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January 2015

The Cost of War

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While we Little People fuss and fume over our budgets and programs and local issues, we should remember where the Big Bucks really go:

Tomahawk cruise missile: $1.2 million, plus costs of fuel, crew, and deployment of warships to launch the missiles

Hellfire missile: $100,000, plus costs of fuel, crew, and warplanes to fire the missiles

Small Diameter Bomb: $30,000, plus costs of fuel, crew, and warplanes to drop the bombs

B-1 bomber: classified; estimated cost somewhere between $1.5 billion and $2.4 billion, plus $58,000 an hour to operate

F-15E Strike Eagle fighter bomber: $108 million, plus $39,000 an hour to operate

F-22 Raptor: $350 million, plus $68,000 an hour to operate

The United States uses much of this expensive firepower in Syria and Iraq against American-made materiel (artillery and tanks) that ISIS/ISIL seized from the Iraqi Army when it disintegrated in June 2014.

(Sources: Robin Wright, “The Vortex,” The New Yorker, December 8, 2014; Yahoo News; Defense Daily)

Despite Decent Deluges, Mountains Still Bone-Dry

Photo by Pacifica Riptide drone, eastern Sierra

By Gary Hanauer, Special to Riptide

Outdoor writer Tom Stienstra reports mind-boggling statistics in his San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate blog: WHERE'S THE SNOW?

He writes: "Blue Canyon averages 252 inches of snow per year, Truckee averages 204 inches per year, and both have zilch right now. The weather station at Blue Canyon (5,240-foot elevation at the small airport) is used as a reporting point for meteorologists across America; it has bare dirt around it right now. Drought? Hardly. The station has already recorded an amazing 46.67 inches of rain this winter. If all that rain were snow, it could be 20, 30 feet high."

He adds: "It’s not only bare dirt along the Dunsmuir Grade, but it has not snowed there even once this season. Zero. Yet just above the Dunsmuir Grade, at Girard Ridge, the rain gauge has recorded 46.88 inches of rain this winter. Last year at this time, it was about 4 inches. On Saturday, the freezing level was 10,600 feet at Mount Shasta, some 1,500 feet higher than 9,025-foot Mount Eddy to the west."

Meanwhile, in the Redwood Empire to the north of us, Gasquet has received a towering 47.52 inches of rain, 37.43 inches have fallen in Zenia on the Eel River, and, closer to home right in Sonoma County, Yorkville (familiar to those of us who take Highway 128 from 101 to Mendocino) has had a staggering 53.76 inches of rain. But almost all of that wet stuff fell in December. January has been so dry, Tom reports, "that the rivers are low and clear." Capture

Beach Boulevard Bingo: City Sniffs Pay Dirt @ Old Sewer Plant

Council_ChambersBrendan B. Bartholomew, Special to the S.F. Examiner

The Poop on Pacifica's "Plan"

1-20 cartoon- copy copy

Coastal Commission Letter

California Coastal Commission (CCC) responds to City of Pacifica request to change Local Coastal Plan for proposed Beach Boulevard project (aka The Old Sewer Plant). Officially known as Amendment # LCP-2-PAC-14-0173-1, this is a working draft. The proposed project is intended to be integrated into Pacifica's General Plan. The city's information about this project is published on the city website at the link below:

Beach Boulevard Project 3-Redevelop  copy copy Steven Greenhut on Redevelopment

Pacifica Police: Car Burglar Confesses; Claim Your Stolen Items

Pacifica Police Department has information on a burglar arrested in a neighboring jurisdiction. The suspect claims to have burglarized vehicles in the north end of Pacifica overnight Wednesday to Thursday (January 21-22). Please contact the police non-emergency number if you were the victim of a theft so police can attempt to reunite you with your property!

WTF! More Missing Millions on Coastside

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The City of Half Moon Bay is scrambling to account for a $4.3 million discrepancy in its budget after an unnamed employee apparently forgot to record a city payout as an expense. This snafu (reported by the Half Moon Bay Review, January 21) comes on the heels of the City of Pacifica "search" for a missing $4 million in its budget. We're waiting for the other shoe to drop. Who's next? Daly City?

Pacifica Scratcher Scammer Busted

The former manager of a San Bruno gas station has been charged with cheating people who purchased California lottery scratchers after he figured out a way to secretly check which tickets were winners. He would then sell the losing tickets to gas station patrons. The California Lottery Commission calls the scam "pinning," a way retailers can secretly check whether tickets are winners or losers, and then keep the winners and sell only the losing tickets to customers. The California Lottery Commission sent undercover investigators to the gas station and the manager sold them four more altered tickets. Shoiab Muhammed Mustafa of Pacifica was arrested November 17. He faces five felony counts of computer fraud and a misdemeanor charge. Investigators said he stole at least $300. (Pacifica Tribune, January 21)
Alan Wald palindromically posts: "Mustafa stole lots -- a fat sum!"