The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce has reached out to each City Council Candidate and requested their answers and or stance to a few hot topic questions in our community today. The answers have not been altered in anyway and are posted as they have been written by each candidate.  

Here are the questions: 

1.  What is your stance on the Quarry Project and Beach Boulevard projects:  are you for or against and why?  If you    are against, what are your alternatives to provide Pacifica with more financial sustainability.  

2. What is your stance on the Library Project are you for or against and why?

3. What is your stance on the Palmetto Street Scape Project are you for or against and why?

4. What is your stance on Managed Retreat are you for or against and why?

5. How would you get more businesses to come to Pacifica?   How will you work with KIMCO to reduce vacancies and preserve neighborhood serving businesses at their shopping centers?   

6. What is your position, for or against, on rent  control and why?

7. What is your plan to promote or encourage the development of "workforce housing" with priority for Pacifica teachers, firefighters, police and others supporting our community?  

8. What is your position on growth and how will Pacifica be able to stay sustainable in the  future?. What kind of background do you have to see Pacifica into the future to obtain this goal. 

9. Recently  there have been questions among chamber members about Daly City's financial problems and whether Daly City is a strong partner in the North County Fire Authority.  Furthermore, businesses and others are complaining about high inspection fees, which exceed those in other communities.  How would you address these concerns?  Would you support working with Daly City and Brisbane..... or going out to other entities with a new "Request for Proposals" inviting South San Francisco, or Cal Fire to provide fire administration and management?

10. What is your position on Highway One widening and why? 

Candidates Answers:

Candidate Bridget Duffey:

I'd like to summarize my answers a bit.

1. I will address all developmement currently planned, including the Quarry.  I live in Sharp Park, and I hope that most people reading this will be familiar with the setting. If I stand on the beach looking toward the pier, its easy to see that just north of the pier the ocean has its own idea about where it wants to be, and it is in direct, conflict with where man has proposed to be. It's also easy to see who's going to win that fight. I call that -mans bad idea, and i dont believe in building on bad ideas. Managed retreat simply put, is recognising the inevitability of nature to prevail and to wisely choose to use what resources that are available to amend any emergencies, as they arise. So, that being said, I don't think we should build at the coast, nor do experts from around the world. That does not mean that we can't reclaim and enhance the Palmetto area, and still make a cool downtown. And yes, spend the money allotted, but not on a lot of new construction, that would be fool hardy, indeed, but rather on making better sense of the whole thing. Utilizing the already existing, cool, Spanish style building with a big open courtyard in the middle which is just asking for some landscaping and play areas for children and dogs. All around, could be a smattering of kiosks, where vendors from around our city have a chance to display their wares, be they delicious foods and coffees or sea glass jewelry and water colors. To me its a natural fit with our growing air B & "Beach Hut" neighborhood which already exists down there. There are plenty of places, already zoned for comercial that are in desperate need of attention, if people are so hot to develop. I know the prospect of changeing the plans at this point seems like anti-progress, but I don't think any of us have prepared for some of the current challenges we are facing. Our combined resources could be put to work in a way that improves our entire community and prospers us all, in the end.
We can take each instance of property endangerment, and manage it, in that we search for the best remedy, save it, move it, stilt it up, and yes, sometimes- remove it and relocate the owners, but NOT at the homeowners loss and not without full compensation in regard to property. That is what our emergency funds should be used for, not for building things that will not stand. We will get far more benefit for our community and our economy if we preserve our natural beauty, including the beach and development goes where it can last.
2. Highway- widening highway one is last centuries solution to traffic. We need a modern traffic study and perhaps more up to date lights. If SamTrans wants to spend a bunch of money here, how about building the infrastructure for a light rail tram to the Bart? That would solve a bunch of problems.
3. I must say, I am looking into the Daly City Firefighters situation, but currently, know little about it. But I support our city workes, including our wonderful firefighters and policemen and their unions. I believe many of the answers we seek are best asked of those who are right on the job. I plan on finding out how our firefighters feel about it.
I hope I answered the questions you asked, I will have 3 forums on pct.org if you'd like more information on my views. I am pro people, and pro community. I believe we are all in this together, and we must learn to get past our differences and get busy making a better future for everyone. A green, sustainable, self determining future for ourselves and the many generations to come.
Thank you 


Candidate Deirdre Martin: 

1.     What is your stance on the Quarry Project and Beach Boulevard projects:  are you for or against and why?  If you are against, what are your alternatives to provide Pacifica with more financial sustainability?  

I’m against Measure W, the quarry rezoning measure on the ballot.  The only thing this measure does is add 206 apartments 4 stories high on the coast.  The developer currently owns the land and could develop any commercial property he’d like right now (with proper approvals).  I am curious why the developer has chosen not to do this. Why has the developer launched a large campaign around a housing proposal instead? This residential development will not provide Pacifica with more financial sustainability.  I am voting no on W.  

