Edition 8 December 2021

Welcome to the December 2021 edition of Pacifica Voice.

CALENDAR Month Events

  • MON 12/20 21 7 pm Planning Commission (confirm)
  • MON 12/27/21 City Council Canceled
  • TH 1/6/22 Pacifica Environmental Family event at Mildred B. Owen 

(see article and website)

  • MON 01/10/22 7 pm
    • Daly City Council meeting
    • Pacifica City Council
  • MON 01/24/22 7 pm City Council (Check city agendas: Planning Commission to be confirmed)
  •  FRI 1/21/22 Opening night reception 7-9 pm, Sanchez Art Gallery
  •  SAT 1/29/22 SAQA artist talk on zoom (see Sanchez)
  •  SUN 2/6/22 2 – 4 pm Double Gold Day Pacificans Care Fundraiser
  •  SUN 2/13/22 3:30 pm Philo Northrup conversation with the artist (see Sanchez)

Please refer to event calendars for the Pacifica Historical Society, Pacifica Library, Pacific Beach Coalition, and the Sanchez Art Gallery.

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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For Consideration

Remarks from Pacifica’s Mayor – Mary Bier

My Dear Pacifica,

Never in a million years did I think I would be here, today, sending you greetings as your Mayor.  What an honor it is to serve this community.  The community that I have grown up in. Where I have worked and played in;  learned and loved in; and prayed and worshipped in.   I have spent both my brightest and my darkest days here. My journey is my story and it is through my story that I am able to be of service to all of you.

The global pandemic has created dark days for so many people and communities everywhere.  As we trudge through the recovery process, we are sure to see the bright light of resiliency shine down on us.  This will take patience and planning.  We will need to accept the guidance of our health officials and continue to be vigilant and thoughtful. The toll of the pandemic has been great , and mental health challenges are at crisis levels in our County. They cut across race, gender, ethnic and economic differences and they cannot be addressed by one City alone.

I am pleased to begin my term as mayor by joining the San Mateo County Mayor’s Mental Health Initiative, a countywide effort to raise awareness and drive change that will help our residents truly recover from the mental health effects of the pandemic. The initiative seeks to raise awareness regarding resources available to address mental health needs as well as increase access to mental health resources and behavioral health service options in our community. Awareness can help reduce the stigma around seeking help.  I am proud to join 11 other mayors in this initiative and look forward to taking significant steps in the coming year to address this need.

This initiative is very important to me because I know what it feels like to have to seek help.  When I was a single parent and my daughter was young, the Pacifica Resource Center provided the support we needed.  We received help with food, budgets, case management and holiday gifts.  That support truly helped us.  Substance use issues seeped into my life after a back injury and I had to seek services to help me find my way back to health.  Anxiety caught hold of me during my campaign for council, and behavioral health practitioners provided the care I needed.  We do recover. Our community will recover from this pandemic and we will do this together. Please do not hesitate to seek out the resources that are available for you. There are so many. Use this as a starting point: Community Information Handbook

We are going to be embarking on some difficult and important projects together. The General Plan, Beach Blvd Infrastructure Resiliency Project, climate change, storm water drainage, addressing homelessness – just to name a few. As we move forward to work on city priorities and projects, many of you will not agree with one another.  Many of you will not agree with city staff or council members. Please take a pause and lean in with love, even when you are angry. We ALL want the very best for Pacifica, we just have different ideas of how to get there.  Please remember that everyone has a story.  We are all a part of the story of Pacifica and I can’t wait to see what this year brings.  

Happy Holidays to each and every one of you! – Mary

Our Local Constitution – Summer Lee

Our town is governed by its general plan. Pacifica’s plan is more than 40 years old now. Since it’s supposed to be the synthesis of the aspirations of the folks who live here, now is a good time to reflect on what those values are. In years since the 1980 General Plan was adopted, the values of Pacificans haven’t changed much. They are: living and playing in a beautiful natural landscape; breathing clean ocean air; appreciating our rich local history and welcoming new neighbors to share our unique way of life. What seems disturbing to us these days are the changes in the treatment of our beautiful hillsides; discharges of sewer pollutants into neighbors’ property from a succession of sewer failures; flooding of our neighborhoods during big storms; the overwhelming amount of traffic on Hwy 1; and, most importantly, the City Council’s resistance to plan and prepare for sea level rise and the other impacts of climate change that we are facing. We’ve seen cliffs continue to erode and apartment buildings topple into the sea, and yet for example, a sewer main that serves the neighborhood of more than 1,000 homes is still situated where it too can be compromised because it lies too close to the sea cliffs in an area prone to flooding. Hillsides have collapsed in landslides in heavy rains. 

The new General Plan is supposed to address the future needs of our community by accurately assessing the current situation of our land, beaches, air, housing, natural resources, and general safety. It looks into the future to 2040 and tries to predict the needs of the community by then and make solid plans to achieve the goals necessary to preserve our way of life. Sadly, the city government is telling us that the new General Plan and its draft Environmental Impact Report will be released the first week of January, perhaps as early as January 3rd when many of us are just concluding family holiday events and travel. We’re limited to 45 days in which to submit written comments, with no forum for real discussion except brief public comments at a regular meeting of the Planning Commission and then the City Council, with approval by the City Council. 

We have been waiting since 2014 for this vital document to be produced. It’s been produced in draft form twice and then shelved – a worrying state of affairs. Now it’s being discussed as a finished piece of work when none of us have the time to read it or the critically important EIR. This is a very disturbing prospect because it spells out our town’s future, yet meaningful involvement of the community will have been minimal. 

Please, everyone, keep your eyes open for the announcement of this review. We won’t get much of an opportunity to make our wishes known, but let’s make the most of it anyway.

Shirley Gibson 1972-2021

Shirley Elizabeth Gibson made the world a better place. In the words of her husband, she knew that the secret to happiness was in making other people happy and she was throughout her life a thoughtful, caring, compassionate person who always put others before herself. And did it with a wicked sense of humor.

She was a smart, dedicated attorney who would wear Wonder Woman Converse high-tops to the office where she fought against displacement and for fair and affordable housing for low-income tenants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Mateo County.

She was a loving mother to her two children, Georgia and Milo, and a devoted wife to her husband, Tim Pori, a criminal defense attorney.   She was a mom who could share in teen book series fandom, suggest offbeat term paper ideas and help to build a case for adopting the dog that holdout dad, too, would grow to love.  Shirley believed strongly in sending her children to June Jordan School for Equity where they would flourish while receiving an education with children from divergent socio-economic and racially diverse backgrounds.

She was a warmhearted friend and relative who would buy multiple copies of your book to give away, plan “tea parties” and fun outings for even a brief visit and find the best gifts for kids of any age. Once you became her friend, you were her friend for life. She was that exceptional friend that you could call day or night and she was there for you. She never held grudges; she was loyal, genuine, and adventurous.

She was an outgoing, friendly person her entire life, someone with exceptional compassion for everyone around her, an attitude directly reflected in her career, church involvement and personal interactions.

