Coastal Commission alerts HMB to problems with Foothill Bypass


Posted by on Thu, June 8, 2006

Although there has been no formal proposal to build the Foothill Bypass yet, the California Coastal Commission is already making it clear that the environmental challenge may be too great to overcome.

Chris Kern, Coastal Program Manager for the North Central Coast District, has written a strongly-worded letter to Half Moon Bay City Manager Debra Auker, writing in response to an article in the June 6 issue of the County Times. Click the link below for the full text of the letter, but the key paragraph is:

John [sic] Gardner is quoted in the article as stating: “You could route a two-lane bypass through and around those wetlands and then come up with a mitigation plan that would be embraced by the Coastal Commission.”  This is incorrect.  In accordance with the foregoing discussion, we would not support construction of a new roadway through wetlands because that would be prohibited under the Coastal Act and the City’s LCP.

Mike Ferreira says that the $150 million estimate attributed to him in the County Times article is for the four-lane version of the bypass from Young Avenue to Main Street: "Charlie’s estimate of $40 million for the two underpass version is probably low-end-accurate assuming minimal specifications."

June 6, 2006
Debra Auker
Half Moon Bay City Manager
City Hall
501 Main Street
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

SUBJECT:  Foothill Boulevard and LCP Wetland Protection Policies
Dear Ms. Auker:

This letter is in response to an article in today’s San Mateo County Times regarding the construction of Foothill Boulevard.  Commission staff is not aware of and has not reviewed any actual plans or related environmental impact analysis for this project.  As such, the following comments are limited only to the issue presented in the news story concerning wetland impacts of the project and the wetland protection policies of the Half Moon Bay Local Coastal Program (LCP).  Of course, any coastal development permit application for this project would need to consider all issues under the LCP, such as other sensitive habitats, traffic and circulation, visual resources, alternatives, etc.

Coastal Act Section 30233 specifies that wetlands may be filled only: (1) when there is no less environmentally damaging feasible alternative, (2) where feasible mitigation measures are provided to minimize adverse environmental effects, and (3) only for eight specifically enumerated types of development.  Neither the construction of new roads nor the expansion of existing roads is identified as a type of development that may be permitted in wetlands under Section 30233.  Any type of development that is not specifically identified in Section 30233 as allowable may not be permitted in a wetland no matter what mitigation measures are offered.  In other words, the wetland fill prohibition under the Coastal Act may not be overridden by providing mitigation.  In Half Moon Bay, Section 30233 is carried out by the LCP wetland and sensitive habitat policies, which also prohibit the construction of new roadways in wetlands and other sensitive habitat areas.

The application of the Coastal Act’s wetland fill prohibition is well established through years of regulatory actions by the Coastal Commission and local governments with certified LCPs and has been upheld by the state’s courts (e.g., Bolsa Chica Land Trust v. Superior Court (1999) 83 Cal.Rptr. 850.).

John Gardner is quoted in the article as stating: “You could route a two-lane bypass through and around those wetlands and then come up with a mitigation plan that would be embraced by the Coastal Commission.”  This is incorrect.  In accordance with the foregoing discussion, we would not support construction of a new roadway through wetlands because that would be prohibited under the Coastal Act and the City’s LCP.

I hope that these comments clarify the Commission staff’s position concerning this project, but please feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss this matter further.

Sincerely,

Chris Kern
Coastal Program Manager
North Central Coast District

cc: Jack Leibster, Planning Director


Kern’s admonition shouldn’t dampen the ardor of our Foothill boosters who, like the cargo cults before them, don’t need no stinkin’ evidence that they are pursuing a recurring dream, one that, if ever realized, would turn into a coastside nightmare. (Does CCF stand for “cargo cult foolishness?”)

ken king

The alternative traffic solution proposed by Don Bacon and Coastside Community First at the May 2 City Council meeting does not envision nor think it is neccessary to route through or fill in a wetland. This was inaccuractely characterized in the Times article. The delineation posted on the Ailanto agreement provides valid routing options. The question is ” Should a route be situated that can be in compliance with the 100 foot buffer zones as stipulated for wetlands be considered as a viable option worth considering?” If the answer is “No”, then we should continue to look for alternative traffic congestion options. If the answer is “Yes”, we should continue to discuss cost-effective solutions.

Charlie Gardner

Mr. Gardner,

It is clear that a wetlands delineation has already been performed.  Have you or Mr. Bacon actually demonstrated a route “that can be in compliance with the 100 foot buffer zones as stipulated for wetlands”?

If so, please say so and show it here, and send it to Mr. Kern.  I am confident that Mr. Kern and others would give it their attention and either show it to be inadequate, or fail to show it to be inadequate.  That would move things forward.

If not, then what is all this noise about?

Thanks,

Hal Bogner
<email>[email protected]</email>

The Ailanto document does not contain “valid routing options.” The Bayview option ended several years after that agreement with the court finding that the city’s definition of wetlands applied to the Beachwood property.

LIkewise, the part of Foothill directly behind the highschool does not allow room to clear the readily apparent wetlands indicated by the willow habitat there. Many who favor building Foothill have walked this area and have dismissed these wetlands as being important, but they’re a showstopper for the Coastal Commission.

ken king

Mr. Gardner,

Foothill appears to be a no.

How about starting with your own School Board—School Bussing certainly then should be NEXT in consideration on the table by your logic! We know that WILL help reduce traffic congestion!

You are a voting member of the School Board. You can actually make a difference there.

You don’t appear to want to support that as an option as I heard it last night at the School Board meeting. Did I not hear you correctly during the meeting proceedings?

Ken Johnson

Mr. Johnson,

I do not know what you heard at the meeting last night. What I did say is that it is my understanding Dwight Wilson is spearheading a collaborative effort along with Cheri Parr and Samtrans to develop a comprehensive transportaion plan which the Board is very interested in. Feel free to contact me directly if you would like to this discuss further.

Charlie

Charlie:

There’s no question school traffic is big part of our morning commute.  The school board has paid lip service to solving the problem by putting $12,500 into a study of transportation issues. But it has said clearly and consistently that it has no intention of resuming bus service.

But, the following question is still nagging me:  Why is anyone promoting a $40,000,000 bypass (which many smart people don’t think will be legal or effective) as a solution to our traffic problems, when there are more economical, effective, environmentally responsible, and community-oriented solutions?

Coastside Community First wants to help develop needed infrastructure, but chose a lemon for its first project. CCF can serve a positive function by helping local agencies secure funds for needed projects. Start by lobbying for school busing and bridging the $4 million shortfall for Highway 92.

HMB has plans to widen Highway 1, but no funding: CCF should help lobby for those funds. Funds are needed to join the Coastal Trail in HMB with a parallel trail through El Granada and Montera that will allow school children, bicyclers, and walkers safe passage where none is available now.

