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More photos from controlled burn

Here are three photos that didn’t make it into today’s paper of a controlled burn Wednesday in the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve.

The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District conducted the burn in conjunction with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The district issued a statement today saying weather conditions were favorable and the burn was completed in about four hours:

“The burned area will serve as a fire break during the hotter, drier late summer and fall months, will help control invasive weeds like Harding grass, and increase the abundance and diversity of native California grasses and wildflowers next spring.

“Controlled burns are one of several tools MROSD uses to manage grasslands in the Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for the health of the environment and to reduce fire hazard. Four controlled burns have been successfully implemented at Russian Ridge since 1998, and have proven effective in controlling brush, reducing invasive plants, and improving the native grasslands, which are adapted to periodic fire. As a result, Russian Ridge has become a popular Bay Area destination to see spring wildflowers. Other techniques used in combination with controlled burns at Russian Ridge include grazing, seeding, mowing, bio-control insects and selective herbicide application.”

The burn also provided “a valuable opportunity for local fire agencies to practice wildland firefighting and interagency coordination,” according to the statement. “Firefighters from CAL FIRE, the La Honda Fire Brigade, the King’s Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade, the Palo Alto Fire Department and the Ben Lomond Fire Camp as well as rangers from the City of Palo Alto and MROSD participated.”

Posted on Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Under: Environment, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Major Mavericks drama

Jeff Clark, the man who discovered Mavericks, issued a statement Thursday in response to the announcement earlier in the week that he had stepped down as contest director of the Mavericks Surf Contest. Here’s the statement in full:

“Over the past several years, it has been obvious that my vision and priorities are not in line with those of Mavericks Surf Ventures. I have had in the past, and continue to have, strong differences of opinion with the present CEO and Board about the direction, image and priorities of the company and the contest.

“The press release issued by Mavericks Surf Ventures this week stating that I ‘stepped down’ and I am ‘passing the torch to the next generation’ is wrong. The reality is that I was ousted as contest director by the current CEO.

“I must also note that, while the company’s news release states that this year’s contest will be held to celebrate ‘the 35th anniversary of Jeff Clark’s first session at the now world-famous break,’ the 35th anniversary is actually next season, in 2010-11. I will not allow the company to use my accomplishment as a marketing tactic.

“Effective today, I have resigned from the board of directors of Mavericks Surf Ventures.

“My vision for the Mavericks Surf Contest has been unwavering: It is about the family of big wave surfers, the spirit of the ocean, and this amazing wave. I never wanted that to be compromised for the sake of money or marketing opportunities. I think that focus is obvious to anyone who knows me or who has seen my priorities over the years.

“Mavericks has been an integral part of my personal and professional life for more than 30 years, and I hope that it continues to be a part of both in the future.

“I wake up looking at Mavericks, and I have watched and surfed those waves most of my life. I started the contest 10 years ago, and I can say one thing for sure: Mavericks is Mavericks. The waves will come – or not – when they will.

“The one thing I would truly regret would be to see a committee deciding, based on sponsorship money and media opportunities, when the best day to run the contest would be, and have it turn into just another 10 foot swell with a lot of hype and not a lot of substance. Any true Mavericks surfer wants and deserves a real test of ability.

“I wish everyone well, knowing that Mavericks will always take care of itself.

“I wish I could say more at this time, but I have had limited time to absorb these changes and will have more to say about this situation as things become clearer.”

Wow. The Mercury News had a brief story Friday on Clark’s statement that included an interview with Mavericks Surf Ventures CEO Keir Beadling, who took a couple veiled shots at Clark, saying it would be “sad” for anyone (Clark?) to think Mavericks is about just one person.

He also said, “There’s been a long-term sense of tyranny that we’re now out from under.”

Basically, it looks like Beadling thought Clark was too picky and capricious when it came to selecting a contest date, while Clark doesn’t want marketers to hold contests when the waves aren’t right just to make a buck.

