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Pacifica Prognosis 1969: "Rugged, Rocky Vistas" and 90,000 People

William Chapin's Suburbs of San Francisco, a book published in 1969, predicted that Pacifica would have a population of 90,000 by 1990. Chapin wrote about Pacifica:

•"It has no industry and its local sales are among the lowest in the state."
•"To remedy this, the city manager has stressed efforts to 'provide a little better balance by attracting recreation-oriented businesses to exploit our beautiful beaches and rugged, rocky vistas.'"
•"Citizens' participation in civic affairs and community events is unusually high...Hardly any Council meetings have fewer than 50 to 100 citizens in attendance..."

(Thanks to Bill Collins for sharing this.)


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"Unfortunately, many longtime locals are afraid of any change that may improve the city and bring in more visitors and tax revenue."

That's pretty funny. How's the traffic this weekend down there?

Whatever the problems with Pacifica government, one might want to learn something about the history up to the present of Half Moon Bay before holding it up as a superior example. Half Moon Bay is "The City That Doesn't Know How," being dominated most of the time by old-guard and neo-old-guard politics aimed at planting the final crop and making money for the in-crowd, sprawling over the land in a pattern of leap-frog development that is a textbook example of how not to grow, overdeveloping (like Pacifica and most urban areas in California) far beyond its natural resource base, dragging its feet for more than a decade after the deadline before it finally created its first weak and problematic LCP, grossly overpaying its department heads and city manager, spending huge amounts of money on plans for locally destructive developments before those developments were even a good possibility, farming out both its police and its parks and recreation departments, poor-planning itself into traffic snafus that often surpass Pacifica's even though HMB is 1/3 the size in population, failing to defend itself and its taxpayers by failing to appeal a major phony lawsuit a developer won due to a judge's flawed decision, and so on, ad infinitum, back through the years since it incorporated.

However, HMB city government is not responsible for the fire district that covers the city and the unincorporated midcoast. That is a separate special district that currently farms its services out to CalFire, so it, too, doesn't know how.

As for those of us who have resided on the unincorporated midcoast for more than a few years, we do most of our shopping in Pacifica, especially Linda Mar and Pedro Point, for daily needs we can't get in our communities. For years, even before the underground freeway in the tunnels opened, the intersections with traffic lights between Montara/Moss Beach and the city to our south made driving into HMB during commute hours or on weekends a no-go. That has been much worse the past few years. Yes, there are overpriced fou-fou tourist traps plus a number of good places to eat, especially ethnic food of several origins, in HMB; but for cafes and small restaurants with honest food that the average Joe can afford and that one can actually get to without traffic backups, Pacifica and up to Daly City and Colma have far more options. Most real businesses handling the needs of people are long gone from downtown HMB; and it is well known that if one can't lose one's money fast enough in Cache Creek or Reno, starting a small business with the high rents prevalent on Main Street, HMB, might well be a successful alternative for you.

The grass is not greener in the city 10 miles south on the other side of Montara Mountain. Might as well deal with the devil you know in Pacifica.

When you have an administration that spends money it doesn't have, like the multiply mortgaged (it has NEVER been paid off, and is owed for years in the future) police station and community center, you tend to get infrastructure that simply crumbles -- as there's no money to improve it.

Most recent example of wasteful spending in Pacifica: $400,000 for drawings that are not even workable for a project that has not been vetted by regulatory authorities and has not been approved by the voters.

I mean -- why not rebuild Sears? -- so we can all have brunch there.

"Half Moon Bay, like Pacifica, is on its way to insolvency."

Losing a $37 million lawsuit will do that for you.

Of course, Half Moon Bay is a destination city that has a bustling little downtown, unlike the drive-through city known as Pacifica. Unfortunately, many longtime locals are afraid of any change that may improve the city and bring in more visitors and tax revenue.

Half Moon Bay, like Pacifica, is on its way to insolvency. They only avoided that several years ago by outsourcing the police department to the county and going with CalFire instead of a local department. But the finance people there at the time projected another shortfall in the future, because cities in this county can't keep up with their payrolls/benefits/public pensions.

Pacifica may not be able to outsource the cops to the county because of the mortgage held by banksters on the police station!

I am with you there, Butch. Pacifica definitely needs more growth and progress in city government and finance/business. Pacifica has what it takes in natural resources to be an economic engine but is not playing it smart the way Half Moon Bay does. I live in the woods between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay, so I see where all the traffic and money are going every weekend -- hear that sucking sound from the south?! They come to Pacifica to surf and hike for free, then head to Half Moon Bay for seafood dinners, kayak rentals, fishing boat charters, whale watching trips, Main Street shopping sprees, international cuisine, overnights, pumpkins, Christmas trees. CHA CHING!!!

John, I do enjoy Pacifica more than you know. I was born & raised here. Most of my Terra Nova graduating class is still here as well. My thought is the fact we have a broke city and a total lack of imagination here most time. Do I want a Daly City? Hell no!! We do need more from our city leaders and a better plan for Pacifica to be able to sustain itself for the future. While I like it the way it is, the present course is a dangerous one. We need more!!
Thanks for letting me rant!! : )

That's what I call consistency and stability. Let the rest of America choke on progress and growth, which represent more concrete, steel, noise, and smog. We don't need any of that kind of progress and growth. We have what everybody else is dying to get: fresh air, ocean breezes, cool fog, open space to breathe free, relaxed pace of life, easy parking, etc. We don't want to be like Daly City or anywhere else Over the Hill. Resist Density! Resist development and growth. Sit still and enjoy what we have here. It is special. Sorry, Butch, but thanks for the opportunity to rant.

So not much has changed at all in 46+ years!! That's not what I would call progress!!

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