2003 Archive

December 3

Remembering one of my heroes There's a short list of men and women I remember as extra special influences for good in my life. Some of my special heroes: my mother and dad, some uncles and aunts, a few teachers, a veteran newspaper publisher, one particular newspaper reporter/coffee expert, and a number of other folks, people who have influenced the way I've viewed life and lived my life, often without knowing it, simply by the way they've lived theirs.

November 19

Just how much is that weed patch going to cost us? I find Keith Fromm and his associates arrogant, obnoxious and aggressive. If they chose to listen to my suggestions, they'd accomplish their goals and develop the so-called Fish and Bowl while making friends of Pacifica and of Pacificans.

November 12

If they can do it in Rwanda, so can we! Though I often scan The Rotarian, the magazine for Rotary members, I'm more likely to head for Stripped Gears, a collection of lame jokes, than read a serious article like the recent one about Rotarian Beth Payne, whose work for the State Dept. has taken her to more than one distressed nation.

November 5

Avoid a devastating fire. Plan ahead The good news is that Pacifica was not devastated by a firestorm as southern California was in recent days. The bad news is simple. We are vulnerable, very vulnerable. All we need are a couple of weeks of hot weather and offshore winds to de-humidify Montara Mountain, and one spark.

October 29

Ancient streets, spectacular views, and too many signs Like hundreds of Pacificans, I drive Sharp Park Road almost daily. It's two miles of city street, passing through two different cities as it drops 700 feet or so westbound from Skyline Blvd. to Sharp Park Golf Course.

October 22

A Guinness record may be in the works At least one reader has e mailed me to call my suggestions in last week's paper "Ill-advised" and suggest I should have done "at least minimal research" before suggesting the possible sale of the Sanchez Art Center to provide a one-time infusion of cash for the city.

October 15

Some ideas to dissatisfy everyone, including me I received a note in the mail recently that the City of Pacifica is looking for ways to cut costs, so they're considering cutting out some city commissions and committees. This would cut down on some staff time, of the kind that costs the city money.

October 8

Canvas bags, Alma Heights, and Dick Cheney When I was studying weekly newspapers in my college classes back in the fifties, they were many and vibrant. The decades since have seen a steady erosion of local newspapers, not because their services are less important, but because their support dollars have gone to other media that render far fewer public services.

October 1

Structures on the beach, and elsewhere The Linda Mar Rancher, that thousand square foot home placed on a 5000 square foot parcel of former coastal ranch land and sold to veterans in the fifties, is now approaching fifty years of age, as I've mentioned before.

September 24

A few choice expletives I've reached the stage in life where I check the bank around the beginning of the month to confirm that my Social Security check has been deposited. And there are some days I don't have to set an alarm.

September 17

To move forward, we need to step first left, then right, left, right Carol Negro, whose letters mostly criticizing those aligned on the Liberal side of the aisle I found in Tribunes for Feb. 12, April 16, August 20, August 27, and Sept. 10, not to mention letters critical of her from other readers in other issues, reports she was a Liberal for 53 years, until two years ago, in fact.

September 10

The Recall? Just say no By the time you read this, I may have already voted (absentee) in the Recall election. It will come as no surprise to my regular readers that I plan to vote NO on the recall.

September 3

Let's stop pigeonholing people by race I've spent a good part of my life taking pride in being a liberal. I thought being a liberal meant, in part, being for equality, for equal opportunity to get ahead. I felt a bit more fair than those immigrants from Mexico in the 1880's who wrote letters back home to Mexico about those terrible "foreigners", the Chinese, who were taking jobs that should have gone to Californians.

August 27

Thanks, Jackie If you are like most people, you hear, and perhaps voice, a lot of complaints about politicians. Some people grieve about the tax'n'spend folks. My friends are more likely to complain about John Ashcroft and other folk they see as those who would create vast deficits both in our civil liberties and our national debt.

August 20

What have you to share? When I'm not contemplating the possibility that Gary Coleman or Chris Ranken might become our next Governor by winning two percent of the recall vote, I've been reviewing family photos.

August 6

Heads up! That election's almost here The October 7 election strikes me as a probable train wreck on several counts. I start with my usual objection to recalls.

July 30

Wake up. It's time for a new City Hall One of the negative factors you can get from experience is "knowing" what can't be done. With enough experience, you become aware nothing is possible.

July 23

Broncho Billy and the Ocean Shore RR A former Pacifican is deeply involved in honoring the history of film from the early days of Niles. Rena Azevedo Dein, a supervisor in the City of Fremont's Recreation Department, (she's in charge of teen and community programs) now lives in the Niles district of Fremont with her husband Phil and Corgi Emmy. She's dived headfirst into that area's local history, perhaps taking a cue from the way her parents are involved with Pacifica's history.

July 16

Really the center of the universe? As you know, Pacifica is the center of the universe. You didn't know that? Well, at least it's the center of our universe.

Think about it. To the northeast, about 25 miles, is the place where Ernest Orlando Lawrence found the secrets hidden inside the atom.

July 2

Saga of a loose cat back on the loose She's been called, at various times, "that white cat", "Mamacita", and "Lady." Though my family and I have been acquainted with her for years, it's probably too much to call her a friend. She's a squatter.

June 25

Let's clear out the obstacles and move You might not think it from our public exchanges, but I am an admirer of Mitch Reid. He has many fine qualities. He's sincere. He believes in his cause (The Devil's Slide Tunnel) and he has worked very hard to make his cause a fact.

