REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Controller Bob Adler provides details of the financial health of San Mateo County in the Popular Annual Financial Report (PAFR), summarizing essential information contained in the county’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, released in October. PAFR examines the fiscal year ended June 30, 2013, and provides a look at future challenges and opportunities. PAFR provides the following key information:
Letter to the Citizens of San Mateo County
Government-Wide Financial Position
Capital Assets and Unfunded Liabilities
Government-Wide Results of Operations
General Fund: Financial Position, Results of Operations, and Working Capital
The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has given, for the 11th consecutive year, an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting to San Mateo County for its PAFR for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012. This is a prestigious national award recognizing conformance with highest standards for preparation of state and local government financial reports. PAFR can be accessed online at the County Controller’s web page: Click Here
Our Peninsula source says, "Some city councils are not subservient to Caltrans!"
Daily Journal story by Angela Swartz (text below edited for clarity):
Burlingame city officials want Caltrans to slow down and provide more information about a controversial safety project to fix the intersection on Floribunda Avenue and El Camino Real that could remove heritage eucalyptus trees if a left-turn signal lane is installed.
Burlingame City Council was to vote December 16 on sending a letter from Mayor Michael Brownrigg to Caltrans stating that the city wants Caltrans to adopt the most cost-effective option with incremental changes.
The letter states that “in the strongest terms, the city objects to adding the turn signal lane on historic, cultural and aesthetic grounds ... any improvements should be made with the least possible impact to the environment.”
“This is a really important point of principle and identity for Burlingame,” Brownrigg said. “It’s not just a few trees; it’s the very nature of the part of El Camino that passes through Burlingame. The character is more than just a couple of trees.”
The city recommends that both it, the town of Hillsborough, and Caltrans adopt the least invasive means of enhancing safety first and then assess the impact on the accident rate — roughly 10 accidents a year over the past decade, the letter states.
“If the accident rate has not diminished sufficiently over the next 18 months (for example), then the next more invasive solution would be adopted,” the letter states. “But more than that, it would ensure that the most draconian and irreversible solution — that of creating a multi-lane expansion to El Camino Real with dedicated turn lanes — is the LAST solution to be tried, rather than the first.”
Other options for the location where Hillsborough and Burlingame meet include signal timing modifications, prohibited left turns, and splitting of the main line with left turns to reduce accidents.
Some residents and council members were frustrated with Caltrans' scoping meeting in late November, with many stating that they wanted more statistics and information on the potential effects of different options for the intersection. One resident stated that the meeting seemed like crowd control rather than residents being able to talk with knowledgeable experts. (Editor: Sound familiar, Pacifica?)
Caltrans, which oversees El Camino Real, has filed a Notice of Preparation with the California State Clearinghouse to prepare an Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment to address safety concerns. There have been 107 collisions from January 2002 to December 2011, with 63 collisions left-turn related, according to Caltrans.
The city of Hillsborough wrote its own letter to Caltrans dated December 10. It states that the city “strongly resists any plan to remove [the trees].” It is also asking for another public meeting. The letter was spurred by a need for more data and details on the proposed plans, said City Manager Randy Schwartz.
There is a national register listing for the Howard-Ralston Eucalyptus Tree Rows that flank El Camino Real from Ray Drive to Peninsula Avenue. The listing means that the historic status of the trees needs to be considered as part of environmental scoping. These trees are a defining characteristic of the city and, without the trees, Burlingame is just another city that has opted out of the trees, said Councilman Jerry Deal.
For more than 15 years, Caltrans has been made aware of local interest to improve intersection conditions in the area, including at Bellevue, Oak Grove, and Forest View avenues, said David Reel, vice president and principal of design and planning at AECOM, Caltrans’ consulting firm on the project. Funding of $2 million to improve safety at the intersection was approved in 2011.
Caltrans can’t comment on either letter at this time since it has yet to see either, said Caltrans spokeswoman Gidget Navarro. Written comments on the Notice of Preparation will be accepted until December 21. Caltrans will consider hosting another meeting following the deadline, Navarro said.
Please mail comments to Yolanda Rivas, District Branch Chief, Office of Environmental Analysis, California Department of Transportation, 111 Grand Avenue, Mail Station 8B, Oakland, CA 94623-0660; fax 510-286-5600; or email Yolanda_Rivas@dot.ca.gov
(Reported by Angela Swartz: email@example.com, 650-344-5200 extension 105)
(Posted by John Maybury, Pacifica Riptide)
By John Maybury, Editor and Publisher
As we pondered the meaning of Measure V's defeat at the polls, in which the City of Pacifica seems to have been grossly out of touch with reality and public sentiment, a December 3 study session considered this poorly worded document from the city website:
It's a bit ironic that a City Council subcommittee and a citizen focus group produced many good ideas for community outreach, and yet in the wake of an election loss that apparently caught them all by surprise, their long lists of bullet points could have been reduced to a few simple words: LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE.
