Is the San Diego Mayor’s Office Boycotting Ocean Beach?

by on October 20, 2017 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach

Is there a boycott going on by the San Diego Mayor’s Office in attending Ocean Beach community meetings?

For at least the last six months, the leaders of both the Ocean Beach Town Council and the Ocean Beach Planning Board have openly complained during their public meetings about the absence of anyone from the Mayor’s Office.

I’ve sat through most of these meetings over these 6 months and have heard both John Ambert, chair of the OB Planning Board, and Gretchen Newsom, president of the OB Town Council, cite their continuing disappointment that Mayor Faulconer has failed to send a representative to their community meetings. At times, in fact, it has become a running joke at the village events which dozens of residents and business owners attend.

Meanwhile, over this same time period, a mayor’s rep has attended numerous meetings of the Midway District planners and of the Peninsula Community Planning Board.

This imbalance in attendance by the city’s most important executive office between the more conservative communities of Point Loma and the infamously liberal Ocean Beach has been so noticeable that we decided to do a brief review of some of our reports of those meetings.

Anthony George, who has been the rep from Faulconer’s office for over a year now, did attend the August 24, 2016 OBTC meeting (we described him as “new”. At the October 5, 2016, OB Planning Board meeting George was visibly absent (so was Conrad Wear and other city reps) but the Board singled out the mayor’s rep and we reported:

Lack of City Representatives

The disappointing aspect of last night’s Board meeting was the visible absence of any representatives from the City of San Diego. Neither Anthony George of the mayor’s office nor Conrad Wear of Councilwoman Zapf‘s office were present to answer questions about the project at Ebers and Greene – or other questions for that matter.

Acting-chair Klein said he found it “distressing” that George in particular was absent because at the Board’s September meeting, George had promised the Board that he would look into the matter of the controversial project and come back with some kind of report.

And again it happened at the November 3, 2016 meeting of the OB planners, we reported:

… the lack of response from either the Mayor’s office or the office of Councilwoman Zapf about the [Ebers-Greene] project; the normal representation to Board meetings by both offices has collapsed over the last several months. Neither Conrad Wear of Zapf’s office nor Anthony George of Faulconer’s officer have been present at the monthly planning board meetings for at least the last two months.

Their absence Wednesday night was particularly galling to the Board – and to members of the community in the audience – and was commented upon several times by Ambert and others.

At the end of my report on this meeting nearly a year ago, I commented:

It’s curious this obvious lack of presence of the usual reps from Zapf’s and the Mayor’s office. To be fair, Ambert had noted at one point, probably Zapf’s staff were all involved in the short-term vacation rental public meetings and issues. But what about the Mayor’s staff?

OB is and has been a very liberal, blue-voting neighborhood. And both Kevin Faulconer and Lori Zapf know that most OBcean voters voted for their opponents in recent elections. So, perhaps there’s not much motivation to come down to OB and keep the villagers calm.

Anthony George was at the January 19, 2017 meeting of the Midway planning committee – where he did get quite an earful of complaints mainly about the homeless and lack of response from the Mayor’s Office. George was also at their March 15, 2017 meeting.

But there was no rep from Faulconer’s office at the March 22, 2017 meeting of the OB Town Council. We reported:

The Mayor’s office rep, Anthony George, was not present – again, and Newsom told the crowd that the message has been conveyed to Faulconer’s office that the OBTC is not happy with the lack of attendance. George has responded by saying that he’s stretched thin.

And in contrast he did attend the April 20, 2017 meeting of the Peninsula planners. Our reporter recalls George at most of the Midway meetings and at least one or two of the Peninsula board meetings over these last 6 months. But it’s been even longer since he has attended either of the OBTC or the OBPB meetings – perhaps even up to a year.

This difference finally caused me to call George at his office. He responded by email.  Here’s our train:

Anthony, the leaders of 2 groups in Ocean Beach have been complaining for months that the Mayor’s office is not sending anyone to the OB Planning Board meetings or the OB Town Council meetings.

Can you tell me why or why not?

Frank Gormlie

He responded:

At the first meeting I attended, I tried to manage expectations by explaining that I would not be able to attend most meetings due to a heavy schedule and calendar conflicts that arise from an office like the mayor’s.

Council representatives handle 1 to 2 communities while a mayoral representative handles an entire district, which calls for a balance of events, meetings and family.

Though I may not be in attendance, I have a great working relationship with council staff which affords me briefings and highlights as to how we can work together to better communities such as Ocean Beach. I have had an open phone and email policy from day one, which I offer to anyone I work with, and have always given the courtesy of a follow up when reached out to.