Shirley was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer approximately 11 years ago. She bravely fought the disease long and hard without complaint or fear of death, all the while continuing to extend her kindness, energy and dedication to the people and causes she cared about to the very end. She died peacefully on Nov. 4, 2021, at her home, surrounded by her family. She was 49.

Shirley was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1972. Raised by parents dedicated to civil rights and liberal causes, she attended the city’s recently integrated public schools. Her family moved to northern Indiana when she was in middle school, and she graduated among the top of her class from Elkhart Memorial High School in 1990.

Shirley then attended Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she wrote her thesis on the then-raging AIDS epidemic. After graduating in 1994, she moved to San Francisco. Shirley and Tim met in a local all-night diner there while Shirley was waiting tables and Tim was driving for Yellow Cab, and they were happily married in 1997. She earned her J.D. from New College of California School of Public Interest Law in San Francisco in 1999.

Shirley began her renowned career as a public interest attorney with the Eviction Defense Collaborative, where she helped pilot San Francisco’s day-of-court representation program for unrepresented tenants in settlement conferences and the Family Eviction Prevention Consortium rental assistance program. She also worked alongside her husband, Tim Pori, in his firm, representing plaintiffs in civil rights cases.  In 2007, she joined the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County to develop their housing practice and eviction defense program, rising to become the directing attorney of their housing unit in 2011, in which capacity she served for the rest of her career.

Shirley played a significant role in tenants’ rights work in the Bay Area and throughout California. Colleagues statewide remember her as always enthusiastic to give advice, review a draft, share an example, or talk through a thorny issue. A beloved mentor to young lawyers and law students, Shirley embodied “client-centered lawyering,” always finding the best in every client. While a dedicated lawyer to individual clients, Shirley was also a leader in policy projects, class action cases, and other strategies to advance the interest of the often-invisible poor in Silicon Valley, the Bay Area, and California. She was also a generous and attentive supervisor to the young lawyers and advocates on her housing team. In 2019, Shirley was recognized by the Western Center for Law and Poverty with the Mary Burdick Advocacy Award for her extraordinary contributions to social justice in the arena of housing stability for low-income tenants and homeowners. 

A lifelong Unitarian Universalist, and the daughter of a Unitarian Universalist minister, Shirley was a dedicated member of First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco for approximately 25 years. She began with the young adult group, later became church board moderator and served on the ministerial search committee along with many other roles.

in 2021, Shirley was presented with the church’s Conard Rheiner Award, “for devoting her legal career to advocating for low-income tenants seeking to maintain safe, adequate, and affordable housing in some of the most affluent communities in the world, on the staff of the Eviction Defense Collaborative and the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County.”

She is survived by her husband, Tim Pori; her daughter, Georgia Pori; her son, Milo Pori; her parents, Judith and Gordon Gibson; her stepdaughter, Katelyn Steele; step grandchildren Grayson and Weslynn Steele; her sister, Robin Gibson Roysdon; her dog, Arlo; cousins, aunts, uncle, in-laws, nieces and nephews, and a wealth of friends, colleagues and clients.

A memorial service and celebration of Shirley’s life is scheduled for Friday, December 17, 2021 at 6 pm PST at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco.  Due to covid protocols, capacity is limited for the in-person event.  To register and to get information about the live-stream and additional ways to honor Shirley, please visit tinyurl.com/ShirleyGibsonMemorial. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Community Land Trust, the scholarship in her name at the Eviction Defense Collaborative, Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, or First Unitarian Universalist Society of San Francisco.

In 2022, at a date and time to be announced, a fundraiser will be held in Shirley’s name to raise money for the many underfunded causes she passionately supported.



BOARD OF SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES District 3

Virginia Chang Kiraly

This year, we brought the community together for a safer, cleaner, more prosperous Coastside.

It’s hard to believe that we’re near the end of 2021.  Between COVID-19, wildfires, economic uncertainties, and public safety concerns – we faced our fair share of challenges this year.  But, despite those challenges, we were able to bring the community, elected representatives, local leaders, and public safety professionals together to make the coast side safer, cleaner and more prosperous for everyone.

Back in May, the Harbor Board approved installing life stations and life buoys after a young boy was swept out to sea at Cowell Ranch State Beach.  After working with the Coastal Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Coastside Fire, California State Parks, the Arunay Foundation, and Sea Valor – on November 10th– new life stations and buoys were installed within Pillar Point Harbor to educate visitors about dangerous ocean conditions and equip them with lifesaving tools in case they’re needed.  Working collaboratively together with federal, state, and local government was an unforgettable experience that served a common purpose – saving lives.  

Last month, the Harbor Board also approved a resolution opposing new offshore drilling, in light of the devastating oil spill in Huntington Beach.  Coastal communities are the best advocates to curtail the lobbying power of big oil.  As board president, I was proud that Harbor Board Commissioners Reyering, Mattusch, and Zemke voted with me to oppose new offshore drilling along the California coast.

Looking back at 2021, I’m grateful for the opportunity of being in countywide office as a Harbor Board commissioner, serving you.  The Harbor Board’s work helps save lives, protects our environment, combats sea level rise, supports local economic development, and ensures that future generations will enjoy our coast and the abundance it brings.

Bold leadership has been a hallmark of our Harbor Board since the pandemic when, together, we faced the aftermath of the CZU wildfire, supported one another during times when our mental health needed healing, collaborated on setting up a mobile vaccine clinic on the coast, combatted sea level rise through infrastructure improvements on the coast and along the San Francisco Bay, installed life stations and buoys to make the coast side safer for everyone, and advocated for conservation development. 

When the community, elected representatives, public safety professionals, and local leaders put their expertise together to find common ground and commonsense solutions for the challenges we face, our community wins.  Next year, and in the years to come, I believe we need to double down on those collaborative efforts so we can make our community happier, healthier and more prosperous for everyone.

The same old business-as-usual politics won’t get us the change we need to make sure our community thrives.  Even after two years, the fight to protect our community from COVID-19 continues.  Small businesses are struggling to hang on.  The cost of living keeps going up.  Our kids and grandkids can’t afford decent homes.  We continue to face fires, drought, and an epidemic of homelessness.  We’ve seen an increasing need to keep our communities safe from crime.  We’re facing sea level rise driven by climate change that threatens our coastal communities and economy.  We need a local representative who won’t be afraid to break from the status quo and bring people together to find creative and common-sense solutions that will benefit everyone in our community. 

As your Supervisor, I promise to serve you, the residents of San Mateo County, first, as I have always done.  I can’t wait to work together with you to tackle these pressing issues and am incredibly grateful for your support!  Happy holidays!

Learn more about Virginia and her campaign at www.VirginiaChangKiraly.com

Ray Mueller

Dear readers of the Pacifica Voice, I am grateful for the opportunity once again to share with you what I have been working on, as well as highlights from my campaign for District 3 San Mateo County Supervisor.  If you ever have any questions about the campaign, or suggestion, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.  You can call me directly, at (650) 776-8995. I look forward to meeting you.

