Previous month:
April 2011
Next month:
June 2011

May 2011

Pacifica's Petit Prince Evan: New Pilot Projects

School is almost out and the airshow season is starting up! Here is my Hollister Airshow review from Memorial day and my photos:

Here's a video my dad shot at Hollister:  

Eddie Andreini at Hollister:

My dad has been working on our GoPro cameras to get them to work better in and on airplanes. Here is where he's putting all his work:

My dad got to fly with our friend Eddie Andreini Jr. in the Collings Foundations B-24 Witchcraft. That is awesome, but even cooler was that Dan Martin flew the plane! Check out the video:


Terra Nova Grad Greg Reynolds Back with Rockies

Colorado Rockies hurler Greg Reynolds (2-0) threw 3-2/3 effective innings on May 24 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing one run and three hits. He was recently called up from the minors and set to start but was pressed into duty when De La Rosa was injured and had to leave the game, a makeup from an April 3 snowout. Reynolds is a Terra Nova High School graduate and pitching star.

Hearts of the Dulcimer

Pacificans Patricia Delich and Wayne Jiang created this short documentary that tells the tale of the mountain dulcimer boom in the 1970s in California. Patricia has played dulcimer since the 1970s, buying her first dulcimer from Michael Rugg. Patricia and Wayne met playing dulcimer. The film features Michael and Howard Rugg, founders of CapriTaurus Dulcimers in Felton, California; Neal Hellman, owner of Gourd Music; Robert Force, author of In Search of the Wild Dulcimer; and Laura Devine, member of Dulcimer Girls.


Garbage Rate Protest Postmortem, Part 2



Pacifica City Council unanimously approved Recology's 8 percent garbage rate hike on May 23, despite numerous protest forms downloaded from Riptide and advertised on the sign along Highway 1 (above). This was the first time that locals had a legal process of written protest against a garbage rate hike. A complete lack of long-term oversight and a backroom process in signing the new contract with Recology have resulted in Pacifica’s paying the highest rates for garbage collection in San Mateo County. (Source: San Bruno City Council agenda report rate survey, 5-10-11)

Other cities have this strange habit of caring about their citizens, negotiating contracts that better hold in check the costs of things like solid waste collection, but in the wackydoodle world of Pacifica, anything goes! Compare the proposed new Recology rates for Pacifica, San Bruno, and Millbrae:

      Per month          Pacifica                 San Bruno                  Millbrae

20-gallon cart          $21.86                    $18.44                        $16.87

32-gallon cart          $34.24                    $23.78                        $27.00

“Citizens are sitting ducks for every trick and scam governments can think up. We are going bankrupt – food and gas are difficult to pay for and you add more fees (and) taxes? No.” (San Bruno resident William Walker, quoted in the San Mateo County Times, 5-10-11)

Mr. Walker really should come through the looking glass into Pacifica to see how much commercial accounts pay here versus San Bruno:

Commercial Can/Cart Solid Waste Pickup        Pacifica             San Bruno

32-gallon cart                                                       $39.01                $30.23

64-gallon cart                                                       $78.02                $60.46

96-gallon cart                                                       $117.03              $90.69

And check out proposed debris box price differences between the same two cities; local contractors would do well to look elsewhere:

                            Pacifica (14 yard container)      San Bruno (16 yard container)

Two days                $495.56                                       $419.98

Five days                 $619.73                                      $419.98

                             Pacifica (20 yard container)      San Bruno (20 yard container)

Two days                  $638.44                                      $461.19

Five days                  $784.72                                      $461.19

Of course, we’re told that the lack of commercial activity in Pacifica is why residential rates are so high. Who then are our rate-oppressed business people subsidizing?

Garbage Rate Protest Postmortem, Part 1




The latest outrage in bleeding the impoverished Pacifica public is an 8 percent increase in garbage rates. But this time, the public had a legal process for protesting, which ended May 23 at City Council, using the form below:

Download A Protest of Pacifica’s proposed Garbage Rate Increase

This downloadable PDF had a garbage rate protest letter to fill out, add your own comments, and send in. The garbage rate letter was for anyone whose name appears on a Recology bill and is thus entitled to a protest. Renter or property owner, it doesn't matter as long as your name, or business name, appears on the bill.

The latest rate increase takes us back to the bad old days of unaudited rate increases. That's not my opinion, it's stated by HF&H, the city's longtime consultant in waste collection matters: “Additionally, HF&H’s scope of services does not include auditing of information provided by Recology such as customer account data, tonnage data, or revenues  and expenses reported from Recology’s general ledger. Therefore, we have relied on the data provided by Recology in our analysis.”

