Edition 3 May 2022
Welcome to the May 2022 edition of Pacifica Voice
- FOR CONSIDERATION
- Social Justice
- THE COMMUNITY SHARES
Calendar of Events
|MON 5/9 7 PM||City Council – sewer tax|
|TH 5/122 1-2 PM||Mythbusting Affordable Housing Costs, Virtual event, see Housing Leadership Council calendar|
|SAT 5/14 8:30 AM – 5 PM||Community Center, Mental Health First Aid Training|
|TU 5/17 5-6 PM||Affordable Housing for the Next Generation, virtual event, see Housing Leadership Council calendar|
|TH 5/19 5-6PM||Tackling the Challenge of Producing Deeply Affordable Housing, virtual event, see Housing Leadership Council calendar|
|FRI 5/20 7PM||Let’s Discuss Reparations, Sharp park Library, see Pacifica Peace People post|
|SUN 5/22 2 PM||Pacifica Historical Society Museum, free Flute Concert, see PHS post|
|MON 5/23 7 PM||City Council|
See posted calendars for:
- Housing Leadership Council
- Sanchez Art Gallery summer schedule
- Pacifica Library
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 email@example.com for consideration.
To receive press releases and periodic messages from the Pacifica Voice please add your name and email address to our subscriber list – SUBSCRIBE HERE. FREE
Mayors Mental Health Initiative – Pacifica Mayor, Mary Bier
The announcement by the San Mateo County Mayors Health Initiative kicks off May as Mental Health Awareness Month. This year’s theme, #SMCTakeAction4MH, encourages taking steps to support mental wellness. Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale and San Carlos Mayor Sara McDowell brought together mayors from 16 cities across the county to focus on the growing need for mental health services.
When Sara asked me to join the Mayors Mental Health Initiative, I knew it was exactly what I was supposed to do. It blended my role at the Daly City Youth Health Center (DCYHC)/ JUHSD with my leadership role in my city. The young people I was working with before lock down were focusing on “redefining mental wellness”. They wanted to put a positive spin to the phrase “mental health”. Then the pandemic hit. Suddenly they were experiencing all of the emotions that they had been discussing for months beforehand. It was now real – the sadness, anger, lack of motivation, social anxiety. We had to find a way to continue to support these young people and their families. Working with my team at DCYHC, we mapped out a plan to continue to create a safe space for the youth to come together and support each other, while we worked on connecting them and their families to services. We met on zoom two times a week for 18 months. I was honored to witness their journey. Their commitment to their mental health never waivered. They started a PodCast to use the platform to share their thoughts and experiences with other youth. (It’s Always Something) – They made videos and hosted webinars about youth mental health. They found their resiliency. The theme for this years focus is “Brilliance in Resilience”
I chose to tell you this story because, well, I am so proud of them; and also to talk about the collaboration across sectors that it took to make sure that these youth and their families received the services they needed to make it through the pandemic. Partnerships between the school district, the health center and the core services agencies was vital. As an Elected, I have the opportunity to encourage collaboration in my city. I can use my platform to raise awareness about mental health issues and how to access services. By participating in the Mayors Mental Health Initiative, I have the opportunity to work collaboratively across city lines and throughout the county. It allows me to get to know my colleagues. It provides a space for us to come together and support each other. It allows us to feel positive about the work we are doing. This is important for our mental wellness and it helps us to move forward in serving our communities.
We are coming into May, Mental Health Awareness Month. Cities across San Mateo County are participating in activities that start dialogue about mental health through presentations, training, and proclamations. Cities are lighting up their buildings in lime green, the color of the mental health movement. Cities are hosting Mental Health First Aid training. Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour course that teaches volunteers how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The course is delivered by trained instructors who meet certification requirements. Collaboration can be seen across sectors, Libraries are hosting meditation sessions and mental-health training. Art Centers are creating opportunities for art related activities. Schools are using digital storytelling to begin conversations between students. We are stronger together. This kind of collaboration creates many different ways to learn about resources and services. It helps to fill the gaps that exist in outreach and awareness.
Recognizing the need, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors provided $200,000 to help fund the mental health first aid training as part of COVID-19 recovery efforts. Funding comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act, which helps communities overcome challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you San Mateo County for being such amazing partners! The San Mateo County Mayors Mental Health Initiative includes Atherton, Belmont, Brisbane, Daly City, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Pacifica, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, and South San Francisco.
Throughout May, cities and the County are expected to support proclamations to raise awareness about Mental Health Awareness Month. Also look for public buildings alight in green (the national color for mental health) and public events to help raise awareness, highlight resources and spark conversations about mental health. San Mateo County Health is also sponsoring a series of events and activities.
More information on the cities’ Mental Health Month proclamations, community training, and other events free and open to the public may be found at https://smcmentalhealthmonth.org/.
Addressing Housing Needs for a Hidden Population – Suzanne Moore
A look at adults with chronic mental illness and their aging caregivers, Solutions for Supportive Homes
“My son is 28. He was diagnosed late with autism at age 10, and he had his first psychotic break at age 22 after using marijuana with a friend. He cannot cook, clean his room, manage a budget, or independently take his meds. I don’t know what will happen when I can no longer care for him.” This story was recently shared with members of Solutions for Supportive Homes (S4SH).
