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February 2008

January 2008

Surf Cat Hangs Ten


from's Day in Pictures:

Catch waves, not mice! We first met Nicolasa about a week ago riding her longboard with her human companion off Lima's San Bartolo beach. In fact, we made a joke about her hanging ten, but check out those paws -- she's really doing it! Go Nicolasa!

GMO Fruits and Vegetables in the Produce Aisle

GMO-free and organic produce isn't available everywhere, but this trick helps you know what's what when navigating the veggie aisle. Since some people find produce stickers annoying, distributors are experimenting with dyes that permanently tattoo barcodes on fruit. What's the probability your supermarket plums are genetically modified? Plum dandy (um, pretty high). But we'll help you crunch the numbers: the little stickers on fruits and veggies have digits that let you know whether they're conventionally grown or organic, and if they're genetically modified (GM).

The Benefits
Better odds for your body. GM foods have been in stores only since the 1990s, so we don't know the long-term health risks, and in a 1998 EPA sampling, 29% of the foods tested contained detectable pesticides.

Less of an eco-gamble. Scientists are concerned that GMOs will reduce biodiversity.

Winning the taste-bud lottery. Foodies all over the world agree that the range of possible flavors is greater when we just let Mother Nature do her thing.

Look for the labels stuck on your fruits and veggies:
A four-digit number means it's conventionally grown.
A five-digit number beginning with 9 means it's organic.
A five-digit number beginning with 8 means it's GM.



Choice Organic Teas: Green, Also Black & White



Turn to Choice Organic Teas, and let the plot unfold in your teacup. Choose from 70 organic and mostly fair-trade varieties of black, green, oolong, white, and herbal teas in bags, loose, or iced - and make your way to a happy ending. Choice is not only the biggest exclusively organic tea brand in the country, but also the first U.S. tea maker to go organic and fair-trade. But beyond all that, the tea's seriously some of the best we've ever sipped. "Our head of R&D hated tea as a child because she'd only ever tasted low-quality grocery-store brands," says Autumn White, marketing coordinator. A desire to create delicious tea led to weekly, all-staff tea tastings, where Choice's employees (and their diverse tastes) assess the latest flavors. If you've never tried it before, pick up a Gourmet Sampler for three bucks, which includes 13 varieties.

Choice imported 200,000 lbs of organic tea in 2006. Through its fair-trade tea purchases, it has contributed nearly $44,000 to projects such as micro-lending programs and scholarship funds.
The company kept 400 mi of staple wire out of landfills by investing almost $1 million in a tea-bagging machine that eliminates staple-use in its Original tea line. Its factory is powered by 100% renewable wind energy, reaping air-quality benefits equivalent to planting 66 acres of trees.
The company's HQ recycles all paper, plastic, and aluminum, and composts leftovers from tea production. Employees get green benefits, including a rewards program for staff members who use alternative transportation to get to work. Choice still uses nonrecycled wrapping for its Gourmet foodservice line, and not all of Choice's teas are certified as fair-trade, including its oolong teas, which are currently undergoing the certification process.


11th Annual Beach Planting: Riptide Helped PR

Dear Riptide:

On Saturday, January 19 Pacifica's Environmental Family conducted its 11th Annual Beach Planting. Over 30 volunteers donated their time and effort to this event. The number of volunteers was a little less than in previous years, but the volunteers worked extra hard and accomplished a great deal during their two hours on the beach.  Also, in previous years, Go Native Nursery and the City of Pacifica provided native plants for the beach planting.  This year plants from those sources were not available.

The leader of the beach planting for all 11 years has been Mary Petrilli.  Through all these years, Mary's expertise  and experience in native plant botany and ecology has been brought to bear on this project. Mary has been very careful to use only native plants that are suited to Pacifica State Beach.  This year, Mary selected native dune grass from areas on the beach where the dune grass had become very thick.  By doing this Mary was able to locate 300 dune grass plants which volunteers removed from the areas where dune grass was thriving and installed it on bare areas of sand. The same strategy was applied to  native beach strawberry.

