Economy

6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.

October 21, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.

by Bill Adams / San Diego UrbDeZine

For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated.

1) Failing to Understand How to Provide for Pedestrian and Other Active Transit:

Too often, cities and towns seem to think that all pedestrians need are sidewalks to walk on and greenery to look at. The same goes for bikes and bikelanes. It goes without saying that pedestrians and bikes work differently than cars, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

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In Defense of Uncertainty in the Development Approval Process

October 21, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

By /San Diego UrbDeZine

giant question markNobody likes uncertainty.

Certainly not the developers of a billion dollar mixed-use project that encounters community opposition due to traffic impacts. Nor the public transportation agency that runs into fairy shrimp on the future route of a trolley line. Nor the city planners for multifamily housing around a transit station that face a revolt from their single-family neighbors.

Hence, there is a concerted effort by planners and policymakers locally and statewide, to reduce uncertainty in development project approvals. It takes the form of reducing discretion of public bodies, streamlining permit approvals through the use of specific plans and categorical exemptions, reforming the California Environmental Quality Act, and limiting opportunities …

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Utopia Revisited: Rethinking the Response to Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan

October 20, 2014 by Jim Miller

climate action plan sdBy Jim Miller

Since I last wrote on the People’s Climate March in late September, the grim environmental news has just kept coming in, whether it’s the revelation that September was the warmest month ever on planet earth, the Stanford study linking California’s grueling drought to climate change, the World Wildlife Federation report that the earth has lost half of its wildlife in the last fifty years, or the unpleasant surprise that, “In what could be termed as the worst effect of degrading climatic conditions and global warming, a new study has showed that fish in large numbers will disappear from the tropics by 2050”—it just doesn’t let up.

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The Secret of the San Diego Growth Machine: Another Case for Nancy Drew

October 17, 2014 by Source

Nancy Drew silhouetteBy Norma Damashek

Albert Einstein searched for a unified theory that would unite the forces of nature (he had his eye on relativity and electromagnetism).

I, too, have been searching for a unified theory—albeit a more modest one—to unite the forces of nature (human, in this case) that make San Diego the chronically backwater/ amorphous/ uninspired/ tunnel-visioned/ closed-shop/ quasi-corrupt/ rigidly-manipulated/shady city it is.

Come join the search. Just follow the trail of clues, click on a sampling of news links about San Diego, and you’ll discover a unifying theme that even Einstein would find surprising.

Clue #1: City governments are not bush league versions of the ones at the top. …

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The Co-Op Movement – Democratizing the Ownership of Wealth One Step at a Time

October 16, 2014 by John Lawrence

Capitalby pikettyBy John Lawrence

It has finally dawned on the American consciousness that wealth is being concentrated among fewer and fewer people. In fact just 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 180 million taken together.

Thomas Piketty in his ground breaking book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, shows the dynamic behind this dramatic rise in wealth among the upper echelon of society while everyone else, in particular the middle class, is being left in the dust.

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Proposition 48: Are Casinos Coming to Your Neighborhood?

October 15, 2014 by Doug Porter

Prop 48By Doug Porter

The following analysis of Proposition 48 represents my opinion. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all the articles on the upcoming election, check out the online media partner SDFP’s 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

It’s funny how people who normally couldn’t be bothered to pick up a gum wrapper off the sidewalk will become environmental activists when it suits their economic interests. In this instance we have “environmental concerns” being voiced by groups who are themselves exempt from the laws.

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Councilman Alvarez Brokers Compromise on Winter Homeless Shelter

October 15, 2014 by Source
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Compromise Means Barrio Logan to Host this Year But Not in 2016

By Brent E. Beltrán /

With his back against the wall, and a community within his district upset with the continued siting of the winter shelter in their neighborhood and the negative impact it brings, Councilmember David Alvarez stepped up and brokered a compromise.

Though the shelter will return this coming winter the City Council voted unanimously (with Councilmember Marti Emerald absent due to health reasons) with Mr. Alvarez’s motion to not have the location at Newton Avenue and 16th Street in Barrio Logan considered by the Housing Commission in 2016.