There are many families worried about the future of their children. It is a common concern expressed at S4SH, an organization started in January, 2019, by a group of parents who chose to tackle this issue. “We realized that there is not a dependable system to assure our children will have safe, affordable housing that provides the support to function as independently as possible. We are fearful for their future.”
Concerns are well founded. Mental health conditions put individuals at risk for disenfranchisement and homelessness. Dr. Frank Trinh, Supervising Physician, San Mateo County Public Health Policy and Planning, states that impairments like chronic mental illness can both cause and prolong homelessness.
San Mateo County is committing to end homelessness in 2022, and Ken Cole, Director of the Human Services Agency of San Mateo, envisions a continuum of care model which involves all levels of the care system. The County has created a step system: from prevention of homelessness through Core Service Agencies, coordinated entry through the Samaritan House, and rapid rehousing. Melissa Platte, Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of San Mateo County, states that to create functional zero homelessness, our County needs a mix of services including permanent supportive housing.
The County has a well-established system which prioritizes individuals currently unhoused. This is essential to the critical needs of those on the street.
“But our children are at imminent risk for homelessness. If I become ill, I have no safety net. What can I do?”
May is Mental Health Awareness month and Affordable Housing Month. It is a particularly powerful moment:
- Our communities are developing Housing Elements, mandated under Fair Housing law, to identify and address those with disproportionate housing needs;
- San Mateo County is committed to “Functional Zero” and the goal to end homelessness in 2022,
- The economic downturn from COVID has increased our homeless population and number of homeless deaths. There is an opportunity to impact the system, request that populations at risk be counted and addressed in plans for continuity of care, and that monies be allotted to sustain these programs.
- Contact your community’s Housing Element facilitator (ask your City Hall) and request your Housing Element include plans for interim and permanent supportive housing.
- Send emails/letter/or speak out to our County Board of Supervisors to request a study to count adults with chronic mental illness cared for by families, and request they identify best practices for a plan of care for a housing transition when family is no longer able to provide the care.
- Contact your local NAMI (National Association on Mental Illness) for support in learning about options for a plan of care for your adult child.
- Contact Solutions for Supportive Homes (www.s4sh.org) if you want to become more involved.
It will take all of us to do what we can to make a difference. Happy May!
Get Certified in Mental Health First Aid
Free Mental Health First Aid Training
In one day, learn how you can help someone in distress and get the tools to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges.
You will learn about:
- Best practices for talking about! mental health and substance use!
- 5-step action plan to respond to! crises
- Local resources and where to turn!
- for help
All at no cost to you!
- Questions about training? Contact Sylvia Tang at (650) 578-7165 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Questions about registration? Contact Sophia Mahoney-Rohrl at (650) 738-7376 or smahoney- email@example.com
Saturday, May 14, 2022
8:30AM-5:00PM (lunch will be provided) Pacifica Community Center 540 Crespi Drive, Pacifica, CA 94044
Virginia Chang Kiraly
The month of May recognizes many important things – Affordable Housing Month, Asian Heritage Month, and Mental Health Awareness Month. As a board member of the National Alliance On Mental Illness San Mateo County (NAMI SMC), I support the proposed Care Court system, which allows families, community members, probation officers, and others to refer people to services if they have schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder, not receiving ongoing treatment, and unable to make their own medical decisions. People can also be brought into the system if suspected of a crime or being released from an involuntary hold at a psychiatric facility. While Care Courts may not be perfect, they offer a compassionate way to help those suffering from mental illness, who may be a danger to themselves or to the public.
Mental illness is different from mental health. Mental illness affects the way people think, feel, behave over a span of time, affects people’s lives differently, and can be episodic. One-half of all chronic mental illness begins at the age of 14 years. Mental health looks at our mental well-being– our emotions, thoughts, and feelings; our ability to problem solve and overcome difficulties; our social interactions; and our understanding of the world around us. Everyone has mental health, just like physical health, and it can be on the spectrum from good to bad.
Unfortunately, externalities such as safety, crime, worrying about having a place to live and the affordability of housing in our community, cause stress and negatively impact our mental health. This stress is exacerbated by the high, and increasing, cost of living in our county. Keeping our community affordable and accessible is important, particularly across generations. Children deserve to live in a safe place where they can dream, study, and play. Seniors should be able to live independently with services nearby, such as transit, community activities, and services like Meals On Wheels. Our streets and neighborhoods must be safe for everyone. Government has an important role to play by repurposing public lands for housing, specifically social housing for mixed-income residents. To make people’s lives easier, required infrastructure should be built to support housing to avoid traffic and parking nightmares. Having services that support housing is crucial to ease stress.
Affordable housing can also help those who face street homelessness, which intersects with mental illness/mental health and housing accessibility. For those facing homelessness and those needing workforce housing as essential workers, the Care Court system can be an effective way to help those in need to have a roof over their heads and a warm bed to sleep in, while accessing required treatment for substance abuse and services for mental health and/or mental illness.
