Edition 7, November 2019
In this 2019 seventh edition of Pacifica Voice:
- A letter to PPA members from Sally Lieber,
- Thoughts on our mobile home residents including letters from the Peninsula Solidarity Cohort, Pacifica Police Chief Steidle, an invitation to 11/12/19 City Council in support of Safe Parking, and a report on our Faith-Based leaders.
- Housing articles on City Council’s failed tenant protection, and a review of the Home For All newsletter,
- Immigration concerns and articles on the San Mateo County Truth Act Forum,
- Pacifica in Peace and protest,
- A letter to the Coastal Commission.
Photos of Pacifica 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 firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Sally Lieber Endorsed by Pacifica Progressive Alliance
Author: Sally Lieber
Covering the ‘basics’ really well inspires confidence and allows us to turn our attention to our already complicated lives. But right now the ‘basics’ aren’t working for most of us.
I’m running for State Senate to change that.
For too long, PG&E has been allowed to avoid their responsibility to maintain lines, poles, and towers, leaving them vulnerable to the windstorms that will only increase in the future. They’ve betrayed the public trust.
Now they say that they are left with the only short-term preventative option being to take down electrical power for hundreds of thousands of Californians periodically—for a decade or more.
There is no doubt that these shut offs are necessary in the immediate timeframe, however we cannot accept them as the long-term strategy that PG&E is suggesting.
PG&E and other utilities must uphold their responsibility to the public to build and maintain a reliable, safe and sustainable electrical grid, that can handle our future needs.
It’s time for the California Public Utilities Commission to force the utilities’ compliance with surveillance of lines, replacement of worn equipment, and undergrounding where possible.
The Legislature and the Governor should keep the pressure on to make this happen, defend our interests against any restructuring of PG&E that would harm our State, and plan for a future of safe, reliable public power.
We don’t have a moment to spare. Evidence indicates that PG&E has known about dangerous conditions and done little to address them—resulting in loss of lives. This danger is ongoing and we will not accept it.
My vision of California is one in which we’re able to fulfill our core responsibilities: clean, renewable, reliable electricity; well-funded high performing schools; seamless transit; housing that is affordable at all levels; healthcare for all; and an unprecedented level of environmental conservation.
I know that it’s a vision that can be realized and I won’t stop until we achieve it.
I want to bring your ideas and priorities into my campaign. Please join me at https://votesally.org. This is something we can do.
California State Assemblywoman, Speaker Pro Tempore (ret.)
Sally Lieber has served as a local City Councilwoman, Mayor, County Commissioner and in the State Assembly, where she also served as the Assembly Speaker pro Tempore. She is running for State Senate in the Peninsula’s 13th Senate District, where State Senator Jerry Hill is termed out.
Mobile Home Residents
Peninsula Solidarity Cohort
Authors: Revs. Penny Nixon and Marlyn Bussey
November 7, 2019
Dear Pacifica City Council Members,
The Peninsula Solidarity Cohort is a group of over 35 religious leaders from a wide range of spiritual communities in San Mateo County. As faith leaders, we seek not only to build bridges between the diverse communities of our region, but also to inspire collective action for the common good. One of the issues we are working on is a compassionate and effective countywide response to the increasing numbers of people forced to live in their vehicles due to the lack of affordable housing in our region.
But here’s the good news: Safe Parking programs are cropping up across our region, in East Palo Alto, Mountain View, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Oakland, Union City, Walnut Creek and farther afield as well.
These success stories have helped keep communities together, enabled children to stay in schools, and allowed families to keep their jobs.
These programs demonstrate a pathway to permanent housing, reduce mobile home parking on the street, increase public safety through participant evaluation, and address trash and waste management through program services. Safe Parking Programs have been shown to benefit the entire community.
These safe parking programs reflect our shared values as a community and as a county. The value that everyone deserves a safe place to live, the values of connection and compassion, the values of safety and security.
Right now, our housing system isn’t fair. In San Mateo County, homes cannot be rented or bought at reasonable prices, which creates serious problems for all kinds of communities, but especially those where people with lower and moderate incomes live. The situation is getting worse as rents and home prices steadily rise while incomes stagnate. This system is creating huge advantages for some people and real disadvantages for others. To ensure fairness across our county, we all need to work together to solve the collective challenge of high housing costs—and the displacement that is happening to so many of our neighbors.
