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July 2009

Council Rejects Flavia Maucci Compromise

City Council on July 27 decided this issue in favor of the Houmams. Here is the text of Flavia Maucci's compromise offer leading up to the council meeting:

This letter is regarding the City Council meeting on July 13, 2009. I would like to publicly thank the Pacifica City Council members for granting a continuation of the hearing to July 27 for the proposed development at 2270 Palmetto. This was not a simple decision and the Council had to endure harsh criticism and abuse for it. This issue is very important for our community; the fact that Mrs. Digre was absent was detrimental to all of us. We want to hear everybody’s opinion. I would like to reiterate publicly that I, Flavia Maucci, am asking for negotiation and compromise between the developer and me. I am a good neighbor and believe that a reasonable compromise can be good for this project and future commercial mixed-use projects on Palmetto. If the building cannot be rotated, just give my home two additional feet for light and air so we would not suffocate. Also, make the windows on the north wall opaque glass for privacy. Stop intentionally blocking my backyard gate to the beach down Birch Lane and take out the big trees proposed in the back that will block sunlight to my rear garden. In return, if these improvements are approved, I will not appeal the project to the California Coastal Commission, which could tie the project up for many months or even years. In addition, I will encourage my supporters to end their opposition to the project. I am NOT against the development. I am only asking for both parties to reasonably negotiate and compromise. Thank you.

Flavia Maucci
2260 Palmetto Avenue, Pacifica        


Wanderlust: A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway

Built in 1913 as the fastest, smoothest path from one coast of the United States to the other, Lincoln Highway is the star of this Rick Sebak-hosted documentary. As Sebak travels the highway between New York and San Francisco, he discovers much about America through conversations with historians, travelers, motel operators, restaurateurs and others in spots ranging from a Mexican restaurant in Rahway, N.J., to a cornfield near Scranton, Iowa. (Netflix has this on DVD and instant streaming.)

Health Care Reform to Heal Our Sick Economy


Riptide urges you to contact your elected representatives in Washington (Barack Obama, Jackie Speier, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein) and tell them we need health care reform for the sake of our ailing economy. Nothing hammers a personal budget like health care expenses (insurance premiums, medical co-pays, pharmacy drugs, etc.). If we can afford to wage two wars abroad, we should be able to provide universal health care for our own citizens.



Tale of 2 Cities: Future of Sharp Park Golf Course



Jack Waldbewohner posted his MySpace video of the mayor speaking in favor of the golf course. Click the link above.


"The proponents of retaining Sharp Park as a golf course cannot base their case on the popularity of golf, as the sport is declining rapidly across the nation. Nor can they tout the financial benefit of golf, as Sharp Park loses money every year. So they have instead turned to sophistry, claiming the site should be landmarked because Alister MacKenzie designed it." (Restore Sharp Park)

City Council and the Planning Commission have been grappling with the thorny issue of what to do with Sharp Park Golf Course, whose fate ultimately lies in the hands of its owner, the City and County of San Francisco. Scroll down to Comments to follow the discussion on Riptide.

Andrew Leone & Nancy Hall: Art & Music Together


Dear Friends: In case you did not know, my husband and official artist for The Curios, Andrew Leone (we do all the posters together and he did my last CD cover and is doing the one for our upcoming CD Pillow Book—out very soon!), is a featured artist in the 50/50 Show, 50 artists doing 50 artworks each in 50 days—one piece per day, with the whole thing culminating in a big show at Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica through August. What does this have to do with The Curios? Well, besides Andrew being an honorary Curio himself, he and I are collaborating on a limited edition of handmade books with 50 poems and lyrics by me, along with prints of his 50/50 pieces—beautiful woodcuts. You can see  his progress on this lovely blog he put together. Enjoy!! xoxo, nancy hall


Hill Kills Drill Bill: Solons Terminate Gov's Oil Ploy

 Protection of our California coast is of critical importance to our environment and our economy.  I am vehemently opposed to the governor’s proposal that would enable oil drilling in the “Tranquillion Ridge Project.”  This short-sighted endeavor would permit drilling for the first time in 40 years in state-controlled waters off the Santa Barbara coast.