Experienced Land Use Planning – Supporting our Schools

As many of you know, right now Cities across District 3 are zoning for new housing, in housing elements, under state law. In October, I wrote to you about my work as a City Councilmember with residents, to protect Park space and exclude it from rezoning for housing in this process, while at the same time proposing thoughtfully a more appropriate site for mixed use development at a local shopping center.  In today’s article, I’d like to share how beyond protecting parks, I have also worked to support our schools during this important land use planning effort. 

Two weeks ago, during our City’s housing element process, I brought forward a proposal to rezone land for the creation of a new middle school, to offset the housing increase impact on our local school districts. The former USGS site in Menlo Park, 17 acres, is currently scheduled to be auctioned to the public early next year. As one can imagine, most believed the entirety of this site would be targeted for a large mixed use development. But I believe this is an opportunity to decide how this land can best be used to serve future City residents, as the USGS site will require rezoning after the government auction. Going into my tenth year on City Council, I understand we shouldn’t just be thinking about how to add housing in the housing element process, but also how to thoughtfully account for what services our new residents will need. I proposed to my colleagues on the City Council that the City begin work to rezone 10 acres of the USGS site for a new middle school. I am grateful to share, the City Council unanimously supported my proposal. 

I have already heard from the school district’s Superintendent who is overjoyed. As a parent of two K-12 kids, who is married to a public school principal (who serves in a different City), the importance of supporting our school districts, and understanding how land use planning impacts our schools, has always been a priority in my public service. Below are three testimonials from current and former elected education board members and trustees  whom I have worked with over the last decade, on these issues.  

If elected to the Board of Supervisors, it will be a priority of mine to work with Cities and stakeholders across District 3 in support of our School Districts, to make certain every child has access to an equitable high quality education, in an atmosphere every child can thrive. 

As a County Supervisor, my approach to land use planning won’t be narrowly task oriented, but rather will be holistic, taking into account public health and the entire public serving ecosystem.  We can protect our parks and open space. We can support our school districts.  And we can add housing thoughtfully…the mixed use site at the shopping center I proposed, instead of rezoning the park, is being included in our Housing Element study and is supported by local neighbors! 

Happy Holidays, from Our Family To Yours

Wishing you and your loved ones a joyous season.

Laura Parmer-Lohan

By Laura Parmer-Lohan, Local Councilmember & Candidate for San Mateo County Supervisor D3

The happiest of holidays Coastside friends and neighbors!

As we look to new beginnings for 2022, let’s recap a challenging 2021.

I’ve spent the better part of the year engaging with Coastside leaders, small business owners and neighbors on the local issues of most import.

Since announcing my candidacy for County Supervisor, I have been humbled by the outpouring of community support–thank you for making me the top-funded candidate in the race! Our community-powered campaign continues to demonstrate that you, the voter—not insiders or politicians—have the most important voice in choosing your leaders. When elected, I will continue to listen and lead to make sure that all our communities are heard and well-served.

Here are some of the issues and priorities you’ve expressed:

Address Climate Change and Protect Our Natural Resources

Sea level rise, flooding, coastal erosion, and wildfires are top-of-mind, impacting our communities and threatening our wildlife habitats. I will ensure that public funding is shared equitably to address these important issues and will champion long-term solutions.

I’ll work to protect our gorgeous coastline, forests, and open spaces by securing and applying funds to reduce traffic, expand open spaces and increase their accessibility. I’ll increase the scope and scale of the work that I am accomplishing in San Carlos to set high standards for energy conservation and to champion the growth of renewable resources.

Expand Workforce Housing

Teachers and first responders should be able to live where they work. In San Carlos, we are increasing the affordable housing stock by converting two city owned properties to house four times as many residents all at the lower levels of affordability. I’ll continue to leverage public/private partnerships to acquire land and build reasonably priced units.

Enhance Emergency Response and Preparedness

We must be prepared for any emergency. Ensuring that our rural, forested, and unincorporated communities have effective, accessible 911 emergency services will be a top priority.

Maintain Excellent Schools and Expand Family Services

I’ll leverage county/local education district partnerships to continue my work in expanding affordable childcare and family health services too.

I want to hear from YOU!

As I continue to “listen and lead” on the campaign trail, I want to hear from you! If you haven’t already, please provide your feedback on the issues and priorities facing your families and communities by visiting my website: www.LauraforSupervisor.com.

Wishing you and your families a warm, joyous holiday season and a happy New Year!



HOUSING

Serramonte del Rey

Suzanne Moore, editor

I want to acknowledge, as one of the Pacifica Voice editors, that there are differing opinions on the Serramonte del Rey Project of the Jefferson Union High School District. I have reached out to Ken Chan of the Housing Leadership Council. Sabrina Brennan from the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club approached Pacifica Voice. The articles are presented here for our readership.

Click here to access the Daly City Serramonte Del Rey Plan (Large 22MB)

Support the Jefferson Union High School District (JUHSD) Serramonte del Rey Project  – Ken Chan, Organizer, Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County

One of my earliest financial lessons happened in first grade when my teacher left her paycheck on the countertop. Hearing my classmates and I “oohing” and “ahhing” at her hundreds of dollars in take-home pay, she sat the class down to have a talk about money. By the end of the discussion, there were only two questions on our minds: how often; and how much? “Two times a month and around $38,000,” were her answers. “She’s rich!” “She probably lives in a mansion!” – we all thought. Needless to say, we were wrong.   

My teacher’s pay at that time equates to around $73,000 in 2020; this is close to the average salary of an instructor working at JUHSD for the 2019 – 2020 school year. In a county where the median gross rent is $2,310 per month, this is well over the 30% gross income someone should be spending on housing. This average salary is the lowest in the entire Peninsula and has led to the highest teacher turnover rate (25%) of any school district in San Mateo County. 

This isn’t a new problem, and affluent cities have used a work-around for quite some time now — simply asking the parents to chip in. Cities like Palo Alto and Los Altos Hills raise millions of dollars every year to supplement their school budgets. 

Daly City, however, is not as affluent as most of the cities on the Peninsula. Residents simply do not have the same level of resources to spend. But where Daly City lacks in funding, it more than makes up for in its diversity: economically, racially, and in its ideas.

The Serramonte Del Rey proposal by JUHSD is one such idea. At no cost to the community, its Board has devised an innovative plan to fund the educational needs for residents of the district. In addition to the 122 affordable homes currently under construction and set aside for faculty and staff, their plan proposes 1,235 additional market and affordable homes, a free preschool for our low-income community members, and an increase in public greenspace with an ADA accessible community garden. Money generated from the market rate homes will be placed in a general fund where it can be used to provide additional support to school programs and, more importantly, pay a competitive salary to retain quality and local teachers

If the pandemic has taught us anything, Zoom is no substitute for in-person instruction and the cost of not approving this proposal is clear. Teachers will continue looking for greener pastures in other districts and the ones that stay must look for stable housing farther and farther away just to be able to continue their employment with JUHSD. When you combine the stress associated with unstable housing, sitting in upwards of two hours of traffic to and from work, and ensuring that our children have the best quality education possible, teacher burnout becomes a matter of when, not if. And it’s our students, and our community that bears the brunt of our educators not being at their best.