If CCF can even help one of these projects toward completion, then constituting it will have been worthwhile. Once it gains in experience and clout, it might even help round up the $200 million needed for widening 92 from over the hill to here.

ken king

Barry,
Good Question: … “Why is anyone promoting a $40,000,000 bypass…?” You asked this question a couple of times without an answer – this time, I’ll try to suggest an answer.

I received a copy of the CCF proposal by email with the subject: “Wavecrest II”. I thought it was a ‘May Day’ joke.

In a “Mr. Gardner voted No before he voted Yes” moment back on 13Oct05 Mr. Gardner said of the new school “if it isn’t funded – it isn’t a project!” So why doesn’t he apply that to Foothill? Maybe I need to connect a few of the dots to suggest a possible answer.

Wavecrest was a project like a Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree with environmental problems. Some sympathetic ornaments were hung from it to make it more palatable: a new school site, the Boys and Girls Club, a park, etc.

A bit over four years ago, March 2002, a parcel tax went down also with 61.7% of the vote. The parcel tax had a vague “Maintaining transportation services” as one of the 9 items identified for funding [yes, I archive everything].

Following that the School Board decide to cancel School Bussing deciding to maintain the pay structure of the teachers union versus dropping school bussing. Average teacher pay increased:  2000-01 +12.3%, 2001-02 +5.7%, 2002-03 +2.2%. 
School Bussing was roughly 1.25% of the budget. Teacher pay [excluding benefits] was a bit over 50%.
Some claimed cutting school bussing was in retribution for not passing the Parcel Tax. School bussing represented $25 of the parcel tax.

And the effect of cutting school bussing on the traffic backup was correctly predicted.
http://hmbreview.com/articles/2002/05/08/may8/news01.txt
And the same problems that Cherri Parr documented recently was true when the school year began at the High School in 2002
http://hmbreview.com/articles/2002/09/11/export10154.txt

Mr. Garner (Jun 09, 06): “Dwight Wilson is spearheading a collaborative effort along with Cheri Parr and Samtrans to develop a comprehensive transportaion (sic) plan which the Board is very interested in.”
August 07, 2002
“CUSD Trustee Dwight Wilson, who said two weeks ago that it looked like there would be a way to establish limited busing for Cunha, said that, in the end, administrators just weren’t able to consolidate all of the complex and varied school and bus schedules.”
http://hmbreview.com/articles/2002/08/07/export21142.txt
This is the same guy Charlie wants us to rely on to solve the school transportation problem!
Did Charlie say that Dwight is working on the problem – or STILL working on it after nearly four years?

 
The three School board seats up this November: Dwight Wilson, Jolanda Schreurs and Roy Salume in 2002 all drank the kool-aid and pledged undying support of the Wavecrest project and No School Bussing.

Mr. Charles Gardner took the pledge in his run for 2004.

8Dec05: I urged CUSD on the upcoming parcel tax to preclude moving the new school location move or withdrawing from Federal funding

Fri 24-Mar-06 CCF web site registered.
Fri 24-Mar-06 Devil’s Slide starts to slide on way to closures
Wed 29-Mar-06 Review Published:  Cunha teachers letter against NCLB


Coastsider.Com: May 02, 06
‘As its first action, the PAC was endorsing Measure S, the school parcel tax.  “We were going to wait until after the parcel tax election to avoid confusing the issue, but we went ahead of schedule because of the Devil’s Slide closure.” Transportation is a key element of the organizations’ mission.’

Is it a coincidence that HS school bussing was excluded in the emergency School Bussing – congestion at the High School only serves to bolster an argument for CCF’s Foothill proposal?

Next Step:
Get the newly politically reshaped HMB City Council to embrace the CCF proposal – not as a real by-pass but as a means to open up development agreements and leave the public with a debt for something that won’t benefit the public. They will probably try to approve ‘segments’ of Foothill Blvd while the Coastal Commission ‘reviews’ the entire Foothill Blvd.

As the old line goes: ‘follow the money’. Can the School Board successfully run for control again this fall without someone financing their election? Who financed it last time? Who were the main contributors behind the City Council election? And just where did that $50,000 to the ‘Yes on Measure S’ campaign come from in the Parcel Tax election?

All that land locked property can’t be developed without a new road. The road can’t be built without something more sympathetic: Boys’ and Girls’ Club; traffic backed up at the High School – no bussing, traffic congestion – wall lets link it to Foothill Blvd.; connect it to a park and moving a new school up there would really help!

Barry: Good Question on CFF.
I guess it is Wavecrest II! What’s not to like?

Ken Johnson

Mr. King urges CCF to lobby for needed funding on the coastside.

From the CCF website:

Coastside Community First (CCF), is founded as a 501c3 non-profit public benefit corporation with an emphasis on providing educational material to the community to inform you on the issues of which you may find interest.

Wikipedia has this to say about 501c3 organizations:

Organizations with this classification are prohibited from lobbying to influence to elections and legislation.

I am glad that Mr. King realizes that we have problems here on the coast. He has some great ideas. Perhaps he is following through on them by lobbying on his own or is a member of an organization that is doing so?

Mary Bordi

(I am on the board of directors of CCF but I’m speaking for myself here.)

With regards to the “wetlands” designation in the areas of HMB that are at issue: Can someone tell me who performed that work, and where I can find the documentation as to the results of that work?

It would also be nice to know for those folks that have been commenting on the negative aspects of the proposed bypass: Are you against any sort of bypass, or just this this one particular solution?

CCF is an “educational organization,” and not one founded to lobby for developers? Then Mary Bordi and Charlie Gardner should rewrite the Foothill portion on their homepage since it only offers one-sided arguments favoring development. There is a difference between education and indoctrination, although monied interests usually aren’t bothered by this distinction.

There are many comments in the thread above yet to be addressed by CCF adherents. Traffic is a problem and busing is an easy solution requiring a fraction of the money of other infrastructure proposals. Why, as an educational organization, hasn’t CCF taken this calf by the horns? I say “calf’ because it would be less than a hundredth the cost of Foothill, uncontroversial, and immediately impact traffic now. It also connects Mr. Gardner with his primary constituency, the kids.

Ms. Bordi says CCF won’t lobby, so great, but it sure as heck is advocating. So advocate usefully. How about advocating for recycled water, because its been too quiet on that front lately. I am open to supporting CCF when its positions accord with the community’s.

ken king

When the Appeals Court upheld the City’s and the Coastal Commission’s definition of wetlands thereby extinguishing the Beachwood subdivision it would stand to reason that there was sufficient expert opinion submitted on the record to support that decision - and, yes, there was. If you feel you need to examine those reports for yourself I suppose you could contact the City,the Commission, or perhaps even the Attorney General who argued the case on behalf of the Commission.

