San Mateo County Deprives Unincorporated Midcoast of Federal Stimulus Funding

Letter

Posted by
Fri, April 23, 2010


Contracts Grants Total Amount Reported Jobs
Menlo Park 94025 17 29 $194,827,000 105
Moss Beach 94038 0 0 $0 0
Pacifica 94044 0 4 $1,851,000 0
Half Moon Bay 94019 0 5 $1,762,000 0

Cliff Notes: SMC requests, and receives, stimulus money for Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Pacifica and other parts of San Mateo County.

The unincorporated MidCoast gets none.

Let’s establish some context. Those of us on the Midcoast already know:

Our roads are in a sorry state (Ocean Blvd, what was once the main thoroughfare for Seal Cove in Moss Beach, for example is slipping into the sea and San Mateo County tries to asses residents to pay for its replacement). Surface streets, despite being in residential neighborhoods with home values north of $1M, wouldn’t look out of place in a war zone or third world country.

Our stretch of Highway 1 is sorely overtaxed with increasing resident and visitor-serving traffic.

Our utilities are badly in need of being updated including running unsightly and unreliable power lines underground since we lose power every winter when trees fall onto power lines (and residents lose appliances to brown outs and surges).

Public school buses stopped picking up our kids years ago due to lack of funding and all the additional cars on the road contribute to nightmarish commuter traffic.

We have no community center.

Bottom line: the Midcoast needs infrastructure funding and we need it yesterday.

Against this backdrop, what does SMC do?

They apply for no Federal Stimulus money for Moss Beach (and other Midcoast communities), while applying for, and receiving, significant funding for Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Pacifica and others.

See for yourselves: 

http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/home.aspx


Hi David,

Do you think there is any connection between the lack of goodies coming from the county and the county’s documented proclivity to “cave in” and “kowtow” to the “wishes of their developer/realtor masters”?
https://coastsider.com/index.php/site/news/caving_in_and_kowtowing_to_developers_is_common_in_san_mateo_county_politic/100414/

Or does this have something to do with the fact that, in terms of San Mateo County leadership, it is “scum and not ‘cream rising to the top,’ or an example of scum coating the surface”?
(https://coastsider.com/index.php/site/news/the_creme_de_la_creme_rise_to_the_top_of_the_san_mateo_county_charter_revie/100416/)

(I am by no means picking on any one person, this sort of thing has been going on for years)

In short, do you blame county or local leadership for this failing?

—Darin

“In short, do you blame county or local leadership for this failing?”

While there is plenty of blame to be shared by both, local leadership has the excuse of being an overworked volunteer advisory board, whose input appears to often be disregarded or dismissed outright.

This is certainly not the case for Half Moon, for example, which has the benefit of a paid full time City Council.

As for the County, if they already have staff assigned to writing grant requests on behalf of Pacifica, Menlo Park, HMB and others, is hurt feelings - even if true - sufficient grounds for allowing the resident of the Midcoast to be deprived of sorely needed infrastructure investment? Especially given that those funds would not have come at the expense of some other San Mateo County community but instead, from federal funding sources?

One can only assume the state and local tax dollars and votes of Midcoast resident count the same as those of residents in incorporated towns and cities.

Given that, how does one justify providing residents of the Midcoast with a lower level of service?

I can see a scenario where we pay fewer taxes and receive a lower level of service, but I don’t see paying the same taxes and receiving a lesser quality of service - in particular given that the Midcoast is a prime visitor serving location that benefits not just residents here, but all of San Mateo County (and in fact, California).

Lastly, the individual you have referenced in in the above two posts has done more than her share of advocating on behalf of Midcoast residents. Whether you agree with her views or not, she is out there attending meetings, writing letters, and doing her part to help mobilize the community.

If I were to express anger or frustration at local leadership, I might cite as examples the folks who did nothing, said nothing, and took no action rather than the ones that, if they accomplished nothing else, helped shine a spotlight on local issues.

—David

“They apply for no Federal Stimulus money for Moss Beach (and other Midcoast communities), while applying for, and receiving, significant funding for Half Moon Bay, Menlo Park, Pacifica and others.”

