Ocean Beach

The Sordid Saga of the Saratoga Torrey Pine – A Chronology

August 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest ed goodtree dist

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.)

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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

OBTC meet 82416 council

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.

Complaints from a number of residents were expressed at the lack of communication and transparency by the city around the Torrey pine, the heavy-handed police presence and manipulation by city staff on last Monday when the towering, 90-year tree was chopped down. About the lack of responsibility from the city. Rather abruptly, Ignolia called for a halt in comments about the tree, punting it over to Zapf’s aide.

Minutes later, when Councilwoman Zapf’s aide, Conrad Wear, took the floor for his monthly address, he was met with a barrage of questions about where was Zapf during the near 3 week stand-off over the Torrey pine on Saratoga. At one point Gio had to thump his gavel numerous times, attempting to maintain order.

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It’s the National Parks’ 100th Birthday! Get Thee Out to the Cabrillo Lighthouse – Free Thurs. – Sun.

August 25, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for It’s the National Parks’ 100th Birthday! Get Thee Out to the Cabrillo Lighthouse – Free Thurs. – Sun.

It’s the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, today, Thursday, August 25th.

And the Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma is free today, Thursday through this Sunday, August 28th.

The Monument has a full schedule of events Thursday to celebrate this great anniversary of the National Parks.

On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the act that created the National Park Service, which to this day, serves as caretaker for more than 400 sites.

Local events are scheduled to begin at the monument at 9:30 a.m.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Late August 2016

August 24, 2016 by Staff
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* Fund Raiser for the Green Store – Wed., Aug. 24 at Raglan
* OB Sailor Family Helps Flood Victims in Louisiana
* OB Psych-Pop Band – Verigolds – on Most Bright Stage Lights
* Pt Loma Nazarene Grad Remembered
* Ocean Beach gets $3 million in grants to rebuild aging sewers…?
* Hearing Postponed for Pharmacist Charged with Murder of OB Roommate’s Boyfriend
* 4 Crawl Out From Flipped Car in Point Loma
* Analysis Shows Water Science Education Efforts Increased Awareness of Water Issues by 56 Percent –
* Police Search for Suspect in Assault on Homeless Man in the Mid-Way
* Drivers! Watch Out for Navy’s Pipeline Repair Projects Throughout Point Loma

* About the Repair and Relocation of the Miramar Fuel Pipeline

* Neighbors against PLHS lights, school district agree to mediation
* San Diego Refugee Project Got Its Start in Ocean Beach
* Turning Wabaska into a safe route to school Voltaire Bridge to receive improvements
* New league and challenges for Pointers football
* Is Spundoze’s “Point Loma Deep” Named After San Diego?

COME INSIDE FOR STORIES

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The Non-Death of the Drunken Man on the Library Plaza

August 24, 2016 by Source

Photo by h.koppdelaney By Micaela Porte

From a true event at the Pacific Beach Library
June 27, 2015, Saturday, 11 am
____________

The drunken man, his home under the acacia tree on the library plaza,
Last night, laid himself down to die after a few bottles.

Next morning around 11,
Al, the guard, noticed him,
And called Christina the Librarian,
Who called 911 and more,
Ran to get the defibrillator.

The Man was on his side, all grey
His clothes were grey,
His face was grey,
Sirens filled the air on their urgent way.

The brave Librarian, cell phone to ear, for CPR,
Pulled at the dead man’s shirt with thumb and finger,
His inanimate body to roll over.
His chest was grey, strangely inflated, but with no movement.

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Ocean Beach Murals

August 24, 2016 by Staff

OB murals Brittany B 1

All photos by Brittany Bailey

Here’s nearly a dozen and half of photographer Brittany Bailey’s photos of OB’s murals. She took these photos a number of years ago and so, not all of them are still up.

Click on the image for a larger version.

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OB Town Council Meeting: Visioning Workshop on Newport Avenue Plus OBTC Candidate Forum – Wed., Aug. 24

August 23, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council Meeting: Visioning Workshop on Newport Avenue Plus OBTC Candidate Forum – Wed., Aug. 24

The upcoming August 24th OB Town Council meeting could be very exciting and entertaining – and very invigorating – as the Town Council – in conjunction with the OB Planning Board – are both hosting what’s being billed as a a Visioning Workshop on Newport Avenue.

