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May 2010

Seniors to Pay 20% to 120% More Under Recology: Does the Garbage Contract Contradict Itself?


In a Riptide article posted May 27, I questioned the legality of the proposed Recology rate increase for senior citizens scheduled for August 1, based on the wording of the section entitled "Rates For Service." It turns out that in another section of the contract, the city has agreed to allow Recology to "replace" the senior rate. Under the section "Customer Services," rate changes are discussed:

"A new lifeline rate for low income (PG&E lifeline account will be used for eligibility). (sic) The lifeline rate and the 20-gallon container rate will replace the senior discount. All customers interested in the lowest rate for regular service can subscribe to the 20-gallon container regardless of age or income." (sic)
But the "Rates For Service" section reads: "The rates for service, with the approval of this assignment, will remain unchanged through July 31, 2010 (italics mine). On August 1, 2010, with the implementation of new services and containers, the rates will increase by 5% (this reflects the increase in disposal fees on July 1, 2010 and adjustments in CPI (Consumer Price Index) over the past three years when there was no rate increase." (sic)
Since the senior rate has been a regular part of a rate structure and is still being paid by customers, these sections seem to contradict each other. Given the language of the "Rates For Services" section, how can senior rate increases of 20 to 120 percent be justified? The least the City Council could do is clearly organize and carefully word a contract with such major rate increases.
Jacking Up the Senior Rate
In the new contract there is a complete avoidance of the financial implications to seniors of the jacking up of their rate. The senior (over 65) rate is currently $14.43 per month for a 32-gallon can. But under the new Recology regime, the rate for all ratepayers for a 32-gallon can rises to $31.70 per month, irrespective of one's age and financial condition. That's almost a 120 percent increase from the $14.43 per month now paid by senior citizens. To see how much less people pay for garbage collection from the same company south of Devil’s Slide, read GARBAGE RATES.
Under the new contract, there is a "Life Line Program" with a discount for low-income households. It applies only to a 20-gallon can and is $17.20 per month. That’s a monthly rate hike of almost 20 percent, from $14.43 to $17.20. Households of one or two people would have to prove a total yearly income from all sources of less than $30,500 to qualify. So the poorest among us will get a percentage rate hike four times that of regular ratepayers.
If you are unfortunate enough to make a dollar over that $30,500 figure, you will pay the new regular rate for a 20-gallon can of $20.24 per month. That’s a 40 percent rate hike, or eight times the percentage increase of regular ratepayers. The senior rate has indeed been replaced, and the more financial pressure you may be under, the worse it looks going forward from here.
Recology of the Coast General Manager Chris Porter did not respond to an email request for comment on removal of the senior citizen rate.

Florey's Stocks Schools' Required-Reading Books

We have Pacifica schools' summer required-reading books in stock. We also have plenty of other great books to read this summer. Stop by, email, or call. Qe can put a copy aside for you to pick up at your convenience. Thank you, and have a good summer! (Florey's Book Co., 2120 Palmetto Avenue (across the street from Sharp Park Library), Pacifica, 650-355-8811, EMAIL FLOREY'S

Kateri Tekakwitha Fund: Most Valuable Angel Kathy Green; Call for New Board Members

Award Winners 2010

At its annual retreat May 15-16, Kateri Tekakwitha Fund gave its first annual Most Valuable Angel award to Kathy Green, member of the Board of Directors in charge of development.  Kathy has worked untiringly over the year to raise funds to support Kateri Tekakwitha Fund’s work in Guatemala to provide scholarships for young indigenous women. The young women are able to better their lives through this education. It not only affects their lives but also the lives of the next generation when they marry and have their own children. The fund also provides services for older women involved in Mission: Guatemala whose crafts it has sold for more than 12 years, by facilitating needs assessments with groups and helping the women find ways to fill needs they identify. The fund also recognized Monica Olsen, a founding board member who is leaving the board this year. Monica has been a strong supporter of the scholarship program and will continue to serve on the fund’s scholarship committee, where her knowledge of the fund will be a great asset. The Board of Directors includes Pacificans Kay Sweeney and Kathy Green; Chris Galvez of San Francisco; Linda Wheeler of Portland, Oregon; and Kathy Bray of Fremont. Contact P.O. Box 906, Pacifica, or email or view

New Board Members Sought

Two Turtledoves and a ...

