MW Mobile Blog

For friends, family and the random search engine visitor. This blog started as an experiment in mobile blogging from my Palm TREO 600 700 Prē HTC Evo,Samsung 5. Now serving as a simple repository of favorite activities. Expect bad golf, good fishing, great sailing, eating, drinking, adventure travel, occasional politics and anything else I find interesting along the way including, but not limited to, any of the labels listed here...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Stimulus funds flow through a "Pipeline to Nowhere"


As promised,we are following up on an earlier post regarding the potential Pacifica "Pipeline to Nowhere." First, know that your loyal blogger fully understands that in the greater scheme of things, $2m of stimulus funds is less than a drop in the gigantic porkfest bucket that is the Obama Stimulus plan. But... having noticed a potential issue for a local project that has not received much attention, I feel I should try to ensure that at least this one little $2M drop of taxpayer funds does not get wasted.

Work with me here... this is going to be a deep dive into the weeds of this one stimulus project. I will make this as clear and concise as I can.

The Project
Here is the project as described on the Department of the Interior "Recovery Investments" website:
Pacifica Recycled Water Project - Pipeline, North Coast County Water District Pacifica, Calif. Reclamation ARRA Funding: $2,203,750 Total Project Cost: $8,815,000
Local Contact: Kevin O’Connell, Project Manager
Funding will be used to construct new facilities including 3.5 miles of pipeline, a 400,000-gallons storage tank and a new pump station. The project will provide recycled water to irrigation users that currently draw water from the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System, and thereby reduce users’ dependence on existing potable water supplies.
So we have an $8.8 million water pipeline project, of which $2.2 million will come from stimulus funds. We learn from a San Mateo County Times article that the remaining cost will be split between the San Francisco Public Utilities commission and the North Coast Water District using low interest construction loans from the State of California. It should be noted that both municipalities, the county and the state are facing enormous budget shortfalls and have no money to waste. We also learn from the article that 78% of the water flowing through the pipeline will be used to irrigate the Sharp Park Golf Course. The course is currently being irrigated with water from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir with good potable water that can be better used elsewhere.

So far so good. Regardless of ones political posture on the stimulus package itself, and unlike a lot of the pork, waste and just plain stupid expenditures emerging from the Recovery.gov website, this project clearly meets the criteria of what the stimulus package was promoted to accomplish. It is an infrastructure construction project. It will create 275 jobs. It helps relieve the growing pressure on the San Francisco Bay area watershed. It's recycling water during a drought. It is a needed project. What's not to like?

The Problem
Sharp Park Golf course is located in Pacifica but owned by the city of San Francisco. Legislation has been introduced in San Francisco (Item 090329) to close Sharp Park and turn it into a nature preserve in order to protect an endangered garter snake and frog (both of which have lived in harmony on the course property for 70 years).

This legislation was submitted by San Francisco supervisor Ross Mirkarimi at the instigation of a well heeled out of state ecology organization with a reputation for intimidating municipalities with their high power legal machinations. They have funded a glossy website filled with half-truths promoting a phantasmagorical photoshopped vision of a "restored" Sharp Park. Nowhere in the website do they explain in detail where the money is going to come from to realize this wildly expensive and poorly thought out fantasy. The only organized opposition to this is an underfunded local grass roots organization of bay area golfers, preservationists and Pacifica residents who are fighting the good fight to save Sharp Park - a historically significant landmark golf course designed by Alister MacKenzie.

The SF Board of Supervisors is currently awaiting a study due at the end of the month, and will then decide the fate of Sharp Park. Common sense dictates that a simple plan be developed to insure the golf course continues to operate in harmony with the red leg frog and the garter snake. That would make perfect sense. But we are talking about the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, egged on by well funded extremist eco-bullies, so - no telling what will happen. They could very well close the course.

Here is the point. If the Supes decide to close the Sharp Park golf course, the approved stimulus water recycling project will literally be a "Pipeline to Nowhere. " There will be no reason to waste $2.2 million of stimulus funds and another $6 million of California funds on this project.