As Riptide correspondent Lionel Emde says: "Only in Pacifica do we need a 'plan' to communicate with the public."
Entries are being accepted for State Senator Jerry Hill’s sixth annual “Oughta Be A Law…Or Not” contest for bill ideas from constituents. Hill (Democrat, San Mateo County/Santa Clara County) encourages all Peninsula and Silicon Valley residents to participate.
“This is a terrific opportunity for constituents to participate in our democracy and learn firsthand about the legislative process,” Hill says. “Past winners have traveled to Sacramento to testify in committee, and their proposals have been signed into law.”
The contest is open to all constituents of the 13th Senate District and allows residents to submit their ideas for improving the quality of life in San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, or the state of California. Ideas can vary from local community improvements to statewide reforms. Applicants can submit their ideas for creation of new laws -- or repeal or revision of laws already on the books.
Senator Hill will select a winner, then introduce the idea as legislation. The constituent who submits the winning idea will have the opportunity to testify in Sacramento at hearings on the legislation.
Get applications by calling Senator Hill’s district office at 650-212-3313 or from HILL'S BILLS
Email completed applications to Senator.Hill@senate.ca.gov, fax to the District Office at 650-212-3320, or mail to Senator Jerry Hill, District Office, 1528 South El Camino Real, Suite 303, San Mateo, CA 94402. Applications must be received by January 15, 2014. The deadline to introduce bills for the 2014 legislative session is February 21.
The 13th Senate District includes Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Woodside, and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County and unincorporated Santa Clara County.
Past contest winners include:
2013 – Senate Bill 589
Menlo Park resident Dan Hilberman submitted the bill idea that inspired legislation enabling individuals who vote by mail to confirm that their ballots were counted. “I’ve voted by mail for over a decade, but do not know if my vote counts because the registrar does not acknowledge my vote,” Hilberman wrote in offering his idea. SB 589 creates a “free access” system and provides county registrars with flexibility to determine how they want to comply with the legislation: They may notify voters on a walk-in basis, over the phone, or online. “The 2012 general election was the first time a majority of voters in California cast their ballots by mail,” said Hill. “As more voters chose this option, it’s critical that they be able to confirm their vote was counted.” Governor Brown signed SB 589 on September 9, 2013. The law takes effect on January 1, 2014.
2012 – Assembly Bill 2309
Corey Geiger and Alan Talansky submitted the 2012 winning idea, which was to create a pilot program linking the state’s community colleges with local chambers of commerce to promote business development and job creation. AB 2309 would have boosted business development by helping early stage business ventures with new ideas to either find funding or to reach the point of operating stability. The idea for a competitive grant program was intended to also recruit and coordinate businesses and investors from local communities to provide funding, sponsorship and internships. The bill passed the legislature with bipartisan support, but was vetoed by Governor Brown.
2011 – Assembly Bill 459
The constituent who won the 2011 contest asked to remain anonymous. The idea implemented the National Popular Vote for President, which reforms the Electoral College so that it guarantees the presidency to the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide. All of the state's electoral votes would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a president (270 of 538). The bill has passed 30 legislative chambers in 20 states and is supported by more than 70 percent of people nationwide. The measure was signed by Governor Brown.
2010 – Assembly Bill 2654
The brainchild of Stan Fetterman of Millbrae, Assembly Bill 2654 would require firms that send solicitation letters appearing to be on behalf of government agencies to include a disclaimer atop the first page stating: "This product or service has not been approved or endorsed by any government agency." Fetterman proposed the law after noticing that a property management firm that employs him had received a pile of official-sounding letters that, in one instance, demanded companies make a $225 payment to fulfill a supposed state requirement, which was bogus. Under the bill, these letters would be required to include the disclaimer and violations would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. The measure passed the legislature but was vetoed by the governor in 2010. The bill was reintroduced as AB 75 in 2011 and was signed by Governor Brown.
2009 – Assembly Bill 1379
Eda Cook of Half Moon Bay and Scott Buschman of San Bruno were named co-winners of the 2009 contest for their proposals addressing the problem of spilled debris from trucks on highways and roads. The bill increased the base fine for spilling debris from commercial trucks. According to the California Highway Patrol, since 2003 more than 7,000 collisions were caused by spilled loads in California, resulting in 10 fatalities. The measure passed the legislature but was vetoed by the governor.
