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Local Coastal Program Prioritized; Comment Period Ends 2/14

For Immediate Release
January 31, 2017

Contact: Jill Ekas
Planning Manager
(650) 726-8270

Local Coastal Program to be Prioritized for Completion, Followed by General Plan  
Comment Period on Draft Documents Ends February 14

Half Moon Bay, CA - The General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC) completed its 16th session last Thursday, January 26, and has announced a date for closing the lengthy public comment period on the draft documents related to the General Plan and Local Coastal Plan. The comment period on this phase's draft documents ends on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, at 5 pm.

This schedule reflects the City Council’s action at its January 17, 2017 meeting, at which staff was directed to separate the Local Coastal Program (LCP) from the General Plan Elements, and prioritize completion of the LCP. That will involve revising the LCP by incorporating GPAC and community input, and bringing it to the Planning Commission for discussion and review. After that process, the General Plan Elements will follow. With this direction, the GPAC has completed this phase of its review of the draft documents.

There will be a pause in the General Plan/Local Coastal Program community forums over the next several months to allow for preparation of revisions. Future sessions with the Planning Commission will be broadly announced, as will any remaining sessions with the GPAC, and community input opportunities will continue through the Planning Commission and City Council forums.

Members of the community are encouraged to take the opportunity before February 14 to review the draft documents at www.planhmb.org and provide comments:
The City is grateful to the members of our General Plan Advisory Committee and to those in the community who have so diligently participated,” said Half Moon Bay Mayor Debbie Ruddock. “Through 16 GPAC meetings, including nine in just the last 10 months, the abundance of constructive dialogue on this complex issue is truly appreciated - I urge everyone to continue their involvement as this process continues.”

More information about Plan Half Moon Bay and the General Plan Update is online at www.PlanHMB.org.

Located 28 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Half Moon Bay is a community of about 11,500 people, situated on the peninsula between forested hills and some of the most beautiful coastlines that California has to offer. Its historic downtown is home to numerous shops, art galleries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and other businesses, and its celebrated beaches and parks are wonders of nature, accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians. With its many activities and events, beautiful natural scenery, old-town charm, and abundance of retail and commercial services, Half Moon Bay is a regional destination. The City's website is www.hmbcity.com.

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City Successfully Concludes Two High-Profile Lawsuits


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2017

Contact: Reed Gallogly
Assistant/Deputy City Attorney
(650) 726-8270 

City Approves Settlement Concluding Beachwood Issue; 
Also Prevails in Ballot Measure Lawsuit

HALF MOON BAY, CA - Earlier this month, the City of Half Moon Bay saw the successful conclusion of two high-profile lawsuits. The first resulted in nearly a half-million dollar settlement paid to the City by an insurance company, concluding the City's legal efforts to obtain insurance coverage for the Beachwood property/Yamagiwa lawsuit judgment. The second was the finalization of the appellate court's ruling in favor of the City in an elections lawsuit regarding ballot measure arguments on the June, 2016 ballot.

Settlement of Beachwood/Yamagiwa Insurance Litigation
At its meeting of January 17, 2017, the Half Moon Bay City Council voted unanimously to accept a settlement offer in the City of Half Moon Bay v. Great American Insurance Company, et al. litigation. Under the settlement, the defendant insurance company will pay the City $450,000. In 2008, the City was ordered to compensate a private landowner in an amount over $41 million dollars for a taking of private property - that number was eventually negotiated down to $18 million. At that time, the City was advised that no insurance coverage was available for the loss.

After hiring new legal counsel to act as City Attorney, the City also retained special outside counsel with experience in public entity insurance coverage litigation - Peter Urhausen and Byrne Conley from the Gibbons & Conley law firm - to review the insurance coverage question. They determined that coverage might indeed be available and recommended the City pursue several recovery efforts. Following this advice and over the past 9 years, the City has successfully recovered $5 million from the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) risk sharing pool, obtained a $10 million arbitration award against an insurance company, and an additional settlement of $3.15 million.

Then, on January 17, after substantial litigation efforts, the City accepted a settlement offer in the final lawsuit related to the City's recovery efforts. This action brings the City's total recovery related to the Beachwood judgment to $18,600,000 and brings to a conclusion the final chapter on the City's efforts to recover insurance proceeds for the Yamagiwa judgment.