Ken King suggests that I (Mary Bordi) “advocate usefully”.

He also said: I am open to supporting CCF when its positions accord with the community’s.

Perhaps he meant to say “when its positions accord with Ken King’s?  :)

I am commenting here as an individual. That said, I would like to mention that as a 501c3, CCF “may conduct educational meetings, prepare and distribute educational materials, or otherwise consider public policy issues in an educational manner.” (source)

In my opinion, sparking discussion from all points of view on the subject of Foothill is educational for us all. What about distributing educational materials? CCF has made some of the agreements involved available on their website. As a relatively new organizaion, CCF is still in the process of planning those educational meetings.

Anyway, thanks for being open to lending support at some point. That’s good to hear.

We are fortunate to have this forum for discussion. Thanks Barry!

Mary Bordi

CCF should advocate usefully; if Mary Bordi is CCF, then the shoe fits.

Ms. Bordi, speaking as an individual, sidesteps CCF’s advocacy position with talk about education and future meetings, and considering “public policy issues in an educational manner.” However, what we have to go on is what appears on its website, and the posts of its officers on Coastsider.com.

The thrust of CCF’s website, at least presently, is dedicated to the proposition that the intersection at 1 and 92 is a bottleneck, and that the closure of Devil’s Slide only goes to prove it. If you accept this assumption, then you are ready for the rest of the pitch. But there is counter evidence that people are moving through town during peak in seven minutes or less, and that the “bottleneck” is really north of downtown above Frenchman’s Creek. There are many posts under other articles on this site as well as the Midcoast List supporting this. The closure of school has significantly lightened the flow, and Devil’s Slide will open again in some months returning us to normal.

So a downtown bypass with its attendant costs is not demonstrated as needed. Plenty has already been said regarding the problems with Foothill above and under “Fear of Foothill,” and in Mike Ferreira’s three opinions, “The Foothill Bypass,” appearing on Coastsider.com a few weeks ago. CCF has not squarely addressed, let alone rebutted, these points, but continues to present its one-sided set of arguments on its site.

If CCF wants to educate the public, and not appear to indoctrinate or favor special interests, than it should post the kind of information Mr. Ferreira has already made available here. And many of us are still waiting for someone from CCF to respond to the obvious question about why it does not support school busing to help lighten traffic, let alone as a responsible act of community?

There’s that word again, community. Not ken king’s idea, really; others promoted it long before me.

ken king

My guess is that the majority of the community is sick and tired of things never improving. I bet if you poll the community you will find out that the majority desperately wants better road in our community, including a very efficient path between 92 and the rest of the area (both north and south). What I find is that it is only a select few that are against any sort of improvements, for fear that their coast (like they really own it) will be opened up to the broader community. These select few are just louder than the others. Again, this is my opinion but it would be interesting to take a poll.

I agree with Ray Olsen, that it would be interesting to take a poll. That in itself presents problems, though.

I tend to use my own life experience to make personal decisions. A few years ago I knocked on doors in various neighborhoods on the coastside. From listening to comments I was able to get an idea of what many of the people behind those doors felt about a number of local issues.

Those people—not some developer waving dollar bills—are what have caused a normally reclusive, peace-loving old lady to lay down her garden trowel and enter into discussion here.

Of course, I’m out of my league. I have to appologize because I am not highly skilled in the art of rhetoric—but intuition tells me when it’s being used…

Has Mr. King checked out the CCF website lately? There’s an educational article on disaster preparedness.

Oooo…  Am I sidestepping?

Ray says that ” the community is sick and tired of things never improving”.  I don’t think it has been demonstrated that the bypass would improve the community. A park would improve the community. A new library would improve the community. More stores and services for locals in downtown HMB, El Granada, Montara, Moss Beach would improve the community. More trails would improve the community.  The new middle school at the Cunha site will improve the community. These are improvements that we can all agree on. 

It’s specious to say that “a select few that are against any sort of improvements” for selfish reasons. The question is whether the bypass is an improvement.

Comment 19
Wed, June 14, 2006 1:33am
Brian
All my comments

My gut feeling is that a bypass would certainly help the westbound afternoon commute heading north, as long as another light was not added. The Main Street light really makes life miserable on 92 during rush hour - even when Devil’s Slide is open. I wish the roadwork beginning to start there included an underpass for Main Street.

What can CCF recommend to Caltrans and HMB to mitigate the westbound 92 afternoon commute *now*? It is stacked up even at 8pm.

Brian Dantes
El Granada

Barry Parr asked whether the bypass is an improvement.

I guess we have to first ask if everyone is happy with the current traffic flow through HMB. Is everybody happy? Or do we need improvement?

How about the plans for future traffic in HMB? Everybody happy? Or do we need improvement?

Readers who are happy might as well quit reading now. :)  Actually, if there really is “a select few that are against any sort of improvements for selfish reasons” I suggest that they stick around and listen to the different points of view. Let’s not play the blame game, let’s look for solutions and improvements.

By talking about Foothill, at least there is discussion of attempting to find a solution. Instead of “Just Say No” how about constructive comments about a solution, whether it be Foothill or an alternative.

Is it possible that traffic mitigation or circulation alternatives could be used to simultaneously benefit other coastsider concerns like park ingress and egress, public safety, access to the Boys and Girls club and (in accrodance with the Coastal Act) coastal access for all? A possibility or out of the question? Is there any solution at all?

If Foothill won’t provide a solution along with improvements, how about focusing on reaching a consensus on what would work. Just because someone has an alternate point of view doesn’t mean you should discount everything they are saying.

If we can agree that a traffic problem exists it will benefit all to discuss it. If we can agree that the current 92/Main effort won’t solve it for the future, it will benefit all to discuss it.

I’ve said repeatedly that this is an excellent forum for discussion. Log in at your convenience to see what everyone is saying. Folks from all over the world can do so, as well as your next door neighbor.

 

Wholeheartedly agree with you Mary. I have not participated in any of CCF’s meetings/discussions but from this website I have to say that they are doing what should have been done at least 10 years ago. Most folks here on the coastside feel like they don’t have the time it takes to confront those few folks that are against any sort of road improvements (again all about the no-growth agenda). My guess is you will find the vast majority of coastside residents want improvements made so that they can get over the hill and back in saftey, while also being able to get to businesses in town in a reasonable amount of time. Our roadways should be able to accomodate the tourist traffic and the local traffic. We should not have to read about traffic accidents that take lives, if at all possible. And we should have the foresight to plan for the future (based on the current LCP growth numbers). We should look to the county and state to help us out since probably 50% (just a guess) of our population is unincorporated. And, this can all be done with a goal of minimizing impact on the environment. We are definitely not unique.

