2002 Archive

December 25

Written a good letter lately?All over Pacifica today, friends and relatives are wishing each other a Merry Christmas or some variation of that theme. I, too, want to wish you and anyone else who happens to read this column the best of the season. That should cover your situation, whether the period you celebrate is Christmas, Hannukah, or even the special day of some community most of us are hardly aware of. In this city we've Christians of many stripes and subdivisions, though I'm unaware of any Nestorians.

December 11

Don't call it a failure. It was a survivorNo one will be saving souvenirs from the Sea Vue when and if it's torn down. It's not the kind of building people discuss with awe and admiration. When I first heard it had closed, the key word I heard was "failure." It wasn't a failure. Like the Ocean Shore Railroad that once operated nearby for thirteen years, the Sea Vue became rather grubby and beat down.

November 27

Stirring the Terra Nova soup potIn the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you I really like David Kazakoff, the Principal of Terra Nova High School. He's a charming, verbal, knowledgable guy. He spoke to Rotary earlier this year. Rotarians liked him so much he was immediately invited back to speak a second time, which he did in October. When I speak to some of my own kids, TN graduates from previous decades, I'm told what a good teacher he was.

November 13

Wearing out shoe leather wins electionsWhen you take your politics seriously, as I do, you sometimes have to go through a process of grieving. Two good people, hardworking, concerned citizens, persons I've known and admired for decades, were turned out of office eight days ago.

November 6

Some thoughts the day after elections I really enjoy elections, because I'm in favor of democracy. Since I write this column in advance, I don't know which Pacifica City Council candidates came out winners yesterday. It used to be I could predict the winners in advance, but times change.

October 30

Why I like Measure E I spent the best part of my life before retirement as a newspaper ad man. It's an honorable profession. So I intend a compliment to the Tribune's "junior" columnist, John Maybury, when I say he'd have made a good ad man. He quite accurately quoted me last week while very possibly leading his readers to the wrong conclusion.

October 23

Steinbeck! Is he hero or SOB? Who would have guessed in 1902, when California had fewer than one and a half million people, that one particular baby born in the tiny town of Salinas would eventually win the Nobel Prize for literature, mostly for tales of his native state and often his native county? John Steinbeck used the local clay to mould masterpieces. He wrote about ordinary people.

October 16

Yellow paintbrushes and stagnation? My friend Herbie, the political consultant, is a fountain of practical vote-getting advice. The other day we were discussing ballot measures, and how to persuade voters to vote your way when they might just as easily vote the other way or not at all.

October 9

A thousand books, a thousand days Somebody once said, "politics is the art of the possible." Aim too low and you'll never get close to your goals. Aim too high and you're bound to fall short. Which brings us to the Pacifica library situation. It's not good. It looks right now as if it might take all the resources we've got just to hold on to the status quo.

September 4

The insufferable know-it-all speaks his piece I've always thought highly of Nick Leone, but as he correctly pointed out in his letter last week, I've been known to be wrong. So I may be wrong in my opinion of him. Truth is, in spite of the fact that he seems to have serious disagreements with some of my ideas, I still think he's a fine person who wants what's best for a city we both cherish.

August 28

Some folks are really worth admiring Many years ago I was advised never to write about religion or politics. Good advice! If I'd listened to the part about politics, this column would have appeared rarely these past decades, pleasing my critics no end. I've touched on religion only sparingly over the years, however.

August 21

When will John bring us a good idea? "Exactly what makes God-almighty John Curtis think he can clomp in here from Pedro Point, push his weight around, and bamboozle Pacificans into opposing Trammell Crow's concepts for the quarry.

August 14

It's time to level the playing field What I found particularly infuriating in Bob Brodey's letter last week, (the ironic headline: "Everyone Wins") is his complete lack of sympathy and understanding for the ordeal he and his "friends" generated for both seller and buyer of the Gypsy Hill five acre site.

July 31

Seventy years ago on the Coastside What is now Pacifica, in the Thirties was hard to get into, hard to get out of, and a great place to practice your Italian.
The roads were twisty, poor, narrow and poorly kept up. When Laguna Salada flooded not many residents from Vallemar south traveled very far for a few days. In the thirties, it's likely most of the cars were Model T's and Model A's.

July 24

"Bertha, get me 1-Y-3, and howahya today?" Neither Lydia Comerford Fahey, the Gust family nor the Rockaway Café were listed in the phone books for this area from 1933 through 1936. Mrs. Fahey was a long time, prominent and relatively well-off citizen. Charles Gust, Nick's father, owned the Rockaway Café, later to be called Nick's. Few had phones, least of all on the rural Coastside those depression days.

July 17

Did my DNA make me a possible spy? I was conceived early in the Depression. I turned 11 in March, 1942. By the time I was 15 World War II was well over. 1942-43 were years of transition for my family. An abortive job hunt took us to the northern Rockies. Our return to California was complicated by such tight gasoline rationing we might have been frozen in place in Idaho for the rest of the war.

