A common thread among wildfires is the fuel available to the fire.
After the editorial of Aug. 5, it is now clear that the Review does not have an iota of credibility left as the newspaper of record in Half Moon Bay. “Let’s move on,” the newspaper suggests. Really? That is easier said than done, since we are the ones who have to worry about the financial consequences of building a “world-class” library in a town that is far from world class itself. Having had a near-death experience with the Beachwood lawsuit, many of us Half Moon Bay taxpayers are more than a bit gun-shy in exposing ourselves to potentially millions of dollars of debt. Equating a library with motherhood and apple pie is all very well, except there isn’t enough pie to go around.
In last week’s editorial, this paper raised concerns about the “loyal opposition” in Half Moon Bay who are a “… handful of political opponents who, because of past slights, real and imagined, continue to pester these same public officials with snide emails, dubious suggestions of illegal conduct, surreptitious recordings of private affairs and an endless enthusiasm for delaying any city project.”
On Jan. 31, my partner and I were walking on California State Park property near the Sweetwater camp in Half Moon Bay. This area is clearly marked with numerous signs that all dogs must be on a leash. With no warning, two unleashed dogs came around a bend in the trail. One of the dogs, evidently startled by the sudden appearance of someone directly in its path, leapt for my partner’s throat. It was only the fact that he had a jacket in his hand and quickly brought it up to protect his face and neck that he wasn’t seriously injured or killed.
The Half Moon Bay History Association’s mission includes preserving historic things. In 2012, the history association began trying to persuade the city to save the Main Street Bridge from the wrecker’s ball. It is beginning to look like the old bridge can stay.
Recycling water has become a national concern as demand for fresh water has converted a once abundant and inexpensive resource to a scarce and costly one.
Over the years, I have found myself increasingly curious about what it takes to be a good leader.
Having been a teacher in the Cabrillo School District for 30 years, I know firsthand what factors help make our children successful academically. Naturally, you need dedicated and professional teachers, but you also need the buildings and the furnishings that provide the environment and tools for kids to learn. It’s taken the Coastside years to finally pass a parcel tax and a bond measure to upgrade our aging school facilities. The renovation of Cunha Intermediate School is now complete and work on Hatch Elementary School, the school where I teach, has started.
Like most, I thought we, the public, had made the point about as clear as it could be made last June: Restore our historic Main Street Bridge. Do not demolish it. Don’t enlarge it, Don’t change it. Just rehab it and let’s move on, please.
You are at school, you are 10, and sometimes you run with your friends. Maybe you whine, but you are happy. Now take away the happiness, the school and the friends. Add uncontrollable hunger and a border patrol officer chasing you to send you back to your war-torn country where you could be killed by gangs, or starve. Are you imagining that? Now you know what it is like for many people trying to come illegally into the United States. This is happening right now as you read this. People guard our borders and do terrible things just because the immigrants don’t have passports.
You are at home drinking a nice glass of cold water on a hot day. Now imagine you see people drinking contaminated water. About 1 billion people around the world are drinking contaminated water every day. In many developing countries, women and children spend about three hours a day trying to get water — from the nearest swamp, river, pond or lake. Everyone should have access to clean water because they would be more likely to have better health, an education, and stronger communities.
Libraries, with all of their new technology, are central to my life as a writer. As an author I write books, articles and columns. While my preference is to hold a “real” book in my hands, several of my books are available on Kindle, my talks can be seen on YouTube and Facebook, and Web pages are critical to disseminating information about my books and related talks, lectures and workshops. Libraries need good space and new technologies to help make writers’ works available.
I want to comment on last week’s Review editorial headlined, “Don’t jump to conclusions about school turnover.” The writer’s assumption that people leave jobs for a variety of reasons is, in fact, true!
Our children are consummate consumers of digital technology: They know which rooms in our homes have the best WiFi connection, they communicate fearlessly in the virtual world, and they are our personal tech advisers when we’re contemplating getting a new iPhone. But in order to truly enter the new economy that was born in our Silicon Valley backyard and is blossoming around the world, they will need to move from being simply tech consumers to becoming tech creators.
Thursday marked the 40th year since my mother and I fled Vietnam. I would be remiss not to share my story in light of recent cutbacks in the Spanish Immersion Program at Hatch Elementary. You see, my father was a Latino serviceman in the U.S. military and met my mother during his tour in Vietnam. They fell in love and I was eventually conceived. My fate was sealed as I entered a world of turmoil as a multiracial baby. If it were not for my mother’s courage, sacrifice and sheer will for a better life I simply would not be here today.
