Edition 9, November 2020
Welcome to the November 2020 edition of Pacifica Voice.
In this edition follow → link to articles:
- Our community paper returns: → welcome back Pacifica Tribune. Peter Loeb provides information.
- Current → election results and campaign finance data from Peter Loeb.
- → Social Justice
- Black Lives Matter – a letter to the Board of Supervisors from People’s Alliance of San Mateo.
- Truth Act Forum – residents object to ICE collaboration submitted by Blue Murov.
- Censorship – thoughts on social media censorship by Mark Hubbell.
- → Housing
- A video on homelessness by Videographer Alexi Lacey.
- Anticipating the housing update to Pacifica’s General Plan by Suzanne Moore.
- → Honoring Armistice Day with Carolyn Jaramillo.
- Pacifica’s → Transportation: articles by Rick Nahass
- → COVID, the holidays, and mental health: National Association of Mental Illness provides tips.
- Update from → Pacific Beach Coalition
- Donate now to Pacifica Resource Center’s Holiday Joy Program. Call 650 738 7470 to participate. Gift cards will be distributed to participants 12/5/20.
- MON 11/9 7:00 PM City Council
- TUE 11/10 1:00 PM Seamless Bay Area Integrated Fare Webinar
- WED 11/11 10:00 AM Honor Armistice Day, Manor and Palmetto
- MON 11/23 7:00 PM City Council
- TH 11/26 Thanksgiving
- LUNAFEST supporting Skyline College Promise Scholars Scholarships. Dec 4, 7pm – Dec 5, 7pm Click Here to Watch films supporting women filmmakers and student success over a 24 hour period
- Sanchez Art Gallery by appt Thu-Sun: also check the virtual tours
Photos have been contributed by Leo Leon
Pacifica Voice is eager to receive articles on issues important to our community. Please send them to email@example.com for consideration.
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Coastside News Group buys Pacifica Tribune
Author Peter Loeb
Coastside News Group, Inc. (CNGI) bought the Pacifica Tribune from Sherman Frederick’s Battle Born Media. The new Tribune has already published a few issues. To subscribe to the new Tribune, you can call (650) 726-4424 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can see Tribune articles and op-eds online at pacificalocalnews.com. Eventually, there will be a complete digital version of the Tribune online at pacificatribune.com, but technical details are still being worked out.
The editor is Clay Lambert. He can be reached at email@example.com. The publisher is Debra Hershon. CNGI is a locally-based California benefit corporation that purchased the Half Moon Bay (HMB) Review from Wick Communications three years ago. They are a group of coastside residents who came together to save the Review. CNGI also publishes On The Coastside magazine.
A group of Pacificans began meeting about a year and a half ago with a similar goal: to purchase the Pacifica Tribune so it would be in local ownership. These meetings were convened and spearheaded by Pete Shoemaker and included several Pacificans over the course of many meetings. The group looked to the HMB Review as the model for how a local group could purchase the local paper. We met with Review editor Clay Lambert, and had meetings with Rich Klein, CEO of CNGI, Lenny Mendonca, and Roy Salume who are all founding members of the CNGI board of directors.
The Pacifica group talked about how to get a large number of investors to contribute in order to buy the Tribune but at some point it became evident that the best way to accomplish the goal was for someone to step up and finance the deal. That person was me. The details of the sale are a private transaction and are not public. I am now on the board of directors of CNGI and another seat on the board has been created for a Pacifican, to be selected in the near future. There are also plans to eventually have an editorial or advisory board for the Tribune.
The Tribune will gradually expand to include more local news coverage, and there are plans to have an e-newsletter for subscribers and breaking news emails, just as the HMB Review does.
Pacifica City Council election and campaign finance reports
Author Peter Loeb
With only 65% of the votes counted by Friday, November 6, Sue Vaterlaus leads in District 1 and Tygarjas Twyrls Bigstyck leads in District 4. Next update is Monday, November 9 at 4:30 p.m.
