Organizing

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 ed1STVR image Aug016 ed2

Honorable Mayor Kevin Faulconer
Honorable Members of the San Diego City Council

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.

The City of San Diego has not yet adopted a new ordinance to resolve STVRs and resultant impacts to our communities.

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

August 22, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for OB Planning Chair on the Removal of the OB Saratoga Torrey Pine

OB Saratoga Tree: A Torrey Pine removed today builds a stronger community tomorrow

By John Ambert

Good Morning Folks,

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. Some of the issues include the conflict of interest of using Atlas Tree Trimming Service to both assess the health of the tree and perform the removal work, the lack of independent 3rd party reporting, the conflicting information in the different assessments provided by the city, the lack of transparency in providing physical documents for the assessments when requested, and the lack of a community engagement. These issues were clearly defined in a meeting between myself and City Leadership on 8/11. I hoped that City Leadership would have been more proactive in addressing these concerns raised, but given the the outcome of today’s events, I am not 100% confident.

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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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Miramar Air Show Sends the Wrong Message

August 19, 2016 by Source

Editor: The following piece by Dave Patterson ran in the Op-Ed pages of the San Diego Union-Tribune, August 18, 2016.

Meanwhile, the U-T is running an online poll on the Miramar Air Show (among other issues) – and you can vote – so please do.

By Dave Patterson

Given our quagmire in the Middle East it’s high time that we gave some thought to how our politicians and military contractors promote war as the answer to our problems. In San Diego the promotion of war is anchored in the annual Miramar Air Show.

According to the air show Web page, it’s the largest in the world, with as many as 500,000 people attending. What they don’t tell us is that the air show is designed to appeal to our senses, not our intellect, and when we participate we get an adrenaline high and exciting memories to take home. We also take home the potential burden of our military people and civilians being injured or killed just to provide us those thrills. We also forget that the very nature of war is about death and destruction, not fun and games.

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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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San Diego Veterans to Protest Miramar Air Show

August 18, 2016 by Source

“Bannering” against upcoming airshow on August 18

By San Diego Veterans for Peace

miramarEach year, San Diego hosts the giant Miramar Air Show, which is attended by up to 500,000 people.

This air show is typical of many other air shows around the country in that it attempts to glorify and glamorize war and militarism, as well as being an excellent opportunity for defense contractors and the overall military industrial complex to sell products which lead to the deaths and injuries of so many people on earth.

The San Diego Veterans For Peace, with veteran members of all five services, is opposed to these “war shows” and is asking the public to stay home and to provide more wholesome entertainment to their children and families than the Miramar Air Show provides.

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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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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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We Can Do It Now! Tiny Home Demonstration part of San Diego Homeless Awareness Activities

August 17, 2016 by Source

Group of volunteers assembling a demonstration "tiny house"

Model Tiny Home Assembly and Viewing
Wednesday August 17, 2016 at 12:30 PM
North Park Community Park, on Oregon St. between Polk Ave and Howard Ave.

By Amikas

On August 17, in coordination with San Diego Homeless Awareness Day, a model “Tiny Home” will be assembled on site at the North Park Community Park, on Oregon St. between Polk Ave and Howard Ave. and will be available for photographs and viewing throughout the afternoon.

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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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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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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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Here’s City’s Announcement of Taking Down Torrey Pine

August 11, 2016 by Source

Here’s the announcement – without our comment – by the City that the Torrey Pine on Saratoga will be chopped down on Friday morning, August 12th.

Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016

Contact:
Katie Keach at 619-847-8274 or kkeach@sandiego.gov

Unsafe Tree to be Removed

Tree Cannot Be Saved, Must Be Removed to Protect Homes

San Diego – The City of San Diego today alerted community members that a failing tree would be removed from 4652 Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach on Friday, Aug. 12, starting at 7 a.m.

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The Abortion Fight Goes On – Right Here in San Diego

August 11, 2016 by Source

Forced birthers intimidate and shame women at health clinic

Abortion story 1

By Anne M. Haule /San Diego Free Press

The shouts of the “religious” zealots ring in my ears as I help escort patients from their cars to the front door of a local family planning clinic that provides abortion services one morning per week.

Armed with earplugs to hand out to patients who don’t wish to hear the abuse, I take the elevator up to stand by the door of the clinic.

Today the zealots are carrying large signs with graphic photos of bloody aborted fetuses and words claiming that Jesus saves and babies are not body parts. The good news is the “preacher” with a voice louder than the decibel limit who bellows out the scripture is not here today.

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Saving the Saratoga Torrey Pine – a Waiting Game

August 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest shift 3 ed1

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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San Diego Chargers Stadium: Q&A with Barrios Against Stadiums

August 10, 2016 by Brent Beltran

BASTA-NDSInterview by Jeffrey Siniard / Bolts From The Blue

Please provide a little background on the group Barrios Against Stadiums (B.A.STA!). Who is involved, and what are the aims of the group?