As a Chinese-American woman, I also celebrate Asian Heritage Month. For me, the need to shatter the model-minority myth is important, and this was at fever pitch during the pandemic. The most destructive part of this myth is the wedge that divides Asians and other communities of color to disrupt inter-racial solidarity. This wedge makes society think that Asians do not have needs and challenges that warrant government policy corrections. Asian Americans have the most significant income disparity of any ethnic group in America and have faced legislated discrimination for decades. Fortunately, during the height of violence towards AAPI community during the last two years, the growing recognition that Asians need mental-health services has not gone unnoticed. Unfortunately, the model-minority myth holds back Asians from seeking help. Therefore, I hope that during this Asian Heritage Month, we Asians look at ways for self-care, seek help when needed, and shatter the model-minority myth.
Dear readers, much has happened since we last submitted articles to the Pacifica Voice!
Endorsed by Nick Lusson of “Save San Pedro Mountain” and the Sierra Club!
In March, in Pacifica, I was honored to speak to “Save San Pedro Mountain”. I am so grateful to my friend Nick Lusson and organizers, who have worked so hard to preserve open space in the foothills of Linda Mar’s San Pedro Mountain. I am excited to share Nick Lusson’s endorsement, as well as the sole endorsement of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club. As Supervisor, I will fight to protect our parks, our beaches, and our open spaces.
Endorsed by San Mateo County Firefighters Local 2400!
I am honored to share that I am the only candidate endorsed by San Mateo County Firefighters Local 2400, which represents firefighters and paramedics in nine different Associations, including the Pacifica Firefighters. As Supervisor, I will fight to mitigate the impacts of climate change and protect our communities from wildfire, and I will hold hearings and hold insurance companies accountable who cancel insurance policies.
Endorsed by Coastside Democratic Club!
In late March, all of the candidates were asked to participate in a forum put on by the Coastside Democratic Club. We discussed topics like housing, climate change, transportation, and public safety. After the forum, the club voted whether it would endorse a candidate for Supervisor. Our campaign received over 67% percent of the vote, and won the endorsement!
Endorsed By the San Mateo County Democratic Party!
Then in April, our campaign won again, this time winning the sole endorsement of the San Mateo County Democratic Party. In the email sent to county Democrats, the County Democratic Party stated that I was “by far the best choice to represent this area on the Board of Supervisors.”
We have the momentum!
Our campaign leads all others in fundraising. We have won coveted endorsements from the California Nurses Association, the San Mateo County Labor Council, and from Congresswoman Anna Eshoo. You can view our full endorsement list at https://www.raymuellerforsupervisor.com/endorsements/.
A Campaign to Support our City’s residents, not the Legacy of Former Supervisors
One thing I have heard consistently during this campaign is that Coastsiders and Pacificans feel forgotten by the County and County Government. On day one I will bring an office to the Coastside. It will be staffed and I will be in it, two to three days a week. Representation is about relationships and trust with a community, not about photo opps with business owners on Facebook. You aren’t going to need to drive to Redwood City to see me, nor wait for when I decide to schedule a coffee, to share with me your concerns. I understand those in most need of help, need to be met where they are. That is why I am supported by 61 current and former City Councilmembers in District 3, including 10 current and former City Councilmembers in Pacifica. Change. That’s why you see my signs popping up at roadsides, on Highway 1, 92, and 84.
I am not running to be like past Supervisors. I am running for change, to be present to those in need, to stand by you and solve your problems with you, arm in arm. Pacificans deserve it. You deserve it. Change, for your families, for your neighbors, for our future.
I ask for your vote for San Mateo County Supervisor. https://www.raymuellerforsupervisor.com/
Taking Care of My Neighbors Now & In the Future
By Laura Parmer-Lohan, Candidate, San Mateo County Supervisor D3
Dear Pacifica Neighbors,
I’m excited to update you on my campaign and to list my priorities for addressing the unique needs of the Pacifica community.
As your Supervisor, I’ll bring people together to develop realistic and results-driven plans mitigate the effects of climate change, including:
- Protecting our coastline, beaches, and open spaces
- Investing in wildfire prevention including recruiting, retaining, equipping, and training adequate numbers of firefighters, nurses and first responders
- Reducing the devastating effects of drought by using recycled and reclaimed water for irrigation, farming, and landscaping
- Tackling climate-induced flooding and sea level rise
- Reducing the pollution from traffic congestion by ensuring that our teachers, firefighters, and essential workers can live near where they work
- Addressing homelessness by expanding mental health, substance abuse, job training, and housing services
- Maintaining Pacifica’s safety, charm and small-town vitality
I am the only candidate who has publicly supported a funding solution to address the local impacts of climate change. And I am the only candidate endorsed by our outgoing supervisor for the Coast, Don Horsley, as well as both preceding supervisors from our district, Rich Gordon and Ted Lempert. I am also endorsed by local firefighters because I’ll fund year-round investments in wildfire prevention and coastal protections.
There is a direct link between a lack of accessible, affordable healthcare services and homelessness. I will activate community and governmental resources to reduce homelessness by expanding mental health, substance abuse, job training, and housing services. We need to provide multiple forms of housing that are respectful to our neighborhoods and can house our local workers. We must find ways to utilize public lands to address these housing needs to provide resources for upcoming generations.
As a Peninsula Clean Energy Board member, City Councilwoman, and former mayor, I am already working on these issues. It is now time to take them head-on at the county level to ensure that the Coastside has equal access to critical resources that meet local needs.