The Prescription
Common sense dictates that a pipeline project to irrigate a golf course should not proceed if the golf course is to be closed. If there is no commitment by local, state, and federal leaders to the continued operation of the beneficiary of the pipeline (the Sharp Park Golf Course) the stimulus funds should be redirected. Again, this pipeline project is a good project that will help the community, create jobs, save water, and is a good use of stimulus funds, if there is a commitment to the Sharp Park Golf Course. So - what will it take to get that commitment?

This blog has a limited (if loyal) readership. However, I will do what I can to put a spotlight on the potential of funding a "Pipeline to Nowhere." Faced with public embarrassment, public officials will generally take the path of least resistance. In this case that path is a simple rational common sense approach:
  1. Commit to the continuation of the Sharp Park golf course.
  2. Implement procedures at the course to further protect the snake and frog.
  3. Build the pipeline to irrigate with recycled water.
  4. Find a way to inoculate Pacifica and San Francisco against abusive lawsuits from the eco-bullies in Tucson.
For a change, why not try to solve this problem before the money is wasted? To that end, over the next 24 hours I will be forwarding versions of this message to the following officials and organizations:

Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco
Mayor Julie Lancelle of Pacifica
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Representative Nancy Pelosi (8th District)
Representative Jackie Speir (12th District)
Senator Diane Feinstein
Senator Barbara Boxer
Vice President Joe (Stimulus Sheriff) Biden
Government Accountability Office - Fraudnet
Department of Interior - Office of Inspector General
Anyone else who might shine some light on this project

Feel free to chime in. I'll also try to get some reporters, and other blogs interested.

To borrow a phrase from the Bravo Channel - let's see what happens.

x-posted from my other blog.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

hmmmm...

When on the family Baraga County forest land in June, we observed a number of large wolf prints in the mud. After reading about this recent sighting, reported by Lon blogging at Phantoms and Monsters, I am wondering now if it was indeed a wolf:
'Michigan Dogman' Recently Sighted in Upper Peninsula

NOTE: the following emails were received yesterday in reference to at least 2 sightings of the supposed 'Michigan Dogman' in Baraga County, Upper Peninsula, Michigan. I have contacted the witness who seems very truthful and credible...Lon

Last fall, my son and I were driving on US-41/M-28 towards Three Lakes in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (where I live). The beast ran across the highway near Tioga Creek. I had not heard of this before reading Phantoms and Monsters, but this is exactly what we saw. We are familiar with all animals living here. Moose regularly cross in front of drivers, so we watch the sides of the roads carefully. We were very puzzled and thought it might be some mutant wolf and could not figure out what we witnessed. It ran fairly fast about 50 feet in front of our truck. It was so strange because the front of it was much higher up than the back, larger than a wolf. Very strange to see it on your website.

NOTE: I contacted the witness and asked for any further detail of the sighting. This is what I received:

It did not look exactly like the video or drawings I saw, but VERY close. The side view shape of the animal was almost like an ape shape, with the front legs longer than the back legs which made it run funny. It ran like a bear runs, with the exception of the back legs being shorter if you can picture that. The front, from the angle I saw, looked like it must of had a wide chest. The head appeared wolf-like, but it definitely was NOT a wolf. The color was brown and black mixed. The hair seemed med-long, like a wolf, and I remember thinking it might of had mange, must of had patches of hair missing.

I was telling my son, who is 13, about what I had found on your site and asked him what he remembered. He gave the same description, how very strange and out of place it was. He said that this spring he saw the same type of thing on a logging road near our house (I do remember him telling me that at that time) and it was the same thing. He was riding his dirt bike (we live in an extremely remote area) and it ran across the trail. I know where he is talking about because I pick berries there and do get a weird feeling like something is watching me. A neighbor told me that area is "Bigfoot Central", which I did not know or believe. But after doing further research today, there are a lot of reports of strange creatures in this area that go back many, many years.

Who knows what it is, but as long as it's not hurting anything, I hope it is left alone. I am very familiar with the wildlife. I do hunt and know my tracks. I have not seen any strange tracks, but now will really keep my eyes open. Please keep me informed if you get any other reports from my area. Rhonda


UPDATE: 21-July-09
Ken the forester responds via e-mail after seeing this post...
Re the wolves out there. A forester friend of mine was going through on a trail in your south 40 and saw a pack of four black wolves. The first one he saw was only about 65 feet away from him. When it turned to go, the other three came off from the side the trail, joined the first one and they all trotted away.