The City would like to specially thank Peter Urhausen and the Gibbons & Conley firm for nearly a decade of high-quality service, counsel, and the substantial recoveries from their efforts.

Final Judgment in Eblovi v. Blair Election Lawsuit
Also on January 17 2017, California's 1st District Court of Appeal notified the City that its ruling in the City's favor in David Eblovi v. Jessica Blair, Half Moon Bay City Clerk, became final, officially concluding the appellate case. In this lawsuit, the City defended - and ultimately vindicated - voters' rights to participate in the local election process. The case resulted in a formal, published opinion which upholds citizens' rights to free speech in the political arena.

In early April of 2016, Half Moon Bay resident David C. Eblovi (plaintiff) sued the City of Half Moon Bay, its Clerk, several County officials, and five individual Half Moon Bay citizens. The plaintiff was the author of an initiative measure on the June 2016 ballot. His claim stated that the five citizens who had submitted arguments against his ballot measure had no legal right to participate in the elections process by submitting ballot arguments, and that the City erroneously allowed them to do so. His claim also alleged that the arguments against the measure were "false, misleading, or untrue," and should be deleted from the voter information pamphlet.

On April 14, 2016, the San Mateo County Superior Court heard the matter and rejected plaintiff's arguments. The court stated that California Elections law, the California Constitution, and the U.S. Constitution enshrined and protected citizens' rights to political free speech, that none of the ballot arguments were false, misleading, or untrue such that they needed to be struck from the voter guide, and that the City and elections officials had correctly interpreted the law and appropriately discharged their duties. Further, and as required by law, the court ordered Plaintiff to pay attorney's fees and costs that the citizens had incurred while defending against the lawsuit, in an amount totaling over $57,000.

Upon the plaintiff's appeal to California's 1st District Court of Appeal, the City again argued that political participation and free speech were core features of the American democracy, preserved in the law and constitution, and that Mr. Eblovi's arguments to the contrary were mistaken. After review, on December 1, 2016, the Appellate Court denied the appeal, agreed with the City's position, and issued a published opinion affirming the trial court's ruling upholding citizens' rights to participate in the political process. By operation of law, that decision became final on January 17, 2017, concluding the matter.

Located 28 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Half Moon Bay is a community of about 11,500 people, situated on the peninsula between forested hills and some of the most beautiful coastlines that California has to offer. Its historic downtown is home to numerous shops, art galleries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and other businesses, and its celebrated beaches and parks are wonders of nature, accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians. With its many activities and events, beautiful natural scenery, old-town charm, and abundance of retail and commercial services, Half Moon Bay is a regional destination. The City's website is www.hmbcity.com.

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Apply Now for City's "NET" Community Academy

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2017

Contact: Danielle Sanderson
City Manager's Office
(650) 726-8281

Apply Now to Participate in Half Moon Bay "NET" Program
Community Academy Offers Opportunity to Network, Engage, Transform

HALF MOON BAY, CA - Applications are now available for the spring, 2017 session of Half Moon Bay's annual community engagement program, Half Moon Bay NET (Network - Engage - Transform). The deadline to submit an application is 5 pm, February 6, 2017. Applications are available online at www.hmbcity.com/net, from City Hall at 501 Main Street, or by calling (650) 726-8270. Enrollment is limited to 25 participants, who will be randomly selected from all applicants. This program is free.
 
This four-session community academy provides an overview of the management and governance of Half Moon Bay and its programs, while helping to build relationships that will strengthen our entire community. NET will take place each Wednesday evening, March 1 through March 22, from 6 - 9 pm. At each session, participants will take part in interesting and fun activities illustrating how the City's various operations function, meet and talk with City staff and City Council members, and meet other community members who are also interested in being more engaged with the City.
 
It's a great opportunity to get an "insider's" view of the City, become more knowledgeable about how the City works, and help to build and strengthen the bonds and relationships that make a great community.
 
"The more people know about and are involved with the City, the better it is for everyone who lives here. This program will help form a deeper partnership with the community so we can better address issues together," said Half Moon Bay City Manager Magda González. "People from throughout the City are encouraged to apply, and join with friends, neighbors, and new acquaintances in this community engagement program." In addition to the annual spring program in English, the City coordinates a Spanish-language NET program each fall.
 
