Our planet has nearly died before. Five times in the deep geologic history of planet Earth, massive quantities of greenhouse gases have been released through the Earth's crust. One was provoked by a meteorite strike, others by tectonic and volcanic activity. In each case, these massive releases of greenhouse gases warmed the planet enough to cause global mass extinctions—the death of more than half of all life.
Last Hours is a film that explores the possibility that we could be close—centuries or perhaps just decades—to tipping points that could lead to a sixth mass extinction. Last Hours relies on input from some of the world's leading scientists.
“It's almost impossible to know when you have passed a tipping point," says Thom Hartmann. "You only see them in retrospect. So we have to do everything we can now to avoid inadvertently hitting tipping points that might lead to catastrophic methane releases.” Hartmann's most recent book, The Last Hours of Humanity, goes in depth on the topic.
While climate scientists rarely study mass extinctions, geologists are quite familiar with them. And increasingly they are speaking out about how our extraction of carbon fuels from beneath the earth and burning of them into the atmosphere is mimicking processes that, in the deep geologic past, have caused mass extinctions.
“Geology is a patient teacher and it repeats its lessons over and over again," says Last Hours co-producer George DiCaprio. "Last Hours explains that the same chemical circumstances will yield the same results. There is no reason to suppose otherwise. It's time to tell everyone that global warming may cause a calamity; we have no time to waste.”
The City of Pacifica issued an undated press release (click link for PDF) on or about September 19, 2013, stating that meetings planned by the City Council to hear citizen comments about the highway-widening project would have to be delayed "until the legal issues are resolved."
But no council action approved this policy decision, and there was no statement about how this policy position was reached. This was not an official council action, so the press release was an unauthorized, unapproved statement of a new council policy.
The press release was printed on city letterhead but not attributed to anyone. No contact information was given, as is usually the case with a press release. No one on the letterhead was designated as a media contact for comments or information.
The press release quotes Mayor Len Stone as saying the council is “forced to wait to move forward.” But this is untrue. In the past, the city has held hearings on projects that were the subject of litigation. The council is not “forced” to NOT hold hearings on the widening project.
Not having hearings is clearly a policy decision, not a requirement. But who made this decision? The mayor does not have the authority to make such a decision for the entire council. The council must vote on any such decision for it to be an official policy position. Is the statement of an unauthorized, unapproved council policy in a city-issued press release an illegal action?
To support Pacificans for a Scenic Coast (PSC) in its legal challenge to the Caltrans final environmental impact report (FEIR), you can make a tax-deductible donation with PayPal or credit card online.
Pacifica's Environmental Family is PSC's fiscal sponsor, so be sure to click "Add special instructions for the Recipient" and type in "for PSC" or "for Pacificans for a Scenic Coast" so your donation goes to the right place. The web page has information on mailing a check. More Info Here
SamTrans’ number 14 bus circles Linda Mar and
Park Pacifica several times a day, straining to climb uphill, then rumbling
downhill in low gear. Most passengers are school kids, but a few adult shoppers
take the 14 to Park Mall and Linda Mar Shopping Center. Using my
Clipper Card, I ran an errand recently on SamTrans and was amazed when a
couple boarded the bus with a surfboard and a huge
inflatable swim ring. The bus driver waited patiently till the beachgoers were
safely seated with their gear, then off we went.
Bay Area News Group investigative reporter Thomas Peele reports on salaries and benefits for members of special district boards. San Mateo County Harbor District board member Pietro Parravano, for example, was paid $1,094 per hour on average for 23.5 hours of work in 2012.
On October 21 the city Planning Commission held a heavily attended Study Session about "The Rock,"
that humble outcropping (above at left) across from Sea Bowl. Also above are architectural renderings for "The Rock" proposal at 4545 Coast Highway, or to us locals, the southeast corner of Fassler and Highway 1.
Looking at the elevation and the four computer simulations above, the proposal is nine stories tall after all. Planning Director George White misrepresented the scale of the project in his study session notice by declaring the proposal to be only 41 to 45 feet tall. The proclaimed 22,000 square feet of commercial would be less than 9 percent of the overall project, which means the proposal is not a mixed-use development as claimed by White.
The proposal is a nine-story condo development with a five-story detached parking structure. Judging from the simulations, the applicant (who lives in Woodside) has put no thought into our surrounding community, as the project looks like it's on the Mendocino or Carmel coastline, not at the corner of Fassler and Highway 1.
The building is presented as two separate structures, but they share all utility and mechanical, so they are really one building, not two. The current proposal has 63 residential units, with two to three bedrooms each.
This proposal is a direct consequence of Caltrans' proposed Calera Parkway Project to widen Highway 1. In previous interviews, city planner Lee Diaz has stated that the proposal was always put off because of traffic issues associated with the project's residential units.
Even without possible highway widening, this new project should be shelved. But, of course, we now have a rubber-stamp planning director and a rubber-stamp planning commission, so this monstrosity is a real threat.
Just as the highway-widening debate heats up, an out-of-town
developer proposes to build a nine-story colossus on top of The Rock at
Highway 1 and Fassler. The architect's renderings look like San Quentin or Alcatraz.
The property owner (applicant) is Guru Thalapeneni, 1920
Glenbrook Road, Glenbrook, NV 89413. He apparently also has or had an address
in Woodside, California. He is the founder, president, and CEO of
Remoba, a mobile technology company, with almost 3,000 Google entries.
You could look him up.
The City of Pacifica Planning Commission met in a public Study Session on October 21 to look at this
controversial proposal. Inexplicably, the city had ham-fistedly posted a confusing and misleading notice on its website about the Study Session. The headline for that date said the regular commission meeting was cancelled. Nevertheless, dozens of citizens found their way to the unfriendly confines of Council Chambers to hear the Planning Commission's concerns about the proposal.
What a long, strange trip it's been through the city website's "mind." Hope you survived the trip. Meanwhile, see Todd Bray's three-story alternative (below) to the nine-story proposal.
Bray's alternative (top), applicant's proposal (bottom)
By Todd Bray, Riptide Correspondent
To further the debate, I offer this to the Pacifica Planning
Commission, the general public, and the applicant: a three-story
alternative to the nine-story proposal for the Sea Rock condos (aka The
Rock) at Fassler and Highway 1.
By losing the top building and two floors of the bottom structure, I
think a proposal of this scale, with an iconic coastal veneer of
shingles, would not have much, if any, opposition. It's one-third the
size of the project to date but still would allow for seven units and
(possibly) a rooftop bar and grill.