Beach Blvd. - the hotel will be a good revenue generator for the city, but I am not sure the design of the current proposal fits with the Northern California coastal environment.  Let’s plan appropriately for our coast, our community and our visitors.

2.     What is your stance on the Library Project are you for or against and why?

I am concerned about the loss of the Sanchez library which is an important resource for many seniors and children in the back of the valley.  For many, this has become a relied upon resource where the largest proportion of our population lives that would be shut down.  I would like to have 2 libraries if at all possible.  I agree, we need an upgraded library somewhere.  If Measure N passes I will support the voters’ decision and work to implement the best possible library solution.

3.     What is your stance on the Palmetto Street Scape Project are you for or against and why?

I support this project. It has been planned and in the works for a long time.  I lived on Palmetto when the undergrounding of the utilities was completed and dreamt about what the place would look like when the project was complete.  Completing this project will help existing businesses grow on Palmetto and encourage new business to open up shop.  The Palmetto Streetscape Project would also provide a walkable, communal space for our community and visitors alike.

4.      What is your stance on Managed Retreat are you for or against and why?

 Managed retreat means many things and a specific managed retreat solution depends on the specific site and the erosion/water intrusion problems at that site. One cannot be “for” or “against” managed retreat as a general concept.  For example, there are some that believe managed retreat means abandoning all of the West Sharp Park neighborhood to the sea.  This is an illogical interpretation of the term managed retreat for it is not a black or white issue. Pacifica already has instances of managed retreat, at Linda Mar Beach for example.  I support repairing the Beach Blvd sea wall north of the pier to protect our city infrastructure and homes.  Finding the funding for the remaining work will be the difficult part.  Manage Retreat means studying each area as it relates to sea level rise and its effects and planning appropriately.  There is no “one size fits all” solution here.

5.       How would you get more businesses to come to Pacifica?   How will you work with KIMCO to reduce vacancies and preserve neighborhood serving businesses at their shopping centers?   

I would work with the city’s Economic Development Manager and the Chamber of Commerce to identify and market vacant commercial space, and reach out to potential tenants. It would be nice to see discounts provided to locals who open shop in Pacifica.  Regarding vacancies, I’d explore how other cities have worked with KIMCO and other similar shopping center owner/management companies to reduce vacancies, including looking at model ordinances that have been adopted to reduce vacancies in shopping centers.

6.       What is your position, for or against, on rent control and why?

 I support rent stabilization in order to help Pacificans stay in Pacifica.  I support putting policy in place to do just that. We need to look at model ordinances and help the public get informed about what the legal limits on rent stabilization are, especially state law restrictions on rent control.

7.      What is your plan to promote or encourage the development of "workforce housing" with priority for Pacifica teachers, firefighters, police and others supporting our community?  

I would support developing a city plan to promote or encourage workforce housing.  Any plan needs to involve the public as well as city staff and experts in the field.

8.     What is your position on growth and how will Pacifica be able to stay sustainable in the future? What kind of background do you have to see Pacifica into the future to obtain this goal? 

 Sustainability and growth are independent concepts. Sustainability does not necessarily mean growth – in fact some growth is not sustainable – and growth does not necessarily mean sustainability. We have to look at what kinds of growth are more sustainable, such as commercial growth, and what will help Pacifica stay sustainable in the future. My background to help Pacifica to obtain the goal of growth with sustainability is my MBA and professionally I am a Project Manager. I know how to plan, set objectives, track progress towards those objectives, and manage a plan to achieve goals.

9.      Recently there have been questions among chamber members about Daly City's financial problems and whether Daly City is a strong partner in the North County Fire Authority.  Furthermore, businesses and others are complaining about high inspection fees, which exceed those in other communities.  How would you address these concerns?  Would you support working with Daly City and Brisbane..... Or going out to other entities with a new "Request for Proposals" inviting South San Francisco, or Cal Fire to provide fire administration and management?

We need to study this issue further and get information from experts and what other cities do. This would involve looking at the budget for the North County Fire Authority and understanding what the true costs of fire inspections are and not using fees to balance the budget far beyond the actual costs of the inspections. I would want to have an expert consultant to advise the Council on the pros and cons of working with Daly City and Brisbane vs. going out to bid for services with an RFP to other cities and to Cal Fire.

10.     What is your position on Highway One widening and why?

I am opposed to the Caltrans highway widening plan as it will not work to reduce congestion.  The plan will create bottlenecks at either end of the short widened section. I support looking at combinations of alternatives. The Coastal Commission required Caltrans to consider combinations of alternatives in their EIR.  Caltrans passed over those alternatives. I want to study combinations including changing signal timing, ITS (intelligent traffic systems), encouraging carpools, getting SamTrans buses to coordinate with school schedules as they have in other cities and schools in of the county, and other alternatives.  If we can try some simpler, easier, and much cheaper alternatives to make a difference in the commute congestion, that’s a win-win.   