Regardless, the “stimulus” has been a proven bust, but beside the point. David… where on the sham of a “Recovery” site does is say how much the county APPLIED for? I only see how and where the funds were rewarded. Maybe they asked President Barry for a new Ocean Blvd and denied…

Can you provide us or know of the page/data point on the site for a breakdown of what funds have been REQUESTED by zip codes for those “shovel-ready” projects?

Also, keep in mind the County of San Mateo was awarded over $30M for areas like county board of educ, transit, etc. Who knows how/where they are spending that money (inefficiently, mind you). On the transit angle, it is far more expensive to run buses to/on the coastside given the area & population density, and minimal farebox receipts compared to the urban areas of the county. If SamTrans could stop coastside service, their yearly losses would decrease exponentially with regard to the population it serves here. So we eat FAR more than our share in that regard, especially since the infrastructure (wages, maintenance, marketing) is shared not allocated.

David of MCC… squeaky wheel gets the grease. We’re ~3% of the county population, and EVEN WAY LESS in terms of what we contribute to the county’s revenue base, and fussy cumbersome constituency at that. Given that, expect our fair share (a la keep the SamTrans Route 17 running). Just some food for thought.

“Do you think there is any connection between the lack of goodies coming from the county and the county’s documented proclivity to “cave in” and “kowtow” to the “wishes of their developer/realtor masters”?”

Darin… huh? Please connect the dots for us slow ppl on how developers are costing us “stimulus funds”. (God, that keeps getting funnier every time I see/read those words). Or was this any given opportunity to rattle the no-growther sabre, eh?

For those that are interested, here is how the funds are being awarded/allocated in SMC:

http://www.recovery.ca.gov/html/funding/stimulus map/stimulusmap.shtml?county=San Mateo

—David

DPW staff said there are stimulus funds allotted for repaving Princeton Ave., slated for 2011.  Maybe there are other projects too?

Lisa - is this is correct, the funds have all been allocated and none were earmarked for the Midcoast:

http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us/portal/site/smcrecovery/menuitem.0e0d3e5b29097a433d706330d17332a0/?vgnextoid=768a48178acb4210VgnVCM1000001937230aRCRD&vgnextfmt=DivisionsLanding

Total Funding: $1.7 million

Funding Category: Transportation

Implementation Team: James C. Porter, Director, Director, Department of Public Works

Programs: Local Streets and Roads System Preservation Projects

Program Description: Funds will be used to resurface portions of various streets in the Burlingame Hills, Broadmoor Village, San Mateo Highlands, and Menlo Oaks areas of the County. The work will be completed by December 2009.

Percentage Allocations: 100%

————————————————-

They applied for $1.7M in the category of transportation and spent $1.7M

Bottom line - money all spent, Midcoast got none.

Darin,

Pinning the lack of action by the county to include the many needs of the coast in its stimulus fund package on one person, or even several, because they were not ‘nice & polite’ paints county staff as small minded and vindictive. 

Blaming the MCC for a lack of leadership is missing the bigger picture.  The county politicians pay attention of organized voter blocks.  If the midcoast were as organized as some of the ethnic groups in the county, or as organized and well funded as the labor unions, or able to generate high levels of press notice as other radical groups the politicians would try to mollify us they do other groups.

I suggest folks turn out for the candidate forum on Wednesday at the MCC and ask the contenders for the BoS some solid questions about how the candidate will lead the County to work for the coast.

Kathryn

Darin, I don’t buy the argument that the county or the supervisors are ignoring the Coastside because we criticize them for ignoring us.

Of course, if we rolled over or even cheered for every half-baked scheme they foisted on us that we’d get more of what we wanted. i.e., more half-baked schemes.

This is about political power. In an at-large election, the San Mateo County Association of Realtors and the building trade unions have more clout than the residents of the Midcoast, or other communities that have more of an interest in preserving, rather than exploiting, the coast. In district elections, we would at least have a seat at the table.

Hey Barry,

I don’t think I ever said we shouldn’t criticize political leaders nor that such criticism is causing those leaders to ignore us.

I used the word “vilify” and sometimes I use the word “demonize,”  not criticize.

And I am very much talking about political power. That’s the whole point—we are throwing away political power by acting the way we do, treating every moment of opposition as a chance to throw stones.

My God, we are acting Tea Party Republicans!

Not all local political leaders, holding office or otherwise, engage in this behavior. Only about a dozen people. But the ones who do have an awful lot of visibility. And I think over-the-hill the resolution sort of goes down when they look at the coast—they see us all as one, monolithic group.