B.A.STA! is a grassroots, barrio based, loose knit formation of residents, artists, activists, small business owners and allies creating a movement. The sole purpose of this movement is to prevent a football stadium/convention center from being built in the East Village of San Diego, just a few short blocks from our historic barrios.

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OB Planning Board Chair Calls for Work Stoppage on Cutting Down Torrey Pine

August 8, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for OB Planning Board Chair Calls for Work Stoppage on Cutting Down Torrey Pine

Calls for Independent Botanist and Community Review

Editor: John Ambert is the Chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board. The following is his request to the City to issue a work stop to the cutting down of the Torrey Pine currently target by Atlas Tree Trimming Service, contractor to the City.

By John Ambert

As you may know, the City of San Diego has decided to remove a third, 75 ft tall Torrey Pine Heritage Tree from the middle of the 4600 Block of Saratoga in Ocean Beach. Crews attempted to remove the tree on the morning of August 4th, but a group of residents rallied to stop the effort.

In fact, only after work was stopped, did the City of San Diego provide the requested backup documentation for this project. All documents provided to the community, including email correspondence with the city, can be provided upon request

After a thorough review, it has been determined the documentation provided by the City of San Diego is very questionable, …

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Ocean Beach Residents Push Back Against City Plan to Chop Down Torrey Pine – Over a Dozen OBceans Gather Monday Morning

August 8, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Local Residents Gather at Torrey Pine Monday Morning – So Far, Atlas Is a No-Show

This morning – Monday, August 8th – around 7 a.m. – a dozen local residents of Ocean Beach gathered near a Torrey Pine on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue. They were waiting for the Atlas Tree Service trucks and crews to show to carry out the threat of chopping down the huge, sprawling tree – the last one on that side of the block.

An Atlas truck did make a stop around 8 a.m. – scouting the situation. By 9:30 this morning about 25 people “and lots of dogs” had come by the scene. Around 16 were still there, she said. Last week there was drama on Saratoga Avenue …

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Beach Community Group Condemns the City’s Push to Destroy a Critically Endangered Heritage Tree, the 3rd This Year.

August 8, 2016 by Source

OB Torrey Pine Friends of Pen Tree logo

From Friends of Peninsula Trees

Friends of Peninsula Trees, a tree conservation organization based in Ocean Beach and Point Loma, is leading the charge to condemn the City’s plan to cut down a Torrey Pine planted on Saratoga Avenue almost a century ago, the third of its kind destined for the chain saw this year. Recognized as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Torrey Pines are found wild in only three places in the world, including San Diego.

Despite this, and the existence of a City Ordinance that protects Torrey Pines from being destroyed, the Atlas Tree Service – a tree removal company contracted by the City – arrived in the morning of August 4th on Saratoga Avenue, determined to chop this iconic Heritage tree.

Friends of Trees rallied to stay the execution of the pine, named Esperanza (“hope” in Spanish), along with neighbors and other fellow San Diegans from as far away as Alpine. When asked City personnel were unable to provide documentation of an independent botanist’s assessment of the tree’s health.

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Ocean Beach Rejects Another 7-Eleven Coming into the Community

August 5, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OBPB meet 8-3-16 audience -sm
To a person, Ocean Beach residents who packed Wednesday night’s OB Planning Board meeting, rejected the proposed addition of another 7-Eleven coming into the community. (Please excuse the delay in this report as I was involved in the Thursday morning protest to save the Torrey Pine on Saratoga.)

Over 60 people jammed into the small community meeting room of the OB Rec Center, with standing room only (some even had to sit on the floor) to hear a presentation by 7-Eleven representatives and then to offer the company feed-back. There were other items on the Planning Board’s agenda, but this was the issue that drew the crowd.

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Crystal Rose Speros Is the Ocean Beach Hero for the Week – Saves Torrey Pine Temporarily

August 4, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest 80416 in tree good
A young, local woman, by the name of Crystal Rose Speros, climbed up into the Torrey Pine the City wanted to chop down this morning – dramatically bringing any work on the tree to a half – at least for the rest of this week.

A small crowd of residents and OBceans had gathered around the Torrey by 9 am on the 4600 block of Saratoga, some willing to stay until threatened with arrest or more.

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City to Chop Down Another Torrey Pine on Saratoga – Locals to Protest

August 3, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for City to Chop Down Another Torrey Pine on Saratoga – Locals to Protest

It was announced at Wednesday night’s OB Planning Board meeting that the City is planning on chopping down another large and old Torrey Pine on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue.