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OB Project Review Committee : Demolition of 101 Year Old House on Niagara

October 14, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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2nd Demolition Slated for 4700 Block of Del Mar Ave

The Project Review Committee – a sub-committee of the OB Planning Board – has two projects to review when it meets Wednesday night at the OB Rec Center, October 15th. The Rec Center is at 4726 Santa Monica Ave, and the meeting begins at 6pm.

Both projects are applications to demolish existing housing and to then construct new condominiums or single-family residences.

The first on deck is a proposal to demolish an over one-hundred year old house at 4677 Niagara Avenue by its new owners, who just purchased it for $690,000 on September 25, 2014 . It was built in 1913.

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Who Runs San Diego? Some Taxpayers Are More Equal Than Others at the County Taxpayers Association

October 14, 2014 by Source

The Nerd, the Negotiator, the Pretender and its Protégé

Womans Democratic LogoBy Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

This week’s article is a little more complex than some of our previous looks at Who Runs San Diego?. When David (Cory Briggs) slays Goliath (Hoteliers Financing District) – that’s a good story!

When some (Sea World and certain electeds) tell us it’s OK to imprison and mistreat our sweet Shamu, LOTS of folk get mad. When our CD2/lifeguard good guy (Ed Harris) takes on tenants (Belmont Park) that seem a little moochy, you can pump your fist.

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Notes From the Education Wars: Marshall Tuck and the Plot Against Public Education

October 13, 2014 by Jim Miller

marshall-tuck-getting-chased-by-families-670x250By Jim Miller

After my column last week on the battle between Tom Torlakson and the corporate education reform machine backing Marshall Tuck, I was pleased to see The Nation magazine’s special issue on schools. The writers aptly note that the struggle in American education is not one of the “status quo” versus “reform,” but rather, it is between a kind of educational class war dressed up as reform and a more progressive vision that seeks to empower all kids equally.

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Cash Stash Takes Over OB on Eve of Oktoberfest

October 10, 2014 by Matthew Wood
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By Matthew Wood

Why were a bunch of dudes wandering around the corner of Bacon and Newport this morning? They were looking for some cold, hard cash.

It’s part of the festivities for this weekend’s OB Oktoberfest. The contest is called “Find the Schnitzengruben.” Organizers are leaving 10 envelopes full of $10 bills around OB, then tweeting out clues as to where they are.

Whoever finds it keeps the money, up to $150.

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News From La Playa at Ocean Beach and Beyond

October 10, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Local Albert Elliot Has Beach Photos installed in the National Museum of Natural History

OB loc, Albert C. Elliott, was informed that his photos of Ocean Beach are now part of an exhibit in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC.
OB’s Pizza Port Among San Diego Breweries That Won 14 Medals at Beer Festival
San Diego area breweries took home 14 medals at the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in Denver, Colorado October 4.
Possible Ties Between Recent Hold-Ups in Point Loma with Those in La Jolla and University City?
Is it possible that the holdup artists responsible for 4 robberies at gunpoint in the Point Loma and OB areas are also the guys involved in a stickup in La Jolla and University City?

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Symbolic Solidarity with Hong Kong by Occupy San Diego Remnant

October 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Last night, in “Freedom Plaza” (the Civic Center Plaza), a couple dozen people calling themselves “Occupy San Diego” held a symbolic solidarity demonstration with the protests going on in Hong Kong.

“OSD (heart) Occupy HK” was the slogan. Small tents captured the flavor of the protests held in the Plaza 3 years ago, when up to one hundred tents were pitched on the concrete of City Hall. Chalk expressions had been written on the sidewalks were next to signs at the entrance to the Plaza, reflecting the sayings and artwork of the protests of yore.

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Last Weekend: All Quiet on the Western (beach) Front

October 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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We had genuine concerns last weekend about what was going to come down at the beach.

We thought, maybe – just maybe – that due to the heat, droves of people would be heading to San Diego’s beaches – including OB, of course. And that due to the seasonal lay-offs of over 200 lifeguards on Labor Day, there would not be sufficient rescue first responders for hapless swimmers or surfers caught up in dangerous rips at the beaches.

