Is this Point Loma’s Next Problem Project – Garrison and Locust?

September 23, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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There’s a new construction project coming in at the northwest corner of Garrison Street and Locust Street in Point Loma. It’s all dirt at the corner lot, hidden by a construction screen fence.

A peek at what the development entails shows that a large below grade hole has been carved out of the dirt. Look at the photo. The depth of the hole appears to be able to take in that Potter-Potty. How tall are those?

This is probably a future subterranean garage. Uh-oh.

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Dispelling Myths about the Point Loma High Class of 1966

September 20, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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The following are remarks by Frank Gormlie from the podium at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Point Loma High School Class of 1966, held recently at an undisclosed location off of Point Loma.

By Frank Gormlie

Tonight we’re here to dispel all those myths and rumors that have circulated and existed for half a century – myths about our favorite class – Class of 66 – our school, our teachers and classmates.

First, we want to dispel the rumor that our class created a fake student by the name of “Mike Hall” in a science homeroom run by those team teachers – Mr. Millstone and Mr. Shank – this did not happen.

And it’s also not true, that our classmates filled out all the paperwork for this fictitious Mike Hall – you remember all those multi-colored forms at the beginning of each semester – filled them all out – not true – for an entire year.

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News and Notices from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Mid-September 2016

September 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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OBcean Partners with National Geographic to Get Plastic Out of the Oceans

OB Home Broken Into and Robbed During Fumigation

Belching Beaver Opens

Azucar’s Owner Gets a Plug at San Diego Mag

R-Rated Puppet Show at OB Playhouse

Jensen’s in Point Loma: Hiring Fair and Block Party

Gretchen Newsom in the News and It Wasn’t About OB

AND MUCH MORE … COME INSIDE FOR THE STORIES ABOUT OB AND PT LOMA

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Update on Development around Ocean Beach and Point Loma

September 14, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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This is an update on six construction projects around Point Loma and Ocean Beach – most of which we’ve been monitoring for a while – some for years.

Emerson and Evergreen Project There’s been some good news of late …

Upper Voltaire Significant grading has transformed this lot …

For Sale Signs at Former Barnard School Site the project of180 “ultra-luxury” apartment units was just sold for $90 million.

Ebers and Greene This problem-plagued construction site …

Voltaire and Abbott The 3-unit, 2-story project at the corner of Voltaire and Abbott …

COME INSIDE FOR DETAILS

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58% of California Voters Support Marijuana Legalization

September 13, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Proposition 64 Enjoys Wide Support Among Most Voter Categories

A new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found that a good majority of California voters support marijuana legalization and back Proposition 64.

58% of voters in the state support Prop 64, which would allow Californians ages 21 or older to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of cannabis for recreational purposes, and would allow individuals to grow as many as six plants. The measure would also impose a 15% tax on retail sales of the drug.

And according to the poll, the favorable attitude toward grass cuts across most lines of age, race, income and gender.

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OB Planners Approve Brighton Project, Hold Forum on Torrey Pine, Hear Complaints About Project at Ebers and Greene

September 9, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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At the Wednesday, September 7th monthly OB Planning Board meeting, local planners approved a 2 unit project on the 5100 block of Brighton Avenue, held a mini-forum on the Torrey Pine situation, and listened to residents upset with the project under construction at Ebers and Greene.

Ebers and Greene

The pleas of a small group of residents about the project at Ebers and Greene fell on sympathetic ears during the public comment period of the Board’s agenda, Wednesday night. Allison and Mick Rush, along with Greg Cox made a brief presentation about all the site’s problems, and requested that the Board place the issue on the agenda for their next meeting.

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Reader Article Shines Light on Point Loma’s 30-Foot Height Limit Controversy

September 8, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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In a very recent article in the San Diego Reader by Julie Stalmer, entitled, “30-foot coastal height limit slips a peg in Point Loma”, a needed searchlight is shown on the foggy controversy surrounding the 30-foot height limit controversy rolling over Point Loma.

Let’s bypass for the moment the minor issue about the September 8th San Diego Planning Commission meeting being called about the city’s solution to the controversy (of which Peninsula planning leaders were not notified) – and then being cancelled at the last moment – and look what Stalmer found.

