Bay Area Ospreys Nest on Crane (VIDEO)
Tsunami Awareness & Preparedness


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2:36:25 is the correct timestamp when Mayor Mike O'Neill "finds" the communication between the CCC and the City of Pacifica that the city could not locate during a records search that included a time extension issued by the city.

This firm currently is in product development to counteract effects of the EQ Basin

Lionel, a public-records request was filed and denied on the basis that it was not a public-interest document. Sadly, the city made the mistake of denying that request to someone who has direct oversight on its odor control plan, and who happens to be a resident. Oops! After another request (or two), the city released the documents (after the hearing).

I have a copy of the email from the City Clerk on March 10 that says no such responsive documents exist (communication between the CCC and the city), and it is also on my PowerPoint presentation to City Council. Mayor Mike O'Neill stammers deceit on behalf of the city: "While I was fiddling around." (2:35:25 is when Mayor O'Neill begins speaking.) Eureka, he found it! In the two minutes that Council member Sue Digre spoke, he magically found something the city could not produce with an extension on a CPRA?

There are two different violations: CPRA and Brown Act.

"The city refused to release the odor control plan when he requested it, stating that it was not a public-interest document."

This, if true, is illegal, utter crap.

"I have an email from the city stating that no contact with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) was made. During that hearing, Mike O'Neill had another document up on his computer ready for my appeal point. He quoted a conversation with the CCC. In short, they lied. The hearing was not until 7 p.m. They chose to withhold it from the appellant as a strategy to defeat the appeal."

Erin, this is a serious charge. Can you state a clarification on the timeline of your assertion?

In pursuing a Brown Act violation with the district attorney's office, you'll find that Mr. Wagstaffe is more interested in covering public officials' behinds than in issuing corrective letters to make them rectify their violations. It was so when several of us complained to his office in 2012 over the illegal closed-session Pacifica City Council meeting where a consultant was scheduled to give a presentation concerning the outsourcing of the Pacifica police force.

Sounds as though "I'm Anus Tsunami!" might work just as well as a palindrome to represent the EQ basin.

Dozens of community volunteers have put "foot to pavement," talking with neighbors and collecting signatures to defeat the inflated fees proposed by the City of Pacifica. I am genuinely awed by the response. With social media at our fingertips, the voice of the people will be heard on May 8 and by mail in advance of the council meeting.

Interestingly, the Skate Park/Community Center is identified as a "special area" in the new General Plan, but nothing is done to protect it. We also require protection of the riparian corridor in west Linda Mar, but not the one on Crespi. We need to spend less time on the library and more time on the public goods we have already built.

Thanks, Erin, your presentation was so sensible. I watched the entire five-hour March 13 City Council video on YouTube. As I watched, it appeared to me that Deirdre Martin at one point made a sidelong comment to John Keener asking if Pedro Point was part of this sewer mitigation and if due diligence was done there to construct the sewer tank in Pedro Point.

And now I wonder if John Keener would have been so accommodating if the sewer tank were located in Pedro Point.

If you watch the video, you'll be shaking your head in disbelief how John Keener and Mike O'Neill lobbed softball questions to the sewer construction guys so they could hit homers out of the ballpark.

It was apparent to anyone watching the March 13 video that John Keener and Mike O'Neill were just checking the boxes, no seriously robust questions, no challenges to the sewer "experts." I expected that from Mike O'Neill, but not from John Keener.

There were also snickers about how that area in Linda Mar was "just a parking lot...not seriously needing an Environmental Impact Report."

Well, I don't think so. In Linda Mar, we have very modest houses surrounding the sewer site. I took my very young children there to play on the swings. I walked the wetlands with my dog. I watched my son skateboard there for hours. I sat on the bench and took in the mountains and the beach. My kids went to elementary school there. This is no parking lot to people in Linda Mar.

Here I am crying in my green beer ;) and then I see these posts. Thank you for validating the argument as important to the greater community.

Mike and Todd, one of the speakers was a Linda Mar resident. I worked with him for years in a local youth organization. By day, he works for the air quality control board, so I asked him to review the odor plan. The city refused to release the odor control plan when he requested it, stating that it was not a public-interest document. So we were not afforded the opportunity to actually review the odor mitigation measures prior to the hearing. He said it's going to stink and the plume will travel. For the city to assert that odor is a non-issue and not a public-interest item is preposterous. I can smell the Linda Mar pump station from more than a mile away under certain conditions.

Julie, thank you. The next "follow the money" issue is on Monday's Planning Commission agenda. It's a response to Assembly Bill 2299, and it will change the zoning for the entire city. This is a HUGE issue for Pacifica, and residents need to be involved in the language of these codes. This is a statewide high-density housing law that affects all residential neighborhoods.