We all thrive when we have stable homes that allow us to live near our places of work. Teachers are no different. I urge the Daly City City Council to set our educators, and ultimately the community, up for success and approve the Serramonte del Rey proposal.   

If you’d like to support the proposal click here to sign HLC’s petition. The Daly City City Council is set to discuss these 1,235 new homes on January 10, 2022; email Ken a kchan@hlcsmc.org to find out how you can help.

Sierra Club Position – Sabrina Brennan

Sierra Club supports tweaking the project to protect Daly City’s only community garden. We hope JUHSD will prioritize the needs of Daly City families and include more affordable housing and green space. The project as currently designed replaces public use with private use of publicly owned lands. We think the project could be adjusted to better serve community housing needs and improve public health.

City College of San Francisco is a similar sized project at Balboa that provides 50% affordable housing and 25% green space. San Francisco achieved 33% extremely low income housing in exchange for entitlements in Mission Bay. Many jurisdictions on the Peninsula are requiring 25-55% green space in project proposals.

Jefferson Union High School District’s Affordable Housing Misinformation:

JUHSD has intentionally misrepresented their affordable housing numbers by conflating two separate projects. Existing teacher housing was financed by a $33 million general obligation bond passed by voters in 2018. The Sierra Club did not oppose the development of teacher housing. The bond approved 122-unit teacher housing project currently being built adjacent to the Serramonte Del Rey project site is NOT counted as new development, it’s described as existing development in the SDR Precise Plan (page 27). The Serramonte Del Rey Precise Plan includes 1,235 units and 125 of those units are affordable (page 28). Nothing more.

  • Only 10% affordable housing is included in the Serramonte Del Rey project
  • Serramonte Del Rey (SDR) Precise Plan increases gentrification and displacement by increasing area rental costs.
  • Ninety percent of SDR units will attract families with six figure incomes.
  • Workers earning six figures prefer driving and high speed transit. The SDR project does not offer a high speed transit opportunity.
  • Segregation. The SDR Precise Plan isolates all low income people in one building and the wealthy people in numerous additional buildings.


SDR Precise Plan—Misrepresentations and Concerns

  • The BAE Urban Economics Memorandum (Page 4) provided by the JUHSD says, “The project is at a distinct disadvantage by not being located within the 101 Caltrain corridor.” See attached report for page 4 link.
  • Wealthy market rate renters are unlikely to take a bus to the train station to access public transit and will likely drive.
  • The additional miles traveled by car will add to poor air quality and further increase health impacts from poor air quality
  • SDR Precise Plan does not preserve Daly City’s only community garden and orchard or offer to move the existing garden and orchard.
  • SDR Precise Plan proposes raised beds located 2.8 miles from the existing community garden and orchard. No new raised beds are included in the Precise Plan for the Serramonte Del Ray project site.
  • Daly City’s only community garden and orchard provides numerous public health benefits because it’s located between three freeways (Highway 280, Highway 1 and Highway 35).
  • The community garden and orchard are needed for rest, relaxation, maintaining mental health, culturally significant food cultivation, food security, nutrition, exercise, general wellbeing, air quality, community meeting space, pandemic driven socially distanced outdoor activities, education, and passive and active recreation.

For More information please contact:

Sabrina Brennan
Co-chair, Equity Committee, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter 
sabrinarjbrennan@gmail.com
Mobile: 415 816-6111

Sierra Club correspondence to Daly City Planning Division.

SierraSerramonteDelRey2021

Help Save Daly City’s Only Community Garden – Debbie Santiago

Jefferson Union High School District (JUHSD) plans to bulldoze a 20+ year old community garden located at 699 Serramonte Blvd in Daly City and replace it with three 14-story market-rate apartment buildings. JUHSD’s proposed Serramonte Del Rey development includes numerous buildings and retail stores. The project would fund construction of a new board of trustees administrative building slated for Westmoor Park. As planned, three 14-story towers will obstruct coastal ridgeline views in addition to destroying Daly City’s only community garden. The current site for the garden is ideal because the ridgeline above the garden protects a fruit orchard, vegetable plots and native plants from coastal fog and wind.

JUHSD and their business partners have not agreed to modify the development to spare the garden and they have not offered an alternative site for a community garden. The land where the project is located once belonged to the Ramaytush Ohlone, the original peoples of the San Francisco Peninsula; they lived by hunting, fishing, and gathering. Both the garden and the parkland serve as valuable community resources and greenspace.

CLICK HERE to Sign the Petition to Save the Community Garden



The Peace Corner – Pacifica Peace People

The Cost of World Peace? It’s much less than the price of war
Douglas Broom, Senior Writer, Formative Content

The world’s 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.

  • Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year. 
  • That’s the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet. 
  • Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs. 
  • Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget. 
  • Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.

CLICK HERE to read the article Can you put a price on peace?

OR CLICK HERE to listen to the 7 minute article on this website

It’s the School’s Responsibility to Keep Us Fed – Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) Correspondent, Julio Rodriguez 

YLI is My Story

Students at Half Moon Bay High School enjoy their lunch time in a classroom with friends and their free meals.

Thirteen million children (1 in 6) may experience food insecurity in 2021. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have faced hard times, battling depression, loneliness and so much more. 

One of the problems that has not been addressed on a bigger platform is student hunger. Many Americans have lost jobs during the pandemic. Many have faced challenges associated with the virus. With breadwinners becoming sick and not being able to provide for their family in times of need, some families go hungry. Students who miss meals struggle during class because they aren’t able to pay attention or stay focused. The constant thought of where their next meal will come from is stuck in their head. Although California students had the opportunity to take advantage of reduced price lunches, not all could do so. 

This year, Half Moon Bay High School, along with most schools in California, offered free lunches to all students. I was able to see first hand the benefits of this program. Previously, high schools offered discounted lunch if your family fell in certain income levels. Most students were embarrassed or uncomfortable getting these discounts, believing people would judge them and their family’s financial struggles. Now, many students take advantage of this new program. When free lunch for everyone is normalized, there’s no more shame in using these resources, ensuring that students will be fed no matter their families’ income. 

Half Moon Bay high school student Student Emma Steadman checks her wallet at a local grocery store.

Student hunger was not just at our local level, but nationwide. Many students across the country struggle to feed themselves. Students who work to pay for their own food face more problems. The average minimum wage across California is $14 an hour. The average minor does not work full-time, in order to leave time for homework, sports and more. A meal costs about $5 in a public high school in California – that can take a good chunk out of a starving student’s pocket. Even if you have a reduced lunch, the cost still added up. Now, with free lunch, students enjoy their meal and are able to focus in class.

While interviewing some students on the new lunch policies, we found nothing but joy. Emma Steadman, a Senior at Half Moon Bay High School loved the idea, saying, “It makes everything equal for students without making those who maybe can’t afford lunch feel ostracized or different.” The years that students spend in high school are crucial times where you need proper nutrition to grow your mind along with your body.
The success of this program in my community is amazing. My peers are now more focused and able to perform in class with the benefits from a single meal. Seeing the joy and happy faces that come with a meal makes me want to see these programs implemented in schools nationwide. I believe that we need free school meals for all students.



