Dear editor, 

This was originally written to the Pacifica City Council.

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I am very pleased that the city is moving forward on replacing and extending the seawall to close the southern gap to protect its residents. However, I’m shocked to learn that the engineering firm that the city has chosen, GHD, is partnering with and subcontracting Environmental Science Associates (ESA) to perform significant portions of this $1.5M project.

ESA provided the faulty cost benefit analysis and sea-level rise predictive maps for the proposed Local Coastal Plan. As you know, citizens raised numerous complaints about ESA’s errant and non-peer reviewed data. So much so, that the City Attorney and City Council had to add the following disclaimers to the Local Coastal Land Use Plan (LCLUP):

  • “The cost-benefit analysis shall not be used for any future purpose by the City of Pacifica or its planning processes, including implementation of the Local Coastal Program, public infrastructure investment, permitting or other regulatory purposes.”
  • “Coastal Vulnerability Zone maps are not detailed to the parcel-scale and should not be used for real estate, financing, or insurance transactions, or other uses such as navigation, permitting, or regulatory uses.”

Yet, we see that GHD has contracted ESA to provide the same information for the sea wall engineering study to the tune of $146,500. These tasks include Flood Risk Assessment and Adaptation Plan and Environmental Conditions, among other items.

It is well known that ESA is biased against sea walls and favors managed retreat. I encourage City Council to insist that GHD not use ESA in any way for the seawall engineering project.

City Council and the Planning Commission must ensure that ESA or anyone else is not allowed to use their previous errant data in any way. Allowing them to do so not only would be a violation of the disclaimer the City Attorney wrote, but it would be a case of “double-dipping”, where ESA would be paid twice for the same work.

Please enter this complaint into the record for the city council meeting of June 8, 2020.

Jeff Guillet

Pacifica

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