Candidate Sue Vaterlaus:

1. Quarry.

This current quarry proposal is not acceptable. My years on the planning commission have taught me all the details need to be fully defined before any quarry project can be approved. And the majority of voters I have talked to believe that as well.

Any quarry proposal owes the Pacifica voters a full series of community meetings to discuss and spell out the details. I believe a legally enforceable agreement is needed between the project and the city, known as a development agreement.  As the quarry currently stands, Pacifica has no agreement; too much of the project is speculation; enforceable assurances have not been given.

We see a lot of campaign mail from the quarry owner trying to paint a picture of the project and of benefits to the community. None of this has been confirmed in public hearings. We don’t even know what the hotel will look like.

The quarry debate is much more than apartments; it is an opportunity to define a new neighborhood in Pacifica with benefits we can enjoy, consistent with our coast side way of life. That is why much more information is needed.

2. Library

I support the new modernized and central library.  Currently, we have two small libraries in very old buildings with a very limited book selection and reduced hours.  After years of planning and community discussion, we have Measure N as the solution.

Measure N provides a modern 21st century library with the research opportunities, a much larger book selection, computers and the expanded hours this community deserves.  We will have Sunday hours, because, after all, students do homework on Sundayand reading is a seven day a week activity.

3 . A Main Street on Palmetto is the solution.

We need to move ahead with a walkable and sustainable Main Street on Palmetto. We can create nice retail areas in town and protect our hillsides and open space. The current hotel and restaurant proposal for the Beach Blvd site has been discussed for 17 years.  My first task on Council will be to fine tune the proposal and move it to completion.  A rooftop terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean would be amazing.

The second leg of Main Street on Palmetto is to have a community discussion on how best to revitalize the rest of the area into a retail and restaurant center we can all enjoy.  An improved streetscape is part of this solution.

4.  Shoreline protection..

Since day one, I have clearly stated that shoreline protection is required to protect Pacifica’s homes, businesses, the golf course and infrastructure like water lines and telecommunications.   Once on Council, I will continue to partner with Congresswoman Speier, Assemblyman Mullin, State Senator Hill and Supervisor Horsley to secure all available federal, state and county resources to defend Pacifica’s coast. Managed retreat is no answer.

No one wants Pacifica to be known as the Town That Fell into the Ocean. Hundreds of homes are west of Hwy 1; Hwy 1 itself is exposed and with it our lifeline out of town.  A large portion of our affordable housing is at risk.

We know government agencies have the technology to defend our coast, from using artificial reefs to maintaining existing seawalls.  The Dutch have been successfully dealing with ocean erosion for over one hundred years!  We need focused leadership on Council to plan ahead and make sure Pacifica is protected.

5. More businesses in town .

I would hold quarterly review meetings with all shopping centers in town plus the chamber and economic development committee to discuss recruitment efforts. All businesses in our shopping centers are neighborhood serving. I would support pop-up temporary shops selling local and coastside area artwork, and gallery showings.  We should look at new ways to fill vacant retail shops, encourage a couple of shops to house shared work areas for high tech programmers, etc.. If a company came to Pacifica today with 40 tech jobs and requiring space, there is really no where to put them…

Existing retail areas need to be freshened up. I served on the Economic Development committee for several years and know they will help start this discussion.

6.     Workforce housing: We need more affordable and work force housing. We need to support the school district in their workforce housing efforts. I support  the county in their work on funding affordable housing. I support the ongoing studies into the building of workforce housing at Oddstad School. We should partner with other peninsula towns, the supervisors, state and federal elected officials to fashion an area wide solution. Pacifica is not alone when it comes to affordable issues.

7.     Workforce housing

See Question 6

8.   Sustainable in the future.  See answer #3.

9.    Daly City, Fire services.

 Fees for City services should not exceed the cost of providing those services.  Regarding fire services, once on Council I would facilitate a meeting among all partners, plus the Pacific and Daly City Chambers, to review the finances. I would also support including business attendance at all Fire Joint Powers Authority meetings, and televise those meetings on our community tv Channel 26.

10.     What is your position on Highway One widening and why? 

I support the Chamber’s August 25, 2011 endorsement of the Hwy 1 safety widening.

We all recognize Pacifica is a commuting town and we need 2 added lanes to get turning cars out of the main travel lanes. Current congestion delays emergency vehicles, school drop-offs and work commutes. We are paying added sales taxes into a county transportation fund, so the funding is being set aside. We will lose those tax dollars to other towns if we do not move forward.

Moreover, hwy 1 opponents hope voters are not paying attention. We do not use buses and do not bike to work.  Wishful thinking will not solve our AM and PM commute congestion in this area.   


Candidate Mary Ann Nihart: We are hoping to have her answers at a later date. 


The Pacifica Chamber of Commerce will announce at the end of the week which candidates it will endorse. 

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