She delved into what Peninsula planners see as the culprit that has caused the controversy around the sacrosanct 30-foot height limit, for afterall Prop D – which passed overwhelmingly in 1972 – is still on the books.

The culprit, according to the Point Loma planning leaders that Stalmer interviewed, Jon Linney, chair, and Don Sevrens, member, is August 2013 technical bulletin put out by the Development Services Department. They believe, with a lot of basis, that the technical bulletin attempted “to reinterpret the over-40-year-old 30-foot coastal height limit.”

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FAA Replaces San Diego Airport’s Primary Departure Route South of Point Loma

September 8, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Residents applaud future flight paths but say they won’t address ongoing concerns

By Joshua Stewart / San Diego U-T

After a year of lobbying by Point Loma residents, the Federal Aviation Administration is attempting to keep noisy air traffic away from the peninsula’s neighborhoods and landmarks by adjusting a proposed departure route for eastbound flights out of San Diego International Airport.

However, residents remain concerned about the current flight path for some planes that head south out of the airport and then bank sharply to the east over the finger of land.

“As this relates to the peninsula communities, this is a significant win, but it doesn’t do anything to impact the day-to-day issues,” said Casey Schnoor, a member of an organized group of residents.

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On San Diego Homeless Awareness Day, the Peninsula Beacon Missed the Point

September 7, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Local Newspaper Sends Out Mixed Message About Homeless

About 3 weeks ago, August 17th was the “San Diego Homeless Awareness Day” – a day set up by various media sources around San Diego to bring a new awareness of those less fortunate and who live on the streets and in the shelters.

And about 20 of San Diego’s media sources carried or ran or printed or published 40 or so articles and posts about the homeless and homelessness today.

The OB Rag – along with our sister publication, the San Diego Free Press – joined this effort to highlight the plight of our area’s citizens who have no home, other than the streets, and we both posted a series of articles from the writers of the SDFP and OB Rag. (For other articles from the publications on the homeless, visit the SD Homeless Aware website.)

Many of the articles and posts painted and reflected compassionate understandings of the homeless and their plight, with efforts to examine the underlying reasons for so many homeless in one of the richest nations on earth. This day of awareness followed – by a little over a month – a serial murderer who preyed on sleeping homeless men in San Diego.

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OB Planners – Wed., Sept. 7th: Brighton Ave. Project that Exceeds FAR and Torrey Pine Advocates

September 6, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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At Wednesday night’s Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting, the Board will take up a development permit regarding 5109-5111 Brighton Avenue that requests a “deviation” to OB’s FAR, and will hear from community members who were involved in trying to prevent the removal of the Torrey Pine on Saratoga recently.

The planners convene at 6pm in the Community Meeting room at the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue – that’s this Wed., September 7th.

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Excavations and More at the 28-Unit Condo and Mixed Use Upper Voltaire Project

September 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Construction has finally begun on the 28-unit project called the Upper Voltaire Mixed Use – situated on that one-acre triangular-shaped lot along Voltaire Street (where Dominos once stood) just west of Wabaska, overlooking Nimitz Boulevard below.

If one peaks over the construction fence, you can see the lot is beginning its transformation into a site for 28 two and three storied townhouses, and half a dozen retail units in the project, which is being managed by Mike Stevens.

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Here is how we reported on the Upper Voltaire Project in late April 2015 :

Designed to bring in “quality townhome residences”, the units will include 2 or 3 bedrooms with an average of 1,450 square feet. 17 of them will be 3-stories and eleven are 2-stories that will rest over retail storefronts. All the planned units will have a deck, and some will have two, plus garage spaces.

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Group of Residents to Petition the OB Planning Board on Project at Ebers and Greene

August 31, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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A group of residents who live close to the controversial project at Ebers and Greene are upset with the project and are getting ready to approach the OB Planning Board about the 3-story wood framed structure still in construction. They want the local planners to take a close look at the on the southeast corner of the intersection along busy Ebers, a block from West Pt Loma Avenue.

And they believe they can make the case to the planners that the project has committed so many violations, that hopefully the OBPB can convince the city to issue a stop-work order.

The locals – who shall remain anonymous at this time – are convinced that the owner-developer of the project has made so many mis-steps – from his construction plans to the actual work completed up to now – that reason will ultimately prevail and the wrongs will be righted.