Anthony George
Senior Representative

I got back with him with this:

Okay. Understood. But I have to ask … why is that your office has not sent anyone to either the OB Planning Board or the OB Town Council for probably 6 months, whereas you have attended community meetings both in the Midway District and Point Loma?

Both chairs of these groups have complained there is no representation from the Mayor’s Office and this has been going on for quite some time, enough time that it appears the Mayor’s office is actually boycotting Ocean Beach.

Frank Gormlie

His final email on Oct 18th:

No boycott Frank. I was at the OBies last night and spoke with Gretchen and a lot of the membership. As I mentioned before, folks are always welcome to reach out through calls and emails if they have questions or concerns.

Anthony George
Senior Representative

I sent him another email but he didn’t respond. It was confirmed to me that Anthony was at the Oct. 17 OBies awards, but it was attended by officers of the different organizations, and certainly not by “a lot of the membership” of any of them. And certainly there wasn’t an opportunity for villagers to question the rep from the mayor’s office.

This follows a trend – and we’re not blaming George – he is afterall but an employee of the City and of the Mayor’s office.

But there’s a trend now for nearly a year of the Mayor of San Diego in effect boycotting this flaming liberal town by the beach and not sending representatives to listen and learn and answer questions at OB community meetings.

C’mon Kevin, this is your beach too. You’re supposed to represent all San Diegans, no matter their political strip. (Don’t forget, “conservative” Point Loma voted Blue in the November 2016 election.)

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Geoff Page October 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm

I can add that a representative from Zapf’s office attends almost every Midway and Peninsula Community Board meetings that I have attended. Conrad Wear is a regular at the PCPB meetings and Bruce Williams attends the Midway meetings.

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avatar Frank Gormlie October 20, 2017 at 1:05 pm

I do not wish to imply that Conrad Wear of Zapf’s office has the same kind of “record” that George does in terms of attendance. Wear is usually at all these meetings (but absent during particular controversial issues – Torrey pines, Ebers & Greene project).

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avatar Debbie October 20, 2017 at 1:07 pm

Wear should be at every meeting. That is part of his job.

Remember and do not vote for him should he ever run to represent OB.

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avatar Geoff Page October 20, 2017 at 1:16 pm

If your comment about not voting for Conrad because of his father, I’d say that’s probably not fair. I am not a fan of his dad, I’ve made no secret of that. But, I’ve been around Conrad enought to say that he appears to be a pretty decent guy, despite of who he works for. He has a better record of trying to help and following through on things than any rep I’ve seen. He is obviously bright, which is enough to disqualify him for office anyway. If you have a specific reason for writing what you did, then it would be good to share it so we can understand where you are coming from.

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avatar Debbie October 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

When you do not attend community meetings, you are not performing as expected. Past performance is a good indication of future.

The article states “… the lack of response from either the Mayor’s office or the office of Councilwoman Zapf about the [Ebers-Greene] project; the normal representation to Board meetings by both offices has collapsed over the last several months. Neither Conrad Wear of Zapf’s office nor Anthony George of Faulconer’s officer have been present at the monthly planning board meetings for at least the last two months.

Their absence Wednesday night was particularly galling to the Board – and to members of the community in the audience – and was commented upon several times by Ambert and others.”

Reply

avatar Geoff Page October 20, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Ok, Debbie. But, Conrad Wear works for Zapf and he goes where he is told to go. I’m pretty sure his non-attendance is not because he is slacking off because he does attend almost every Peninsula Community Planning Board meeting and when he is not there, a substitute from Zapf’s office fills in for him. I think you may need a bit more than this to advise people not to vote for the guy if he runs for office. I’m not advocating for him but I don’t think he deserves criticism for not attending the OBPB meetings, that should be reserved for Zapf herself.

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avatar Debbie October 21, 2017 at 7:16 pm

When he does no show up he should be contacting the meeting where he is supposed to be and advising why he is not there and what else he is doing that is more important.

Think as you wish and everyone else can do the same.

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avatar kh October 22, 2017 at 2:04 pm

Your criticism of Conrad is unfounded. His attendance is pretty good, and he has also been generally responsive to the community. I question how many of these meetings you actually attend since you are relying on quotes in the article.

As for the mayor’s rep, Anthony George, he has been to exactly 1 meeting I can recall, when he first started that position over a year ago. He is 1 of 3 in that job position, he should be able to attend some the monthly public meetings.

Yet he always seems to have a free schedule when it involves some awards banquet type function with free food and socializing and ass kissing.

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avatar Debbie October 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Hmm….”pretty good” and “generally responsive”. If that makes you “feel good” that’s all that matters for you. As previously mentioned, think as you wish. Everybody has their own opinion. Opinion is just that, an opinion.

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avatar PL Local October 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Faulconer is a KOOK. Will never see him in office ever again.

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