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May 2013

Life's a Beach: Homeless in Pacifica

Pacifica Resource Center, with Professor Sheila Katz of Sonoma State University's Sociology Department, has released its report Homeless in Pacifica? Understanding the Escalating Situation and Creating a Community Solution.
This policy report brings attention to the escalating number of homeless people in Pacifica. Every two years in late January, advocates, homeless guides, and community members gather before dawn to walk the city street by street and count the homeless population.

In 2007, only seven homeless individuals were counted in Pacifica. The number of homeless in Pacifica more than doubled by 2009 to 16, and then rose by more than 600 percent two years later in 2011 to 95. In 2013, the number of homeless increased again by more than a third to 150, a more than 900 percent increase since 2007.

Jane Northrop covers the report in next week's Pacifica Tribune.

Click Here for Full Report

You Know You're an "Old" Pacifican When...

Since Riptide originally ran this list during its first year (2007), readers have added new Pacifica memories. Now our friends at Pacifica Patch are keeping the ball rolling. Click the link to add your local oldies but goodies:

Add Your Pacifica Memories

1. You call your friends Bro.
2. You know what B.O.V. stands for.
3. You know that Pacifica, not Petaluma, not Pittsburg, is the original P-town
4. You own at least one Log Shop/Nor Cal sweatshirt
5. Your last name is Piccolotti or Hillard or Lange or Shaw.
6. People from the city and Half Moon Bay say you're from "Pathetica," but you really know it's "Terrifica."
7. You walk down the street and know the name of almost every person who drives by.
8. You go to parties and know who is there by their cars parked out front.
9. You have at least one friend who has worked at Round Table, Ace Hardware, or Safeway!
10. You know that Inverness isn't just a street name.
11. You do the three S's: surf, skate, and smoke.
12. Outsiders complain how thick the fog is, but you can see all the way to the Farallon Islands.
13. You've kicked it at the "dump," the gazebo, under the bridge, or the point.
14. The word "dude" is always at the beginning and end of every sentence.
15. Every party in town is like a Terra Nova reunion.
16. Everyone knows everyone, even if you really don't, they've at least heard about you.
17. You've been to "The Breeze."
18. You were proud to represent Linda Mar, Manor, Sharp Park, Fairmont, Westview, or B.O.V.
19. All year long you sport Uggs or Reef sandals. And you've worn Uggs with shorts long before it became stylish.
20. You've stolen wooden pallets from Safeway to make a bonfire at Linda Mar beach.
21. You spend Friday nights partying at the Sea Horse, Winters, or the Octopus Lounge—for the past five years!!!!! (and did karaoke at one of them).
22. You know that Fog Fest is a must!
23. You know what Jeff's Best is (for you old-school P-Towners).
24. You smoked or drank at the wall.
25. You've been in Denny's at all hours and probably used to smoke cigarettes in there.
26. Taco Bell on the beach has many memories for you.
27. You've been drunk on the pier.
28. Channel 8, baby, channel 8.
29. The Tribune is a source for gossip.
30. Your kids (or your friends' kids) are taught by the same teachers who taught you.
31. You were taught by your parents’ teachers.
32. You can come flyin’ down Highway 1 at 80 miles an hour at night in the fog because you know every turn, dip, and pothole without thinking about it.
33. You travel to any nearby city and have to ask, "WOW, has it been sunny here all day??"
34. You can't wait to read the latest POLICE BEAT in the Trib to see if any of your friends made it in this issue.
35. You saw “Jaws,” “Grease,” or “Scarface” at the Seavue Theater.
36. You stood outside of the "U-SAVE LIQUOR" store trying to get someone to "buy up" some beer for you and your friends!
37. You wake up the next day hung over and alone at the beach in "MANOR" wondering when the party ended and where everyone else went YET you AREN’T afraid of what could have happened to you?!?!
38. Part of your morning routine was to go to "THE LIL RED STORE" before school!
39. You can remember that Baja Bugs are remarkably agile at crawling over the hills in "FAIRWAY."
40. You know what "SPINNIN' BRODIES" in the school parking lot means. By the way, who was Brody? No one seems to know.
41. You walked down to Bud's ice cream during lunch to buy sour power.
42. You have traded at least two books at the old used-book store by the Little Brown Church.
43. You remember when half the trailer/mobile home park fell into the ocean.
44. You saw the first midnight showing of “Star Wars: Phantom Menace” at the Seavue, at which, of course, you have snuck in some Taco Bell or McDonald’s.
45. You remember taking the behind-the-scenes tour of the Manor McDonald’s when you were a kid for a field trip or birthday party.
46. You remember the year when they had to bring in fog machines for the Fog Fest parade.
47. You rode on someone’s truck (tow truck, to be specific) in the Fog Fest parade.
48. You were a Pacifica Police Explorer.
49. You hung out at the Wander Inn on Linda Mar beach.
50. You marched in the Fog Fest parade as a grape to the tune of "I heard it through the grapevine."
51. You hung out at the Lutheran Church on Seville in the downstairs Lavender Mushroom on Friday night.
52. You turned right at the stoplight and went to Nick's on the way home from 49er football games on Sunday evening for a pit stop.

