Edition 10, December 2020

Welcome to the December 2020 edition of Pacifica Voice.

In this edition follow link to articles:

  1. City Council Election Results: Peter Loeb
  2. Invitation from Dan Stegink: January elections for San Mateo County Democrats, register to vote now
  3. A new Jefferson Union High School Superintendent
  4. Kalimah Salahuddin on School, Equity, and COVID
  5. Peace People share thoughts on food insecurity and tax dollar reallocation
  6. Tenant resources and letter of declaration for eviction protection
  7. John Lewis quote shared by Pacifica Housing 4 All
  8. Pacifica Resource Center update
  9. Pacifica Library programs
  10. Pacifica Beach Coalition: planting a tree and breaking a milestone
  11. Social Unity Project seeks support

Month Events:

  • MON 12/14 7:00 PM City Council
  • MON 12/28 7:00 PM City Council
  • Sanchez Art Gallery by appt Thu-Sun: also check the virtual tours.
  • Please see programs offered by Pacifica Libraries


Photos have been contributed by Leo Leon and Mark Hubbell

Pacifica Voice is eager to receive articles on issues important to our community. Please send them to editors@pacificavoice.us for consideration.

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Pacifica City Council 2020 Election Results
Author Peter Loeb

The final election results were certified on Thursday, December 3.

Sue Vaterlaus won by 19 votes over Mayra Espinosa in District 1. The difference in the percentage of the votes between the two candidates was half a percentage point.

Tygarjas Twyrls Bigstyck won in District 4 with 38.5% of the vote.

Pacifica City Council District 1

Candidate Total Votes Percent
SUE VATERLAUS 1,685 50.28%
MAYRA ESPINOSA 1,666 49.72%


Pacifica City Council District 4

Candidate Total Votes Percent
MIKE COHEN 1,767 36.55%
MARJ DAVIS 1,203 24.89%

San Mateo County Democrats Party Election in January
Author Dan Stegink

Dan Stegink thanks the Pacifica Progressive Alliance for their extensive support that has allowed the completion of four solid humanitarian measures at the California Democratic Party Executive Board meeting last month.

All five of the 2020 resolutions Dan wrote passed a unanimous floor vote of the Executive Board of the California Democatic Party,  bringing to nine total during his elected term, the most of any Democratic Party delegate in San Mateo County history, including:

  • 20-11.04  Maintain cash retail (Stegink, AD22)
  • 20-11.13  Providing basic life saving measures for detainees, arrestees, and prisoners (Stegink, AD22)
  • 20-11.20  Taking the hate Out of homeownership (Stegink, AD22)
  • 20-11.26  Opposing the sale of dangerous fireworks for non commercial use (Stegink, AD22) 


Email: VoteSuperDan@gmail.com with any questions.
The California Democratic Party seeks representatives for  Assembly District 12. 

This Delegate 2021-2022 election will be all by mail and requires voters to register in advance during December

New Superintendent Appointed at Jefferson Union High School District
Media Contact: April Hawkins ahawkins@juhsd.net

November 17, 2020 NEWS RELEASE

The Jefferson Union High School District Board of Trustees is pleased to announce their vote to appoint Toni Presta as the new superintendent of Jefferson Union High School District (JUHSD). Ms. Presta is beginning her third year with the JUHSD, where she has served as associate superintendent of human resources. A San Francisco native, Ms. Presta taught elementary and middle school in Daly City and the Brisbane school district, and was principal of Panorama school for seven years. She was director of educational services at Hillsborough City School District and served as superintendent of Brisbane School District for 8 years.

Regarding her appointment, Superintendent Presta stated, “The award-winning schools of the JUHSD serve a beautifully diverse community that honors civic engagement. I am proud to serve in such a strong and innovative education system, with a staff that is committed to educational excellence. I look forward to working with our educators, families, and community to engage, educate and empower ALL students, while eliminating imbalances in educational outcomes.”

Board President Kalimah Salahuddin notes, “We are grateful that the district is in a place to attract a candidate of Ms. Presta’s caliber to continue our work in building a world-class school district. Ms. Presta’s demonstrated success as a teacher, site administrator, district administrator, associate superintendent for human resources, and superintendent uniquely qualifies her for the position of superintendent in JUHSD. In addition, her extensive equity work has shown her dedication to ensuring that all students receive an excellent education. The Board and I are very excited to have Ms. Presta as superintendent.”

