OB Town Council Meeting, July 27, 2011: Town Council awards $6,000 in grants to local organizations.
The benches are back, but the controversy is not over yet. As has been widely reported, KUSI Channel 9/51’s Michael Turko facilitated the return from a junkyard of the two missing memorial benches placed overlooking the ocean at the end of Del Mar Ave. However there remain some questions about the legality of their placement.
Representatives from the City of San Diego have been deluged with phone calls regarding the Story and Cappellucci benches, with a mix of calls expressing outrage over their unlawful disappearance and irritation that the benches were allowed to be placed there in the first place.
In his report to the Ocean Beach Town Council last night, representative Michael Patton from Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s office reiterated that the Councilman is pleased that the benches “are back with the families.” However, despite the Councilman’s relief at the benches’ return, there remains a good deal of dispute as to whether or not the benches have been placed there legally.
The site is designated as a public right of way (essentially a sidewalk, and therefore public property).
Despite claims by both the Story and Cappellucci families, the City of San Diego, according to Patton, has no record of any permits being issued for either bench. And while the Story bench was placed at the foot of Del Mar Ave. using a special memorial program sponsored by the City Parks and Recreation Department, that program that no longer exists. Both benches, Patton said, will need two different permits: A site development permit, and a coastal development permit. The coastal development will be the much more difficult one to get.
In the meantime, there seems to be no appetite whatsoever to once again remove the benches, permits or not. Patton said that Faulconer’s office will work with the families to help them through the permit process and to make sure everything goes smoothly. The OB Planning Board will also be taking the matter up as an agenda item at its next meeting on Wednesday, August 3 at 6pm at the Ocean Beach Rec Center. All meetings are open to the public and public comments are welcomed.
As for the claims of nuisance at the site of the benches: Faulconer’s office has had discussions with the San Diego Police Department about increasing patrols in the area, and hope to abate the noise and litter problems that nearby residents have said has long been a problem. It is hoped that with increased patrols the problems that likely led to one local resident taking matters into his own hands and unilaterally having the benches removed will subside.
The City Attorney’s office has referred the case against Robert Bryson—the individual who had the benches removed—to the San Diego County District Attorney’s office. It will now be up to the District Attorney to determine whether or not to file charges against Mr. Bryson.
(Editor: For more updates on the memorial benches, go here.)
OB Town Council Awards Grants to Local Organizations
The Town Council awarded a total of $6,000 in grants to various local organizations that provide a variety of charitable services to the local community. The grants went to the Ocean Beach Rec Center’s “Good Food for Good Friends” program that provides lunches to seniors; the Peninsula Shepherd Center’s program that provides transportation services to seniors through a volunteer program; the OB Dollars for Scholars program, that last year provided 30 scholarships; the OB Community Foundation; the OB Community Development Corporation, which operates a women’s shelter in Ocean Beach; Challenged America organization, a group that makes specialized sail boats available to the severely disabled.
The Town Council collects donations for the annual food and Christmas toy drive, and any leftover funds are donated back into local non-profits.
Councilman Kevin Faulconer will hold a “Community Coffee” on August 25th from 9am to 11am on the patio of Shades Ocean Front Bistro in Ocean Beach. Public welcome.
The San Diego Redistricting Commission’s preliminary plan is available on the City website for public viewing. The map (not final yet) can be viewed at the redistricting commission website. The preliminary plan calls for Ocean Beach and Pt. Loma to be separated from the Little Italy, Mission Hills, and Downtown San Diego neighborhoods, and combines them with Mission Bay, Clairemont, and Linda Vista/USD, creating an all coastal area District 2.