An informed source reports that on June 30, Seton Medical Center will close its Family Birthing Unit, including Labor and Delivery, Well Newborn Nursery, Intensive Care Nursery, and Postpartum Nursing units.
Better Business Burro buzzes about big changes in store for well-known local gas stations in Linda Mar and Fairmont. Think Slurpee with a fill-up. Stay tuned for details as they emerge. If it really happens, Caltrans and the city may need to add a new crosswalk on Highway 1 directly to the Linda Mar beach side, instead of the long way around via Denny's.
A permit application to the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) passed 17-0 on April 16 (see first link below). A knowledgeable and concerned source believes that Pacifica has an interest in this permit, which allows Hanson Marine Operations to continue mining sand in San Francisco Bay. Our source says, "Unfortunately, when sand is mined, it affects tidal currents going out the Golden Gate. In the past, currents would deposit sand on San Mateo County coastal beaches. Since mining began, there is less sand and beaches are getting smaller." Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Connect the Coastside is the latest in a parade of coastside transportation "studies" that the county has organized to support and facilitate its hoped-for buildout numbers on the San Mateo County Midcoast. The buildout numbers are, and always have been, mostly schemed and arbitrary figures in service of fulfilling the economic dreams of the politicians' financial supporters--developers, contractors, real estate speculators large and small, construction unions, government bureaucrats, etc.
The buildout numbers are manipulated to provide predetermined outcomes, and terms are toyed with semantically, often within government planning documents such as the county's LCP, to give fake homage to laws and regulations such as the California Coastal Act, CEQA, NEPA, ESA, and numerous other environmental regulations. There is no, as in zero, objective attention to sustainable carrying capacity of the area, natural resources (local and from afar, such as water!) required for the buildout population, ecological degradation of the area through wipeout of natural conditions and components during development, measurement of material conditions in the area needed to support any population and development numbers, and so on through all other kinds of considerations needed to justify buildout figures with any degree of integrity.
So we battle through each round of transportation and other studies geared to setting up and facilitating the further gross overdevelopment of our area and the destruction of what remains of the positive, comfortable, affordable character of our communities. This current redundant study makes no bones over being about servicing the jiggered buildout figures, so it can be attacked up front for its false assumptions and the things it ignores in an attempt to sprint past realistic concerns before most locals notice.
Midcoast Community Council's workshops are an ongoing orchestrated part of involving the public (the small portion that pays any attention at all to such matters before they are fixed in official programs and policies) in the process so the county can claim it did not ignore the residents, the communities, in arriving at an outcome it had in mind from the start. Sometimes loud enough squawks over salient stupidities can disrupt the consultant's and the politicians' routine enough to delay the game.
(This op-ed is from a comment Carl May posted here in response to our continuing coverage of Midcoast Community Council's Highway 1 workshops.)
Are almond growers California's worst water wasters? They're being blamed so much that almond lovers are pushing back with articles like "Seriously, Stop Demonizing Almonds," which appeared recently on Gizmodo.
So what are the facts? It takes 23 gallons of water to grow 23 almonds, a typical serving size. Almonds are the second-thirstiest crop in California behind alfalfa, a superfood for cows that sucks up 15 percent of the state's irrigation water. Almonds account for close to 10 percent of the state's agricultural water use, more than what the entire populations of Los Angeles and San Francisco use in a year. Almonds are hugely profitable for California. Last year, almonds brought in $11 billion to the state's economy.
But while alfalfa fields shrink, almond orchards are expanding in a big way. Alfalfa acreage is expected to shrink 11 percent this year, and cotton acres will dwindle to their lowest level since the 1920s. The market is pushing almonds and other nuts in the opposite direction. Almonds deliver farmers an average net return of $1,431 per acre, while pistachios net $3,519 per acre. Paramount Farms, which manages 50,000 acres of almond trees, plans to expand by 50 percent in the next five years. About two-thirds of California's almonds and pistachios are sent overseas. California's Central Valley churns out 80 percent of the world's almonds.
Here's the REAL problem in a nutshell: Each almond takes a gallon of water to produce. And each almond tree can produce up to 50 pounds of almonds per year. Chew on that!
Midcoast Community Council has been meeting monthly to discuss Highway 1 traffic safety improvements. Click the link below to read an attendee's report on the March 11 meeting and alternatives discussed. Click "Comments" below this post to follow the thread.
Pacificans for Highway 1 Alternatives (PH1A) and friends hiked around Rockaway Quarry and Mori Point National Park (background) April 12 to familiarize themselves with endangered-species areas (ESA) and other impact zones of Caltrans' proposed widening of Highway 1. (Bob Pilgrim photos)
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.