Edition 3, April 2021
Welcome to the April 2021 edition of Pacifica Voice.
In this edition → link to articles:
- SPRING AND REBIRTH
- → Tree City Pacifica introduces their efforts.
- Penny Nixon discusses → resurrection, hope, and possibilities.
- CANDIDATES for Board of Supervisors, District 3: Pacifica Voice reached out to three declared candidates and → Laura Parmer-Lohan and → Ray Mueller responded.
- SOCIAL JUSTICE
- Pacifica Social Justice → condemns violence.
- Photos of Pacifica in protest.
- CLIMATE CHANGE AND OUR ENVIRONMENT
- Davis and Kremer offer a→review of “Rising”.
- Christine Boles presents information on → Pacifica’s Sea Wall.
- Summer Lee discusses → hillside preservation.
- The Housing Leadership Council shares their calendar of → Affordable Housing Month Events.
- Suzanne Moore shares two items:
- A summary of presentations on the → Housing Element and the Regional Housing Needs Assessment
- Remarks on the courage of the → Unhoused seeking legal clarification of their status
- Faith In Action resources for → tenant debt relief.
- THE COMMUNITY SHARES
- → Pacifica Library events from Paula Teixeira.
- → Pacific Beach Coalition updates from Lynn Adams.
- The → Sanchez Art Gallery lists events.
- How our County → vaccinated its farmworkers and fishing fleet.
- Mary Bier invites → youth to become engaged.
- Ian Butler shares thoughts on → Myanmar.
CALENDAR Month Events
- TH 4/22 Earth Day:
- Virtual talk with Caren Loebel Fried about counting albatrosses on Midway Atoll TBA
- 6 PM Regional Housing Needs Assessment letstalkhousing.org/event to register
- MON 4/26
- 5:30 PM Housing Element Study Session email@example.com to sign up
- 7:00 PM City Council
- TH 4/29 6 PM Workshop #4 Beach Blvd
- RSVP at the City website www.cityofpacifica.org under capital improvement projects
- MON 5/3 7:00 PM Planning Commission
- MON 5/10 7:00 PM City Council
- MON 5/17 7:00 PM Planning Commission
- MON 5/24 7:00 PM City Council
- Please refer to calendars of events from the Housing Leadership Council, Pacifica Library, Pacific Beach Coalition, and the Sanchez Art Gallery.
Photos have been contributed by Leo Leon, Mark Hubbell and Michael Dobres.
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SPRING AND REBIRTH
Tree City Pacifica
Author Paul Totah
Pacifica has experienced significant urban tree loss over the past 30 years. Some trees were felled as they approached the end of their lives, but many others that could have thrived with proper care were removed before their time.
Now there’s a chance to make a difference thanks to a move by the city and the actions of volunteers.
Tree City Pacifica, a citizens group formed in 2019, has worked with the City to repair some of that lost greenery by planting more than 50 trees during two Arbor Day celebrations, and the group is continuing to organize annual Arbor Day plantings every second Saturday of November. You can learn more about these activities at Facebook.com/treecitypacifica.
In its brief history, TCP has also racked up a number of accomplishments, including helping Pacifica earn Tree City USA honors — a title granted by The Arbor Day Foundation and the State Urban Forester. Tree City USA publicizes the value of urban trees by providing research on how trees combat climate change; provide habitat for wildlife; and improve health, property values and commerce.
Most cities with the Tree City USA designation also have canopy goals ensuring that they replace felled trees while also working to increase the overall number of trees in the city. These goals are lofty and speak to the potential of canopy coverage. South San Francisco has a canopy goal of 22.6 percent while Milwaukie, Oregon, which has half the population of Pacifica, prioritizes trees in its Climate Action Plan and aims to increase its canopy from 23 percent to 40 percent by 2040. TCP is advocating that Pacifica develop its own canopy goal.
Recently, TCP learned that the City of Pacifica was planning to revise the Heritage Tree Ordinance in 2021. Would the revised ordinance be an improvement or put more trees at risk? Pacifica has not enforced the consequences of violations of the Heritage Tree Ordinance for years. As a result, mature trees have been removed without permits, and, in some cases, this has resulted in flooding and other serious consequences. How could TCP participate in the creation of this new policy to ensure that it reflects up-to-date practices that help our urban forest thrive?
Choosing to see the revision process as an opportunity, members researched ordinances and policies in 15 cities and spoke with their arborists about best practices. The group then summarized their findings and submitted their “Tree Policy Best Practices” document to the city’s goal-setting meeting and to the tree consultants working on the revision.
The work is just beginning. This summer the City’s Heritage Tree Ordinance revision process will hold public meetings — opportunities for those who see the value of trees to stand up and be heard.
If you would like to learn more about Tree Policy Best Practices and how you can help ensure that Pacifica gets a Heritage Tree Ordinance that promotes canopy goals and the protection of our urban forest, contact Tree City Pacifica at email@example.com.
The Awaited Resurrection
Author Rev. Dr. G. Penny Nixon, Senior minister of the Congregational Church of San Mateo and Co-director of the Peninsula Solidarity Cohort
Reprinted from the Daily Journal with author’s permission
Growing up in a Baptist church in New Hampshire, my earliest memories of Easter Sunday are of a 4 a.m. rush to get out the door to our sunrise service.
Pulling on my Easter dress, winter coat and cowboy boots we jumped in the car and headed out to join other believers in a foot of April snow, tramping up a hill to welcome the rising of the sun and the awaited resurrection. We stood there shivering, some poor soul trying to play the trumpet, his lips sticking to the frozen mouthpiece. Resurrection was coming ready or not. In my 5-year-old reality, if Jesus could raise from the dead out of the snow to a motley group of enthusiastic believers singing to an out of tune trumpet, anything could happen.
It was only after we traveled home from the service that our Easter baskets were put out and we had Cadbury chocolate eggs for breakfast and one or two neon marshmallow peeps while my mother popped the pot roast in the oven before we left for our regular church service to join in with the crowds. Again, we rushed out the door, my mother yelling instructions over her shoulder to my father to keep an eye on the roast.
Today, I have given up my Easter dress, my cowboy boots and the neon peeps but I still enjoy a Cadbury chocolate egg from time to time. I still go to church and, strangely enough, I am still awed by the resurrection, but not in the way you might imagine. Along the way I gave up trying to answer the question of what happened long ago. I find that I am no longer bound by creeds that limit my imagination, or a faith, no matter how dear, that forces me to exclude others who believe differently.
