Opinion: Common Sense on Highway 1 Safety
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Opinion: The Gang of No and The Gang of Yes

By John Maybury, Editor and Publisher

Pacifica has a long history of infighting, probably a function of our disparate neighborhoods without common interests. Scattered along 10 miles of coastal hillsides, deep valleys, beaches, and floodplains, our 40,000 residents range from blue-collar workers to white-collar professionals, and self-employed entrepreneurs to retired civil servants.

Lots of new money is coming into town, while lots of old money desperately hangs on. There is plenty of friction, resentment, bitterness, and distrust. This atmosphere engenders a kind of McCarthyism in which groups that have nothing in common blame other groups for Pacifica’s woes, demonizing and dehumanizing them with silly labels.

Reading comments on the four blogs of the apocalypse (Riptide, Index, Fix, Patch) and Pacifica Tribune letters to the editor, you may have seen a “Gang of No” label applied to various local environmentalists and conservationists because of their principled opposition to the highway widening and other public or private development/construction proposals.

As one of the aforementioned bloggers, and as a Tribune columnist, and as a member of the much-maligned “Gang of No,” I would like to ask for a timeout.

I do not claim to speak for my fellow gang members. They are fully capable of speaking for themselves, and many of them do so on the blogs and in the Tribune's inky pages.

I simply want to say that as a green-to-the-gills enviro, I am not primarily a naysayer. I love Pacifica’s green hillsides and blue waters. I moved here and I stay here because of the natural beauty of this little burg, just over the hill yet worlds away from the mad, mad mess of San Francisco.

Okay, I do say “NO” to anything that I think would endanger all this great scenery or all this laid-back small-town vibe. To me, bigger and faster is not better. I want to fix the town’s problems as much as anyone does. I may not share the same ideas as you about what is good for Pacifica, but make no mistake: I belong to “The Gang of Yes.”

I say “YES” to slow growth, smart development, small business, and green initiatives. From my deeply felt opposition to bad ideas and poor planning comes a wealth of positive alternatives and creative solutions.

Now if only I could get the powers-that-be to listen to me and my gang members once again, as they finally did with the Tom Lantos Tunnels at Devil’s Slide. That brilliant and popular transportation solution came from the very same people who are now unfairly smeared as “The Gang of No.”

 (A slightly different version of this op-ed ran in my April 9 Pacifica Tribune column "Wandering and Wondering.")


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Yes, Peter. Today's 4-14-14 palindrome day celebrations began at midnight in Tonga and have been working their way around the globe among palindrome-loving revelers all morning. But then much of the world was passed over because they think today is the distinctly non-palindromic 14-4-14. Pity those poor souls! They will not see another Palindrome Day for many moons!

I'm sure that Alan is already aware of this, but 4-14-14 is a palindrome day.

According to Pacifica "Gang of Yes" palindrome lovers, the "Gang of No" is a bunch of incessant naggers:

"'Gang of No' -- it is open on one position: fog. Nag!"

Thank you, John, for your great article today in the Tribune and also on Riptide addressing this matter. I have never considered myself as a member of the "Gang of No." I have always advocated for finding a better and more reasonable solution to whatever the problem might be. But I do consider myself and many friends and colleagues as hardworking members of the "Gang of Know." Know all the facts. Know what you are up against. Know what you are getting yourself into. Know who can help and spread the knowledge. Know to never embellish or exaggerate the facts. Know not to make stuff up that has no basis in truth (e.g., "99% support the highway widening"). Know that knowledge is power, only if you know how to use it. And most important, no matter how serious the issue is, know how to have fun amid the insanity.

Hear, hear!

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