Lionel, SSO is a sanitary sewer overflow (a sewage spill on the beach). Some of those are dry SSOs (cracked pipes); most are weather-related and the majority of them occur at the plant. Thank you for reminding me to speak in ordinary terms. I am sure you already know the definitions, but it's good to summarize them. This basin is the Band-Aid to the ongoing problem of weather-based SSOs, but it will not alleviate any spills until it is constructed, so we need to also address our emergency response plan. The $20MM basin does not increase the size of the mains. It does not repair broken laterals. It does not upgrade the pump or deal with capacity issues at the plant. We need a mandatory lateral program. We should expect another $75MM+ in expenses over 25 years. (Brian Martinez said it is $1MM per mile, and we have 90 miles in all, a fraction of which are complete.) Interestingly, the only thing listed on the 25-year plan is a 2016 bond (never happened), the basin, and an unidentified project that appears to be the Linda Mar Pump Station upgrade. I have an "opinion" as to why John Keener voted for it, but I want to hear it from him directly. He was quite the politician the other night, and my confidence has faded tremendously. Wetlands are not a priority for John or he would not have motioned to deny the appeal. John asked when and where the biologist looked for frogs. She looked for frogs in October. John was silent. Why did he ask that question if he didn't want the public to know frogs are dormant during that time of year? A biologist who doesn't know the life cycle of a frog?

I have an email from the city stating that no contact with the California Coastal Commission (CCC) was made. During that hearing, Mike O'Neill had another document up on his computer ready for my appeal point. He quoted a conversation with the CCC. In short, they lied. The hearing was not until 7 p.m. They chose to withhold it from the appellant as a strategy to defeat the appeal. That was a Public Records Act violation, as was the decision to refuse to release the Odor Control Plan. Also, the non-agendized expedited hearing was a Brown Act violation, and I will be handling those issues personally.

The reality is that the residents do not want an EQ Basin anywhere in Linda Mar. Worst-case scenario due to the deadline, the best site for it would be next to the pump station. But Daly City has its EQ Basin AT the plant, where it belongs. We should look to these other cities for ideas and models. We need to stop making hasty emergency decisions at the expense of the quality of life of Pacificans and our environment, particularly since we have to pay more for different measures that accomplish the same goal. The elected officials need to actively engage the public better. We are sacrificing wetlands, a skate park, preschool, a community center, and our beach economy. Linda Mar is one of the only connected walkable neighborhoods with sidewalks and paths. Odor destroys those public goods. That is not acceptable planning. IMHO, we did not put a sewer bond on the ballot because the city was pushing the library bond. We had very good options that were not even considered for this sewage problem, and that energy was spent on a library, not our sewage problem. We can do better.

Prevailing winds will uplift the odor plume to affect mostly those farther back in Linda Mar Valley. Kind of similar to me when running in the Quarry; I never smelled it at ground zero, unlike those unfortunates gagging a quarter mile up on Highway 1 at Vallemar. Hey, Linda Mar and Park Pacifica, expect Pepe Le Pew to be your backyard barbecue guest. You'll just need to explain this to your other guests who may be confounded by what their olfactory senses are suggesting. You've got the four members of City Council who bum-rushed this through to thank.

And I don't buy city Planning Director Van Ocampo waving his arms, saying there's no time to engage the Coastal Commission.

The city appeared to be a virtual pack of jackrabbits with the Coastal Commission and the Fish and Bowl developers, clicking their heels and saluting to get that approved. Hasn't this sewer mitigation been in the city's inbox a lot longer than the Fish and Bowl developers' appeals?

Does the city's lack of planning constitute an emergency for those of us in Linda Mar, Pedro Point, and Park Pacifica?

Per the city, no time to engage the Coastal Commission on the sewer tank? What?

And seconding another comment, I'd like to know why John Keener voted for this ill-advised environmental disaster despite City Council minutes with the sewer contractors plainly acknowledging the odor issue. Has John Keener forgotten his constituency who voted him into office? What about Sue Digre?

The last time City Council went over the heads of the voters and rammed something through with last-minute notification and minimum community involvement, it inflamed a grassroots-level recall that replaced the entire council.

Vote was 4-1 with Deirdre Martin voting No.

Please, what was the vote? I ask because putting a 2.5-million-gallon poo hole UPWIND of the entire Linda Mar Valley is as dumb as the vote to put a WWTP upwind of Sharp Park. There is no community sense to it. Please, if someone could post a comment with a brief summary and vote total, I would be eternally grateful, because if council voted to continue in this direction, torches need to be lit and spikes sharpened. How could anyone vote to dig a s@#t hole upwind of approximately 20,000 residents?

"...I am a daily beachcomber, and preventing SSOs is an important issue to me."

OK, so what's an SSO? Writers should never assume that readers will have any idea what the jargon, acronyms, etc. mean.

