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September 2009

Opinion: Support Your Local City Attorney


I think it short-sighted and irresponsible to look for the type of contracted CAS attorney that City Council member Jim Vreeland is pursuing. This is merely pandering to a radical minority of residents who have shown hostility not only toward city staff and council members but to residents, in my humble opinion.

Current City Attorney Cecilia Quick has served our community well and is due recognition, especially from Vreeland, who has been the beneficiary by osmosis on several issues that the city and he as an individual have been sued for by litigious plaintiffs, who ultimately did not prevail. These victories are a testament to Quick's dedication to our community, and her strategic thinking when facing outrageous, unwarranted litigation.

Outside CAS counsel would disconnect attorney services from the community, making it much more political, and it brings up the specter of a conflict of interest for the chosen firm, or in the worst-case scenario, the chosen firm with a hidden political agenda that comes to light too late for the city to recover from it.

I hope City Council doesn't chose to follow Vreeland off a cliff on this issue. If he continues to want to jump, let him do it alone. Whether Quick remains in her position or moves on, we need an in-house city attorney who lives here among us every day as part of our community.

Tick Talk: Lyme Disease Debate


After getting a tick bite while hiking recently at San Pedro Valley Park in Linda Mar, I felt some mild symptoms (stiff neck, achy muscles) I took to be Lyme disease. But my doctor assured me I was okay (my neck was not so stiff I couldn't touch my chin to my chest, bright lights didn't bother my eyes, and lab tests showed my blood was clear of any bacteria). Also, my doc said the deer around Pacifica and the northern Peninsula do not host the kinds of ticks that carry Lyme disease; only one type of tick in California does, and it lives down south in the Santa Cruz Mountains. So meanwhile, my symptoms seem to have subsided somewhat. I'm not really sure what the heck I had, maybe a touch of "whine flu." By the way, if you get a tick bite, pull the tick straight out with tweezers, dispose of it, then wash and disinfect the wound and your hands. (But if you are bitten while hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains, you might want to save the tick in a jar in case you develop symptoms and need to have the tick tested.)


*Name changed to protect the indolent.

Addendum from Avril Hughes:

Please read this page very carefully and then get back to your doctor for testing, armed with this information (print it out and make sure he tests you accordingly). It would be far better for you to immediately go on antibiotics and then not be diagnosed with Lyme disease, rather than wait to be tested and then start antibiotics, if it's positive. With Lyme, time is of the essence.

Addendum from Matt Levie: According to the San Mateo County Vector Control District, Lyme disease in the area is transmitted not by deer ticks but by the Western Black-Legged Tick. This tick is in fact found throughout San Mateo County but is much less likely to carry Lyme disease than the deer tick that transmits the disease in the East and Midwest. Only 3 percent of these ticks carry the bacterium (compared to maybe a quarter of deer ticks), and they generally have to be on you for at least 48 hours to transmit it. So it can't hurt to be careful, but it's not as much of a risk as it is elsewhere in the country. For details:

Pacifica Beach Coalition: Secret Waterfall Cleanup

Cliff hike

On September 5, a dozen intrepid Pacifica Beach Coalition members (above and below) braved the steep cliffs down to northern Pacifica's "secret waterfall" site, where Ian Butler gave them a tour of the area. After the tour, they stuck around to pick up litter and pull invasive ice plant that was choking out the native reeds. It was a beautiful day enjoyed by all, especially the creek, which was happy to get some love!

Waterfall cleanup

SamTrans Service Cuts: DX Express Bus Hit


SamTrans staff has prepared a revised bus service proposal that eliminates most express service to San Francisco and preserves essential service for riders who have no other alternative. The Board of Directors accepted most of the proposal at its Sept. 9 board meeting. The changes, the most drastic in the agency’s 33-year history, come as the Transit District is facing a $28.4 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year, which began on July 1. Proposals for service reductions of up to 15 percent and a fare increase were presented to the public at four community meetings and a public hearing. The revised proposal will reduce service about 7.5 percent and result in cost savings of more than $6.3 million annually. The service reductions will result in layoffs of operations and administrative personnel. Less than 3 percent of current SamTrans weekday riders will be impacted by the changes. An estimated $1 million would be generated by the fare increase proposal. More than 800 people submitted comments, either at the meetings, by telephone, in letters or by e-mail. The comments also included three petitions. The comments from the public influenced the decision to base the proposal on a key principle from the Transit District’s Strategic Plan: “Sustain basic mobility service for transit-dependent and low-income persons.”  
“We have a responsibility to those for whom we are their only means of mobility— people who depend on us to get them to their jobs, to school, to the doctor’s office and to the grocery store,” said Deputy CEO Chuck Harvey. The service proposal does not anticipate any changes to the District’s Redi-Wheels service. Many comments expressing support for express service to San Francisco were received. But these routes provide service that, while not as direct, is duplicated by Caltrain or BART. Route CX, which connects Pacifica with the Colma BART Station, will be retained and renamed Route 118, but Route DX between Pacifica and San Francisco will be eliminated. The service changes will be effective Dec. 20.
Another local change is on Route 14 (Linda Mar, Oddstad Park, Casa Pacific): Operate service in clockwise direction only before 7 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

