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October 23, 2014

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I gotta say that every one of these City Council candidates has always been very nice to me and that they are all very likeable people in their respective ways. I gotta also say that only three of them have made the commitment to go to bat for the people of Pacifica against the various moneyed interests that are presently pushing the mindless widening of Highway 1. This doesn't leave a whole lot of room for confusion.

Peter: I've been waiting for confirmation as to what these candidates' position is regarding the highway. Now we have it, and to me that's important -- no more "I have philosophy" B.S. Candidates for public office should offer positions that the people can embrace or reject. That, increasingly, is not what's on offer.

Mike O'Neill's mailer is paid for by a business PAC (political action committee) out of Chicago.

Out-of-town big money going to the O'Neill campaign?

What has Mike O'Neill promised?

Yeah, what Peter said.

Carl: PH1A endorsed Dougherty because he clearly said he was opposed to the Caltrans widening project. Only Keener, Digre, and Dougherty said that in response to PH1A's questionnaire. None of the other candidates would say that. If voters use all three of their votes, and they give any of their votes to any of the other candidates, they will be helping to elect a candidate who is not opposed to the widening.

Lionel: The problem is that the widening without a median is not one of the choices. The Caltrans-certified Final Environmental Impact Report is for the super-wide landscaped median alternative. This is the City Council's preferred alternative. Caltrans needed the City Council to select the landscaped median as its preferred alternative so Caltrans could prepare the FEIR with that as the proposed project. Any candidate who doesn't understand that the only choice is the super-wide project or to vote no on moving forward with the proposed project doesn't understand the process and is not competent to be a City Council member and should not be elected.

I've had independent confirmation and clarification from a third-party source: O'Neill and Ruchames favor the Caltrans widening as is without a median. Perhaps that is what O'Neill meant by a "smaller project."

For my own edification and just maybe that of a few voters in Pacifica, can some several of you city government wonks clarify your position on candidate Dougherty? PH1A endorses him, as stated in the opening paragraphs of this discussion item. He could be a deciding vote. So?

Lionel, my guess is Van Ocampo and Joe Hurley have coached candidate O'Neill incorrectly as they have habitually done during every council item involving seemingly innocent requests to fund or continue studies for this widening proposal. Council minutes show that concerns by council were greased over by Van and/or Joe at every item meeting, and if you add in the minutes from the project's Development Team meetings, there is a clear trail of deception, misleading information, or critical information that was not presented to our City Council by our own director of public works Van Ocampo and representatives of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority during council meetings when widening items were being heard.

Mike O'Neill has supported the widening not only in print, but has voted to support the widening while on the PSD Board of Trustees. Candidate O'Neill is out in right field on this one, Lionel. I could go on, but I'd rather just not vote for him, and would encourage anyone who doesn't want the widening, known locally as the Calera Parkway Project, not to vote for candidate O'Neill or, for that matter, not to vote for candidates Spano, Dyer, Dougherty, or Ruchames.

That leaves me just two candidates to support, even though three seats on council are up for grabs: Sue Digre and John Keener -- two candidates who are very clearly against the Caltrans proposal. Let the other five split a few votes among themselves. One of those five will get elected. I just won't be adding my vote to any of them. Peace and Respect, Lionel. Coffee here is always on.

So where is the proof of the new theory of relative truth by Mike O'Neill, stating that "we can backpedal once we authorize the funds from SMCTA"? The answer, as far as I've been able to determine, is that there are three possibilities in the current Caltrans proposal:
A. No plan -- rejected.
B. The Caltrans plan with a median landscaping.
C. The Caltrans plan without a median landscaping.

Even Caltrans states that its proposed widening project will not solve the traffic problem. It seems odd that this huge transportation agency will not follow the best practice by the US DOT, which is using ITS -- Intelligent Transportation Systems. ITS are mentioned by Councilwoman Sue Digre as the way to go for the Peninsula and for Pacifica.

Mike O'Neill also incorrectly stated at the PEF forum that Pacifica has had "two or three companies in here who say timing the lights is not possible."

This is not true.

There was one company, which may or may not have finished its assessment, and which was given incorrect data and assumptions. In addition, that company may not have been applying the latest technologies, mentioned by Councilperson Sue Digre. Those are Intelligent Transportation Systems, and it's on the DOT website: http://www.its.dot.gov/

"there was this new theory being proffered by Mike O'Neill... "

We may not really be able to take what Mike O'Neill has to say about the proposed Caltrans project as helpful, as it seems he's not sure himself about his position.

Mike O'Neill's 2011 letter to Caltrans in support of the project is published in Caltrans' EIR.

Reg: "Oh good, now I know who not to vote for. I HATE sitting in that traffic":

John Serra apparently wants the clogs moved slightly farther up the road and slightly farther down the road with no significant change to Pacifica's traffic troubles. He wants to do his sitting in traffic a bit farther north in the mornings and a bit farther south in the evenings and to have his whole commute completely trashed for the two or six or eight or twelve years it will take for Caltrans to trash our little town. What a load of foolishness.

"And even if there was a way to make the project smaller, any redesign would at least require a new traffic study to show what the benefit would be, which would require some sort of EIR revision."

And that's my question. At the candidates forum last Saturday, there was this new theory being proffered by Mike O'Neill first, after an insulting "grow up Pacifica" diatribe worthy of a sixth-grader. Methinks his time on the school board wasn't well spent.

It seems a "cover-your-a@@" excuse to take the heat from all the people in this community who recognize the insanity of the Caltrans proposal and do not like it.

Sorry, John, et al. The northbound traffic noted in my last post was on Sunday. Guess I'm still a bit dingy from the Giants game yesterday.

Yes, let's all get stupid, suck it up, and roll over for a bad project because the highway won't still be there if time is taken to create a more appropriate project. Huh? Hate the traffic now? Yeah, I've got to admit it seems petty compared to the traffic we'll have during construction of another piece of the coastside freeway from north of Vallemar to south of Rockaway. If you dig jams, that will be traffic to LOVE!

We currently have the mess created by the "experts" with the relatively (but not physically) small bridge expansion at Linda Mar to guide our thoughts on Highway 1 traffic in Pacific and environs. Midday last Saturday, the southbound backup was all the way to the Eureka Square area in Sharp Park. At 6 p.m., the northbound backup reached California Avenue in Moss Beach! Now there is some righteous Caltrans-created traffic to crow about!

What does "smaller" even mean? It's not as if Caltrans can make the lanes narrower or eliminate the shoulder or only add a lane in one direction. And even if there was a way to make the project smaller, any redesign would at least require a new traffic study to show what the benefit would be, which would require some sort of EIR revision.

Oh good, now I know who not to vote for. I HATE sitting in that traffic.

Council does have the power to reject Caltrans' proposed widening -- and to apply for grants to study a combination of alternatives.

Only three City Council candidates support alternatives:

John Keener
Sue Digre
Matt Dougherty

Good point, Lionel. This is the Pacifica version of Stockholm Syndrome. Local true believers identify with (and worship) their captors (Caltrans and SMCTA), who (according to the faithful) can do no wrong. Thus, these acolytes of highway widening assure us that we have nothing to fear by approving the widening, and that it will make our town safer, more scenic, and more modern. If you buy that, I have a bridge I want to sell you.

In the latest debate about the highway widening, the candidates favoring it contend that the certified EIR allows a smaller project to be built, i.e., there's going to be some choice after voting yes.

I cannot find any supporting evidence for this -- is there any, or is this cover for advocating a very unpopular position?

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