“Toni Presta is an excellent leader and a lifelong member of our community. Having worked with Toni for the past twenty years, I am confident that she will be a very successful superintendent in JUHSD,” said David Canepa, District 5 Supervisor.

Toni Presta will become the superintendent of Jefferson Union High School District effective immediately. The current superintendent, Dr. Terry Deloria, is retiring after over 30 years of work in education and three years in the district.

Superintendent Presta’s biography is available here: https://www.juhsd.net/Page/2012

About: The Jefferson Union High School District (JUHSD) is a high school district in northern San Mateo County, California which serves the cities of Brisbane, Broadmore, Colma, Daly City, and Pacifica. The district has four high schools, one continuation school, and an Adult Education school.

School and Equity and COVID
Author Kalimah Salahuddin, President of the Board of Trustees
Jefferson Union High School District

We are facing two pandemics. One is COVID-19, which has brought chaos to 2020. The other is racism, which has been wreaking havoc on our society and our education system for centuries. When it comes to assessing the underlying challenges facing schools in San Mateo County, COVID-19 is a symptom, not the disease. Racism is a disease. What ails our schools is a system designed to exclude. Students are “slipping through the cracks” because we operate in a system that was never intended to meet their needs, never intended to meet the needs of all. Consider it a preexisting condition of sorts: inequity was built into the education system from the start. Just as inequity was not created by the pandemic, it will persist well beyond this pandemic and the next if we do not take bold action.

National, state, and local government policies and actions helped create the system our children have inherited. Redlining, systematic and legal segregation, was simply a formalization of discriminatory practices already in place that denied people access to housing and financial services based on race and ethnicity. The same GI Bill that helped provide white Americans access to homeownership in the postwar years proved to be an illusion for veterans of color, further contributing to racially-segregated neighborhoods whose remnants persist. Though formally prohibited by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, the lasting damage of such policies led to limited access to housing, educational opportunities, transportation, wealth accumulation, and opportunities to participate in local government. Those who lived in wealthier (whiter) neighborhoods had more opportunities and more wealth. Those who lived in less wealthy neighborhoods of color had fewer opportunities and less wealth. The effects of these differences continue and are reinforced by exclusionary policies and cultural norms.

Given the limitations imposed by the existing system, can we use that same system to end these inequities? We all play a role in continuing or dismantling this system of inequity and rebuilding a beloved community that prioritizes children and the most marginalized in society. As leaders in San Mateo County, we need to be disrupters. Those that are not actively engaged in disrupting a system that continues to wreak havoc on the disenfranchised only serve to perpetuate injustice. A lack of direct resistance makes us complicit in harming children and harming society, particularly our students and communities of color.

This resistance is bigger than passing a resolution or taking a photo kneeling with police officers. We need to enter this work with a social justice mindset, which means we need to learn what social justice really is. What does social justice look, sound, and feel like? We need to read and listen and watch to expand our own knowledge and perspective to ensure we can advocate for and amplify our students’ experiences. We need to look at data and ask questions: Who has access to leadership? Who is making decisions about the lives of students and families? Who is receiving resources and assistance? Who is not receiving assistance, and why? What are we doing as elected officials and community leaders that contribute to a lack of access? And, more importantly, can I explain to my constituents in detail what I am doing to disrupt systems of inequity?

These are difficult questions with uncomfortable answers. That discomfort is real and something we need to lean into if a change is to occur. Those of us who bring up these questions in our own situations and conversations have learned to lean into the discomfort because we do not have another option. If we are going to make change, we have to ask difficult questions, we have to answer difficult questions, and we have to challenge the system to change those answers. In many cases, our lives and those of our children depend on it.

This work is not short-term, and change will not happen quickly. It is more than one training, or hiring one employee to be in charge of diversity. We are working against centuries of norms and it will take much more to dismantle that and to create a new system. I want to live in a county that serves all of its residents and champions everyone in the community. I want to believe that is possible; I need to believe that is possible. That is why I do this work and why I call all of us to join together to make this change happen.

Pacifica Peace People

FOOD for Thought
Copied from feedingamerica.org

What is food insecurity?

Food insecurity describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life. Food insecurity is one way we can measure and assess the risk of hunger. In the United States currently, 1 in 9 people struggle with hunger.

