The future of Ocean Beach? Developers given free reign!

by on August 26, 2011 · 26 comments

in Ocean Beach, Popular

“’Tis grand! ’tis solemn! ’tis an education of itself to look upon!”

~ James Fenimore Cooper

I really can’t blame anybody for not following the OB Rag’s suggestion to attend the Coffee with Kevin Faulconer. After all, a last minute personal commitment had me arriving about a half hour late so I understand that there are principles behind our extended sense of community. And I understand that having a community meeting at 9am on a weekday pretty much bars anybody who works for a living from having a face to face with their municipal representative.

What I can’t understand is how amongst the twenty-five or so people who did show up, there wasn’t anybody to defend the issues and institutions of community based urban planning. Specifically, where was the Ocean Beach Planning Board (OBPB)? Looking around the patio at Shade’s Bistro, I recognized plenty of people from the Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association (OBMA) and Town Council (OBTC) but nobody from the planning board.

The issues that were addressed by Kevin Faulconer and his tone in addressing them were further proof that there isn’t anybody at the grassroots level who will hold our City Council person responsible for decisions that will materially effect our democratic way of life in a fundamental and negative manner. The fact that the meeting was effectively over before it got into its scheduled second hour was further indication that this was a made to order crowd for a politician who has us going along to get along with the municipal corporation and its governing interests.

Like I said, I got to the meeting late and Kevin was talking in glowing terms of some sailing competition to be held on the big bay out of America’s Cup Harbor. He promptly segued into a defense of the Center City Redevelopment Corporation (CCDC) in its struggle with the state to retain local development moneys for downtown redevelopment (Chargers stadium anyone?). When Kevin asked if there were any other issues, I thought, damn, what did I miss?

But apparently I didn’t miss anything. This was the transition to community input that I was waiting for. I listened to the lay of the land and it wasn’t long before I realized I was surrounded by potential hostiles. No sense in picking a fight here especially if there was no one to have my back and Kevin was going to use personal anecdotes from his childhood to highlight his commitment to our community.

From what I heard at this community meeting, there is only praise for what our council member is doing to meet the infrastructure needs of Ocean Beach. Whether it is the recreation center, the beach comfort stations, the libraries, or the lifeguard tower, we can rest assured that our council member is on the job doing the best job with the meager resources at his disposal.

I had to read between the lines to figure out what rationale is motivating the council member as he moves our community into history. No great mystery here… PUBLIC SAFETY – yes, folks, that same rationale that the developers of the 5100 block of W. Point Loma Boulevard are using to clean up (read sterilize) the neighborhood is being employed by our council member and community leaders (sic.) to guide community planning in Ocean Beach. It’s as if destroying the village in order to save it is the modus operandi of state capitalism and its municipal corporation.

One more telling note, if public praise is being heaped upon the architect of the future of Ocean Beach for his work in renovating the adjacent lifeguard tower can a public/private partnership for public safety financing be far behind?

Like I said, there’s enough angst to go around. I do feel responsible for a failure to get past the flak catchers and mau mau the front men themselves. But I did learn a valuable lesson in suggesting that the OB Rag publicize Kevin’s Koffee Klatch as a venue for direct confrontation on the real issues facing Ocean Beach. Make sure that you don’t go into the lions den alone, Daniel. And remember that whenever two or more OBceans are gathered for one purpose, there is power.

So I resign myself to just being another solitary crank pushing an issue before the city council in the public comment period. I sure could use some support. It ain’t fun to play Last of the Mohicans even if you’re from Ocean Beach.


~ by Dan Morales

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Jack August 26, 2011 at 9:31 am

Danny I felt terrible about missing yesterday’s little coffee clutch (or is it klatch, or crutch, or…). I have a standing Thursday morning with my father, and he told me he prefered not to have politics upset his stomach. I aquiesced.