I appreciate your activism. If John Keener voted for it, I'd like to hear his side of it as well. The newspaper isn't going to do it, that's for sure.

Erin, thank you for all your efforts.

I keep thinking about W on the last ballot. How, if it passed, that the City Council would be able to cast a vote to rezone the quarry residential and eliminate any future public votes on the subject. Then I remember all the outside real estate money that promoted two of the candidates running with multiple postcards and funds. Real Estate - Development. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

As with any election, follow the money. Be vigilant in 2018 and always.

San Pedro Valley is narrow, and prevailing breezes will push the odor plume to the back of the valley up through Park Pacifica as well. Yes, Pepe Le Pew will be visiting everybody's street. But somehow a donut shop's closing in Linda Mar shopping center elicits a ton of comments on Next Door compared to this disaster. In large measure, this is due to the city doing a bum's rush to get the sewer tank approved with minimal publicity and community input. Even the Pacifica Tribune-Lite had just one article but no analysis. If more of a grassroots outreach to all of us residing in San Pedro Valley all the way to the back of the valley could be made, it could change some council members' re-election calculations. I'm really amazed that Sue Vaterlaus, who aggressively campaigned as the property owner's friend, walked away from her campaign promise only a couple of months into her term on council (which she won with a ton of money from outside real estate interests, according to the Pacifica Tribune). We won't get fooled again.

The outcome of the hearing was not what the collective majority of the attendees desired, but that is also why our votes count at the polls. It is critical for voters to remember how decisions affect the quality of life for Pacificans and other coastal residents. Visitors and residents south of the tunnel will drive through this odor plume as well. As the council cast their votes, the room echoed with boos. Without pointing directly to the he-said, she-said comments contained within, there was quite a bit of misrepresentation during the discussion from staff, consultants, and the elected. This is part of the transparency issue that continues to plague not just our city, but trickles up as these politicians move up the ranks. I suggest all interested parties review the "alternate facts" by watching the YouTube video of the council meeting and cross-checking the figures presented by consultants, staff, and the elected against points made by the community members who spoke. Oh wait! Sorry, you can't. The city denied public-records requests that allow us the ability to fact-check their statements, and expedited the hearing to limit the amount of time we had to prepare for the appeal.

I am very proud to say I signed the initial paperwork for Deirdre to run for office (along with 20 or so others). She is a very smart businesswoman and she is clearly focused on thoughtful decisions for the future of Pacifica, and her intentions are very transparent. She clearly understands the big-picture component on this issue and she sees the need to stop chronic emergency decision-making at the council level that results in ongoing financial disasters. She was the one dissenting vote last night as the remainder of the council denied the appeal. She based that decision in part on the lack of public outreach, community concern, and the need for additional dialogue with the RWQCB, Our Children's Earth Foundation, and a conversation with the CCC. I wholly agree with her that a few weeks would not alter the ability to meet the final deadline.

I encourage the community to pay attention to issues that concern them. I am a daily beachcomber, and preventing SSOs is an important issue to me. The beach is why most Pacificans call this home. Our emergency response plan is clearly not working. I guess the one benefit of the drought is the reduction in SSOs. We should expect two more years of SSOs on our beaches until the EQ Basin is constructed, tested, and operating. This critical infrastructure error expands the odor plume along Highway 1, leaving very few niches for odor-free enjoyment of the public goods. I guess that's one way to keep it scenic. City Council will have an opening soon. Do your homework and vote accordingly.

Inasmuch as tonight's vote is likely to occur past midnight -- and tomorrow is Pacifica Pi Day -- a 3.14M gallon circular sewage tank sounds about right.

It's worth noting that the planned 2.1M gallon sewage tank would hold a significant portion of the entire State of California's annual sewage spills, let alone single-day events:

Total Sanitary Sewer Overflows spills in California by year:
2012 9.1M gallons
2013 5.0M gallons
2014 11.3M gallons

Erin, I have faith in our council now. The pit is an abysmal idea. A continuous switchback of pipe would do the same job and could be done in sections throughout the city instead of just one hole in one neighborhood. The wastewater staff are well aware of this as they told me of the alternative years ago.

I won't be making any council meetings, but this issue requires community-hired attorneys to shift the ball.

I am very hopeful that we will find a new city manager who understands the complexities of our unique coastal community. Please join us at this important council meeting. The residents value your input, Todd and Lionel. We need reasonable residents like you to speak up against this overpriced non-solution.

Get a lawyer, file a tort, shut this thing down. Best of luck

"Do residents know that the Brown Act guarantees public access to, and participation in, meetings of their legislative bodies, and that these bodies are required to properly notice those meetings to actively solicit public input?"

If only we had a city government interested in public access, rather than doing what it thinks is best for us. Maybe the new city manager will be interested in the public's opinion. Without direction from City Council, it won't happen.

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