Imagine you are a political leader on the BOS. You read in Coastsider that Mr. X on the coast thinks you are a shill for SAMCAR, that all you do is pimp for money, that you are a hypocrite, and that your appointees are pond scum. And in the comments other coastsiders, many of them well known names, either agree with Mr. X or fail to distance themselves. And this goes on year after year.

I mean, wow.

Vilification and demonization are certainly part of the political toolbox but they usually work best in dirty political campaigns or in war. In each case you have given up, by the tactic of vilification, any real hope of a productive relationship with the other side. You’re going all out, aiming at destruction. It’s very hard to to go back once that line is crossed.

We have very little political power here on the coast. Let’s stop rushing to throw away what little we do have.

—Darin

I just read today’s Doonsbury—perfect timing for our discussion.

Here is a link to Gingrich’s GOPAC memo with his list of “Optimistic Governing Words” to describe yourself and his list of “Contrasting Words” with which to attack your opponent.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4443.htm

Note that the “contrasting words” we use on the coast to attack our opponents are much more negative than what is found in Gingrich’s list.

Time to reflect?

—Darin

You’re overstating the harshness of the rhetoric. I don’t recall the word “pimp” or “scum” being used.  Although “shill” has a ring of familiarity.

I don’t believe name-calling is helpful. But when you don’t have any leverage, ridicule may be the best tool you have at your disposal.

Ahem, so back on topic…MCC, cartoons, TeaParty namecalling, links to whatever… sophomoric digression in it’s finest hour.

The premise set forth by the OP was the county neglecting the coastside regarding “stimulus funds” (hee hee). Thanks for the link David on what’s been awarded, but…

Anyone have any idea/notion on my prior question of do we know where/what the county applied for? vs. just awarded? Did anyone on the coast apply for ANY money? I see Cabrillo Unified got a cool $1M… last I checked, that includes Moss Beach, Montara, El Granada, King’s Mountain. Does that constitute some “Midcoast love”?

I almost can’t blame them, ... you stop giving treats to the dog that bites, snarls and growls at you in any instance. You’ll only feel compelled to keep it alive.

In thinking about the rough math… the midcoast probably contributes about 1% of the tax revenue. No surprise, since we pretty much don’t allow new business anymore, or housing. So I’m curious percentage-wise, how much was requested on our behalf, as well as requested by local agencies (water districts, et al), and the reward thereof on the $300M that SMC has been awarded thus far. Looks like North Peninsula was en fuego on getting the funds.

[wow, $300M and we got about 20 jobs out of it… that’s about $15M/per].

Regardless, I see it’s 15 months later after the passing for shovel-ready projects, and there’s still $200B in Obama’s cookie jar.

He helps those who help themselves… there’s $200B left… start banging some doors rather than complaining. If Obama can give money for an electric oyster shell dispersal cart, $3 million worth of auto lawyers, and nine water safety mascot costumes for Bobber the Water Safety Dog, Coastie the Water Safety Education Seaboat and Seamoor the Sea Serpent Robot… then we can get ______________ .

Darin Boville,

This is an excellent time to check-in with San Mateo County elected representatives and ask them to request funding for specific local projects that may have been overlooked.

Darin said, “My God, we are acting Tea Party Republicans!”....
“Imagine you are a political leader on the BOS. You read in Coastsider that Mr. X on the coast thinks you are a shill for SAMCAR, that all you do is pimp for money, that you are a hypocrite, and that your appointees are pond scum. And in the comments other coastsiders, many of them well known names, either agree with Mr. X or fail to distance themselves. And this goes on year after year.”

The original post does not suggest the Supervisors are “pimping for money” as you implied.  Labeling people you disagree with as teabaggers smacks of hypocrisy.  The goal of encouraging citizen participation in local government is not met by rushing to “vilify” and sometimes “demonize” the concerns of local citizens.

http://www.ktvu.com/news/23502247/detail.html

They did not even try to get some sort of night-time illumination at the Cypress & Hwy One intersection where the young boy lost his foot recently. Unlike at dead-end Marine (whic for some reason has a full brightly lit intersection), Cypress has no CAL-Trans intersection light, only a county light pole exists and that is officially on Cypress, not truely illuminating the turn-off from Hwy one at night.