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November 2014 Propositions: Jerry Brown’s One-Two Punch

October 7, 2014 by Doug Porter

one two punch 3

An Analysis of Propositions 1 and 2

By Doug Porter

Back in the middle of August the California Legislature worked up a plan to renumber a couple of propositions appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Two of Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy political projects — a multibillion-dollar bond for water needs and a constitutional amendment to enhance the state’s rainy day budget fund — dropped the ballot numbers assigned by Secretary of State Debra Bowen of Proposition 43 (water) and Proposition 44 (budget).

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Who Runs San Diego? : The City’s Dubious Partnership with Sea World

October 3, 2014 by Source
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Well, this is a fine kettle of fish…

By Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

Womans Democratic LogoSan Diego taxpayers find ourselves as mainly unwitting, possibly unwilling and almost certainly undercompensated partners with a corporation in a Sea World of hurt.

In July, 2013 the documentary Blackfish about the 2010 death of a Sea World trainer finally caught the public’s attention after decades of challenges to Cetacean captivity. The 2009 Academy Award winning documentary The Cove also raised questions about the possibility that Sea World obtained dolphins from the horrific Taiji dolphin drive.

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Student Loan Debt: The Only Debt You Can’t Discharge in Bankruptcy

October 3, 2014 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

6a00d8341cca9453ef01b7c6e93f43970bToday’s students are being crushed with John Bunyan’s proverbial burden on their backs – student loan debt. Until relatively recently this debt could have been discharged in bankruptcy.

Then all that changed when Sallie Mae, the Student Loan Marketing Association, was privatized in 2004. Albert Lord, the new CEO, and his lobbyists went to work to change the laws so that student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy. Today the cumulative student loan debt is more than $1 trillion.

While a generation ago a high school diploma was considered sufficient for a decent middle class entry level job, today it’s a college diploma even if the job itself could be easily accomplished by a person with just a high school education.

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News From Ocean Beach and the Peninsula

October 1, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Former Barnard School Site Readied for Massive Apartment Complex
The former site of Barnard Elementary School in the Midway area of Point Loma looks nothing like it used to. Instead, the area is being prepared for one of the most massive apartment complexes to be built in the area. …

Voltaire and Catalina Complex Towers Above the Intersection
The large development at the corner of Voltaire Street and Catalina Blvd is still being constructed, but the size of the complex i …

Fight Near Dog Beach Results in 3 Sent to Hospital
A fight that went down in and around Dog Beach Parking lot on Monday, Sept 29, ended up with 3 people being sent to the hospital, . …

Suit Against Former Western Div Lt Natalie Stone and Others Settled for $225,000
On September 23rd, the San Diego City Council …

AND MUCH MORE INSIDE …

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Comparison of Condo Conversions of Canada Versus Ocean Beach and San Diego

October 1, 2014 by Marc Snelling
Thumbnail image for Comparison of Condo Conversions of Canada Versus Ocean Beach and San Diego

Editor: Condo conversions are once again before the Ocean Beach Planning Board. Are they a good thing for a community? Here, Marc Snelling does a comparison between the history of condo conversions in OB and San Diego with Canadian cities. Marc was a former member of the OB Planning Board and founding member of the OB Grassroots Organization. He currently lives outside Ottawa.

By Marc Snelling

Ten years ago San Diego was among the national leaders in condo conversions. Lack of City regulation combined with speculator greed resulted in a rate of condo conversions that threatened families and renters.

Condo conversion proponents invariably tout the supposed benefits of owner occupancy and the lower cost of a condominium versus a detached home for first-time buyers. They are also just as sure not to mention the inconvenient fact that renters need to be evicted to make a condo out of an apartment.

The owner-occupancy argument is dubious as many condo owners do not live in the properties but turn around and rent them at a higher rate.

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OB Planning Board Agenda for Oct. 1: Condos for 4700 Saratoga ?