Additionally, volunteers removed non native ice plant, an exotic pest plant which blankets some of the beach areas creating a monoculture which prevents native plants from growing. A second exotic pest plant which volunteers removed was Caltrans buckwheat.  This non native pest plant is now growing and proliferating on many areas on the beach. Some of the Caltrans buckwheat is growing right next to the highway.  This growth should be removed by the city because seeds from these plants blow onto the beach and grow new bushes.  This is a serious problem which needs abatement as soon as possible.  The invasive, yellow flowered oxalis is also active on the beach at this time.  Some of the oxalis was removed.

I wish to give special thanks to Mr. Ray Biagini, who provided shovels, bags and a table for our project. Thanks also to Debbie Gehret and Lizzie Claycomb who also provided guidance and encouragment.

I hope you will have an opportunity soon to survey the work that has been done by Pacifica's Environmental Family.  In 11 years, close to 15,000 native plants have been installed on Pacifica State Beach.  These plants beautify and stabilize the beach and provide areas that are hospitable to shore birds and fauna and other native plants. The value of these contributions is probably at least $100,000. The good will that the volunteers have created is priceless.

    Pacifica Riptide by publicizing the beach planting was an important partner in the beach planting.
    Thank you very much for your help.

In addition to this annual planting, Pacifica's Environmental Family also conducts a monthly beach restoration.


Clark Natwick

Persistence & Integrity: Pete Douglas Tribute


Persistence and musical integrity:  A Tribute to Prentice “Pete” Douglas, founder of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society

A tribute dinner to Pete Douglas, founder of the Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society, was held on February 16 at the Domenico Winery in San Carlos to acknowledge his contributions to the Bay Area music scene. Creating a venue and sharing a “true musical experience” between musicians and audiences has been his lifetime achievement.  Organized by Bay Area vocalist, Margie Baker, the “Party for Pete” recognized his uncompromising integrity to “the music” and thanked him for keeping the Douglas Beach House doors open for the past 50 years.

Jesse “Chuy” Varela and Jayne Sanchez of KCSM acted as Masters of Ceremony. Scheduled speakers included Sonny Buxton of KCSM; Tim Jackson of the Kuumbwa Jazz and Monterey Jazz Festival; Benny Barth, drummer and longtime friend; Linda Goetz of the Bach Society, as well as representatives of San Mateo County and Half Moon Bay. Musical tributes were performed by Tim Jackson; Susan Muscarella, Berkeley Jazz School; drummers Eddie Marshall and Benny Barth; Ken Plourde, bass; vocalists Nate Pruitt and Laurie Antonioli; Michael O’Neill, sax; and Al Molino, trumpet. For more information email: or call Margie Baker at 650 755-2115.

Pete Douglas been “choreographing” his music scene since 1958 when he bought a cottage beer joint on the beach in Half Moon Bay on the San Francisco Peninsula.  The jam sessions began immediately and became gigs in the living room when he built his home above the cottage in the 60s. The non-profit Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society evolved and Pete committed to the music by building the concert room in the 70s. The  Douglas Beach House on Miramar Beach is an unpretentious beach house attracting some of the biggest names in jazz. The current concert room commands a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean, coastline and Pillar Point Harbor, creating one of the most unique settings for the enjoyment of music :magic. "The molecules are just arranged right," said one musician.

The list of prominent jazz musicians who have played is a history book of Who's Who.  Just a few:  Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Etta James, Merl Saunders, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Charlie Byrd, Joe Pass, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Dexter Gordon, Jimmy Heath, Art Pepper, Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims, Freddie Hubbard, Slide Hampton, Paul Horn, Bobby Hutcherson, Buddy Montgomery, Charles Brown, Helen Humes, Anita O'Day, Airto Moreira, Tito Puente, Poncho Sanchez, Kenny Barron, Ravi Shankar, Mariano Codoba, Strunz & Farrah -- get the idea or should we go on  . . . Les McCann, Dave Frishberg, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Hal Galper, Cedar Walton, Ray Brown, Larry Coryell, Hiromi, Michael Wolff.  “It is my favorite venue in the world. Including Ronnie Scott's.  No better vibes anywhere.” (Vocalist, Jackie Ryan)  “There’s a real magic that the musicians cannot help but be caught up in, partly because of the natural surroundings, partly because of the friendly atmosphere.” (Richard Young, chamber violinist) 

Pete muses that perhaps presenting “live music is an addiction” . . . waiting for that next heart-thumping “hit” of musical perfection  “I set it up, then let the scene manifest itself, always hoping for one more magical moment.”  He admits his real satisfaction comes from watching the audience “get off”. It happens often at his House. All the elements come together and reach a certain peak between turned-on musicians and semi-stunned audiences. “I knew that I  was missing what jazz was meant to be -- an experience rather than a performance . . . now I am hooked.”  (Bach attendee)   Getting "hooked" has been happening for 50 years at the Beach House - and that's a tribute. 