Pacifica City Council District 1
|Candidate Name||Total Votes||Percentage|
Pacifica City Council District 4
|Candidate Name||Total Votes||Percentage|
Campaign finance reports
The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), as part of the Political Reform Act, requires that all candidates in elections in California file campaign finance reports. A Pacifica ordinance requires the city to post these reports on its web site and also to publish a summary in the Pacifica Tribune. The reports on the city’s web site can be found by clicking here.
The first reports were due Sept. 24 and the next reports were due Oct. 22 to cover the period up though Oct. 17.
Report of expenditures and contributions through Oct. 17
Candidates for District 1, Pacifica City Council
- Sue Vaterlaus: Total expenditures $7,960. Contributions of $3,000 from the California Association of Realtors and $500 from the California Apartment Association.
- Mayra Espinosa: Total expenditures $2,753. Contributions of $7,258 including contributions, loans, and nonmonetary contributions; $500 from Oakland Rising, other monetary contributions from individual donors.
Candidates for District 4, Pacifica City Council
- Marj Davis: Total expenditures $8,443. Contributions of $9,851 in contributions and loans; $500 from Oakland Rising, other monetary contributions from individual donors.
- Tygarjas Twyrls Bigstyck: Total expenditures $5,824. Contributions $5,902 in monetary contributions and nonmonetary contributions from individual donors.
- Michael Cohen: Total expenditures $8,703. Contributions of $13,203 in monetary contributions, loans, and nonmonetary contributions; $2000 from California Real Estate Political Action Committee (CREPAC), $500 from Operating Engineers Local 3, other monetary contributions from individual donors.
Black Lives Matter a letter to the Board of Supervisors
The following excerpts are taken from the October, 28, 2020 People’s Alliance Letter (click to view entire letter .pdf) to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors:
“The deaths of Black people by law enforcement and vigilantes is the result of centuries-old anti-Black attitudes flanked by prejudicial legislation and a “Wild Wild West” approach to law and order meant to intimidate Black people and control our behavior…”
“There are numerous ways we can immediately alter the role policing plays in our communities.
- Shift funds away from law enforcement to broader social and community services.
- Cease Sheriff Bolanos’ ongoing collaboration with ICE.
- Eliminate law enforcement presence in schools throughout the County.
- Cancel the order for 310 new tasers at a cost of almost $1 million and invest these funds in community-led alternatives to policing…”
Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto
Democratic Socialists of America – Peninsula
Faith in Action Bay Area
Housing for All Burlingame
Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County
One Redwood City
One San Mateo
Pacifica Housing for All
Pacifica Progressive Alliance
Unite Here Local 2
Youth Leadership Institute
Youth United for Community Action (YUCA)
2020 Truth Act Forum – The Back Story
Author Blue Murov
On Tuesday, October 27, over 100 people joined the San Mateo Board of Supervisors for the virtual Truth Act Forum. The forum is part of the 2017 California TRUTH Act that requires a local legislative body to hold a community forum annually if local law enforcement allows ICE access to any individual the prior year. Unfortunately this is the third year in a row that San Mateo County held this meeting because Sheriff Bolanos continues to voluntarily turn immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
I am a member of Pacifica Social Justice and work with San Mateo County Coalition for Immigrant Rights (SMCCIR). SMCCIR requested that the Board of Supervisors hold the forum, created the toolkit to educate the community participants, and spread the word throughout the community. As a result of SMCCIR outreach, 70 people spoke during public comments and appealed to the Board of Supervisors to end the sheriff’s cooperation and collaboration with ICE. There were no public comments in favor of the sheriff’s practices.
The forum included:
- a presentation from the sheriff’s office by Bolanos and Captain Zamora,
- a presentation by SMCCIR attorney, Krsna Avila,
- public comments,
- remarks from the Board of Supervisors.
Click here to view the entire Truth Act Forum presentation
SHERIFF’S CLAIMS WITH REBUTTAL
- The sheriff maintains that protection of public safety is his primary mission.
- The office reported only 21 people were handed to ICE since September 2019.
- As in past years, the sheriff maintained that he only turns people over to ICE who have convictions exempting them from sanctuary.
- He also claimed he does not investigate immigration status.
During the evening’s presentation, the statements of the sheriff were seriously questioned.
- Studies show that deportation does not increase public safety.