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"We came home from a long two-week trip several weeks ago to discover that two turtledoves had built a nest on top of our front porch light. Mom & Pop take turns sitting on the nest. We have stopped using the porch light to avoid poaching the eggs and have been watching all the activity. Found two eggshells on the front doormat about 10 days ago. Finally got a look in the nest last night when both parents were away." (Karen Brooks and Scott Anthony, Pacifica)

Cornell's Online Guide to Birds & Bird-Watching

Online guide to birds and bird-watching (Webby Award winner) created and maintained by Cornell University's Ornithology Lab: educates visitors about 585 bird species and behavior, with Nest Cams and a volunteer project where you sign up and participate in research simply by counting and tagging online bird images.

LifeLock CEO Publishes His SSN; ID Thieves Strike

From the Mobile, Alabama Press Register:

LifeLock CEO Todd Davis was so confident in his company's ability to protect people from identity theft, he plastered his own Social Security all over the companies ads. According to Wired [magazine], Davis' ads backfired and his identity has been stolen 13 times since June 2007, despite his claim that paying LifeLock $10 a month makes identity theft impossible. First, somebody used Davis' identity to get a $500 loan from a check-cashing company. Davis was duped 12 more times, with various thieves using the CEO's identity to rack up a $2,400 AT&T bill, receive a $573 bank loan, and to accrue several other small debts from utility and credit companies. In March, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fined LifeLock $12 million for deceptive advertising. "In truth, the protection they provided left such a large hole... that you could drive that truck through it," chairman Jon Leibowitz told Wired. (Posted By Social Security News)

POOCH Dog Daze a Huge Success

More than 1,000 Pacificans and their canine companions came to Frontierland Park on Saturday, May 1, for the second annual Dog Daze of Pacifica. This fido festival was hosted by P.O.O.C.H. (Pacifica Organization Of Canine Helpers) and cosponsored by Pacifica Parks, Beaches and Recreation. P.O.O.C.H. is a 501(c)3 non-profit grass roots organization trying to get the first dog park built in Pacifica What a great community day. Children rolled down the grassy knoll while the community built Friendship Playground sported giggles and yelps from more children. Close to a thousand dogs and their humans strolled around visiting over 30 booths at the perimeter of the grass. Dog Daze saw triple the booths and over double the attendees of last year's event.

The booths ranged from a pet psychic (Joy Mason), doggie bakery (Lucky Dog), and human food booths including Chit Chat Café and Gorilla Barbeque (who donated their profits from the day to POOCH). Some booths included nonprofit organizations — Rotary, PEO, and Native Sons of the Golden West. Other booths included unique dog collars (Artychokers), art work (Masterpiece Designs and Bee Art), face painting, dog boutiques (Annabees), dog paw prints in clay (Clay Creations — who also generously donated their proceeds to POOCH), skin care (Roadan and Fields Skin Care), holistic needs for dogs (Holismheals), Juno's Garden.

The Rex Center (have you seen the swimming pool for dogs?), Reliv, Coastside Critters, Dazzle Dog Training, Petco (and their spinning wheel of give-aways), Pet Uncle pet service, Recology of the Coast (our new refuse collectors) and many community organization booths participating in the day. A center ring constructed for the day held dog sport demonstrations all day. Starting the day was a herding demo by Marian Pott, Linda Rorem and Deb Lage. Ducks and Nigerian Pygmy goats participated with the herding dogs to show off various types of herding. Then agility demonstrations by Deb Lage and dogs Pirate and Cha Cha showed the growing crowd the sport of agility. Then the canines in the audience were invited in to try out some of the equipment. Janelle Crothers from Guide Dogs for the Blind had a booth and gave a talk in the center ring. Guide Dogs continue to look for puppy raisers, so if you are interested in raising a puppy for this noble cause, please contact the Guide Dogs for the Blind. The dog contest came next with cheers from the crowd. The judges included Susan Vellone, Chamber of Commerce president and owner of Visions Seaside Spa; John Maybury of our own Pacifica Riptide and columnist in the Tribune (see Wandering and Wondering); and Deb Lage, the agility expert; they had a hard time selecting No. 1 in all the categories.