Food insecure households are not necessarily food insecure all the time. Food insecurity may reflect a household’s need to make trade-offs between important basic needs, such as housing or medical bills, and purchasing nutritionally adequate foods.

What are the effects of food insecurity?

Food insecurity can have a wide impact, depending on each individual’s circumstances. Some of the most common, yet complex, effects of food insecurity include:

  • serious health complications, especially when people facing hunger are forced to choose between spending money on food and medicine or medical care;
  • damage to a child’s ability to learn and grow; and
  • difficult decisions for seniors — often living on fixed incomes — such as choosing between paying for food and critical healthcare.

Food insecurity rates in San Mateo County:

  • Food insecure people in San Mateo County : 52, 280 That’s a rate of 6.8%
  • Food insecure children in San Mateo County: 12, 490 That’s a rate of 7.7%

What can you do in Pacifica?

The following agencies can provide assistance to those in need. Some activities or programs can use volunteers as well.

  • Pacifica Resource Center pacificaresourcecenter.org 650-738-7470
  • Contact Senior Services at the Pacifica Community Center 650-738-7384


It’s All About Priorities

For the Military in 2020, taxpayers in Pacifica, California are paying $126.46 million.

Here’s what those tax dollars could have paid for instead:

  • 4,053 People receiving $600 weekly unemployment insurance payments for 1 Year, or
  • 3.52 million Coronavirus Tests for 1 Year, or
  • 4,215 Hospital Stays for COVID-19 patients for 1 Year, or
  • 37.2 million N95 Respirator Masks for 1 Year, or
  • 73,140 Children Receiving Low- Income Healthcare for 1 Year

* Figures provided by nationalprioritiesproject.org

Behind on Rent Due to COVID-19?
Lorena Melgarejo, Faith in Action Bay Area, Executive Director:

AB 3088 is a new state law that provides some protections.
Two steps to prevent eviction for rent debt:

  1. By January 31, 2021 you must pay at least 25% of the rent for the period of September 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021. When you make a payment, write on the check or money order that the payment is for the current month of rent and include a letter instructing the landlord to apply the rent to the current month. A letter template is available at www.legalaidsmc.org/covid19
  2. Provide a signed Declaration of COVID-19 Related Financial Distress to your landlord. If your landlord serves you with a written demand for payment with a Declaration form, sign and return the form within 5 days. However, you do not have to wait for the landlord to demand the rent and serve the form to you . You may use the AB3088 “Declaration of COVID Financial Distress” form found at www.legalaidsmc.org/covid19

AB3088 has many other provisions about debt collection and other types of evictions. If you need legal advice, call for a free consultation

(650) 326-6440


Are you a renter who is struggling to pay rent due to reduced income from COVID-19? Many in the community are behind on rent and are at risk of being evicted from their homes. We need a major relief plan! Your personal story can strengthen our social media campaign to advocate for this relief.

Do you owe thousands of dollars in back rent? Take a video of yourself holding up a piece of paper showing your total rent debt as a result of COVID and post it at hope.xyz/tenantexperienceoralhistoryproject. Your courageous sharing can help make the case for relief, both for you and others facing a similar crisis!

Want to know more? Call our Community Response Line “(203) 666-4472”

Faith in Action Bay Area
Phone: 866-550-7426
Email: info@faithinaction.org
Faith in Action Bay Area is a Member of

The Nonviolent Life: The Eternity Of Love
Author John Lewis
Shared by Pacifica Housing 4 All

“Anchor the eternity of love in your own soul and embed this planet with goodness.

Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates.

Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge.

Release all bitterness.

Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won.

Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don’t be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice.

And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.”

Pacifica Resource Center (PRC) Updates
PRC Board and Staff

Thank you for celebrating GivingTuesday with a gift to PRC. You gave nearly $20,000 to PRC, allowing us to continue to help more Pacifica families as they recover financially and emotionally from this global pandemic. Missed GivingTuesday, but still want to double your donation? Give to PRC by December 31, 2020 and an anonymous, local donor will match gifts up to $50,000.


PRC is available to assist our community with essential services, including groceries, housing assistance, and other critical services during the COVID19 shelter in place order by the San Mateo County Health Official.

We have modified service delivery to minimize contact in the community and encourage you to reach out if you need help or would like to help during this time.