It is no news that increasing numbers of people are forced to live in vehicles. Due to public concerns about street parking for people living in oversized vehicles in particular, we have been talking with motor-home dwellers and want to counter mistaken beliefs that are fueling fear and opposition to overnight street parking in many cities in our county. Most of the people living in their vehicles work or go to school in our communities. Although they cannot afford housing, they live here. They are our neighbors. They belong here, and as members of our communities, we are all responsible for helping to keep them safe.
Many of our towns and cities, including the coast, lack shelter and programs for Safe Parking. We oppose municipal bans on overnight parking when there are no viable alternatives for community members living in those vehicles
The deeper question is, what kind of region do we want to be? Let’s choose compassion and get to work on longer term, safer and compassionate solutions. Why? Because we all belong. All of us.
Please let the Unhoused Pacifica Task Force do its work and suggest a program that keeps Pacifica as one community.
Together in service to our county,
Revs. Penny Nixon and Marlyn Bussey, Co-Directors
Letter from Pacifica Police Chief
Author: Daniel Steidle, Pacifica Police Chief
On Saturday October 5th, the Pacifica Police Department issued a press release regarding a tragic incident that resulted in the death of a local resident. Involved in the incident were two community members that are housed in their vehicle. The vehicle struck one of the residents causing her death.
In the press release, we used the terms “transient” and “recreational vehicle.” These terms have been commonly used in press releases as they have been part of common vocabulary for many years. However, as times change, we should be cognizant of the need to change our practices to reflect the compassionate City and Police Department that we endeavor to be. With the unhoused population growing in recent years, this has become a very important and sometimes controversial issue in our community. The issuance of the press release using these terms has offended some. For this, we apologize as it was not our intention to offend anyone nor was it our intention to appear less than compassionate to the unhoused population in our community. In contrast to how this press release appeared to some, the Police Department has worked tirelessly in recent years to assist the unhoused population in Pacifica.
As our community continues to learn, the Police Department and City staff are also continuing to learn how to approach this topic from a sensitive, compassionate approach. As we move forward, when we issue press releases on incidents involving this and any other important topic in the community, we commit to taking a look at our written product from a compassionate lens, assuring we are sensitive to our community members.
PACIFICA MAYOR RAISES RV BAN
Author: Jack Coots
Staff Requested to Agendize Amendment to Make Overnight Parking of Oversize Vehicles Illegal
During 10/28/19 City Council, Mayor Sue Vaterlaus surprised those in attendance with a request to city staff – bring back an amendment to a current municipal code which would make overnight parking of motor homes (RVs) illegal. Citing 10 emails she received daily in opposition to RVs, and failing to acknowledge the supportive statements made during oral comments that evening, the Mayor made her request.
The Mayor could benefit from two events/reports later this month: the Unhoused in Pacifica (UP) Task Force on with a forum planned 11/20/19, and the County’s recent survey results of RVs available at the end of the month. If the Mayor gets her way, city staff would be instructed to write an ordinance with a subsequent vote as early as 12/9/19..
Opponents to parked motor homes have several concerns: too many vehicles parked on city streets, waste management and trash issues, safety concerns. Those in support of Safe Parking state existing programs address all three issues: vehicles parked on streets are reduced in number, waste management and trash services are supplied, and safety for the whole community is improved through vetting participants. Safe Parking programs provide a pathway for stable housing.
Mayor Vaterlaus reports there are “200” RVs parked on our streets and many occupants are from outside Pacifica. The recent County survey will likely counter the mayor’s assertions. The January Homeless Count numbered 47 vehicularly housed. A PRC mobile home survey from February suggests nearly all participants had close ties to Pacifica, over half of those surveyed were age 50 or older, all were working, and over half had been priced out of former Pacifica housing.
As a community, we all BENEFIT when we help residents toward stable housing: our economy benefits as we retain needed workers, community health benefits as formerly homeless are relieved of stress and anxiety and can now attend to healthier lifestyles, and public safety improves when police resources are no longer needed to relocate residents but provide safety in a vetted Safe Parking Program.
There is no shelter for homeless on the Coast. Communities like LA and Mountain View have had LAWSUITS when they attempted to ban overnight parking without the ability to provide shelter. Pacifica does not need another lawsuit.
A Safe Parking Program is a win for all of Pacifica. Contact city council members, come to city council 11/12/19 in support of Safe Parking, and participate in Task Force Forums which we hope will be occurring later in the month.