Truth is, I’ve lived long enough now to experience resurrection, regardless of what actually happened that first day. I’ve witnessed people “coming back to life” — coming out of depression, rising up out of grief, up out of alcoholism, up out of death-dealing situations. Having lived through two pandemics now, I’ve watched people find life in the midst of great suffering.
In the first pandemic during the AIDS years, it took nearly a decade, but I witnessed scientists develop anti-retroviral meds which made HIV a manageable disease rather than a death sentence. My friends stopped dying. As ministers, we were no longer burying two to three young men every Saturday in San Francisco and losing over a quarter of our congregation each year. It was a Herculean task to preach hope during those years and I had to find a way to believe it myself. I had to look for resurrection wherever I could find it — I had to choose to believe life was possible.
In the second pandemic, I’ve witnessed scientists develop a vaccine at record-breaking speed and we are starting to see a significant step forward toward a post-pandemic life. Fewer people are dying. We can almost grasp a post-pandemic world even if we cannot yet define it.
Resurrection is messy and it rarely comes on our timeline. And, sometimes it feels random and not accessible to everyone. The societal crucifixions of race and class continue, and many are still mired in the agony of Good Friday. But part of the Easter story is being given the ability to see resurrection, even when it seems most impossible.
The Easter story can speak to us whether or not we embrace the Christian tradition. It is a beautiful story, a human story of grief and loss, and of hope and possibilities. It reminds us that transformation is possible, even during the darkest times.
In that original resurrection story, when Mary Magdalene was in the garden at the tomb weeping, she looked up, and saw the gardener. When the gardener spoke, she realized that the gardener was Jesus, the risen Christ. Maybe the greatest moment of that first Easter was Mary seeing the divine in the gardener — an essential worker bringing beauty and life to each of us. Maybe resurrection can happen right here in San Mateo as we choose new life by seeing each other differently. By opening our eyes to the messy and beautiful humanity and divinity in all.
And, as we head into our second COVID spring, we can look for resurrection wherever we can find it. Resurrection can make the long night of suffering bearable because we can look for the dawn of healing. Resurrection can give us the confidence that things can be different. Resurrection can lift us out of the tomb of the impossible into the garden of the possible.
Sometimes it takes an out-of-tune trumpet on a snowy hill at dawn to announce resurrection. But most of the time, it simply takes us choosing to see one another differently, to recognize the holy essence of each person, and to choose to live fully with eyes wide open to the wonder that is all around us, and is in each person.
2022 CANDIDATES statements for Board of Supervisors, District 3
Now is the time to step it up to make economic equity, social justice and protection of our natural resources, realities. Accomplishing this requires progressive vision; transformative, community empowered leadership; and a proven track record of results.
As your full-time County Supervisor, I offer fresh ideas and leadership to working with all of the unique, feisty communities in District 3—a District stretching from from Pacifica in the North, through Montara, Moss Beach, El Granada, Half Moon Bay and Pescadero, and to the Santa Cruz County line on the Coastside. The District also loops inland, including Peninsula communities such as San Carlos where I am Mayor.
My leadership style is to “listen, lead and deliver.” I champion diverse voices at the table; lively debate to build consensus towards workable solutions; and the need for elected officeholders to be accountable to the community’s priorities.
The first thing I did after announcing my candidacy was to invite District 3 leaders and residents to share their priorities with me. Here is what I’ve heard from your neighbors:
We Need Housing and Solutions to the Homeless Crisis. COVID has been a challenge for all of our communities, including Pacifica. That’s why I’ve spoken out forcefully in defense of protecting essential workers and recognizing the unique needs of working women and women of color disproportionately impacted by COVID.
As Supervisor, I’ll support continued protections for tenants, homeowners and small businesses as we all recover together from COVID’s economic impacts. The County must expand its reach in serving homeless people and families who need support to transition off the street with comprehensive shelter, job placement, and addiction services.
I’ll work to facilitate meaningful partnerships and collaborations between the environmental community, housing advocates and neighbors to reach our shared goal of expanding affordable housing while also respecting Pacifica’s unique neighborhood character and protecting our coastline/environment. I reject the notion that these efforts are mutually exclusive—by working together, we can protect our quality of life while expanding housing options for future generations and our most vulnerable.
Addressing Sea Level Rise/Coastal Erosion: For too long, Pacificans have grappled with the dangers of coastal erosion and sea level rise. Addressing homeowner/infrastructure safety while protecting our coastal and beach habitats should not be viewed as mutually exclusive goals. I support out-of-the box thinking to bring innovation and solutions to this crisis. We all agree that any solution requires significant financial resources. As Supervisor, I’ll take the lead in fighting for Pacifica’s fair share of state funding to address these needs.
As a life-long athlete, I’ve worked to ensure our parks and open spaces are protected not only for the enjoyment of future generations, but also to promote healthy lifestyles. Pacificans live amid stunning open spaces, beaches, and forests. As Supervisor, I’ll work to protect this beauty for the enjoyment and appreciation for all of our families.
Equity and Justice. Recent events – Black Lives Matter, #StopAAPI Hate, virulent immigrant bashing, and continued wage disparities for women only show us how far we still need to go. And here in our County, Supervisor Carole Groom’s retirement has raised the specter of a potential all white male County Board. I am running for Supervisor to address all of these issues, and more.
As a young girl, I was told there were many things I couldn’t do (but boys could). As an adult, I was told I couldn’t marry the woman I loved (but I did). I entered public service to give voice for equity and for those who still aren’t heard. I have directly experienced what that feels like, and these are the challenges that drive my leadership today.
Please join my growing coalition – visit https://www.lauraforsupervisor.com/ or contact me at Laura@LauraforSupervisor.com
Mayor Laura Parmer Lohan is a Peninsula Clean Energy Board member, a San Mateo County Home for All steering committee member, and serves on the board of the San Mateo County Long Range Planning Economic Recovery Subcommittee where she advocates for the benefit of all District 3 residents and families. She and her wife Kathy, sons Bradley and Gregory, and four-legged pal Charlie, are residents of San Carlos, where Kathy serves as Executive Director of the San Carlos Education Foundation.
“At the outset I want to thank Suzanne Moore and John Keener for the opportunity to introduce myself to you. In this introduction, I would like to share a little about where my motivation to serve others comes from, introduce myself and my family, share my history as a public servant, and finally invite you to learn more and read about the issues our campaign is based upon at my campaign website: www.rayforsupervisor.com.
