Los Pueblecitos supporters are circulating petitions

Posted by on Tue, August 31, 2004

Los Pueblecitos petition
The town of Los Pueblecitos would be huge and sparsely populated. The letter and numbers on the map designate voting districts. Click on the map for a full-size version in a new window.

Supporters are circulating a petition to begin the process of incorporation for new town of Los Pueblecitos[PDF]. According to the petition, the town would have 3,600 registered voters and 1,000 signatures are required to move the process to the next step.  The organizers’ goal is to put the measure on the ballot in March, 2005.

Los Pueblecitos would be vast: stretching from Santa Cruz county in the south to Pacifica in the north, Skyline boulevard in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, carefully carving out the more-densely populated unincorpated areas of El Granada, Moss Beach, and Montara.

The petition also requests that all land owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District be given to the new town.

Voters in Pescadero and La Honda would have more control of the area surrounding Moss Beach, Montara, and El Granada than the people who live there. For comparison, here are the populations for some unincorporated coastside towns.  I have linked the town names to census information for the town or the ZIP codes.

This process is governed by Cortese-Knox Local Government Reorganization Act [PDF], which you can download from Coastsider. Warning: this document is 238 pages that only a lawyer can love.

Click on "Read more" to see the press release and letter to petition circulators.

Los Pueblecitos press release to signature gatherers


Here is the approved by LAFCO petition for the appplication to incorporate the Rural Lands into the Town of Los Pueblecitos. We only need 1000 signatures to get the incorporation process going.  After we get the 1000 signatures, a "Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis" will be required by LAFCO to determine if there is enough revenues to cover the cost of public roads and services in the proposed incorporated area. Our initial fiscal feasibility study shows that San Mateo County currently has a substantial "surplus" of revenues over expenses in the Rural Lands area ( this was confirmed by LAFCo last year) . All the Comprehensive Fical Analysis figures will come from Tom Huenig, the SMC Controller and auditor. IF the Comprehensive Fiscal Analysis shows there is in fact a surplus, then the incorporation will be feasible and placed on the ballot ( in March 2005) and if approved by the voters in the proposed incorporation area, we’ll become a incorporated town known as Los Pueblecitos aka The Hamlets on July 4th, 2005.

I am asking for volunteers that supported the "Annexation Protest" campaign to assist the rural SOUTH COAST communities in this application proce s s   for incorporation. Please have anyone who wants to help in this endeavor contact me at 726-3307 or [email protected]  Thanks, Oscar

It seems that residents of Moss Beach, El Granada and Montara would not even get to vote on this initiative, since it only needs approval by the voters of the proposed incorporation area, and these communities were carefully carved out. 

Does anyone know how the calculation of “substantial ‘surplus’ of revenues over expenses in the Rural Lands area” would be affected if those communities were included?  Are these more densely populated areas generating a deficit of revenues over expenses?

Also I wonder about the “request” that “all land owned by the Midpeninsula Open Space Trust be given to the new town.”  Should this refer instead to the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD), i.e., is the word “Trust” here a confusion with the Peninsula Open Space Trust?  Are they referring to the land covered by the Coastside Protection Program where the boundaries of MROSD will be extended to include open space on the coast? 

And who gets to vote on this “request” for incorporation of public land?  I assume this would fall under LAFCo’s purview.


The mis-naming of the MROSD was my mistake. I fixed it in the text.

The transfer of MROSD land is not exactly a request. The petition says that the MROSD land “shall” be transferred. I have no idea whether or on whom that would be legally binding.

I’m going to post more information the incorporation process.

There’s more than a little irony in the fact that El Granada, Moss Beach and Montara don’t get to vote. 

The folks who are proposing this are the ones who opposed MROSD’s annexation without a vote. It would be imposed on many Coastsiders who didn’t want a vote on MROSD.

Having said that, it’s also fundamentally different. MROSD is not a government, and “annexation” only gives it the power to buy land from willing sellers.

Comment 4
Tue, August 31, 2004 5:38pm
All my comments

The opening editorial states: “Voters in Pescadero and La Honda would have more control of the area surrounding Moss Beach, Montara, and El Granada than the people who live there.”

Ah…. well, yes. Just as Voters in Half Moon Bay have more control of the area (i.e., within HMB city limits) adjoining nearby communities than the people who live there (i.e., outside the incorporated HMB area). Why is this a surprise?

The primary reason for incorporation is to acquire *local* control. (Unlike the present situation, whereby residents of the proposed new town area are controlled by voters who live *outside* the same area.) I presume that this desire for local control is what prompted Half Moon Bay to incorporate in 1959, extracting control from the County government and the preponderance of voters “over the hill”. Why is this movement any different?

