station at 10:30 p.m. and may depart up to 15 minutes later if the game is still under way, making all regular local stops. Trains stop at Broadway and Atherton stations on weekends only. Passengers must purchase tickets before boarding. Ticket options include one way, Day Pass (round trip), and eight-ride pass. Passengers must validate eight-ride tickets before boarding. Monthly passholders ride free through all zones on weekends. Open alcoholic beverage containers not allowed onboard trains starting at 9 p.m. For more information on schedules and fares, call Caltrain’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-660.4287 or visit CALTRAIN


Ocean Beach Bulletin Debuts on the Web

I'm so pleased to be able to tell you that after months of publishing almost entirely on Twitter, the Ocean Beach Bulletin debuted its very own website today:

http://oceanbeachbulletin.com

I think the Ocean Beach area of San Francisco is a special part of a special city, and the people who live, work and play here deserve a great news source all their own. I hope we'll be interesting and useful. Because I know many of you love the beach and adjacent neighborhoods in many different ways, I also wanted to tell you about a way you can share that love. I hope you'll consider writing your own memories of -- or homages to -- the area for a part of the Bulletin we call Ocean Beach Recollections http://oceanbeachbulletin.com/2010/09/15/how-to-submit-an-ocean-beach-recollection/.

Tom Prete
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Ocean Beach Bulletin


Hill: PG&E Top 100 Critical List "Inadequate"

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 Assemblyman Jerry Hill, who represents San Bruno, called the list of “Top 100” critical gas pipelines released today by PG&E “inadequate” and said he was disturbed by the inconsistency in the information the utility has been providing the public. “Residents need to be assured that the pipelines in their communities are safe and that utilities are properly regulated,” Hill said. “But PG&E keeps changing its story.” Hill noted that in 2007, PG&E listed a segment in South San Francisco of the same pipeline that exploded Sept. 9 in San Bruno – 2.5 miles to the south – as ranking in the “Top 100” highest-risk list when it asked the Public Utilities Commission for a rate hike. Although the rate hike was granted, the pipeline in South San Francisco is not scheduled to be replaced until 2013. Yet Hill noted the pipeline was not included in PGE’s “Top 100” list released today. In its 2009 rate filing, PG&E stated “if the replacement of this pipe does not occur, risks associated with this segment will not be reduced. Coupled with the consequences of failure of this section of pipe, the likelihood of a failure makes the risk of a failure at this location unacceptably high.”
 
“PG&E now tells us high-priority safety projects are fixed immediately – and aren’t placed on the “Top 100” list, which is why South San Francisco was not included,” Hill said. “Yet we’ve learned they regularly get approval from the PUC to repair gas lines, but never do the work.” Hill is also disappointed with the PUC for not being able to work with PG&E to determine the gas lines in the state that pose the greatest risk to public safety. “If the “Top 100” are not the most at risk or dangerous gas lines in the state, then I want to see the real Top 100 lines in the state that pose the greatest safety threat to Californians,” Hill said.  
 
PUC Executive Director Paul Clanon said today, “I want to assure the public that the list is not of pipelines that are at risk or dangerous. The list is a tool used by PG&E to prioritize maintenance, repair, or monitoring of its gas pipelines.” Hill led the chorus of calls for the utility to release its “Top 100 list.” In refusing to release the list, PG&E officials had previously citied potential terrorist attacks – a likelihood it downplayed today. “I’m troubled by PG&E’s inconsistency,” Hill said. “Rate-payers deserve better.” Hill suggested that a third-party, independent oversight entity review PG&E’s gas inspection policies, what types of gas line inspections are conducted, if repairs are made after rate hikes are granted, and the adequacy of the criteria the utility uses to compile its “Top 100” list.

The Assembly and Senate Utility Committees and Public Safety Committees are planning on holding the first oversight hearing regarding the San Bruno disaster in mid-October in Sacramento.




