I’ve added a new feature to the site: Coastsider Calendar.
Coastsider Calendar contains information about upcoming government meetings, school schedules, and entertainment on the coastside. You can view all the listings together or break it out by type, view them by day, week or month, and listings are linked to relevant websites. You can also subscribe to our calendar by RSS or with Apple’s iCal software.
Please check it out and tell me what you think. Is it useful? Do have any suggestions to make it better? Does it work correctly on your computer? Let me know.
Jet Propulsion Lab
Last Friday, Scientists at the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center declared that warming water in the central equatorial Pacific last month may indicate a 50% chance there could be an El Niño this year.
While coastsiders wouldn’t welcome El Niño, which brings prospects of outages on Devil’s Slide, newspapers in Texas and San Diego are hoping for rainier winter and Southeast Asia worries about a drought.
The National Climate Center in Australia played down the possibility, putting the probability at 30 to 40 percent, while stating that such percentages were a pretty subjective way to think about the possibility.
I’m going to make sure our roof is repaired.
Last week, I wrote about The planned Harbor Village development. Critics are assailing it as an eyesore, but I couldn’t find any pictures when I posted the story. After some digging around, I managed to get some current pictures of the planned hotel from the county, and some old site plans of the project as a whole.
There have been changes since the original site plans were created. The fake “lighthouse” shown on these plans has been removed at the request of the Coastal Commission. But they give some idea of what we can expect until we can get more current site plans.
Personally, I’ve been ambivalent about the project, but I was startled by how large and monolithic the hotel would be from Capistrano Road.
Click on each of the pictures on the right to see a full-sized version in a separate window.
Oscar Braun’s drive to incorporate the Southcoast is featured in the Examiner. A couple of days ago, he put out a typically idiosyncratic press release attacking the Coastal Open Space Alliance for its opposition to the plan. The issue is real: self-rule for the 6,500 residents of a vast area that is now run by the county.
The County and incorporation opponents say the tax base can’t provide the necessary infrastructure. Braun plans to pay for it by charging $9.9 million in “mitigation fees” to the state, county and federal parks (and open space agencies?) in the new community. That’s about $1,500 per resident of the new community.
Click “read more” to see the Los Pueblecitos press release
The San Mateo County Harbor District race is shaping up to be very contentious. The district oversees the marina at Pillar Point in Princeton, as well as Oyster Point in South San Francisco. It currently owes the state $18 million for capital improvements.
There are seven candidates for three seats, and the prize is the balance of power on the board, according to the San Mateo County Times.
Jim Tucker, the district’s secretary, has the best quote in the story, “It’s a false sense of being in debt,” he says of the $18 million. “By 2018, we will be debt-free.”
ANG Newspapers, the company that publishes the San Mateo Times, Oakland Tribune and four other papers published faked “Best of” reader surveys that featured current and potential advertisers in place of reader-selected winners, according to Grade the News.
David Marin, who was fired from his job as director of advertising in March 2003, filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court alleging that the Tribune’s parent company, ANG newspapers, committed a “massive hoax” on readers, advertisers and the general public by ignoring survey results and hand-picking the names of businesses to receive awards.
In the suit, Mr. Marin says that before he took over the department in June 2002, another manager “would take the true poll results into a room by herself and alter the results, emerging with a new set of ‘winners.’” A call to the home of the woman named in the suit was not returned.
ANG, owned by Denver-based MediaNews Group, publishes the San Mateo County Times, Oakland Tribune, Alameda Times-Star, Hayward Daily Review, Fremont Argus, and Tri-Valley Herald. The Pacifica Tribune is owned by MediaNews, but apparently is not part of ANG.
Joe Cotchett is a weathy trial lawyer, inner-circle Democrat, and the man who purchased and preserved seven historic buildings on Main Street in Half Moon Bay and he’s profiled in the Daily Journal.
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Photo by Chris Giorni
Biologists didn’t see any California red-legged frogs on a visit to the Wavecrest Village site on July 29, but they weren’t looking for frogs. Although the Review reported they found “nary a frog”, that’s not the end of the story. From the Review:
The four scientists searched the area for the threatened species. But after spending most of the afternoon poking through all areas that could serve as potential frog habitat, what they found was nary a red-legged frog.
US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Mary Hammer, who was there, described it as a “casual site visit”. A California red-legged frog survey would have involved an intensive review of the site, including daytime and nighttime observations. “It would have been surprising to find a frog there in the middle of the day,” said California Coastal Commission staff biologist John Dixon, who was at the visit. One biologist has already reported a frog sighting to the California Department of Fish and Game.
What they found, according to Hammer, was frog habitat. And frog habitat is enough to get Fish and Wildlife involved in the development process. “Frog habitat could also indicate the San Francisco garter snake,” according to Hammer. The SF garter snake is a federally-protected endangered species.
What’s unclear is what the next steps would be. The Fish and Wildlife Service is conferring internally, as well as with their colleagues in other agencies, about what to do next. Meanwhile, developer Wavecrest Village LLC has an issue that it must deal with before it can begin construction.
“It’s a concern and we’ll be waiting to see what the wildlife agencies think about it and how significant they think it is.” said Coastal Commission biologist Dixon.
The frog habitat may not prevent construction. There are other ways to deal with what the folks at FWS call a “take” than simply preserving the site as it exists. A habitat conservation plan may be necessary. I talked Pat Fitzgerald of Wavecrest Village, LLC, and he says he’s waiting to hear from the Coastal Commission and US Fish & Wildlife.
Also unclear at this point is the impact of the existence of frog habitat on the permitting process with the county or with the California Coastal Commission.
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