Earlier this week I signed my name to a letter urging the governor to remove this provision from his budget proposal.  The governor’s offshore oil drilling plan does not solve this year’s budget problems.  It would raise only a fraction of the revenue that would be realized if California were to institute an oil severance tax similar to that in place in every other oil producing state in the nation.  

I am pleased to announce that my colleagues and I defeated this proposal in the Assembly today.  

I appreciate you contacting me regarding issues of concern to you.  If you have any questions about this or any other state issue, please feel free to contact me at (650) 349-1900 or visit <> .



Assemblymember, 19th District

Squadron Bottle Update: How to Participate

As I reported here last week, the Squadron Bottle has been reinstated at the Top of the Mark bar at the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco. During World War II, servicemen would purchase a bottle of liquor from the bartender, sign it, and leave it behind with instructions that a shot be served free of charge to an active-duty member of the armed services. Local legend said that having a drink from the Top of the Mark while gazing at the Golden Gate Bridge would bring good luck for a safe return home to a deploying military service member. To this day, service members still come in and ask for their free drink, but about 12 years ago, the last Squadron Bottle was finished and not replaced. The tradition has been dormant ever since. Recently, that changed when LT Mike Hall of Pacifica purchased a bottle of Wild Turkey from the manager of the Top of the Mark and left it, along with a leather-bound logbook, with the bartender. His message in the logbook offers good wishes and a free drink from "his" bottle to the next few service members who come into the bar looking for the Squadron Bottle.

Anyone is welcome to purchase a Squadron Bottle for our heroes in uniform. Here's how it works. This must be arranged through the manager of the Top of the Mark at 415-616-6916. He will select a new bottle from the bar's reserve and quote you a price. You may purchase it, sign the logbook, so a free shot can be served to an active-duty service member. It's important to understand that this is exactly like buying a round of 10 to 15 drinks for your friends at the retail serving price, with tax and tip. Figure about $200 per bottle. Not much, when compared to the cost of freedom.


Oakland Puffs the Magic Dragon, Passes Pot Tax

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer

OAKLAND, Calif. – Oakland residents overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to approve a first-of-its-kind tax on medical marijuana sold at the city's four cannabis dispensaries. Preliminary election results showed the measure passing with 80 percent of the vote, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters. The dispensary tax was one of four measures in a vote-by-mail special election aimed at raising money for the cash-strapped city. All four measures won, but Measure F had the highest level of support. Scheduled to take effect on New Year's Day, the measure created a special business tax rate for the pot clubs, which now pay the same $1.20 for every $1,000 in gross sales applied to all retail businesses. The new rate will be $18. Oakland's auditor estimates that based on annual sales of $17.5 million for the four clubs, it will generate an estimated $294,000 for city coffers in its first year. Pot club owners, who openly sell pot over the counter under the 1996 state ballot measure that legalized medical marijuana use in California, proposed Measure F as a way to further legitimize their establishments. "It's good business and good for the community," said Richard Lee, who owns the Coffee Shop SR-71 dispensary and Oaksterdam University, a trade school for budding dispensary workers. The measure had no formal opposition; in November 2004, a ballot initiative that required Oakland police to make arresting adults using marijuana for personal use their lowest priority passed with 63 percent of the vote. Support for Measure F was expected to be just as strong. As a result and given the mail-in nature of the election, there was little campaign activity, according to Lee."We put out signs, but outside of that it's been pretty low-key," said Lee, who hosted a victory party at Oaksterdam University's Student Union building in downtown Oakland. Although California's 800 or so pot clubs also are expected to pay state sales tax, Oakland is the first city in the country to create a special tax on marijuana sales. Advocates of legalizing pot for recreational use hope to use Oakland's experience with Measure F to persuade California voters next year to approve a measure that would legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol.

California Cities May Sue State to Block Tax Grab

Pacifica anticipates handing over about $1.9 million in property and gas taxes, City Manager Stephen Rhodes said. Half Moon Bay, meanwhile, expects the state to grab about a quarter-million dollars in property tax revenues, City Manager Mike Dolder said. The California Redevelopment Association and the League of California Cities are expected to take action against the budget deal. Some governments, such as Los Angeles County, already have discussed suing state lawmakers to prevent the raid on local revenues.