We need to get the word out that we need community involvement in our plan to improve road conditions.
Ray

I should have been more explicit. What I meant to say was that it’s arguable that the bypass will improve commute traffic, rather than simply moving the bottleneck.

Mary,

If CCF is REALLY of an educational nature, why doesn’t it lay out the five approved projects that are still waiting for funding - projects designed to improve traffic flow? You just jump to an unsupported conclusion.

“If we can agree that the current 92/Main effort won’t solve it for the future”; then jump to an unsupported conclusion that Foothill (I won’t refer to it as a bypass) will be more effective than the proposed changes!

An educational organization would lay out BOTH; then compare and contrast in light of all the other programmed changes. An advocate or public relations firm would only present one unsupported position.

Nice technique – just not really ‘educational’!

Is “obfuscate, obfuscate, obfuscate”, the CCF motto?

Marry: “simultaneously benefit other coastsider concerns like park ingress and egress, public safety, access to the Boys and Girls club” – sounds almost like ‘Wavecrest II’ – you just need someone on the School Board to throw in a ‘new Middle School’ to make it complete! Oops, you do have someone from the School Board.

Just for the record, I supported the approved changes that are still waiting for funding. I opposed the boondoggle Foothill Boulevard when it was configured as a multi-lane bypass – it just moved the problems and created new problems. The current proposal doesn’t qualify as a bypass – it is just another residential street that creates traffic problems.

The first of the programmed improvements is complete – the uphill multi-lane section on SR92 that permits safe passing of slower moving trucks. Funny, I don’t remember any of the official CCF’s members supporting the SR92 approved changes at that time.

Ken Johnson

Ken, Why do you keep referring to Wavecrest II? Do you have some grudge that you just cannot let go?? Why do you never supply constructive ideas? 
It is just way too easy to be critical, and I think you can come up with more than that. Again, everytime I read your posts I think of “obstacle” or “roadblock”, and not a participant or person that wants to be part of any solution.
Ray

Ray:

If someone criticizes your idea as being illegal, unaffordable, offensive to the senses and unlikely to solve the problem, the correct response is to defend your idea. Not to say, “Can you do any better?”

There is also already one proposal for solving the traffic problem on the table that has been ignored by CCF:  school busing.  There are others, but that’s not the point.

I agree with you Barry, if that is what is being stated. But I don’t hear that. I hear name calling and a dismissive attitude, and that is all. Other than the wetlands issue, I haven’t heard any other responses that are objective. The issue of cost is somewhat subjective and bears argument, although any solution will require costs.

I am very interested in hearing any and all other alternatives. Of course school busing is a separate issue and will only marginally help out with commuter traffic (which is only one aspect of the need to improve our road conditions). Do you disagree with that?

Try reading Ken’s post on June 11 at 7:05pm. I count perhaps two sentences that speak directly to the foothill proposal.

Ray

Actually, the only reason the bypass is even on the table is because of the Slide crisis, which has now dwindled to an hour or so of commute time in the morning. And I believe that if the school board committed itself to offering reliable busing for the school year beginning in September, as well as made permanent its temporary schedule changes, the morning commute problem would be significantly better in the fall, especially after the Slide is repaired.

The HMB Review’s June 14 editorial about Foothill Blvd. concludes, “Foothill will never get a toehold.” The editor, Clay Lambert, bases this on three main reasons: a cost of “untold millions,” the wetlands issue and the Coastal Commission (the Coastal Act really), and Ailanto’s wish to not begin anew when it has an acceptable deal now.

It is significant when the principle organ of communication for Coastside realtors reaches the same conclusion that many of us have, that energy is better spent looking for other solutions.

So what about school bussing? To say that school busing provides only “marginal improvement” to congestion is to miss that significance in regard to how traffic congestion occurs.

Vehicles on a roadway comprise a physical system; few allow it to operate optimally, while if the entire surface is occupied, there is total gridlock. Studies have shown that the difference between many vehicles moving at the speed limit and stop-and-go driving is merely a few added vehicles! If this seems counter intuitive, just think about water, another physical system—a single degree of temperature one way or the other turns it into ice or steam. A few extra cars are disruptive, in other words. (If the analogy seems stretched, btw, traffic control engineers study fluid mechanics these days.)

ken king

 

Yes, the slide has impacted us tremendously, but that is not all that I am talking about. Even with the slide open, we continually have problems. Saturday and Sunday tourist traffic is horrible. In addition, we constantly have severe traffic accidents (not just fender benders) which often result in fatalities. Then there is the problem of trying to ride a bike or walk from the east side of 1 to the beach. These are all problems that have existed for some time now. Does anyone disagree with these statements?

And then of course there is the current planned growth, which we must deal with.
Ray

On the contrary Barry, the reason alternative transportation solutions are being proposed is that our community needs the foresight of advance planning to accomodate even the 1% growth rate stipulated by Measure D. Even with the slide fixed, we will still endure unacceptable congestion, and it will only continue to get worse. It is shortsighted to lay significant blame on the school board for bussing, that is a part of the bigger picture and one which the Board is committed to address, but not at the expense of enrichment programs. Each time that argument is made, it reinforces the need for comprehensive community based planning.

Foothill/Bayview is one potential solution for transportation, bussing could help some, so let’s explore ways to fund that as well.

It’s likely the bypass will exacerbate the already godawful weekend traffic problem at Surfers beach, cutting the Coastside in half.  I suppose that would benefit the merchants in Linda Mar, but it’s no solution to weekend traffic. Also, keep in mind that the tunnel is going to greatly improve tourist access to the Coastside on the weekend.

It’s not clear to me how the bypass would reduce traffic accidents. By mixing through-traffic with residential areas along the bypass, I think you stand a pretty decent chance of increasing the number of pedestrian fatalities per mile driven.

The traffic light at Terrace will solve the problem of east/west access, at no cost to the taxpayers. It’s a much lighter-weight solution to the problem you describe. I’ve been neutral on the light for ever, but I’m beginning to see it as a solution to this problem as well as others.

Projects like this are usually undertaken with no thought to unintended consequences. I think that’s what we’re getting from the bypass promoters.

We don’t need “comprehensive community based planning” to tell us we need school buses.

Please tell me how you think the bypass will exacerbate any current situation (including surfers beach). I don’t understand that and so maybe you could help me.

Just looking at it logically it seems to me that a bypass does two things:
1. reduces the amount of traffic that has to go thru the downtown sections. 92 and Main cross traffic will be reduced. This is advantageous for us local residents that would like to go shopping.
2. traffic flow to the north side of 1 will be improved. This is simply because you are no longer mixing downtown traffic and southbound traffic with the northbound traffic. And you would be reducing the amount of lights (ideally no lights).

