In her recent Pacifica Tribune column ("From the Desk of..."), City Manager Lori Tinfow asserted, regarding $4 million missing from city coffers: "I believe we simply have had poor tracking of our funds, and am not suggesting wrongdoing." Tinfow must be complimented as a master of understatement. The City of Pacifica had no finance director from July 2007 until Tinfow was hired following then-City Manager Steve Rhodes' retirement in 2013. We may be the only city in San Mateo County that followed such a foolish and dangerous policy of lacking financial oversight. In the column, Tinfow also told us: "I know that some residents thought I was conducting a 'forensic audit' but that's not the case."
Well, there's a big problem in Pacifica, and it's a trust problem, in which the majority of Pacifica voters do not trust the actions of their local government. If anyone doubts that, look at the last three attempts by the city to pass tax measures, resulting in blowout defeats. I would suggest to our local politicians and top city staffers that if you'd like to have a snowball's chance of passing a tax/bond measure of any kind in this town, a forensic audit looking at every line of the records is what is needed to show that you are serious about financial transparency. We need to know how the finances got so crossed up, where the money went, and who's responsible.
(This op-ed originally appeared on the Tribune website, not in the print edition.)
San Mateo County Harbor Commissioner Sabrina Brennan (above) reports that the commission has voted unanimously to appoint Glenn Lazof as the new interim general manager. "He brings decades of public agency experience to the harbor district, is strong on finance, and lives on a boat," Sabrina says. "More good news! The district is moving its headquarters to El Granada, less than a mile from Pillar Point Harbor. The new office is less expensive, includes room for public meetings, and has a beautiful harbor view. The move will be complete by May 29. District staff and commissioners are working extremely hard to meet or exceed expectations." Brennan (sabrinabrennan.com) invites the public to a Coastside Mixer on Wednesday, June 3 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Hop Dogma Brewing Co. in El Granada.
Pacifica City Council member John Keener has filed an appeal against the Planning Commission's April 6 approval of Harmony@1 Lot #2. Keener's appeal is based on variances granted on green and LEED criteria.
The latest guessing game in town is about which Linda Mar Shopping Center store will close next. Rumors are floating. We asked the Better Business Burro to keep an ear out for any closings. Denny's is already gone, but others may follow, covering both food and service categories. In happier news, the video store has moved to a smaller space next to Starbucks, open daily 12 to 9 p.m. and focusing on new releases.
A new comment from Dan Underhill was received on the post “City Council's O'Neill & Keener: Public Projects” of the blog Pacifica Riptide:
"I'm ready to hear about what other industry, apart from tourism, you think Pacifica might promote. I'm ready to include that industry in what I encourage the citizenry and the council to push. Yes, we lack funding. We have always lacked funding. The carpetbaggers have always cited this as the reason we need to sell out to the highest bidder. The dreamers who stuck with their principles have got us tunnels instead of a super freeway bypass, and an art center and concert hall instead of an abandoned school, and a regularly scheduled outdoor farmer's market, and a spectacular park where a dangerous stretch of highway once was, and a dog park, and a community garden, and a community theater, and libraries, and a whole alternative school (for those who remember back that far) instead of just one alternative class. All of these contribute both directly and indirectly to the collective wealth of our community in ways which selling out simply could not. Our community needs real economic solutions to real economic problems, and selling out simply lacks the long-term legitimacy required to keep us afloat."
Pacifica City Council members John Keener and Mike O'Neill led a public discussion March 1 on important city projects and issues, including sea-level rise impact on future development, San Pedro Creek widening and Pedro Point bridge over Highway 1, Linda Mar water retention basin, Caltrans' proposed widening of Highway 1 from Rockaway to Vallemar, Beach Boulevard sewer plant conversion, Palmetto Avenue streetscaping, new public library.
California Coastal Commission (CCC) responds to City of Pacifica request to change Local Coastal Plan for proposed Beach Boulevard project (aka The Old Sewer Plant). Officially known as Amendment # LCP-2-PAC-14-0173-1, this is a working draft. The proposed project is intended to be integrated into Pacifica's General Plan. The city's information about this project is published on the city website at the link below:
The City of Half Moon Bay is scrambling to account for a $4.3 million discrepancy in its budget after an unnamed employee apparently forgot to record a city payout as an expense. This snafu (reported by the Half Moon Bay Review, January 21) comes on the heels of the City of Pacifica "search" for a missing $4 million in its budget. We're waiting for the other shoe to drop. Who's next? Daly City?
By Carlos Davidson, Special to Riptide On January 13, a spirited group from the Pacifica Climate Committee greeted commuters with signs urging President Obama to veto the Keystone XL pipeline. Similar rallies were held in 160 communities across the country. If Congress approves it, the pipeline would boost development of tar sands oilfields in Canada, and increase greenhouse gas emissions. When the fight against Keystone started, it seemed a long shot. No major fossil fuel project has ever been stopped because of its effect on climate. Keystone could be the first. Obama has threatened to veto legislation authorizing the pipeline. Climate activist Bill McKibben recently wrote: "The fossil-fuel industry’s aura of invincibility is gone. They’ve got all the money on the planet, but they no longer have unencumbered political power. Science counts, too, and so do the passion, spirit, and creativity of an awakened movement from the outside, from the ground up."