State Senator Jerry Hill—joined by San Bruno City Manager Connie Jackson and Mark Toney, executive director of The Utility Reform Network (TURN)—announced at an April 11 press conference in San Francisco that California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey has accepted gifts totaling more than $230,000 in international travel and spent more than 200 days on these trips since he was appointed commission president in 2003, according to the filing of statements of economic interest with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
The account of Peevey’s declared travel came a week after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E), which contributed to the nonprofit that funded most of Peevey’s trips, was indicted on 12 federal criminal counts resulting from the 2010 gas pipeline explosion that killed eight people and destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood.
Last year, a consultant’s report commissioned by the CPUC revealed that staff members said they do not believe the commission makes safety a top priority and blame a workplace culture that gives regulated industries too much "access to the PUC building, documents and personnel."
Hill’s Senate Bill 831, which addresses several ethics issues, includes provisions that would prohibit elected and appointed officials from accepting more than $5,000 a year in travel-related gifts from nonprofits, and would require nonprofits providing travel-related gifts to disclose to the Fair Political Practices Commission the name of the donors paying for the travel expenses.
Hill also announced that in the wake of the gun-trafficking and bribery indictment of Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, Hill is amending SB 831 to prohibit elected officials from using campaign funds to pay legal bills in criminal cases.
Throughout the Bay Area, Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve (280 @ Edgewood/Canada exit in Redwood City), is famous for its spectacular spring wildflower displays. Friends of Edgewood docents offer free wildflower walks every Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. through June 8.
Every year is different at Edgewood. The weather favors some plants one year and a different set is abundant the next. Join us to discover what this year’s crazy weather reveals.
The approximately three-hour walks through grasslands, chaparral, coastal scrub, and foothill woodlands offer a surprising amount of biodiversity. You are likely to see 50-100 plants in flower on the moderately paced, three-mile journey.
Edgewood supports more than 500 distinct plant species, four of which are federally listed as endangered or threatened. In addition, the fragile Bay checkerspot butterfly, one of the threatened species, has made its home in the unique habitat afforded by the serpentine grasslands. The various plant communities also provide habitat for frogs, lizards, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, deer, and more than 70 resident and migratory birds.
Visitors can complement their docent-led walk by visiting the Education Center near the main entrance, featuring interactive exhibits that explain Edgewood’s connection to the surrounding landscape and its history.
Go to friendsofedgewood.org or call 1-866-GO-EDGEWOOD (1-866-463-3439) for more information. (Photo above by Kathy Korbholz)
This is merely a casual observation, but it looks to me like there's been a noticeable uptick in the number of vehicle thefts and break-ins reported in the daily police logs. Pacifica had a spate of break-ins a few years ago targeting cars parked at our beach lots and at trailheads. This time, the break-ins and thefts appear to be in residential areas. I've just started noticing this "wave" within the past two weeks or so. Be safe out there.
Follow Dan Walters’ political analysis in the Sacramento Bee (sacbee.com), especially his columns on state government shenanigans, including the $15 billion gap in funding for the Train to Nowhere (Governor Jerry Brown’s vanity/legacy high-speed rail project, whose bloated budget now exceeds $68 billion and whose route plan looks like the Chutes and Ladders game board).
I notice on the Nextdoor website that the City of Pacifica and the Pacifica Police Department have opted not to enable Nextdoor readers to comment about their posts.
All I would ask them to do is not to send us messages that we (a) already know, (b) don't already know but don't need to know, and (c) don't already know but easily could figure out.
And what's funny is that the city doesn't see anything wrong with that. It says in its opening post, without the slightest hint of irony: "Initially the City will focus in on one-way communication..."
Y'know, the more I think about it, I'm really opposed to the City of Pacifica intruding on our Nextdoor website. It's really isn't in the spirit of Nextdoor. The County of San Mateo has a perfectly good notification system that doesn't involve hitching its wagon to anyone else's. Apparently the City of Pacifica is unable to do the same. If you disagree, just wait for those emails about "Safe Driving Week" and, worse, subtle messaging when city resources and salaries are on the line.
Daly City’s City Council has passed a resolution to call on the state legislature and governor to ban clearcut logging in California, making it the first city in San Mateo County and the wider Bay Area, and the second city in the state, to pass the resolution. The City of Davis has passed a similar resolution. The resolution highlights negative impacts of clearcutting on climate and water.