MINICONFERENCE ON HOMELESS FOR CHURCH LEADERS IN PACIFICA
Author: Dan Evenhouse
Many people know that there are homeless in Pacifica, but not everyone is aware of the efforts of church leaders in Pacifica to address this issue. Some of you may be familiar with the organization Faith in Action, which has been working in Pacifica on this issue as well as immigration issues for some time. On October 25, 2019 church leaders from many of the churches in Pacifica attended a mini-conference on Homelessness at St Peter’s Catholic Church located near San Pedro Valley Park in Pacifica.
The meeting was started by Faith in Action facilitators. After introductions, Rev Foley of St Peter’s gave a description of the efforts at St Peter’s in terms of providing help and shelter to the homeless. Anita Rees of Pacifica Resource Center provided general information about the extent of homeless people and services available and talked about the proposal to establish a rotating system of shelters in Pacifica churches, a program first introduced in 2016.
Pastors and other church leaders talked about the reaction of their congregations to homeless and issues of homelessness, of Pacificans in general. Pacifica City Council members were also discussed. Notes were taken by former mayor John Keener, who also encouraged clergy and church leaders to make their opinions known during city council public comment sections.
Also at the meeting were a mother and daughter who had been homeless in Pacifica in the recent past, and they were interviewed about their experience of having their motor home towed away by Pacifica police after a neighbor called in a complaint. The mother and daughter both had had health problems and the daughter was still in High School in Pacifica at the time. Their story was a clear indication of the problems faced by homeless and very moving to those who attended. All present pledged to work to provide more help to homeless in Pacifica, by working together with churches and other organizations to provide shelter and other resources, specifically in followup meetings that will occur in the near future.
One last comment about this event is that we were all encouraged to eliminate the term ‘RV’ from our vocabulary. As the above story makes clear, there is nothing ‘recreational’ about living in a home on wheels. I was happy to see that representatives of Pacifica Social Justice and Pacifica Progressive Alliance have brought that very concern to Pacifica City Council recently. Homelessness and homeless services will not improve unless we all make efforts at change.
Offering no explanation for their votes, the Mayor and Council Members Beckmeyer and O’Neill parted from their party’s historic legislation and failed to protect Pacifica tenants even when confronted with evidence of evictions. The letter which follows relays community concerns.
We are embarrassed and ashamed of the votes you cast last night refusing to protect vulnerable residents of Pacifica. We consider your votes [and City Attorney’s perceived bias] unjust, harmful to tenants in our community, and out of step with Democrats and others committed to social justice in our state. We would appreciate your apology to our community for lacking leadership at a time when we need strong, ethical decisions.Your votes suggest a misplaced commitment to outside lobbyists in the real estate industry rather than to the Pacifica community you swore to protect.
We are now putting our effort into asking Governor Newsom to do what’s needed to cover all of the vulnerable residents in California until January when AB 1482 goes into effect. It’s reprehensible that we cannot depend on some members of our local City Council to do the right thing and give 60 days of protection in a moment of urgency.
We are grateful to Deirdre Martin and Mary Bier for their wisdom, generosity, and compassion. We are proud and happy hearing of the unanimous votes by councils in Redwood City and Daly City to establish an urgent moratorium ordinance against evictions! Congratulations.
In solidarity with the people of our town,
HOME FOR ALL SAN MATEO
Author: Jack Coots
Anyone who is interested in housing and the homeless situation would be well-served to visit and subscribe to the monthly newsletter of Home For All – San Mateo County. Home For All is actively and continuously involved in addressing the issues concerning this and one may find resources here to suit their own level of involvement, from simply being better informed, to groups and activities one may join in to participate in the solutions that are being developed.
The October newsletter contains:
- Announcement of the Challenge Reward presented to the group by California State Association of Counties,
- News of their “Community Engagement Resource Manual” being available on their website.
- The Learning Network, which hosts a monthly session “to learn best practices for achieving housing goals supported by community engagement efforts”.
- The launch of five new task forces to address emerging topics in housing with experts and practitioners on each topic for input.
- Home For All’s presentations at San Francisco, Sacramento, Nashville, Tennessee and San Mateo municipal conferences.
- Planning Commissioner Training Series.
- City Spotlight: City of Brisbane
- Housing Leadership Day
SAN MATEO COUNTY TRUTH ACT FORUM
Endorsers listed at end of Statement
San Mateo County Coalition for Immigrant Rights Calls on
Sheriff Bolanos to Stop Working with ICE
Redwood City, CA: Over fifty directly affected family members, faith leaders, and advocates filled the San Mateo County Board Chambers on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 at the County’s TRUTH Act Forum to urge Sheriff Bolanos to stop assisting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with deportations. Under the California’s TRUTH Act, any local legislative body that turns immigrants over to ICE must hold an annual forum. At the Forum, the San Mateo County Coalition for Immigrant Rights (SMCCIR), a coalition of immigrant rights and faith-based organizations, underscored the harm caused by Sheriff Bolanos’ policy of turning community members over to ICE, an agency known for its human rights abuses.