Aurora Surprise, Solar Eclipse Photos


AURORA SURPRISE: July 21 and 22, a solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field and surprised observers with an unexpected display of auroras. Northern Lights swept across parts of Canada and descended as far south as the Dakotas, Montana, Iowa, and Wisconsin in the United States. Did you sleep through the show? Next time get a wake up call from Space Weather.

SOLAR ECLIPSE GALLERY:  The longest solar eclipse of the 21st century is over and millions of people witnessed the event. Highlights may be found in our eclipse gallery.


USS Stennis: Family-Friendly, Green, Very Large

Helo landing




In July 2009, the crew of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis completed a six-month deployment to ports of partner nations in the western Pacific Ocean. Family members were invited to board the ship and sail from Bremerton, Washington, to San Diego for the final leg of the deployment. The visitors were hosted with demonstrations and displays, as well as a traditional Steel Beach Picnic on the flight deck. But the ordnance (explosives) drills were canceled due to nearby whale and porpoise activity.

The Stennis is a nuclear-powered supercarrier and wonder of the technological world. It measures as long as the Empire State Building is tall and weighs nearly 100,000 tons. The ship serves as a floating military airport city and is staffed by a crew of 5,617 sailors, marines, and officers. The vessel is also energy self-sufficient, with power generated by two nuclear reactors. The output powers the ship, fires the aircraft catapults, provides enough refrigeration to air-condition 950 civilian homes, and distills sea water into 400,000 gallons of pure drinking water daily. Trash in all areas of the ship is sorted according to paper, metal, and plastic. When the ship is under way (at sea), paper is incinerated and nontoxic biodegradables are disposed of over the side. Plastics are melted into bricks, held aboard, and transferred to a scavenger company in port. There are only 11 of these behemoth-size carriers in the world. No other nation on earth owns anything equal to a U.S. Nimitz Class carrier.



60s Flashback: OC Judge Bans State Beach Nudity

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO -- Keep that towel handy. California parks officials can enforce a ban on nudity at any state beach, even in areas that have been informally designated as "clothing optional," a state appeals court says. The new policy will take effect immediately, although officers will decide whether to warn, cite or arrest violators, said Roy Stearns, spokesman for the state Parks and Recreation Department. "I'm pretty sure that we will try to tread lightly to get compliance at first," he said Monday, three days after the appellate court in Santa Ana published its ruling as a statewide precedent. "We're not in the business of hassling people. ... Officer discretion will play a role." Still, he noted, the ruling overturned a 30-year-old policy that had allowed sunbathers and swimmers to bask unclothed in isolated sections of state beaches from San Diego to Eureka. Park rangers intervened only if someone complained, and then would merely tell the nudist to don a swimsuit or leave. The ruling doesn't apply to federal parkland such as the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which includes San Francisco's North Baker Beach and several other Bay Area sites frequented by the unclad, or private land such as a portion of Muir Beach in Marin County. The National Park Service does not prohibit nudity on its land, said Chris Powell, spokeswoman for the national recreation area. But some popular clothing-optional state beaches, such as Gray Whale Cove south of Pacifica and Red Rock Beach in Mount Tamalpais State Park, will be affected. Lawyers for the Naturist Action Committee, which sued unsuccessfully to preserve a clothing-optional zone at San Onofre State Beach in Orange County, said they would appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court and lobby the Parks and Recreation Department to exercise its long-unused authority to designate areas where nudism is allowed. CLICK HERE FOR FULL ARTICLE

Jupiter's New Dark "Scar"


JUPITER IMPACT? On July 19, a veteran observer of Jupiter in Australia photographed a fresh dark "scar" in Jupiter's cloudtops; the feature resembles the Shoemaker-Levy 9 impacts of 1994. It is possible that Jupiter has been struck anew by an asteroid or comet. Astrophotographers around the world should train their optics on Jupiter to confirm the event and monitor its progress. Visit SPACE WEATHER for photos and updates.