- The decrease in ICE handovers cannot be credited to the Sheriff’s Office but to the Judicial Council which passed an emergency COVID order reducing both the bail and the number of people in the county system – those released had no information passed to ICE, because their sentences were incomplete. SMCCIR is concerned that, when the emergency order expires, the sheriff’s department will resume cooperation with ICE.
- Cooperation with ICE is not mandated by law but is voluntary.
- The sheriff admits that each prisoner gets a form to fill out that asks “place of birth (country or state),” and release dates of inmates are published on the sheriff department’s website and to ICE when requested.
Krsna Avila, attorney for Immigrant Legal Resource Center and SMCCIR, spoke next. His presentation (links here) included a brief history of SMCCIR, a description of how ICE arrests happen and:
- an overview of the statutes of SB 54 the California Values Act of 2018 , – this law protects the rights of immigrants. (Figure 1)
- Krsna stressed that any cooperation or collaboration with ICE is not only restricted by SB 54 but most importantly, is voluntary.(Figure 2) In fact, San Mateo County is the only county in the Bay Area that continues to hand people over to ICE.
- He said people are detained for months or years without a hearing in conditions so poor that people give up even meritorious cases. We’ve had at least 8 deaths in detention during the pandemic. Krsna stressed that studies show that there is no evidence that deportations reduce crime or increase public safety. (Figure 3)
Seventy people gave very moving and powerful testimony. Speakers included local people living in the county impacted by the harsh practices of the sheriff, immigrants or family members of immigrants who have been caught in the system due to their immigrant status, lawyers, students, teachers, activists, people living in Mexico and Guatemala who were deported, and others who understand the harsh reality and cruelty of a law enforcement agency that continues to aid the racist ICE. One of the things that struck me is how many different organizations exist in our county and the Bay Area that support immigrants in all aspects of life.Here are some excerpts:
- an ACLU lawyer said there is no such thing as a good ICE transfer. Once someone is turned over to ICE there is very little that can be done to prevent deportation.
- this is a racial justice issue, humanitarian crisis and due to the pandemic a public health crisis, possibly a death sentence. In ICE detention there is no due process and no access to legal counsel. Without an attorney they are 5 times more likely to be deported. The right to due process in the US Constitution is tied to personhood, not ethnicity.
- deportation wrongfully impacts the individual who has served their time, destabilizes their family who loses that member and the role they served, and destabilizes the community who must now provide for a devastated family. People are being punished twice just because they are immigrants.
- 545 children detained by ICE are unable to reunite with their families. San Mateo County is assisting in the separation of families. It is doing nothing to make people feel safe.
- In 2017 Pacifica became a Sanctuary City and said we would not cooperate with ICE. But Pacifica police bring people who are arrested to the San Mateo County jail which does cooperate with ICE. The sheriff is violating our ordinance in these cases.
- a Stanford law student pointed out that the Board of Supervisors passed a Black Lives Matter resolution. Immigration laws disproportionately target Black people and people of color. “When the sheriff voluntarily cooperates with ICE he sends a message that Black lives do not matter and when the Supervisors refuse to speak out against the policy and continue to fund it they reiterate that Black lives don’t matter.”
- a woman who now works as a drug rehab counselor was brought to the US as a refugee at age 5. At 18 she received a murder conviction for defending herself in a domestic abuse situation. She spent 15 years in prison and then was turned over to ICE. She spent many months in federal detention until the California governor granted her clemency. She said consider circumstances not convictions.
- ICE detention facilities are under reporting infection rates and deaths from COVID. They are a super spreader of the pandemic virus.
- teachers spoke about children living in fear that their parents will be taken. Families are afraid to apply for much needed and available services because they fear they may be turned over to ICE.
- 70% of ICE detainees are transferred directly from county jails in California.
RESPONSE OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Lastly, the Board of Supervisors commented and asked the sheriff questions and clarifications. Most of these questions were emailed to them from SMCCIR. We were pleased to hear Supervisor Canepa say that ICE does not belong in San Mateo County and Supervisor Slocum slightly agreed with him. It is hard to believe that anyone could listen to the personal stories and experiences of the people who spoke and support a sheriff who voluntarily cooperates with ICE. But Horsley held to racist myths about convicted immigrants even though it is well-documented that recidivism is directly tied to poverty, not immigration status.