The Times will have more on this feud, which simmered for a long time and has now broken fully into the open, early this week, I’m sure.

Posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2009
Under: Half Moon Bay, Mavericks, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Eshoo on health care reform

So here, finally, is an account of our recent conversation with Rep. Anna Eshoo on the issue of health care reform.

We wrote on June 10 that Eshoo had been pilloried as a flunky for the health insurance industry by a writer at The Daily Kos, the prominent liberal blog.

Eshoo had been quoted as saying there aren’t enough votes in Congress for a singer-payer option, which is progressives’ great hope for establishing univeral health coverage.

(It should be noted that since we spoke with Eshoo, prospects for the inclusion of a robust public option in a health care reform bill, which seemed dire, appear to have improved.)

Eshoo — who as a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health will have a hand in shaping the House bill — was adamant when we spoke that the bill will contain a public option and that everyone will be included, meaning coverage will be universal. Critics, however, say that, unless the option is single-payer, meaning the government would set up a single fund to cover the expenses of those involved in a government plan, it is unlikely to actually achieve full coverage.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
Under: Anna Eshoo, Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Health care, Republican Party, San Mateo County | 1 Comment »

Big wave film festival in Half Moon Bay

The first-annual Half Moon Bay Big-Wave Surfing Film Festival is underway at the Oceano Hotel in Princeton Harbor, not far from the Mavericks* break. (File photo above, taken by Mathew Sumner, depicts Grant Long scoring a perfect 10 on a wave during the 2008 Mavericks contest.)

You can still catch Friday and Saturday night’s festivities. Here’s a listing of what’s on tap, courtesy of the organizers:

Friday, June 19, Harbor Villages Atrium
Reception at 6 p.m., followed at 7 p.m. by “Year of the Drag-In,” a film produced by Eric Nelson, Curt Myers and Frank Quirarte, featuring a cast of international stars as they took the tow-in revolution to new limits in waves up to 70 feet on the face.

8:30 p.m. “Maverick’s,” a documentary film produced and narrated by Grant Washburn, written with Bruce Jenkins, chronicles the story of how Maverick’s became one of the world’s top big-wave surf spots.

Saturday, June 20, Harbor Villages Atrium
Reception at 6 p.m, followed at 7 p.m. by “One Winter Story,” by Frank Films. Filmmakers Sally Lundburg and Elizabeth Pepin study the inspiring life of Santa Cruz surfer Sarah Gerhardt, the first woman to ride Mavericks.

*Is “Mavericks” supposed to have an apostrophe or not? Trying to figure it out gives me a headache. We’ll have to consult with Coastside reporter and resident Mavericks expert Julia Scott when she returns to the office on Monday.

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2009
Under: Half Moon Bay, Mavericks, San Mateo County | No Comments »

“Not the Cow Palace!”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
You’re Welcome – California Budget Crisis
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Newt Gingrich Unedited Interview

The jewel of Daly City gets a shout-out on “The Daily Show” during a discussion of California’s catastrophic budget situation.

Posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Daly City, Economy, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Eshoo scolded for single-payer stance

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, is the subject of some harsh criticism from blogger “sworddance” over at the Daily Kos, the liberal political blog, for ruling out the idea of a single-payer option before the process of crafting a bill to overhaul the health care system has even begun.

Eshoo apparently feels there aren’t enough votes in Congress for the single-payer option, further evidence for disappointed progressives that hope for true universal health care at this time is all but dead.

Sworddance points out that Eshoo received roughly $725,000 in campaign contributions from the health care industry in the 2008 cycle and claims: “Rep. Anna Eshoo backs insurance companies over humans.”

We’ll give Eshoo’s office a call later this week for more on her position on the single-payer option.

Tonight at 7, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, is holding her telephone town-hall meeting on health care. To participate, call 877-229-8493 and enter the number 13867 when prompted.