When I was in fifth grade, my dad suffered disc deterioration in his neck and became disabled. I was one of seven children. Life changed radically. Mom, who was a homemaker, went to night school. Dad could only be out of bed 3 to 4 hours a day on pain killers. I remember as a kid staring at the night sky with my brothers in the backyard, talking about the way the world ought to be to help people. I have spent my life since then dedicated to public service.
Family is everything to me. My wife Kristen and I are high school sweethearts, growing up together amongst the avocado trees and strawberry fields, in North County, San Diego, and on the beaches outside of Camp Pendleton. After high school we both attended UC Berkeley, where Kristen received an Environmental Sciences degree, and where I studied at the College of Natural Resources earning a Bioresource Sciences degree. Thereafter, I attended law school at the UC Hastings College of the Law. While in law school, I interned at the Public Law Research Institute in San Francisco as well as the Legislative Counsel’s Office in Sacramento.
I dedicated myself to study how to help people and create effective public policy.
Today, Kristen serves as a middle school Principal, honored in 2014 as “School Administrator of the Year” for San Mateo and San Francisco Counties.
I work as an attorney and technology director in the emergency response sector, working on issues like Covid-19 and wildfire recovery. As a younger man, I served as Chief of Staff to Santa Clara County Supervisor and former State Senator S. Joseph Simitian. My career also includes practicing law, both in-house and as a private litigator.
We have two children, Max, age 15, and Elle, age 12. Our kids keep us busy attending their various sporting events. Additionally, Max and I enjoy surfing together and often can be found at Linda Mar on the weekend. Both of our kids attend local public schools.
My volunteer service includes involvement in the Surfrider Foundation where I am a member of the Blue Water Task Force, testing the streams that run into our local beaches. I also serve as an Advisory Board Member of Green Foothills, as well as on the Board of the Peninsula Democratic Coalition, the largest and oldest Democratic Club in Silicon Valley. I’m grateful in the past to have served for six years on the Board of LifeMoves, a provider of shelter/housing and supportive services for the homeless.
With respect to elected office, I’m a third term Menlo Park City Councilmember, elected in 2012, 2016, and 2020. I have served as Mayor twice. My work as a Councilmember can be found at this website link: https://www.raymuellerforsupervisor.com/about-ray/#experience. In this Supervisor race, I am grateful to have received endorsements from over 100 current and former elected officials, including 50 current and former elected women officials such as Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis, State Controller Betty Yee, current Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee and former Superintendent of Schools Anne Campbell, San Mateo County Treasurer and Tax Collector Sandie Arnott and former San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne Tissier.
Effectively helping people as Supervisor requires strong collaboration with local Cities. I am grateful to have been endorsed by 9 current and former Pacifica Mayors, as well as 36 current and former City Councilmembers and Mayors from cities throughout DIstrict 3.
With respect to the Coast, I am running to strengthen the agricultural/marine/tourism economy in a sustainable and equitable manner that lifts up our most vulnerable and protects the environment for future generations. I look forward to meeting you between now and June 2022, and discussing how we accomplish these goals together. You can learn more at www.rayforsupervisor.com.”
Pacifica Social Justice Condemns all Anti-Asian Violence and Gender-based Violence
Author Chaya Gordon, Pacifica Social Justice
One hundred people joined Pacifica Social Justice’s sign-waving on Highway 1 in Pacifica on March 26 to condemn all anti-Asian violence and gender-based violence.
Pacifica Social Justice (PSJ) stands in solidarity with our Asian, Asian American, and Asian Pacific Islander community members against incidences of hate, racism, misogyny, and violence.
On March 16th a 21 year old white male purchased a gun and went on a shooting rampage at 3 different spas in Atlanta, Georgia. The shooting spree targeted Asian owned massage parlors and left 8 people dead, 6 of whom are Asian women. This tragedy speaks to the pervasiveness of white supremacy in the United States and the Anti-Asian sentiment that has been prevalent in the US from the 1844 Chinese Exclusion Act, to Japanese Americans being put in internment camps in 1942, to US Imperialism in Asian countries for decades, to the Jim Crow laws that legalized racial segregation until 1965.
Anti-Asian xenophobic rhetoric has gained momentum in the wake of Covid-19 as amplified by Donald Trump and normalized in mainstream media. As a result, we have seen an increase in violence and harassment directed at the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, with the organization Stop AAPI Hate reporting 3,800 incidents this past year. 70% of these have been directed towards women.
The Atlanta spa shootings exemplify the pervasiveness of the fetishization and sexualization of Asian women, much of which has been a direct result of the dehumanization of Asian women as a result of US militarism and foreign policy. Historically, US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region has resulted in social and economic destabilization that has killed, displaced, and torn apart API (Asian Pacific Islander) families and led to the commodification of Asian women. The negative stereotypes often assigned to API women are rooted in colonization, misogyny, and racism and continue to harm Asian women across the globe.
We want to be clear that in our solidarity with the Asian Pacific Islander community, our calls are not advocating for an increase in policing. Police have historically inflicted violence upon the Asian community, sex workers, low wage workers, and immigrants. We believe that an increase in policing will do more harm to the Asian community and take valuable resources away from supporting the API community directly.
We recognize that the fight against Anti-Asian hate is not separate from the struggles of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. We need to push back against the structural racism and white supremacy that permeates many of our institutions. We will continue to organize in solidarity with BIPOC groups that stand up against hate and racism and work to dismantle white supremacy.
To our Asian American and Asian American Pacific Islander neighbors, families, friends, and colleagues, you are not alone. We stand with you and value your contributions and presence in our community. We stand in solidarity with you against hate, violence, misogyny and racism.
Follow PSJ on Facebook
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Pacifica in Protest
CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENT TREADING WATER OR RISING?
Author Marj Davis and Jim Kremer
RISING – Dispatches From The New American Shore (2018) is a compelling non-fiction narrative of personal stories by Elizabeth Rush, an environmental journalist and professor of creative non-fiction at Brown University. Rising was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-fiction.
Rush interviewed individuals living near the sea around America, sometimes with repeated visits over five years. Extended local visits in person allowed her to come to know them, their situations, their recollections, their emotions.