Don't know about your "Dogman". It hasn't made the Marquette Mining Journal to my knowledge. - Ken
Not sure why Ken thinks The Mining Journal is a better source the Lon's blog. Speaking of Lon, he just posted a new, much more graphic version of this Michigan Dogman video. I suspect an internet marketing effort a la "Blair Witch Project" is underway. Watch for a soon to be released Michigan Dogman movie.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Death Ride 2009

This post is a shout out to Stan - a friend and fellow traveler on our recent Japan tour. He is taking on the Tour of the California Alps as I write this. The official banner says it all - 129 miles, 5 passes, and 15,000 feet of vertical climb. Or as I say - batshit insane.

At the moment I have my leg wrapped and on ice after getting the knee scoped yesterday. I am eating painkillers, and making my first efforts at restoring some range of motion to my knee post-surgery. I only mention this in order to point out that I'd still rather be me than Stan on a bike in the heat climbing those mountain passes today.

There are some news stories but not much real-time coverage of the event. This guy (cyclocore?) said he would try to tweet and YouTube along the way, but is apparently hampered by crappy ATT coverage. Hopefully I'll update this with pics and results after I hear from Stan.

Good luck and good riding my friend.

++++++
UPDATE: 12-July-09

Received this e-mail from Stan at 10:10 last night:
"Did the death ride - made it to the end."
Congrats Stan! One hell of an accomplishment.

I don't know when or if we'll see pictures from Stan, so I'll just embed a few videos I found from the "cyclocore" guys. To be clear, I have no idea who these guys are, but they are the only ones I could find on the intertubes who were trying to do some real-time posting of the event.

The start:



The finish:



An assessment of some scary weather at the finish - I suspect Stan ran into this:



It'll be interested in hearing how Stan "weathered" the end of the ride. Maybe I can talk him into a guest post.

UPDATE: Stan sent me this picture
Stan and Terry at 8,600 ft heading for the top of Ebbits pass. This is why I can't be a biker - well... besides the discipline and the hours of training and the dedication needed to do a ride like this... besides all that - you have to wear these outfits. That is one step over the line for me.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stimulus dollars to irrigate a golf course that will be closed.

It looks like the Obama stimulus package that does not stimulate finally found a local "shovel ready" project to stimulate:
Pacifica golf course, parks to use recycled water
By Julia Scott
San Mateo County Times

"PACIFICA — A local water treatment plant will soon be piping 50 million gallons of treated, recycled water to the Sharp Park Golf Course and other sites in Pacifica thanks to a $2.2 million grant from the federal government. The North Coast County Water District, which serves potable water to Pacifica and part of San Bruno, got word last week that a shovel-ready project 10 years in the making had been greenlit by the grant, paid for by the federal stimulus package... The SFPUC will use 78 percent of the water to irrigate Sharp Park (the golf course is in Pacifica but owned by San Francisco) and therefore owes a larger part of the debt."
Just one little glitch. The city of San Francisco is hell bent on closing the course:
Snakes to inherit Sharp Park golf course
Bruce Balshone
San Mateo Public Policy Examiner

"Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced legislation (see item 090329) aimed at turning the Sharp Park Golf Course in Pacifica into a biological reserve, much to the dismay of golfers and Pacifica city leaders. The venerable course, which opened in 1931 was designed by famed architect Alister Mackenzie and landscaped by John McLaren, is actually owned by the City and County of San Francisco despite sitting squarely within the City of Pacifica."

This is not a done deal. We are awaiting the results of a study designed to impartially validate and rationalize the pre-determined conclusion of the board of supervisors. To whit - demolishing a historic landmark to protect endangered species that have been quite happy living under the stewardship of the self-same golf course for the last 75+ years.

I sure hope those endangered frog and garter snakes are real thirsty, because they are about to get a lot of very expensive water.

Hmmm.... one wonders if the stimulus bill watchdog - Joe Biden, knows that taxpayer stimulus dollars are being spent to irrigate a golf course that may soon not exist?

