Esplanade Lawsuit – ESR vs. Millard Tong (310 & 320 Esplanade)

From the Fix Pacifica blog comes news of a civil suit filed in San Mateo Court by Engineered Soil Resources against Millard Tong for payment due for work done since Fall 2008. (Fix Pacifica: The Crumbly Cliffs lawsuits begin).

According to the Complaint, Tong has refused to pay all amounts due to work done on both 310 Esplanade Ave, and 320 Esplanade for work dating back to 2008. This is only one side of the story, and we’ll have to wait to learn why Tong chose to delay or deny payment.

Address Amount
310 Esplanade Avenue $971,489.44
320 Esplanade Avenue $845,241.44


Complaint To Foreclose Mechanics’ Liens, For Breach Of Contract, For Unjust Enrichment And For Common Counts. San Mateo Online Access to Court Case Information website document link.

Actions in Case CIV494786. List of on-going actions in the case on the San Mateo court website: link.

Current Snapshot

The “Actions” link mentioned above provides current, up-to-date information about the case. Following is information from that link TODAY (5/17/2010):

Action Text
05/05/2010 (S) COMPLAINT FILED

Complaint as of May 17, 2010: A-0000124931-1.complaint.

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade:

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

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Television Tropes & Idioms

Terrific fun for readers, writers and couch potatoes:

What is this about? This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction. We dip into the cauldron of story, whistle up a hearty spoonful and splosh it in front of you to devour to your heart’s content.

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means “stereotyped and trite.” In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.

The wiki is called “TV Tropes” because TV is where we started. Over the course of a few years, our scope has crept out to include other media. Tropes transcend television. They exist in life. Since a lot of art, especially the popular arts, does its best to reflect life, tropes are likely to show up everywhere.

Home Page – Television Tropes & Idioms.

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Cutting libraries in a recession is like…

[Design by Daniel Solis, from an observation by Eleanor Crumblehulme. Licensed under a Creative Commons 2.0 License.]

Orange Crate Art via Cutting libraries.

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Patio Removed Between 330 and 320 Esplanade

See the full size images on Flickr at: Patio Removed Between 330 and 320 Esplanade,

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade:

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

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Pacifica apartment owners hopeful following meeting

From Julia Scott, San Mateo County Times, Pacifica apartment owners feel hopeful following meeting, the lead:

Apartment owners on Esplanade Avenue agreed Wednesday in a meeting with city officials and the California Coastal Commission to collaborate in protecting their buildings from losing any more ground to systemic blufftop erosion.

After months of stalemate, the owners of more than a dozen apartment buildings and condominiums on upper Esplanade agreed to pursue a uniform engineering approach to prevent further blufftop loss, although the design is still up in the air.

The agreement to a uniform engineering approach was essential to any project that attempts to remediate the bluff behind 320 and 330. Beyond these two properties, the agreement may help to lower the overall cost by allowing contractors to reuse access roads, extend leases on rented equipment, and the like. That said, there is no indication whatsoever that there is any funding for the work, and 320 Esplanade is apparently threatened by a new June 17 deadline to show that the building can be reopened to tenants.

Ms. Scott does excellent work, and her article is highly recommended.

End of a Long Standing Conflict?

Does this agreement also signal the end to an undisclosed conflict that appeared to have played a role in the failure of last spring’s (2009) rock placement project to protect 330 Esplanade?

Or is it merely a temporary truce allowing owners to buy time and a more favorable position as they struggle to find financing to fund the projects?

Back in December we learned that the presence of a protective wall tends to concentrate and magnify the power of waves on neighboring, unprotected coastal areas. (See my post for info and links, Crumbling coastline: Pacifica’s problems nothing new to the California coast 12/20/2009.) Watching the erosion on 320 and the north end of 310 Esplanade since then confirmed the consequential erosion.

Looking at the coast below the Esplanade bluff last winter it was clear that the rock rip rap wall or revetment that had been laid at the foot of the bluff in late spring 2009 did not extend behind 330 or 350 Esplanade. This image from the California Coastal Records photo project showed this clearly (original):

N37 39.19 ; W122 29.81 :: Image 200906567 :: Thu Oct 1 15:02:37 2009

Why the rock was not placed below 330 Esplanade has never been clearly explained as far as I know. We have heard that conflict among the owners, possibly related to the unusual lot boundaries, stopped the project, but this has never been really clarified.

Yet another deadline for 320, but what about 330?

