Linda Mar Beach on Aug. 15. Photo by Bev Jacquemet

But what can I do about it? That question is at the heart of so many crises from the spread of Malaria in sub-saharan Africa to helping the unhoused right here in Pacifica. Our governments are organized to lead collective response to our needs. The best of them hear from constituents and reflect their views in transparent meetings that end in effective action.

But what can I do about it remains the question for many of us — even if we are schooled in the ways of government and know our acronyms. If the utility is replacing a gas line in front of your house, if the local school is considering different hours, do you know who to call for more information? Do you know how to affect those plans for the better?

Perhaps you do. But we have something for everyone else, and we can thank Pacifican Pete Shoemaker for putting it together.

Recently, he produced a series of short primers on the government process. He touches on our national democracy but quickly zeroes in on Pacifica. You can watch all six parts in about an hour or treat it like a series of civics lessons and watch them over time. There are segments dealing with the organization of city government, planning and land-use, essential local services and even what to expect if you are planning to address a public meeting. Shoemaker is a member of our Editorial Advisory Committee, but he produced the video modules on his own.

Here are the topics and links to each video. They will remain on our website, We hope you use them, share them and tell us whether they are helpful.

— Clay Lambert

Introduction (0:44): Link

Part 1 – National, State and County governments (6:42): Link

Part 2 – City government (12:56): Link

Part 3 – Essential Services (21:28): Link

Part 4 – Planning and Land Use (11:46): Link

Part 5 – Speaking at City Meetings (11:04): Link

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