She traveled from New England where coasts are receding, to communities in Staten Island inundated by storm surge, to low-lying areas of Florida flooded by hurricanes, to Louisiana’s disappearing coastal islands with relocated climate refugees, to wetlands restoration efforts in San Francisco Bay. Yes, the Bay Area is included – there is a chapter on Alviso and the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project to convert the Cargill salt ponds back to wetlands. There is even mention of District 1 Supervisor in San Mateo County. So it quite literally hits close to our coast-side home.
Local note: The wetlands dilemma of SF Bay is how to allow for wetlandescaping. As Rush describes, wetlands respond naturally by moving up and landward as sea level rises, continuing to provide us with a protective buffer against the surge energy and flooding – UNLESS manmade structures prevent this. “Wetlandescaping” is a neologism capturing this natural inland migration of wetland habitat in response to sea level rise unimpeded by man made barriers. Marj Davis was inspired to create this word while reading Rising and participating in the “Pacifica Futures, See Change” project at Sanchez Art Center in collaboration with the The Bureau of Linguistical Reality.
Most chapters are recounted as interpreted narratives from Rush’s insightful perspective. Some appear in the first person so it seems they are by co-authors, probably transcriptions from recordings, and are especially impactful and poignant.
Rising is not a science book, yet the science is subliminal. Rather, the scope of human experience explored by such intimate stories of geographically dispersed people who faced and are facing personal, property and financial loss is Art. Her approach is very effective. Accounts of lived human experience on the front lines – the water lines around America – is thus an account of evidence. As has been said, “the plural of anecdote is evidence.”
We learn that: FEMA in some cases has revised their requirement that insurance payments be used only to repair/replace storm damaged properties allowing owners to move; in some communities, all residents have been offered buy-outs at full market value if they relocate, with funding patched together by federal and state sources; the entire South Bay town of Aviso is 16 feet below sea level due to extraction of groundwater for irrigation and now sea level rise.
Well into the book, the author takes a brief diversion seemingly off topic, when she extends her view of the responsibility of decision makers with authority into a wider socio-cultural context. But she soon brings it back home, using her deeply personal and timely story of risk and responsibility as a general example of underappreciated impacts on vulnerable individuals.
Environmental justice, actually injustice, is a theme which gathers momentum. “Climate change impact and environmental injustice often overlap,” says Rush, and monies for climate response will likely not be equitably distributed. But solutions can provide “transformation and hope” as neighbors help neighbors and become “agents of change.” Personal stories clearly show that climate change and sea-level rise are real, that all of us face a changing landscape, and that we need to plan.
The Chicago Tribune, in their review of Rising, noted, “with empathy and elegance, [Rush] conveys what it means to lose a world in slow motion.” This book gives one a broader view and perspective of what is going on in our country on every coastline. Rush’s personal stories humanize this very challenging situation. One realizes that we are not just making a decision for today but a choice for future generations in how we deal with the effects of climate change. Reading this book encourages us to consider what we HAVE done in the past, what we CAN do today, and what we SHOULD do FOR the future.
Rush concludes her book [hopefully] with the thought that “the sea is rising and so are we.” As reported in The Nation, we need “to consider more just ways of dealing with the immense challenges ahead.”
Sea Level Rise and Sea Walls – what does our future hold?
Author Christine Boles
The Multi-Hazard Risk Assessment that analyzes Pacifica’s aging infrastructure in Sharp Park was finally released this month. This information is critical to help us evaluate options for improving the resilience of infrastructure in the area to threats from climate change and sea level rise. Unfortunately, detailed information we have been asking for months about the condition of the infrastructure and its remaining life still remain unanswered.
This image above from the report shows projections for sea level rise to 2100 in blue. This is nothing new, similar maps were prepared by Environmental Science Associates as part of their Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment in 2018. What is new is the overlay of the existing sewers and other critical infrastructure on the maps. See the yellow circle with P inside? That is the existing Sharp Park pump station, the place where all the sewage from about 16,000 or so residents of the northern part of town collects and is then pumped uphill to our sewage treatment plan near the quarry site. The report shows we will need to move that pump inland, and current projected costs for that are, I believe, another $45 million. Previous sewage spills in Linda Mar resulted in fines in the millions of dollars so we should do all we can to avoid those costs as well.
At the Beach Boulevard Infrastructure Resiliency Project public meeting in December, the consultant, GHD, told us that designs for the sea wall that are currently being looked at will have a design life of about 50 years and for that the armoring will need to be raised about 8’ taller. EIGHT FEET will cut off the view of the ocean from the streets. Even with 8’ they are still projecting overtopping during storms and king tides.
The consultant clearly said a new wall would not solve our problems long term; the ocean will win in the end. A wall, roughly estimated at $45 million in a previous study by the Army Corps of Engineers, will only buy us some time.
Building a new sea wall is also being used by the City as an impetus to the redevelopment of Sharp Park. They say we need to ensure developers that the area is safe to entice them to spend their money. As the wall is only being designed for two feet of sea level rise, or about 50 years and our Local Coastal Plan requires any new development to have a design life of 100 years, I am quite puzzled by the City’s math. I don’t think developers, or their insurance companies, are likely to make that mistake.
As we are currently only working piecemeal on projects as they fail, I wonder what our long-term plan for climate change adaptation should look like? I encourage every Pacifican to get involved in these discussions. It will take the efforts of all of us working together to try to solve these issues. The next public meeting for the sea wall is scheduled for April 29th at 6pm. You can get more information and sign up here.
Pacifica, Save Our Open Hillsides: Our Hillside Preservation Ordinance is Under Attack.
Author Summer Lee
At the April 5th Planning Commission hearing, the commissioners voted to allow the revision and therefore dissolution of hard-fought conditions of approval on Lot 3 of the luxury-home development formerly called Harmony @ 1, now Ohlone Point. The subdivision looms over Pacifica, on the ridge off Fassler and Roberts Road.
The two most alarming changes to the project’s 2007 conditions of approval (which were provisos to the certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report) permit the project applicant to lower green-building standards and to move the 4293 square foot home outside of the agreed upon building envelope and partially onto a Prominent Ridgeline.
Meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards as a condition of project approval was intended to mitigate significant impacts and were the result of a 2007 project approval process. The requirement for the LEED Gold standards was reaffirmed by the Planning Commission and City Council in 2015, when the same project applicant, Javier Chavarria, received approvals for a project on Lot 2 in the same subdivision. This last week, the Planning Commission adopted a Resolution which eliminates the LEED Gold requirement in favor of a less stringent Green Points rating system. While Mr. Chavarria, stated he will comply with state and local requirements on green building, LEED Gold standards increase sustainability and are well within the reach of expensive luxury projects. Chavarria and his business JC Engineering is the agent or project engineer for 11 out of 62 active applications to the Pacifica Planning Department, four of which are located in the Harmony @ 1/Ohlone Point subdivision.