PRC Modified Office Hours:

  • Mon 9:00a-1:30p (office open) and 1:30-5:00p (phone only)
  • Tues 9:00a-1:30p (office open) and 1:30-5:00p (phone only)
  • Wed 9:00a-12:30p (phone only) and 12:30-7:00p (office open)
  • Thur 9:00a-12:30p (phone only) and 1:30-5:00p (office open)
  • Fri 9:00a-1:00p (office open)

* Office closed on December 24 and 25 in observance of Christmas

PRC on Facebook


San Mateo County Library Events
Paula Teixeria, Supervisor

It’s the first week of December and the Winter Challenge is just around the corner at San Mateo County Libraries! Starting on Dec. 14, all ages are encouraged to read (or listen to) books, grab a free book during Curbside Services at your local library, attend virtual library events, and try new activities at home for the chance to win fun prizes.

This year, we’re excited to launch Take and Make Kits and Make Together events for kids and families. You can pick up your kits each Tuesday from Dec. 15 to Jan. 5 (while supplies last) and then join us virtually on Wednesday to make together! We also have special performers lined up every Thursday. Children and the young at heart will be delighted by The Beetlelady’s creepy crawly friends, laugh along with the Fratello Marionettes’ puppet show, dance in the New Year with 123 Andrés, and be amazed by the Magic of Perry Yan.

Stay tuned to smcl.org/winter-challenge for Winter Challenge updates and more ways to explore, connect and learn with our Libraries this winter!

Explore California’s Forests With Obi Kaufmann

If you find artistic inspiration from nature, don’t miss out on our next author talk event with painter-poet Obi Kaufmann on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 6 PM. Kaufmann will discuss his new book, The Forests of California, which features an abundance of his signature watercolor maps, trail paintings and an expansive exploration of California’s forests. You can win your own copy of The Forests of California by participating in the Winter Challenge while reading books and attending virtual library events!



Join the LGBTQIA+ Book Club

When was the last time you read a book in which a queer person was more than a supporting character or a subplot? At our LGBTQIA+ Book Club, queer persons, questioning persons and allies come together in a shared virtual space to discuss queer literature every month. Our next meeting is Monday, Dec. 28 at 7:00 PM to discuss Lisa Alther’s Other Women. Read our blog to learn more about the club or to browse upcoming selected titles.



Get Ready for More Food Preservation in 2021

If you couldn’t attend our food preservation series with the UC Master Food Preservers this fall, fear not! They will be returning in 2021 to cover a whole delectable range of subjects beginning with a three-part kickoff sourdough series in February. Can’t wait until then? Read our blog to start learning all about food preservation with our foodie resources and reading lists!



Read to a Furry Friend With Paws for Tales

Do you have a reluctant reader? Sign your child up to have their own online session to practice reading with a therapy dog. Studies show that children who may not want to read in front of their peers are much less anxious with an animal present. Our next Paws for Tales sessions are Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 6:30 PM and Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 4:00 PM. Availability goes quickly!


Explore, learn and connect at our virtual library programs! You might also be interested in these exciting, upcoming events.

Interactive Bilingual Storytime | 互動雙語故事時間 Friday, Dec. 4 • 10:30 AM
Join us for a fun storytime in both Mandarin and English! We’ll sing songs, do fingerplays and read a great story together! 請跟我們用中英雙語一起唱歌,動動身體,讀很棒的故事書!不限年齡,歡迎所有孩子參加!

ESL Class for Beginners | Clase de ESL Para Principiantes
Friday, Dec. 4 • 5:30 PM | Viernes 4 de diciembre • 5:30 PM
Get started learning English in this free, weekly online class taught by a certified instructor. Comience a aprender inglés en esta clase en línea gratuita enseñada por un instructor certificado.

ESL Book Club Monday, Dec. 7 • 2:00 PM
Let’s read books and learn English at the same time. Join other language learners in a virtual meeting where we read together and discuss the text.

Citizenship Learning Circle | Grupo de Aprendizaje de Ciudadanía
Monday, Dec. 7 • 3:00 PM | Lunes 7 de diciembre • 3:00 PM
Join our new communal study group to learn about the process of applying for citizenship and to study for the English and Civics exam together. Únase a nuestro nuevo grupo de aprendizaje para aprender sobre el proceso de solicitud de ciudadanía y para estudiar juntos para el examen de Inglés y Educación Cívica.

