Devil's Slide Tunnels are finally open. So that people won't forget the tremendous citizen movement that defeated the bypass and replaced it with the tunnel solution, my friend Carol Berman posted my video Thinking Tunnel: The Devil's Slide Story on YouTube. Thanks to Chris Thollaug for funding this documentary, and to all who contributed their time and energy!
We are all excited about the opening of the new tunnels that bypass Devil's Slide, but let's remember that it is also the end of an era for locals who grew up braving this treacherous stretch of Highway 1. The Curios have released a song "Last Ride on Devil's Slide" as well as t-shirts and hoodies with original artwork (above) by Andrew Leone. T-shirts from youth size small up to 3X are $18. Add the CD and it's $23 with shipping. If you are local, you can just arrange to pick them up. CD-only is $5. Call 650-359-2073 to get yours while they last. (On March 24, dozens of coastsiders drove the "Last Ride on Devil's Slide.")
Members and staff of the California Coastal Commission, accompanied by several local residents, visited the Devil's Slide tunnels construction project December 13. The tunnels are due to open this winter. Forest and Mitch Reid in the southbound tunnel
Forest and faux rock at north portal (Mitch Reid photo)
Southbound tunnel portal (Mitch Reid photo)
South portals, November 2012 (Mitch Reid photo)
Forest and Mitch Reid with John Lynch (right) inside the southbound tunnel
Bridge over Shamrock Ranch (John Maybury photo)
Inside the southbound tunnel (John Maybury photo)
Caltrans workers and California Coastal Commissioners in safety gear at the north portal (John Maybury photo)
Bridge over Shamrock Ranch, with Linda Mar in the distance (John Maybury photo)
San Mateo County History Museum in downtown Redwood City has a small exhibit about the Devil's Slide Tunnels, featuring the shovel that tunnel activist Mitch Reid's son Forest (above) used for the unofficial groundbreaking. Mitch says, "I have been joking for years that Forest might be driving through by the time they open. Funny thing, he may actually have his drivers permit before they open."
Thanks to Mark Stechbart for tracking this one down.
Mary Harris, 93, climbs 160 steps from her house in Pacifica to get to the road. (Photo: Alex Washburn/The Chronicle)
Mary Harris, 93, of Pacifica must climb a hillside stairway to get from her beachfront home to civilization. She hikes out, then walks half a mile to catch public transit to San Francisco. It's all in the service of Democratic World Federalists, a peace organization where she has been the volunteer secretary for 20 years.
Why: Our road to Shelter Cove went out in 1982. My walking and climbing those stairs to do my volunteer work is a small price to pay.
Greatest accomplishment: Making two full round trips when I forgot my backpack a few months ago. This meant walking all the way back to my house. It is 160 steps to the base of the hill, then 160 stairs to the top. I still made it to the bus stop on time.
Gear you can't live without: Sturdy shoes, a backpack and books about world federation and the great need for it to end war.
Where you train: I probably "trained" in Paris from 1966 to 1968, walking up seven flights in an apartment without an elevator.
Time you get up in the morning: 6 when I do my volunteer work.
Best time to train: Whenever I leave my house.
Most annoying thing people assume about athletes in your sport: That I'm a mountain climber.
Advice you'd give a rookie: Walk a lot, eat and drink moderately, and watch your step. Have a purpose in your life greater than just yourself.
This article appeared April 4 on page E-2 of the San Francisco Chronicle.
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Historic photos courtesy of Rich Harris, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC GOLF ALLIANCE
Pacifica Historical Society (PHS) has won another WAVE award for its Pacifica Community Television (PCT26) show Footprints of Pacifica. At the western regional conference of public access TV stations last weekend in Reno, the society was given the award for its show "Mary Harris at Shelter Cove." The half-hour documentary featured Mary, her artwork, and her wonderful, natural surroundings. The society has produced 93 shows on Pacifica history and will be part of the archives to be housed in the Little Brown Church Museum and Event Center.
It was a historic day (October 1, 2010) at foggy Devil's Slide Tunnels as Caltrans, Kiewit, United Mineworkers, tunnel activists, and a throng of local politicians and media greeted the northbound roadheader busting through the last few feet of rock. The Doors' song Break On Through to the Other Side was supposed to be the theme music for the official punch-through, but U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Speier's aide couldn't get his MP3 player to work. Speier saved the day with a bad pun about the "boring" event (groans from the crowd). More speeches followed: State Senator Leland Yee, State Assemblyman Jerry Hill, San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon, and Pacifica Mayor Sue Digre, plus tributes to the visionaries who made the tunnels possible (Lennie Roberts, Mitch Reid, and the late Congressman Tom Lantos). Lennie and Mitch call this federal/state/county undertaking "the people's tunnels." The Devil's Slide Tunnels on Highway 1 are set to open for traffic in about a year.