September 30, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for OB Planning Board Agenda for Oct. 1: Condos for 4700 Saratoga ?

The Ocean Beach Planning Board meets Wednesday night, October 1, at the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue. The meeting starts right at 6pm.

The only action item on their agenda, below, is an application to convert two single family residences on the 4700 block of Saratoga Avenue into condos. This is done in the manner of a “tentative map” approval – which is the process to split one lot into two condo-ized lots.

The units up for consideration to becoming condominiums are located at 4725 and 4727 Saratoga. …

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Ocean Beach Restaurant Review : “Taika Sushi”

September 29, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Restaurant Review:
“Taika Sushi”
4953 Newport Ave.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
619-221-1288
http://www.taikasushi.com/ menu-2

It is amazing to me that one block in Ocean Beach can support three Japanese restaurants. But that seems to be the case, with the newest, “Taika Sushi” filled to capacity Friday evening at 6:45pm. I had wanted to try the restaurant ever since it opened, and particularly after reading a review by [Reader writer] Mercy Baron but it just never happened. Until last night.

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Who Runs San Diego? Deals Like the One Proposed for Belmont Park Amount to a War on Taxpayers

September 29, 2014 by Source

Womans Democratic Logo

Editor: The following is by C0uncilman Ed Harris, who further explains his position on the recent rejection by the San Diego City Council of a proposed lease for the operators of Belmont Park. See our earlier post about Harris’ position.

Guest column by Councilmember Ed Harris

Recently, the City Council was asked to grant an extension to the lease at Belmont Park in Mission Beach. Pacifica, a local developer and current leaseholder of the park’s commercial buildings, wanted the Council to approve a deal that would extend its current lease to 55 years. Pacifica has held the lease for two years.

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New Owner of OB Hostel Operates Two “USA Hostels”

September 26, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

The new owner of the OB Hostel – Dr Hostels LLC – owns a company called “USA Hostels” which operates two well-known hostels. There’s one in San Francisco and one in Hollywood, in LA. The OB property makes it their third property.

We are assuming that the company – which was just incorporated in 2010 and is headquartered in Boulder City, Nevada, will open up an Ocean Beach USA Hostel.

USA Hostels San Franciso

Of the two hostels, USA owns, it seems at first look that their property at 711 Post Street in San Francisco is by far the more substantial. The 5 story building, built in 1907, has 123 rooms and 79 bathrooms including 36,780 square feet. The total assessed value of the entire property is near $8.5 million,

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OB Hostel Sold for $1.5 Million

September 25, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Hostel Sold for $1.5 Million

The rumors proved to be true: the OB International Hostel has been sold!

The iconic hostel – a former hotel – located at 4961 Newport Avenue right smack in the middle of downtown Ocean Beach – was sold to Dr Hostels LLC for $1.5 Million.

The two-story building was built in 1930 and includes 6,016-square-feet on a 7,000 square foot lot, with 28 rooms.

The seller, John C. Asher, trustee of the John C. Asher Trust, took back a first trust deed for $220,000, a second for $1,055,000 and a third for $405,000. Asher did this as Hostel Group, P.O. Box 33226, San Diego 92163.

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Reader Rant : ‘I watched the City Council debate on the Belmont Park lease and agree it’s not favorable to you and me.’

September 25, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for Reader Rant : ‘I watched the City Council debate on the Belmont Park lease and agree it’s not favorable to you and me.’

By Anonymous Reader

It was interesting to watch the San Diego City Council meeting on the proposed lease for Belmont Park – last Monday, Sept. 22nd – to listen to who said what, how they said it and what they meant when they said it. Watch it for yourself.

For an oceanfront piece of property, the City of San Diego AKA you and me, has only collected annual rental income of $61,000 averaged. No, that number is not missing a zero! That’s $5,083 per month.

No matter who takes over the lease, the city is on the hook to pay for the repairs to the Plunge. Prior lessees were responsible for maintenance but that didn’t always happen and the city did little to enforce the terms of the lease and now the Plunge is a mess!

