Edition 7, September 2020
Welcome to the September 2020 edition of Pacifica Voice.
In this edition:
- An overview of district elections by John Keener,
- Congratulations to these candidates endorsed by PPA:
- ACLU acknowledges Use of Force compliance – the Pacifica Social Justice team,
- Two new legislations for tenant eviction protection by Suzanne Moore,
- Pacifica’s newest 501C3, the Social Unity Project by Xana Cook,
- Musings on compassion by Rev. Kathy Crary,
- Updates from the Pacifica Resource Center and the Pacific Beach Coalition.
- MON 9/14 7:00 PM City Council
- SAT 9/19 Pacific Beach Coalition favorite bucket vote, 9 am – 12 noon, Sharp Park Beach Levee
- SAT 9/19 Pacifica Resource Center Palm A Palooza
- MON 9/28 City Council rescheduled to TU 9/29 7 PM
- Pacific Beach Coalition: beach cleanups have resumed. Please check their schedules.
- Sanchez Art Gallery closed: check the virtual tours.
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.
District Elections in Pacifica
Author John Keener
This year is the first for district elections in Pacifica. Previously we elected City Council members by a city-wide or at-large vote, but now we’ll elect them from each of five districts. Council seats contested this year will represent District 1, which is in the Fairmont neighborhood, and District 4, which is in the Fassler-Park Pacifica-Back of the Valley neighborhoods of Linda Mar.
Why did the City Council make such a change? Because in August 2018 the City received a “Shenkman” letter that alleged voting in Pacifica was racially polarized, due to our at-large system diluting the vote of a minority population. This would be a violation of the California Voting Rights Act (CRVA). Shenkman is a Southern California lawyer who’s made a living sending threatening letters to various cities, and has never lost one of these cases. Despite feeling like the victim in an extortion, City Council had good reason to acquiesce, avoiding several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees, which would have probably still resulted in a loss in court.
In order to avoid those legal fees, council had to adopt a resolution of intention to transition to district elections within 45 days. By following this “safe harbor” course, the fee due to Shenkman was capped at $30,000 according to the CVRA. City Council then had 90 days to hold 5 public hearings examining various maps, after which it would pass an ordinance establishing a district election system. This was accomplished in December 2018 at my final meeting as a council member.
District 1 shown in pink
How were the districts drawn? One consideration was to keep the minority identified by Shenkman, a population of Asian-Americans concentrated in the Fairmont neighborhood, together in a single district. Hispanic-Americans were also identified in the letter, but their numbers were dispersed throughout Pacifica, according to the City’s demographic consultant. The districts had to be of roughly equal population. Council desired that all districts touch the ocean, or at least Highway 1. Also, the districts were drawn so that current council members would not face each other in elections beginning in 2020.
District 4 in purple (unpopulated parts of it are off the map)
So the mapping began. It turned out not to be possible to have 5 districts of equal population that all touched Highway 1. However, the other mapping criteria were met, and council made the deadline imposed by the CRVA. District 1, by virtue of including the minority population, and district 4 were chosen to be the first to have elections in 2020. The other 3 districts will elect their council members in 2022. As always, council members serve 4-year terms.
It is difficult to say whether representation by districts will promote geographic factionalism on City Council. The smaller election size does mean that it will cost less to run for council. And yes, a minority council member may be elected someday. This is the new reality of electoral politics in Pacifica.
Election Nov 2020 Pacifica Progressive Alliance Endorsements
Mayra Espinoza – District 1 Pacifica City Council
My name is Mayra Espinosa and I am running for City Council, Pacifica, District 1. I want to be a voice for my community.
The upper area of District 1 is not rich. We struggle to keep things up and we work hard to make it better.
I love helping people. If I were on City Council, I’d figure out a way to beautify my neighborhood. I’d get roads repaved. I’d help small businesses. I’d seek out sources for community investment. I would promote affordable housing.
I work hard. I left the Dominican Republic, and I have been in Pacifica for 27 years – Pacifica is home. I created my business in real estate. I helped in the 2008 meltdown: I assisted homeowners with loan modifications and saved homes. I have worked at Skyline as an instructional aid for 20 years , and I love it. At Skyline, we are a diverse and caring family.