Redesigning the Lot 3 house out of its originally required envelope and onto the ridge will make the home visible across the city and does not comply with the city’s Hillside Preservation District ordinance or General Plan. Pacifica has long relied on the HPD Ordinance to keep the steeply-sloped, open hillside views from being covered in development. Otherwise unfettered hillside sprawl would damage the aesthetic quality of the city, tax the already-burdened city infrastructure, as well as potentially disturb sensitive habitats and landslide-prone slopes.
Community members, including some who were initially engaged in the years-long struggle to approve a project that conceded to developers while protecting as much open space as possible, are filing appeals with the City Council. They argue that revising these conditions of approval do not comply with CEQA guidelines, the city’s HPD Ordinance,or the General Plan, and that public process was circumvented.
CPUP, the Coalition of Pacificans for an Updated Plan and Responsible Planning, will support the community appeal to City Council, and is currently plaintiff in a lawsuit against the City of Pacifica for breaking CEQA law as well as for an outdated and inadequate 1980 General Plan when it approved the Vista Mar project. The City approved Vista Mar as a project of 8 luxury condos on an average 52% sloped hillside, requiring the logging of 57 trees, the paving over of a probable wetland, and over 3000 lineal feet of retaining walls, some combining to heights of 30 feet and more.
CPUP believes a pattern of irregular and unsustainable planning practice in Pacifica, facing little to no questioning by the Planning Commission and City Council, needs to be addressed through grass-roots education, technical assistance, and legal challenges. CPUP also supports low-income housing in appropriate sites.
CPUP: Coalition of Pacificans for an Updated Plan and Responsible Planning. CPUP is a project of Pacifica’s Environmental Family.
Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County
- May 3: The State of Affordable Housing in San Mateo County
- May 4: Addressing our Climate Crisis Through Affordable Housing Advocacy
- May 5: Housing Champions Advocacy 101
- May 7: COVID & Resilience: Wellness Design Considerations
- May 12: Growing Home: Poetry, Art & Music Showcase
- May 14: My Housing Story: Voices of People of Color with Disabilities
- May 18: Emerging Trends in Affordable Housing Construction
- May 21: ADUs: Fulfilling the Promise of Affordable Housing in 2021
- May 25: Supporting Extremely-Low Income Families through Public-Private Partnership
- May 26: The Color of Law: Public School Funding Edition
PACIFICA’S HOUSING: The Housing Element and the Regional Housing Needs Assessment
Author Suzanne Moore
Every eight years, by state law, communities are obligated to evaluate their future housing needs and develop a plan to meet those needs. Pacifica, along with many other communities, will be updating the Housing Element of our General Plan.
Pacifica’s first community engagement on the Housing Element was held yesterday evening, 4/14/21. The City contracted with 21 Elements and Baird + Driskell Community Planning. Presenters provided a description of a housing element, the countywide trends, and ways for community involvement.
A housing element, guided by target numbers specific for housing for all income levels from the Regional Needs Assessment, lists housing policies for future building. It contains an analysis of housing needs, evaluates constraints, identifies sites to meet the needs, creates a housing plan with goals/policies/programs/qualified objectives, all with a special focus on Fair Housing, Environmental Justice, and community input. (Let’s Talk Housing, San Mateo 3/30/21).
The projected timeline is as follows:
- March – October 2021, Community Outreach
- March – Early 2022, work on studies and draft update
- Spring 2022, produce draft for public review
- Mid – late 2022, public hearings with Council and commissions
- January 2023, Final housing element adopted.
- Data from the 2020 census is expected to be released 9/30/21.
Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA)
The state gives a draft of expected needs to those agencies responsible to decide/disperse numbers to the geographic area they represent. ABAG (the Association of Bay Area Government) is the designated agency for the Bay Area. They received 440,000 household numbers and must divide it up among 109 Bay Area jurisdictions.
ABAG developed a methodology which integrated an equity lens – adjustments have been made for racial disparity. Communities close to areas of employment received higher numbers. Communities can respond to the draft targets, and Pacifica has already reached out with their concerns. RHNA numbers will be finalized at the end of the year.
How is this cycle different from the past?
- Numbers are much higher – Pacifica’s are up 300%.
- RHNA 5 targeted 413 units, Pacifica built 79, 81% were above average income.
- RHNA 6 suggests 1933 new units be built over 10 years, divided into affordability categories.
- There has been a change in state law.
- Accommodate “fair housing” and “equity adjustments” in consideration of racial disparities.
- The equity lens protects communities of color from displacement and there will be greater transparency to better assure this.
- The general plan must be consistent with RHNA numbers – this will be a harder process with potential fines and lawsuits if not done correctly (example: Huntington Beach was sued).
Pacifica will need to conduct a needs assessment. On 3/8/21, City Council addressed the Annual Progress Report. Although no specific details on the needs assessment were provided, Pacifica, along with many other communities in our County, chose to collaborate with 21 Elements who has begun community outreach.
Pacifica will need to do a site inventory to identify particular parcels to accommodate RHNA numbers, broken up into affordability categories. Site selection must be a realistic assumption that housing will be built (if past sites were not built on, they may not be considered realistic). It may be possible to seek assistance from a nonprofit like HIP housing or the Housing Leadership Council to review a site inventory list with the community.
Considerations for housing
Several thoughts were shared during the breakout session, and the City promised to make this information available.
Christian Murdock, Pacifica’s Deputy Director of Planning, suggested a streamlined development review balanced with community involvement, enhancements for mixed-use housing, increasing density, and formalizing the Sharp Park neighborhood program.
Community members were overwhelmingly focused on creating moderate and low income housing. There was interest in modifying existing shopping malls to create first level shops with housing above. A public transit corridor could be created since Pacifica’s major malls are on transit lines. Christine Boles remarked on environmental concerns, sea-level rise, and the need for long-term planning. Cherie Chan reminded us all of the import of an updated general plan.
Some concepts for consideration:
- Zoning density: is a proxy for affordability but does not necessarily translate into affordability. Upzoning can allow for mixed income housing into areas where it was previously denied. On the other hand, upzoning will likely increase property values and make ownership more difficult. Upzoning could increase speculation and corporate takeovers of properties.
