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July 2007

June 2007

Peebles Invitational: What Went Down


The Peebles Invitational at Pedro Point Firehouse on June 19 was hosted by PBRG (Pacifica Business for Responsible Government: Better Pacifica). Peebles V.P. Daniel Grimm and his land use attorney Tim Tosta presented an update on the status of the Rockaway Quarry property. Tosta, known for successfully guiding development projects through the Coastal Commission, presented a slide show of historical data, topographical maps, and photos.

The gist of his message was that the Quarry has been greatly disturbed over the years by quarrying activities, and no longer resembles its original "natural" state. He also said that the State will require substantial portions of the property to be reclaimed, necessitating removal of mega-quantities of earth.

Tosta told the audience that his research on the site will take at least another three months. He is beginning preliminary meetings with Coastal Commission staff to understand the regulatory constraints (something many of us in the environmental community advised Peebles to do more than a year ago, before going to the ballot.)

Tosta also said it will be three years before permits could be obtained for any project. He emphasized that this is a "work in progress" and that it is premature to discuss what type of project can be built until all the issues are thoroughly analyzed, and he has a better understanding of which portions of the site can be developed.

When asked about the results of the habitat and endangered-species study that Peebles commissioned last year, Tosta was a bit cagey, saying only that the report wasn't as elaborate as he wanted and was rather "skinny" in certain respects.

Tosta gave the audience another message:  Everyone needs to "think outside the box" and make some compromises, or it is unlikely there will ever be a project built in the Quarry. Time will tell.


Native Plants: Save Water, Stimulate the Economy


Here is an idea for water conservation that would be self-sustaining: a government-sponsored native plant retrieval system. As developers need to remove native plants from sites to be developed, the government would provide low-risk qualified convict labor or organize volunteers (Boy Scouts, 4H, etc.) to remove plants prior to bulldozing, saving contractors the cost of labor and waste removal. Plants could be taken to a central distribution center to be given to homeowners. Plants not taken could be sold at low cost to nurseries. Home Depot, Lowe's, OSH, and local garden stores might be willing to participate as distribution points for tax incentives.


Thousand-Hand Dance Video


Take the time to watch this beautiful dance called the Thousand-Hand Guanyin. Considering the tight coordination required, the accomplishment of these 21 dancers is nothing short of amazing, even if they were not all deaf. Relying only on signals from trainers at the four corners of the stage, these extraordinary dancers deliver a visual spectacle that is at once intricate and stirring. Its first major international debut was in Athens at the closing ceremonies for the 2004 Paralympics. But it had long been in the repertoire of the Chinese Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe and had traveled to more than 40 countries. Its lead dancer is 29-year-old Tai Lihua, who has a BA from the Hubei Fine Arts Institute. The video was recorded in Beijing during the Spring Festival celebrations. See the video

Clean Money and Fair Elections


I've found something easy we can do to actually give us serious hope of fixing our broken election system and finally let voters take control of politics. There's a bill, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, that would set up full public financing of election campaigns in California. If it passes, it will hold politicians accountable to the voters because the public would pay for their campaigns rather than big money contributors. This idea is making things better in other states and California deserves it, too. It's an exciting ideal. Please click the link below and use their easy letter-writing tool to demand that our leaders pass the bill, like I just did. It is making serious progress, but big money special interests will fight it all the way. It will pass only if legislators know the people are demanding it. The tool drafts up a letter for you, so it's really fast and easy. You can also learn more about Clean Money on the rest of the site and sign the petition. And please tell your friends about it, too! Thanks! Click to go to the page.

Send a Letter for Clean Money and Fair Elections

Help Pacifica Schools Survive and Thrive


Do you own property in Pacifica? Well, the failure of Measure Q means you're $96 richer this year. If you supported Measure Q, how about putting that money back in the schools where you thought it belonged?

Go to, select San Francisco Bay Area, and in the search field type "Pacifica." There are currently 12 projects that Pacifica teachers have asked donors to fund. If a project gets funded, donorschoose will buy it for them so there's no hanky-panky. Yes, they take a cut, but the school bureaucracy would have taken a cut of your $96, and probably far more.

Let's get these hardworking teachers some supplies that the district can't afford to buy them, and show them how generous and caring Pacifica can be.

For the record: I have no association with Donorschoose or the Pacifica School District. I'm just the father of two toddlers who will one day be students. And yes, I just did this myself.


City of Pacifica Settles Lawsuit Against Coastside Scavenger?

On June 25 City Council agenda, 6:30 p.m. closed session:

2. Conference with legal counsel. Existing litigation City of Pacifica v. Coastside Scavenger, San Mateo County Superior Court, Case Number CIV 462348.