I am writing to express deep disappointment in our Cabrillo Unified School District board and Superintendent Tony Roehrick.
Not everyone loves the Spanish immersion program at area schools. Fortunately, there will always be space for families who choose the English-only program. Families who choose immersion, however, have no such certainty.
It’s no secret to those of us who live here on the coast that the traffic has gotten really bad!
Look at the ocean so blue, so pretty — and so polluted. Yep, the ocean used to be thought of as just a convenient place to throw trash. People who did not care about dumping in the ocean even had a catch phrase, “The solution to pollution is dilution.” Lots of people think that the ocean doesn’t matter and that it can be polluted, but lots of people are wrong. To everyone who doesn’t think about the ocean, think of all the people who do! Surfers, sailors, fishermen, free swimmers, scuba divers, and many more who all know that ocean pollution affects us all. Ocean pollution affects us all because it destroys habitats, it causes global warming, and because it kills millions of animals each year. Now that you have heard what it does, let’s talk trash.
What would you do if you were kidnapped, starved or beaten, or even prevented from seeing your family? That happens to about 300,000 children, known as child soldiers. Some are girls; most are boys, and most are forced or coerced into being a child soldier. Many are forced to commit crimes. I believe that child soldiers should not be held responsible for their crimes. They should not be held responsible because they are forced to join to survive. They are forced to commit crimes and they suffer from lifelong trauma.
For several decades after World War II, the United States led the world in improving public and private infrastructure. Our roads, airports, schools and libraries were the envy of the world. Starting in the 1980s, however, the country began to slack off of its commitment to maintain public infrastructure. Today, many of our roadways, bridges, schools and libraries are suffering from deferred maintenance.
The synthetic turf on the Cunha Intermediate School soccer field and other school and park fields may cause cancer. There is no proven evidence, but there are definitely strong opinions and tons of research is being done. If the turf does cause cancer, will you continue to play on it?
After suffering in silence for several years, I have finally decided to bring up an issue that needs to be addressed. According to a Half Moon Bay City ordinance, no one may rent all or part of their single-family residence to another for a term less than six months. Yet in Half Moon Bay there are at least 41 such homes; that is the number listed on just one website (VRBO).
Think of your teacher who is with you almost every day and close to even all day, working and working to make sure you will learn and enjoy school. Even at home they are doing things for you when they could be taking a stroll in the park. Instead, they are sitting at the kitchen table correcting your tests. And you may think that being a teacher is easy. Now put yourself in their place, always doing things for students. Imagine doing this all day long while spending the day with a room full of energetic kids. And some teachers aren’t even earning enough money to support a family or buy their own house! I strongly believe that teachers deserve a higher salary because many of them work unpaid overtime, spend much of their own money for their students by choice, and inspire many children to be good people.
This month I spent too much time trying to learn the nuts and bolts of how San Mateo County spent its initial phase of Measure A tax money. In the end, what I learned boils down to this: tens of millions of dollars went to an alphabet soup of agencies and programs.
Last year at this time the city of Half Moon Bay was preparing and presenting two scoping meetings for the Main Street Bridge project. The year and a half prior to the scoping meetings had seen a raucous and at times divisive dialogue between the City Council and the people of Half Moon Bay, one that saw numerous statements from the council and its consultants.
In response to some of the controversy regarding photographing the potential Titans of Mavericks surf contest (see Review from Feb. 18), the governing body for the event, also known as the Committee 5, posted this letter to their Facebook page on March 6. The contents of the letter are as follows:
On Feb. 24, Half Moon Bay Mayor Marina Fraser delivered her “State of the City” address. The following is a version of her remarks, which she has edited to fit our space constraints.
The Half Moon Bay City Council recently decided in a 4-to-1 vote to fund the city’s share of the cost of expanding the library. Members chose a funding mechanism that is not subject to a direct vote. The lone opposing council vote was in deference to direct voter participation in this decision. A guest editorial by a member of the community who has opposed other public infrastructure improvements agreed with the dissenting councilwoman’s vote. He claimed that this vote is an attempt to subvert the will of the community by making this decision without a referendum.
I was glad that the city of Half Moon Bay has joined the County of San Mateo to build a new, much-needed, state-of-the-art library to serve the Coastside. More than half of us on the Coastside live outside the boundaries of the city, and we appreciate that the city is willing to join the county to provide all of us with an appropriate library. The current library has served us well but was built way back when print publications were the standard. There was no Internet, and the Coastside population was much smaller.