CLIMATE AND OUR ENVIRONMENT

Open Space, the HPD, and “Takings” Law – Jim Kremer

Pacificans value our natural vistas, both the sea and green open space. Our City has a history of actively preserving open space on hillsides and ridgelines, while allowing development along the coast and into the valleys. Recently it seems development projects are increasingly in controversial parcels in these precious and risky areas. Risky? Yes. Not only are our hills an aesthetic part of our city’s character, they have higher risks of wildfire and landslides, and are more difficult and expensive to maintain and to provide municipal services. Indeed, expenses related to residential development consistently exceed the increased taxes  a city receives.

These parcels are being targeted now precisely because they are less suitable. Increasingly, because of our historical commitment to protecting these areas, these areas are all that is left!  Now is an important time.

  • Our 1980 General Plan is being updated , including elements of environmental protection and public safety and a new Local Coastal Plan.   
  • There is active public discussion about our Hillside Preservation District ordinance (HPD) which is a fundamental part of the City’s regulatory authority to manage development projects on hillsides and ridges. Enacted in 1972, it begins: “It is the intent of the Hillside Preservation District to place special controls on any proposed development, public or private, within hillside areas of the City…”.   
  • Our Growth Management Ordinance, which requires lands zoned Agriculture or Hillside Preservation District not be rezoned without a public vote, is up for its next 5 year renewal.

 

In this article, you will learn about our City’s regulatory authority, how we can legally balance public benefits with private expectations through the HPD and the General Plan, and better understand the importance of public participation in the General Plan update. These are all complicated topics. Public education, engagement, and even activism is going to be required to ensure these historic protections are maintained – or even strengthened – rather than weakened.

The Importance of the Coverage Controls in the HPD

Despite requests by the public, by Planning Commissioners and by City Councilmembers, the city has declined to hold a public forum to discuss the intent and its interpretation of the HPD ordinance.   In September it did release an HPD Fact Sheet. While helpful, the points chosen for emphasis minimize some concerns expressed by the public.  

Let’s look in detail at an especially critical part of the HPD, and explore how it relates to the expressed overall intent of the law. One section limits the area that may be disturbed by a project and it does this with some important details.   

The Land Coverage Control section (Sec. 9-4.2257) specifies the “maximum allowable land coverage for any development” proposed within the protected areas defined by an overlay map included over the city area as part of the ordinance.   

A formula is given so the intent of the law can be applied quantitatively to specific proposals, but a graph shows it more clearly. The area that may be affected by the project is reduced depending on the steepness, defined as the average natural slope in percent. A 30% slope is a rise of 30 feet along a horizontal run of 100 feet, which is the same as 17°. Looking at the graph, a parcel with an average slope of 30% can disturb no more than about 15% of the area. Low slopes can impact a max of 40%. 

Now for the important details:

  1. The graph sets the maximum fraction of the parcel allowed. According to the HPD, this includes all disturbance, not just the footprint of the dwelling(s).
  2. This maximum is intended only for “outstanding and innovative” projects. Lesser plans may be awarded less usable coverage.
  3. Application of this rule is to be “in such a manner so as not to be confiscatory”.

 

So a developer should expect to be allowed to use even the limited area only with exemplary plans that meet the intent and guidelines of the HPD. And what about this curious phrase, “not to be confiscatory”? Here the HPD law is alluding to an important principle based in the 5th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Known as Takings Law, it began with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling by Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in Pennsylvania Coal v. Mahon (1922): “The general rule, at least, is that, if regulation goes too far, it will be recognized as a taking for which compensation must be paid.” HPD must be implemented such that it does not confiscate the owner’s property or the City can be forced to back off or to pay fair compensation. The City has recently cited more than once the risk of a Takings lawsuit as justification for approving projects that appear to be prohibited by one or another statute. The new HPD fact Sheet explains– even emphasizes – this consideration, as well as the option of using a planning “variance” to allow projects to be approved that do not conform (see HPD Fact Sheet p. 2 Q&A5).

This concern is real, but it is not a threat that suggests we must accept all proposals that miss the letter or the intent of the HPD. Even Justice Holmes was clear that a law must “go too far” to be unconstitutional. We must understand what justifications are possible for Pacifica to be able to enforce the Coverage Controls that limit the owner’s fair use of land.

Legitimate Justifications Against a Takings claim

There are many wrinkles that shape Takings law. Experts I consulted for this article tell me that as a result no case is a slam dunk. Each case depends on the specifics, and it turns out Pacifica and the HPD have several good options. My goal here is to offer some examples of arguments that may be open to cities to defend their decisions. For dedicated readers, there are links to some legal precedents.  Start here  for an overview.

Our concern is Regulatory Taking, not physical taking as with seizure by Eminent Domain.   Regulatory Takings can be Total or Partial. A Total Taking is when no productive or economical use of the land is permitted. An example would be to require the land be left it its natural state. More often, Pacifica might be accused of a Partial Taking, which results in anything less than a total loss of value.

  • The Supreme Court specifically looks to whether the regulatory action affects the landowner’s “reasonable investment-backed expectations.” Note the importance of “reasonable” vs the actual expectations. Regulation is not a Taking if the action leaves the owner reasonable options for some value, even if it falls short of the owner’s imagined goals. For example, if Pacifica suggests and approves a modified plan that brings a proposal into closer compliance with HPD law, it is not a Taking. That’s sensible: the owner has a choice whether to accept the modification or not.
  • Another potential defense is that the City must balance public benefits against private expectations. A modified plan may not be a partial Taking if the city cites substantial hazards to be borne by the City as a result, like fire or landslide risk. CEQA review may reveal this & justify when it applies. Compare this situation to an accepted statement of the purpose of the Takings clause:  “To prevent the government from forcing some people alone to bear public burdens which, in all fairness and justice, should be borne by the public as a whole.” (Armstrong v. United States (1960)). For the city to be forced to bear a risk caused by a private development in violation of our ordinance seems to be the opposite of this definition of Taking.   

 

More directly, “there are numerous instances where courts have reasonably concluded that ‘the health, safety, morals, or general welfare’ would be promoted by prohibiting particular contemplated uses of land. And in this context the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld land-use regulations that adversely affected recognized real property interest.8”

  • Another consideration is whether the owner’s expectation should have been altered if they acquired the land after the regulation was established. This point has been especially contentious and it depends on other details. But in some cases  the “investment backed expectations” of an owner were found to be affected downward by restrictions in place when the land was acquired. This precludes a finding of a Taking for some proposals.

 

How Do These Options Change Things?

Consider this scenario: Faced with an application for development in the HPD zone that is not in complete compliance, suppose the city proposes modifications to the plan bringing it closer to compliance. In some cases this might involve a variance, in others this might not. If the Planning Commission and Council approve the modified plan, it is unlikely to be subject to a Takings claim. The developer is free to take the approved option or walk away. This scenario has worked in Pacifica – a modified plan went forward in Connemara on Milagra Ridge(2006), at 801 Fassler(2007), and at 200 Berendos(2008). For Connemara, the plaintiffs lost a Takings lawsuit and then chose to go ahead with the approved project.   