The winners as well as every participant were awarded with prizes — donated primarily from Coastside Critters here in Pacifica. Winners of the contests included Best Howler Camie, with help from her owner Julie; Most Enthusiastic Kisser went to Nancy, with her young human Emiliano; Dog/Human Look Alike honors went to JoJo, with his young handler Abigail; Best Trick(s) were awarded to Border Collie Reef and his human Brandon; and, finally the Best Costume went to rodeo-adorned Lady and her human Marey. Next, the huge crowd began to cheer for the San Mateo County Sheriff's K-9 unit. They demonstrated blood- hound work and suspect apprehension to an appreciative crowd. Special thanks to Deputy Adam Johanson with "Jef", Deputy Keith James with "Hauss" and Deputy Matt Broad with "Morgan."

Lisa Rhodes from Shamrock Ranch (who also had a booth) brought in many of her students all wearing team shirts to demonstrate a great obedience presentation. The "students" were also adorned with Shamrock scarves, go team Shamrock! The Freestyle dance by Ruthanna Levy, her other students including Loring Slivinski of Pacifica Pet Hospital and Training demoed Canine Freestyle otherwise known as dog dancing. Dancing with the Stars couldn't hold a candle to this group. Several booths along our "Rescue Alley" included Peninsula Humane Society, Muttville, Greyhounds for Life, and Coppers Dream and they were able to find forever homes for several dogs during this event. Puppies and older dogs all received lots of community loving at Dog Daze.

POOCH communicated about the progress of the Dog Park (please visit the website at to learn what is the current status of the dog park and what needs to be done before May 25.) Much of the rest of our Pacifica community donated raffle prizes, and over 50 winners were announced by Mike Romano of Farmers Insurance. A silent auction including Giant baseball game tickets, also had many interested bidders. All the folks who donated at the entrance tables were thanked with goodie bags provided by Science Diet. Dog Daze was a fun-filled community gathering in an effort to raise funds for a community dog park. It was a very successful day, fun for everyone, peaceful with appreciation and respect for an outstanding venue. This is what a community coming together is all about. Thank you Pacifica for participating and thank you for bringing your canine companions! See you next year. If you would like information about how to get involved with POOCH, please visit our website at

 [from the Pacifica Tribune]

L.A. or Bust: Fly or Drive?

Personally, I prefer trains (AMTRAK via coast or valley), but if I had to choose between flying and driving, I high-five I-5 (please note that, not being one of those Angelenos, I don't say THE I-5, thank you very much). Thus I read with great interest a comparison of both travel modes in AAA's May/June 2010 issue of VIA MAGAZINE. The auto club printed letters from members about their favorite ways to go south: a business professor calculated the cost of flying ($154) versus driving ($251); other readers cited superior airline safety versus inferior airline food and service; one commenter said, "Perhaps we don't need to go at all"; and my favorite response—only $54 for the train, with a dining car, nice scenery, and no fighting traffic."

Spellcheckeritis: Fire the Proofreader!

Peter Loeb is on a roll. To wit:

1. The May 22 San Mateo County Times front-page lead headline reads "Once lagging state, county skirts ahead." I'm bothered by the word "skirts," which means to avoid or go around, as in "skirts the issue." They must have meant something like "scoots." (Editor's note: another fine example of spellcheckeritis!) But what makes this a classic is the super-head, printed in a sort of yellow-orange color and all caps: ENGLISH-LANGUAGE LEARNERS

2. Lee Hildebrand's article on Mose Allison in today's pink section [San Francisco Chronicle Datebook and SF GATE, May 23] describes Mose as a "vociferous reader of books." Does he read them aloud—and shout? Surely the writer meant "voracious" but was a victim of spellcheckeritis. And don't call him Shirley.