(list compiled by a fellow rocket scientist and Mensa member from Sun Valley, who says to keep adding to it)

Shotspotter: Tracking Things That Go Bump in the Night

Get Details Here
Are you sick of hearing loud explosions all over town, but no sirens descending on the guilty parties? Maybe Pacifica should look into installing something like Shotspotter, a highly effective tracking system used in other communities to help police track down bad guys who illegally fire their guns, explode devices, and otherwise disturb the peace.

Open Space Committee Survives — For Now

By Dan Underhill, Riptide Correspondent

In 1989, Pacifica City Council recognized a need and instituted the Open Space Committee to advise the council on open-space issues. Those council members recognized that none of them had the expertise or the time, with all their other responsibilities, to develop and maintain the mind-set necessary to properly understand open-space issues in Pacifica.

The Open Space Committee never really had any teeth and has operated mainly in an advisory capacity, helping council understand issues that might not be immediately obvious unless they were one's primary focus.

For the past two years, council has failed to appoint new Open Space Committee members to replace those who had died or resigned, which led to speculation that council was opting to let the committee die of neglect. Without sufficient members for a quorum, the committee could not function.

The only reason I could think of (please pardon my cynicism) for council eliminating the committee (or replacing it with a new committee severely limited in its scope) would be for plausible deniability of serious ramifications of some terribly ill-advised project or projects.

No Open Space Committee means no official notification of council on these issues. There are always moneyed developers ready to build as shoddily and densely as they possibly can get away with. The imagination reels.

Luckily, it is not as bad as many of us had feared. I got in on the tail end of last week's council meeting via Pacifica Community Television (TV26), and was pleased to hear in the final moments that council is willing to give it further thought and not eliminate the Open Space Committee.

It may be that particular functions (for example, interfacing with GGNRA and the National Park Service) will be handled by a subcommittee of the Open Space Committee rather than being the fig leaf that covers intentional elimination of the committee. We can all thank and encourage our council for this.

Cedric Collett, R.I.P.: Pacifica Environmentalist & Firefighter

UnknownWe mourn the death of our friend Cedric Collett, 66, active environmentalist and retired Pacifica firefighter. The Celebration of Life honoring Cedric on May 25 at Pedro Point Firehouse saw a huge turnout of family, friends, and colleagues. Crowds of well-wishers with drinks in hand spilled out onto the sidewalk and deck. Police cars with flashing lights double-parked in the street.

Cedric's friend Deirdre Finnegan writes: "It is with heavy heart that I share the sad news of the passing of a dear, dear friend of both yours and mine. Our good friend Cedric Collett passed from this life while abalone diving in Sonoma County.

Cedric was a loyal friend and member of the Pacifica Beach Coalition and the Pedro Point Headlands group. He was a firefighter in Pacifica and was devoted to the community in more ways than we can count. Our friend Cedric was dedicated to the preservation of our coastal habitat through his immeasurable daily actions in Pacifica.

Cedric was a constant fixture at my monthly beach cleanups at Sharp Park at 9 a.m. He came sometimes with a bag already filled from his walk from Mori Point and always with a smile on his face and a story to share about things that he found or areas for concern.

Cedric was full of so many great ideas about ways in which we could help keep Pacifica beautiful. Cedric and I became friends through the Pacifica Beach Coalition. He knew everything about California and the environment and the ocean. He was such a wealth of knowledge and a friendly spirit always willing to share his wisdom with those around him.

I was also lucky enough to have a friendship with Cedric outside of the PBC. Such a fascinating man, he and my dad also became close friends. Cedric introduced us to bay swimming at the Dolphin Club in SF at Aquatic Park! More often my dad and Cedric would swim together at Aquatic Park or Jean Brink Pool or hike or just have lunch. 