The argument that I see should be considered is “how much” will it help. Is it a little bit, is it alot. I can honestly say I don’t know how to quantify that. But I am sure that Caltrans does this all the time. Look at what Caltrans did to help traffic flow since the slide went out: They increased the amount of green light time at 92 and main by preventing cars from turning off/on to main st. Very logical, and if you take that one step further: A path of least resistance such as a road that connects 92 to 1, without going thru the downtown area, and without ANY lights, then you have a more optimum solution.

Ray

Barry:
I read Charlie’s post and I don’t think he stated “comprehensive community based planning” is needed for school buses. What he stated is that we shouldn’t be shortsighted in a solution, and that by looking only at school busing we are falling short of true solution.

Ray Olson wrote:
“A path of least resistance such as a road that connects 92 to 1, without going thru the downtown area, and without ANY lights, then you have a more optimum solution.”

First, the reality is that it would have TWO lights—one at each end—unless the “bypass” promoters could somehow secure an extra $20 million in funding for two underpass/merge connections. Probability of obtaining the extra funding = 0.

Second, what about the hundreds of houses that would be built along the bypass route? How are those people going to pull out of their driveways or enter from branch streets? Answer: When they pull out, the “bypass” traffic will slowdown or stop completely.

Echoing what Ken King said earlier: The so-called “bypass” is nothing more than a residential street. It would not help ease traffic congestion. And…it is never going to be built.     

There was once a happy-go-lucky pair of cowbirds who enjoyed life to the max. It came to their attention that they were about to have a lifestyle setback due to a trick of nature. Thinking unselfishly, they decided to forego the pleasures of parenting so that someone else might enjoy that blessing. So they flew over the hill and left their progeny in a warbler’s nest.

These warblers were dedicated parents and provided a safe home and lots of loving attention. As Roy grew, he became curious about why his parents lived in such an inconvenient place off the beaten track of more bustling habitat he knew lay over the hill. The warblers kept up a frantic pace trying to feed Roy while answering all of his questions. He thought the nest should at least be out on the top of the tree rather than recessed so far in that it was dark and damp, but his parents explained it was to keep safe and out of sight from the ravens who might eat him. Roy didn’t believe this was the real reason and thought that his parents were just too cheap to get a new place.

Meanwhile the warblers became anemic keeping Roy in bugs. He grew to twice their size, but his appetite only grew along with him. Because they could barely keep up with him, he complained that they were selfish and only cared about themselves. Since he was as free as a bird, he felt it his right to freely complain.

Spring turned to summer and Roy stuck close to the warblers because, while they were a drag, he could easily get fed by squawking and ruffling his feathers. The other birds in the neighborhood thought that the warblers were spoiling their kid, but just shook their heads and didn’t say anything.

Like all good parents, the warblers worried about Roy and wondered if he was going to catch on or not. It was clear to everyone else that he never would. When they finally broached the subject of migration, Roy predictably disagreed with them and said he wasn’t going to do anything that stupid. And he didn’t, but it wasn’t a huge problem because cowbirds don’t migrate.

In the end, Roy flew over the hill where the other cowbirds congregate and soon forgot the straightened circumstances of his impoverished upbringing. The cowbird crowd had a full life with lots of fun and activities. Roy had found his niche.

Moral—choose one:

When facts and logic don’t make any impression, there is always avoidance.
Or, if you are a cowbird, go where the cowbirds hang out.

ken king

Ray Olson wrote:
“A path of least resistance such as a road that connects 92 to 1, without going thru the downtown area, and without ANY lights, then you have a more optimum solution.”

And then Kevin Lansing wrote:
“First, the reality is that it would have TWO lights—one at each end—unless the “bypass” promoters could somehow secure an extra $20 million in funding for two underpass/merge connections. Probability of obtaining the extra funding = 0.”

Well, why not instead create a grade-level separation for the intersection of Hwy 92 and Main?

Main could go under 92.  An off-ramp for Main from westbound 92 could be built where the 7-11 and Caffino are now located.  Traffic could flow much better along 92; visitors from over-the-hil and returning commuters could access downtown easily, and traffic from the north could use N. Main to enter downtown easily, too.

So we’d still have the costs of an underpass, with much better effect, no problematic bypass, and much better traffic flow, while improving a bottleneck that would otherwise still be there if the problematic bypass magically appeared.

-hal bogner
<email>[email protected]</email>

I don’t think we necessarily have to have new developments along with road improvements. However, new developments should be dealt with as a separate issue. For example, there is a 1% growth cap on HMB, which should address the issue. You will have to accept that there will be some level of growth (which is not unbounded).

The current solution (from reading CCFs website right now) does not state there has to be lights. I vote for no lights. So we should strive to make that a reality (if that is what everyone wants). If we can get past how we want the improvements to happen, then I am sure we can come to some ideas on how it can be funded. Just think of how much it costs right now to fix the slide, which of course was not planned for.

Let’s try to stick to facts and not conjecture (including myself). And rather than just dismissing or putting down any ideas we should all discuss this in an objective manner.

Ray

Hal Bogner’s ideas for off-ramps and on-ramps along 92 at Main could be combined with Tim Pond’s ideas for a traffic circle with a wetlands in the center, a.k.a. Tim’s Pond. With luck it might attract our local celebrities, the Redlegged frogs: HMB could be declared a wildlife sanctuary and biological reserve. Think of all of those wide-eyed children, noses pressing against car windows, squealing delighted phrases as they speed past our natural wonder.

ken king

Ray Olsen wrote:
“I don’t think we necessarily have to have new developments along with road improvements. However, new developments should be dealt with as a separate issue.”

Ray, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but the “bypass” proposal is inextricably linked to new development. The bypass proposal would never have seen the light of day if it were not for the prospect of new development.

The proposed bypass (a.k.a. residential street) is an enabling device for: (1) building the landlocked Beachwood subdivison and (2) significantly expanding the Pacific Ridge subdivision.

The founders of CCF do not deny this.

Since Ken King brought up the story about cowbirds—excuse me while I digress for a moment. Depending on ones point of view, the story was cute and funny, blatantly racist, shocking violent or as gripping as the Da Vinci Code. Wasn’t it based on a cartoon I saw years ago between the double features movie theaters used have? End of digression.

Anyway, since Ken King brought up the story about cowbirds I did a little bit of investigation. Here’s an informative link to cowbirds: http://realindy.com/cowbird.htm.

Kevin wrote:
“but the “bypass” proposal is inextricably linked to new development. The bypass proposal would never have seen the light of day if it were not for the prospect of new development.”