A lot of people need help right now. Communication is key to a solution. We need low income housing and builders who will build it. Motorhomes parked on the street are not reasonable – they deserve better. We need to work it out.
My mother back in the Dominican Republic is very excited I’m running for City Council – she has always been politically involved. I’m kind of shy and English is my second language. I know I’m on a big learning curve, but I will reach out to everybody. We can make a difference but I need your help.
I want to be your voice. I want to serve District 1.
Marj Davis – District 4 Pacifica City Council
I’m running for Pacifica City Council, District 4. I want to provide balance on the Council. My goal is to make a difference and a contribution to the community where I’ve loved living for 35 years. I care about preserving the beauty and natural resources of our community. I’m proud of what we’ve done to protect our environment. I care about senior services and services for people in need. In this COVID pandemic, I support the efforts of County Public Health to keep Pacifica safe. I want to make a positive impact on people’s lives.
I’m past President and Treasurer of Pacifica’s Environmental Family. I’m on the Pacifica Resource Center board and am Treasurer for Pacifica Gardens. I’m an active volunteer with Pacific Beach Coalition. I was a parent volunteer in the Pacifica School District.
I am strongly in favor of fiscal responsibility. I have a degree in Business Management and training in Non-Profit Management and Bookkeeping for Non-Profits.
I enjoy hiking, gardening, knitting, and I’m an avid birder.
I want to meet all of the voters in District 4. I’d love to come to your door but in this pandemic that’s not possible. I respect your personal boundaries. I’d love to talk to you on the phone or in virtual meetings on the internet.
Lisa Petrides – District 1 San Mateo Community College Trustee
“My life’s work has been devoted to teaching and organizing educators, students, families and public education districts towards our goal of expanding equal access to quality education for students of all backgrounds and socioeconomic status.”
AND… here is more about Lisa:
Lisa Petrides, Ph.D. is a nationally and internationally renowned, award-winning educator and pioneer in the field of “open education” which seeks to expand access to free, high quality learning content through readily accessible digital platforms for a diverse range of learners. In 2007, Lisa launched OER Commons, a comprehensive “digital library” of open educational resources
now containing over 100,000 quality, no-cost resources from hundreds of content providers for K-20 educators and students.
In recent years, Lisa pioneered technological innovations that help California and other states, school districts, and teachers tap into high-quality, curated open educational content aligned with Next Generation Science and State Teaching and Learning Standards.
The Founder and CEO of ISKME, a San Mateo County-based education nonprofit, Lisa is a highly sought after advisor to U.S. government agencies, states, schools, and colleges.
In 2009, Lisa established the international Big Ideas Fest, an annual event that identifies and energizes discussion and collaboration amongst educators around key challenges and trends in public education and innovative solutions.
A former Stanford University Visiting Scholar and Professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College, Lisa is a graduate of Cal Berkeley, and received her MBA from Sonoma State University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. She is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley.
In her spare time, Lisa can be found biking along San Mateo County’s gorgeous coastline or volunteering on one of many community Boards or organizations. To contact Lisa, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACLU CONFIRMS PACIFICA USE OF FORCE POLICY COMPLIANT
Submitted by Pacifica Social Justice (PSJ) Members
Pacifica Social Justice got news from the ACLU that the Pacifica Use of Force Policy is now considered substantially compliant with AB 392. We did not receive this information until after the August 25 City Council special meeting on policing in Pacifica. It is because of the work of Pacifica Social Justice and other community members and groups that these changes were made to bring the Pacifica policy into substantial compliance. Pacifica Social Justice is continuing our work to ensure that the Pacifica Police policies, and equally importantly, police practices, not only meet minimum state standards, but reflect our community goals of justice and de-escalation. Pacifica Social Justice continues to be committed to working on alternative visions of community safety and de-centering the role of the police.
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NEW TENANT EVICTION PROTECTION: STATE & FEDERAL
Author Suzanne Moore
Two legislations on tenant protection came out this week: AB 3088 immediately went into law after being signed by Governor Newsom; the Federal CDC Eviction Moratorium is scheduled for publication at the end of the week. Both pieces of legislation are intended to protect tenants during the pandemic, but tenants need to know how they work.