- Affordable housing overlay could be part of the plan. These are incentives on top of existing zoning ordinances that encourage developers to build housing, particularly affordable housing, within specific locations. Examples are impact fee waivers and lower parking requirements.
- Inclusionary housing: this is the agreed upon number of “affordable units” a contractor agrees to build when constructing an otherwise market-rate project. Pacifica’s current number is 10% for projects 8 units or greater. Pacifica does have in in-lieu fee as an alternative to building affordable units. In contrast, East Palo Alto has a 20% inclusionary rate. Some communities halted in-lieu fees since construction of affordable housing is a dire need.
- Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs): Pacifica is proud of its program to incentivize ADUs. Truly, some additional housing could be created in this way, but there is some concerns about it’s real “affordability” and its limited capacity to address the targeted needs. HIP housing, a non profit, has an arm that includes property management and has offered to manage community ADUs.
- Non profit construction/management of properties: MidPen and Mercy Housing have built and managed low income housing in San Mateo County. Creating the financial package to build and maintain a project is quite challenging and often takes years in the current environment. The Housing Leadership Council, HIP housing, and MidPen have offered to advise communities seeking options for mixed income housing.
- Workforce housing: Pacifica has met with representatives of the Pacifica School District to discuss development of affordable housing for school district employees at the former Oddstad School site.
- Community Land Trusts: CLTs are nonprofit corporations that hold land and/or a building as long-term stewards for affordable housing (Wikipedia). The Northern California Land Trust is one example. Trusts take land and housing off the for-profit market and can provide for housing in perpetuity. Pacifica could investigate community ownership models.
- Limit displacement and preserve current affordable housing. Efforts to mitigate displacement and loss of currently affordable housing should be incorporated into the housing element plan. Other communities that have successfully done so could be used as examples. Some efforts include restriction of remodeling evictions and requiring tenant relocation fees for owner move in.
- Sustainability incentives: creating incentives for environmentally sustainable, reduces traffic by placement close to transportation hubs – these are priorities worth incorporating into Housing Elements.
A webinar on the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) is scheduled TH 4/22/21 at 6 PM. You can register at letstalkhousing.org/event and choose the 4/22 RHNA event.
The City is hosting an informational Study Session MON 4/26/21 at 5:30 PM. Email Joshua at email@example.com
Learn and stay engaged.
THE COURAGE TO STAND UP AND DEMAND YOUR RIGHTS
Author Suzanne Moore
On March 15th, five unhoused Pacificans filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California to challenge Pacifica’s Oversize Vehicle Ordinance. A preliminary injunction requesting the City cease enforcement will be heard by Judge Vince Chhabria on May 27, 2021.
Merriam-Webster defines courage as the strength to persevere and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. Pacifica’s five Plaintiffs certainly meet the requirements. For those of us who have always been safely housed, we may not have the basis for comparison to comprehend what it is to be unhoused. Our Pacifica unhoused have shared stories of deprivation, fear, isolation, harassment, vandalism, and threats. As their federal complaint unfolds, the Plaintiffs face renewed risks in the weeks to come.
One means of manipulating emotions in a community is to use “dehumanization” techniques – that deny human qualities deserving of dignity – to degrade our unhoused. Dehumanization is insidious because it allows us to value someone less, and it can result in actions that are thoughtless or harmful.
Pacifica’s social media contained dehumanizing comments about our unhoused as the City considered a pilot safe parking program. Although many Pacificans expressed support for a program to provide a pathway to stable housing, minority rhetoric dominated discussions. Our Council chose to not move forward on options.
Presently, five Pacificans are courageously seeking clarification of their rights in federal court; and contrary to recent remarks in oral communications, their filed complaint is neither frivolous nor fabricated. The efforts of the plaintiffs could potentially impact – not only Pacifica – but the state and nation.
Federal, state, and county legislators have identified homelessness as a key national issue. California has 25% of the country’s unhoused. There is great competition for affordable housing – for every low-income housing unit, there are 6 low-income workers. The pandemic and its economic downturn has increased homelessness.
Yet successful models that provide permanent housing exist, and Pacifica is poised to be part of the solution. A safe parking program would allow respite and safety, include hygiene services, and provide case management to identify and address barriers to permanent housing. Transitional housing, often in a multi-unit building, bridges the gap between homelessness and permanent housing, provides structure and support to stabilize health and mental health conditions, and teaches life skills to better guarantee success when moved to permanent housing.
Federal CARE monies have been shared with San Mateo County and made purchases possible in Redwood City, Half Moon Bay, and possibly San Mateo. Supervisor Horsley has expressed support in Pacifica if our Council reaches out.
In the weeks and months to come, we can all take action to be part of the solution.
- Notify the City Council of your support of Safe Parking and Transitional Housing.
- Notify Supervisor Horsley that you support these programs.
- Do not respond to dehumanization and call it out if you feel able to do so.
- Consider public comments to express support: a letter to the editor and/or oral communication at City Council.
Thank you for standing up with our unhoused.
|LÍNEA DE RESPUESTA COMUNITARIA
COMMUNITY RESPONSE LINE
Behind on rent due to COVID-19? (click for Spanish translation)
Before making big decisions, get informed! There is a NEW EXTENSION of the state law that provides some protections against eviction until June 30, 2021.
3 steps to prevent eviction:
- Provide a signed Declaration of COVID-19 Financial Distress to your landlord click here to download declaration
Each time you get an eviction notice or written demand for payment from your landlord, respond by returning a Declaration of COVID-19 financial distress (see Attached form) to your landlord within 15 days. Don’t forget to keep a copy or take pictures for your record.
|You don’t have to wait for a notice to give the declaration to your landlord. You can send it NOW.|
Returning the declaration can protect you from eviction until June 30th 2021.
- By June 30th 2021, 25% of the rent from the period of September 1st 2020 to June 30th 2021 must be paid.
If you have the ability to pay part of the rent, pay what is possible each month. Include a letter instructing the landlord to apply the rent to the current month.
For tenants unable to pay 25%, there is a NEW rental assistance fund by the state of California that will help many tenants by paying 25% of their rent debt to prevent eviction. The fund has not yet opened and is still being set-up. Call the community response line for more information.