Well, we as a community can come up with any plan on improving our roads (who says we can’t). I don’t think we have to take only one certain option. And if we decided to include any sort of development, we have the ability to control that development. Growth is happening whether you like it or not.
Ray

Kevin Lansing’s second point:
“(2) significantly expanding the Pacific Ridge subdivision.”
is a very interesting point in that the Pacific Ridge ownership themselves are not the ones pushing this idea, just the CCF. The Pacific Ridge ownership is trying to stick to its reduced footprint in the Settlement Agreement.  It’s the CCF that’s trying to expand it. Isn’t that an interesting example of CCF’s “consensus through collaboration” - pushing a landowner to build more than he’s agreed to build?

Mike

Mike,

Let’s be accurate and avoid any spin here. Where has CCF suggested expansion of Pacific Ridge or pushing the landowner to “build more than he’s agreed to build”? What we have done is called the community’s attention to what could be a flawed agreement that could impact our options to improve traffic congestion. The old tactic of suggesting linkage to development will not go unchallenged.

I would suggest that CCF may have not neccesarily acted in the best interests of the developers in this case by calling their agreement into question. Specifically, we raised the question about the developer being exempted from the provisions of Measure D (1% growth). As you were signatory to that agreement, do you think that allowing this exemption might be pushing the developer to build more than he would be allowed by current growth control measures?

Maybe there could come be an opportunity to renegotiate this agreement to update the current needs (and possibly “consensus”) of the community.

Charlie

Accurate?  Spin? CCF knows that defeating the 63 unit Settlment Agreement takes us back to 126 units, and a larger physical area would come under development as well. Not difficult math for most folks, who just might get it that double the number of houses equals double the traffic impacts. regardless of the size of the houses.

    As to CCF’s propaganda regarding the Measure D exemption, It’s not a matter of the Council “allowing this exemption”, it’s a matter of settled court law.  The Council has no choice. 
    Nice twist, though.  Got any more?

Charlie Gardner says, “Let’s be accurate and avoid any spin here.” Although addressed to Mike Ferreira, I want to say, “Amen, Charlie, Amen!”

In his essay in Wednesday’s Review questioning the Ailanto Settlement agreement, he implies that the developer is being allowed to build here, “but is not paying its fair share for being able to do so under our growth limitation laws.” He goes on to say that “a disproportionate burden has been placed on the smaller individual homeowner and remodeler.”

Besides not understanding Measure D passed by the voters that exempted certain subdivisions, he seems to have hastily scanned the Settlement agreement and missed the perks totaling approximately $3.5 million to the city. This hardly suggests someone taking advantage of us, but rather a direct subsidy to our community.

So let’s be accurate and avoid any spin here, Charlie. 

ken king

Mr. Gardner,

School “Board is committed to address [school bussing].” [Jun 15, 06 | 2:35 pm]
OH, really!

While on the School Board, you had the following options:
1) Option 1: Measure S with School Bussing – Charlie Rejected it!
“Personally, I think including busing in the measure would have made the difference. Before the measure was drafted, I pleaded with some board members to include busing, and recommended a $195 annual parcel tax to include it. That was rebuffed.”
[posted by Dean Skelton on Jun 10, 06 | 4:12 pm. [He did the Measure S web site.]
https://coastsider.com/comments?id=1540_0_1_0_C

2) Option 2: Measure with School Bussing as a separate item – Charlie Rejected it!
[The following comment was posted by John Lynch on Mar 07, 06 | 1:03 pm]
https://coastsider.com/comments/1209_0_1_0_C/
“I spoke at the March 2nd school board meeting in favor of the parcel tax measure. But with a caveat. At that time they were considering a $45 school bus proposal plus $150 for school improvements all tied within the same ballot measure.
My position was that each parcel tax should stand on its own. Why? Because the school bus parcel tax would be a “slam dunk” and would carry the school improvement measure on its “back” so both would be passed by the voters.
Imagine my chagrin when, at special school board meeting on Monday, March 6th, there was NARY a mention of the any of the parcel tax going towards the return of school bus transportation.
Was I and the people duped? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I am in a quandary and my feeling are in flux.”

3) Option 3: School Bussing on the November ballot—Charlie Rejected it!
At the 8 June 06 School Board Meeting, I addressed the School Board to see if the bored were willing to work on “An Alternative Parcel Tax Measure” brought from the public. Only Mr. John Moseley, to his credit, expressed a willingness to listen to members of the public on the issue.

4) Option 4: Blue Smoke and Mirrors – Charlie’s option!
The following comment was posted by Charlie Gardner on Jun 09, 06 | 9:42 pm
“What I did say is that it is my understanding Dwight Wilson [former School Board President and current member] is spearheading a collaborative effort along with Cheri Parr and Samtrans to develop a comprehensive transportaion (sic) plan which the Board is very interested in.”

After four years, Dwight Wilson hasn’t done the job—I wouldn’t rely on him too much!

[The following comment was posted by Barry Parr on Jun 10, 06 | 2:05 pm]
“There’s no question school traffic is big part of our morning commute.  The school board has paid lip service to solving the problem by putting $12,500 into a study of transportation issues. But it has said clearly and consistently that it has no intention of resuming bus service.”

5) What you [Charlie Gardner] actually did:
- opposed every long term School Bussing alternative
- provided very limited School Bussing during road closure – but excluded the High School.
- CCF proposal held out a proposed exit from High School to the proposed residential roadway Foothill Blvd—an inducement for support.
- CCF web site registration and the start of the slide at Devil’s Slide happened on the same day!

I wonder if the many people who wrote in other posts complaining about their wait at the High School to drop off their children may concluded that their exacerbated wait may just not be a coincidence. I suggest you might considering adopting a less ‘aggressive argument style’ than I found from you after the school board meeting. I blew it off! No harm – no foul. Arguing accomplishes nothing – discussion can be beneficial.

But I do recommend a different ‘fallback style’ when dealing with a couple of the mothers who someday may want to ‘discuss’ with you their ‘induced inconvenience’ while they were queued to drop off their children at the High School.

Ken Johnson

Hi Kevin—

Your comments of a “false dichotomy” of helping traffic or not, is very interesting. Foothill is one of many possible proposals to help our HUGE traffic problems on the coast.  What would you propose?

What have you proposed to solve this problem…Nothing…...Please advise me of any errors on my part…or where you propose solutions…

We will have growth on the coast, even at 1%, and as part of your “dichotomy” I am very interested, in your Central role on the HMB Planning Commission, are you part of the solution, or part of the problem?

terry gossett

Hi Mark Massara—

This website ( as I understand it) is primarily for the folk that live on the san mateo coast, folks that experience the joys and travails of the coast, and want to help the folk that live on the coast to develop this resource for us and visitors.  I am curious, which of the above are you?