Nora Meléndez, whose partner was one of the 51 people transferred to ICE last year by the Sheriff’s Department, spoke at length about the impact such transfers have had on her family at the forum. “On top of severe emotional distress for my family with three young children, my partner’s eight-month ICE detainment cost us over $37,000 due to legal fees, loss of income, living expenses, and telephone fees,” said Ms. Meléndez. “The larger community helped bring my partner home. But my kids still ask where he is if he leaves the room. My youngest daughter didn’t recognize her dad the day he came home.”
During the forum, attendees shared similarly powerful testimonies speaking to the damage that working with ICE causes to families, youth, and community members. They expressed disappointment that a county that purports to welcome immigrants ranks 9th in the state for transferring individuals to ICE, has committed eight potential violations of the California Values Act, and is out of step when compared to its neighboring counties. At the end of public comment, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff’s Office closed the meeting immediately, with little acknowledgement of their constituents’ unanimous demands to end all entanglement with ICE. Sheriff Bolanos left for about half of the forum and did not listen to concerns of the community. Following the forum, attendees expressed how they felt dismissed by their elected officials. Sheriff Bolanos has yet to show his concern about how ICE is still affecting his constituents.
“San Mateo is nestled between two of the most progressive counties on this issue in the state – Santa Clara and San Francisco,” said Grisel Ruiz, supervising attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. “We urge the county to join its sister counties and adopt a policy which cooperates with the community first and foremost, not with ICE.”
SMCCIR continues to state its deep concern with Sheriff Bolanos’ entanglement with ICE and calls the Sheriff to adopt a bright-line policy that prohibits all assistance to ICE. Under the Sheriff’s current policy, some immigrants who serve their time in county jails and have earned their release are handed over to ICE instead of being released back to their families and communities. This creates a cruel, two-tiered form of punishment that discriminates against immigrants while allowing others to re-enter society.
“The Sheriff’s policy has permanently criminalized our loved ones through working with ICE. Deportation is a cruel form of punishment for those who’ve already served their time, and for a mistake that could have resolved years ago,” added Nora Meléndez.
SMCCIR believes that Sheriff Bolanos’ ties to ICE targets already marginalized communities of color in San Mateo County and ignore real solutions to prevent harm. Access to jobs, education, healthcare, housing, and recovery programs contribute to a thriving and healthy San Mateo County. The coalition emphasizes how labels of criminality have historically been used to discard the rights of people of color, and the coalition stands against any policy that diminishes any person’s humanity.
“The community will continue to organize and advocate for a policy that ensures no entanglement with ICE. If the County truly values being welcoming and inclusive to all its residents, the Sheriff and the Board of Supervisors must recognize that it cannot be complicit in the deportation of community members and their families. Immigrants should be afforded the rights, safety, and protection that anyone else who lives here does,” said Maricela Gutiérrez, Executive Director at Services, Immigrant Rights & Education Network (SIREN).
Since 2008, the San Mateo County Coalition for Immigrant Rights (SMCCIR), a coalition of directly impacted community members, advocates, faith leaders, civil rights organizations, has advocated for pro-immigrant policies in San Mateo County. Organizations representing SMCCIR in this statement includes:
- Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
- Youth United for Community Action
- Immigrant Legal Resource Center
- SIREN (Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network)
- Silicon Valley De-Bug
- Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
- Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
- Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City Social Action Committee
- Unitarian Universalists of San Mateo
- Pacifica Social Justice
- Peninsula Progressive Action
- Fools Mission
- San Francisco Peninsula People Power
- Stanford Law School Immigrants Rights Clinic (on behalf of SMCCIR)
- Sarah Lee (she, her, hers)
- Community Advocate – Criminal Justice Reform Program
San Mateo County Truth Act Forum – Stop Collaboration with ICE
Author: Blue Murov
Fifty people turned out on October 23rd to rally outside of San Mateo County Center prior to Truth Act Forum where many of us participated in public comments. The rally, called by San Mateo County Coalition for Immigrant Rights (SMCCIR), was a spirited gathering of immigrant support organizations, activists, immigrants and their families who came to protest the county sheriff’s policy of giving information and turning people over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Stories were shared and voices raised in chanting, “Say it loud! Say it clear! Immigrants are welcome here!” and “Aqui estamos y no nos vamos y si nos echan nos regresamos” and many more. We came to demand no more transfers and an end to the painful separations of our communities and families. We came to let the Board of Supervisors know that they have a moral obligation to stop this collaboration with ICE, a racist and rogue agency serving the current administration in Washington.