Further, the risk of a Takings lawsuit is minimal for a large development on land covered by HPD land, even if major modifications are required by the city (e.g. a proposal for many residences reduced to a few – even one – placed in a suitable part of the parcel (see Palazzolo v. RI ).   

Perhaps the mention of “confiscatory” in the HPD ordinance was not to warn of a threat, but to encourage creative responses to guide projects toward compliance? Indeed, one stated intent at the beginning of the HPD says as much: “(d) Encourage innovative design solutions.”

It seems clear that Pacifica can use the HPD Coverage Controls without fear of a Takings lawsuit if it works within legal precedent. There are a number of well established defenses. Indeed, Takings suits against long standing municipal authority are rarely successful.   

Caveat: I am not a lawyer, and I don’t play one on TV. If there are errors here, or if I have missed subtleties, I hope the sense of the overall argument is still valid.

Pacifica Environmental Family – Cindy Abbott

A CARD CLUB ON MORI’S POINT?  TWO 18-STORY APARTMENT BUILDINGS ON GYPSY HILL? 

Pacifica’s open space is an essential part of our city’s character. How did we get here? Diligent citizens from across the community have kept a watchful eye out for decades and with broad (though not universal) support have protected and preserved many hillsides and coastal areas into perpetuity.

Over these decades though, development pressures have not only continued but in recent years have seen a spike in project proposals that could devastate fragile hillsides and viewsheds, impact natural habitat and wildlife corridors, and create unsafe conditions by increasing congestion and building into wildland-urban interface areas.

You are invited to join Pacifica’s Environmental Family (PEF) on Thursday, January 6, 2022, at 7pm for an inspiring historical overview of how Pacificans have come together over decades to preserve open space for future generations.  This is a call to action about what has been done and what can be done to ensure that Open Space and preservation of Pacifica’s hillsides and coastal areas remain a focus in the General Plan update, continuing the visionary work of past generations to maintain our unique and enviable environment. Share the word! 

As the City of Pacifica moves to release an update to the General Plan (scheduled for the first week in January 2022 with a very short window of 45-days for public comment) join Pacifica’s Environmental Family (PEF) for a screening of the Pacifica Historical Societies Footprints of Pacifica series with a focus on Open Space and an overview of some wildly inappropriate development projects (a card club on Mori Point! a marina at Rockaway Beach!! two 18-story apartment towers on Gypsy Hill!!!) that were stymied by concerned citizens and elected officials focused on maintaining Pacifica’s essential natural resources and character.

This is an in-person event being held at the Mildred Owen Concert Hall, 1220 Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica.  Doors open 6:45pm for the 7:00pm program. FREE advance registration required through Eventbrite.  Facemasks are required for attendees throughout the event. Proof of vaccination will be requested at the door. Seating will be distanced between individuals and groups. Exterior doors will be open, so bundle up in those traditional Pacifica layers!

The City of Pacifica General Plan (approved in 1980) states that “Pacifica has a unique physical setting in the Bay Area. The scenic qualities of hillsides, beaches and ocean combine to give the City an open quality usually found only in rural areas far from urban encroachment. These scenic qualities have significant aesthetic and potential economic value to the City.”

The (1980) General Plan goes on to say that, “Pacifica’s coastal location and natural environment are superb assets. The City’s goal includes conserving the natural environment, keeping noise to acceptable levels, protecting residents from natural hazards, protecting the visual quality of the City, and conserving the sense of openness which is an essential quality of the City.”

Let’s be sure these guiding principles aren’t lost in the upcoming update that will guide Pacifica’s direction for the next several decades.



THE COMMUNITY SHARES

Invitations to “Parenting for Life” and “Mamas United” –  Daly City Youth Clinic

Register for Parenting for Life Mondays 7:00-8:15 PM on ZOOM by sending email to:

c_skhanoon@smcgov.org
c_pasfour@smcgov.org

Register for “Mama’s United” Every other Monday 4:30-6:00 PM for 12 weeks on ZOOM by sending email to:

c_skhanoon@smcgov.org
c_martineznajera@smcgov.org 

Sue Digre, Patriot of the Year – Bryan Kingston, San Mateo County Communications Specialist

Sue Digre is the embodiment of a patriot – the consummate advocate for veterans in our community. She grew up as a military dependent with her father in the Navy and she is a military mom of three who served our country. 

As one of the founders of Pacifica Military Moms, she needed support when her children went overseas as U.S. military members. She knew that others felt the same way. With other Pacifica Military Moms, Digre got busy – helping to organize care packages to be sent to troops overseas. In fact, Blue Star Moms of San Mateo County formed from the Pacifica Military Moms. She has also served her hometown of Pacifica as a mayor and council member for 16 years. 

All the best,

Bryan Kingston (he/him)
Communications Specialist
San Mateo County
Human Services Agency

Three New Exhibitions at Sanchez Art Center – Cindy Abbott

Jan 21–Feb 13, 2022 

Sanchez Art Center will be greeting 2022 with three fascinating new exhibitions. In The Male  Glaze, a Main Gallery show curated by Susan Hillhouse Leask, Philo Northrup dazzles with his  colorful, whimsical assemblage pieces. In Art Quilts 2 in East Gallery, the artists of Studio Art  Quilt Association (SAQA) share their stunningly beautiful quilted artworks, not at all your  traditional quilt patterns. And in West Gallery, Art Guild of Pacifica artists explore The Heart of  the Matter. Northrup and curator Leask will talk about his work on Feb 13, 3:30 pm, in the Main  Gallery. Also on Feb 13, a number of Art Cars (registered and licensed vehicles that artists have  permanently altered) brought together by Philo Northrup will be on view (weather permitting) in  the area between the East and West Galleries beginning at 2:30pm. On Jan 29 at 2 pm, the artists  of SAQA will discuss their work in an Artists Talk via Zoom. All three shows will open on  Friday, Jan 21, with an opening night reception from 7-9 pm. Following the opening, gallery  hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 1–5 pm, through Sunday, Feb 13. Our safety protocols  include face masks, physical distancing, and limited numbers of people in the galleries. 

Assemblage artist Philo Northrup began collecting bits and pieces, and gluing them together to  suit his fancy, when he was 9 years old and intent on making a birthday present for his brother.  Thank goodness he hasn’t stopped! The pieces in Philo Northrup’s The Male Glaze are from his series called Color Stories, which he began in 2007 and has added to every year since. The  show’s title, The Male Glaze, plays on the feminist term for patriarchal influence in art on every  level, “the male gaze.” Twist the words just slightly to acknowledge the high gloss, the “glaze”  of Northrup’s assemblages, and there you have it—a visual and linguistic pun.  