The Bach Society has been in continuous operation for 44 years, but the first musicians starting showing up at the Douglas Beach House as soon as Pete put up a flagpole and a funky sign.  “I survived the beat hipsters of the 50’s, the freaks of the 60’s, the stoners of the 70’s, the yuppies of the 80’s, and the dot comers of the 90’s.”  But Douglas has more than survived. He has made an incomparable contribution to the world of music by preserving intimate music presentation in a natural casual atmosphere, with a small audience and artistic license for the performer.  “It's nice when we can play the more intimate venues and the crowd gets to interact with the band.  Many of the band members thought it was the best gig on the tour.”( Albert Sun, Manager, Mingus Big Band) 

Through foresight and persistence to the point of obstinacy Pete has entrenched himself in his own corner of the music world. As he tells it, “when you are an individual outside of the mainstream, you pay the price.”   The musicians make the music, but Pete Douglas makes the music possible.  He is the ultimate patron of the arts having survived various hurdles to maintain his vision of a music medium where the audience frequently interacts with the performers, where you can hear the natural, non-amplified resonance of the instruments and voices, and you are so close that you can hear the musician draw a breath and the crinkle of paper as they turn the sheet music.  Children and families are a frequent sight at performances and their attendance is encouraged by Pete.

The Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society is a true “non-profit” organization, making just enough money to sustain the program and facility,  often  subsidizing one performance through another.  The ticket prices have always been low for the caliber of performance and the level of talent.  As a benefactor to music in general, Pete has been generous to the point of pain, subsidizing young artists, giving free tickets to music students and donating the use of the facility to fundraising efforts that benefit music and dance students.  At age 79, he is a living legend as a music presenter, being a benefactor to  contemporary jazz in a way that the Medicis were to Renaissance Art. 

Born February 2, 1929 in Waukegan, Illinois, Prentice “Pete” Douglas relocated to Inglewood, California in 1938.  Graduating from Inglewood High School in 1947, he served overseas during the Korean Conflict in 1950,  then attended UC Santa Barbara completing a degree in Sociology.  He married and started a family in 1958 and eventually moved his family into a run-down café on commercial property on the San Mateo Coast that was to become the Douglas Beach House.  Pete followed a variety of career directions including the San Mateo County Probation Dept., San Francisco Welfare Department, mortgage broker, real estate sales and appraisal.  None of it suited him. He owned beachfront property however, and found out that if you “build it, they will come.”

The jam sessions began immediately in the café.  Musicians and friends, and friends of musicians, and friends of friends all descended time after time on the tiny cottage for weekend music making that went well into  the night.   In the finest tradition of a jazz roadhouse where people congregated for the purpose of making music, being with other music lovers and partying in general, the cottage became the center of a Bohemian like counterculture devoted to music aficionados and jazz in particular.  The combination of the coastal setting, friends, music, wind, waves breaking on the shore,  and outrageous parties that would have made Dionysus blush, attracted a following and the outdoor concerts began by popular demand.

The outdoor concerts attracted the ire of San Mateo County officials less than content to deal with the issues associated with a large number of people congregated for any reason on the rural beach front.  When the outdoor concerts were ultimately shut down, plans were drawn for the concert room addition that was completed in the early 70s, and Sunday afternoon concerts have continued ever since in the tradition of the first 1950’s jam session at the Beach House. 

(Written by Tony Pera and Linda Goetz, Board of Directors)

Bach archive photos




Development Process: What It Takes

Development Outline

1.    Purchase land.

2.    Issue RFPs for consultants (urban planning, architecture, civil and other engineering as required).

3.    Meet with approving regulatory agencies to discuss any concerns related to the selected site, review concerns with selected design team(s). Incorporate into the design plan.