Apparently the lawsuit was brought to compel CSS to conform to the franchise agreement. Two things were a performance bond and additional financial information. CSS is complying, so the City is in the
process of settling the suit.

Wireless: Palmetto Utilities Going Underground


It has been confirmed today that a portion of Palmetto Avenue is next in line for removing utility poles and wires. Pacifica's City Engineer confirmed the report that the money is available for the project and will commence once the project on Esplanade Avenue is finished. The poles will be removed and the wires will be fed underground. From what we were told, the portion of Palmetto traditionally thought of as "downtown" will be first in line for the project. We hope this is a prelude to reviving the concept of "downtown" Pacifica, if not a true city center, in Sharp Park.

Local Angle on Nuclear Power Debate


This is a pro-nuke grassroots outfit started by Jim Morrissey, a childhood friend of mine in Ireland. He spent 14 years working on hydrogen solutions and testing nuclear reactors in Holland. The debate on nuclear power needs to be had regardless of ideology. I'm a no-nukes guy; me and Jimmy have had some good debates, but there are hidden radioactive dangers in coal and oil that are not well known.

Nuclear Power Site 1

Nuclear Power Site 2


(Todd also mentions that Morrissey and his wife recently visited Pacifica, loved it, and did the ultimate Pacifica thing—they wrote a letter to the editor of the Pacifica Tribune praising our fair town.}

Pacifica Giants at AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco


Pacifica Tribune sports editor Horace Hinshaw snapped this shot of about half of the more than 40 Pacificans who work for the San Francisco Giants baseball team. Soon we hope to bring you photos of more Pacifica Giants, and a list of their names. Stay tuned, folks, we're only in the top of the first inning here. Word is that the next big photo shoot will be June 30 at the ballpark, so if you are missing in action from this picture, make sure to go to work that day and find Horace with his camera—and get in the game. Thanks to Mary Q. Contreras for passing along this insider info. She lives in Pacifica and also ushers at Giants games in AT&T Park.

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Labels


My guess is that some cynical journalist (heavens!) came up with the polarizing, demeaning, dismissive term NIMBY. But I reject any labeling, framing, or stereotyping of us environmentalists as Naysayers. What nonsense!

Our values are positive. We are for progress with balance, for a healthy economy through a healthy environment. There is nothing negative about that. We all want peace and quiet and open space. That's why we choose to live here in green Pacifica. And we know that such things don't come free. We have to fight to defend our quality of life. That's what it means to be "Positively Green."


Go Native: Just the Facts, Ma'am


Great to see you're plugging California natives to your readers. I just wanted to point out a couple of inaccuracies. Not all natives are drought-tolerant. We live in a state that is the most geographically diverse in the country. Between straight species and cultivars, the total of California native plants number in the area of 14,000. These hail from deserts, forests, coasts, bluffs, mountains and more. Many of these areas have vast expanses of water, where plants depend on regular moisture. These are referred to as riparian. A few examples of riparian plants are Salix, Platanus, Aquilegia, Juncus and so on. They are definitely not drought-tolerant.

Not all native plants have to be watered regularly through the summer. Most chaparral and coastal sage scrub established plants do not want a lot of water during summer because of their adaptation to the drought of the mediterranean climate (such as what we have here in Los Angeles) in which they live. Established Fremontodendron, in particular, will die if given regular water during the summer. This is also true of many species of established Arctostaphylos and Ceanothus, and of course Quercus.

It is not true that most natives won't flower again until spring. You were right that Zauschneria will flower in late summer and early fall. But there are many, many more that will also flower. For instance, Mimulus, Heteromeles, Lessingia, some Penstemons (eatonii, for instance), Lyonathamnus flowers in the summer, Calliandra californica flowers almost year round and so on.

I write about California native plants and work for the Theodore Payne Foundation in Southern California. I always appreciate seeing other writers mention and promote our wonderful flora. But I also like to make sure that the correct information is being disseminated.

All the best,

Discover California native plants on my blog: California Native Plants


Johnny Bee Good: Bees, Birds, Butterflies

Broadbodied_chaser_for_web We're here as a resource, so if you ever have any bee questions, I'd be very happy to help. The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation is an international nonprofit organization that protects the diversity of life through invertebrate conservation. To join the Society, make a contribution, or read about our work, please visit Xerces

Matthew Shepherd
Director, Pollinator Conservation Program
4828 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland, OR 97215, USA
Tel: 503-232 6639 Cell: 503-807 1577 Fax: 503-233 6794