Index Editor and Publisher Chris Fogel thoroughly dissects and autopsies the rise and fall of the Measure V phone tax campaign (click link above). Chris welcomes your feedback on his site and here on Riptide (click our Comments link below).
By John Maybury, Editor and Publisher
I am sure that many letters to the editor of the Pacifica Tribune will ask why Measure V (phone tax) failed 66-34 percent. I have my own theories on why Measure V bombed after the City of Pacifica wasted thousands of dollars on consultants, surveys, and campaigns for this ill-conceived Utility Users Tax. Like putting lipstick on a pig, proponents tried to sell the tax as a magic elixir for police, fire, seniors, and other popular city services, but apparently the voters saw through the subterfuge and called it for what it was: pie in the sky. Let’s stop wasting money on knucklehead schemes like Measure V, and start building a real economic base with more and better visitor-serving businesses.
A Novel Approach
Read about how our new city manager Lorie Tinfow helped create a new way to present a budget for the City of Walnut Creek, her previous employer. Thanks to City Councilman Mike O'Neill for forwarding this article.
Click Comments (below) for analysis of election results and to submit your own comment. Grand total votes: YES 34.12% (2,050); NO 65.88% (3,958). 6,008 of 22,749 registered voters in Pacifica cast ballots, representing a 26.56% participation rate in Tuesday's election. 68.69% of those who voted did so by mail (4,125). 31.01% of those who voted cast ballots on election day (1,863). 0.33% of those who voted did so via early voting (20). Of those who voted by mail, 36.90% (1,481) voted YES. Of those who voted by mail, 64.10% (2,644) voted NO. Of those who voted on election day, 30.06% (560) voted YES. Of those who voted on election day, 69.94% (1,303) voted NO. Of those who voted early, 45% (9) voted YES. Of those who voted early, 55% (11) voted NO. (statistical breakdown courtesy of Chris Fogel, editor and publisher, Pacifica Index)
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?
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.But if you clicked the link anyway, you got:
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.
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.
By Gary Hanauer, Special to Riptide
The federal government reopened October 17. Commenting on Cincinnati-based radio station WLW, House Speaker John Boehner became the first major official to say that the shutdown would end. The end came after both houses of Congress okayed the deals and President Obama signed enabling measures.
Boehner told listeners: "We fought the good fight. We just didn't win." Then the Senate voted 81-18 to pass a bill to reopen the government and avoid default, lifting the debt ceiling. Senator Lindsey Graham, appearing on CNN, said, "We overplayed our hand so badly, by the end we had just a pair of 2s."
On October 9, some 100 people assembled in the Vallemar School auditorium to express outrage over Caltrans' controversial proposal to widen Highway 1 in Pacifica, which the state transportation agency has grandly labeled Calera Parkway Project.
No attendees at the meeting spoke in support of highway widening, and many wanted alternatives analyzed and considered.
Former mayor Peter Loeb gave a history of the project, noting that voters had stopped the 380 freeway from being extended through Vallemar from San Bruno, and that citizen action had turned the Devil's Slide Tunnels into a positive alternative to a freeway bypass cutting through Montara Mountain.
Former planning commissioner William "Leo" Leon showed images giving a sense of the project's footprint. He said that the project would double the roadway's width and cause potentially significant visual and environmental impacts to existing business and residential frontage on the Highway1 portion of Rockaway Beach. He also raised concerns about the ability of pedestrians and bicyclists (particularly seniors, schoolchildren, and the disabled) to cross a wider highway.
Pete Shoemaker, president of Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A), argued that the city should hire a traffic consultant to work on a set of softer alternatives, such as light timing, school start-time shifts, and a pedestrian overpass. He claimed that Caltrans tends not to do simple solutions but that Pacifica needs more complex and subtler solutions.
Attorney Hal Bohner explained that he and Peter Loeb are suing the city because the general plan specifically states that highway capacity should not be increased.
PH1A spokesperson Cynthia Kaufman urged people to get involved in the highway-widening issue. A second public meeting to further discuss alternatives will be announced soon.
Overwhelming public interest in and opposition to the project reflect prior public comments by more than 200 citizens in the Environmental Impact Report (EIR).
PH1A has asked City Council to hold a public hearing on the project, but council has failed to do so and has not taken any public position on the project. PH1A is asking the city to hold hearings and consider alternatives. Once pending litigation is settled, Caltrans likely will ask the city for permits for the project.
(From a PH1A press release, edited for space and clarity)