The announcement immediately caused a stir in the packed audience (the packed house was for the presentation on the new 7-Eleven planned for OB) – and a number of people said they would be out there on that block on Thursday morning to protest.

On Tuesday, August 2, John Ambert – head of the Planning Board – was told in an email from John Ly of the Mayor’s office that regretfully, the tree was coming down this week.

The signs are already up. Signs limiting parking on that block have already been posted up and down the block.

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It Behooves Progressives to Support Clinton, Avoid Neo-Fascist Takeover

August 3, 2016 by Source

Progressives must rescue the Democrats from their strategic errors – our movements will have more space to grow and better chances to enact reforms if we avert a Trumpian police state.

By Joe Wainio / San Diego Free Press

sinclair lewisHillary Clinton’s choice of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate is a slap in the face to progressives and a strategic error. It confirms Senator Bernie Sanders’ criticisms that Hillary represents Wall Street, and is reminiscent of past tone-deaf vice-presidential choices of the mainstream Democratic establishment such as Michael Dukakis’ selection of Lloyd Bentsen or Al Gore’s pick of Joe Lieberman.

While Clinton’s decision is certain to make her path to victory in November more difficult, it behooves progressives to work for her election anyway.

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New 7-Eleven for Ocean Beach on OB Planning Board Agenda – Wed., Aug. 3rd

August 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for New 7-Eleven for Ocean Beach on OB Planning Board Agenda – Wed., Aug. 3rd

5109-5111 Brighton Project Also on Agenda

Of special interest to many OBceans is the newly planned 7-Eleven coming into Ocean Beach. And it’s on the OB Planning Board agenda for Wednesday, August 3rd.

The 7-Eleven corporation wants to take over 1801 Sunset Cliffs where a dry cleaner currently sits, and kitty-corner from another local market – the Olive Tree. Reportedly, the dry cleaner has another year on its lease, and 7-Eleven wants to hear from the community.

Also on the agenda is the application for a conditional use permit to demolish 2 existing houses and construct 2 single-family units at 5109 – 5111 Brighton Avenue.

The meeting is held at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue and begins promptly at 6pm in the community meeting room.

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It Takes a Village to Keep a Village

August 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OBTC Meet 72716 LibBan

Your Ocean Beach Village Needs You

If it takes a village to raise a child, then certainly, it takes a village to make and keep a village.

It takes the residents and citizens of a village to keep a village going, to keep it maintained, to ensure the community institutions and organizations are active and alive.

Ocean Beach – the village – is no different.

Our seaside community needs its community groups that help keep Ocean Beach the way it is … and those very groups need the citizens, the residents and local businesses to help bring in new ideas, new energy and new blood to them.

It is one of the responsibilities of citizenship – to be a good citizen, and being a good citizen means getting involved in your community, your village.

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New Traffic Plan Would Permanently Scar Balboa Park

August 1, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for New Traffic Plan Would Permanently Scar Balboa Park

By Bruce Coons / Save Our Heritage Organization

This originally appeared in the Op-Ed pages of the San Diego Union Tribune, July 23, 2016

Balboa Park’s grand and iconic entrance across the Cabrillo Bridge offers visitors one of the most breathtaking park entrances in the country. Designed a century ago by the famous New York architect Bertram G. Goodhue, this entry is a carefully planned sequence of stirring sights and experiences that celebrates panoramic natural beauty, art, and architecture.

If ever the paid parking garage and commercial development of the park that is being promoted goes forward—complete with freeway off-ramp; a giant ditch with 42-inch-tall safety railings and massive, concrete retaining walls; dangerously narrow, sunken S-curve roadway; and paid parking structure—the cherished entry experience will not only be forever lost, it will become a garish, concrete-and-asphalt nightmare that permanently scars Alcazar Garden, Palm Canyon, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and the historic core.

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Report of OB Town Council Meeting – Get It Done App, New 7-11 Coming, and Board Elections Scheduled

July 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OBTC Meet 72716 crowd
This is a brief report of the OB Town Council meeting held Wednesday, July 27th, as usual at the Masonic Center on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. What we found out: the City has a new complaint website and App, there’s another 7-11 coming into OB, and the Town Council has set up its election schedule – half of its seats are up for re-election.

What with conflicts with a big-name concert, the continuing Democratic convention, and the heat – the gathering was a little sparse. Forty attendees were counted by the end of the meeting, but many of the city departments that serve OB did not have their usual reps present to make reports (SDPD, firefighters, life guards).

“Get It Done” Webpage for City

One of the main presentations of the evening was by Conrad Wear, representative of Councilwoman Zapf’s office, on a brand new element of the City’s website called “Get it done” that makes it easy to report problems, especially street-related issues. There is also an App available. Here it is .

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