X-posted at my other blog.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

19th hole

RE 99 6 skins
MW 105 7 skins
DH 109 skunked
DG 112 2 skins

Roy is responsible for this picture. He cut out Dan further aggravating his persecution complex. Not my fault.

Dan says he is never playing skins again.

I kiicked the anonymous golfer's ass. Even after they made me take 4 BS penalty strokes.

Nice out


Don with a brilliant shot out of the trap on 18 to a makeable 4 foot putt, 3 skins and avoiding a humiliating skunk. Only one problem...

he missed the putt.

Bringing it home on 18

Striped it.

Don out of jail on 16

While Roy ducks for cover.

Roy's par putt on 15...

...misses. So did everyone else. Except me. Par and skin.

At the turn

We are treated to Dan's home brew. "Mellow Menlo Golden Ale™"


RE 54
DG 54
DH 55

I have 4 skins at the turn. RE 4, DG 1

Roys 3rd to the 9th

"I pulled it!" he says. Ball lands 2 feet from the pin.

Suggested New Golf Rule: If a golfer complains about a golf shot in the air that turns out to be a great shot, said golfer is not allowed to keep that shot and must rehit from the original site of the ball.

In any case, he still missed the putt.

7th tee

Appropriately, Don is on his way to an 8 after losing a ball on a tin cup type of shot.

Off the sixth tee

You never know until you get down there and find the ball.

Don and I like to color coordinate.

No - really. We do it all the time.

Dan took it left on 5

Hard to imagine why with that follow through.

Roy has a good excuse

He is still numb from a visit to the dentist. Still - a 10 on 2... Some work to do.

Don is out of the trap

By six feet.

At 12:34:56 07-08-09 exactly...

... we are live-blogging Crystal Springs - a date and time that portends heavy numerological significance.

Don
Roy
Dan (I have no idea what he is doing in this picture)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

19th Hole

RZ 91
AZ 99
DG 99
MW 105

Amazingly, no blood on the skins - the only redeeming aspect of the day.

I note that some anonymous commenter is posting on today's activity. This cretin apparrently does not understanad that golf is a game for gentlemen. I apologise to the reader for his boorish behavior.

It all came down to this putt

Down 14-3 on skins I pressed on 18 and drained a five foot putt for my six.

Rick needed this putt it to halve the hole and save his skins:

video
Now I can afford a burger and a beer.

Rick corkscrews his 3rd shot behind the tree.

Desperate - I am pressing Z on 18

May the golf gods smile on their humble servant.

Dans approach on 15

Shortly before getting swarmed by the africanized bees in the tree marked off with police tape.

17th portrait.

My tee shot on 14...

Went right.

I am not really playing golf any more. Just practicing for the press on 18.

At the turn

No beer. No coffee. No Ibu. No cigar.

RZ 44 !!!!
AZ 47
DG 50
MW 53

My knee hurts..

The Z's are Kicking ass. Down 7 skins on mano a mano skins game with Rick. Just waiting for 18 now.

The golf gods steal Dan's slice...

And he hits a straight shot in the wrong direction. The golf gods disapprove of golfers who duck skins bets.

Adam bisects the 4th fairway.

To the top of the hill.

BTW. We all had par putts on 3. Ricks was the shortest. He was the only one to miss. Just sayin...

Rick tees off on 3

to just off the green and 24 feet. After a par on 2

Live Blogging Lincoln

Dan
Adam
Rick

Rick claims to have shot an 86 here two weeks ago. he wants to play skins.

Dan refuses to play skins. It was a terrible mistake putting him in front of Don..

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July fireworks from the terrace

We had a few friends over to watch the fireworks from the terrace. It's always a crapshoot in San Francisco as we have been fogged out more than once. Sometimes we get pastel colored fog with muffled explosions. Sometimes it is so thick we see nothing and can't even hear them. This year... it was all good.

Waiting and Eating and Drinking and Talking.




video

Friday, July 3, 2009

Fireworks preview?

It's about 25 hours until the fireworks. Not sure what to make of this fog formation. Absolutely clear at ground level, Impenetrable fog on the bay at 600 feet or so, directly over the firework barge locations. We'll see...