SamTrans Summer Youth Pass Goes on Sale


SamTrans Summer Youth Pass is now available. The pass gives kids unlimited rides on SamTrans from June 1 to August 31. As part of this year’s Summer Youth  Pass campaign “Just Go,” kids will receive a flashlight key ring (quantities limited).
At just $40, the three-month flash pass is only $4 more than one regular monthly Youth Pass. Order forms, how to ride info and a list of fun destinations are posted at The program also has a Facebook page (SamTrans Youth), which will be updated regularly with tips on fun places to go on SamTrans. The Summer Youth Pass is available to anyone 17 and younger at 70 SamTrans pass sales outlets throughout the county, including all Safeway stores. The passes also can be ordered by mail. For an order form or to find the location of a pass sales outlet, call SamTrans Customer Service at 1-800-660-4287 (TTY 650-508-6448).

Pacifica Resource Center Collects Toiletries

Pantry Flyer
PRC's Ann Cooney says response to the above flyer has been excellent, so please keep donating your travel-size toiletry items from hotels, etc. These items make a huge difference to families and individuals who visit the PRC pantry. Those who are homeless in our "bedroom community" particularly appreciate  hotel/travel soaps and shampoos. (The closest shower facilities are at Orange Park in South San Francisco. Vouchers for those showers are available from the St. Vincent de Paul shop on Grand Avenue in South San Francisco. Pacificans who use these services rely on the PRC pantry for their hygiene items, including toothbrushes, soap, and socks.) On a somewhat related topic, PRC is also beginning to formally integrate the pantry into City of Pacifica disaster preparedness planning by maintaining an inventory of critical supplies, including bottled water.

Mike Mooney Wins Recology/Tribune Contest; Prize Money Goes to Pacifica Resource Center


Recology of the Coast and the Pacifica Tribune recently cosponsored a contest for most creative reuse of old Coastside Scavenger recycling  bins, offering a $500 donation to a local charity of the winner's choice. Mike Mooney won for his idea: gopher-proof planter boxes (see Tribune photo above). Mike chose Pacifica Resource Center to receive the $500 prize. Recology encourages you to reuse old bins in your home and garden. If you have no use for old bins, return them to the recycling yard at 1046 Palmetto Avenue, Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you cannot take them, curbside pickup will be at the end of May on a date and time to be announced. UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, BINS WILL BE RECYCLED. For questions about new garbage, recycling, and composting services, call 650-355-9000. Most individual needs can be accommodated. (Thanks to Recology general manager Chris Porter for this information.)

Pacifica: Then & Now @ Florey's Bookstore

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Pacifica and its coast, once envisioned as a string of resorts, casinos, and vacation cottages in place of artichoke fields, was overlooked after the failure of the Ocean Shore Railroad in 1920. Demand for reasonably priced housing revived the boom, and Pacifica was incorporated in 1957. Authors Kathleen Manning and Jerry Crow of the Pacifica Historical Society contrast vintage and modern views of this city to illustrate the progression from farms to cottages to a suburb surrounded by open space and a modern metropolis. Available through Florey's Books, 2120 Palmetto Avenue, West Sharp Park, Pacifica, 650-355-8811 BOOK REVIEW

Publisher's Note: New from Arcadia Publishing’s Then & Now series is Pacifica. Vintage images are compared and contrasted with modern-day photographs for a side-by-side look at local history in Pacifica. Arcadia Publishing is the leading publisher of local and regional history in the United States. Its mission is to make history accessible and meaningful through publication of books on the heritage of America’s people and places. Visit ARCADIA PUBLISHING