Since 3088 is now in effect, let’s take a moment to review key points.
- For tenants to be protected from eviction, the tenant needs to:
- make a written declaration, under penalty of perjury, of COVID-19 financial distress, submitted monthly to landlord, and
- pay 25% of rents due September 1, 2020 through January 1, 2021 no later than January 31, 2021.
- If a tenant follows the instructions listed in step 1, then all other unpaid rent, from March 1, 2020 through January 31, 2021 will be converted to consumer debt. Although tenants still owe this remaining rent, they cannot be evicted for nonpayment.
- Any landlord notice to pay rent or leave premises must allow for 15 days tenant response, not 3 days. The landlord must also notify that the tenant can submit a declaration within 15 days (excluding weekends and holidays) of decreased income due to COVID.
- San Mateo County had already passed an extended repayment period. When this article was written, it was unclear if AB 3088 would preempt the County’s repayment plan.
Tenant advocates recommend that tenants impacted by COVID submit a declaration to their landlords and make every attempt to pay 25% of the rents due September 2020 through January 2021 by January 31st to protect against eviction.
CDC Eviction Moratorium: Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions to Prevent Further Spread of COVID-19.
The federal CDC Order may be modified before it becomes effective. It is scheduled for publication September 4, 2020 and will expire December 31, 2020.
- A tenant must give the landlord a declaration of hardship. The order includes a form declaration for tenants to use.
- Tenants must certify their expected income.
- The order provides protection from eviction ONLY for nonpayment. Tenants can be evicted for other reasons.
- A tenant must state they are using best effort to make timely partial payments.
These two legislations are complex. If you have been financially impacted by COVID and cannot pay your entire rent, seek advice to best assure you are in compliance.
The following are possible resources, and the list is not intended to be comprehensive.
- Pacifica Resource Center: (650) 738-7470
- Tenants Together: (888) 495 8020, Text (650) 600-7821
- Legal Aid of San Mateo County: (650) 517- 8911
- Faith In Action Hotline: (203) 666-4472
Sources for this article include
- ACCE Action
- Tenants Together Bay Area
- Inner City Law Center
MEET SOCIAL UNITY PROJECT
Author Xana Cook
Social Unity Project (SUP) is a 501(c)(3) Anti-Racist Educational Organization, for Social Unity and Community Wellbeing. SUP began in a moment of inspiration after the Pacifica Protest against police brutality earlier this year, in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many more. We saw motivation in the community to address the injustices our fellow humans endure. Co-founders, Nicole Yarbrough and Xana Cook AMFT, took hold of the moment and began to piece together a long term plan for anti-racist education and community wellness.
The mission of SUP is to eradicate racism, rise up from oppression and provide supportive education and healing. To do this we Show Up, Stand Up and Speak Up – that’s what’SUP
SUP currently holds bi-monthy virtual action-team meetings, engages in monthly government meetings to build knowledge and relationships, supports other Social Justice CBOs and provides healing through yoga, mindfulness and therapeutics.
In the near future, SUP will launch the Social Unity School, a monthly book club with BIPOC owned bookstores, a podcast and monthly newsletter. We also aspire to open a multicultural center (right here in Pacifica), and Retreat centers for supportive learning, globally.
Musings on Compassion By Rev. Kathy Crary
Racial awakenings, white privilege, fires, hurricanes, elections, COVID-19 pandemic, the Post Office, the cost of health insurance and medications, no access to COVID testing, lost jobs, closed businesses, the hungry, the homeless, the divisions in government, communities, the divide in families, the no-maskers, the people without a plan. I could go on and on (maybe I just did that]. These are terrible times and hard times. We and those around us struggle at various levels with the massive list of challenges in real-time. I think of Dickens’ words and it feels like the worst of times. But the world has been through this before, through wars, disasters, plagues, infestations of Biblical proportions.
Our natural inclination is wanting to help. I think this requires a certain amount of reflection. The desire to help others is natural and I am not casting a blind eye to the importance of charity. But how the receivers view it is something else again.