U.S. Consul Joel Maybury Joins American & French Firefighters in Sept. 11 Ceremony

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"The 9/11 ceremony gets under way in Foulayronnes, France. Three New York Fire Department firefighters (left) came to France at the invitation of their counterparts in the Lot et Garonne area. During the ceremony, several local officials and I laid wreaths on a small memorial to the NYFD firefighters who gave their lives on 9/11."

LOCAL MEDIA COVERAGE

JOEL MAYBURY

U.S. CONSUL, BORDEAUX, FRANCE

 


Pacifica Passes POOCH Park Plan

Pacifica City Council voted September 13 to begin building a dog park at Sanchez Center's east field. We will follow city guidelines and recommendations of the negative-impact report on this project, and I believe that means we (POOCH, the city, neighbors, Sanchez tenants, and interested Pacificans) start planning, designing, and figuring out rules and regulations for the dog park. We want this to be a community park, so we welcome everyone's input to this process. Join our YAHOO GROUP or FACEBOOK PAGE to stay involved and updated. As soon as we know the next step, we will post it on these sites. The council cast a historic vote for the first dog park in Pacifica. We are grateful for the community support and look forward to working together. We see the building process and finished dog park as opportunities to be good neighbors to those close to the park, Sanchez tenants, the entire community (dog lovers, cat lovers, and non-pet-owners alike), and the environment. You are invited to become part of this journey.

BEVERLY KINGSBURY

President, Pacifica Organization of Canine Helpers (POOCH), 501(c)3 nonprofit organization

www.PacificaPooch.com

pacificaPooch@yahoogroups.com


Stephen Johnson: Dog Park OK but Not @ Sanchez

My business here in Pacifica is threatened and may be forced to close. I need your help. My studio and digital lab are at The Pacifica Center for the Arts in the old Sanchez school owned by the City of Pacifica. Now the city proposes to build a 23,000-square-foot dog park right next to my digital classroom. I have worked very hard to transform my space into a first-class gallery and high-end digital lab. Apple, Adobe, Epson, X-rite, and Eizo have all contributed to make my digital lab and teaching facility successful. We have had real problems with dogs on the Sanchez Art Center grounds, and I am convinced that placing a huge dog park next to my studio will create a negative image of my site; further compromise the already run-down state of the center; and create noise, odor, and conflict next to my classroom, essentially driving me out of the site and out of business in this town. I have invested more than $25,000 in this site, too much to move to another commercial location, particularly in this business environment. I am concerned that I will be left with no choice but to shut down my studio business. I have brought a huge amount of business to this coastal city, with students coming here from all over the U.S. and around the world. I need friends and supporters in this community to come to the council meeting tonight and remind the council of the value my business brings to the community, and that Pacifica is very lucky to have a business draw like mine does here in town. According to the Chamber of Commerce, in 2008 my business brought more than a quarter of a million dollars into the community. In the arts and in people’s decision-making process about workshops, image means a lot, so a dog park next to my studio does not help with the business image. The disruption I have already experienced from dogs is incompatible with running an educational center. It is not about NOT wanting a dog park for Pacifica. Sanchez is simply the wrong location. It is a particularly bad location, only 175 feet uphill from the already struggling San Pedro Creek and its spawning steelhead population, especially added to existing dog waste contamination.

STEPHEN JOHNSON


Jerry Hill: PG&E's History of Gas Leak Violations

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San Bruno, Calif.
– State Assemblyman Jerry Hill received a briefing from state emergency officials this morning before taking a tour of the San Bruno disaster area and said he remains concerned about reports that  residents had been complaining to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials for up to three weeks about a potential gas leak before Thursday night's deadly explosion and fire. “It was devastating,” Hill said. “My heart goes out to the victims of this horrible disaster. Our first priority needs to be helping the victims and then we need to take a long, hard look at the cause of this fire.” Assemblyman Hill found the results of a May 18, 2010 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Pipeline Accident Brief, which stated that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) audited PG&E and determined the utility was in violation of federal regulations and that its procedures for field service representatives responding to gas leaks did not define the term “hazardous leak,” nor did PG&E train field service representatives on the use of gas detection equipment and grading leaks outdoors. On August 1, 2008, CPUC sent a letter to PG&E listing the areas of violation found during the May 2008 audit and requesting corrective action. In the letter, CPUC ordered the company to review its procedures and make certain that all personnel who respond to reports of gas leaks have the proper training and equipment. “The residents of San Bruno deserve to know if PG&E used the correct procedures in the days and weeks leading up to this disaster,” Hill said. “State and federal investigators need to determine if PG&E personnel had the proper training and equipment and whether or not this disaster could have been prevented.” The report can be found here: http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2010/PAB1001.pdf

