Environment

San Diego Council Committee to Hear Proposals for Short-Term Rentals – Fri., Mar. 24th

March 22, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

A San Diego City Council committee is posed to hear three different options for short-term vacation rentals being proposed by the Planning Department this coming Friday, March 25th.

The Smart Growth and Land Use Committee of the Council will meet in the morning at the Jacob Center and attempt – once again – to juggle the contentious issue of how to deal with these particular types of rentals, an issue that the Council and city staff have bounced around now for 2 years.

The issue of short-term rentals have roiled the beach areas and Ocean Beach in particular.

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OB Planning Board Unofficial Election Results and Current Make-up

March 21, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The results are in from last Wednesday’s OB Planning Board annual election (they’re not official until certified by the Board, which is expected to occur at the next regular meeting, April 5, 2017).

From the OBPB website:

The unofficial results of the 2017 general election of the Ocean Beach Planning Board are:

DISTRICT 2
Tom Gawronski

DISTRICT 4
Blake Herrschaft

DISTRICT 6
Dan Dennison

DISTRICT 7
Richard Aguirre

Come Inside for an Analysis and Current Make-up of Board

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Peninsula Planners: Carleton Mixed-Use Project Too High; Election Results

March 20, 2017 by Source

By Geoff Page

The Peninsula Community Planning Board’s yearly election to fill five seats had a large turnout on Thursday, at the March 16 regular monthly meeting. The final tally was 553 votes.

The winners were incumbents Jon Linney, Don Sevrens, and David Dick along with newcomers Fred Kosmo and Margaret Virissimo. A “slate” of five candidates that circulated before the election, contrary to the election rules, had four of the winners on it. Incumbent David Dick, who did not appear on the slate, defeated one of the five people shown on the slate. The new members will be seated at the regular monthly meeting in April.

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San Diego City Attorney Issues Memo Stating Short Term Vacation Rentals Are Illegal in Residential Zones

March 16, 2017 by Source

From Save San Diego Neighborhoods:

City Attorney: Short-term vacation rentals not permitted under City’s Municipal Code

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott has issued a memorandum of law advising the City Council and Mayor that short-term vacation rentals (STVR) are illegal in the city’s residential zones.

“The City has a “permissive zoning ordinance.” This means that any use that is not listed in the City’s zoning ordinance is prohibited. Short-term vacation rentals are not specifically defined, expressly permitted, or listed in any of the zone use categories, including residential or commercial,” Elliott said in her memo, issued on March 15.

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Why Restore Kellogg Beach? A Look at Its Inheritance and Legacy

March 16, 2017 by Source

By Michael Winn

A real estate speculator has proposed to replace a single family home on Kellogg Street in La Playa with a concrete sea wall and 9 condominiums, where there is now a beach.

How can the community assess this proposed development without consensus about the fate of this beach? Colloquially called, Kellogg Beach it’s actually the last remaining part of the beach for which this community was originally named, La Playa, perhaps, in the 17th century.

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Neighbors Mobilize Against Additions to Short Term Vacation Rental on Saratoga in Ocean Beach

March 15, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Neighbors in and around a property on the 4900 block of Saratoga Avenue are mobilizing tonight, Wednesday March 15th, at the OB Planning Board’s subcommittee meeting.

They aim to speak out against planned additions to the property at 4925 Saratoga, because the recently rehabbed main house is being used as a short term vacation rental – and they view this permit to add a garage and a house over the garage as an expansion of yet another STVR and a threat to their neighborhood.

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Reader Rant: “We Need a Point Loma Town Council”

March 15, 2017 by Source

By Michael Winn

We need to elect a Point Loma Town Council that appropriately reflects demographics on the Peninsula, and charge it with promulgating a vision to preserve and restore quality of life on the Peninsula.

The Emerson project and San Diego airport (SAN) flight path expansions show us what we should expect from traditional back-door politics and ad hoc citizen protests.

Kellogg Beach shows us that unless we organize better, this will continue to plague our community because we must organize unpaid labor for each new proposal, while developers can budget it.

Our Peninsula Community Planning Board carries little political weight, has no authority and is limited in scope.