Supervisors can bring our diverse communities together to solve these problems. For the past year, I have been soliciting local perspectives through my community conversation project called “Listen and Lead.” If you haven’t already done so, please share your thoughts and ideas through my website www.LauraforSupervisor.com
I hope I can count on your vote for Supervisor, and I look forward to working together to develop meaningful solutions that will address the important issues facing our communities.
San Mateo County’s Commitment to “FUNCTIONAL ZERO” HOMELESSNESS – Suzanne Moore
San Mateo County presented their plan, “Working Together to End Homelessness,” in a virtual all-star cast event on April 22nd. Supervisor Don Horsley began with information on the monetary investment in the plan, the County’s continued commitment, and a reminder that homelessness is “the issue of our lifetime.”
County Manager Mike Callagy followed with a summary of current achievements. Manager Callagy described the homeless issue as a “health, mental health, job, and housing issue,” and it will require community participation to resolve.
Bob Nisbet, City Manager from Half Moon Bay, spoke of the success of Coast House, an interim housing program, necessary due to the scarcity of affordable housing. Manager Nisbet stated the ultimate goal is for permanent affordable housing. Nisbet acknowledged the need for homes for our essential workers who “carried on the work of COVID”.
During the presentation, the County did its best to define the growing problem, give a human face to our unhoused, and describe the impact of homelessness on the individual, family, and community. Our departments of public health, mental health and education all discussed affects of homelessness on County systems. A study from Santa Clara County estimated the financial cost of homeless services at $520 million annually with costs heavily skewed for those chronically homeless – the most vulnerable in the unhoused community. If the “high-end users”are identified, stabilized and provided supportive housing, tragic recidivism can be interrupted. It is apparent we need our systems to achieve better outcomes.
The County presented data that firmly identifies our unhoused have deep ties with our communities: they go to work and school, have family and friends, and were formerly housed in their neighborhoods. The greatest single reason for being unhoused is being priced out of previous housing.
Homelessness takes a toll on physical and mental health. The lifespan is dramatically reduced for our unhoused with premature death 3-4 times higher than for the general population. Homeless students are denied access to healthy foods, transportation, quiet places to rest – all which impede learning.
County leaders believe that the County’s continuum of care model can address our homeless crisis:
- the CORE agencies, the first-line of intervention, prevent homelessness and provide a doorway to rapid rehousing,
- the Coordinated entry systems (CES) develop individualized care plans, meet clients “where they are at”, identify barriers to stable housing, and assist clients to achieve goals for successful housing transition.
- interim housing provides safe respite, access to wrap-around services to advance skill building. It is an intermediary step when appropriate long-term housing is unavailable,
- permanent supportive housing gives assistance to maintain the highest level of functioning for folks who cannot live independently.
Presentation slides and Q&A from the initial presentation are available at smcendinghomelessness.org
The County plans continued community discussion on homelessness. The next virtual events are planned for 5/20/22 and 6/3/22. Visit www.smcgov.org/ and search for – 2022: our year of working together to end homelessness. You can register for future events at that site.
HIP Housing Seeking Volunteers – Laura Fanucchi
Human Investment Project Housing (HIP Housing) is a non-profit organization based in San Mateo County that specializes in affordable and creative housing solutions. Each year, HIP Housing helps 1,400 people find housing or keep their homes through our Home Sharing, Self Sufficiency, and Property Development Programs. We could use your help with program outreach, database and email list clean-up, and more. Each of the following projects take 1-2 hours per week. To apply, visit: HIP Housing Volunteer Interest application.
For more information, contact Laura Fanucchi firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 348 6660.
Housing Leadership Council of San Mateo County presents Affordable Housing Month 2022
Click on Event Below to Join
Pacifica: Let’s Discuss Reparations – Pacifica Peace People
May 20, 2022 at 7:00p
Sharp Park Library
Masks are encouraged
Pacifica Peace People invite you to the 2nd
2022 Community Conversation Series
Some facts & thoughts to consider:
In the U.S., the median white family has $147,000. The median Black family has $3,500–
—2% of its white counterpart.
On average, a white child born in the U.S. has 16X more wealth than a Black child at first breath.
“Truth and reconciliation about the ‘original sin of American slavery’ is necessary to light the way to the beloved community we all seek. The uncomfortable truth is that the United States owes its position as the most powerful nation in the world to its
slave-owning past.” –Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
“An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and certain sins of the future.
… the payment of reparations would represent America’s maturation out of childhood myth of innocence into a wisdom worthy of its founders.” -Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations
“It is though we have run up a credit-card bill, pledge to charge no more, and then remain befuddled that the balance does not disappear.” -Ta-Nehisi Coates, 2014
“Reparations is a healing project, a midway point between truth and reconciliation.”