4.    Develop plan for the site.  Phasing is determined at this point.

5.    Prepare and submit for approval EIRs, traffic, biological, archaelogical, or other required studies of the site.

6.    Prepare for approval any traffic mitigation measures as needed or required.

7.    Submit plan (including all required studies) to local jurisdiction for approval.

8.    Upon local jurisdiction approval, submit plan and required studies for outside agency approval where appropriate (Coastal Commission, Fish & Wildlife, Caltrans, etc.).

9.    Once all approvals and permits are in place, then construction begins.

(courtesy of Cynthia Montanez)

Mori Point Bustles with Activity: Join the Fun

Hi friends of Mori Point,

Though the heavy machinery work has been completed at Mori Point for a few months now, the park is still bustling with activity. The Site Stewardship Program has been hard at work harnessing the skills and energy of hundreds of volunteers to help restore the landscape. And the Site Stewardship Program is working to restore the areas around our new ponds by planting wetland species along the banks with help from the following groups: Oceana High School, Saint Ignatius College Preparatory School, Inspiring Young Emerging Leaders, Teens on Trails, Downtown High School, City College of San Francisco, Nueva School, Ben Wilson Center, Stanbridge Academy, Westborough Middle School, GGNRA Big Year volunteers, the SF Zoo Crew,  and the Animal Resource Center interns.


All these busy hands have successfully planted the nearly 900 blue rushes that were salvaged during construction and are still working toward putting a few more thousand nursery-raised plants into the ground. So far, we’ve planted over 2,200 plants (including 3 species of rushes, spikerushes, and wetland groundcover plants like potentilla). The next round of planting will include upland species such as blackberry, bee plant, and coyote brush. There’s plenty more work to be done and if you’d like to help, get more details at PARK STEWARDS. (And to find out more about local Pacifica events, stay tuned right here to PACIFICA RIPTIDE.)


Recent rains were the first real test for our new ponds and trail-side drainages —and they passed with flying colors! Each pond quickly filled, leaving beautiful ponds varying in depth from four to six feet. Also, the drainage swale created beside Old Mori Road successfully channeled rain water away from the trail and adjacent homes toward the ponds. 


Many of the newly planted rushes bordering the northern and middle ponds are now partly under water – which is a good thing as far as the frogs are concerned! Many of these underwater plants are already supporting chorus frog eggs, which will turn into tadpoles—one of the San Francisco garter snakes preferred food sources. We’ve also begun monitoring the new ponds for red-legged frog eggs and hope to see quite a few egg masses as the season progresses. Other regular pond visitors have included a bufflehead duck, an American coot, black phoebes, and several hawks.  We anticipate visits from even more wildlife as the pond-side plants continue filling in.


Check out the above photos from recent work days to see all the fun. All the trails are open, so I encourage you to stop by and see the sights yourself! Please feel free to contact me with any questions!

Susie Bennett
Project Implementation and Monitoring Coordinator
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
cell: 415-683-8459


Deer Whistles Save Lives (Yours and Theirs)

I highly recommend installing deer whistles on your front bumper. These gizmos (available for about seven bucks—pardon the expression—at many auto parts stores) get a deer's attention on a frequency inaudible to the human ear. After accidentally hitting and killing a deer several years ago on Highway 101 near Garberville (never mind $5,000 damage to my front end and a long ride on a tow truck), I installed deer whistles and haven't had even a close call since then. But I have seen  deer grazing by the roadside look up at my approach and run off into the woods. Deer whistles work.


Pacifica Motorist Grieves Death of Deer She Hit

I just read your bit about the deer being killed on Fassler and I wanted to respond.  I was the driver of the vehicle that collided with the deer at 7:30 AM Saturday, January 19, 2008.  I am one of the few drivers that does the speed limit on Fassler, much to the dismay of many drivers behind me.  I was going slowly enough that Saturday morning that my car did not leave any skid marks on dry pavement.  I ride a bike to do most of my errands in town and many near misses with drivers whose attention is not on the road have helped me be much more aware when I am behind the wheel.  I could not control where and when that deer was going to cross Fassler and I was extremely upset that I had anything to do with the death of such a magnificent being.  Just ask the poor cop who thought he was going to need to restrain me.  I do not even kill tics taken from my dog -- I just put them back outside and wish them well.  Thanks for taking the time to read this; it feels right to fill in a few blanks. Take care and have a fun day,