Cedric showed us the Dipsea Trail in Marin, which was his backyard and cross-country course growing up.  One time he took me and my dad to hike a “Double Dipsea” – out and back – it took us 5 hours. He showed us the secret spring and the best view to sit and eat our lunch on the hike. We were so blessed to have shared these experiences with Cedric. My dad called him Saturday night to see if he wanted to hike a section of the Dipsea, which is when his wife shared the sad news of his passing. We were devastated.

I am comforted by memories of his hearty deep laugh, his sheepish smile, his sparkling eyes, and his ever present spirit in Pacifica. Cedric made a wonderful mark on our mother earth, and his spirit will live on forever in Pacifica through his years of daily dedication to our community and environment. The world has lost a precious soul, but I am gladdened knowing that he passed doing something he loved, in nature, making his mark. Peace, love, and laughter to all."

Please send donations in Cedric's memory to his wife Maggie Collett, 275 Angelita Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044.

Wright Solution for Wrong Bay Bridge: Sell It on Craigslist

There is a simple solution to the myriad structural problems with the eastern-span replacement of the Bay Bridge: Sell it on Craigslist.

The facts are simple. This particular bridge design is not good (as was assumed) for resisting earthquakes and corrosiveness of a marine environment. To resist earthquakes, the bridge must use members of superior strength far and above that of more "normal" structures such as high-rise buildings. The strength of some of the critical members must be five or more times stronger than "normal" steel found in most steel buildings.

The quandary is what to do about such brittle members that must be protected from the infection of the marine environment. Such infection only leads to poor structural performance.

The answer is quite simple and a bit obvious: Sell the bolted-together bridge tower (40 percent off and free shipping) to a place that needs a structure of this stature but that has neither earthquakes nor a marine environment. California taxpayers wouldn’t see additional costs since the $3 billion sale of the tower would easily cover the cost of a cheaper, simpler replacement.

This is all quite plausible since the tower with its roadbed portions was fabricated in China, shipped to the Bay Area, and assembled on site. That can be easily disassembled and shipped to a buyer in a better location.

The Labor Day opening party should happen. The Bay Area should get to celebrate its state-of-the-art bridge – just don’t drive on it. Need to keep that "new bridge smell" for the buyer.

Putting the bridge up for sale on Craigslist is no joke. The notoriety of such an act would get worldwide attention, something that we want to find a buyer for the bridge. Unlike most modern proposals, there is no need for a “video” of the new bridge because potential buyers can come and kick the tires.

The bridge replacement? That’s pretty easy. One could do worse than consider Frank Lloyd Wright’s "butterfly wing" design, which world-renowned structural engineer T.Y. Lyn said was  "eminently buildable with today’s technology. It would be seismically very safe.” The design even incorporates passenger rail inside its structure – something the current design leaves out altogether.

When proposed a few years ago, it was a question of Wright versus wrong. Now that the wrong bridge's structural integrity is in question, it’s a matter of using the Wright design for the Bay Bridge eastern-span replacement.

Leal Charonnat, Architect
Oakland, California

Drone Strikes Out at Taco Bell

We had the bizarre experience of being blitzed by a drone on Saturday afternoon (May 18) while we sat on the deck at Taco Bell, Linda Mar Beach. We were there between 3 and 4:30 p.m. and were really surprised, especially when its "eye" kept swiveling in the direction of everyone on the deck (perhaps because a pretty young blonde woman kept on giving it a middle-finger salute). It seemed too large (about the size of a seagull with its wings outspread) and too expensive to be a hobbyist's, but someone was having fun. It wasn't us.

Evelyn Safiri

Ban the Bag: Get Plastic Out of the Environment

Bag Bans Across America

Our effort to ban plastic bags is under attack! The plastics industry is airing radio and TV ads across the state making false and misleading claims about the environmental impacts of its product.

We are just days away from a "live or die" vote in the State Senate on SB 405 (Padilla), which would ban single-use plastic bags in California. We need you to take three simple steps to support our efforts:

(1) Sign our petition in support of SB 405.
(2) Make a special contribution to support our campaign.
(3) Forward this message to your family and friends, and repost it on social media.

The plastics industry is pulling out all the stops and we have to be ready to respond. These corporate giants continue to rake in profits. We can’t match them dollar for dollar. But with our drive and passion, and support from people like you who care about the impacts of plastic-bag pollution, we can make a difference!

We’ve been working to ban single-use plastic bags for years. It’s time for the rest of the state to join the 75 California communities like Pacifica that are taking a leadership role by passing local ordinances and standing up to the plastics industry in the process. Let’s do this! Thanks so much for your support.

Californians Against Waste, 921-11th Street, Suite 420, Sacramento, CA 95814  
Phone: 916-443-5422