Posted on Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
Under: 2008 Congressional Race, Anna Eshoo, Democratic Party, San Mateo County | 1 Comment »

More graduation photos

A bunch of good photos from the Carlmont, Jefferson and Terra Nova high school graduations last week were left on the cutting-room floor. Here’s the best of what didn’t get into the paper. In the photo above, Charlotte Carpenter waves to family members during Jefferson’s graduation ceremony Thursday in Daly City. (Photo by John Green)

Jefferson class speaker Bongie Matudio (left) leads her fellow seniors onto the football field. (John Green)

Joshua Delai stikes a pose after receiving his diploma at Terra Nova’s ceremony Thursday in Pacifica. (Photo by Dan Honda)

Jessie Harris takes pictures at Carlmont’s graduation Friday in Belmont. (Dan Honda)

Carlmont’s Associated Student Body President Mitchell Cappa gives a thumbs-up to the graduating class. (Dan Honda)

Carlmont senior Josephine Kitekeiaho shows her joy at receiving her diploma. (Dan Honda)

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
Under: Belmont, Daly City, Education, Pacifica, San Mateo County, Schools | No Comments »

Speier to hold health care meeting by phone

Rep. Jackie Speier will hold a town-hall meeting by telephone tomorrow with constituents on the subject of health care reform.

The Obama administration’s attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system is expected to heat up this summer. Speier will be taking calls from members of California’s 12th Congressional District from 7 to 8 p.m. to solicit their views and concerns. To participate, visit www.speier.house.gov and click on “Healthcare House Call,” e-mail your name and phone number to CA12Housecall@mail.house.gov, or call (650) 342-0300.

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
Under: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, San Mateo County | No Comments »

More from Memorial Day weekend

We didn’t have a chance to get all the great photos we shot on Saturday at Golden Gate National Cemetery into the newspaper. Here’s a sampling of some of those images. In the photo above, John Loftus, a member of Troop 50 from Palo Alto, carries a load of flags to place on graves at the San Bruno cemetery. (Photo by John Green/MediaNews.) Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts from around the Bay Area placed more than 116,000 flags on graves for Memorial Day.

Another one of those Scouts was Moroni Mafi, above, of Troop 34 in San Bruno. (John Green/MediaNews)

Curt Shepord and his wife, Paige, who live in Arizona, visited the graves of her parents — First Lt. Anne Arcularius and father Lt. Cpl. Robert Arcularius — both of whom served in the military during World War II. (Maria Avilas/MediaNews)

A bird perches atop a tombstone in the photo above. Below, Howard Yoneta and his wife, Glynis, of San Mateo, paid their respects to her father, William Finster Busch, who served in the Korean War. (Both photos by Maria Avila/MediaNews.)

Posted on Thursday, May 28th, 2009
Under: San Bruno, San Mateo County | No Comments »

Reaction to Prop. 8

Rep. Jackie Speier and state Sen. Leland Yee have issued statements in response to the California Supreme Court’s ruling on Prop. 8.

Speier:

“I am disappointed in the decision by the California Supreme Court but not surprised. ‘Equal protection under the law’ is the most basic of our constitutional rights, yet history has shown that it never occurs without a fight. Marriage equality will happen soon enough, but only if those of us who care deeply about the issue continue to educate our neighbors that this is not about special rights, but simple fairness.”

Yee:

“A year ago, our Supreme Court reaffirmed the highest ideals of our republic. Today, it is only Justice Moreno in his dissent who now stands on the right side of history. Proposition 8 and the decision reached by the Court today weaken our Constitution. All minorities could now be at risk of losing fundamental rights by the will of the majority — a concept completely counter to the equal protection clause.

“For far too long, our nation has unfairly allowed state-sanctioned discrimination. We must not stop this effort until all loving relationships and all families are fully recognized with the rights, privileges, and joys of marriage.”

Posted on Tuesday, May 26th, 2009
Under: Activism, Democratic Party, Jackie Speier, Leland Yee, San Mateo County | No Comments »