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January 2014

Milagra Ridge Habitat Restoration Project

Lower Milagra Ridge, dedicated to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 2007, connects Milagra Ridge to a trailhead at the Connemara housing development.

The restoration project will protect and restore habitat for the endangered Mission blue butterfly. These fragile creatures lay their eggs on silver leaf lupine plants growing in open grasslands. The newly hatched caterpillars will feed only on the lupines. Invasive plants such as pampas grass, broom, and Monterey pine and cypress trees overrun these critical areas needed for the lupines, caterpillars, and butterflies to survive. This project will remove the most aggressive plants in the most critical areas.

For your safety, there will be temporary trail closures. The National Park Service appreciates your patience during removal of invasive vegetation. Work will occur Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Info: call 415-561-3054 or email

Open Letter: Practice and Preach Water Conservation

Pacifica civic leaders (government, nonprofit, educational institution, residential, faith community, family group) ask all Pacificans to help save water.

The governor has declared a drought emergency, and our water district has called for voluntary 20 percent reduction in water use. This means taking shorter showers, using less water in the home and garden, using commercial car washes instead of washing the car at home, etc. The water district and the Internet have lots of good ideas for saving water.

This is a genuine crisis, and we all need to do our part to help. I am cutting way back on my water use, and writing about this emergency in my Pacifica Tribune column and here on my Pacifica Riptide blog. Please do whatever you can to spread the word to others. We need to do this thing now! Every day counts. And don’t forget to “pray for rain,” even if you’re not religious. Thanks.

John Maybury, Editor & Publisher, Pacifica Riptide

Weekly Green: Special California Drought Edition

Welcome to a special edition of the Weekly Green, the no-frills news roundup provided free of charge by the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV).  Sign up for your free subscription to receive the Weekly Green again next week:

Historic California drought called a red flag for future of US—The California drought, the worst in its history, could have far-reaching impacts for the state and for a nation that is only now starting to cope with climate change, experts say.

California drought: Scientists to probe cause—California's drought will be one of the extreme weather events that the American Meteorological Society will examine later this year to determine whether the cause is natural variability or human-caused climate change, a federal official said Tuesday.

The Cost of Sunny Skies: California's State of Emergency Drought—While we like to show off our weather forecasts to our more unfortunate neighbors stuck in a second Polar Vortex -- we are paying a price for this. State and water agencies can prepare for drought by investing in a diverse portfolio of water supply solutions: efficiency, recycling, better groundwater management, and stormwater capture and reuse.

Key enviro law suspended in California under drought emergency—When California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) declared a drought emergency last week, his administration slipped a bit of legalese into the declaration that has some environmentalists worried.

Speaker Boehner Visits California for Drought Bill—House Speaker John Boehner visited a dusty California field on Wednesday, joining Central Valley Republicans to announce an emergency drought-relief bill to help farmers through what is certain to be a devastating year.

Republicans seek to tap California drought for a political edge—Midterm election campaigns attempt to link the state's water crisis to Democratic environmental policies, and promise relief for farmers.

California ski resorts battle drought with snow machines—The drought here in California has meant a lot of mud, sweat and tears at the ski resorts in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The snowpack is at a meager 20 percent of normal and many ski resorts have had to turn to mechanical snow makers or close down for lack of powder.

California's drought could mean bad news at the grocery store—The record drought in California is not only likely to decrease the state's agricultural yield and affect food prices, it could also wreak severe economic consequences for rural communities. To discuss the impact on farming and for consumers, Jeffrey Brown talks to Karen Ross of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

California Wineries Confront Historic Drought—No one in California’s wine industry is panicking just yet, but vintners are definitely nervous

California drought: Water officials look to rules of '70s—The American River looks to Jonas Minton very much like it did nearly four decades ago when he took a kayak out into what was then a trickling stream and scraped across the rocks on the bottom.

California DMV Traffic Fines Effective 2014

- Driving without driver's license: $214

- Changing address without notifying DMV: $214

- Driving without insurance and having accident: $796 with license suspension for 4 years

- Run red light: $533

- Run over yellow double solid lines: $425

- Forbidden U-turn: $284

- Exceeding speed limit (1-15 miles per hour): $224

- Exceeding speed limit (16-25 miles per hour): $338

- Driving too slow: $328

- No stop at stop sign: $284

- Passing school bus when red lights flash: $675

- Using cell phone while driving (first time): $160

- Parking in bus stop: $976

- Not turning headlights on when it is dark: $382

- No seat belt while driving: $160

- Kid without seat belt or car seat: $436

- Wearing headphones while driving: $178

Pullet Surprise: Lost Chicken Found in Rockaway Beach

Why did the chicken cross the road? Why, to get on Pacifica Riptide, of course.