The objectives of NET are to involve and engage people in learning about and understanding the operation of City government, and to improve communication between the City and those who live and work here. Participants will learn about how decisions are made, how City funds are allocated, and how City departments operate with each other, and get an opportunity to sit down with City Council members for frank discussions of issues, projects, politics, and plans for shaping the future of our community.
 
Located 28 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Half Moon Bay is a community of about 11,500 people, situated on the peninsula between forested hills and some of the most beautiful coastlines that California has to offer. Its historic downtown is home to numerous shops, art galleries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and other businesses, and its celebrated beaches and parks are wonders of nature, accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians. With its many activities and events, beautiful natural scenery, old-town charm, and abundance of retail and commercial services, Half Moon Bay is a regional destination. The City's website is www.hmbcity.com.

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Community Workshop on Immigrant Concerns/Comunitario sobre Preocupaciones de Inmigrantes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2016

Contact: Magda González, City Manager
(650) 726-8270

City Schedules Workshop on Concerns, Issues of Immigrant Community

HALF MOON BAY, CA – In the weeks since the November election, many in our community have expressed concern, uncertainty, and fear about the future. These concerns largely focus on what actions the new administration may take regarding undocumented immigrants and include fear of mass deportations, breaking up of families, increased detentions and possible abuse of process, and possible negative changes in the overall perception of those in our immigrant community as a whole.

In light of this anxiety and uncertainty, Half Moon Bay has scheduled a community workshop to discuss immigrant concerns, provide updated information, offer connections to resource, tools, and immigrant assistance, and help people understand and exercise their rights.

Community Workshop on Immigrant Concerns
Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 6:30 pm
Adcock Community Center, 535 Kelly Avenue

At its meeting on December 20, the City Council approved a “Letter of Solidarity” as a first step in reassuring the community that Half Moon Bay fully supports its immigrant community, offering support and assistance to those in our community who feel vulnerable or threatened around issues of immigration enforcement.

Half Moon Bay welcomes, represents, and celebrates residents of all nationalities, religions, and cultures, and I offer my reassurance that we stand united and supportive of everyone in our community,” said Debbie Ruddock, Mayor of Half Moon Bay. “We strongly oppose any attempts to exclude or marginalize members of the Half Moon Bay community, and as a City we will continue to work toward ensuring people here feel safe and secure.”

The City is moving forward with additional actions, including helping to connect community members with local resource organizations which provide legal and citizenship help to immigrants, distributing written materials which outline the City’s position, and sharing the San Mateo County Sheriff’s policy of not directly investigating or enforcing immigration laws (the Sheriff provides law enforcement for Half Moon Bay). As the new year unfolds, the City will continue to monitor the situation, review related possible state legislation for support, and offer ongoing assistance and reassurance to the immigrant families that call Half Moon Bay home.

Located 28 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Half Moon Bay is a community of about 12,500 people, situated on the peninsula between forested hills and some of the most beautiful coastlines that California has to offer. Its historic downtown is home to numerous shops, art galleries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and other businesses, and its celebrated beaches and parks are wonders of nature, accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians. With its many activities and events, beautiful natural scenery, old-town charm, and abundance of retail and commercial services, Half Moon Bay is a regional destination. The City’s website is www.hmbcity.com.

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Horarios de la ciudad taller sobre preocupaciones, temas de la comunidad inmigrante

HALF MOON BAY, CA – En las semanas que siguieron a las elecciones de noviembre, muchos de nuestra comunidad han expresado preocupación, incertidumbre y temor por el futuro. Estas preocupaciones se centran en gran medida en las acciones que la nueva administración puede tomar con respecto a los inmigrantes indocumentados e incluyen el miedo a las deportaciones masivas, el desmembramiento de las familias, el aumento de las detenciones y el posible abuso del proceso y los posibles cambios negativos en la percepción general de nuestra comunidad inmigrantes como un todo.

A la luz de esta ansiedad e incertidumbre, Half Moon Bay ha programado un taller comunitario para discutir las inquietudes de los inmigrantes, proporcionar información actualizada, ofrecer conexiones a recursos, herramientas y ayuda de inmigrantes y ayudar a las personas a entender y ejercer sus derechos.

