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February 2012

January 2012

Calif. Senate Punts on SB 810 Health Care; Single Payer Fights On


Six Democrats broke ranks and voted like Republicans (2 NO and 4 abstain). The fight is NOT over. We will mount a response to this irresponsible representation!

Good article on One Care

On Maplight and over the last 4 years:

Insurance - $165,000
Pharma - $80K
Health Professionals - $37K

Insurance - $150K
Pharma - $110K
Health Professionals - $89K

Insurance - $137K
Health Professionals - $105K
Pharma - $67K

Health Professionals - $94K
Insurance - $36K

Insurance - $115K
Health Professionals - $46K
Pharma - $28K

Insurance - $87K
Pharma - $45K
Health Professionals - $43K

Team Gearhead Cleans Up San Pedro Creek

Photo one
Daniel Blake, Justin Olsen, Michael Olsen, John Dolan, Anders Chippendale, Liam Miller, and Matt McPhail show off their haul.
Photo two
Michael Olsen carries debris from San Pedro Creek.
Photo 3
North Fork of San Pedro Creek as it is today.
San Pedro Creek in Linda Mar drains Pacifica’s most extensive watershed. Clean water runs off the pristine slopes of Montara Mountain, creating ideal steelhead spawning habitat in San Pedro Valley Park on the middle and south forks. Fingerling rainbow trout still swim in the Sanchez fork behind St. Edmund's Church. But the neglected north fork is the creek's abused stepchild.
Paved over decades ago to build homes, streets, and schools, this steelhead paradise was reduced to a hidden network of concrete tunnels. The water now passes through miles of these tunnels before finally being exposed to dirt and daylight in the dense thicket behind Park Mall, adjacent to the site of the proposed assisted-living facility.
Recently, while Councilmember Mary Ann Nihart was given a tour of the area, a tremendous amount of litter and debris was found clogging the creek where it emerges from the tunnels. Matt McPhail, owner of nearby Gearhead Bicycles, offered to organize a cleanup with a group of kids from Team Gearhead.
So on Saturday, January 14, the kids arrived by car, bike, and unicycle, three even decking themselves out in full wetsuits, complete with abalone knives hanging from their belts. They quickly went to work, some scouring the creek for debris, others rigging up a rope system for pulling larger items up the steep bank. A few hours later they had hauled up an impressive collection of junk, including a mattress, two shopping carts, an old car tire, and—ironically—a rusted bicycle. Parents who knows what it’s like to get their kids to clean their rooms would have to be impressed with the effort these kids put into cleaning up a neglected waterway.
The north fork’s problems remain, including unnaturally high water flows, erosion, and pollution from paint, oil, detergent, and coliform bacteria, but on this day it was the beneficiary of hard work by an enthusiastic group of kids learning to care for the environment.

Missing At-Risk Person

The Daly City Police Department request that citizens please be on the lookout for missing person Jaeson Chong, last seen Thursday, January 19 at 2 a.m. at 158 Crestwood Drive. Jaeson, 66 years old, suffered a stroke and cannot communicate. He was last seen wearing a blue jacket and tan pants. He is 5'5" and 160 pounds, with gray hair and brown eyes. Jaeson walks the area and is believed to be on foot with no money or ID. Residents should check their property and call 911 if the missing person is located or seen earlier in the area.

Deputy Kovach, OES17, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office.

Pacifica Bummer Fool


It looks like Loki or Kokopelli got hold of the former Pacifica Lumber building (now for sale). In the great tradition of comic fools commenting on the economic and political follies of their "lords," some (perhaps Occupy Pacifica?) mischief maker appears to comment on the state of the economy in Pacifica in typical and appropriate surfer slang (above).


Good News: Money in the Pipeline for Local Schools, Cops, Fire?

January 18, 2012. Initiative 12-0001: The Attorney General of California has prepared the following title and summary of the chief purpose and points of the proposed measure: TEMPORARY TAXES TO FUND EDUCATION. GUARANTEED LOCAL PUBLIC SAFETY FUNDING. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for five years. Increases sales and use tax by ½ cent for four years. Allocates temporary tax revenues 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. Bars use of funds for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are to be spent. Guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state revenues over the next five fiscal years. Estimates of the revenue increases vary--for 2012-13, from $4.8 billion to $6.9 billion; for 2013-14 through 2015-16, from $5.5 billion to $6.9 billion on average each year; and for 2016-17, from $3.1 billion to $3.4 billion. These revenues would be available to (1) pay for the state's school and community college funding requirements, as increased by this measure, and (2) address the state's budgetary problem by paying for other spending commitments. Limitation on the state's ability to make changes to the programs and revenues shifted to local governments in 2011, resulting in a more stable fiscal situation for local governments. (12-0001)

Opinion: Not One of Pacifica's Finest's Finer Moments


Don't honk in Pacifica! I got stopped by the police for honking to let a woman (above and below) on the Linda Mar median strip who had a sign asking for kindness know that I had come back with some food and clothes. I knew the police were there, which is why I honked a couple of short taps, because I didn't want to drive up there and park in the street. She had been standing in the median that meets with Highway 1 for at least a half-hour, but it wasn't until I gave her four bags of stuff and walked away that the police rolled up to her, lights on, just as they had done to me. Why? Why do we pay them so much money to harass us? We need to outsource the Pacifica police. When I gig at a local bar, five to seven police often come through the place, testosterone blazing. I play the French horn in a rock band. What are they thinking? There's no one under 30 there.