Story Café With David Strom Monday, Dec. 7 • All Day
Listen to David Strom read his story The Sinister Soul Surfer, in which Cal Critbert, a movie critic and Batman-type hero, must rescue another mighty superhero from possession!

Interactive Storytime With Angela and Ashley Tuesday, Dec. 8 • 3:30 PM
Missing live storytimes at the library? Join Angela and Ashley as they share their favorite songs and stories you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home!

Adult Book Club Wednesday, Dec. 9 • 7:30 PM
Join our Adult Book Club on the second Wednesday of each month! In December, we’ll be discussing Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts.


Pacific Beach Coalition (PBC)

PBC Junior Albatross Team Plants Tree
Author Anneliese Phillips, Ocean Shore Grad and PBC member

A teacher’s job may appear to be as simple as guiding the class through the school’s curriculum, saying goodbye after a year of work, and then preparing for the next group of students to arrive. To Ocean Shore teacher Patty McNally, who passed away on November 14th, the job meant much more than that. In her 46 years of teaching at Ocean Shore School, she was able to brighten the lives of her students, their families, and her coworkers with her enthusiasm, care, and passion.

To honor McNally, a group of junior Pacific Beach Coalition members, Oceana High School’s Ocean Conservation Club, and past and current members of McNally’s class joined together to plant a tree. This native Toyon tree is located in the turning triangle across from Oceana High School tennis courts on Paloma Ave at Mirador Terrace, an area that has been transformed from a weedy patch just 4 years ago to a thriving garden thru the stewardship of PBC, Oceana students and neighbors .

The past several months have been difficult with school being completely remote, and for her students whose last moments with her were distant and unconventional, saying goodbye only adds to the pain. Having these kids along with their parents and siblings (some of which were also students of McNally) together again to say goodbye brought love and warmth to the event. Everyone there worked together to plant the tree and took turns shoveling dirt and nourishing it with water.

A toyon produces berries to feed the wildlife around it, making the species a fitting tribute to McNally, who nurtured her students and their families. The beauty of the area demonstrates the openness and affection you would feel when in the presence of her. This memorial represents McNally’s impact on those who knew her and how it will continue to affect this community. All are invited to visit and enjoy this area. To honor Patty further, please consider bringing water to help the Toyon or other plants or taking a moment to pull a weed or two.

Special thanks to Dawn of the Living Room Plant Co. for donating 60 additional succulents, flowers and plants which were planted along with the tree with love for Patty.


One Million Butts
Lynn Adams, President, PBC

Fighting trash is a full time job for the Pacifica Beach Coalition and sometimes it seems like there is no progress. So please join me in celebrating the BIG milestone by our volunteers of sending off 1 million – as in 1000 pounds of cigarette filters to be recycled. These filters laden with 165 toxic chemicals each are no longer polluting our waterways or killing wildlife. They are not on the ground or in landfill. By now they may be a park bench or a guitar pick!

The collected waste is shipped to TerraCycle for recycling and when processed, the paper and tobacco is separated from the filter and composted. The filter is then recycled into plastic pellets which can be used by manufacturers to make a number of products such as shipping pallets, ashtrays and park benches.

By depositing used cigarette butts in Pacifica receptacles, locals and visitors are supporting the fight against cigarette waste nationwide. For every pound of cigarette waste collected through the entire Cigarette Waste Brigade, $1 is donated towards the Keep America Beautiful Cigarette Litter Prevention Program.


Help Social Unity Project Grow Its Roots
Author Rae Costakis

We’ve got a lot of work to do in 2021! With the support of our community, we can create a better future. We hope you’ll consider supporting the Social Unity Project as we grow our roots and prepare for an exciting year of community building and fighting for social justice! Social Unity Project has already grown so much in its first 6-months we are so excited to continue that growth in the new year.

In such an unprecedented year, your support, in any amount, is invaluable to us. Any donation in support of our goals is greatly appreciated. If you’re able, you can make a tax-deductible donation at socialunityproject.org/support

Donations will go towards:

  • The facilitation of a 6-week bookclub & a parent-child support group
  • An accessible educational platform with courses to promote antiracist actions
  • Production of Social Unity Project magazine & podcast
  • Creation of a multi-cultural community center
  • Virtual community events


Facebook @CASocialUnityProject
Instagram @social.unity.project