Where do we go from here? SMCCIR has sent emails to members of the Board to thank them and asked to meet with them about Sheriff Bolanos. There are several avenues worth exploring. The BoS can pass a resolution stating the County’s values and intent to stop collaboration with ICE in any way. They can also set policy through the budget prohibiting any county funds being used to support ICE activities. AB 1185
was signed into law at the end of September that allows the BoS to create a sheriff oversight board composed of civilians. And we the public have the power to vote out of office any elected official including the sheriff and any supervisor who continues to support him.
The Truth Act Forum was a success this year in that the Supervisors for the first time questioned the sheriff and took a stand. But it is a twisted victory. No one should be cooperating or collaborating with ICE. Once it stops we will not need to have a Truth Act Forum.
Ooooooh…why is somebody not allowing me to say that, anymore?
Author Mark Hubbell
Really? … somebody, who? Do we have such little faith in ourselves, that we would enthusiastically squander away our newly empowered voice for the more convenient bliss of censorship? Free Speech is a process to be exercised at every opportunity. In the immutable words of Supreme Court Justice William Brennan: … a profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust and wide open and that it may well include vehement, caustic and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials. This idea is all well and good, as it should be. But other than hollering from soapboxes on street corners, we the ordinary people have never been able to partake in that debate before the advent of social media. This privilege may soon be taken away from us.
We are in an epic moment by having the first communications medium offering an equality of access, since smoke signals drifted from campfires across the Serengeti. Over five thousand years ago, the skills required for carving hieroglyphs, along with connections to Pharaoh’s messaging, began the creation of a class of elites in control of communicating content. Later, the specialized talents of scribes further defined the vertical hierarchy as the keepers of records – storytellers, journalists, jurists, politicians, and educators. Invention of the printing press marginally expanded access to the ‘marketplace of ideas’. The advent of radio news, then television – offered a clearer vision of the potential extension of our natural senses, before sadly ripping that promise back from us, with extreme barriers for entry into their exclusive empire.
Now, for the first time in history, there are platforms where we the people are content creators, publishers, distributors, and participants in at-large political debate. A couple of bucks and minimal skill potentially connects us with billions of others around the world. Having this ability for what once was a silent audience to suddenly speak up to power on alternative values for a new society, imbues social media with a sense of vulnerable illegitimacy – a lack of governance. It is very disconcerting to hear that vacuum being filled by the mantra of social media censorship oozing out from the glass towers of Corporate TV News Headquarters, echoing through the halls of Congress, and in unison with The White House.
At issue is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 – No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. This simple definition protects social media platforms from a wide range of lawsuits stemming from content that users like us might post. Without these protections, wealthy individuals, and large corporations could, and certainly would, initiate sufficient baseless lawsuits against the disabled platform providers … forcing them into a de facto censorship role. Aspiring social media start-ups would be thwarted by litigation costs.
Why this is important: Consider, for example, the subject of Climate Change. There are thousands of educational and activist ‘groups’ and ‘pages’ on social media, effectively attempting to deter the effects of global warming by exposing the causes. Should they do the right thing by identifying to millions of people, particular fossil fuel suppliers as major causes, in the absence of Section 230 liability protections, just the chilling effects alone of litigating consequential lawsuits would greatly inhibit the ability of this movement to continue in the international dialogue.
Why this is urgent: One week ago, Republicans brought the CEO’s of Facebook, Google, and Twitter before a US Senate committee to answer for the unfair humiliation of censoring President Trump’s irrational pre-election tweet about Hunter Biden’s imaginary hard drive. The following day, during his Super-spreader Stumping, Trump echoed the call for elimination of Section 230 moderation in a well choreographed commentary following the contours of proposed legislation submitted in late September by The US Justice Department — For too long Section 230 has provided a shield for online platforms to operate with impunity said Attorney General William P. Barr.