Thank you for being there. Hopefully I can join you next time…if there is a next time…or still an Ocean Beach…


avatar Sunshine August 26, 2011 at 10:54 am

hey Jack, i must agree with your father’s assessment that politics can be bothersome to ones stomach. I so hope your morning with him went well and your company with each other was well enjoyed. what i wouldn’t do for one more meal with my mother …


avatar danny morales August 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Jack-I’m coming to the realization that if I pass on an opening to show loving kindness then I’m less prepared to handle an expanded sense of community. You have honored your father. This is the law and the prophets. The rest is gravy.
Dan (8-p


avatar Sunshine August 26, 2011 at 10:46 am

I think this is your best writing that I’ve read by you to date. thanx for the inside look at what our council members Koffee in OB was like. bty, i was sleeping and failed to go. I was hoping for a cup o’ joe on the City’s tab.


avatar Shane Finneran August 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

I also liked this piece a lot, Danny. Thanks!

By the way, I’m glad you were at the meeting, even if only as an observer. These chances to talk to elected officials directly are rare but valuable, and we need to take advantage. Next time you head to an event like this, let’s coordinate… I’ll do my best to make sure you’re not alone!


avatar danny morales August 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Shane-It’ll be an honor to work with you. I’ll stay in touch.


avatar Frank Gormlie August 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm

Yes, thanks Danny for going there. There were at least 2 other Ragsters there over the time Faulconer was there, but neither one was in a place to raise these issues. We emailed hundreds of OBcians about this Coffee Catch – perhaps most of them work. Many of the OB Planning Board members do have full-time day jobs (that’s how they can give up at least 2 nights a month). But the dismal showing of people willing to question the status quo does not portend good for the future of OB.


avatar danny morales August 26, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Frank-The material basis for grassroots organizing has been so eroded by the forces of reaction that we need to become more creative in adapting to the demands of the moment. If we remain focused on the issues and unified in our strategic perspective then tactical lapses can prove to be valuable lessons for the future. That’s ‘why’ the quote at the beginning. Like I said there’s enough angst to go around. Just keep on loving those close to you and our community, our class and our planet will be the better for it.

Peace & Love
Danny (8>p


avatar danny morales August 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Yes, I was wrong. My personal apologies to those members of the Ocean Beach Planning Board who did show up and have since provided me with an additional insight to the nature of this beast. It was a personal and public failure of me to focus on the adversarial nature of this meeting while overlooking and yes, ignoring those members of the planning board who made the sacrifice to be present. I’ll attempt to do better next time. Meanwhile if there’s any amends to be made please contact me. It’s my sincere desire to be of service to this community in spite of my personal and professional defects. Again my sincerest apologies What can I do to make it right? – Danny Morales


avatar bodysurferbob August 26, 2011 at 12:38 pm

o’ daniel! hey buddy, the surf was too good, the waves just superb, the weather just dandy. who in their right mind would want to hang on the shades patio sipping coffee with some politician when there is so much life in ob to live. plus, that early in the morning, man, and school hasn’t started yet, can’t get up. oh, the merchants? well, no one is in their shops any how this early in the day.

so, danny ol boy, maybe you too should just give up, forget about trying to save what’s left of the wondrous part of ocean beach, who really cares about that gentri-fy thing happening – where? – in northwest ob, anyhow?

we got our sun, our surf, and our sand, not to mention our brew, pizza and bongs, and oh our thongs. what else is there in life?

don’t worry dude, we’ll spread the ashes of what once was ocean beach in the tidewaters of history – long live ocean beach! you don’t know what’s going till it’s gone. you don’t know – my fellow ob-ites – what you’re missing until it’s missed.

oh, for a thousand dan morales – we’d turn this village around. don’t give up, really, as the above was written with tongue firmly in cheek.


avatar danny morales August 26, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Body Surfer Dude- Just don’t ignore the great white sightings or more than your tongue will be firmly in cheek!


avatar OB Mercy August 26, 2011 at 6:41 pm

I would have loved to attend, but alas, those were working hours for me. I would have liked to ask Faulconer, why the archaeologists who worked on the OB Gateway Project during Phase I, all the way back in Feb of this year have not been paid one red cent. Yet, notice that Phase III seems to happening? Total B.S.


avatar The Mustachioed OBecian August 27, 2011 at 7:57 am

Speaking of the OB Gateway Project, anyone have any idea why they still haven’t unwrapped the palms they planted? Looks like their drying up pretty good.