“Slavery didn’t end. It just evolved.” -Bryan Stevenson
Truth Before Ideology- Ian Butler
I’m a proud and occasionally smug liberal, smug in knowing that my side isn’t full of crazy nut jobs like the other side…except of course when they are. Because let’s face it, everyone, wherever they may lie on the political spectrum, is capable of being wrong, sometimes horribly so. And the farther you get on the outer fringes of that spectrum, the wronger you are likely to be. I don’t want to draw a false equivalence here, there are many important differences between the 2 fringes, most important is that fact that on the right the fringe is basically in charge of the Republican Party, while on the left the fringe is treated by the Democratic Party as what it is, a fringe, much to their chagrin. It kills them to see Trump, Tucker and McCarthy saying and doing batshit crazy things and being taken seriously, and they gotta wonder, why can’t I get some of that? Instead of a seat at the table they are relegated to YouTube channels, Facebook pages and Pacifica Radio, which further convinces them that their views must be correct, because the system is out to silence them, right?
Usually the left fringe is pretty harmless, the worst thing they commonly do is to not vote for the Democrats, giving the Republicans more power than they deserve, but hey, it’s a democracy (so far) and that’s their right. But sometimes they can be truly dangerous, as Covid-19 tragically revealed. A pandemic doesn’t care whether you’re an anti-vaxxer because your evangelical preacher told you Jesus will protect you or your spiritual advisor told you healing crystals and essential oils will, you (or more likely the aging relative that you infected at your family dinner) will be just as dead either way. Yes, “Big Pharma” is biased towards whatever increases its profit margins, but that doesn’t mean “Big Essential Oil” AKA “The Crystal Healing Industrial Complex” doesn’t. At least Big Pharma has to show that their products work with double blind studies and peer review. Big Essential Oil has no such requirements; heck, their products, such as homeopathy, don’t even have to exist. Let me explain.
Homeopathy, which has never been proven to work better than a placebo (because it is one), “contains” so-called “ingredients” that have typically been diluted to the point that there isn’t even a single molecule of those ingredients in the preparation on the shelves of your local health food store. For instance, Oscillococcinum, which is marketed for flu-like symptoms, is made from the liver of a duck. And when I say “a duck” I mean that literally. The product, which rakes in more than $15 billion a year, is so diluted that most of the world’s supply is made from the liver of one particular duck, which is in a freezer somewhere waiting to be diluted to supply non-medicine to those who rail against Big Pharma for the next hundred years. Big Pharma wishes they could have those profit margins!
Similarly, those who consume far-left news sources and rail against “Big Media” as hopelessly biased, sensationalized and only in it for the money, do have a point; but mainstream news outlets do have to follow long-standing journalistic standards. Alternative media, whether on the left or right, has no such standards to worry about. The Jimmy Dore Show, Palmer Report and Chris Hedges are free to spread conspiracy theories, Russian propaganda and biased opinions all they want, so long as it is biased from the left. In fact, the more biased and inflammatory it is the more money they can rake in, because just like in the mainstream media, controversy sells. And sometimes that controversy can come back and bite progressives in the butt.
The Palmer Report for instance, made a lot of waves by pushing the claim that Donald Trump’s election in 2016 was “rigged”, including the unfounded claims that 5,000 votes in Wisconsin were wrongly disqualified, and that Trump votes were counted twice. Those easily debunked claims were extremely popular among those who didn’t want to believe Trump was president, and brought in a lot of money for Bill Palmer. But the cost of that is it legitimized the idea that US presidential elections are rigged, which Trump himself used four years later to question Biden’s election.
Chris Hedges is a darling of the left, and has some impressive pedigree. A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for the New York Times, he forcefully spoke out against the Iraq war, which led the NYT to rebuke him for breaking its standards of impartiality, causing him to quit in protest. Although I understand the need for journalists to be impartial, I totally agree with Chris’ stand on the war and understand why he chose to quit. What I disagree with is his choice to work for Russia Today instead. Russia Today, who, like KFC has renamed itself as the less obviously problematic RT, is a news outlet created by Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, whose editor in chief stated in 2002 that it’s purpose is “waging an information war with the entire Western world”, would seem an unusual home for a pro-free speech and anti-war journalist. As I write these words Russia is literally jailing any RT reporters that dare to call the war in Ukraine a war.
One can only assume that he’s well paid, Putin recently increased the budget of RT to about $3 billion annually. Chris Hedges was already a strong detractor of the USA so he didn’t really need to change his message much, he merely has to avoid saying bad things about Russia and cash his checks from the Kremlin. The day after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, his column took Putin’s excuses for the war at face value, that it was in response to NATO spreading eastward, rather than the consensus of the free world that it was a bald faced power grab by an authoritarian strongman. A shocking number of progressives believe him. Why? Well, they’ve been fed a steady stream of propaganda about US corruption from a position so far to the left that Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are indistinguishable from Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, and Russia Today is an unbiased alternative to the New York Times.
Chris is a frequent guest on the Jimmy Dore Show, which is possibly the worst of the popular left wing media outlets. Dore’s never met a lefty conspiracy that he didn’t like, from 9/11 truthers to anti-vaxxers, and he really hates Democrats. In 2016 he said: “don’t freak out about a Donald Trump presidency! I think, in fact, my theory is that it’s even better for progressives in the short-term, meaning in the two-year term, and in four years for sure.” Despite, or rather because of his dangerous views, his show is increasing in popularity all the time, a sort of Joe Rogan for the Democracy Now crowd.