- BEFORE you apply for any loans and/or sign payment plans from your landlord, call the Community Response Line above or talk to a lawyer. You can have a FREE consultation with the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County at (650) 517-8911 or Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto at (650) 326-6440.
Partners for a Stable Community
The stability of small landlords and their tenants is critical for the entire community. With this initiative, we are uniting and supporting those who rent spaces to others, connecting them with the resources they need to keep their tenants home during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Are you a landlord eligible to apply for COVID-19 rent relief? Click here for the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Landlord Checklist or contact Abby: firstname.lastname@example.org, 916-584-1732.
Faith in Action Bay Area is inviting small landlords in San Francisco and San Mateo Counties to join the “Partners for a Stable Community” initiative! This is an effort to unite and support those who rent spaces to others in taking steps to keep their tenants home during the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that the pandemic has been hard on mom-and-pop landlords, and we want landlords and their tenants to be stable for the good of the whole community.
Under SB 91, the state of California now offers rental relief for landlords whose tenants have been unable to pay rent during the pandemic. If you, as a landlord, apply to this program and your tenant is eligible, you will receive 80% of the rent debt owed to you, if you agree to forgive the remaining 20%.
Get involved by signing up here: http://tinyurl.com/SLLPledge
THE COMMUNITY SHARES
|San Mateo County Library Events
Paula Teixeria, Supervisor
Meet the Authors On-Line. View and register at www.smcl.org and click on ON LINE EVENTS
Author Talk With Anne-Marie Bonneau Wednesday, Apr 21 • 7:00 PM
Are you interested in learning about living with as little plastic, food waste, and stuff as possible? Then join us for an evening with Anne-Marie Bonneau as she tells us about her debut book The Zero-Waste Chef! Bonneau will share her experience working towards zero-waste, motivational facts, and simple fixes to ease you into wasting less. Please register here to receive your Zoom invitation. This program is intended for adults
Experience Life Behind the Front Desk with New York Times bestselling author, Kelly Yang Thursday, Apr 22 • 5:00 PM
New York Times bestselling author, Kelly Yang joins us to talk about her inspirations, her work as a writing teacher, and answer your questions. Kelly Yang is the author of Front Desk, its sequel Three Keys, and her debut Young Adult novel, Parachutes. She is the founder of The Kelly Yang Project, a leading writing and debating program for kids in Asia.In Conversation With Aarti Namdev Shahani and Karla Cornejo Villavicencio.
In Conversation With Aarti Namdev Shahani and Karla Cornejo Villavicencio Wednesday, April 28 6:00PM
Join us for an enlightening conversation between award-winning authors Aarti Namdev Shahani and Karla Cornejo Villavicencio!
In her book Here We Are: American Dreams, American Nightmares, Aarti Namdev Shahani shares her family’s riveting story, from the upheaval of the Partition, their emigration to the United States in 1981, and the struggle to live in the midst of family deportation, September 11, and immigrant isolation. It also chronicles Aarti’s own unlikely journey from undocumented kid in Queens to a national, renowned voice.
Pacific Beach Coalition (PBC) Updates
Author Lynn Adams, President Pacific Beach Coalition
Please join us April 22 to learn about the majestic Albatross, our Earth Honoree for the year!
We are so blessed to have a chance to talk with Caren Loebel-Fried, Author, Artist, Albatross Enthusiast and I do hope you can join us.
Caren will be sharing photos and videos from her recent 2 month stay on Midway Atoll, where she was counting nests and observing albatross, this time with CHICKS!!
You will enjoy the cuteness, I promise you!
Please sign up today and feel free to share this event!
Be a Boss – Help the Albatross!
https://www.crowdcast.io/e/PBC-An-Albatross-Earth-Day (use the same link to show a replay if the timing does not work for your timezone or schedule
2021 Left Coast Annual at Sanchez Art Center
Author Cindy Abbott
With the 2021 Left Coast Annual Exhibition on view from April 9 through May 16, Sanchez Art Center continues to bring inspiring contemporary art to the Bay Area to nurture and uplift our spirits during the pandemic. This year’s juror, Christine Koppes, Curator and Director of Public Programs at the Institute of Contemporary Art San José, selected 56 works from among the 800 entries submitted by artists from the left coast (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington). Koppes was “impressed with the important conversations around social change, identity, and the COVID-19 pandemic.” Her selections have resulted in an exhibition that, in her words, “reflects on our interconnectedness even in a time of isolation.”
Certainly the Left Coast Annual Exhibition this year highlights contemporary moments of both hope and shadow. Here are just a few instances: Amy Ahlmstrom’s heartfelt quilted textile piece, I’m Okay, tells the poignant story of putting up a brave front in the midst of inner turmoil. Jenny Balisle’s cross-stitched embroidery piece, Collective Grief, reminds us of the consequences of ignoring truth about the pandemic and systematic racism. Covid Diaries #7: Vote, Make a Plan by Myra Eastman captures the urgent need to act in this moment, to stay informed, to keep up with the news no matter how demoralizing, and to participate. Helen Ellis painted an expressive, intense black and white portrait of the actor, baritone singer, and Civil Rights activist Paul Robeson. Lindsay Kapoor’s delicate mixed media piece Daily Ritual reminds us of the importance of finding structure in our upended lives. In the midst of social distancing, Penelope Lenaerts reminds us of the human need for touch with her soft sculpture of interlocking hands and fingers titled Chain. Sequestered by Roz Ritter is a prayer flag for our time, made with antiseptic wipes embroidered with the daily haikus she exchanged with family members in isolation. Of course, there are moments of hope and joy as well, such as Mount Haupu After the Rain, Kaua’i, by Bro Halff, and Xenia Smith’s charming Kit and Caboodle.
Don’t miss the Juror’s Talk on Zoom at 3:00 pm on Sunday, May 16. Juror Christine Koppes will talk about her experience, and the artists in the show will take part in a virtual Gallery Walk. A link to pre-register for the talk will be available on the Sanchez Art Center website and via emails.
In the East Gallery, the two artists who won exhibition awards in 2020 will present their work. Pilar Agüero-Esparza and Mark Seely were chosen by the 2020 Left Coast Annual juror, Carin Adams, Curator of Art at the Oakland Museum of California.