There will also be a forum to hear from the candidates running for election to the OB Town Council Board of Directors. (It’s now too late to submit letters to be a candidate for the Board. Click here and here for more details on OBTC elections.)

Newport Avenue – the street itself – is getting a make-over by the city. So, at the Visioning Workshop for Newport Avenue, community leaders will facilitate a 30-40 minute workshop focused on examining the challenges and opportunities for OB’s principle commercial avenue.

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Open Letter to Mayor and San Diego City Council from OB Town Council on Short Term Vacation Rentals

August 23, 2016 by Source

STVR image Aug016 ed2

RE: Short Term Vacation Rentals

Dear Mayor Faulconer and City Councilmembers:

The object of the Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC) is to express the will and represent the welfare of the OB community. The OBTC has hosted and held public meetings over the past year to gather community input as it relates to vacation rentals.

On February 9th 2016, the OBTC sent a letter to Councilmember Lori Zapf to formally respond to her short-term vacation rental (STVR) memorandum and to provide feedback from Ocean Beach on what a new STVR ordinance should encompass to protect our quality of life and community.

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SeaWorld is Guilty of Disturbing the Peace

August 23, 2016 by Judi Curry
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For years the residents of the Point Loma and Ocean Beach areas have been complaining of the noise and air pollution spewed forth nightly by SeaWorld. Some people that own dogs have complained that the dogs are scared nightly by the horrendous percussion sounds while trying to hide from the shaking windows and doors. Some people that have children and babies complain that it wakes them up, usually crying, and has affected their everyday life.

Sunday night, August 15th, was one of the worst incidents of noise that I have heard in a long time. The noise reverberated for over two minutes; and as soon as one could relax another wave hit. And it wasn’t just here on the Point. Looking over the comments made on Facebook, Laura stated that she heard it in La Mesa. She said it wasn’t real loud; more like thunder but it was from Sea World.

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Gas Leak in OB Monday Night Forces Evacuations

August 23, 2016 by Staff

A gas leak discovered Monday night, caused about 200 OB residents to be evacuated from their homes.

According to the San Diego U-T:

Homes in the vicinity of Bacon and Cable streets and Santa Cruz and Del Monte avenues were expected to be evacuated throughout the night until at least 5 a.m. as crews worked to locate and repair the broken gas pipe, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Lee Swanson.

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OB Planning Chair on the Removal of the OB Saratoga Torrey Pine

August 22, 2016 by Source
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OB Saratoga Tree: A Torrey Pine removed today builds a stronger community tomorrow

By John Ambert

If you have not heard yet: Today, the City of San Diego proceeded to remove the 85+ y/o Heritage Torrey Pine tree on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue, affectionately named “Esperanza” ( translated to “hope” in Spanish) by the OB Community.

The City went forward with the removal of this tree regardless of the requests for a community forum, or for a formal review of the 3rd party Arborist assessment paid for by neighbors and community members. While I recognize and value the concern for public safety, I am disappointed there could not have been a more transparent and community engaged process. During this project, Ocean Beach community members exposed a number of issues which should be addressed for all future work.

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

August 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey cut truck
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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Save the Date! Sat., Sept. 10th – Celebrate 100th Anniversary of OB Library

August 19, 2016 by Source

OB Library Cent Notice

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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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Why Do People Hate the Homeless?

August 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

anti-homeless-sticker-br-034-300x225By Doug Porter

They’ll say it’s the smell of excrement. Or the public intoxication. Or the aggressive panhandling. Or the intrusion on their public or private space.

People hate what they don’t understand. Lots of people translate their repulsion in hate.

Homeless people on the street are a stark reminder of the failure that could be lurking around the next corner in life. And in order to get along in life, the rest of us have to deny the possibility of becoming one of ‘them.’

All homeless people apparently lived great lives until they somehow fucked it up and ended up homeless. And “we” are better than that. Or so we think.