Pacifica has apparently given the owners of 320 Esplanade, Millard and Alicia Tong, until June 17 to show that the building can be reopened to tenants.

Pacifica building official Doug Rider has previously indicated that more than simply repairing and replacing the stabilizing coastal bluff, repairs must make the buildings seismically fit. There has been no indication from Rider or any other official how much work or investment would be required in order for them to allow the buildings to re-open.

No mention of any deadline for the previously closed 330 Esplanade, though there must be one.

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SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD New Poster by THE WALKING DEAD Artist Charlie Adlard


Immediately following the events of Diary of the Dead, SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD is the 6th film from George A. Romero to look at a world where humans are in the minority and the zombies rule.

Off the coast of Delaware sits the cozy Plum Island where two families are locked in a struggle for power, as it has been for generations.  The O’Flynn’s, headed by patriarch Patrick O’Flynn (Kenneth Welsh) approach the zombie plague with a shoot-to-kill attitude.  The Muldoons, headed by Shamus Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick), feel that the zombies should be quarantined and kept ‘alive,’ in hopes that a solution will someday be found.

The O’Flynn’s, who are clearly outnumbered, are forced to exile Patrick by boat to the mainland, where he meets up with a band of soldiers, headed by Guardsman Sarge (Alan Van Sprang). They join forces and return to the island, to find that the zombie plague has fully gripped the divided community.

As the battle between humans and zombies escalates, the master filmmaker continues to reinvent the modern horror genre with wicked humor and pointed social commentary.

SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD premieres on VOD, Amazon, Xbox Zune and Playstation April 30 and will be in theaters on May 28th.


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Holly Miranda, Joints [Video]

This morning I got an awesome cut from the neat music discovery website Track In The Box, Holly Miranda singing her original “Joints”.

From the Track in a Box website:

This track is off Miranda’s The Magicians’s Private Library (great title), but this version is from a trio of sessions with just her and fiddle player/solo artist Marques Toliver (who is amazing in his own right) which follows the two of them playing around Williamsburg. Miranda’s voice is absolutely phenomenal in a wait are you for real and why are you not everywhere sort of way, and while there are plenty of ‘she sounds like (insert female vocalist’s name here)’ comparisons out there, that’s really not doing it justice. She is amazing; there’s a bit with an echo in the staircase that’s… gah! Just listen, then listen again, then listen to the rest of the sessions, then listen to the album, then start over again. That’s what’s been going on over here anyway.


Dreamt of you again last night
Called your phone to hear your voice
I know
I know you know
That I’ll never let you go
How do I let go?

I can feel it in my joints
It aches and creaks and
There’s no point
In growing old
Oh this life I’ve made on my own
Is lonely with the love I’ve known

Where are you
Is where I want to be
Where are you
Is where I want to be

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The Political Blogosphere and the 2004 U.S. Election: Divided They Blog

This data visualization showed the linking between conservative (red) and liberal (blue) blogs in 2004. Particularly interesting is the relatively fewer links between the two ideologies, and comparatively few blogs in the center.

This rather old study seems all the more relevant given the frequency we hear about “deep divides” between liberals and conservatives on every major issue. More troubling to me is the seeming replacement of fact-based reporting with “he said / she said” commentary alternates, where news has been replaced with merely letting opponents spew talking points without any critical review or fact checking.

Selective Exposure Debate

As we read news and opinion on the web, do we exclusively stick to sources that we agree with, or do we spend time “on the other side of the street?” Is it normal and natural for us to stick with people that think as we do, and if so how do we challenge our thinking and grow over time? Do a Google search on selective exposure debate and I think you’ll see that there is general agreement that selective exposure does happen, i.e. that people do choose viewpoints and world views that align with their own. There may be less agreement on whether people actively reject opposite viewpoints, or simply don’t give those viewpoints time during their on-line sessions. This dry, somewhat academic-sounding “debate” is vitally important to us today as we consider the deep divide between liberal and conservative viewpoints, or if we seek to understand underlying causes for religious and ethnic intolerance.

Article Credit, Visualization Information

“The Political Blogosphere and the 2004 U.S. Election: Divided They Blog”, March 4, 2005 by Lada Adamic, HP Labs, Palo Alto, CA and Natalie Glance, Natalie Glance, Intelliseek Applied Research Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

  • Figure 1: Community structure of political blogs (expanded set), shown using utilizing a GEM layout [11] in the GUESS[3] visualization and analysis tool. The colors reflect political orientation, red for conservative, and blue for liberal. Orange links go from liberal to conservative, and purple ones from conservative to liberal. The size of each blog reflects the number of other blogs that link to it. (Click the image for a larger version.)