PACIFICA RIPTIDE EDITOR & PUBLISHER
Pacifica and its coast, once envisioned as a string of resorts, casinos, and vacation cottages in place of artichoke fields, was overlooked after the failure of the Ocean Shore Railroad in 1920. Demand for reasonably priced housing revived the boom, and Pacifica was incorporated in 1957. Authors Kathleen Manning and Jerry Crow of the Pacifica Historical Society contrast vintage and modern views of this city to illustrate the progression from farms to cottages to a suburb surrounded by open space and a modern metropolis. Available through Florey's Books, 2120 Palmetto Avenue, West Sharp Park, Pacifica, 650-355-8811 BOOK REVIEW
Publisher's Note: New from Arcadia Publishing’s Then & Now series is Pacifica. Vintage images are compared and contrasted with modern-day photographs for a side-by-side look at local history in Pacifica. Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Its mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Visit ARCADIA PUBLISHING
Photos (above and below) we recently took at the Dollaradio Station house on Palmetto. As most of you know, this is one of our few Pacifica landmarks. The property is in a precarious position due to coastal erosion along the bluffs. We want to help Joan Levin, PHS member and owner of the property. Perhaps some of you might like to join a "Friends of Dollaradio" group. We recently visited with Mitch Postel of the San Mateo Historical Society, Pacifica Mayor Julie Lancelle, and Pacifica City Council member Sue Digre. Further questions? Call Kathleen Manning at 415-509-6685.
I owe this column to the Franks—Cimo and winston.
You see, it all began 15 months ago, when Frank Cimo, in his “Frank’s Saloon” column, accused an 80-year-old peacenik of intolerance. This inspired me to fire off the following letter to the editor: “Frank finds a tolerance teacher’s intolerance of intolerance intolerable. This makes him intolerant of intolerance of intolerance, which no tolerant Tribune should tolerate.” (You should definitely read that three times real fast right now.)
It didn’t run that week, so I called Elaine Larsen, the Tribune’s editor, to make sure she knew it was an actual letter and not a prank. She said she loved the letter and was running it the following week. This made me just cocky enough to spontaneously blurt out, “How about I write a whole column sometime?” (If Frank can do it...) She quickly agreed. Apparently, she’d been taking some heat for Frank’s to-the-right-of-Dick-Cheney political views, and was more than happy to balance it out with a little comic relief.
I still had to figure out what to write about, and that is where the other Frank came in (or more accurately “frank”—he always insisted spelling his name lowercase). frank d. winston, the “Emperor of Pacifica,” had been busily promoting Pacifica’s 50th anniversary, and he gave me the idea of spoofing our first 50 years. That first column was so much fun I kept going and eventually learned to type with both index fingers.
It was a struggle at first. Every time I successfully finished a column it felt like a miracle. The early ones were pure silliness, until I noticed I was on the opinion page and figured I should probably mix some opinions in there while I was at it. So I cultivated a few, such as “litter is bad” and “voting is good.” I quickly learned it’s easy to be silly, and easy to make a point, but really hard to do both at the same time.
After experimenting with different narrative styles, I eventually settled on “first person, omniscient” or “from the point of view of a punctual know-it-all.” I also developed a fondness for top 10 lists, although usually ran out after five or so. The footnote* was added later as a desperate gimmick.
It was frank d. winston who pointed out that Pacifica’s 50th anniversary isn’t just a day; it’s a whole year, and our 50th year, November 22, 2007 to November 22, 2008, turned out to be an eventful one. We had an oil spill, the biodiesel and light brown apple moth controversies, a historic election (Obama), a botched election (Miss Pacifica), the closest election that is mathematically possible (measure N), and nearly elected the first openly male Laurie. Our beloved “Emperor” passed away on September 11, adding a sad milestone to our semicentennial year.
I decided to turn the columns I’ve written so far into a book, a retrospective on Pacifica’s 50th year. Yes, I know the marketing potential is pretty dismal. My target audience is mostly limited to people who live here and will buy a book of stuff they already read in the paper; but hey, I need something to give my friends for Christmas. (To you in the future who are reading this in book form, thanks - unless you checked it out from the library, in which case you are cheap and unprincipled - although generally speaking I am pro-library.)
