Darryll Fletcher is one of several administrators for the wildly popular local Facebook site called You Know You Grew Up in Pacifica When??????????
Darryll says, "The site was started by people who grew up from day one and love the town they were blessed to live in. Thankful to their parents to pick such a beautiful place that made everyone feel like family—so much so that (I don't know if you noticed) all the guys say, 'I love you, man,' and truly mean it."
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)
Juan "Fogzilla" Mayburrito at the north portal (Mitch Reid 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."
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.
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 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
I was stunned to read in the San Francisco Chronicle (May 14) that Brian O'Neill, Superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), had died. He was a key person in bringing GGNRA into Pacifica and the inclusion of Mori Point in GGNRA.
"Get a load of the prepped-out dude with helmet hair," says Peter Loeb of this Bob Pilgrim photo showing the young Pacifica Mayor Loeb speaking at the Sweeney Ridge GGNRA dedication ceremony in 1984. Loeb rode up to the ridge in a car with S.I. Hayakawa (above, right), who fell asleep in the car, something he was famous for doing. Peter says he can't remember who the gent on the left was. Anybody remember him?
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.
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...