Northrup has many collectors and has exhibited widely in California and other western states,  including at the Triton Museum in Santa Clara, SOMArts in SF, and Los Angeles Contemporary  Exhibitions. He has also exhibited in Grenoble, France at the Galerie Jean-Claude David. He co founded the annual ArtCar Fest and co-created ArtGolf, a series of collaborative installations  based on miniature golf. His awards include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the  Arts and a purchase prize from USC Fisher Museum of Art. Guest Curator Susan Hill-house  Leask is an Independent Curator, former Acting Senior Curator at San Jose Museum of Art, and  current Adjunct Faculty Member in Art History at California State University Monterey Bay. 

The artist has a complex relationship with the toys he finds. In his words, “Toys were never  innocent playthings for me. I have always seen them as darker symbols of the culture that made  them.” As Curator Susan Leask says, “The pieces in this series are both light and dark. Philo  acknowledges we all inhabit a somewhat dark and troubled world, yet he remains joyful, kind,  and hopeful in spite (or because) of it.” Northrup’s pieces are well made, shiny, bright, and ready  to spark further imagination. The Male Glaze is a treasure trove of imaginary situations and  beings with unexpected connections. Viewers may find themselves looking at the world around  them in a different, more open way after seeing the show.  

To hear Philo Northrup discuss his work, come to the Artist/Curator Talk in the Main Gallery on  Sunday, Feb 13, at 3:30 pm. Come early to see an array of Art Cars on display at 2:30pm  (weather permitting) between the East and West Galleries. 

In the East Gallery, Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) presents gorgeous artworks from their  exhibition Art Quilts 2, first shown at the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica. Over the  past 30 years, SAQA has grown to include over 4,000 members around the world, including not  only artists, but also curators, collectors, and other art professionals who love art quilts and are  dedicated to promoting this sometimes underrated medium to its rightful place as fine art.  

SAQA defines the art quilt as “a creative visual work that is layered and stitched, or that  references this form of stitched layered structure.” In addition to traditional pieced and appliqued  quilts, the display includes art quilts with images that have been digitally enhanced, painted, or  dyed. Their surfaces are hand or machine stitched and sometimes embellished as well.  

The diversity of subject matter is inspiring, from portraits to flora and fauna, from stunning  landscapes such as Carol Sebastian-Neely’s Monument Valley to abstract impressions of beloved  places, such as Cathy Miranker’s Headlands: Kirby Cove. Lorraine Woodruff-Long created Quilt  Melt, a black and white abstract work that makes a very strong visual statement about the loss of  glacier ice in our time due to global warming, with its quilted texture adding a tactile element to  the visual impact of the piece. Some works are lighter in tone: Who wouldn’t love Kathryn  Pellman’s humorous four-square piece, A Fashionista in Quarantine. Overall, Art Quilts 2 is an  eye-opening experience of what wonders are possible using fabric and thread. 

The SAQA artists will hold an Artists’ Talk on Saturday, Jan 29, at 2 pm via Zoom to provide the  opportunity for artist in the group who are outside of the SF Bay Area to take part.  

In West Gallery, the Art Guild of Pacifica’s theme for their first exhibition of 2022 is The Heart  of the Matter, a subject that evokes many artistic approaches, from drilling down into almost any  subject or “matter” to reach its deepest meaning to focusing directly on the feelings that emanate  from our hearts. This show closes on Feb 13, so the timing leads us directly to Valentine’s Day.  Chocolates and flowers may be lovely, but art takes us far deeper into The Heart of the Matter.  

We greatly appreciate the energy and support of our community as we continue to share the joy  and inspiration of the visual arts, despite the difficulties of the time we live in. Sanchez Art  Center is located at 1220 Linda Mar Blvd in Pacifica, about a mile east of Highway 1. For more  information: www.SanchezArtCenter.org.  

Pacifica Beach Coalition, A local Organization’s Success in a Pandemic – Antony Luxton

It’s difficult to visit the beautiful Pacifica coastline without bumping into the famous baby blue shirts of volunteers with a group of Earth Heroes sporting buckets roaming the beaches and parking lots. At least that was my first experience of Pacifica many years ago when I ventured down the coast searching for the best place to live with a local community of down to earth people who care about their environment and appreciate what the incredible Northern California coastline has to offer. Now a member of the community and supporting the Pacific Beach Coalition (PBC) I wear one of those shirts. I have my own bucket and I am proud to call myself an Earth Hero along with the over 93,722 volunteers since 2014 who have helped keep our coastline and oceans beautiful, even during a Pandemic full of lockdowns and restricted group gatherings.

The Pandemic has certainly bestowed upon us its trials and tribulations. Working with numerous companies in Corporate America I have seen all too many struggle or outright fail. We have all seen our share of boarded up businesses. However, there is, pleasantly, a bright side. Those who have the right leaders, passionate staff, and perseverance are able to not just survive but also create new opportunities and prosper in our new normal. Supported by the residents and businesses of Pacifica, as well as the Bay Area and beyond, it is simply heartwarming and inspiring to see the success the Pacific Beach Coalition has had throughout this Pandemic.

In past years, the Pacific Beach Coalition had primarily accomplished its mission with in-person gatherings and events, such as beach cleanups, habitat restoration, and education, as well as the ever-popular annual California Coastal Cleanup in September, Surf Movie in February and EcoFest festivities during Earth Month. At the start of the Pandemic all activities and events came to a complete, dead stop. Some corporate sponsors started to pull back funding for their own financial survival, all cleanups canceled, and some active members started to attrite; all while record numbers of people started hitting the coastline with an increasing amount of trash, exasperated by more and more to-go container use, masks, gloves, and wipes. Our sacred coastline was getting trashed with overflowing garbage bins, littered beaches, and debris filled parking lots. Required more than ever, the Pacific Beach Coalition was not to be defeated. With passion and determination, PBC gathered and rallied to search for solutions.

The world went virtual and so would PBC. Events had to go virtual. Educational and member meetings are relatively easy, less some learning of Zoom best practices. But how do you enable communities to help cleanup, as well as educate them with the same in-person, immersive experience? Would virtual cleanups be possible? Can people clean up within their household, and within their neighborhood? We know rain and storm flushes bring a significant amount of trash from streets into the ocean, impacting marine life and the coastline we enjoy. The brilliant answer to this was a new program from PBC

During the Pandemic, the Pacific Beach Coalition launched the now rapidly growing Street-To-Beach program, enabling PBC to reach an even broader audience. Virtual also meant digital, allowing for the collection of important data. Since the launch, the Street-to-Beach Program has reached 4,824 volunteers who have completed 2,385 cleanups collecting over 24,264 lbs. of trash and 91,624 Cigarette Butts. However, that was simply not enough for the eager team at PBC

In addition to the wildly popular Street-To-Beach program, PBC also noticed another major problem. Youth aged 12-18 were no longer attending after school programs nor school itself in-person. Our youth were craving to get out. PBC listened and delivered by starting another new program, the Jr. Albatross team, supported and led by youth in Pacifica. It has grown today to include Jr. Site Captains helping the return of beach cleanups and habitat restoration this past summer. This was arguably part of the inspiration for the new Splash of Color mural at Eureka Square. It has been beyond magical to watch our youth find their voice, ultimately growing their leadership and confidence in the community.