As bad as those left wing media personalities are, they aren’t half as bad as social media such as Facebook and Twitter, which rapidly spreads misinformation with barely any accountability at all. For too many of us, all that matters is where a meme lies on the political spectrum. If it’s on our side of the spectrum we automatically agree (and share), and if it’s on the other side we automatically disagree. It’s a temptingly simple but dangerous epistemology, because reality has no political ideology, and charlatans will prey upon our well intentioned belief systems.
So what do we do? If I had to boil it down to a pithy aphorism, we need to put “Truth Before Ideology.” Scientific skepticism is the most reliable way of discerning the truth, and one of its precepts is to put far more effort in disproving your beliefs than in reinforcing them. Question your assumptions, look for supporting evidence to see if they have a reasonable foundation, and don’t let anything influence your opinion before it has been reasonably verified. The fact is, in most cases the progressive position on topics such as climate change, universal health care, income inequality, transgender rights and gun laws are in line with the data, but that doesn’t mean you should unquestioningly believe every progressive talking point out there. It might just be coming from a simplistic ideologue or Russian troll farm.
It’s easy to say nuclear power or Roundup is bad, but sometimes it might be the least bad option available. And some topics are uncomfortable, such as controlling population growth (essential to save the planet), and trans athletes competing in women’s sports (a relatively new area of research that pits two distinct civil rights groups against each other). But uncomfortable conversations are essential, failure to have them is a recipe for bad choices and bad policies. We just need to approach them with open minds and in good faith.
The antidote for right wing misinformation isn’t left wing misinformation, it’s the truth, which requires a healthy skepticism. Unfortunately, people associate their self worth with their opinions, so it’s hard to let go of a strongly held belief despite evidence to the contrary because it’s like losing a part of themselves. But if we want people on the right to reevaluate their views on climate change or gun control, we need to be willing to do the same. If not, I have a partially used duck liver to sell you.
Pacifica Resource Center Job Openings
Come be a part of our community!
Pacifica Resource Center (PRC) is an integral part of the Pacifica community. Our programs tackle a breadth of sustainability issues such as economic, food, and shelter security. We are a small team that has a mighty impact because each one of us is committed to excellence and providing the highest levels of care that we can, meaning we want everyone who joins our team to feel just as impassioned to provide excellent support to our community as we do!
THE FOLLOWING POSITIONS ARE OPEN AS OF 3/28/2022:
- On Indeed.com via the links above
- Send your cover letter and resume to email@example.com. Be sure to note the title of the position you are applying for in the subject line.
Mental Health and Trees – Paul Totah
When the pandemic began, I took to the hills around Pacifica looking for relief from the lockdown. I wasn’t alone. Each day, I ran into more people than I had seen on my pre-pandemic hikes. It’s no wonder. The need for green is hard-wired into us, and our need for nature is most pronounced during stressful times.
This May, when we celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s good to recall that the time we spend among trees offers tremendous benefits for our mental and physical health. According to New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (and so many more experts), “exposure to forests and trees boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, improves mood, increases ability to focus, even in children with ADHD, accelerates recovery from surgery or illness, increases energy level and improves sleep.”
Trevor Cambron of Palo Alto-based Canopy.org, elaborated on this in a 2020 blog post, where he wrote of the problems faced by city dwellers, who suffer “40 percent higher levels of depression, 20 percent high anxiety and twice the amount of schizophrenia” than those living in rural areas. He stresses the importance of trees, noting that “of all green spaces, trees seem to have a special impact on people’s mental health. People exposed to areas with good canopy cover have been shown to experience a third less psychological stress. The same cannot be said for other green spaces such as open grassy areas, though this does not diminish their value as spaces for recreation and gathering. Even viewing deciduous trees without leaves during the winter months has been found to lead to positive psychological impacts.”
The positive effect of trees is so powerful that studies have shown that “patients with views of trees from their hospital windows recover faster, require less pain medication, and have fewer complications than those with views of built structures,” Cambron added.
Catherine Arnold, in her 2020 “Tree Think” piece for American Forests, also stresses the mental health benefits that trees offer. “At a time when our screen-obsession is increasingly linked to anxiety and COVID-19 has left many feeling isolated and distressed, it’s no wonder doctors are urging patients to unplug and spend time outside,” Arnold writes. “Some physicians are writing ‘nature therapy’ prescriptions. And ‘forest bathing,’ a practice from Japan in which people use all of their senses to immerse themselves in nature, has become one of the hottest wellness trends.”
She goes further when she quotes Dr. Kathleen Wolf, a University of Washington and U.S. Forest Service researcher, who advocates for creating “policy recognizing the need for greenspaces in our cities — so people have green places to go just outside their door, just outside their office.”
At a time when the world, and so many of us, feel a profound imbalance in our lives, nature can help us recenter ourselves and regain our balance. This holds true, too, for our civic leaders, who have to balance the need for new houses with the need for open space. My fear is that loud generally wins over quiet. The loud demands on our time that come from our email and cell phones sometimes drowns out the still, small voice that quietly suggests we go for a walk. Likewise, those who advocate for large-scale development can speak louder than the trees they wish to cut down.
My hope for us all is that Pacifica remains a place canopied with trees, a place where we all can regain peace of mind, a city on the edge of the world that knows how to listen — and respond to — the quiet needs held by both us and the land itself.