If you are curious who CCF is, just go to the website, www.coastsidecommunityfirst.org , since it was commissioned by the Secretary of State of California.

terry gossett, moss beach

Hi Mike F,

First,  I would readily acknowledge that the moderator of this website, Barry Parr, thinks you have best summarized the Foothill situation…(after scores or hundreds of comments on this subject, more than any other topic on coastsider)

          I would like to offer the following…

MIKE——I am going to try to condense your 3 part series to a summary, so please bear with me and please offer your interpretation and corrections to my comments.  I value your experience and am trying to understand your position.  You have a lot of experience (and I notice that this community is NOT in real good shape today for whatever reasons), but I do not necessarily blame you, but I DO notice the Horrible plight of our coastside today on all matters of infrastucture during your service.

Your first series on Foothill indicates to me that you feel that with Foothill there will be more cars, a conga line, and no improvement….I offer that without Foothill, we will have more cars going through a soda straw at 92 and Main for the indefinite future, with NO possiblility for alternative paths FOREVER…since your recommendation closes future options for bypasses…

Your second series advances an environmental and legal argument that because of wetlands, and a threat to traffic through Cypress Cove, Foothill should not be built…Consider the alternatives..Wetlands as currently defined by HMB LCP may doom all traffic alternatives (see Yamagiwa decision at www.coastsidecommunityfirst.org ).  Cypress Cove folk, please offer what you feel, rather than be characterized by a former council member, Is Foothill our last, best hope out of this dilemma?

Your third series asserts that a cost of, perhaps, your number—-$150M,  is prohibitive…Could we seek real numbers, and try to get a joint agreement from ALL developers directly affected by a Foothill proposal?  Perhaps developers could work together for our common good, RATHER than have you, or our city, pit one developer against another…

Maybe all of coastsiders could even eliminate lawsuits against us, IF we worked together for a change for a common good?  Maybe if we citizens worked together, we could even craft a better deal for all inhabitants (citizens, schools, boys and girls clubs, parks, etc) on the coastside?

best,

terry gossett

Ken King wrote: “Besides not understanding Measure D passed by the voters that exempted certain subdivisions….”

Ken: I can’t find the language in Measure D that exempted any subdivisions.  Could you patch in the relevant ballot language for me?

Mike Ferreira wrote: “As to CCF’s propaganda regarding the Measure D exemption, It’s not a matter of the Council “allowing this exemption”, it’s a matter of settled court law.  The Council has no choice.”

Mike: What I recall about the Measure D exemptions is that the HMB City Council went back and forth on this issue.  On April 26, 2001, they voted 3/2 against any exemptions.  Less than two months later, on June 21, 2001, they reversed that decision, again 3/2, but with Deborah Ruddock voting for exemptions that time.  As I recall, you opposed her vote.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the April/June exemptions switcheroo was one of the issues that moved you to run for City Council that fall.

What ‘settled court law’ are you referring to?  Of course the City can get sued by developers who think their subdivisions should get ‘grandfathered.’  Whether they’d win is another matter, for which you can find a rainbow of legal opinion. 

Also, in the Coastal Commission’s late 2001 approval for Ailanto, even though Measure D was discussed, there was no discussion I could find of exemptions for Pacific Ridge.  That appeared in the 2004 settlement agreement, where Ailanto was exempted not only from Measure D, but also Measure A.  Do you believe these exemptions, even from Measure A, are required as a matter of ‘settled court law’?

Terry:

I’m surprised you’ve taken it upon yourself (a) define my guest list and (b) challenge my guests as to whether they meet your standards.

But it speaks volumes about your state of mind when you say that Coastsider is for: “folk that ... want to help the folk that live on the coast to develop this resource for us and visitors.” 

...but you don’t include those who want to help us *preserve* this “resource”.

But enough about you, let’s talk about me.  Coastsider is for anyone who cares enough about this place to read what I have to write you about it. And if they care that much, I’m interested in their opinion.

  Mr. Bacon, Picking the exemption nit in the Settlement Agreement isn’t going to create Foothill for you, but we can digress for a little pick anyway. The nit is that the developer wouldn’t be constrained by the annual percentage limitation but the City has reserved the right to count, or reckon, the units built as being part of the 1% growth rate. It took 7 years for the 50 units in Spyglass to get built and sold so I doubt Pacific Ridge would get built in much less than 4 years.

    The “settled court law” opinion is that of the City Attorney as put forward in open session of the Council and involves a number of decisions. You can ask him yourself and, no, I do not believe you would get - or be entitled to - an answer from him in this forum.

    The disputes you refer to were as to whether that exemption should have been in the implementation ordinance. My position was, and still is, that there’s no need for it to be in an ordinance if it’s “settled law” and leaving it out of the ordinance would give the city the flexibility to respond to new cases and rulings on the subject.

    As to Ken’s error about Measure D containing the exemption I’d say that your own description of the implementation back-and-forth illustrates how easy it would be for a member of the public
to get that impression.  But go ahead and put a little trophy on your wall.

Mike

   

   
   
   

    Mr. Gossett, I do not accept any of your paraphrases of my views regarding Foothill.  Given the amount of discussion we’ve had here there’s no point in starting all over again as though nothing had been said.

    If you’re so sure Foothill is any kind of traffic solution then take your case to Caltrans.  They’re in charge of State highway planning,  not small towns.

    There is a long infrastructure wish list for the Coastside for which there is no money available at this time.  Highways #1 & #92 could absorb $250 million easily and it will not be easy or quick to get that money.  Recycled water, a distribution pipeline for same, sewage pipeline enhancements, and an updated storm drainage system could absorb many millions more.

    We need to keep our eye on the ball and work on the funding sources that could possibly enable these things to happen. Diverting our attention to chase a very expensive and legally doubtful alternative of dubious impact when we have some very real and important tasks in front of us is not something I’d recommend.
Mike

In his haste to discredit Charles Gardner above, Ken Johnson incorrectly uses a quote of mine in his first point regarding school busing and Measure S (doesn’t even belong under this thread).

To clarify, at no time did I ever discuss the inclusion of a school busing provision in the measure with Charles Gardner. Mr. Johnson is just playing fast and loose with “evidence” to try and make his case.

Sorry to belabor the point, especially under this thread, but it deserves correction.

Dean Skelton

Hi Barry—

First, I want to thank you for this excellent website, and allowing me to participate. 

In no way was I trying to define your guest list, but was trying to determine the home of Mr Massara, and his personal experience of life for us san mateo coastsiders…

The sidebar of coastsider states “Coastsider is a news site for Half Moon Bay, El Granada, Moss Beach, Montara and the rest of coastal San Mateo County.” so to me any direct knowledge that Mark brings to the discussion is pertinent to me.