Bus Fare Increase – effective February 1, 2010

o       25 cent increase to adult local cash fare
      50 cent increase to adult fare – out of SF and express
      25 cent increase to youth cash fare
      Corresponding increases to passes and eligible discount fares

  • Paratransit Fare Increase

o       50 cent increase effective July 1, 2010
o       25 cent increase effective July 1, 2011

  • Agency-sponsored Paratransit Fare Increase

o       20 percent increase effective July 1, 2010

  • Eliminate 15 percent discount on SamTrans Monthly Pass with purchase of Muni sticker

GGNRA's Mori Point Project Not City Funded


Some Riptiders persist in the myth that Pacifica city money was used for the Mori Point project. A snide remark here, a faint suggestion there, and soon you have a campaign issue. Here is the breakdown on what the project cost, where the money came from, and who worked on it. Congress member Jackie Speier's office requested this information from the staff of the Golden Gate Recreation Area.

The contact person for this information is Christine Powell, Public Affairs Specialist, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, National Park Service, office 415-561-4732, fax 415-561-4353, cell 415-559-8596.

The project is funded from several sources (no City of Pacifica funds were used): ARRA funds, private donors, foundations, corporations. The breakdown between the ARRA funds and the remaining funds in the project is noted below. The total cost of the project is $2.1M, with $780 K coming from ARRA funds.

ARRA Only: $780K Funding
5 BioMonitors
2 Public Information Contact Staff
2 Project Managers
14 Contractors: Water Quality Monitoring, Biologist, Invasive Plant Control
23 Total Jobs

Total Mori Point Project: $2.1 million
5 BioMonitors
2 Public Information Contact Staff
2 Project Managers
7 Construction Crew
17 Contractors: Water Quality Monitoring, Biologist, Invasive Plant Control, Construction
10 Youth Interns
2 Conservation Corps of the North Bay Supervisors
13 San Francisco Conservation Corps
58 Total Jobs

Planning Commission Debates Future of Sharp Park Golf Course and Its Wildlife

Pacifica Planning Commission debated the future of Sharp Park Golf Course on September 8, and we await the results of the meeting. Conservationists, as reported in Jake Sigg's most-recent Nature News, say that the course harms North America's most beautiful serpent and Mark Twain's frog: "It's time to restore the natural ecosystems of Sharp Park and increase recreational opportunities, preserve endangered species, make our coast more resilient to climate change, and work for a more humble and hopeful future for this public land." Golfers and their supporters want to keep the course as is, while other Pacificans favor a mixed-use compromise that would preserve the course and the natural habitat.


Exclusive: S.F. Says Sharp Park Golf Course Landmarking "Inappropriate and Unnecessary"

Letter from Philip A. Ginsburg, General Manager, City and County of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, to Pacifica Mayor Julie Lancelle and Planning Director Michael Crabtree.
Re: Proposed Designation of Sharp Park Golf Course as a Pacifica City Historic Landmark
Dear Mayor Lancelle and Director Crabtree: I am writing in regard to the City of Pacifica's application to designate the Sharp Park Golf Course a Historic Landmark under Pacifica Municipal Code, Chapter 7. We think this action is both inappropriate and unnecessary. ...
Click link to view a PDF of the entire letter:
Download 20090904115106902

Julie Weismann: Infinity Art Gallery Online



Former Pacifican and City Council candidate Julie Weismann, who moved to Portland, Oregon a few years ago, has been a busy hummingbird in her new home. Julie has created an online gallery space at INFINITY ART GALLERY. The shows are juried and curated internationally using the Web. They are as interesting and diverse as your ability to absorb them. It shows a healthy, vibrant international collection of styles, mediums, and concepts, not limited by borders, politics, or logistical costs of gathering so much work in one spot. The tactile element is missing, not being in the same physical space with the art, but the quality, quantity, and diversity of the shows more than make up for it. Julie has put together something very cool and I wouldn't be surprised if mainstream media take notice. Make sure to click the About Us link. The site's biography is informative and well written. It's nice to see a creative, professional gallery site take itself and its artists, collectors, and visitors seriously, treating them all with gratitude and respect.