I want to share some musings on the idea of compassion. In the metta prayers of Buddhism, there is a prayer that begins with self and ends with the world. At that last prayer for the world, one prays for all beings to be well, happy, free from strife, be turned towards love and peace.
Note that this prayer includes everyone, everywhere, all the time. Where I struggle is when we are giving out of mercy or pity. Mercy is often used in the Judeo-Christian scriptures and in prayers and hymns. But it is showing a power dynamic of haves/have nots. When we cry out for forgiveness, we cry out to some divine source that will bestow the absolution to cover our failings. That is a power dynamic, and it may not be inappropriate in that context, depending on your belief system. If God is all powerful, beseeching God for things we need and want is not out of the question. But from a human to human perspective, compassion is the harder way.
Compassion comes from a sense of understanding, because you have been there. For example, I am a survivor of sexual abuse. When men and women tell me their stories about similar abuses, my heart breaks and my own brokenness allows me a connection that would not be possible if I was not in the same boat, so to speak. That is compassion. If you have lived through a fire, of your house, your neighborhood, your town, you have some special connections because of experience and your desire to help may be based in compassion other than “Gee, sorry, let me help” without understanding the underlying pain.
That radically changes the kind of giving, and it focuses on the person who has needs instead of what I will provide for the individual’s needs. I think that is why I struggle with what to do, from my vantage point of white privilege, to offer myself in the cause of racial equality. The best I can offer, and it may not be enough, is the treatment I received in coming out of the closet. There were a couple of times when I felt threatened to a degree that perhaps my life was in danger. The difference is, I could “hide” my otherness where skin color is permanent. I could escape, others do not have that privilege.
Compassion is offered when the heart is broken. It can be extended to people you don’t like, despise or who threaten you. It is not “turn the other cheek”, but rather an understanding that all of us have a point of brokenness. The compassion piece comes to play when we have dealt with our own hurts and looked carefully at our own assumptions as a result. Compassion is a gift that is hard-won. It is a “walking as equals” kind of life, not a power dynamic. And this does not keep us from working for justice and peace, for equity and equality. I pray for myself and the world to embrace compassion that sees the brokenness and works for healing. It seems the healthiest approach I can have when I (and we) face the challenges of these days.
Author Robby Bancroft
Pacifica Resource Center, Developmental Coordinator
You are invited to sponsor Palm-a-Palooza 2020! This is an online fundraiser presented by Pacifica Resource Center and Grocery Outlet Pacifica to benefit PRC on Saturday, September 19, 2020.
To become a sponsor, please visit www.palmapalooza.com.
Please note: This is an online fundraiser and in lieu of an in person event, all sponsors will receive an exclusive gift from PRC delivered locally on 9/19. Deadline to receive a gift on 9/19 is 9/12.
PRC would also like to take this opportunity to thank you again for supporting last year’s Palm-a-Palooza fundraiser. Your generosity helped make our event a great success, raising over $60,000 for our important work!
We will certainly miss having an in person event this year and offer you this video recap of Palm-a-Palooza 2019 in hopes of holding you over until our next event: https://youtu.be/fCd_ghsjPGE
For more Palm-a-Palooza updates and information, please visit www.pacresourcecenter.org/palmapalooza
Pacific Beach Coalition
Make Your Kitchen Plastic Free
- Simple but effective tips and recipes to have your own eco-friendly kitchen
- As Plastic Free July came to an end, let’s keep encouraging others to lead a plastic free lifestyle with every little act we will see a big impact!
- Julie, our sustainable blog author, put together the first part of her favorite Plastic-Free kitchen swaps. We will go from cleaning to food storage then in Part Two talk about refrigerator to the pantry.
Make A Difference From Your Sofa
- Sign this petition to fight single-use plastic
- The surge in single-use plastics during the coronavirus pandemic has derailed the fight against plastic pollution.
- To help eliminate plastic pollution and waste in California, tell your Assembly member to support Senate Bill 54. California must address the plastic pollution crisis.
Thank You To Our Supporting Members!
- If you would like to join our list of supporting members, you can choose the level that fits your wallet and heart the best.
- 100% of your contribution will go toward our education or field program.