The public is promised yearly rate increases as far as the eye can see. In an article for the Pacifica Tribune, Recology General Manager Chris Porter attempted to justify the sky-high rates paid in Pacifica: "One of the biggest contributing factors to lower residential rates is ... having a large commercial base to help cover costs." Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? Until you know that residents in Montara and El Granada pay less than half of what Pacificans do:


I'll be darned, really? Funny thing is, Montara and El Granada have even LESS commercial activity than Pacifica, and are serviced by the same company with the same trucks run out of the same place on Palmetto Avenue. I'll bet it's because they have governing bodies that actually give a hoot about ratepayers and negotiate on their behalf. Pacificans get the shaft-o-rama.
If anyone thinks we can afford this type of gouging, keep in mind a few facts dug up by Pacifica Resource Center: "One in 10 Pacificans earn less than $25,000 per year. One in four (!) Pacificans are eligible for -- but often do not receive -- public and private benefits. The majority of people served by the Resource Center are single mothers and their children." Add to these stunning facts the seniors on fixed incomes who lost their senior rate on garbage collection when Recology took over, and you have a more complete picture.
Pacifica was knocked out of first place in highest residential garbage collection rates in San Mateo County only very recently by new Recology contracts in Atherton and Hillsborough. Nice to know we're in that league, eh? But our commercial rates remain among the highest in the county. So the next time you hear our elected officials talking about how they support local business, ask them why they got a no-bid contract from Recology when other carriers might have given us a better deal.

Sharp Park: Supervisor Avalos vs. Golf Alliance

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos has called for legislation to protect two endangered species—the California red-legged frog and the San Francisco garter snake, safeguard essential city services, and provide recreational opportunities everyone can enjoy at Sharp Park, a city-owned golf course in Pacifica, California. The legislation calls for the city to work in partnership with the National Park Service to repurpose Sharp Park from a golf course to a new open space managed by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This would provide highly sought-after recreation opportunities while allowing San Francisco to redirect scarce recreation dollars to neighborhood parks and community centers threatened by the city’s ongoing budget deficits.

“The status quo is not sustainable at Sharp Park,” said Supervisor John Avalos. “Time is running out for these endangered species: San Francisco must act promptly to give future generations the opportunity to see these species in their natural habitats at Sharp Park. A partnership with the National Park Service will make Sharp Park more accessible while simultaneously allowing the City to reinvest resources into its neighborhood golf courses, parks, and recreation centers.”

For many years, San Francisco has been draining wetlands at Sharp Park to operate a golf course on the property, but the practice has led to severe cost overruns and ongoing harm to two endangered species. These environmental problems have subjected San Francisco to enforcement actions by regulatory agencies and litigation from several environmental organizations, including Wild Equity Institute,  National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Center for Biological Diversity, and Sequoia Audubon Society.

“We owe it to future generations to provide sustainable recreation that everyone, from San Mateo to San Francisco and beyond, has an opportunity to enjoy,” said Supervisor Avalos. “Working together, San Francisco and the National Park Service can create a new model that will serve Bay Area residents for generations to come.”

In addition to the environmental constraints, Sharp Park has struggled with ongoing budget deficits caused by a structural imbalance in the golf market. A 2008 San Francisco-commissioned study found that the Bay Area supplies 6 million more rounds of golf annually than Bay Area golfers actually demand. Because of this, public courses in Oakland, San Jose, Livermore, and Marin County have been proposed for closure or sale for private development.

At the same time, San Francisco residents have stated repeatedly that their primary recreation demand is for more hiking and biking trails, while golf has fallen to 16th out of 19 recreational opportunities offered by the city.

“My legislation will allow San Francisco to strategically realign its golf courses to meet the challenge of today’s market, while increasing access to affordable golf throughout San Francisco,” said Supervisor Avalos. “At the same time we can match current demand of our parks by repurposing existing recreational lands and providing a more secure future for wildlife on the brink of extinction.”

Raquel Redondiez, 415-554-7896
Supervisor John Avalos, 415-359-8367


SAN FRANCISCO –  A proposal by San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos to give away the historic and popular Sharp Park Golf Course to the Golden Gate National Recreation area is a high-handed political ploy, and a slap at multi-ethnic, working-class public recreation.  The San Francisco Public Golf Alliance will fight the Avalos proposal. 

The 80-year-old golf course, located in Pacifica, and designed by legendary golf architect Alister MacKenzie, is owned by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.  Its greens fees are among the most affordable in the Bay Area.  The GGNRA has said it will not operate a golf course at Sharp Park.