Barry, like you, I am very interested in all opinions, and each of us have our own standards, which I respect, as do you, but again, since others like to label me, I am interested in what Mark would label himself. 

I choose not to label Mark, but would like to hear from him further, IF he chooses.

best, 

terry gossett

Mark knows a lot about coastal issues and the Coastal Commission in particular.  He’s also got a great fund of knowledge about what has worked and not worked in other coastal communities. I’d like to see more contributions from him on the site. I think we’d all learn something.

Dean Skelton,

I used a precise direct copy of a full and entire paragraph from your post, a link to your post and your name and date and time of the post. 

Standard English usage dictates: ‘a’ is one, ‘a couple’ is two and “some board members” indicates three or more board members. Since you chose at the time, and coincidentally still choose not to identify the board members you lobbied, I made the decision to include your entire paragraph and the ability to go to your full post for context.

In your post in question: the prior paragraph related to the use of calling those who chose not to support Measure S as ‘child abusers’ and the following paragraph in your post is refuted by reality – I thought neither seemed reasonable to include.

As to: “doesn’t even belong under this thread”, that prerogative seems to belong to me and Mr. Barry Parr.

If it makes you happier, I will stipulate to the obvious, that: you did not specify ‘Charles Gardner’ as being among the imprecise words “some board members’!

Hang in there,
Ken Johnson

Terry, in response to your comment above: As I think you know, the role of the planning commission in any City does not include things like proposing new road projects.

If a majority of the elected City Council members wish to pursue a new road project, then the City Council would direct the City manager to pursue that project via the standard permitting process.

The role of the planning commission would be to review the City’s permit application to ensure compliance with the California Coastal Act, the California Environmental Quality Act, and any other applicable laws or ordinances.

“Mark knows a lot about coastal issues and the Coastal Commission in particular.  He’s also got a great fund of knowledge about what has worked and not worked in other coastal communities.”

probably more than I may ever know (or care to).

“I’d like to see more contributions from him on the site. I think we’d all learn something.”

I do not doubt it for a second.  Do I want him to sugarcoat anything? No.  Do I want to see him do hit-and-run posts abusing people and projects?  Not particularly, especially when he abuses people who did not vote for a particular candidate.  I do not think that is going to help us save us from ourselves.  I do not want to label him, but that seems to be his mission, whether we asked him to or not.

Can someone clarify the issue about developments? Even if we were to ask a developer to help pay for a new bypass, that developer would still need to abide by the 1% growth as stipulated in the LCP, correct? If that is so, then there are no new cars on the road, since the new cars are coming because of the current 1% growth (and more) today.

Regardless, why can’t we come up with a scenario where we do not need developer funding? Why can’t we go to the county and say we need this to support the 1% growth they have approved? The idea of improving highway 1 and 92 congestion is not just a city problem it.

Ray

Folks, are you curious about the types of comments others have made to coastsider.com?

(I thought this would be appropriate for this topic because of the discussion above about someone with a great fund of knowledge who would be welcome to contribute more in the way of comments here.)

At the top of the page, below and to the left of the Coastsider header is a link to “Member List”. (I think you have to be a registered user who is logged in to access this.)

Click the link and you’ll be taken to an alphabetical list of members. Find the person you are curious about and click on their name.

There is a little information (or a lot, depends on how much they want to share) about the person. Plus a list of recent comments.

You can then see how constructive their comments have been.

I just tried it on myself and see I’ve been spending way too much time here lately.  :)

Sundown Farms was a large, industrial chicken ranch. Almost everything was mechanized, except the egg laying itself—they needed chickens for that. And there were some roosters for helping propagate more chickens. This, in fact, was one of the plumb jobs in this concern.

One rooster in particular really liked the way Sundown Farms was run. His name was Tercel. He liked the long, neat rows of metal cages, and seeing everything happen on a timely basis. Meals were served individually and nobody had to worry about where the next one came from, it just came. And his job, when called on to do it, was plain fun. He knew it was important to love your work, and he did.

When he wasn’t on duty, he walked around ordering the chickens to pay attention and work hard laying those eggs. If a chicken stopped laying eggs, there was a place they had to queue up to go on to the next productive phase of their lives. When that happened, Tercel was there admonishing them to line up neatly, maintain a proper decorum, not be too noisy, and, above all else, to be civil. Tercel thought civility was important.

There came a day when Tercel himself began to fade. His morning crowing began coming later and later as he slept in. When he did call, it sounded weak and reedy. And he lost interest in his primary work, which attracted attention he didn’t need. The ax probably wasn’t far away, but one of the humans had a sentimental spot for Tercel, so took him home to his own little ranch.

The new environs sported free-range chickens. It was terribly small in comparison to where Tercel had been, and instead of neat rows of metal cages, it only had one wooden shed in which all the chickens slept at night. At first Tercel’s pride was hurt by this obvious step down, but then he decided to make the best of it and get these new chickens shaped up. To that end he mustered one of his more portentous calls and trumpeted his presence. Most of the fowl failed to notice, however.

Frequently the chickens would spat about some trivial thing, and Tercel would strut over and tell them to knock it off and be civil. If he thought they were bantering too much, or on a topic he considered unimportant, he’d try to redirect the conversation. They usually ignored him—they were free-range chickens after all, meaning that they considered themselves free to do whatever they wanted.

Tercel usually extolled the virtues of Sundown Farms and did everything in his capacity to alter their ways, but to no avail. Fortunately for Tercel, he so intent on delivering his message that he failed to notice that they considered him completely irrelevant. So it didn’t hurt his feelings at all.

Moral—choose one:

It’s better to ignore nonsense than return to industrial-scale ranching.
What you don’t know may not hurt you, but if you did know it, that’s a bird of another color.

Ken King has provided us with a Coming Soon to a Cineplex Near You Starring Mel Gibson as Tercel’s Voice screenplay.

Unfortunately, in offering a choice of a moral he has given us only two possibilites.

I’ve found most times in life that, while it’s easy to paint things as either/or, good/bad, black/white, there’s usually more involved than that.

I choose as the moral (quoted from Mr. King’s comment):

he so intent on delivering his message that he failed to notice that they considered him completely irrelevant.

Please keep those parables coming. Tha’s why we read coastsider.com instead of those cheap paper imitations.  :)

Actually inspired by Aesop’s animal fables rather than Jesus’parables, and definitely less illuminating than the latter. Sorry, Mel, but the slot’s already reserved for a Coastside original. Maybe next time. Great idea for a third moral, Mary, the more the Maryier!

ken king