If Pacifica Enterprizes, the current lessee, does the repairs they get a rent credit.

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Peninsula Planners Protest “Portugal Place” Project

September 24, 2014 by Source
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Point Loma Planners Believe City Allowed Developer to Build Condo Complex Over 30 Foot Height Limit

By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

Did the developers pull a fast one – with the help of a compliant Development Services Department staff at City Hall – when they built a four-condo structure featuring three stories over semi-underground parking in Roseville?

The Peninsula Community Planning Board is sending a letter of protest to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, alleging the city allowed the developer to exceed the 30-feet height limit when they built condos named Portugal Place at 3102-3104 Avenida de Portugal and 1120-1122 Locust St.

The board approved the letter 12-0 at its monthly meeting Sept. 18 at the Point Loma/Hervey Library.

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Councilman Ed Harris: Why He Rejected the Proposed Lease for Belmont Park – “It’s Pathetic.”

September 23, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Councilman Ed Harris: Why He Rejected the Proposed Lease for Belmont Park – “It’s Pathetic.”

Harris: “We can’t keep giving away our assets to big business.”

Just got off the phone with Councilman Ed Harris – he represents OB, Mission Beach and the rest of District 2, of course.

He had a lot to say about the Belmont Park lease that the City Council just rejected on Monday. He knew that we’d been covering the issue. Today, the U-T ran an article on the rejection, tacking in favor of the current managers, it seemed. Harris wanted to set the record straight.

Harris, you see, led a Council majority yesterday in rejecting the proposed new lease for Pacifica Enterprises because the cut the City is getting is not fair. All the Democrats followed his lead (Emerald was out) and are having the issue return to the Council in 60 days. The Republicans all voted to renew the current lease.

“We have to take in the big picture,” Harris told me. “We can’t keep giving away our assets to big business,” he said.

The deal that the City of San Diego has in the current lease for Belmont Park is not fair, he said in so many words.

“The City has received $1.6 Million dollars in 26 years – that’s only $5,000 a month,” he said. “It’s pathetic.”

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Annual Fundraising at Pancake Breakfast Scores Big for OB Town Council

September 22, 2014 by Source
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Overcast skies didn’t appear to keep anyone away from the beach on Saturday morning, as hundreds of locals descended on the Ocean Beach Pier for the OB Town Council’s annual pancake breakfast.

The cooler temperatures may have even helped turnout, providing a respite from the seemingly never-ending heat wave that’s pummeled the county, as lines formed early and stayed strong through the morning, with Council volunteers hustling to serve a crowd of the hungry and civic-minded. Workers fought to stay cool inside the Walk On Water Café near the end of the pier, with the kitchen operating at full capacity and three extra griddles fired up to assist in pancake production.

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Who Runs San Diego? … How Do You Solve a Problem like Sea World?

September 19, 2014 by Source
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Shamu, we hardly knew ye

Womans Democratic Logo


By Linda Perine /San Diego Woman’s Democratic Club

For most of us it has been a slow, painful process to understand that our love affair with cute, cuddly, smiley Shamu has made us participants in a cold-blooded business that imprisons and mistreats sentient, social creatures in ways that turn the stomach and shock the conscience.

Concerned environmentalist and civic leaders have been telling us for years that the capture of orcas was nasty and brutal

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OB Town Council Passes Resolution Calling on Government to Deal with Chronic Homelessness at the Beaches

September 19, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council Passes Resolution Calling on Government to Deal with Chronic Homelessness at the Beaches

At their most recent Board meeting on September 10th, the Ocean Beach Town Council passed a resolution that called on government – all levels of government – to deal with chronic homelessness in OB, at the beaches and coastal areas of San Diego and the San Diego River channel. It also stated that it should be a priority to end the homelessness of veterans.

The resolution passed was in support of addressing chronic homelessness “with best practices”, calling upon the City and County of San Diego to bring homelessness resources, outreach, and programs to the San Diego coastal communities.

It read:

The Ocean Beach Town Council calls upon the City and County of San Diego to now bring their successful practices, and homelessness resources and programs …

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