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Wisteria Garden Party – Sunday, Mar. 19th

March 14, 2017 by Source

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Saratoga Addition on Project Review Agenda – Wed., March 15th

March 14, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The Project Review Committee, a sub-committee of the Ocean Beach Planning Board, has one project before it at its upcoming meeting on Wednesday, March 15th.

It’s a permit application to build a 918 square foot residence over a garage at 4925 Saratoga Avenue.

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A Freshly-Paved Newport Avenue

March 13, 2017 by Source

Taken by South OB Girl, around noon on Friday, March 10th.

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San Diego Lifeguards Want to Leave the Fire Department Because of New Dispatching Procedures

March 10, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego City lifeguards and their union are seriously considering getting out from under the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The lifeguard union leader claims that recent changes in dispatching procedures initiated by the new fire chief, Brian Fennessy, now route all water-related 911 calls to the fire department instead of directly to lifeguards- who have historically made all water rescues.

This is leading to longer response times and a waste of resources, says Sgt Ed Harris of the lifeguard union.

In a recent Op-Ed piece in the OB Rag, Harris wrote:

“We cannot afford to have the Fire Department divert our trainers, personnel and budget. … Teaching Fire Fighters how to swim and perform river rescue is not acceptable.”

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How San Diego’s Downtown Housing Supply Boom Is Making Rent Less Affordable

March 10, 2017 by Source

By Murtaza Baxamusa / UrbDeZine

Having invested a billion and a half dollars of public funds in downtown redevelopment, it is worth asking if it helped or hindered in solving the affordable housing crisis that San Diego faces.

From the catalytic start of downtown’s boom with the construction of the ballpark to the unceremonious demise of tax increment financing under Governor Brown, there has been a lot of change.

Census data shows that from 2000 to 2015, downtown’s housing stock doubled. About half of downtown’s current stock of 25 thousand housing units has been built during this time frame. About 5 thousand renter-occupied housing units were added to the stock. Of the total housing stock almost 18 percent (over 4 thousand units) are vacant, compared to 9 percent vacancy back in 2000. This indicates a greater share of investor-owned units or second homes that are not occupied.

In terms of affordability, downtown is at a tipping point.

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Progressive Calendar for San Diego Activists, March 10 – 21, 2017

March 10, 2017 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Progressive ActivistWow. Here’s another calendar packed full of events for local activists. I’ve made some cosmetic changes this week, including icons to make events more recognizable.

So what will you do? Check out this week’s Progressive Calendar listings below. Following those listings are upcoming events of national importance, along with opportunities for organizational involvement and a few reading suggestions.

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Ocean Beach Spring Cleaning – Saturday, March 11 – 8:30 AM

March 10, 2017 by Source

Ocean Beach – Clean, Green and Ready for Spring!

Over 300 Volunteers Pitch in to Clean Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach will be cleaned and enhanced by over 300 volunteers under the direction of I Love A Clean San Diego and funded by Councilmember Lorie Zapf.

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Cities and States Prefer Public Banks To Wall Street

March 9, 2017 by John Lawrence

Public Banking

Profits Can Stay In State, Provide Local Funding

By John Lawrence

Alarmed by the corruption and greed of Wall Street, many US cities and states are studying the feasibility of establishing public banks. Public banks are owned by cities, states or other jurisdictions and serve to keep funds local instead of being deposited on Wall Street. The funds are then used to support local economic activities like small business loans and student loans.

Washington state has already cut its ties with Wells Fargo because they funded …

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News and Notes for Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early March 2017

March 7, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Newport Ave Re-Paving Begins Thursday, March 9

The long-anticipated re-paving of Newport Avenue begins Thursday, March 9th. Beginning at 8am, the work crews will re-pave the normally-busy commercial street from Abbott to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Workers will grind down the old asphalt 3 inches, and then pour in 3 inches of the fresh smelly, gooey, stinking-hot new asphalt (ever worked with it? it’s pretty bad stuff).