Putting the rural lands north of Hwy 92 in the control of a community centered around Pescadero and La Honda is not local control. It’s not even clear whether the majority of residents of District 2 would be north of the 92.

That’s not the only problem with the proposal, but it’s potentially a big one from the perspective of your coastside neighbors.

Comment 6
Tue, August 31, 2004 6:51pm
All my comments

Putting the rural lands north OR south of Hwy i2 in the control of a community COMPOSED of rural lands and rural residents seems much more reasonable and equitable than the current situation.

Currently, all of San Mateo County’s rural lands are under the control of the county’s Board of Supervisors—NONE of whom have EVER lived in the rural areas of the county (at least, not in the last 80-100 years), and all but one of which in the last 30-50 years or more, didn’t even live in the unincorporated areas that were/are the ONLY areas over which the bayside-oriented, bayside-elected Supervisors have always exercised omnipotent unilateral authority.

They have imposed massive regulations and fees—that have either been designed for land-raping developers and construction unions, or have been designed for the no-growth extremists that have opposed the land-rapers.

(If I had to chose one or the other, I’d choose the land-protectors over the developers—however I note that MOST of the coastside’s population lives in tracthomes built by said developers. ;-)

In the COMPLETE absence of ANY political ability to defend themselves, the county’s unincorpored residents have been afflicted with MONUMENTAL fee increases. E.g., n the last two years, Planning fees were jacked-up 66% last year and “only” a 33% this year.  With NO political consequences for the alien rulers in their far-distant bayside palace.

(We had a tea party a coupla centuries ago, over this kinda thing.  Better to allow LOCAL control, than the rampant covert rebellion that exists throughout the rural areas, today.)

There ARE worse things than having rural residents actually able to <gasp!> control their OWN governance, regulations and fees (within the endless constraints of the Coastal Commission, state law, federal protections, et al ad nausium).

Comment 7
Tue, August 31, 2004 8:18pm
All my comments

I have to comment on Barry’s statement in one of his posts above:

“Having said that, it’s also fundamentally different. MROSD is not a government, and “annexation” only gives it the power to buy land from willing sellers.”

First, MROSD *is* government - a California Special District, with all the powers of any special district - which is considerable, including the right of condemnation of private land (for the present, only within the current district boundaries), the right to collect taxes from property owners (as MROSD currently does in its current district and has indicated they intend to do so in any annexed area - conditional on a 66 2/3% vote of the entire expanded MROSD district), etc., etc. MROSD is not many things, but government it is.

Next, MROSD does not need annexation in order to buy land from so-called willing sellers - they are already doing so in the proposed annexation area - to the tune of hundreds of acres so far. Annexation would give MROSD many more powers, including the ability to simultaneously avoid taxation on land they own, and collect taxes from land they do not - yet.

<< There ARE worse things than having rural residents actually able to <gasp!> control their OWN governance >>

Yeah, I agree. Like a land grab in the name of liberation from county tyranny.  You have to capitalize “OWN” to make the point that you are arguing about self-control, because otherwise it isn’t obvious. This is not about local control, but about segregating rurual areas from nearby dense populations in order to wrest control from the majority. This is a battle over who gets to control the land, plain and simple. Spin it how you like. 

You argue that this is “putting the rural lands… in the control of a community COMPOSED of rural lands and rural residents”. What this really maans is that the “rural” communities want control of the MROSD lands, and you’re justifying that by saying that us city folk shouldn’t have a say over how undeveloped open space is used. I agree with Barry here - Pescadero residents don’t have an inherent right to control open space north of 92 just because they are bucolic.

As an unbucolic Pescaderan, I oppose the Pueblecitos initiative for very practical reasons.  The area has no sense of community or connection, it has a miniscule tax base which would result in a loss of the county’s services without a corresponding and requisite replacement of services by this impoverished “town”, and there would be a real disconnect between the rural agricultural community of Pescadero, which is working hard to work with the County and State on flooding issues, town planning, and affordable housing, and those living near Pacifica who have much different issues to contend with. 

I would like to know who drew the district lines and on what basis, and whether this would be a mayoral or city manager type of government. And I’m sure we would all like to see a proposed source of funding for a proposed budget.

Because the County would continue to be responsible for Environmental Health, and because the Local Coastal Programs (LCP’s) involved are not the same and would have different definitions and purposes, and because the Coastal Act wouldn’t go away and would require a large planning department on the part of this “town”, I see this as a burden rather than a relief.

There are other cheaper and more effective ways of minimizing the impact of the MROSD annexation, which seems to be the sole purpose of this town.

Comment 10
Fri, September 3, 2004 8:29pm
All my comments

Personally, I am NOT much concerned about the MROSD barony-building (although I wish they’d presented their specific operational plan for the area to the area’s voters).