In 2018, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s office transferred 51 immigrants directly to ICE when they were released from jail instead of allowing them to go home to their families and communities. San Francisco and Santa Clara County do not cooperate with ICE and turned over no one in the same time period. San Mateo County ranks ninth in the state for turning over people to ICE. The sheriff claims to be within his legal right to work with ICE but at least 9 of the transfers were possibly in violation of the state sanctuary law.
The Truth Act (The Transparent Review of Unjust Transfers and Holds Act) was approved by the governor in 2016. The law places a number of steps that have to be followed when an ICE agent requests an interview with a person in custody. It also makes records related to ICE accessible to the public under the California Public Records Act (CPRA).
In 2017, SB 54, the Sanctuary State Law, repealed laws that involved local law enforcement agencies notifying ICE about a potential undocumented immigrant for specific crimes. It also prevents agencies from using their resources to investigate, interrogate, detain, detect, or arrest people for immigration enforcement purposes. The law is said to be based on establishing trust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement for effective policing and public safety. It does permit local law enforcement to transfer people to ICE who have previously been convicted, or in some cases indicted, for certain crimes.
The TRUTH act also requires local governments that provide ICE access to at least one individual during the year to hold at least one public community forum and provide information about ICE’s access to individuals. Most counties and some cities in CA therefore have to hold Truth Act Forums.
After the rally we filed in to the Board of Supervisors chambers for the 2019 Truth Act Forum for San Mateo County. Sheriff Bolanos was the first speaker. Even though he turned over 51 people to ICE, he gave no explanation of why. He only claimed to be doing his job within the law of SB 54 and that he will continue to make available to ICE all information gathered from people on arrest. SB 54 limits sharing personal information with ICE. It also limits notifying ICE when a community member is about to be released from custody, or transferring a community member. Sheriff Bolanos has found the loop holes he needs to collaborate with ICE. Not one supervisor asked for specifics on any of the 51 people whose lives have been completely disrupted by the policy of Sheriff Bolanos when they should have been freed to go back into their communities and homes. They had served their sentences and now are being punished again because of their immigration status.
The sheriff was followed by Grisel Ruiz, immigrant lawyer, longtime activist and member of SMCCIR. She told us how ten years ago the county had the highest rate in the nation of turning immigrant youth on probation over to ICE. The community organized and convinced elected officials to change this practice that used county resources to refer youth to ICE. Ruiz gave this history in an effort to illustrate to the current Board of Supervisors that they do have the power to stop the sheriff’s office (SO). Ruiz listed the different state acts and explained how they were put in place to protect immigrant rights. Ruiz cited Santa Clara County as an example of a county that has established a “bright line” of no cooperation with ICE. Reasons she listed for this are the hostility of the federal political climate, that sanctuary policies result in safer communities, the ICE data base is faulty and unreliable, and that there is a legal liability in cooperating with them. There have been at least 2 deaths in ICE detention centers in California this year.
Nora Melendez talked about her personal experience when the sheriff turned her partner over to ICE in January separating him from her and their children for 8 months. Sergio was sent to Mesa Verde detention center in Bakersfield where he was subjected to terrible conditions, poor quality food, minimal health care – Tylenol was used to treat any complaint no matter how severe, including seizures – and a hierarchical pecking order. Sergio survived with the help of lots of family and community members. Nora pointed out that not everyone who is detained has access to support. So far this has cost him and his family $37,000 to deal with the unnecessary arrest and his case is still pending. His youngest child did not recognize him after 8 months of separation. Nora stressed the importance of recognizing how harmful one arrest can be and how that can affect hundreds of people in a community. She urged the BOS to mitigate the harm and realize the moral obligation to end this practice of collaboration with ICE.
About 40 people participated in the public comment part of the forum. One person told how they know of someone who spent 4 years in detention without bail. Another person spoke about a Cambodian man who had been released and had successfully integrated into his community for 10 years when he was picked up by ICE. Many talked about the level of fear that immigrants are living with every day, how people are afraid to seek health care or even go to work or school. A man from Half Moon Bay who has a small business is having trouble finding people to hire. He cried as he described the fear of being an immigrant in this country today and how the police claim to “serve and protect” but no one feels protected in this climate. He warned the supervisors that he plans to run for office and one day he will be sitting with them. The audience cheered him.