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How the Mainstream Media Failed the Public During the ‘Save the Torrey Pine’ Campaign

August 30, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey media
By Frank Gormlie

During the recent campaign to save the Torrey Pine on Saratoga, whenever there was a show down – or the promise of one – between those tree-hugging residents surrounding the infamous Pine and the Atlas tree chopping crews, you’d be sure to find television cameras and reporters at the scene.

The reporters – and their producers at the station – must have loved the Torrey Pine story – for all the times San Diego television viewers were shown the latest news-clips about those colorful OB residents trying to save that old tree.

However the particular station spun the story – newscasters would smile wryly as if to say, ‘oh, those cute but misguided OB tree-huggers, look what they’re up to now …’ and their viewers would then catch sight of protesting residents – with even one who climbed up into the giant Torreys – all set in conflict against the the city staffers, cops, and the tree-cutting crews … with the buzz of saws in the background.

It made for good visuals, for good stories, and many times the teasers leaped out at viewers.

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The Sordid Saga of the Saratoga Torrey Pine – A Chronology

August 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Some of us who were involved in the unsuccessful effort to save the Torrey Pine at 4652 Saratoga Avenue, thought it necessary to develop a written account of the saga of the Torrey called “Esperanza” – or “Hope”.

A chronicle was needed telling the story of how it came to be that the city and its contractor cut down the 90-year old, 80-foot tall on Monday, August 22nd.

The following, then, is a chronology of the Torrey Pine and its removal. (Much is taken from an anonymous “Critique of Saratoga Torrey Pine Chronology”, some is from a “Fact Sheet” from the city’s Transportation & Storm Water division, the remainder from this reporter’s notes and memories.)

________________

Unusually strong storms, beginning in the winter of 2015/2016, brought down a number of widely-reported trees and large limbs around the city, and as a result, there was a city-wide heightened awareness of large trees and their vulnerability.

Late January – early Feb – Strong winds brought down a large pine tree on Talbot Street in Point Loma – that caused some damage – and reportedly a 100-year old Torrey pine tree in the courtyard at OB Elementary School fell with no damage or injuries.

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OB Town Council Gets an Earful – Complaints about Torrey Pine, Candidate Statements, and Ideas About Newport Ave

August 25, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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From expressions of anger about the recent Torrey Pine removal, to impassioned statements by Board candidates, to studied brows deep in thought on how to improve Newport Avenue, the Ocean Beach Town Council meeting last night, Wednesday, Aug. 24th, exhibited a gamut of emotions and “passions”.

Anger of Residents on How City Handled Torrey Pine

Anger at how the City handled the Torrey Pine on Saratoga came out among residents during the non-agenda public comment period at the opening of the meeting. The Masonic Center community room filled up with sixty people, at least one news camera and reporter, as acting chair Gio Ignolia attempted to guide the at times contentious forum.

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Torrey Pine: OB Asked for a Community Forum – Here’s the City’s Answer

August 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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The Ocean Beach community had asked the City to hold a community forum on the health and dangers of the Torrey Pine in the middle of the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue.

Monday morning, bright and early, came the City’s response.

Out before 6:30 this morning – Monday – yellow police tape had been spread out, a dozen police officers stood their positions and Atlas Tree Service showed up and began cutting down the Torrey named Esperanza – Hope. By 9:30 a.m. all the branches were down – including one with a birds’ nest – and all that remained was the huge trunk.

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Here’s Arborist Report that Concludes OB Torrey Pine is “Low Risk”

August 19, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Here below is the arborist’s report on the Saratoga Avenue Torrey Pine. This is a significant report, as not only was it paid for by members of the Ocean Beach community, but the risk assessment performed by Mastor Arborist Bradley Brown, cites the tree at issue as “low risk”.

The report includes 3 pages of text and 2 pages that have the standard matrix that arborists use.

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More Details Emerge in Shooting on Ebers Street

August 18, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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More details have emerged about the shooting that involved roommates on Ebers Street Monday, August 8th.

The man arrested for the shooting, Lance Touchstone, 40, a resident of Petaluma in northern California pleaded not guilty Tuesday, August 16, to the charges leveled against him: attempted murder and discharging a firearm.

