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October 2012

Jerry Hill Scores 100 Percent Green

Assemblyman Jerry Hill earned a 100 percent score on the California League of Conservation Voters 2012 Environmental Scorecard for his votes on important environmental and public health legislation that the organization tracked during the most recent legislative year. More information on Hill’s scores is available from the California League of Conservation Voters at:

Jerry Hill's Green Scorecard

Assemblyman Jerry Hill Honors Pacifica Beach Coalition

Assemblyman Jerry Hill has honored Pacifica Beach Coalition (PBC) with the 19th Assembly District’s Environmental Leadership Award for PBC's many years of volunteer service in the community. Hill presented the award to PBC President Lynn Adams at "Java with Jerry," a community gathering on October 27 at Mazzetti’s Bakery in Pacifica.

“San Mateo County is rich in natural beauty, and some of its greatest treasures are here in Pacifica, with its more than six miles of beaches and shoreline habitats,” Hill said. “Much of it is staggeringly beautiful, and were it not for some key organizations in the community and their members, those very beaches could well be a staggering mess. Today, I’d like to recognize an organization that has been a great environmental leader, working with the city and residents – that’s the Pacifica Beach Coalition.”
Founded in 1997, PBC expanded its annual Earth Day in 2005 into a citywide event to remove litter from the streets before it reaches the beaches. PBC's Earth Day 2012 cleanup brought more than 8,100 people to Pacifica beaches and creeks, and Coastal Cleanup Day drew more than 1,100 volunteers.

Since 2005, almost 35,000 volunteers have participated in PBC's annual Earth Day and Coastal Cleanup Day projects, removing more than 115,000 pounds of garbage from Pacifica beaches, creeks, parks, parking lots, and streets.

PBC has five monthly cleanups at Pacifica beaches, and special activities throughout the year, like gathering 35 gallons of fireworks debris by two members on the Fourth of July, and cleanup of more than 250 pounds of plastic bags and other trash from Pacifica’s “Secret Waterfall” after the first heavy rain.

PBC praises Hill for his support of efforts to reduce waste and preserve the imperiled Pacific leatherback sea turtle. Hill was among lawmakers who voted for legislation by Assemblyman Paul Fong (AB 1776) to declare the Pacific leatherback sea turtle California’s official state marine reptile. Under the new law, October 15 is now officially Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day.
Caption for photo above: Left to right, Pacifica Beach Coalition members Tom Whitaker and Steve Fairbairn, Coalition President Lynn Adams, and Assemblyman Jerry Hill.

Teamwork: Pacifica Beach Coalition & Public Works Dept.

Pacifica Beach Coalition (PBC) and the city's Public Works Department once again have come to the rescue of the Secret Waterfall, collecting 243 pounds of trash after the first big rain, mostly plastic bags. Styrofoam pieces were too numerous and too small to collect.

PBC's Ian Butler had called an alert, and within an hour the city's Public Works Department had six guys down at the waterfall helping PBC members pick up washed-out bags and debris. Ian says, "Unfortunately, this was only a tiny fraction of what was washed out to sea."

Public Works is investigating the sources of Styrofoam waste that flushes out of storm drains with each rain. The investigation includes businesses on Hickey. Public Works is seeking funding to put in a storm drain catchment device by Fairmont Park for the largest stormwater pipe going to the Secret Waterfall. It recently installed such catchment devices at seven other storm drains that flow to the waterfall.
Related News: Esplanade Beach cleanups are on the second Thursday afternoon of each month. Please spread the word to students, retirees, and those looking for a weekday cleanup. Email Lynn Adams at to sign up and get more information about all Pacifica Beach Coalition cleanups, restorations, and other events and volunteer activities. To appreciate the significance of beach cleanups, see:
Sperm Whale Killed by Plastic Bags

Assemblyman Jerry Hill on Caltrans, Hwy. 1, PG&E, Prop. 30

By Bill Collins, Riptide Correspondent

Democratic Assemblyman Jerry Hill, running vigorously for a new state Senate seat to represent some 800,000 people from Brisbane to Sunnyvale, took questions from Pacificans at a crowded Mazzetti's Bakery event October 27.

Speaking at his "Java with Jerry" event, Hill endorsed Proposition 30, saying that schools would be badly hurt if the revenue measure fails. He said that he has refused to make any promises on taxes and the budget, whether sought from tax opponents or education advocates.

Hill presented a "thank you" certificate to the Pacifica Beach Coalition for its work in cleaning up Pacifica's four beaches, and recalled his own legislation to ban polystyrene (Styrofoam) takeout containers, which did not pass due to manufacturer opposition. (California has two polystyrene manufacturing plants.)

When asked how he works with lobbyists, Hill said that only a few lobbyists act as if they are owed something, and that most of them provide legislators with useful information.