Gas Leak Tuesday at Sunset View Elem

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Making It Easier to Build Won’t Generate Affordable Housing

March 3, 2017 by Source

Downtown San Diego’s Experience Has Given Us Lessons

Affordable

By Murtaza Baxamusa / Rooflines, the Shelterforce blog

It is often convenient to blame city planners for the affordable housing crisis. After all, those affected have no other public forum to vent their concerns, least of all toward those who are profiting off of the crisis on a project-by-project basis. Sadly, this blame is often misguided, because planners do not produce housing.

A case study of the profit-maximizing, decision-making that is driving the affordability crisis is downtown San Diego. Construction cranes are up all over, …

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Midway District Has an 81-Unit Luxury Housing and Mixed Use Project Coming

March 3, 2017 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Midway District Has an 81-Unit Luxury Housing and Mixed Use Project Coming

An 81-unit luxury housing project is coming to the Midway District of Point Loma.

Called “Driftwood”, the development will be located on a 2-acre lot – which is now empty – at the corner of Kemper and Kenyon Streets and will include 3,137 square feet of retail space. It’s next to the new West City community college campus. Midway Drive is a block away from Kemper.

Accord to SDMetro:

Driftwood will consist of stacked flats within a three-story, elevator-serviced building with interior common hallways and stairwells.

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OB Planning Board Approves Santa Monica Remodel – Praising Owner for Keeping His Single Family House

March 2, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Meeting Wednesday night inside the community room of the OB Rec Center, the Ocean Beach Planning Board found themselves with a full agenda.

By the end of the evening, they had approved a remodel / addition to a single family house on Santa Monica, formed a sub-committee on short-term vacation rentals, reviewed recent applications for alcohol permits, enjoyed a full discussion on a proposal to modify their bylaws about signature gatherings, and confirmed their upcoming annual election details.

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New Emergency Procedures for San Diego Lifeguards Are a Waste of Precious Time and a Waste of Money

March 2, 2017 by Source

“Teaching Fire Fighters how to swim and perform river rescue is not acceptable.”

By Ed Harris

On December 15th, 2016 San Diego Lifeguard River Rescue team members were holding a deployment briefing prior to an imminent storm.

Fifteen minutes before they were to deploy, they were given a new standard operating procedure. The new SOP was part of an executive order mandated by the new Fire Chief.

There were several changes that have a negative operational effect on the Lifeguards as well as a negative budgetary effect for all of us.

A big change is that now San Diego Fire Dispatch will handle inland calls for water emergencies and that Firefighters will automatically dispatch multiple engines, trucks personnel and a helicopter to calls that have been successfully handled by a few Lifeguards for over 40 years.

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O.B. March 4 Impeachment – Sat., March 4

March 2, 2017 by Source

The OB March 4 Impeachment is gaining momentum as it will happen this Saturday, March 4th, where participants will spell out “Impeach” just north of the OB Pier.

There will be a Beach Clean-up and March from Dog Beach to the Pier, says the facebook and the main event will be to “Replicate Human Protest Banner from Ocean Beach, San Francisco,” just that here in Ocean Beach, San Diego, participants will spell out “IMPEACH”. The OB Rag and Indivisible San Diego support this action.

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New Modular Units at Voltaire and Abbott for Rent on Airbnb Despite Owner’s Pledge

March 1, 2017 by Frank Gormlie


When the 3 two-story modular units planed for the south-east corner of Voltaire and Abbott were approved by the OB Planning Board in early September 2014, one of the applicant-owners stated to the Board unequivocally that he planned to live in one of the units. Now that they have been built, it appears that the units – at least one of them – are listed on Airbnb – for $229 to $349 a night.

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Some Memory Tiles Removed and Damaged During Repairs on Newport Ave.

March 1, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

During Tuesday’s demolition and repair of the ramps to OB’s mid-block crosswalks, some memory tiles were removed and damaged. These are the special tiles installed along the curb on Newport Avenue for several blocks that people purchased over the years.

This reporter while visiting the project asked the foreman of the work crew working on the ramp widening if he planned to save the tiles that his guys removed. He said no, and I advised him to keep them. So he said he did.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – February 2017

March 1, 2017 by Michael Steinberg

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear power industry in the US and abroad, and highlights the efforts of those who are working for a nuclear free world. Here is out February 2017 report:

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

1. Fire and explosion at French nuclear plant.

Various media outlets reported that on February 9, a fire and explosion happened at the Flamanville nuclear plant, forcing the shutdown of one of its two reactors there. The nuke is located in Normandy on that country’s northwest coast, facing the English Channel.