The Pacific Beach Coalition and its coast loving members have started to return from the Pandemic into a new normal, with monthly beach cleanups, habitat restoration, and education. Yes, the blue shirts and buckets are back! More yet, they are continuing to grow with the new Street-To-Beach and Junior program. Since the Pandemic started, PBC has had 18,344 engaged volunteers, collecting over 73,000 lbs. of trash and about half a million cigarette butts, planted over 3,000 plants, and reached 2,273 students. Certainly, an impressive outcome given such challenging times.

Looking back on my decision to settle in Pacifica, I could not be happier. I am so blessed to be part of an incredible community of caring and empathetic people, who come together to look after this beautiful coastline and help protect the ocean that gives us life. If you’re not already aware of the Pacific Beach Coalition, check us out at www.pacifica beach coalition.org, join us, donate to support a great cause, or simply stop and say “thank you” to the Earth Heroes next time you take a stroll down the beach enjoying our beautiful coast. 

Contact: info@pacificbeachcoalition.org
Website: pacificbeachcoalition.org 

Pacificans Care, Pacifica’s community foundation – Ginny Jaquith

Incorporated in 1982 by a small but dedicated group of Pacifica citizens, Pacificans Care was established as a community-based nonprofit organization to support Core (social) Service Agencies in Pacifica. As an all-volunteer organization, Pacificans Care ensures that our neighbors in need succeed in developing a healthy, self-sufficient, and improved quality of life. Pacificans Care and the support we provide to our Core Service Agencies – Pacifica Senior Services, Pacifica Youth Service Bureau, Pacifica Resource Center, and Pacifica Child Care Services – “make a difference” for thousands of Pacificans during challenging times.

Since its creation Pacificans Care has distributed over $1.4 million in grants to the community. With the continued generous support of the community, Pacificans Care has been able to assist our core agencies in addressing the significant impacts of the current pandemic to ensure that our children, youth, families, and seniors are protected.

In recent years, Pacificans Care has provided grants to assist the Pacifica Resource Center in providing emergency groceries and rental and housing assistance for Pacifica families in need. Grants to the Pacifica Senior Services provided daily ‘Grab and Go lunches for seniors and delivered Meals on Wheels to over 130 homebound seniors and persons with disabilities. The Pacifica Child Care Services, with grant funds Pacificans Care, quickly transitioned to virtual enrichment programs and provided educational experiences for children who may otherwise have missed out. Support for the Pacifica Youth Service Bureau enhanced their efforts to offer much-needed counseling services for at-risk youth and families in crisis.

In addition to its support of Pacifica’s Core Service Agencies, Pacificans Care also offers grants for new start-up community projects. Its most recent grant to the Sanchez Art Center supported a Zoom-based virtual art program for seniors during the pandemic. The Rockaway Ricky Memorial Fund provides food and medical support for pets of seniors and unhoused persons who might otherwise be unable to care for their pets.

In 2020 the Pacificans Care Emergency Fund, through the generosity of the community, provided over $38,000 in grants to core agencies and community organizations who addressed the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. Pacificans Care is thankful for the support it receives from the Pacifica community, from its business partners who make annual commitments of support, and for our ‘Champions’ who lend their volunteer support to Pacificans Care projects.

Speaking of upcoming projects, mark your calendars and join in the fun of the Pacificans Care Double Gold Day, a wine tasting fundraiser featuring Double Gold and Gold award winning wines from the San Francisco International Wine Competition. Sunday, February 6th, 2:00 to 4:00pm, Pedro Point Firehouse. Watch for details in the coming months.

As Pacificans Care celebrates its 40th anniversary during 2022, we continue our commitment to supporting social services in the Pacifica community now more than ever. For more information about Pacificans Care, visit the website at PacificansCare.org or contact Pacificans Care at pacificanscare1982@gmail.com

Tree City Pacifica: An update – Paul Totah

As many of you already know Tree City Pacifica celebrated a successful Arbor Day November 13 with the planting of 40 trees — 10 in Fairmont Park, 10 in Pacifica schools, and 20 in the Fairmont area.

We are now focused on our work with the city regarding its desire to revise the Heritage Tree Ordinance, which helps us all preserve our urban forest and offers rules regarding which trees should be trimmed or cut down and which should be preserved both for us today and for future generations.

Earlier this year, the city contracted with Davey Resource Group to help guide this process, and there have been several opportunities for the public to make recommendations — including Tree City Pacifica. We started by having our core committee research best practices in a number of nearby cities, and we then formed a series of recommendations that we gave to the key stakeholders in this process. (If you would like a copy of our recommendations, send us an email at treecitypacifica@gmail.com.) 

The city is doing all this because it recognized the need for improvements in the current Heritage Tree Ordinance, which you can find here: https://www.cityofpacifica.org/depts/pw/trees/oridnances.asp
For example, rather than apply for a permit to remove a heritage tree, some residents would hire a company to remove the tree and, if questioned by the city, simply apply for a retroactive permit. This circumvented the appeal process. If any neighbors chose to appeal the permit, they would be too late. The city also realized that aggressive trimming of a tree could do irreparable harm to a tree, as would any encroachment on the drip line of a tree – the area affecting its roots. Thus, the need for policy revisions.

Here is the timeline going forward:

By the end of January, the city will prepare a draft report available to the public when they announce a city council study session in February. At that session, the public will have another opportunity to weigh in, as will members of the city council. Public Works and the Davey Resource Group will then come back in April with an updated draft of the Heritage Tree Ordinance with the goal of adopting it by June of 2022. 

Why does all this matter? Because we’re part of the global effort to fight climate change, and trees play a role in sequestering carbon. If we cut down our largest of our healthy trees, we hurt ourselves in the long run and hurt our planet. We also hope to preserve the specific beauty of our coastal town. People come here for the beaches and hiking trails and to enter a rural environment free from urban stresses. Trees, of course, also improve home values and draw people to our business corridor. Thus, trees are a win, win, win for everyone concerned. We understand that all trees will die, and that some need to be safely cut down before they fall and cause damage. A wise Heritage Tree Ordinance will preserve our healthy trees and provide a clear process for cutting down the ones that need to be removed.

This is only the first part of a two-part process. Starting in the summer of 2022, the city will solicit proposals from qualified firms to prepare an Urban Forest Management Plan, one that looks at the big picture, including analyzing the canopy of all trees in the city. Look for more on this down the road.

Become Involved In Your City’s Future – You Are Pacifica 

The City’s draft for a new Pacifica General Plan and Environmental Impact Report will be released in the first week of January 2022, followed by a limited 45 day comment period—the minimum legally allowed for the EIR. We should all be concerned that such an unusually compacted process will greatly curtail important citizen participation

YOU ARE PACIFICA is an existing network of highly qualified citizen volunteers – city planners, architects, former city council members, scientists, environmental specialists, and community organizers. We support responsible development, affordable housing, environmental stewardship, a sustainable economy, campaign contribution disclosure, responsive city governance, community engagement. 

If you would like to join a discussion of your community’s plan that our city government devised without any recent public participation, please contact YouArePacifica@gmail.com.