Even more alarming, at least to firm believers in an individual’s unfettered First Amendment rights, was that virtually every Senator, Democrats and Republicans, in the committee hearing expressed some degree of desire to erode those protections, when amplified by social media platforms — “Democrats often say that we don’t remove enough content, and Republicans often say we remove too much,” Zuckerberg said in his opening remarks. “The fact that both sides criticize us doesn’t mean that we’re getting this right, but it does mean there are real disagreements about where the limits of online speech should be.”
Social media deserves the same levels of safeguards automatically afforded to every crazed call-in on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show.
PACIFICA’S UNHOUSED SHARE STORIES
Videographer Alexandra Lacey
We are very pleased to make available a short video about 3 Pacifica residents, members of our community, who lost their housing but did not lose their hope.
Our vision is that together, in collaboration with the Pacifica Resource Center, the Churches of Pacifica, and the City of Pacifica, we can have a positive impact on the unhoused in our home town.
We are honored to share the stories of Monique Barr, Lesley Bode and Matt Millard. Thank you, also, to Eileen Barsi, a member of the Pastoral Council at St. Peter Church, representing the Faith Community.
Most especially, we thank Alexandra Lacey, our talented videographer, People’s Alliance of San Mateo County, and members of PH4A who made this video possible. Deep gratitude to all of you – for your courage and this message of hope; and may the message point the way to a better future for the most vulnerable in our community.
Pacifica: the Environment, Housing, and the General Plan’s Housing Update
Author Suzanne Moore
What happens when you put Save the Bay, Greenbelt Alliance, and the Housing Leadership Council together? You get idealistic and practical suggestions on how to marry future housing needs with environmental protection. You also detect a suitable alliance of advocates with mutual goals for a better future.
At a recent forum hosted by the Housing Leadership Council, Save the Bay reminded us of hazards to our environment from the pollution of long commutes, the disparity of impact on neighborhoods of color, and the societal impact of communities broken by displacement. The laws of the State of California are requiring communities to build housing for the projected need and take into account different levels of affordability. Housing Leadership Council said we have the opportunity to create inclusive, equitable, healthy communities – choosing to build away from flood plains, fire zones, and areas of likely sea level rise.
How can this be achieved? Strong regional protection allies are needed to include and advocate for housing for those who need it most. Housing in urban areas along transportation lines will provide housing for essential workers close to their workplace. But facing future challenges of climate change, sea level rise, and inequality of housing access will require regional planning and funding.
Here in Pacifica, we have a deep love for our environment, yet our state housing goals loom over us unmet. We see the impact of housing access issues: in residents made homeless by increased housing costs, in loss of essential workers, in housing costs that vastly outpace stagnant wage increases, in the economic downturn of the pandemic which threatens tenants and property owners alike.
In preparation for our housing update element to the general plan, Pacifica is seeking a collaboration agreement with Baird and Driskell Community Planning to “identify housing policy solutions…that specifically address each jurisdiction’s unique needs and policy approach.” Community participation will be sought. Let’s expand our understanding and ask important questions in advance.
The Association of Bay Area Governments identified a three-prong approach to meet our regional housing needs:
- Production: building new units to meet existing and future needs.
- How is affordable housing built and can Pacifica create it?
- How can new housing be built without compromising our environment?
- Preservation of existing low income housing.
- Are there existing opportunities in Pacifica where housing could be converted (like Marymount) or preserved as low income?
- Can public trusts be created to keep low income housing in perpetuity?
- Protection of tenants from displacement.
- Can systems of support be created to reduce displacement?
- Is there political and community will to consider expansion of tenant protection in the COVID economy?
It is worthy to ask questions of what are “best practices” for production, preservation, and protection for Pacifica’s housing needs.
Let’s reach out to resources to increase our understanding and advocate for housing which protects Pacifica’s environment. In anticipation of our future general plan housing update, we can study up and be better prepared to create a general plan that is truly inclusive, equitable, and healthful.
Resources from 10/30/20 Housing Leadership Forum
- Greenbelt Alliance: Resilience Playbook,
- Save the Bay: Adaptation Atlas,
- Home For All has a Climate Change Team.