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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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Why Does Homelessness Persist in America’s Finest City?

August 17, 2016 by John Lawrence

Housing is Not a Human Right in the US

by Sandro Montefusco from il lavoro culturale, republished under a Creative Commons License

By John Lawrence

Why does homelessness persist in the world’s richest nation? The simple answer is that having a roof over one’s head is not a human right in this society.

Fortunate people, those with a home and a car and other assets will not vote to give others what they possess even on the most basic level. Article 25 of the 1948 United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states:

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being ….

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We Need to Be Aware That the Homeless Are Human Beings

August 17, 2016 by Ernie McCray

ernie-mccray-at-blackBy Ernie McCray

When I heard that there would be a “San Diego Homeless Awareness Day” my first thought was “Hooray” and then I thought about how “awareness” isn’t the problem.

I mean we know that there are folks who have no home, no place to stay, penniless, practically completely down and out.

We’ve heard over and over on the news about “rock gardens” being constructed on some streets where the homeless like to sleep; about the police destroying their encampments, places where they feel relatively safe trying to get a good night’s sleep.

We see them as we walk downtown, trying to act as though they’re not there, every now and then giving them a buck or two or buying them a whopper.

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August 17, 2016: San Diego Homeless Awareness Day

August 17, 2016 by Staff
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Today, August 17th, is San Diego Homeless Awareness Day. And many of San Diego’s media sources – about 20 – have pledged to carry, run, print, publish articles and posts about the homeless and homelessness today.

The OB Rag – along with our sister publication, the San Diego Free Press – has joined this effort to highlight the plight of our area’s citizens who have no home, other than the streets.

To this end, we are posting a series of articles from the writers of the SDFP and OB Rag.

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

August 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Man Who Wants to Overturn 6 Gun Laws Has Business in Ocean Beach

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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OB Historical Society: One of Point Loma’s Founding Families – Thurs., Aug. 18

August 16, 2016 by Source

OBHS Aug 2016 JimBakerOBHS Aug 2016 graphic

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Ocean Beach Library Get’s Its “Happy 100th Birthday” Banner

August 16, 2016 by Source

OB Library banner up

The banner finally made it up! The banner that celebrates the 100th birthday of the OB Branch Public Library now adorns the outside of our current branch.

All thanks to the Friends of the Ocean Beach Library.

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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

OB Torrey Hope 81516

‘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

OB Decco Bike bank 3 ed

* 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

OB Saratoga 4600 block google

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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Ocean Beach Town Council Board Elections Coming Up – Here’s How to Be a Candidate

August 12, 2016 by Source
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From the OBTC Board (edited for clarity)

The 2016 Ocean Beach Town Council Board of Directors election is coming up! This is a great opportunity to play an active role in this community – and if you are already active, to take your activism to a new level.

By being a Board Director, you can be an elected voice in communicating the views and needs of Ocean Beach to government agencies, be at the forefront of community discussions, take action on local issues and be a leader in promoting the general betterment of OB.

Half of the Board’s 15 seats on the Ocean Beach Town Council Board of Directors stand for election every year.

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A Little Bit of “Fluff” – the Four Paw Spa Mobile Pet Salon

August 12, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for A Little Bit of “Fluff” –  the  Four Paw Spa Mobile Pet Salon

Four Paw Spa
Mobile Pet Salon
858-699-3400

Getting away from restaurant reviews for a few days, allowing the wounds to heal, I thought it might be better for me to talk about another topic – and what do I like to talk about almost as much as restaurant reviews, grandchildren, fishing, cooking, jamming, etc. – but my 4 year old Golden Retriever, “Shadow.”

Shadow is a rescue dog from the Baja Sanctuary in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. The feeling was that he fell off of an American’s boat and swam to shore. When found he had bee stings – so severe that he had to have surgery to remove one of them.

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This Is Mary Olive with Esperanza … Her Father Planted this Torrey Pine Before WWII.

August 12, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for This Is Mary Olive with Esperanza … Her Father Planted this Torrey Pine Before WWII.

This is a screen capture from the wonderful video made of Mary Olive’s memories by Renee Owens.

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