Others talked about the devastation deportation causes when families and communities are broken up. And the danger of sending people to a country where they may be killed for their political position or for being LGBTQ. Permanent residents including naturalized citizens can be deported to any country that will take them. Many have never lived in the country their parents are from. A Cambodian woman who was born in a refugee camp and has lived her whole life in the US fell into this web of abuse. She told us she spent 16 years in prison for a murder committed by her abusive boyfriend. While in prison she managed to get a degree in counseling. The day she was paroled in 2017 she was picked up by ICE. With the help of many supporters and the Asian Law Caucus, she is no longer in prison but the threat of deportation still hangs over her.
No one in the past was required to have the amount of paperwork that is now necessary to immigrate to the US today. All people deserve to live without fear. True public security is achieved only by stable housing, food security, access to healthcare, and restorative practices that help rehabilitate. One woman asked the supervisors to “share the dream with those who helped build America.”
After the last public comment the meeting ended. The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors had no questions or comments for the speakers. They didn’t let us know what their next step will be if any. We remain hopeful that the heartfelt testimony of the many brave people in the meeting will resonate and the BOS will put a stop to local law enforcement collaboration with ICE.
PACIFICA PEACE PEOPLE: Peace in word, deed, and art
Author: Carolyn Jaramillo
Believing that small steps can lead to big things, Pacifica Peace People sponsor several events during the year to help create a culture of peace in our small coastal town. SEPTEMBER was a great month. International Peace Day, September 21, and Peace Week were celebrated by taking out a full page ad in a local paper calling on Congress to “divest from a war economy and invest in a peace economy.” Hundreds of peacemakers listed their names in the Ad. School events and other activities throughout the City during Peace Week are captured in the accompanying photos.
PACIFICA’S IMPEACH TRUMP PROTEST
Author: Mark Hubell
Doubtful that we changed any entrenched opinions along The Coast Highway, but that was not our intention. Hopefully those passing drivers enthusiastically honking horns in support of our cause were encouraged by an open display of like-mindedness. For us, we scratched an itch that had been festering for too long. Citizens are blessed with the unencumbered right to express political views here in this country. Celebrate this! Don’t let it go to waste.
A Letter to the Coastal Commision
Author: Margaret Goodale and Stan Zeavin
November 1, 2019
California Coastal Commission
North Central Coast District Office
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105-2219
Re: Appeal of Pacifica City Council Decision of June 24th, 2019
CDP-395-18 at 1567 Beach Boulevard (APN 016-011-190)
CCC ID# 2-PAC-19-1022
Dear Coastal Commission Staff,
- Just what is an acceptable definition of “reasonable” economic benefit?
The Coastal Act promise of economic benefit serves as an incentive to build and profit and can be easily exploited by an investor whose intent is guaranteed profit.
Given the slow pace of sea level rise, today’s investment in coastal property has little immediate risk, but over time the risk will increase. Today’s investor in development may profit excessively knowing that eventually the land will be worthless or nonexistent.
- Who should share in the risk?
Is it reasonable to expect private profit and benefit without risk?
Is it reasonable to expect the new home buyer to suffer the losses?
Is it reasonable to expect the public to subsidize the losses and costs?
The development of 1567 Beach Boulevard assumes that the tax-paying public of Pacifica or the wider public will pay to protect the area from future risk and is a gift to the investor from the people of Pacifica who will ultimately absorb much of the cost for the future risks.
Sadly, the City of Pacifica MUST protect itself from the expectation that government will continue to help speculative buyers of coastal property. To ask new home owners to assume all the risk may seem unfair, yet iron-clad waivers and indemnification are absolutely necessary.
We would request that the CCC require indemnification be prominently displayed for all new coastal development permits issued by the State and City and include clear disclosure of specific dangers. Such information should be emphasized in any permit, contract or deed.
- What is reasonable and appropriate profit when that profit depends entirely on a public subsidy of the risk? Should the speculator be rewarded with the least amount of risk?
If the Commission chooses to allow building at the 1567 site, we hope that you will contradict city zoning and allow no more than one or two new residences placed well back on the site where it/they will not interfere with the inevitable relocation of city wastewater infrastructure.
Thank you for your consideration,