I wasn’t the only person making humorous observations about Pacifica this year. Tom Jackson the cartoonist has been making his own wry commentary, in comic form, directly across the page from my column. (When you close the page, they are close enough to get intimately acquainted.) So I phoned him to ask if I could use some of his cartoons. He didn’t get back to me for the longest time, which I totally understand now, considering that he’d just had a heart attack.
Tom’s doing much better now, and probably because he’s presently on more medications than Lindsey Lohan, has agreed to let me add his uniquely skewed perspective to the book.
One more thing - after 15 months of writing a column every two weeks, I plan to cut back to one a month. This means those of you who look in the paper for me every week and are disappointed (or relieved) half the time, you will now be so twice as often; but hey, I need to find a better-paying newspaper position, such as paperboy.
Many thanks to Elaine, Tom Sullivan, John Maybury, and everyone at the Trib for the opportunity to goof off in public. It’s the most fun I’ve had with my clothes on, although truth be told, I frequently didn’t bother wearing any.
I hope some other voices will step up and fill the void. Maybe even you. Come on, if I can do it...
*Such as this one.
The 2008 Miss Pacifica Local pageant was an even bigger success than last year and came off without a hitch, except for the minor detail of accidentally crowning the wrong contestant. But hey, things like that happen all the time, remember Bush vs. Gore? And unlike Bush vs. Gore, all the contestants were highly qualified, unless you count me.
You may remember that last year I appeared as a “contestant” in a lovely pink dress but had decided against doing so again – until Rita the pageant director showed me the breathtaking gown she had picked out for me this year. Plus she said I could play a Bedouin guard and wear a jester costume complete with silly hat, which definitely sealed the deal.
So I was onstage when the winner was announced. I feared something was amiss when the time came to announce the winner, but the envelope wasn’t ready. You know how time flies when you are having fun? Well, it crawls when you are onstage waiting for an envelope; we were up there long enough to thoroughly reapply our toenail polish.
Finally, after some stalling tactics, including last year’s winner Adrianna Manner telling an inspirational story and me sharing a joke from a 3rd-grade joke book,* the envelope arrived. But instead of the winner’s name, it just had the score, which wasn’t much help. (“And the winner is: 237 points!”) Eventually an envelope arrived with names on it, and the lovely redhead Britta Lorenz was crowned Miss Pacifica Local 2008.
The problem was that the judges were supposed to pass their score sheets to the scorekeeper after each event, so she could add them up as the show progressed, except the judges forgot about that part. This led to a severe case of “math buildup,” requiring the scorer to add everything up during the final song, which is possible only if your name is Einstein, Deep Blue, or Rainman. (Full disclosure: My 10-year-old daughter was the “scorekeeper’s assistant,” which we had assumed was a spokesmodel position and wouldn’t include any actual math.)
Later, when there was time to double-check, it turned out that Trisha Callero actually had the most points. But nobody wanted to rip the freshly planted crown off Britta’s head. Some even felt that by holding their score sheets too long, the judges had “cheated,” and therefore a mathematical error was as good a way as any to determine the winner. But really, it was Tricia’s call – and she showed the winning form that has made her Pacifica’s favorite part-time mermaid, insisting that her friend Britta remain Miss Pacifica Local.
And that’s the way it stood for five weeks. But after a while the crown started feeling a little heavy on Britta’s head. (Princess grooming tip: It’s okay to take it off for sleeping and hair washing.) She eventually “abdicated” her crown to Trisha just in time for Fog Fest, which may be the first time in Pacifica history that someone correctly used the word “abdicated” in the first person. Britta is now getting involved with Pacifica Beach Coalition and enjoying her crown-free lifestyle.
Thus, Tricia made the Fog Fest trifecta, simultaneously appearing as a mermaid, Guinevere in the Spindrift play Camelot, and Miss Pacifica Local. Some spectators were confused, like when the producers of Bewitched replaced Dick York with Dick Sargent, on the grounds that they were both Dicks. In this case, they were both redheads, but that is where the physical similarities end (for one thing, Tricia has a tail).
So it all worked out okay. I used to think that beauty pageants were pointless, but I’ve seen the positive effect it can have on its participants, including this year’s third contestant, Tiffany Herbert, who despite being outnumbered, represented the non-redhead demographic admirably. But it has to be done right. Here are my recommendations for future pageants:
1. More contestants. In three years, we have had a total of seven, or an average of 2 1/3 each year. There must be a plethora of girls in town who would like to play dress-up and cut ribbons for a year.
2. Crown the correct contestant the first time, even if it requires a hand recount of all hanging chads.
3. An adult scorekeeper’s assistant who likes math.
4. Rather than one person running the show and making up all the rules, a committee of several people running the show and making up all the rules.