Touchstone’s charges stem from the shooting of the boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend) of his sister Becky, one Jeff Renteria, 30 at their home on the 2100 block of Ebers Street.

Renteria was shot 3 three times and was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries – to his right side with at least one to his abdomen.

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Community Forum With City Representatives on Torrey Pine Requested

August 18, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

The folks working to save the Torrey Pine on the 4600 block of Saratoga have requested a “Community Forum” on the tree with city representatives to discuss the new arborist’s report and other information – before the city makes any move on the historic Torrey.

John Ambert, in his communication with city officials in which he attached Mastor Arborist Bradley Brown’s risk assessment, make the following:

We are requesting a community forum with City representatives to review the information presented and discuss the path forward, prior to any future work activities.

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Community-Funded Arborist Report: The Ocean Beach Torrey Pine Is “Low Risk”

August 17, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

An arborist report just released to the City by those OBceans who have been attempting to save the Torrey Pine on Saratoga, states :

“The mature Torrey pine in front of 4652 Saratoga Avenue presented low risk at the time of my assessment made on Monday, August 15, 2016.”

The Tree Risk Assessment by Bradley Brown, a Board Certified Master Arborist, was sent to members of the City by John Ambert, chair of the OB Planning Board. It included pages of matrices that arborists use, plus a 2-page written report, with photos.

The Ocean Beach community funded Arborist Brown’s services, and specifically, he was hired by the residents and supporters on Saratoga, via a GoFundMe page put up by the group Friends of the Peninsula Trees.

Brown also stated in his report:

“I observed no significant defects or secondary disorders in the subject tree. … The trunk base showed no signs of significant mechanical damage or discoloration. … The tree appeared healthy and vigorous.”

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Trump’s Daughter Is Vacationing With Putin’s Girlfriend

August 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Just when you thought the 2016 Presidential race couldn’t get any crazier, here come reports that Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka is actually vacationing in Croatia with Putin’s girlfriend, Wendi Deng Murdoch.

From an August 14 article on People online:

Ivanka Trump is taking a break from the campaign trail to vacation with friends. The daughter of GOP nominee Donald Trump shared a scenic snap with Wendi Deng Murdoch, the ex-wife of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, from Dubrovnik, Croatia.

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Man Who Wants to Overturn 6 Gun Laws Has Business in Ocean Beach

August 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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It turns out that the guy leading 6 petition drives against new California gun restrictions recently signed into law has a business “headquartered” right here in Ocean Beach.

Barry Bahrami has launched campaigns to qualify his six referendum to go up against the gun control laws signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Barry Bahrami is also the CEO of Commercial Network Services, an online business that touts itself “a global online service provider specializing in hosting low latency algorithmic trading systems, virtual private networks …” and other virtual trading services.

And Commercial Network Services are indeed headquartered in OB, right at the OB Business Center, at “4876 Santa Monica Ave # 111, San Diego, CA 92107” according to his site. Now, true, we’re talking a PO Box here as “headquarters” – but it is an Ocean Beach connection.

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‘Not So Fast’ – Some Ocean Beach Residents Are Saying – ‘We’re Not Ready to Give Up on Torrey Pine’

August 15, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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‘Not so fast,’ some residents of Ocean Beach are saying – to any giving up of saving the historic Torrey Pine on Saratoga Street. There’s been some momentum against the sentiment expressed in a press statement sent out over the weekend from one group of residents saying that they’re ready to let the City chop down the tree called “Hope” (Esperanza).

There was some dissent within the group when it was decided to send out the statement. And that stance has led to the group enlisting the services of a second arborist just recently.

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News from Ocean Beach and the Peninsula – Mid-August 2016

August 12, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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* Decco Bikes Signs Not Part of Their Contract With City
* OB Beans to Open on Newport
* OB Library Needs Computer Desk
* Little Fire Damage at Ebers and Greene
* Digging Begins on Upper Voltaire Project
* “Progress” at Apple Tree Market
* Sgt Yu and the OB Yoga Festival
* Former Barnard Elementary Now 180 “Ultra-Luxury” Units Sells for $90 Million

COME INSIDE FOR THE STORIES, Y’ALL …

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Reprieve for Ocean Beach Torrey Pine Holds for Now – Residents Continue to Mobilize – Demand Time for Independent Analysis

August 12, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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This morning – Friday, August 12th – around 7 a.m. on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue in the heart of Ocean Beach, there were no signs of Atlas Tree Service trucks or crews, no signs of of any city officials or police barricades and patrol cars, and the ubituious ‘no parking’ signs were nowhere to be seen.