"There's a lost chicken in our front yard. It's been around since at least last night. It appears to have some of its back feathers torn out. The feral cats are intimidated by it. Anybody lose a chicken?" (Rockaway Beach news item posted by Peter Loeb @ and forwarded by Alan Wald)

Peter updates us now: "Through NextDoor, I discovered that there are several people in the Rockaway valley who have chickens, but all of them counted their chickens and none were missing. I contacted one of the chicken-keepers, and she and her neighbors came down to catch the chicken. They called themselves the Chicken Whisperers. The chicken went to a good chicken foster home, but we never did find the owner of a lost chicken. If anybody is still missing a chicken, I know where it is."

(Posted by John Maybury, Pacifica Riptide, Pacifica, California)

Youth of the Year Awards @ Boys and Girls Clubs

YoY 2014 Awardees with State Senate Certificates
On January 22, more than 150 people came together at the Basque Cultural Center in South San Francisco to honor the accomplishments of several remarkable children and youth from Pacifica and South San Francisco.

Ten members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of North San Mateo County were awarded the title of "Clubhouse Youth of the Year,” while Clarissa Fong, a senior at South San Francisco High School, won the overall “Youth of the Year.” Clarissa will have the opportunity to advance toward the state, regional and national Youth of the Year titles.

Many local and state elected officials were on hand to issue certificates of achievement to each awardee. Torani was awarded the “Business Partner of the Year” award, too. During the reception, entertainment included the sounds of the El Camino High School Jazz Combo, as well as Ava Crotti, of Ortega Elementary School in Pacifica, performing “Over the Rainbow.”

"Our community came together in a remarkable way to celebrate youth, which is an important part of our mission work – bringing kids, youth, and community together. Our sponsors and donors made it possible for us to keep this event free; guests enjoyed food and beverages from many local businesses, all of which was donated," said Sharon Dolan, Executive Director.

Sponsors included the Basque Cultural Center, Comcast, Kaiser Permanente, Kiwanis Club of South San Francisco, South San Francisco Scavenger Company, Dudley Perkins Company, and Wayne Joseph, D.D.S. Numerous South San Francisco restaurants provided complimentary food dishes, and Torani hosted a soda bar.

For more information, please contact Sharon Dolan, Executive Director at the Boys and Girls Clubs of North San Mateo County, at (650) 589-7090 ext. 14 or

Why Grand Jury Is Taking Long, Hard Look at Harbor District

Harbor District Issues

Fix Our Harbors

Email from John Ullom of Citizen Access TV:

"On Wednesday, February 5, the Harbor Commission will vote to destroy documents. With the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury currently investigating the Harbor District, I think that destruction would be inappropriate and suspicious. I'm asking for your help in encouraging the commissioners to vote NO.

The documents include canceled checks, resolutions, agendas, minutes, litigation and other records that the Grand Jury might need. The public learned of the investigation very recently and the General Manager requested the destruction soon after. This action fits a pattern described in the Half Moon Bay Review article.

Please contact all five harbor commissioners at San Mateo County Harbor District and ask them not to destroy the records: Robert Bernardo, President; Jim Tucker; Will Holsinger; Pietro Parravano; Sabrina Brennan.

FYI, my brother and I started Citizen Access TV last year. We cover public meetings and events in San Mateo County, and we've been live-streaming Harbor District meetings ever since Commissioners Tucker, Holsinger, and Parravano voted to terminate meeting video."

Video of January 15 SMCHD Meeting

Two Harbor Commission candidates to watch for November 2014:

Nicole David, marine biologist, San Francisco Estuary Institute

Tom Mattusch, captain, Huli Cat charter fishing boat 

(Posted by John Maybury, Pacifica Riptide, Pacifica, California)

Cracking Costco's Codes: Shopping to Win the Numbers Game

By Jesse Jones/KING 5 News/

Shopping at Costco can be a little overwhelming. But you can work your way to a better deal at the warehouse giant. Kyle James runs the website He's been telling people about Costco deals for years. "I started building this resource of these different ways that you can, when you're in the store. Just by looking at the price you can figure out, okay, is this full price, might this be marked down even more, am I getting the best deal possible," explained James.

With the help of Costco and James, I'll show you how to break the Costco price code. The key to the code is not in the dollars but rather the cents. The last two digits of the price reveals everything. First, if you see a tag end in .99 the product is full price. What you are really looking for a price that ends in .97. That means the product is going to be moved out."Usually it's a special price you're not going to find. Once it's gone, it's gone. And those can be some good deals also," said James.

A price ending in .00 is probably the best deal you will find in the store. It means the manager wants the item out. And once it's out, the product is gone for good. Also look for the asterisk. That means the product is discontinued. A combination of a .97 and an asterisk means you are getting a last-chance good deal. James says prices ending in .79 and .49 are manufacturer's specials. "It's products they're testing out in the store. Manufacturers say, 'Hey, we'll let you sell it for this price,'" said James.

Just to recap:
.99 - full price
.97 - a deal decided by the manager
.49 and .79 - manufacturer’s specials
.00 - the goods are about to go
Asterisk - discontinued and done

(Posted by John Maybury, Pacifica Riptide, Pacifica, California)