Bay Area Congresswoman Speier takes damage tour of Pacifica

Congresswoman Jackie Speier promised help to the city of Pacifica and residents affected by the latest El Niño-fueled storms that is causing cliff sides to crumble.

Speier took a tour with federal, state, and local officials of damaged public facilities and the yellow-tagged apartments at 310 Esplanade. She called the situation a “profound natural disaster.”

“I promise the community of Pacifica, that I love, that I will do everything in my power to make sure federal dollars are made available,” Speier said.

Speier said the City of Pacifica can bid for $30 million of from the state to fix public facilities like the pier, the Milagra Creek storm water outfall, and the sea wall. The funding had already been set aside for state by the federal government for what Speier called mitigation measures.

The $30 million in funding would not be available to assist renters, but Speier said she would continue to look for other avenues of aid for individuals affected.

She said Pacifica would not be able to get assistance from FEMA unless the state made a disaster declaration and until storm damage caused $54 million in damage and affected 800 homes.

Michael McHenry who was moving out of his yellow-tagged apartment at 310 Esplanade talked to the congresswoman about the issues he’s facing when she toured the building.

“I told her some of the obstacles that are standing between me and halfway decent place to live and she told me she was going to take care of it,” McHenry said. “I trust her when she says she’s going to remove these obstacles.”

San Mateo County Supervisor Don Horsley said the county would do everything possible to help renters get housing.

“Nobody wants to stay in a shelter very long so we’ll work with them,” Horsley said. “On the other hand, they’ve got to find a place first so once they find a place then we can help them with first and last month’s rent.”

Speier also urged the city to set up a community fund for affected residents.

City Manager Lorie Tinfow said they are concerned about the long term damage to everything that sits west of Highway 1 in Pacifica, but do not have a plan in place to deal with it yet.