June 12

Hoe rare weeds, go to jail? I hope I don't shock Ian Butler when I say he made some good to excellent points in his letter last week, even though he was rather rough on me in the process.

June 5

Why is the Devil's Slide tunnel like a boat? Lord knows, most of the folks who pushed so hard for a Devil's Slide tunnel were sincere. And they were persuasive. So persuasive that about three out of every four voters in this county back in the mid-nineties voted for a Devil's Slide tunnel and buried the idea of a Devil's Slide bypass quite deep.

May 29

To benefit from it, fence it and clear it! Either Zacharia Pineda is confused, or I am. One of us doesn't seem to know the exact location of the Fish and Bowl. In a letter to the editor the San Bruno resident praised the F and B as a secluded yet accessible piece of beachfront property, and says how much he enjoys using it for recreation.

May 15

Am I really white trash? From time to time I've been attacked via letters to the editor, often because I'd written something intelligent and thoughtful, but differing from the letter writer's point of view. It goes with the territory when you write columns of opinion. Last week, however, was the first time in memory I've been called "white trash."

May 8

It's enough to make me gag Some of us take an interest in history. All of us will become part of it sooner or later. When I first came to Pacifica I had a very low interest in the Little Brown Church. At that time it was still a working Presbyterian church, still being run by Rev. Herschel Harkins, the pastor of the Coastside.

April 24

Reason to celebrate or big mistake? Perhaps you also received the invitation. In joyful words it announced the transfer from the Trust for Public Land to the bureaucratic grasp of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area of yet another irreplaceable part of Pacifica's heritage, the lands of Mori's Point and its environs.

April 10

Loose dogs revisited Amy Hoffman of Vallemar took exception to my column about loose dogs (letters 4/3). No problem. I take exception to her letter. Just as I was in denial when my wonderful dog Bingo needed better control, Ms. Hoffman appears in full denial when confronted with the fact (repeat: FACT!!!) that loose dogs often endanger innocent human beings who are pursuing legitimate goals. Did I react emotionally when my ten year old son walked up a street in Sharp Park (as he had every right to do) and was savagely attacked by a dog for no reason? You bet your boots!

April 3

Selling parents on Laguna Salada Well, I'll be go to jello. According to last week's Tribune, the Laguna Salada school district is hiring some folks to "market" the district's services, because enrollment continues to decline.

March 27

Can you predict which dog will bite you? There's a lot of pressure these days to allow dogs to run loose on some or all of our beaches. Some people prefer not to take a simple NO! for an answer. Having been generously permitted to walk their dogs on a leash in most parts of the public domain, they now want those dogs to be able to run loose.

February 13

Let's have real competition for county offices The system ain't workin'. Five Supervisors run San Mateo County. They've an important job. Their ideas, competence, energy and goals are crucial to whether this county succeeds or fails. They're "elected" officials, and it's true each of their names has been on the ballot in recent years, either in the year 2000, or this year, in the election of March, 2002.

February 6

Is it time to defend the barricades? I don't know if any readers of this column are in the U.S. illegally. My guess? few if any. Today my target audience is intended to be only those of us who are American citizens. You and I, as citizens of this country, whether you were born here or accepted the invitation to profess your loyalty to the USA and become a naturalized citizen, have decisions to make.

January 30

Jackie's voting for Gene. So am I Sometimes I have to get pretty pragmatic about the people I vote for. No candidate is perfect, and unfortunately, some are even more imperfect than the usual .
This year, in the 19th Assembly District, I'm happy to say there are two good Democratic candidates, and even the third and fourth choices are not bad as candidates go.

January 23

A non-artist looks at the Art Guild situation Though I was once honored in a national competition by the giant McGraw-Hill Publishing Company for my abstract painting "The Soul in Hell", I'm not a painter. Which may explain why I've never gotten involved with the Art Guild of Pacifica. For the most part, in my 38 years in Pacifica those folks have been either strangers or casual acquaintances at best. To the extent I gave thought to the Art Guild, my impression was of a genteel, well-behaved group who treated each other and the world with civility, magnanimity and courtesy.

January 16

History, heritage, and a church painted brown For the past 90 years, perhaps the two buildings most visible to visitors on the San Mateo northern Coastside have been the Salada Beach Presbyterian Church and Bendemier, the castle built by Henry Harrison McCloskey. They were both "side effects" of the Ocean Shore Railway. They were within sight of each other in Salada Beach, with the railroad track between them.

January 9

How to maximize your political choices If you're a registered voter for the Reform, Natural Law, American Independent, Green or Libertarian Parties, I know how you can maximize your influence during the coming year. Unfortunately, you may not like my idea. Re-register, either as a Democrat or Decline to State (Non-Partisan) before Feb. 18. After the March 5 Primary, rejoin your party at your leisure.

January 2

Artichoke awards, 21 years and counting About ten years before I'd ever heard of Pacifica, and a few years before there actually was a Pacifica to hear of, San Pedro Valley was a place renowned for a food delicacy.

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