Comunitario sobre Preocupaciones de Inmigrantes
Miércoles, 18 de enero de 2017, 6:30 p. m.
Adcock Community Center, 535 Kelly Avenue 

En su reunión del 20 de diciembre, el Concejo Municipal aprobó una "Carta de Solidaridad" como un primer paso para tranquilizar a la comunidad que Half Moon Bay apoya plenamente a su comunidad de inmigrantes, ofreciendo apoyo y asistencia a aquellos en nuestra comunidad que se sienten vulnerables o amenazados en torno a los problemas de control de la inmigración. 

Half Moon Bay da la bienvenida, representa y celebra a los residentes de todas las nacionalidades, religiones y culturas, y yo les garantizo que estamos unidos y apoyamos a todos en nuestra comunidad", dijo Debbie Ruddock, alcalde de Half Moon Bay. "Nos oponemos firmemente a cualquier intento de excluir o marginar a los miembros de la comunidad de Half Moon Bay, y como Ciudad continuamos trabajando para asegurar que la gente se sienta segura y protegida". 

La Ciudad está avanzando con acciones adicionales, incluyendo ayudar a conectar a miembros de la comunidad con organizaciones locales de recursos que proveen ayuda legal y de ciudadanía a inmigrantes, distribuyendo materiales escritos que esbozan la posición de la Ciudad y comparten la política del Sheriff del Condado de San Mateo de no investigar directamente o imponer las leyes de inmigración (el sheriff proporciona la aplicación de la ley para Half Moon Bay). A medida que avanza el año nuevo, la Ciudad continuará monitoreando la situación, revisando la posible legislación estatal relacionada con el apoyo y ofreciendo asistencia y tranquilidad a las familias inmigrantes que llaman hogar a Half Moon Bay.

Ubicada a 28 millas al sur de San Francisco, la ciudad de Half Moon Bay es una comunidad de alrededor de 12 500 personas, situada en la península entre las colinas boscosas y algunas de las costas más bellas que California tiene para ofrecer. Su centro histórico es el hogar de numerosas tiendas, galerías de arte, restaurantes, alojamiento con desayuno, y otros negocios, y sus famosas playas y parques son maravillas de la naturaleza, accesible a los peatones, ciclistas y jinetes. Con sus muchas actividades y eventos, hermosos paisajes naturales, el encanto de la ciudad vieja y la abundancia de servicios comerciales y de venta, Half Moon Bay es un destino regional. El sitio web de la Ciudad es www.hmbcity.com.

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Seymour Bridge Ribbon Cutting/Opening Scheduled for This Friday


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 13, 2016

Contact: John Doughty
Community Development Director
(650) 726-8270

Seymour Bridge Ribbon Cutting/Opening Scheduled for Friday, December 16


HALF MOON BAY, CA – The City is pleased to announce that the relocation and replacement of Seymour Bridge, a key connector on the Coastal Trail in Half Moon Bay, is complete, and will be officially dedicated and opened with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting.

Opening of the New Seymour Bridge
Friday, December 16, 2016, 9 am
Park Free at the Poplar Beach Parking Lot – Short Walk to New Bridge

The relocation and replacement of the bridge was required because of the accelerated erosion in the Seymour Ditch in the vicinity of the old bridge. The erosion was so significant that it was beginning to threaten the existing bridge’s support and surrounding soil.

The new pre-fabricated bridge was delivered late last month, and has been installed at a location approximately 135 feet east of the old bridge site, away from the erosion. The Coastal trail has been tied-in to the new bridge, and it’s ready for its official opening.

With remarks by the Mayor and a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, the Seymour Bridge relocation and replacement will be complete, and this inviting portion of the Coastal Trail will once again welcome all who enjoy the beauty and serenity of Half Moon Bay’s world-class coastline.

Located 28 miles south of San Francisco, the City of Half Moon Bay is a community of about 11,500 people, situated on the peninsula between forested hills and some of the most beautiful coastlines that California has to offer. Its historic downtown is home to numerous shops, art galleries, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and other businesses, and its celebrated beaches and parks are wonders of nature, accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and equestrians. With its many activities and events, beautiful natural scenery, old-town charm, and abundance of retail and commercial services, Half Moon Bay is a regional destination. The City’s website is www.hmbcity.com.

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