Assemblyman Hill also contacted the California Department of Insurance Friday morning to ensure that disaster victims had access to benefits and assistance. He was informed that department officials will arrive in San Bruno today to assist local residents. Disaster victims are encouraged to call the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-HELP (4357) for questions about insurance coverage and reimbursement for living expenses during the evacuation period. Residents are encouraged to use the following information: To locate family or friends, go to http://www.safeandwell.org/.  To volunteer, go to http://www.thevolunteercenter.net/. Donations to the victims can be earmarked by contacting the American Red Cross at 1-800-RED-CROSS and specifying “San Bruno Fire”. To donate blood: Blood Centers Of The Pacific, 1-888-393-GIVE http://bloodcenters.org/

To obtain a claim form from PG&E and receive financial assistance, call 415-973-8901. For pets impacted by the fire, contact SPCA at 650-340-7022.


Pacifica Leaders Respond to San Bruno Disaster

Compassion and passion run deep in our community. These two emotions often lead us to want to jump in and take action. But what San Bruno's Glenview residents need most are our prayers and dollars. See our city website for ways you can help: http://www.cityofpacifica.org. Red Cross accepts money for San Bruno Fire relief. Call 1800-RED-CROSS. To volunteer: http://www.thevolunteercenter.net. No more blood is needed at this time, but soon blood will be needed to replenish supplies. Go to http://bloodcenters.org/. The Council of Cities for San Mateo County is organizing fundraising; stay tuned for more information. As we focus on this tragedy, it is important to remember our first responders. Pacifica firefighters, police, and other city staff were among the many who once again demonstrated tireless dedication to our communities' well-being. Participating on the front lines and in the command center, they worked through the days and nights. Please join us in offering our deepest gratitude and heartfelt appreciation for their efforts. May our prayers for their safety always be answered. Finally, this disaster reminds us that we can never be too prepared. Disaster Preparedness Day in San Mateo County is Saturday, September 18 at 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free. Come prepare your family for fire, earthquake, and flood. Prepare your evacuation plans, learn first aid and CPR, and put together your emergency kits. Spend time with staff from the Office of Emergency Services of San Mateo County and many first responders. Then do what we all put off -- getting prepared! And let's hope we never need those preparations, but be very thankful we have them. All our best!

PACIFICA MAYOR PRO TEM MARY ANN NIHART

PACIFICA CITY COUNCIL MEMBER JULIE LANCELLE

"Our hearts go out to our neighbors in San Bruno and to all emergency crews, including our Pacifica firefighters, police, and public works staff." (Mayor Sue Digre)

"We have just posted some very critical safety information and a report on PCT26.com. This week we'll also be including more resources on the channel where folks affected can get help and support in the wake of this tragedy. Please get this information into the hands of your readers/friends/supporters as you deem appropriate. Also, if you have information/video or resources you wish to share, please contact us at 650-355-8001. Our prayers go out to all in San Bruno." (Martin Anaya, General Manager, Channel 26, Pacifica Community Television)