Hill also commented on his extensive work following the tragic San Bruno gas explosion, saying that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is too close to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), and that reforms are necessary.

Hill noted that he has written to Caltrans about the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for widening Highway 1. In his letter, he called for studying all alternatives to widening.

(Editor's Note: At least 200 public comments to Caltrans suggested novel solutions to the Highway 1 traffic problem, but Caltrans apparently has ignored them all in the planning process so far. Stay tuned.)

As an assemblyman, Hill already has represented 68 percent of what will become the new Senate District 13, although Palo Alto, Mountain View, Los Altos, and Sunnyvale would be new cities for him if he is elected state senator.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors Bans Plastic Bags

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors has voted to protect the environment by banning free distribution of single-use carry-out bags at retail outlets, the first step in what the Board hopes will be a region-wide effort. The Board voted 5 to 0 to phase out use of plastic bags by retailers in unincorporated areas of the county by April 22, 2013, giving time for stores and consumers to comply with the new law and to locate reusable bags.
“We’re going to devote time and energy over the coming months to reach out to consumers and businesses, educating them about the environmental benefits of the ordinance and giving them time to adjust,” said Board President Adrienne J. Tissier, who co-sponsored the ordinance along with Supervisor Carole Groom.
Recognizing that plastic bags blowing in the wind, clogging creeks and streams and littering the environment is a regional problem, the Board also approved an environmental impact report that can be used by 24 Peninsula cities in adopting their own ordinances. The report found that a staggering 552 million plastic bags are used annually in the 24 cities and the unincorporated area of San Mateo County.
“We’re eliminating more than 500 million plastic bags annually, to the benefit of the San Francisco Bay, our local rivers and creeks, and local wildlife,” said Supervisor Carole Groom. Starting April 22, 2013, shoppers requesting a paper bag would be charged a minimum of 10 cents per bag until Dec. 31, 2014, and 25 cents per paper bag starting Jan. 1, 2015. The ordinance is expected to cut down the use of disposable plastic bags by 95 percent.
Environmental groups praised the Board’s action, testifying during a public hearing that plastic bags pose a serious environmental threat. Reducing the number of plastic bags in circulation should also save taxpayer dollars that will no longer need to be spent collecting the litter.
“Today, our Board of Supervisors took a significant step toward reducing the plastic that litters our neighborhoods, harms and kills wildlife, and pollutes the bay and ocean waters we have the good fortune to share,” said Dean Peterson, Director of Environmental Health for San Mateo County. “A simple commitment to bring our own bag whenever we shop will have positive effects that extend well beyond our County’s borders.”
Restaurants were exempted, as were non-profit organizations with retail outlets. Grocery retailers will still be able to distribute small plastic bags that customers can use to take vegetables, fruit, meats and pharmaceuticals to check out. Customers participating in certain programs for low-income residents may be provided a reusable bag at no charge.
The cities in San Mateo County that participated in the EIR were: Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Colma, Daly City, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco and Woodside. Cities in Santa Clara County that participated in the EIR are Campbell, Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Milpitas and Mountain View.
The environmental impact report found that 20 billion plastic bags are used annually in California with less than 10 percent of those being recycled.
Eric Pawlowsky
Supervisor Carole Groom's Office
Marshall Wilson
Communications Director

Plastic Bags Kill Wildlife

San Bruno Outrage: Blast Victims' Families Protest

San Bruno residents, including Susan Bullis, who lost three family members in the fatal Pacific Gas & Electric Co. pipeline explosion, held a news conference October 22 near ground zero to announce they have collected more than 200 signatures in a petition drive calling for the ouster of California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) President Michael Peevey. The residents and their supporters want Governor Jerry Brown to replace Peevey because of the CPUC’s decision to suspend public hearings, which were to determine how much PG&E will be fined for the 2010 blast, and because the CPUC allowed PG&E to unilaterally hire former U.S. Senator George Mitchell to mediate the case in a proceeding to take place behind closed doors. Eight people were killed and more than 50 injured in the pipeline explosion. In addition, 38 homes were destroyed and 17 damaged in the blast and fire that followed. San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane and Assemblyman Jerry Hill, who represents San Bruno, support the petition drive.

San Bruno Petition
Contact: Kimberly Archie, spokeswoman for San Bruno residents, 310-498-5985 cell

Contact: Aurelio Rojas, communications director for Assemblyman Hill, 916-747-3199 cell

New Blog Analyzes Caltrans Plan to Widen Highway 1

Hal Bohner's new blog reports on Caltrans aggressively pursuing its plan to widen Highway 1 from four to six lanes between Fassler and Reina del Mar. Hal says, "Other alternatives would be much better for Pacifica. Why would Caltrans push its plan, which to me is clearly bad for Pacifica? Caltrans may own the highway, but we live here!”

Hal's Blog