THE COMMUNITY SHARES
Sanchez Art Center Summer Camps
Fine Art Camps
Drawing and Mixed Media Art Camp, Instructor: Jason Budowski
Ages: 8-15; Mon-Fri, June 27 – July 1, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm; Tuition & Materials Fee: $550
For young artists who love to draw and would like to improve their drawing skills this camp is all about learning to create truly amazing artwork. This camp demystifies drawing and helps to understand which mediums to use for different visual effects. We’ll also be creating a small mural for fun.
Register at BayAreaArtSchool
Hello Summer Art Camp (Flyer)
Printing and Collage, Instructor: Sharon Collins
Ages: 7-13; Wed-Fri, July 6 – July 8, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm; Tuition & Materials Fee: $290
Join us for creative studio time! We’ll explore a variety of printmaking techniques such as one-of-a-kind prints and plates that print several images of your work. We will also experiment with different paints and textures for collage. Students will build a portfolio of work over these three days.
Register on Eventbrite
Mixed Media Art Camp, Instructor: Annie Latzke
Ages: 6-10; Mon-Fri, July 11 – July 15, 9:00 am – Noon; Tuition & Materials Fee: $250
We will have a variety of projects throughout the week that will build on one another and inspire some imaginative play. Students will be directed in specific projects and also have time to work independently on projects of their choosing.
Register on Eventbrite
Hands On, Screens Off!, Instructor: Petra Schumann
Ages: 7-10; Mon-Fri, July 18 – July 22, 9:00 am – Noon; Tuition & Materials Fee: $235
Kids will make art using messy supplies they may have missed while learning from home and/or re- entering the classroom. We’ll paint with tempera, make waves with watercolors, press prints, play with pastels, and glue assemblages.
Register on Eventbrite
Acrylic Painting, Instructor: Jason Budowski
Ages: 8-15; Mon-Fri, July 25 – July 29, 9:00 am – 3:30 pm; Tuition & Materials Fee: $550
We will be looking at how to mix-and-match accurate colors so that your painting skills get to the next level. We will create fantastic worlds, epic landscapes and different magical and surreal scenes that tell a story through composition, layering and color.
Register at BayAreaArtSchool
Action Movie and Action Stop Motion, Instructor: Incrediflix
Ages: 7-13; Mon-Fri, June 20 – June 24, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Tuition & Production Fee: $485
In the mornings, adventure awaits in these high energy movies where we’ll use a green screen, camera tricks, and special effects to create a live-action movie. Collaborate to write, act and direct this stunt- packed movie with action choreography that thrills audiences. Then in the afternoons use mini-green screens for special effects, and stop-motion tricks to create fires, explosions and floods as characters battle it out or work together to save the day.
Register on Eventbrite
Live Action and LegoFlix, Instructor: Incrediflix
Ages: 7-13; Mon-Fri, Aug 1 – Aug 5, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm; Tuition & Production Fee: $485
In the mornings, kids discover their filmmaking talents! No experience needed to take part, as the instructor will guide campers through the Hollywood process to create, direct, film, act and more. At the conclusion of the camp, a movie will have been created AND everyone will have the skills to make more movies with friends and family. In the afternoon, LEGOs will be brought to life working in groups to create a LEGO stop-motion movie with voice-overs.
Register on Eventbrite
Health and safety protocols will follow CDC and local San Mateo County guidelines in effect at time of the camp; face masks are currently encouraged as the best way for everyone to remain healthy.
Pacifica Historical Society Announcements
A new exhibit upstairs at the museum features the Pacifica Tribune.
Bill Drake’s (owner and publisher 1959-1989) original desk is part of the exhibit.
On the desk, we have a computer so visitors can access in digital/ searchable format (at no charge) the Tribune from 1957-2013. Save the articles you find: bring your own USB flash drive or purchase one at our Museum Gift Store.
Now on YouTube: The PHS Event from Sunday March 27th
SAVE THE DATE
Update from Pacific Beach Coalition – Antony Luxton
Get your butts off the beach! This past Saturday, April 23, the Pacific Beach Coalition hosted the largest beach clean up since the start of the pandemic! With cleanups at over 11 sites from Daily City through Half Moon Bay, including one new site in Foster City, hundreds of people from around the Bay Area showed up collecting over 650 lbs of trash, over 55 lbs of recycling, and thousands of toxic cigarette butts.
This weekend’s event was part of the annual Earth Day of Action which also included education, awareness, and celebration. Representatives from US, State, County and City were on hand to take action and share a few words. With this year’s Earth Day theme of “Invest in our Planet”, talks included getting our butts off the beach and taking action.
The North Coasts County Water District, San Mateo County, Peninsula Clean Energy, and Plastic Free Future provided valuable information on reducing our impact on the environment, what action we can take, and how we are all investing in our planet. The Worldwide initiative supported by the US known as 30×30, aims to conserve 30% of the world’s lands and water by 2030. It’s a bid to not only protect natural areas and biodiversity but to slow the planet’s warming by ensuring enough plants and soil remain to support carbon sequestration.
How will you support our planet? What action will you take? How will you Invest in our planet?