However, I AM concerned about the monumental, byzantine, massively intrusive, mega-costly impacts on helpless unincorporated residents, of the county’s bayside urban Planning and Building Inspection regulations, fees and bureaucracy.  (It ain’t their fault; they’re jus’ doin’ the will of the bayside politicians and bayside special-interest groups that control our coastside lives and destinies.)

E.g., last year, they increased their already hefty fees by 66%.  This year, they “only” increased them another 33%.  And their fees are the most miniscule of the costs and delays they inflict.  (And the delays are almost unbelievable!)

It would better for rural residents to have rural planners imposing regulations and requirements that are typical and appropriate for rural areas, as judged by rural representatives elected by rural residents—just like IS the case for all the residents of the incorporated cities and towns.

Comment 11
Fri, September 3, 2004 10:59pm
All my comments

i am certainly a big fan of local control, but certainly not in any manner that further mr.braun’s curious agenda of revenge and spite.

i don’t even think the exclusion of the midcoast urban areas from voting is an issue - certainly, if they wanted to incorporate they wouldn’t want hmb or the rural estate lands having anything to say about it.

as one of the few montara residents within the area described (i think, anyway - hard to tell from that blurry map - it would be a favor if the proponents of this scheme presented a clearer definition of the boundaries), i would certainly vote against it for the following reasons:

1) As an earlier poster pointed out, the area described lack any continuity in community and orientation

2) years of significant work with the county by both the pescadero and midcoast residents would be effectively negated

3) without a valid and certified LCP, land use & development decisions would come under the authority of the state coastal commission, and you all complain about the county?

4) “rural estate” properties (like mr. braun’s opulent hilltop ranch) probably out number farm and ranch properties by now - if they don’t, they will shortly. these folks do not have any consideration or concern for the farmers and ranchers, and may very well prefer a carmel or santa barbara-like future than one that actually preserves any real rural character, despite mr. braun’s attempt to use this angle to garner sympathy, signatures, and votes from rural area residents.

5) the proposed theft of mrosd lands, by what is essentially an annexation-assisted eminent domain action, without any recourse of compensation to the mrosd taxpayers who purchased and maintained those properties, is extraordinarily hypocritical.

6) the current proposal is probably illegal anyway

7) if it passed, i would be forced to run for the council in order to maintain a sense of reality and to make life a living hell for the perpetrators of this nonsense, and i’d much rather be working in the garden.

there is a valid current of dissatisfaction throughout both the urban and rural coastside about operating under the auspices of redwood city, and it is sad to see continued efforts to exploit this from the “dumb-use” demagoguery of the save our bay rich boy cliche.


Comment 12
Sat, September 4, 2004 12:35pm
All my comments

re #1:  Which governing body do you feel would have a greater “continuity in community and orientation”—the County Board of Supervisors that currently governs us, where not a single Supervisor has ever lived in the unincorporated rural coastside in at least the last 60-80-100 years (if ever) ... or a Town Council composed exclusive of Members elected by and residing WITHIN the boundaries of the rural coastside?

re #2:  It’s true that the pleas and requests to our bayside overseers, from the powerless Pescadero and Midcoast ADVISORY councils, would be negated.  In their place, we in the defined rural areas, would have the POWER to govern ourselves ... well, at least as much as federal, state and coastal-commission laws permit it.

re #3:  So?  The proposed new town would have to develop its own LCP and grovel and plead for its acceptance by the omnipotent Coastal Commission, just as-did HMB for its jurisdiction, and San Mateo County for its unincorporated coastside areas.

I.e., the proposed Los Pueblecitos town would be as free—and as regulated—as HMB and SMC.

re #4:  I know nothing of “braun’s opulent hilltop ranch”, and don’t really care about it.  (I do not suffer from edifice envy. :-)  However, it’s rather certain that the populations of [the ill-defined] La Honda, Pescadero and Loma Mar sorta-communities, PLUS the rest of the “farmers and ranchers” do and will ALWAYS outnumber—and thus outvote—owners of “opulent hilltop ranches.”

re #5:  Pray tell (or perhaps “prey tell” for this case :-), exactly how is the transfer—FOLLOWING STATE LAW—of public lands that are owned by one agency (MROSD) to be public lands owned by another agency (Town of Los Pueblecitos) “theft”?  As always, “theft” is a matter of legal definition; not realworld circumstance.  (Otherwise, there would be lotsa agencies “guilty” of exactly the same kinda “theft”. ;-)

re #6:  It’s certain that its legality WILL be challenged—in the off-chance that such local control and local representation even BEGINS to appear to have and possibility.  (Alien rulers from far, far away do NOT like to have their baronies challenged! :-)

re #7:  And if you DID run, then you would have a MUCH, much greater chance of actually being elected—to represent local residents—than the non-iota’s chance you currently have.  ;-)