- The Housing Leadership Council has been open to increasing community understanding of housing and housing needs.
This Year, Celebrate Armistice Day As Peace Day
It was 102 years ago on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when World War I came to an end. On that day in 1918, people celebrated the end of the “War to End Wars” and established Armistice Day also known as Remembrance Day. This holiday was originally intended to be a day to honor the dead and commit to world peace.
After the Korean War, when weapon-making became such a lucrative business, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans’ Day. The name change saw a gradual change from a celebration of peace to a glorification of war. For some, war and weapons of war were found to be much more profitable than peace.
Today, Veterans for Peace all across the country are realizing the need to reclaim the original intent of the holiday. These vets are planning vigils and educational events to promote the need for peace. They, along with other peace activists, realize that many of our elected officials who enjoy huge campaign contributions from the merchants of war have become addicted to war. This addiction has led to huge profits for the weapon makers and to years of destruction and devastation of communities and the environment.
Scholars at the Cost of War Project of Brown University recently published a summary of what this addiction has cost us since the post 9/11 Wars to 2020:
- “Over 801,000 people have died due to direct war violence, and several times as many indirectly,
- The number of war refugees and displaced persons equals 37 million.
- The US federal price tag is over $6.4 trillion dollars.
- The US government is conducting counterterror activities in 80 countries The wars have been accompanied by violations of human rights and civil liberties, in the US and abroad.” (Read more at worldbeyondwar.org & costofwarproject.org)
Pacifica Peace People commend the valiant efforts of Veterans for Peace to refocus our celebration of Armistice Day. We applaud their efforts to educate Americans about the real cost of war and the profiteers of war. We are inspired by their bravery and we stand in solidarity with them in working to create a culture of peace.
Please join us in our show of support as we keep a silent vigil this Armistice Day.
When: Wednesday, November 11, 10:00a —11:00a
Where: Corner of Manor & Palmetto
COAST SIDE MASS TRANSIT – BUS ROUTES
Put the Coast on the Map for Transit
Author Rick Nahass
There are 60,000 people, 8% of the population of San Mateo County, who live along the coast from Pacifica to La Honda, and because we live on the other side of the San Andreas Fault we are an after-thought when it comes to planning and funding transportation initiatives in the county. We can get attention by participating in the conversation in the following ways:
- Provide input to SamTrans, email firstname.lastname@example.org include your name and address with your suggestions. One transit initiative that solves a problem almost always affects multiple interests enabling the power of ‘unity’ in our community. For example:
- Seniors, Small Business: Shuttle from back of Linda Mar to Rockaway, Palmetto, Manor
- Housing, Small Business: Shuttle from Fairmont (Marymount) to Manor, Palmetto, Rockaway, Linda Mar Beach
- Commute Congestion, Schools, Climate Advocacy: Shuttle to Vallemar
- Commute Congestion, Small Business, Realtors, Climate Advocacy: During commute hours and on hot weekends 2 of the 4 highway 1 lanes are under utilized
- Commute Congestion, Small Business, Realtors, Climate Advocacy: Shuttle from Half Moon Bay to Linda Mar to SF Transbay Terminal. Establish a “transit corridor” on Highway 1.
- Safe Streets, Small Business: Rockaway merchants exist on both sides of Highway one, crossing the highway on foot or bike can be treacherous.
- And of course…better examples coming from you.
- Establish two-way communication. City Councils, Boards and Committees always wait for presentation by Transit Agencies. Cities almost never proactively reach out to Transit.Pacifica City employees are held responsible for comprehensive ‘Bike and Ped’ planning, but not for bus, shuttle and roadway planning. Send requests Pacifica City Council and City Manager to augment transit agency communications by reallocating 10% of one City employee responsibility (or 5% of two), just 16 hours a month to:
- Watch/skim monthly bus and highway Board meetings for topics relevant to the coast.
- Establish contacts and speak with transit agency planners on a regular basis.
- Ask SamTrans planners to share coastside ‘Reimagine SamTrans input. Because of the geographic layout, bedroom community, FLX and proximity to San Francisco, SamTrans planners appear to have a special affinity for Pacifica. SamTrans planners were excited about the prospect of using the recent Pacifica microtransit pilot learnings to discuss new microtransit shuttle initiatives.