5. More cowbell.
We were fortunate that the girls all had a good attitude this year, but some take this stuff pretty seriously, and some of their parents are lawyers, if you get my drift. In the meantime, we have an actual election coming up. Let’s make sure we get that one right!
Ian Butler is host of Laugh Locally on PCT 26. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Q. Why are gorillas' nostrils so big? A. Have you seen the size of their fingers?
Dear State Senator Leland Yee,
California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is celebrating the completion of two newly built bridges as part of the Devil's Slide tunnels project. Because you are responsible for the tunnels being named in honor of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, I hope you will consider naming the two bridges in honor of the two environmentalists most responsible for saving San Pedro Mountain from a freeway bypass. Olive Mayer and Lennie Roberts spent more than 30 years fighting and defeating the environmentally destructive Devil's Slide Bypass Highway project. Olive was the first person to request that a tunnel alternative be explored. In 1974, Caltrans dismissed the tunnel idea as too expensive, but it refused to make public the documents that supported their claim. Through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in 1995, I was able to obtain these withheld documents, which showed that the tunnel had been and was still a viable alternative. After these documents were turned over to the FHWA, the agency demanded that Caltrans reconsider the tunnel as an alternative. At this point, Lennie initiated the successful campaign for Measure T, ensuring that only a tunnel could be built. Lantos called the tunnel project "The People's Tunnels" because it was the people, not the politicians, who saved the mountain. Please consider naming the two bridges to the tunnels in honor of these two environmental leaders and heroes who played such significant roles in saving this precious part of the California coast. The "Mayer-Roberts Bridges" would become part of our coastal history and a connection to Mayer's and Roberts' part in saving a mountain and several endangered species. This would be an inspiration to all of us in California. Thank you!
For the past several years, ever since that fateful day in 2001, when so many unsuspecting souls tragically lost their lives, I have come to associate, in both my mind and heart, the date, September 11, with such thoughts as that of "loss," "destruction," "grief," and most of all, "death." I really did not need, or want, anything more to be added to the haunting significance of this date, to keep its dramatic impact in the recesses of my memory.
But the specter of September 11 has loomed large once again in my life, with even more of a personal significance than ever, for this is the date that our little "Kingdom by the Sea" known as Pacifica lost its one and only "Emperor," and it is also, coincidentally, the date that I lost one of the best friends and colleagues that I ever had in this town. September 11, 2008 is the date the Emperor of Pacifica, frank d. winston, died.
For a man who preferred that his name be written without capital letters, his impact on other people's lives was definitely in big capital letters! The man in the wheelchair, wearing the crown, and with the deep resonating voice, was one of a kind. He was an out-of-the-box, over-the-top, larger-than-life type of guy. Frank, with the twinkling blue eyes and the million-dollar smile, was a giver, a creator. and a doer. He was the most able-bodied disabled individual that I had ever met. And although he was legally blind, he had more "vision" than anyone I have ever known.
I knew him for the better part of two years. Having been introduced to each other by a mutual friend, we hit it off from the very beginning. As my sainted mother would have said, "We got along like a house on fire!" His was a mind that could turn out 60 different ideas a minute! It was exciting to just sit and listen to his ideas and even more exciting to act on them. Our mutual interests, shared background, and political involvements made those two years some of the most intense times that I have ever experienced in Pacifica.
He brought me back into the Pacifica Democrats, after my absence of many years. He made me a part of the Pacifica Historical Society and introduced me to a multiplicity of adventures, people, and opportunities, with interesting challenges and even more interesting results. He was the mentor who was a "long time coming" into my life. That was my Frank. I shall miss him dearly.
Whenever I was asked to describe our association and working relationship, I would say, " I play Bailey to Frank's P.T. Barnum. We had so many things going on at the same time that it was like a three-ring circus. But somehow we always seemed to pull it off without a hitch, thanks to Frank. Together we put on productions, sold tickets, thought up marketing campaigns, sold more tickets, rode in parades, sold even more tickets, threw events for hundreds at AT&T Park, and hosted political gatherings for our government leadership on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and in the state Senate, state Assembly, and Congress.
Even though Frank and I had worked at KNBR-NBC at the same time back in the day as show hosts and producers, our paths never crossed. He worked during the day and I worked during the night. Frank was a lawyer. I was a writer. Our various career paths would not cross again for 30 years, and it would not be in big San Francisco but in small Pacifica that we were finally destined to meet.