No matter how you slice it, Feb. 3, 2015, will be a seminal day in the history of Half Moon Bay. At the City Council meeting held that evening two significant things happened, both related and both somewhat representative of our little hamlet.
Editor’s note: The following is a copy of a presentation that South Coast resident George Muteff planned to deliver to the Half Moon Bay City Council on Tuesday night.
If we want to live in a thriving, dynamic community (which is what we want, right?), I think one of the things we need to consider is how we treat our elders. What is their experience like, and what could be better for them?
Some big ideas start small. This year's Big Ideas Fest focused on "Education Innovation for a Small Planet," and it was a little different from previous years. Located here in Half Moon Bay, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education deserves praise, not just for embracing change, but for embodying it. Many changes were small, but they went a long way toward improving what is already one of the most enlightened education conferences in the country (right here in Half Moon Bay!).
Last November may have set a record for the number of public hearings held for a proposed project in San Mateo County. That’s when the San Mateo Planning Commission held the 25th public hearing on the Big Wave Wellness and Business Center Project. The review process is now going into its 10th year.
As I get older and realize how short life really is, I think about what is really important.
Yes, it’s Christmastime, and wishes for just the right gift are alive in my house. My 12-year-old son, James, is looking for an iPhone 6 (which is not going to happen) and Rachel, 8, wants a kitten, a dog or a mouse. (We’re thinking about this one.)
This is an urgent call for help from Coastside residents. Our community is about to lose a cherished piece of land known as “the post office lot” at Avenue Portola and Obispo Road. This is part of our town center, across from the soon-to-be Burnham Strip community park.
As a fair weather fan enjoying the San Francisco Giants’ unlikely and inspiring march to an improbable third World Series championship, I asked myself, “What is it that makes them so much fun to watch?”
After a year-long process, city staff and consultants presented a hodgepodge of proposals, collected in the form of three maps, to the General Plan Advisory Committee last week. More than 50 additional citizens, many of them wearing orange in support of open space and bluff tops along the Coastal Trail attended. What the plans lacked in any long- term vision, they made up for in getting the conversation started with an engaged audience.
Now that the annual gridlock from our Pumpkin Festival has passed, we await the strangulation of Christmas tree season and many other attractions to Half Moon Bay. Woe is our simplistic transportation system!
The campaign signs have come down and the election is over, but one thing is constant: Regardless of election results, the Coastside will continue its push for a new library with a groundbreaking in summer of 2016!
There’s nothing quite like being outside and breathing in the good coastal air in the middle of a pumpkin farm to get all kinds of town updates, news and thoughts on what’s going on in the community. I may be the only mayor in America who gets to combine chatting about important City Hall issues with selling a few pumpkins from our farm. It’s a tradition that I appreciate and cherish each year.
The time to reveal political agendas and qualifications for office should be before an election, not after. There has been almost no vetting of those running for office here on the Coastside. Vetting is what good journalism is all about. Sadly, the Half Moon Bay Review has come up short.
Here is a summary of the current Half Moon Bay City Council’s actions from the 2009 election to present:
Recently, I submitted an application to be re-appointed to the San Mateo County Transit District (SamTrans) Board of Directors as the public member representing the Coastside, a position I have held with pride for eight years. As I go through the application process, I thought this would be a good opportunity to report on the state of SamTrans service on the Coastside.
I've always been proud of living on the coast. I was born and raised here. I've spent the majority of my life — coming up on 30 years — here. I went to school here. I bought a house here. I started a family here. I have nieces and nephews, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents who live here. I have interaction after interaction with family and friends and neighbors and complete strangers that are overwhelmingly positive and meaningful.
Last month, this newspaper announced that the school board was "considering" removing 33 trees to further Cabrillo Unified building plans. The following evening, I attended the school board meeting in which an arborist spoke to the board’s Measure S plans.
Thanks for asking for reader solutions to the fall traffic on the Coastside. Here are my suggested solutions to at least some of our continuing Half Moon Bay traffic woes. I love our community, and I love that so many others come here from near and far to enjoy the many amenities it has to offer. I do not blame our visitors for the mess we have created.
In 2010, the Half Moon Bay City Council put the sales tax known as Measure K on the ballot. The reason is the city was in a very tight budget situation. In 2012, the financial situation had improved with a balanced budget, but there wasn’t a lot of money for capital improvements, so the council put Measure J on the ballot to increase the sales tax.