Police and waif

Pilot Projects: Tim & Evan Take Off in 2012


Evan Isenstein-Brand writes: I just want to wish all my aviation friends a very Happy New Year. School is taking up a lot more of my time and the last interview I did was with Steve Hinton.


My dad has videos he's done since I last wrote, so check them out:



Also, he just finished reading the book Double Eagles by my friend Bill Getz, and he really loved the book a lot: 


Here's my interview with Bill: 


Masala Pakistani/Indian Restaurant Reopens in Eureka Square

It took longer than expected, but the Masala Pakistani/Indian restaurant reopened in the north end of Eureka Square at the beginning of the year. They are open for lunch and dinner, with a break in mid-afternoon. The same low prices they had at Rockaway are still in effect. Because this is one of my go-to places for a less expensive dinner in town, I'm selfishly hoping people who like ethnic food will give them a try and keep them in mind.


(Masala is open daily except Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Lunch buffet is $7, dinner buffet is $9. The menu offers three appetizers, nine a la carte entrees, four combination plates, soups, salads, desserts, and beverages. Free wifi available.)

Gray Lodge Wildlife Refuge: Winter's Waterfowl Wonderland

Bird Refuge Geese2
Geese in flight over Gray Lodge at sunset, January 8 (Leslie Davidson photo)

Bird Refuge2
Sunset at Gray Lodge, January 8 (Leslie Davidson photo)

Winter is peak bird-watching time at Gray Lodge state wildlife refuge east of Colusa and north of the mighty Sutter Buttes. All over this Central Valley region, rice farmers used to burn the stubble after harvesting their crops. Now they spare the air, flood their fields, and welcome migrating geese and ducks, which stop off there to rest, feed on the leftover rice, and then move on, leaving behind their soil-enriching waste. It’s a win-win for farmers and birds. In another important way, it is also a win-win for hunters and bird-watchers, who both benefit from the abundance of bird life in the refuge and surrounding area, including several other state and federal wildlife refuges. Duck hunters are restricted to designated areas of Gray Lodge on weekends and Wednesdays. Their license fees help pay for refuge management by California Fish and Game. Bird-watchers pay $4 per person to drive into the viewing area, where is a hiking trail on the levee around the refuge, a viewing platform with a telescope, and a separate loop road for viewing only from your car. On non-hunting days (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) it is very quiet and peaceful. All you hear is the birds and the wind. At sundown, you may even see and hear a mass flyout of geese, as wave after wave of them head east in honking, squawking V formations. If you go, be sure to look up Gray Lodge online for further information. If you want a comfortable place to stay nearby, check out Feather Falls Resort south of Oroville (reasonably priced rooms, heated swimming pool, hot tub, sauna, exercise room, gambling casino, restaurant, campground). Bonus find: Doering’s Mandarins, Highway 99 at Highway 162 west of Oroville – most delicious Satsuma Mandarin oranges I have ever tasted, plus a whole fruit stand selling kiwis, persimmons, pomegranates, nuts, and local honey. Mail order: phone 530-882-4361 or email


Pacifica Budget Crisis Meeting—Share the Sacrifice or Dodge a Bullet?

South San Francisco-20120111-00015

(Pacificans thronged information tables in the Community Center on January 11, talking with city staff from various departments, but there was no presentation or Q&A for the whole crowd. Was this a missed opportunity for some honest dialog between the city and the voters, or just a crafty way to avoid open confrontation and conflict? —John Maybury)


On January 11 in the Community Center, our city officials hosted a financial meeting (see above) to sell us on the idea of increased taxes to cover the cost of their paychecks. A few numbers that most likely will not be discussed are the 80 employees who earned more than $100,000 last year. Of those 80 employees, 44 earned more than $120,000; 16 earned more than $150,000; and two earned more than $200,000. The fiscal crisis of Pacifica isn't a revenue issue but a payroll issue. Please let me explain.

Several years ago, during the real estate boom, we had a dramatic increase in revenues, thanks to the corresponding rise in property values. During that time, city staff asked for and received very large increases to salaries, wages, and benefits for all of our employees. But when the housing market crashed, staff didn't volunteer to reduce their compensation increases to match the new reality of lower revenues, so we are left with their housing-bubble wages without the housing-bubble revenues. Rather than reduce compensation, staff recommends cutting services so their paychecks won't change.

The numbers that won't be batted around are the actual W-2 Line 5 totals for the following positions: City Manager $195,872; Administration Services Director $$172,849; Planning Director $212,760; City Attorney $200,751; Director of Public Works $172,716; Deputy Fire Chief $184,185; Police Chief $164,287; and so on for another 73 employees, each earning more than $100,000 a year.

God bless our city employees, but to cut library services, senior services, or whatever paycheck-saving services our senior staff, department heads, fire, and police may target, none of that is necessary if they all agree to a scaled reduction in pay of 1 percent for every $10,000 earned.

Rudie Tretten's "Where Are We? Thoughts from an American Geezer"

Pacifican Rudie Tretten has written a book, Where Are We? Thoughts from an American Geezer, a collection of brief essays on society, politics, economics, education, and sports. Rudie worked with Amazon’s Create Space to self-publish his book. Some of you may know Rudie from his excellent travelogues published in the Pacifica Tribune. He also served on the Pacifica School District board for many years. Rudie and his wife of 57 years, Shirley, have lived in Pacifica since 1966. To buy the book, see Aaron Schlieve at Florey’s Book Co. on Palmetto, or help Riptide by buying the book at our Amazon bookstore (top right sidebar).