Daly City’s Water Department offers free water-saving devices, rebates, and school programs for residents, commercial users, and students. The city also has a climate action plan to reduce its carbon footprint.
“I am delighted to partner with the Sierra Club in making sure that the governor and the California legislature take immediate action to prohibit industrial clearcut logging in the forests of California,” said David Canepa, mayor of Daly City. “I am also proud that Daly City is the first city in the Bay Area to demonstrate such leadership.”
A growing movement of communities, environmental groups, and fishermen's alliances is calling on the governor and state legislature to end clearcutting in California and to ensure that logging in California is done in a way that will preserve and protect fish, wildlife, forests, streams, and carbon sequestration.
Clearcutting is an ecologically destructive form of logging in which nearly all native vegetation is removed, soils are deep-ripped, and herbicides are applied across the landscape. It harms water quality and wildlife habitat, and exacerbates climate change. It replaces diverse forests with tree farms that can have a higher risk of catching fire. Timber can be harvested using a less destructive method known as selective logging (see top photo above), which involves carefully planned removal of some trees while leaving the overall forest intact.
What happens in the forests – especially in the Sierra Nevada – is important to Bay Area cities. Some 60 percent of Bay Area water is stored in and filtered through Sierra forest watersheds, and 15 percent comes from the forested Santa Cruz Mountains. At least 15 percent of California’s carbon dioxide emissions are sequestered by California forests, and clearcutting both reduces the amount of carbon that forests can retain, and releases excess greenhouse gases.
Caltrans' proposed highway widening known as the Calera Parkway Project between Rockaway and Vallemar is a little bit more complicated than just adding a third lane northbound and southbound.
The project, as currently proposed, would add a center meridian nearly three lanes wide by itself, and would require further infrastructure to allow the project to be built over what is now thin air: things like a small causeway built over wetlands and up to 30-foot-tall retaining walls along most of the project length, again to allow for the extra lanes and center meridian to be poured and leveled in what is now nothing, just thin air.
If, like me, you need a visual aid to understand just how wide all of this roadway construction would be, get out a piece of construction paper and do a little origami fold right down the center of the paper, folding it in half long ways. The folded piece of paper represents the current width of Highway 1. Now unfold the paper and that represents the width of the proposed project.
And if you want to take it a step further, go to a vantage point that allows you to see along the highway. Hold up your folded origami highway to match the current width. Then, keeping the paper in the same spot, simply unfold it to the width the highway would be after being widened. Shocking, isn't it? Shocking to see so clearly just what sort of gigantic impact the project would have if, through our inaction, we allow it to be built.
Caltrain passengers now have access to the new grade-separated, elevated San Bruno Station. Since 2010, passengers have used a temporary boarding platform on Huntington Avenue near Sylvan Avenue. March 31 was the last day of service at that site, with the new station open a half-mile to the north at 833 San Mateo Avenue at San Bruno Avenue. Caltrain continues on the same schedule at the new station.
In May, Caltrain plans a community celebration in Posey Park to mark completion of the grade separation project, with local vendors and activities, speeches, and refreshments.
The $155 million grade separation project elevated Caltrain tracks at three separate crossings in San Bruno. The grade-separated crossings improve safety conditions for both pedestrians and motorists, while also easing traffic congestion to and from Highway 101.
The San Mateo County Transportation Authority provided $92.5 million for the safety improvement project, with the remaining funding coming from state and federal sources.
Jenifer Mendler posted the following comment on Riptide to announce the March 29 candlelight vigil for Errol Chang of Pacifica. (Chang was shot and killed last week by police after he stabbed a Daly City SWAT officer who was attempting to subdue Chang after a six-hour standoff at the Chang family home in Pedro Point.):
"This incident is such a tragedy. Errol was a good friend to our family and many close friends. My brother grew up with Errol. ... Hopefully we can bring light to the situation and changes will be made when dealing with people who have mental health issues."
Sanchez Art Center announces an open call for artists for its sixth annual 50|50 Show, juried by Jack Fischer of Jack Fischer Gallery, San Francisco. The exhibit runs August 22 through September 28. Entry deadline is Tuesday, May 13, 11 p.m. PST. Entry is online only, via CallForEntry.org (also known as CaFÉ).