- Report on transit as ‘input’ to Pacifica Programs, Council, Planning and Program meeting agendas: Sharp Park Development, Beach Boulevard, Library, Rockaway, etc. Ensure that transit is on the agendas.
- Subscribe to be notified of National, State and Regional transit grant opportunities. Oftentimes qualification for grants require more than one benefit. Relationships with planners would be helpful for identifying collaboration and symbiosis across the local transit spectrum when considering how to apply.
Get the San Mateo Coast on the map. Expedient bus routes, a Transit corridor”, linking Half Moon Bay through Pacifica to San Francisco without transfers were eliminated several years ago with no plans in any transit agency future since the original local route was established in 2000.
‘Seamless Bay Area’ is a good non-profit organization that includes a transportation vision map of the Bay Area that mistakenly shows Pacifica as the end of the line. Pacifica is the gateway to the coast that includes our sister cities through Half Moon Bay to La Honda. If we are to be included in the conversation and ‘unified’ with our sister cities for transit planning the coast should be on the map. Help by sending a respectful email to email@example.com, ask that the map be enhanced to (1) extend the end of the line to Pescadero/La Honda, (2) Include a line from Half Moon Bay to the city of San Mateo.
Map image taken from the seamlessbayarea.org website
Seamless Bay Area has a fare map that does include a Half Moon Bay zone fare; however, how useful can it be if it takes 2 hours to get to San Francisco by bus. There is an Integrated Fare Webinar on November 10 if you’re interested in learning more about the Seamless Bay Area organization.
Buses and Shuttle Pandemic Routes
Author Rick Nahass
SamTrans continues to operate Pacifica bus and shuttle routes during the pandemic as follows:
- 110 – Linda Mar / Daly City BART
- 112 – Linda Mar / Serramonte / Colma BART
- 16 – Serrramonte / Terra Nova HS
- 18 – EL Granada / HMB Main St (school days only)
- FLX Pacifica – Linda Mar Loop
- 118 Express Linda Mar / Colma-DC BART – Suspended through December to help maintain 35% extra board. Extra board means there are backup drivers and standby buses in the event rider demand increases above standard demand.
SamTrans principles and priorities:
- Ensure service is reliable by maintaining 35% extra board
- Supporting School Districts different reopening plans. Understanding the appetite for parents to put student riders on buses. Some schools may adopt a staggered schedule, including mid-day trips. Goal is to ensure service is very reliable and always available.
The SamTrans Board of Directors will vote on whether to approve 1 year pilot , starting January 1, 2021, participation in the Clipper START program where adults whose household incomes are no more than twice the federal poverty level can ride at 20%-50% of the adult single fare. Caltrain, SF Muni, Golden Gate Transit and BART already participate.
In the October 7, 2020 SamTrans Board meeting all Board members commented favorably for participation to assist low-income riders, especially in relation to the regressive taxes (e.g., Measure ‘A’ – 2004, Measure ‘W’ – 2018) placed on low-income residents. In the meeting Director Pine said, “All sales taxes are regressive, something for us to keep in mind.” To share your thoughts on supporting SamTrans participation in the Clipper Start program and ideas about providing more funding, possibly directly to low-income riders, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Clipper START Agenda Item” in the subject line.
Caltrain Measure RR Clash of Progressive Priorities
Author Rick Nahass
The 2020 Regional Ballot Measure RR, approved by voters, will provide $100M yearly funding to Caltrain by levying a one-eighth cent sales tax in San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties for 30 years. Sales taxes are regressive on low-income individuals and families, as incomes fall the tax rate rises. The same effect applies to businesses, small businesses pay a higher tax rate then large corporations.
Caltrain receives 70% funding from train fares. Caltrain ridership is down by 95% during the pandemic and estimates a $30 million to $70 million shortfall this fiscal year with severe budget issues into FY2022. Measure RR provides funding to get Caltrain through the pandemic and additional funding afterwards for future growth.
