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Keep Pacifica Like "Mayberry"

Oddstad School Meeting discussion on future of site. Various divergent opinions including low-cost housing option.

I want to thank everyone who turned out Wednesday night to on the future of the Oddstad School property. 

There were differences of opinions but that is good. This was a brainstorming session to hear from members of the community about what they want. The (PSD) is seeking to lease the property on a long-term basis to a developer.

Several people from Peninsula Interfaith Action (PIA) proposed that affordable housing be built. This group spoke of their concern for new teachers just out of college earning $30K-$35K/year being unable to live in Pacifica or new college graduates who have to pay off student loans. They were followed by several people who live in Park Pacifica (including myself), who voiced their opinions that high density, low-income housing units might breed crime, gangs and drug dealers.   

Having lived in Park Pacifica for nearly 30 years, I love this quiet, safe neighborhood. If low-cost housing units are built, what guarantee do we have that the types of people the PIA group were talking about (teachers, EMTs, paramedics, etc.) would move into these apartments? What guarantee do we have that instead of struggling college graduates we have high school dropouts or gang members move in who take advantage of the low-cost housing and totally change the quality of life in our neighborhood?

While Pacifica and the entire Bay Area is an expensive place to live, as a realtor I can say with certainty that purchasing a home in our area is more affordable than it has been in years. Home prices have fallen 25-plus percent, interest rates are at historic lows - below 4 percent and FHA loans are available with low down payments - under 5 percent. There is affordable housing available now in Pacifica. 