Mental Health Awareness Month – San Mateo County Libararies
Taking Time to Meditate -May 2, 4 and 6, 11:00-12:30pm
Are you looking for a chance to slow down and let your body, mind, and spirit be centered and grounded? Join me for this meditation workshop series where you will have the opportunity to relax into stillness as we practice various meditation techniques. In this series, we will also discuss the personal benefits of meditation and the relationship between meditation and mindfulness. Join us for this three-part virtual meditation series with Janet Stickmon Please plan to attend all three sessions.
Chair Yoga – May 5 and 19
Interested in learning how to do yoga or already have a practice and want to join others in your community for free online sessions? Join certified yoga instructors for accessible well-rounded vinyasa-inspired flow yoga and chair yoga classes on alternating Thursdays from 11:30 AM -12:30 PM. Sessions will focus on relieving stress and rejuvenating your body!
Take a Break from Stress With Meditation – May 19
We live in a fast-paced world, filled with challenges and constant demands made on our precious time. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could step back, take a little vacation from all the tension and find a place filled with joy, bliss and peace? When we learn how to meditate, we find such a place within ourselves. We discover a ready remedy, a source of all calm, light and wondrous new realms that await us, without ever leaving our easy chair! Meditation can be practiced daily so we can connect with this inner paradise any time we wish, and this helps us to meet our daily challenges with greater vitality, creativity and confidence. Join Gaurav Singh for this powerful workshop.
Be Brave, Be Sensitive Mental Health 6:30pm-8:30pm –May 25
“Be Sensitive, Be Brave for Mental Health” infuses culture and diversity throughout a foundational workshop on mental health. This free workshop from San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity and Star Vista prepares community members to help friends and loved ones during times of distress. Learn how to recognize mental health conditions, what to do when someone needs support, and tools for maintaining good mental health.Identify someone in mental distress
- Practice being sensitive and brave in helping others
- Increase awareness of mental health resources
- Build resilience using a recipe for mental health
- Build cultural sensitivity around mental health
- Respond to community needs and decrease stigma
Daily Calm 10-Minute Meditation Drop in at 12:45pm May 2nd to 6th to practice guided meditation using the Calm app. Calm provides courses, stories, music, guided meditations, and other helpful tools to manage stress and mental health and you can get 6 months free use with your SMCL library card (cards starting with the prefix “29041”).
The following branches offer Daily Calm – Belmont, Brisbane, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae and San Carlos. Please check the branch for exact dates.
Visit smcl.org/get-calm to learn more about Calm and request your free 6 months of service.
Meditation: A Tool to Balance Your Life
The practice of meditation contributes to a more positive, healthy lifestyle. It is an invaluable tool for helping people reduce stress, gain a deeper sense of fulfillment in life as well as foster greater physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Join Bruce Faithwick long-time meditator for this engaging program. There will even be a chance to practice this simple technique.
Meditation with Shiraz Zack
Shiraz Zack will lead a meditation group that focuses on chanting and breathing exercises. The simple steps of this guided meditation will help you reach a peaceful meditative state. Beginners and people of all experience levels are welcome. Please come join us! Please wear comfortable clothes for meditation and you may want to bring a cushion to sit on.
Chen-style Taijiquan (Tai Chi) is widely acknowledged as the ancestor of all other styles of Taijiquan. This class will introduce the Chen-style Taijiquan form, Silk-reeling Exercises and Wuji Qigong. The Chen-style Taijiquan form is soft and graceful with strong rooted stands that will help students to develop strength, balance, coordination and an understanding of basic Taiji principles. Silk-reeling Exercises are a series of spiral movements which promote muscle relaxation and flexibility by reducing physical tension and strain. Wuji Qigong (standing meditation) will help students to cultivate internal energy (qi) with proper body alignment for better internal energy flow which will enhance their immune systems, and to reduce physical and mental stress.
Several Classes will be offered at the following branches starting in May. Belmont, East Palo Alto, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, Portola Valley and Woodside. Find the dates and times on www.smcl.org/events and enter Tai Chi in the search bar.
Art Mindfulness: Chinese Calligraphy for Beginners
Hu fa, or “the way of writing,” is an art deeply rooted in the long tradition of aesthetic beauty in Chinese culture. Calligraphy is an elegant art from the Chinese tradition. It trains hand-eye coordination, promotes self-cultivation, helps observation, and enhances artistic expression. The way of calligraphy also provides a chance to relax the mind, enhance your awareness, and focus on calmness. This class teaches the fundamentals of writing Chinese characters with a soft brush pen, creating calligraphic strokes, and developing artwork with calligraphy. Class will be taught in English.
Angst Film Screening, Q & A Following – May 28th
San Carlos Library 2:00pm
Join us at the San Carlos Library for a free special screening of “Angst,” a film dedicated to raising awareness about anxiety. This hopeful and inspiring film combines personal stories from teenagers suffering from anxiety with expert perspectives. Following the screening will be a Q & A panel from the StarVista Crisis Center. The StarVista Crisis Center has offered free services to San Mateo County for more than 55 years, focusing on crisis intervention and suicide prevention. This event aims to help remove stigma when talking about anxiety and other mental health conditions and orient youth and families to mental health resources in their community. Panelists will include staff and leadership from Crisis Center services.