Due to its regressive posture a few progressive organizations do not support the Measure. Most SF Bay Area progressive organizations; however, do support RR, walking a tightrope of the less than perfect funding options in order to:
- reduce the carbon footprint by financially supporting transit
- provide better transit options for people who cannot drive or afford cars
An additional argument in favor: the new sales tax incurred is small, only $1.25 for every $1000 is goods purchased.
The argument against: San Mateo County merchants already pay, and pass on to consumers, the 1.5% tax, directed to transit, of the total 9.25% sales tax is too much burden over the long haul (20-30 years). That’s $92.50 for every $1000 of goods purchased. How much more do we eat into the regressive taxing of our most vulnerable citizens and small merchants?
Caltrain is participating in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission managed Clipper Start program by providing a 50% discount to low income riders as a mitigation approach for regressive taxes. This is a tiny start. A better approach might be to use some of the approved sales tax funds to actually put transit money onto the clipper cards for low-income riders. This promotes inter-transit agency competition for low-income ridership, much like the approximately $65 per month Bay Area corporations add to their employees clipper cards enjoying reduced income benefits.
Preparing for the Holidays in the Midst of a Global Pandemic
National Association of Mental Illness Outreach Team San Mateo County
Holidays past were stress-filled: anticipation of drama-packed family gatherings, pressures of last minute gifts and baking projects, long lines in stores and crowded parking lots. This year is different. This year is a COVID year. In the midst of a global pandemic it’s harder to predict what stressors this holiday season may bring. Fortunately, we at NAMI San Mateo County have some tips to stay grounded and to nurture mental wellbeing.
- Stay connected while staying physically distant.
- With lots of ways to stay connected through different forms of technology, we can still “sit at the table” and share a meal with family and friends. My family is planning a zoom family meal and I feel like it is a good choice to keep everyone safe, especially those family members who are more vulnerable. I also feel relieved that I won’t have to cook because I usually host Thanksgiving at my house!
- Embrace the dying art of sending handwritten cards in the mail. I feel it helps me celebrate the season, stay connected with loved ones, and ignite some dormant creativity.
- If you or someone you know has a mental health diagnosis, and you’d like encouraging human interaction while staying safe from exposure, consider joining one of our support groups. We have our peer support groups, NAMI Connections, and several family support groups. Find more information about this on our website, NAMISanMateo.org
- Take care of your physical health.
Stay active and watch for excessive sugar and carbohydrate intake. According to a new study conducted through University College London Institute of Epidemiology and Public Health in the United Kingdom, it was determined that overconsumption of sugar can be a cause of anxiety and depression in a phenomenon called reverse causation. This paired with a lack of movement from indoor inactivity can create a greater risk for depression or can significantly increase symptoms of an already existing mental health condition.
- Make self care a priority.
In holidays past, we often thought of caring for friends and family first. It is especially important this year to focus on self-care. See the silver lining. Less in-person parties allow for time…to go on a walk, garden in the backyard, embrace a lighter schedule and do something special for ourselves.
- Give yourself a break.
This pandemic is the perfect time to take a break from pleasing others, the perfect excuse to opt out of things that might be too overwhelming. Escape the pressure. You might not have the same excuse next year!
- Take time to be grateful.
It’s been a tough year, and it’s normal to feel disappointed, frustrated, sad, and resentful; but it is also healing to simultaneously recall reasons to be grateful. A technique we teach in NAMI’s Peer-to-Peer class is to notice two opposing thoughts that can exist at the same time. For example, we feel sad about the pandemic but happy to have purchased so many comfortable sweatpants. I recommend using a gratitude journal to stay mindful and reflect on what is personally meaningful.
These tips have gotten me through some very rough times. As someone who has struggled with a diagnosis of schizophrenia for the majority of my life, I can attest to their usefulness. I tell myself regularly to sooth my worries, practice self-care, socialize when I am tempted to isolate, maintain healthy habits, practice mindfulness, and take a break when needed.
If you’d like to join NAMI or volunteer, check out our website at NAMISanMateo.org or you can read our newsletter! Feel free to email us at NAMI@namisanmateo.org or call our warm line at(650)638-0800. We’d love to hear from you. Stay well during the holidays!
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