One of the speakers at the meeting was a retired police officer who lives directly across from Oddstad School. She said living in Park Pacifica was like living in "Mayberry" and she did not want to see that changed. She has seen what can happen in communities like Daly City and San Bruno with low-cost housing projects. She is in a position to know. I did not hear anyone from the PIA group say they lived close to Oddstad School. I do. I am not a heartless person. I just want my grandchildren who play in this court to be safe as well as all the children in Park Pacifica. I like living in "Mayberry". 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Gabriela Segovia-McGahan March 02, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Barbara Erbacher's take seems in line with what a "community" should be about. http://pacifica.patch.com/articles/school-district-hears-public-about-oddstad-property "Barbara Erbacher was the last to speak, and she rebuked those who equated affordable housing with crime and gangs. These places are not the slums you think of, like those in the big city, they are not section 8,” she said. “They are moderate income to starting income, people coming out of school with loans, unable to buy a house. If we can’t welcome these people, WHO ARE OUR PEOPLE, and think that it’s all going to be crime because these are people with beginning low incomes of 30 to 40 thousand who can’t live here, if we want to deny them a place to live, I think we need to examine where our hearts are.”
Jim McIrish March 03, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Examine your heart all you want to honey.....Just look in other areas of low cost housing in OUR OWN TOWN. No Thank You Please!!! We have enough drug houses here already.
Matthew Levie March 03, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I live in Park Pacifica, and I have small children, and I agree with Gabriela and Barbara. I would like my children to learn that it takes all sorts of people to make a world, and I certainly hope they do not grow up thinking all poor people are drug-abusing gang members.
Suzanne S. March 03, 2012 at 04:10 AM
WOW! Please do not fall into the trap of making this a pro/anti "helping the poor" issue. Because it is NEITHER!  This is a complex issue of doing what is best for this particular neighborhood and balancing it with the needs of the PSD.  If one would like to be in-line with what a "community" is all about, (and especially if you are not one of the people who will have an affordable housing unit built across the street from you) may I suggest volunteering/donating to the Pacifica Resource Center, working with Rebuilding Pacifica (This April 28th) and still needs volunteers!; meals on wheels, etc. etc.  There is plenty of "community" help needed in Pacifica for you to keep busy!
Gabriela Segovia-McGahan March 03, 2012 at 05:42 AM
It does seem our signals crossed. I replied to you on the Facebook page where you originally posted this. Ms. Struckman, I agree that it is a complex issue that is inclusive but does not only encompass the issue of domestic poverty. I certainly hope that the discussion on Patch will not continue to devolve into patronizing addresses, coded language or approached with the finality of dismissing multiple viewpoints. Instead, I would hope that such an open-ended topic will be discussed democratically. Healthy communities are those that have a mix of housing. For without a range of incomes, infrastructure such as public transportation, community services and small businesses do not thrive. It's time for Pacifica to represent American ideals rather than those of Brigadoon.
Suzanne S. March 03, 2012 at 07:43 AM
First of all, please accept my apology if it was my post that came across as rude, definitely not my intention. I agree with you about striving for a healthy community, but I have to say that Pacifica does, in deed, have a broad range of income. Also, please let us not forget what is really at stake here. Currently, there is not an affordable housing project across the street. To not build one there, is not taking anything away from anyone. It isn't there. If you ask someone what they would like to have there, the answers from the actual neighbors, and let us not forget, we were there because we were asked, were things that everyone in the community would find pleasing, i.e., a sports facility for the kids, a park, a garden, a place for the arts, etc. Kind of a, shoot for the moon and hope you can land a star kind of scenario. I really do like your comment about Pacifica representing American ideals, I wish for that as well. (thanks for the dialogue! it's a bit difficult at times when you can't interpret the tone and inflections etc.!)
Gabriela Segovia-McGahan March 03, 2012 at 03:53 PM
Thanks, Suzanne, for your kind words. I believe a goal of Patch is to inspire stronger community interaction. The internet offers 100% the speed of communication with only 50% of information. When we talk face to face, we receive not only the verbal but the non-verbal cues, such as body language, tone and inflection, which conveys the other half of meaning and context of what's being said. When there is a topic that we are this passionate about, it can become a case of the elephant and the blind men. http://www.jainworld.com/literature/story25.htm Opinions are subject to change as dialogue progresses and we get more information, I often find. It's refreshing to know that there is another person out there that can remain civil despite having seemingly opposing views. As I read your last comment, I found that we are a lot closer to having the same line of thought about the potential of this community than not. It's hard to feel like you'll have the chance to let your voice be heard AND to hear what others have to say when the internet moves so fast, the word count is limited and there is so much else to do offline.
Gabriela Segovia-McGahan March 03, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Matthew, it does take all sorts of people to make a world. That made me think of my friends, who are retirees, and how wonderful they think it would be if there were affordable housing available to them. Some of them found it sad to have to leave Pacifica once they sold their homes and wanted to move into something more manageable.
Erin Macias March 04, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I think part of the issue is that people are not properly informed about HUD issues and income limits. Here is something that you may find useful. If you plug in CA, San Mateo County, you will see that the proposed Affordable Family Housing is not Section 8. The people who are eligible for this type of housing make close to 6 figures or do make 6 figures and can afford to purchase homes on the market right now in Pacifica. People who are making beginning teacher salaries do not qualify if I understand this correctly, they do qualify for Section 8. If the City does not fill these homes with AFH level, they convert it to the next tier and then it becomes Section 8. Please correct me if I am misinformed. http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/il/il2012/select_Geography.odn
Rebecca Guzzetta March 08, 2012 at 05:49 PM
my thoughts exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jadine Cehand June 10, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Pacifica, like Mayberry is an outdated community lacking in diversity. As the city continues to suffocate itself with lack of forward thinking, development and reality it becomes less and less desirable to newer generations of broad minded thinkers. What a relief to sell our home in Park Pacifica to move to a place where time and ideas do not stand still. Go, Mrs. Erbacher! I have no hope there will ever be change.
Pacificat June 10, 2012 at 06:36 PM
What would "forward thinking" look like for Pacifica? What would be desirable to "broad minded thinkers"? I consider myself to be a broad minded and forward thinking person, but I don't understand what you're talking about. What place did you move to "where time and ideas do not stand still"?
concerned voter June 10, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Plenty of room for affordable housing around the Catholic Church at the end of Linda Mar Blvd., just 1/2 mile south of the Oddstad school site. Maybe PIA can put their affordable housing there? Isn't PIA affiliated with that church?


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