Frank had a long and interesting life. He apparently never let physical problems get in the way of living large. Frank said, "I'm gonna live till I die." He lived life his own way, on his own terms. For a man confined to a wheelchair 95 percent of the time, Frank was the poster boy for Redi-Wheels. He went everywhere. Frank's condition never stopped him from being on the go 24/7. I could call to him at 10 o'clock in the morning and find him up in Sacramento, at 4 o'clock in San Francisco, and at 7 o'clock back in Pacifica.
But more important, if it were not for his being in a wheelchair, you would never have known that this bright-eyed, quick-witted, charming, educated man was operating with a body ravaged by the deleterious effects of diabetes. The disease, which would eventually impair the overstressed, weakened heart that finally stopped beating, had caused all his toes to be amputated, hence the need for the wheelchair, and also took its toll on the rest of his body, leaving him almost totally blind. But to look at Frank and talk to him, you would never know it. His spirit was that large and his mind was that great!
After graduating from Georgetown University Law School near Washington, D.C., Frank taught law at the University of San Francisco (USF) while working in San Francisco as an immigration attorney. He had a long and successful career in San Francisco. He was president of the San Francisco Lawyers Club in 1982, and the founder and commissioner of the Northern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. He was the president of the B'nai B'rith Bay Area Chapter in 2006-07, and was active in the Bay Area Council for Soviet Jewry for many years. (He once led a group of about 300 lawyers to the Soviet Union in 1972 to observe the Soviet court system and meet with Moscow lawyers.)
Frank could speak with the rich and the poor, the young and the old, the powerful and the weak, all with equanimity, and also with a good sense of who he was and what he wanted to do.
Frank's local involvements were so many that it is really impossible to enumerate them all, but I shall name a few: president of the Pacifica Democrats, host and executive producer of the Pacifica Historical Society's Channel 26 WAVE Award-winning program, "Footprints of Pacifica," the Pacifica Chamber of Commerce "2008 Volunteer of the Year," board member of the Pacifica Historical Society, contributing columnist for the Pacifica Tribune ("Frankly Speaking"), founder of Jewish Heritage Night at AT&T Park in San Francisco, producer/master of ceremonies for the yearlong 50th Anniversary of the City of Pacifica events, and Pacifica School Volunteers teacher to the students at Oceana High School, a job that gave him great pleasure in helping students achieve more and be the best that they could be.
Frank was all about tomorrow and what great things it could bring. For Frank, the glass was always half-full, not half-empty. In spite of his disability in later years, Frank lived for Frank and lived for others. That's the trick and he knew it. His life touched so many people in so many ways that I know there are people I have never heard of, and certainly have never met, who also must have shared a close personal relationship with frank d. winston. He had that type of effect on people he came in contact with. He made you feel as if you were the only one in the room when you were with him.
Frank's approach to life was an inspiration, a lesson in how to live and how to die. There was never any time for whining or bellyaching for frank d. winston. He took what life handed him, like a man, all the way to the end. Life really was a banquet to Frank and he partook of it shamelessly. He will be greatly missed by more people than I'll ever know. Of that, I am certain.
There is a saying that "he who dies with the most toys wins." In frank d. winston's case, I would say it is "he who dies with the most friends wins." By that measure alone, Frank is the winner!
Shalom, dearest Frank, shalom.
I take classes at Skyline College, one class a semester since 1994. Keeps the gray matter stirred up. Anyway, this spring I took San Francisco history. Of course, we had a term project to write. Because I knew very little about Sharp Park Golf Course history, I thought that would be a good topic, what with the trust, the clubhouse, and the course all being historic items. I stopped in at Kathleen Manning's Prints Old and Rare at Crespi Center to see if there were any old maps of the area. Kathleen asked me if I knew about the internment camp back there (click image above to enlarge). I had no idea that existed. I used to shoot back there at the range and I've shot at the archery range out there many times when my son was younger. Never a clue. I decided to add that to my report. Well, there is not much info out there so I knew it was going to take longer than I had for the class so I turned in a traditional report on the history of the area and the buildings. The internment camp intrigued me so I kept digging. Little by little, information would come up. Soon I started seeing the same info repeated, which usually means that what's out there, you have already, so write the report. I know there is more research to be done and I'm pushing to get more people on board. More people, more time, more information. Congresswoman Jackie Speier's office contacted the San Mateo Historical Society and introduced me to the director. I'm trying to connect with the chair to be placed on their agenda in September to make a small presentation and to ask them to write an official letter to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to let them know, if they aren't already aware, that there is a historical site of interest to San Mateo County out there. I hope that at some point I can help secure a grant for someone to really study the site. map it, and catalog what's out there. Meanwhile, please read my report Download temp.pdf, published exclusively here on Pacifica Riptide.