Pilar Agüero-Esparza’s works comprise a meditation on shades of skin color. Says the artist, “I create works that question the inequities of race, gender and class to engage viewers in specific cultural and gendered experiences. . . . I want the viewer to see these works as ‘racialized abstractions’ and consider social dynamics and hierarchies within our culture.” Agüero-Esparza’s award-winning painting, Stratum 5, presents a bold, dramatic design of diagonal chevrons in various shades of brown, tan, and black acrylic paint on wood panel. Visit her website to see many creative variations, including weaving with strips of tan and copper leather, a much quieter impression than Stratum 5, though equally strong. Agüero-Esparza’s work has been in numerous
institutions including the San Jose Museum of Art, Triton Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the de Young Museum. In 2017, her work was featured in the exhibition The U.S.-Mexico Border: Place, Imagination, and Possibility at the Craft Contemporary Museum, Los Angeles. In 2019 this exhibition traveled to Lille, France, as part of the Eldorado Lille3000 arts festival.
Mark Seely’s oil paintings are landscapes, but so much more. He captures the dynamic essence of thunderstorms before they happen. The artist says he wants to capture what the Spanish call duende, a spiritual experience of heightened emotion felt in response to a particular landscape. In Verdant Country, the painting that won him the 2020 juror’s exhibition award, tall gray cumulus clouds, heavy with rain, tower over green fields. In amongst the green, and even in the sky as well, one sees small inexplicable splotches of red orange. The sudden, unexpected contrast of bright color against the dark, brooding scene raises this landscape image to a level of intensity that approaches duende. Some landscapes are painted on collaged paper backgrounds, adding yet another layer of complexity and mystery. Seely has also done some exquisite smaller works in pastel, including perfectly rendered images of old metal objects such as obsolete machine parts and tools. Seely’s work has been shown in the U.S. and Australia, and was included in the 2020 de Young Open. To see more: www.MarkSeely.com.
Both the 2021 Left Coast Annual and the LCA Awards Show open Friday, April 9, at 1 pm (no evening opening reception), with gallery hours Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 1–5 pm, through Sunday, May 16. Gallery visits are by free appointments that can be booked online at http://SanchezArtCenter.10to8.com. Safety protocols for the health and well-being of visitors, volunteers, and staff include face masks, physical distancing, and limited numbers of people in the galleries. We will also make the exhibitions available to browse online in the virtual gallery section of our website. Our gratitude goes to the Art Guild of Pacifica and Shelldance Orchid Gardens for their continued support.
Upcoming: Sanchez Art Center welcomes spring with a fundraiser titled Art x Nature x Art. Mark your calendars for the weekend of Fri April 30–Sun May 1. Tickets will be available on Eventbrite.
|1220 Linda Mar Boulevard, Pacifica
Vaccinating Farmworkers in San Mateo County
Author Irene Pasma, County of San Mateo Healthcare for the Homeless/Farmworker Health Program
Off Highway 1, down a long road with green fields on either side, a local farm has been growing artichokes and brussel sprouts in Half Moon Bay since the early 1900s. Just the other day, with the morning haze still burning off the hills in the background, farmworkers were lining up to receive their second dose of the Moderna vaccine from San Mateo County, while others were already sitting on black folding chairs for their 15-30 minute observation period.
This all became possible when the California Department of Public Health designated Food and Agricultural workers as eligible for the vaccine on February 22nd. Just days later, San Mateo County sent mobile vaccine teams to farms in Pescadero and Half Moon Bay to vaccinate farmworkers at work, reflecting an understanding of the barriers agricultural workers often face in accessing services.
The County was able to move quickly for several reasons – importantly, farm owners were eager to have their employees vaccinated and were quick to respond to scheduling inquiries. Additionally, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, San Mateo County Health, the San Mateo Medical Center through its Healthcare for the Homeless/Farmworker Health program, the Department of Agriculture, City of Half Moon Bay, and coastal nonprofits – Puente de la Costa Sur, Coastside Hope, and ALAS – have been in close collaboration with one another to support farmworkers. Lastly, the County contracted with a vaccine vendor which has adapted its operations to fit the needs of the County’s various community vaccination needs.
So, when farmworkers categorically became eligible for the vaccine, the County was primed to organize vaccine distribution and had already discussed bringing vaccines to farms, removing electronic registration, and engaging nonprofits in vaccine education and outreach.
To date, the Mobile Vaccine Teams have visited almost 30 farms to administer the first dose of the Moderna vaccine and are now completing second doses at the same locations, including some farms not on the Coast and the Pillar Point Harbor. In total, about 860 farm and aquaculture workers will have received their first and second doses through this initiative, not counting those who were vaccinated at other locations such as Our Lady of the Pillar in Half Moon Bay, Pescadero High School, Event Center mass vaccination events, or their primary care providers.
Back at the farm, as the Mobile Vaccine Team is packing up folding tables and chairs and are employees heading back to work, ALAS staff is already calling farmworkers at the next scheduled farm to ensure they’ll be present for their second dose. The teams climb into their cars and drive off to the next farm.
Call to Action, Youth Civic Engagement Project
Contact: Mary Bier, email@example.com
On Myanmar and Trump
Author Ian Butler
I’ve been seeing tragic footage of the coup in Myanmar and it’s brutal, with the military shooting people in broad daylight for no reason other than to instill more fear in the population. The USA and UN are showing little will to get involved, with Russia and China on the UN security council calling it an “internal affair.”
A little background, the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, (who had previously spent 15 years as a political prisoner a la Nelson Mandela), won reelection in November in a landslide that was verified as legitimate by international poll watchers. On February 1st, the military declared the election fraudulent and forcibly took over.
Watching the continuing violence unfold, I can’t help but think this is what Trump wanted in the USA, declaring a legitimate landslide election fraudulent and violently overthrowing the government. He reportedly was cheering on the violence at the capital when it was happening, in his mind this was the beginning of his American coup. Fortunately our political system still had enough checks and balances to uphold the election and constitution. But it could’ve been far worse. Imagine if the violent insurrection did get the remaining 50 feet to the Senate chamber. Imagine if Michael Flynn and his ilk were still in charge of the military. Imagine if all the second amendment kooks saw this as their chance to put their shiny toys to use.
A successful overthrow of the US government was highly unlikely, but a substantial segment of the population, fed bizarre BS about election fraud and baby-blood drinking pedophiles would have welcomed it, and in fact would have taken up arms for the cause. That’s scary. And the events in Myanmar show just how scary. I hope the world will come together to restore democracy and peace to Myanmar, and that the USA can take whatever steps it need to do to prevent anything like that from happening here. Trump was a stress test for American democracy, and we barely passed.