The BBC reported: “The explosion and fire happened in the turbine room.”

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OB Planning Board Agenda – Alcohol Permits and a Remodel on Santa Monica – Wed. March 1st

February 28, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The Ocean Beach Planning Board has a few spicy items to juggle at their upcoming monthly meeting, held this Wednesday, March 1st, over at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Alcohol Permits

One of the more juicy agenda items on the agenda is a Board review of an application for a new alcohol permit for OB’s latest beer pub – which hasn’t opened yet – Little Miss Brewing Company, at 4861 Newport Ave.

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Construction Crews Take Over Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach

February 28, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Two blocks of Newport Avenue were nearly closed down today, Tuesday, Feb. 28th as construction crews and their equipment took over OB’s main street and some nearby streets as well in the downtown area.

Part of it all was the beginning stages of the re-paving of Newport Avenue – the widening of Newport Ave’s two mid-block crosswalks. One crew worked on that.

Another separate crew was re-asphalting Cable Street, while a third crew cleaned out a main sewer line between Newport and Niagara.

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Save Peninsula Trees Group to Hold Tree Advocacy Class

February 27, 2017 by Source

By Save Peninsula Trees

Save Peninsula Trees is at it again!

Last fall we began assembling information for a citizen’s guidebook on how to protect our community trees. What started a few months ago as some hastily scribbled notes over a pleasant, afternoon coffee at the New Break cafe has now become an honest to goodness handbook. And we’re pretty excited … because …

We are now ready to launch our draft San Diego Tree Advocacy Handbook.

Plus we will be holding a Tree Advocacy class on Saturday, March 25, 2017, 9:30 to 12:00 noon .

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OB Town Council Spotlights Unsung Heroes in Graffiti and Trash Wars

February 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council Spotlights Unsung Heroes in Graffiti and Trash Wars

During Wednesday’s Ocean Beach Town Council’s monthly meeting – Feb. 22nd -, the Council cast a spotlight on and honored some of the unsung heroes of OB’s graffiti and trash wars.

Representatives of two groups – OB Clean Streets Initiative and the OB Graffiti Task Force – were on hand to give updates and overviews of their efforts to clean up the village.

Greg Crowley of OB’s CSI told the gathered audience of some 70 people that his group’s motto is “Not talking spotless, just a little bit cleaner,” and how the group has organized 5 clean-ups in OB over the last year. They and the volunteers they organized collected over 600 pounds of trash – with the main items picked up being cigarette butts. One of the differences between CSI and other clean-up efforts, Greg said, was that his group goes into the alleys and away from the beaches to find their trash.

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Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

February 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

By Not Amused in OB

Are “smart” led street lights coming to Ocean Beach to surveil you and write you a parking ticket? I heard Newport Avenue is slated to get new led lights.

The evening news on Channel 10 covered this, and it appears that our mayor, Kevin Faulconer , just rolled out on Wednesday a program of installing new street lights in San Diego and Ocean Beach. The mayor announced he’s expanding this program of putting in “smart sensors” which will be able to “gather and disseminate data on things like traffic, parking availability, public safety and air quality.”

And Kevin said that his city has partnered with a company from back east called Current which will install 3200 of these “Smartlight Sensors”, powered by GE.

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Climate Change: An Islander’s Experience

February 24, 2017 by Source
Thumbnail image for Climate Change: An Islander’s Experience

By Shanty Asher / SanDiego350.org

I am a proud Pacific Islander. Over the years, I have witnessed and stood alongside many of my fellow islanders and leaders, combating climate change and its impacts on the islands. Though the percentage of people in the U.S. who believe that climate change is real and human-caused is rising, it still only amounts to around half. I have no doubt that if Americans had seen what we have seen, had lived what we have lived through, I believe that percentage would be higher. Much higher.

Today, I will share that story with you through an islander’s lens and maybe, just maybe, my story will paint a different picture of climate change, one that you may not have heard before, one that you can relate to because it is not a scientific prediction, but based on actual events.

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