Hill: PG&E Must Reveal Its High-Risk Gas Lines

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San Bruno, Calif. – State Assemblyman Jerry Hill called on PG&E today to release its list of “Top 100 High-Risk Gas Lines” and announced that he will be developing legislation to protect the public from high risk lines in California. “It’s ridiculous that the only way we learned about the Top 100 High-Risk Gas Lines was through a rate increase request PG&E submitted to the Public Utilities Commission,” Hill said.People have a right to know if high-pressure gas lines like the one that ruptured in San Bruno are below their homes. As an elected official, the top 100 list is critical to me because I need to ensure that state regulators and the utility are inspecting and making repairs to this aging infrastructure so Californians are protected. My constituents deserve to know about reports that PG&E submitted paperwork to regulators that said a segment in South Francisco of the gas line that ruptured about two and half miles away was within the top 100 highest-risk line sections in the utility's service area.” Hill will develop legislation to focus on the following reforms: (1) Increased disclosure of high-risk gas lines in urban areas like the one that exploded in San Bruno. This transparency will help regulators and lawmakers focus on priority repair areas throughout the state. Local residents will be able to determine if high-risk gas lines are under their neighborhood and what steps are being taken to address the problem. (2) Requirements that automatic and remote shutoff valves be installed and/or used more effectively to minimize damage if a future gas line explosion were to occur. Reports indicated that PG&E wasn’t able to close the valve on the San Bruno pipe until almost two hours after the initial explosion. Through the use of remote or automatic shutoff valves, crews might be able to shut off the gas line relatively quickly and reduce the severity of the incident. “Since only 7 percent of the nation’s gas lines are classified as a 'high consequence area' like the San Bruno line that exploded, the least we can do is focus resources on these gas lines within California as a preventive way to avoid future disasters,” Hill said. He also expressed support for efforts by Senator Leland Yee to provide disaster relief for those impacted by the San Bruno fire. “I will work with Senator Yee to ensure that our constituents receive all the resources they need to recover from this tragic disaster,” Hill said. Legislation may be introduced during a special session of the Legislature in the coming months or at the start of the 2011 legislative session, December 6.


San Bruno: Now More Than Just a Place Next Door

As a Pacifican, I have never thought of San Bruno as anything more than just a place I had to drive through to get somewhere else: the freeway, the airport, the outside world. But never again. San Bruno now represents that moment on September 9, 2010, when I heard what sounded like a jet in trouble on takeoff from SFO. The roar lasted much longer than any airport climbout I had ever heard from over here on the coast. I imagined a stricken plane unable to ascend, its engines on fire, grinding toward what I feared would be an inevitable crash. I kept waiting for that sickening sound, but it never came, and the loud roar just went on and on. Dreading the worst, I turned on the TV news and saw the unmistakable scroll at the bottom of the screen, below horrific images of fireballs and smoke. I was sure I was watching the aftermath of a horrible plane crash somewhere on the Peninsula. At the same time, I was hearing helicopters and firefighting planes to the east. Then the real horror of what had happened became apparent: a ruptured natural-gas line in a peaceful San Bruno neighborhood, flames leaping into the air, many homes on fire, sirens screaming and emergency lights flashing, the whole panoply of televised disaster scenes that have become all too familiar in our modern age. But this time the bad news was different because it was unfolding right next door to Pacifica. Until the winds picked up that evening, I detected an acrid smell in the air and saw a plume of smoke rising above the hill. Now San Bruno represents a different reality for me, not just a drive-through afterthought but a neighboring community in pain. I am glad to use my Pacifica Riptide blog to help get out the word on emergency blood, food, and money donations for San Bruno fire victims. Let's all keep San Bruno uppermost in our thoughts and deeds until our neighbor heals.

JOHN MAYBURY

EDITOR & PUBLISHER


Car Vandalism in Sharp Park

Regular Riptide reader Manon Williams reports on vandalism to her car and at least one other vehicle in Sharp Park over the past weekend: "I parked my car on the street outside of 95 Clarendon around 9 p.m. Friday, September 10. Saturday morning I went to my car around 7:45 a.m. Saw some glass in the street but didn't think much of it. I drove about a block away before I realized my driver's-side mirror was smashed. I went back home, parked in the same place, and called the police to file a report. When the officer arrived, she quickly realized the glass in the street couldn't have come from my car. We found another vehicle on my block with the same damage, and found the remains of my mirror nearby. The glass near my car seemed to belong to the other vehicle. No one heard anything unusual overnight."