A narrowly-focused group of anti-golf extremists want the golf course closed.  And Supervisor Avalos is currying to this group, in disregard of an historically popular, well-used, and affordable public facility, that serves the working-class, all ethnic groups, seniors, and juniors and high school students in both San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.  Supervisor Avalos’ proposed give-away legislation also ignores two years of public study, public hearings, and decisions and positions taken by every public agency that has considered the matter in both San Francisco and San Mateo County.

“It would be like giving-away the cable cars because a small, angry group won’t stop complaining about the noise,” said Sharp Park golfer and San Francisco Public Golf Alliance spokeswoman Lauren Barr.

Avalos’ Sharp Park give-away proposed disregards two years of Recreation & Park Department studies, several public hearings attended by hundreds of members of the public, and the decisions of the Rec & Park Commission and its citizens’ advisory commission, the Park, Recreation, and Open Space Advisory Committee.  Both of these entities have gone on record against a Sharp Park give-away to the GGNRA. 

It also ignores the Pacifica Recycled Water Project, a joint venture of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Pacifica’s North Coast County Water District, which is currently under construction on an $8.8 Million wastewater treatment distribution system, to use Pacifica’s treated sewage water to irrigate the Sharp Park Golf Course.  That project was approved by both the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Recreation and Park Commission in 2010 and 2011.

Sharp Park lies within the congressional district of Congresswoman Jackie Speier, whose district includes parts of both San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.  She is on record as opposed to closing the Sharp Park Golf Course.  Both the San Mateo Board of Supervisors and the Pacifica City Council are opposed to any action that will result in the closure of the Sharp Park Golf Course.


County of San Mateo, Resolution of Board of Supervisors, December 18, 2007:

City of Pacifica, Resolution of City Council, December 10, 2007:

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, 12th U.S. Congressional District, Press Release, November 9, 2009:,48&itemid=330

San Francisco Chronicle editorial, September 3, 2009:

PROSAC, Resolutions [Nos. 1 and 2], adopted by votes of 14-1 and 13-2 on Dec. 1, 2009, submitted to Rec & Park Commission on Dec. 3, 2009:



San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission Resolution No. 0912-018, Agenda Item No. 11, adopted by unanimous 6-0 vote, December 17, 2009:

North Coast County Water District, Pacifica Waste Water Treatment Project:


415-290-5718 (cell)

The dispute over the fate of Northern California’s historic Sharp Park Golf Course took a noteworthy turn May 19 with a move by the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance to legally intervene in the case. Filing its Motion to Intervene at U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the Alliance asserts that Bay Area golfers “have legally protectable interests in their use and enjoyment of Sharp Park.”
Earlier this year, environmental advocacy groups, including the Sierra Club, sued the city, along with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other officials, to shut the 80-year-old municipal course in the name of protecting endangered snake and frog species. But the Public Golf Alliance, with nearly 4,500 members, says no one has been looking out for the rights of Bay Area golfers who have made the links-style course an area landmark.
Renowned for its design by legendary architect Alister MacKenzie, and spectacular natural surroundings, Sharp Park is modestly priced to attract golfers of all levels from throughout the region. Among the course’s frequent users are public high school teams, the Chinatown YMCA, various senior center golf teams, and other players.
Law firm Morrison & Foerster is representing the SFPGA. If you’d like to hear more, we can put you in touch with Morrison & Foerster’s Chris Carr. The lead attorney on the case, Mr. Carr chairs the firm’s Environment and Energy Group and co-chairs its Cleantech Group.

James Bourne 212-262-7470
Robin Brassner 212-262-7472

Opinion: California's High-Speed Train Wreck


California's so-called plan for building a high-speed passenger railroad is a political disaster. Instead, why not spend the money to upgrade existing Amtrak service in California, including San Joaquin trains all the way to L.A. via the existing Tehachapi/Mojave route or a new line built straight over the Grapevine. As the little steam engine says, "I think I can, I think I can..." (John Maybury)


Dave Barry: How to Diagram a Sentence

First spread the sentence out on a clean, flat surface, such as an ironing board. Then, using a sharp pencil or X-Acto knife, locate the "predicate," which indicates where the action has taken place and is usually located directly behind the gills. For example, in the sentence "LaMont never would of bit a forest ranger," the action probably took place in a forest. Thus, your diagram would be shaped like a little tree with branches sticking out of it to indicate the locations of the various particles of speech, such as your gerunds, proverbs, adjutants, etc. (Dave Barry)