Via Andrew Sullivan, A Tale of Two Blogspheres.

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Evacuation Order for 320 Esplanade

On Thursday April 29 the owner and few remaining residents of 320 Esplanade received from Pacifica a Notice of Violation / Substandard and Dangerous Building, Orders to Vacate and Repair and a deadline of Sunday May 2nd, 11:00 PM, to vacate the building. For details on the notice see my post Orders to Vacate and Repair – 320 Esplanade.

City officials from the Planning and Development Department who ordered residents to vacate the building reportedly did so out of seismic concerns, rather than for erosion caused by surf or ground-water. Residents and observers have known that the loss of the protective bluff left the building in a precarious state. Apparently the latest engineering reports called into question the viability / practicality of replacing the bluff in order to make the buildings safe.

Media coverage:

“At this point, no one can be certain that the buildings would be safe in an earthquake,” said Pacifica City Engineer Doug Rider. “Two weeks ago, they lost ten more feet of bluff between 320 and 330. It has undermined porches and foundations. If there were a large earthquake, sixty feet of bluff could fall right back to the street in an instant.”

The building, located at 320 Esplanade Ave., is next door to a property that was evacuated in December after the cliff supporting it began to fall away.

After residents evacuated 330 Esplanade Ave. in December, a private company began construction on a concrete wall to hold up the cliff. The wall was not completed due to financial constraints, Rider said. The building owners were responsible for financing the project and were unable to get supplemental money from federal agencies.

This week, rain washed away the sand behind the wall, causing it to crack and pull away from the cliff, Rider said. The building is now in danger of falling into the ocean.

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade:

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

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Orders to Vacate and Repair – 320 Esplanade

Taped to the front door of each apartment of 320 Esplanade today was a”Notice of Violation / Substandard and Dangerous Building” from the City of Pacifica. Following is a transcription of the first page. If anyone has a copy of the full set of the documents for me, I’d be glad to post them.

April 29, 2010

Millard W. Tong, Trustee [Responsible Person]
Alicia W. Tong, Trustee [Responsible Person]
Revocable Living Trust [Property Owner]
1499A Terra Nova Blvd.
Pacifica, CA 94044

[Copy Via Fax / (650) 898-1552]

RE: Notice of Violation / Substandard and Dangerous Building
Orders to Vacate and Repair
320 Esplanade, Pacifica / APN: 009-413-020

Dear Responsible Persons and Property Owner:


This apartment building violates standards in Chapter 18 [Soils and Foundations] of the 2007 California Building Code as adopted by Section 8-1.01 of the Pacifica Municipal Code. Those violations are described in Appendix 1, which is attached hereto.

I have made the following determinations due to those violations and with additional consideration of the reports of RJR Engineering Group dated April 25, 2010 and Cotton, Shires and Associates dated April 23, 2010, copies of which are attached here to and incorporated by reference.

1. This apartment building is substandard.

Applicable Statute:

California Health & Saftey Code, Section 17920.3, which states, in pertinent part, as follows:

Any building or portion thereof including any dwelling unit, guestroom or suite of rooms, or the premises on which the same is located, in which there exists any of the following listed conditions to an extent that endangers the life, limb, health, property, safety, or welfare of the public

For a complete chronology and links to many more photos see Evacuation underway at 330 Esplanade:

See all of my pictures of the Esplanade crisis:

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Wasteland Comic – Wallpapers

These are wallpapers provided by Wasteland comic artists Christopher Mitten, and Ben Templesmith.

Wasteland takes place one hundred years after the Big Wet, a disaster that destroyed most of the world as we know it. Half the world is now covered by poisonous, rising oceans. What dry land remains is a broken, infertile world of hard ground and harder living.

Into this world steps Michael, a scavenger who roams the wasteland, trading what he can salvage. But Michael’s latest find will change his life for ever — a machine that talks in a forgotten language, supposedly giving directions to the fabled land of A-Ree-Yass-I, where mankind’s downfall began.

Wasteland is post-apocalyptic science fiction / horror of the highest caliber. One of the few books that I absolutely must have each month!

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Reid Hillview Airport Day 2010

San Carlos Airport Association » Blog Archive » 6/26/10: RHV Airport Day.

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