In stead, about 2 dozens residents and supporters were sitting or milling around, some of them giving interviews to the nearly half-dozen TV stations and reporters. These folks were responsible for the City’s last-minute temporary reprieve issued yesterday evening – backtracking on their plans to chop down the giant Torrey Pine across the street from where people were sitting this morning.

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City Declares a Temporary Halt to the Removal of the Saratoga Torrey Pine

August 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Just got off the phone (7:38 pm Thurs.) with Katie Keach, contact person for the City on the issue, and she confirmed that the City is indeed “temporarily” delaying the destruction of the Torrey Pine – “Esparenza” – on Saratoga in OB. Keach stressed that the City still stands by its assessment that the tree needs to be removed, and the delay is only “temporary”.

Just this evening – mere hours after the City sent out a notice it was proceeding with the removal – the City backtracked and sent another notice out to the media stating:

“The City of San Diego has temporarily suspended plans to remove a failing tree from 4652 Saratoga Avenue in OB that had been slated for Friday morning, August 12th. The work had been scheduled for Friday morning.

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City and Atlas Plan on Chopping Down Saratoga Torrey Pine Friday, Aug.12th

August 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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The City of San Diego and Atlas Tree Service are planning on chopping down the Torrey Pine – “Esperanza” – on Saratoga Friday morning, August 12th.

A representative from the City informed John Ambert, head of the OB Planning Board today, Thursday, of the plans for Friday.

The City believes it has the proper documentation that proves the tree is unstable and is dangerous. This despite the fact that the residents who have halted the cutting so far are moving on hiring an independent arborist and Torrey Pine specialist. In fact, a GoFundMe has been set up to help finance a 3rd party evaluation.

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Newport Ave. Corner with OB Town Council Bulletin Board and Palms Taken Out

August 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Have you noticed the changes at the southwest corner of Newport Avenue and Cable Street?

The OB Town Council had a bulletin board there, and there were some palms and shrubbery. And Willie’s Shoe Shine place was also right there, just steps from the corner.

The Town Council had at their own expense installed the bulletin board and maintained it. They had an arrangement with the furniture store, Mallories. For years. The OBTC also had an agreement that their board would down be changed or removed without their involvement.

Well, all that has changed.

The bulletin board is gone. The palms are gone. And Willie’s store has been pushed back – more into the interior of the parking lot. And new asphalt has been poured in the immediate site.

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Saving the Saratoga Torrey Pine – a Waiting Game

August 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Organizers Have Created Tree Watch Shifts – Zapf and Mayor Are No-Shows

Directly across the street from “Esparenza” – the name protesters have given the Torrey Pine target for chopping – is a small group of local residents sitting in chairs, eating, talking, reading.

They’re the current shift on Saratoga Street doing a “watch” for any signs of Atlas Tree Service crews or equipment. If they are sighted, then the call goes out to dozens of residents and supporters to gather at the Torrey Pine.

They were there today, Wednesday, by 7 a.m. – some having breakfast and coffee. They told this reporter that an Atlas “scout” truck drove by to check them out and just drove on.

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Arson Suspected at Controversial Ebers and Greene Project

August 9, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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A fire broke out late Saturday night, August 6th, in the controversial 3-story building under construction at Ebers and Greene.

And arson is suspected.

Fire investigators found evidence that the fire was intentionally started with some kind of accelerant.

When firefighters arrived at 11:10 pm, flames were reportedly spreading through the 3rd floor. Part of the building was charred, causing an estimated $1,000 in damage. San Diego Union-Tribune

The building damaged is controversial because it appears that the actual construction did not meet the submitted plans, and the project should have gone before the OB Planning Board for community input, but did not as per a decision within the City’s Planning Department. Neighbors also question its size, height, its bulk, its floor-area-ratio, and the intent of the owner.

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