June 18

A time to read. A time to heed. Have you read the Constitution lately? Like the Bible, not everyone agrees on the precise meaning of every word or sentence, but if you're an American citizen, you have every right to be proud of this rudder that guides the ship of our democracy.

June 4

Been called from Delhi lately? Just when did Pacificans get seven digit telephone prefixes? Someone asked the other day. I didn't know, so I checked.

The portion of the Coastside that became Pacifica had only 20 or 30 phones total until sometime in late 1936 or early 1937. Numbers were single and double digit (Sharp Park 20 was Anderson's Store. C.H. Eakin had Sharp Park 4).

May 28

Linda Mar is fifty. Let's celebrate! Seven ranches in Pedro Valley were sold on one Spring weekend in 1953. Exactly which weekend I'm not sure. Perhaps your ranch family was one of those who agreed with Ray Higgins to sell their acreage to Andy Oddstad and start the ball rolling that became Linda Mar. If so, perhaps you can tell me the exact date of this now historical event. Eventually about 4000 homes would be built in Linda Mar, grossing roughly $40,000,000 for Oddstad. Today those same homes are worth more than 40 times what they sold for in the fifties.

April 23

Are you a supporter? Practically nobody is against saving the Little Brown Church as a part of Pacifica history. I've become deeply involved with a group of Pacifica's leading citizens who've been working diligently for the past four or five years to save this local historical landmark. In that time I've heard no real objections to saving it where it stands. Thousands of us love the old building. While there are those who are indifferent, we've run across practically nobody who's in real opposition to saving it. Pacificans love that fine old building. It's one of the few things Pacificans are really united about. Yet the old church is in very real danger.

April 2

A public spirited citizen from Helgoland I'm a sucker for old newspaper clippings. And I'm always interested in local versions of the Guinness Book of World Records. Recently I mentioned my interest in Harry Danmann. So you can imagine I was delighted to read a photocopy of an old newspaper clipping someone was kind enough to give me, probably published in the spring of 1948, probably in the Tribune's predecessor, the Coastside Comet, of which only a few rare samples survive.

March 19

A storm of controversy I deeply regret James Storm of Fassler Ave. won't be reading these words. He wrote canceling his subscription last week. I was one of the reasons. At least I wasn't alone. Jef Raskin, and John Maybury were also targeted.

Collectively Jef, John and I are guilty of "liberal" (horrors!) "socialistic" (for shame, Jef, John and self) and "even communistic views."

March 12

Today's kids! Shortchanged? People these days, particularly those born between 1985 and 1990, have been and continue to be seriously shortchanged. Governments, and those quasi-governmental bodies, the insurance companies, have managed to do today's teenagers a great amount of damage. It's no more personal than if those kids were knocked down by sleeper waves while viewing the ocean from a rocky vantage point. Waves bear no malice. Neither does government. So long as their premiums are paid, neither do insurance companies.

February 26

Comments on Harry, Honora & the NRA In less than a month, The Reactor column begins its 29th year. I've had a lot of fun, taken a lot of flack, expressed quite a few opinions, re-enforced the preconceptions of hundreds of Pacificans. If I've ever changed anyone's mind, meaning a mind that was firmly committed to the other side of any given argument, I've yet to be made aware of it. It's easier, far easier, to make a citizen feel good about his own mindset, his prejudices and biases than to persuade that same citizen he's mistaken.

February 19

The air is really cleaner. No butts about it If you're a teenager, especially a teen who's spent your life in California, you probably take breathing smoke-free air pretty much for granted. If you're in a California theater, restaurant, or enclosed shopping mall, you expect to see clearly to the far side. In our restaurants there's no longer need to confront those at the next table and beg them not to pollute the air you're about to breathe. If you're dining out with your small children, you can be confident your babies will probably not cough and hack from a smoker's thoughtlessness.

February 12

Memo to Judge Charles Breyer Good morning, Your Honor: let me introduce myself. I'm a retired long time newspaperman. Since 1975 I've written a column, The Reactor, for the Pacifica Tribune. I'm so ignorant of Botany that up to now my chief concern about Marijuana is that someone might present me with a houseplant, and, being no botanist, I wouldn't know what I had.

February 5

Pacifica, where rust is a way of life Some of the cherished memories of my childhood were trips across San Francisco Bay on the auto ferries. I was too young to remember the ferries replaced by the Golden Gate or San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges, but until the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was completed in the mid-fifties, there were quite a gatherings in Berkeley that required trips over the salt waters of the Bay.

January 29

Perspectives! I've a birthday due before long. As you might suspect, there's good news and bad news. One piece of good news? I know for an absolute certainty that I won't, unlike seven of my uncles, die before age 60.
In my lifetime I've seen many good inventions, and some bad.

January 8

Artichoke Awards, 22 years and countingIt never occurred to me when I first gave out Artichoke Awards I'd be doing it 22 years in a row. Artichokes were the premier local product in former years. Pedro Valley's Italian farmers were famous for growing this aristocrat of vegetables.

January 1

Let's change Safeway's address! OK? A recent Safeway promotional coupon mailing betrays some serious ignorance. I've lived in Pacifica 39 years. When I first moved here, the Safeway store was in Pedro Point Shopping Center west of Coast Highway, and the address of the Purity store in Linda Mar Shopping Center was 560 Linda Mar Blvd.

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