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November 2011

Zoned Out: City of Pacifica vs. Gorilla Barbeque Picnic Grounds

We like the idea of regulatory agencies protecting us from predatory lenders and other evildoers, but sometimes government bureaucracy seems a bit wacky, as in this case of the City of Pacifica zoning administration cracking down on Gorilla Barbeque's picnic grounds because of the lack of a restroom. Read all about it in the Planning Commission agenda below (item 2):

Download PC Meeting Agenda 12-5-11

Recology Gets 5 Percent Rate Hike for Pacifica Garbage Collection


City Council unanimously approved a 4.99 percent rate increase for Recology during its meeting Monday evening. If a majority of the rate payers officially protested the increase, it would not have happened. However, the city received only 185 protests, not nearly enough to make up a majority. A majority would have required 5,841 protests. The increased rate will be in effect from Jan. 1 to the end of 2012. For those who use the smallest 20-gallon can, the rate will increase from $21.88 per month to $22.95 a month. Pete Pereira complained to City Council Recology has eliminated the senior rate he enjoyed under Coastside Scavenger's operation. "My rate has doubled since Recology took over," he said. Ken Miles also objected to the higher rate and said Pacificans pay the highest rate in the county. "We are being taxed to death," he said. The city's consultant, Rick Simonsen of HF&H, said some other communities are experiencing rate increases, but not all. "There are lots of variables when determining fees," he said. Chamber of Commerce CEO Courtney Conlin supported the business and the rate increase. City Councilmember Jim Vreeland said he hated approving a rate increase, but he and the other council members determined it was necessary to do so to fulfill the terms of the franchise agreement with Recology.


Pacifica City Council heard the latest request for another price increase in Pacifica’s sky-high garbage collection rates at a public meeting on October 10 and approved it unanimously at its November 28, 2011 meeting (see Jane Northrop's Pacifica Tribune front-page news story above). The current request for a 5 percent increase in January 2012 follows an 8 percent increase in July 2011 and a 5 percent increase in August 2010. At the time Recology was awarded the no-bid contract in February 2010, Pacificans already were paying the highest garbage collection rates in San Mateo County. Residents were able to submit written protest letters in accordance with the settlement reached in Emde v. City of Pacifica. Letters were counted and tabulated as part of the public hearing on November 28 at City Council chambers. Recology also services Montara, Moss Beach, and El Granada. Those communities pay half as much for garbage collection as Pacifica. Those communities are served by the same company running the same trucks out of the same location that serves Pacifica. The question of why rates are so much lower there for similar service never has been answered.

Sharp Park: Environmentalists & Golfers Go to Trial in June

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston issued a ruling November 30 that an emergency injunction against draining and mowing over the winter was not necessary, and that the matter could wait until a full trial next summer. Here are depositions and exhibits that substantiated the motion to stop the pumps and compel San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department to follow the law. Also below see press release downloads from both sides of the issue.


Download Docket_No_53_--_PI_Motion



San Pedro Valley County Park: Mountain Lion Territory


A mountain lion was sighted walking along a trail in San Pedro Valley County Park in Linda Mar on November 25 at 8 a.m., approximately two miles into the park. If you see a mountain lion, DO NOT APPROACH IT, especially one that is feeding or with offspring. Most mountain lions try to avoid confrontation with humans. Here are a few tips: Avoid hiking or jogging when mountain lions are most active—dawn, dusk, and at night. Keep a close watch on small children. If you encounter a mountain lion, do not run; instead, face the animal, make noise and try to look bigger by waving your arms and opening up your coat; throw rocks or other objects. For more information and advice, click the link above.

(from Joe Sheridan, Sheriff's Office, Montara, San Mateo County Alert System)

Environmentalists Fight Oddstad Assisted Living Center Project, but Planning Commission Approves It 4-1

I am part of an environmental group called Protectors of San Pedro Creek. We are trying to stop developers from constructing the multi-building, multilevel Oddstad Assisted Living Center at 721 Oddstad Boulevard in Pacifica. We are not against assisted living as such. It is just that this is the WRONG location! They want to build this where many semi-endangered and endangered species live: steelhead salmon, red-legged frogs, garter snakes, deer, bats, raptors, and more. 

Also, the construction period (up to two years) would severely and negatively impact the mating habits/cycles of these creatures, quite probably upsetting or curtailing this activity, causing their extinction. If this project were allowed, the added air, land, and water pollution would be truly devastating, not only to the aforementioned wildlife but also to residents of the area.    

Read the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) and final draft environmental report (EIR), both at Sanchez Library, Planning Commission office (1800 Francisco Boulevard), and online at the city website ( Contact Kathryn Farbstein, assistant planner, at 650-738-7341. Of course, we have many issues with the accuracy of these official statements and findings.

(Editor's Note: On November 21, the Planning Commission approved the project 4-1, with Commissioner Leo Leon opposed. The project now goes to City Council.)

San Francisco Giants—Images of Baseball

San Francisco Giants: Images of Baseball by longtime Giants fan Tricia O’Brien, who offers a personal and historical glimpse into the evolution of the team from its departure from New York to its 2010 World Series championship in San Francisco. Order from Florey's Book Co. on Palmetto. Highlights of San Francisco Giants include:

-New York Giants
-Welcome to San Francisco
-Willie Mays and Willie McCovey
-From the Tough Years to Triumph
-World Champions

Board of Supervisors Appoint Acting County Manager John Maltbie

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has appointed John Maltbie as acting county manager, effective December 1, 2011. Maltbie served as San Mateo county manager for 20 years until his retirement in December 2008. As acting county manager, he will have overall management responsibility for the county’s $1.75 billion budget. Meanwhile, the board will conduct a nationwide search for a new county manager. That search is expected to take several months and no deadline has been set to fill the position. A subcommittee of Supervisor Adrienne J. Tissier and Supervisor Dave Pine will negotiate a contract that comes before the full board at a special meeting on Tuesday, November 29 at 9 a.m. Maltbie succeeds David S. Boesch.