avatar OB Mercy August 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm

Obviously, the whole OB Gateway Project has been mismanaged from the beginning. Not fair to not pay people who worked hard on the historical part of this, yet I see they are putting up the new fence?? Every time I drive by and see Faulconer’s sign…..WE DID IT!….I want to scream! Did what?! Not pay people? Let the project be half finished? Let palm trees die? Did what Kevin?? You’ve done nothing IMHO!


avatar danny morales September 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Mercy, Mercy, Mercy! Thanks for expanding the post. After reading Barbara L.’s comment below it made me think back to the time when the OB Gateway was in the planning stages. The community had to fight for something that would be in the community’s interest versus some real estate developer’s concept of what should be. To be brief, what we got was some sorry ass excuse for a public space with items negotiated for left undone. But wait there’s more…as the TV pitchmen would say. And that was the subtext of this post. again thanks for picking up the torch and running w/it. -Danny (8>p


avatar Barbara Latham August 28, 2011 at 7:36 am

After brief attendance at FIDO meetings and Dusty Rhodes Dog Park Meetings, I found that volunteer efforts are useless and the meetings are really tedious…and in the case of FIDO the city representatives can be nasty. I mentioned this to a friend who worked for the city for 35 years. My friend said the city has to have meetings about changes or other issues…but they are required to LISTEN to the public but are not required to pay any attention at all to what is SAID. Seems like the idea is to wear down the “fanatics” with delay and inconvenience.


avatar danny morales September 4, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Very good insight Barbara! It left me wondering if this democracy thing isn’t a big sham. I mean do we elect people to represent our interests or are the people in public office representative of something else? Just thinking. Again thanks for your insight.- Danny (:-p


avatar mr.rick August 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

When the ice finishes melting the beach will be Ebers St.


avatar Nancy Wooton August 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm

At the risk of being another solitary crank… It’s “free REIN,” not “REIGN.” Yes, the developers think they’re kings, but let’s not crown them.


avatar Frank Gormlie August 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Nancy, unless Danny was playing a word game or was intentionally using a double-entendre, you’re correct.


avatar danny morales September 4, 2011 at 6:46 pm

I’ll never tell


avatar Rick August 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm

The developers thrive because their reign ( read: widespread influence) is free. Politicians like Falcouner aid and abet the myopic builders. If the people are not vigilant, Ocean Beach can expect chronic degradation.


avatar OB law(yer) August 30, 2011 at 8:43 am

Thanks to Danny for sticking it out longer than me, and for covering the story.

I showed up, saw the group of “usual suspects” and stuck around just long enough for Faulconer to explain that he was now promoting himself to the title of Project Manager for the Brighton Street Bathrooms. That made me chuckle a little bit. Now you are “in charge”? Thanks… I still need a restroom at the beach — not a Project Manager or an Audit…I can’t do my business in either of those you know.

When it was time for questions… The Merchants dominated with “How do we get this petitioner guy off of Veteran’s Plaza”. Really??? That is the most important thing you have on your mind? Getting rid of a guy how would seemingly be actually encouraging the community to be involved in the democratic process. Heaven forbid if the people have the power and not just a bunch of self-seeking business owners? Oh..that’s right, they were all at work trying to make a living. Let’s make it hard for folks to get information out there to the public about what issues will be on the ballot. Sound familiar? Yeah… Just like politics in any third world country.

Here’s a suggestion…. Instead of trying to run off the guy collecting signatures for ballot measures… Why don’t you actually embrace the fact, provide the information to the people in a cleaner, classier more convenient way? Until then…. don’t complain about the guy who is doing a better civic service than advertising for the next “JazzFest beer garden we’re shutting down your only parking lot whatever sponsored by the Merchants”.

That was enough for me… I thanked the councilman’s staffer and exit stage left. Hey, I’ve been to the dog and pony show in the PI, I don’t need to see another.

I could tell that it was going to be a bunch of softball issues pre-planted by the staffers to Kevin’s little puppets to make the councilman look good in front of any gentle and unknowing community members who actually showed up — which, by my guess there weren’t many since all the faces I saw were accounted for in some group or another in OB. As I was leaving some moron was actually reading a question from a piece of paper handed to him like a script…. too funny, too funny.

The Planning Board and Town Council were both there from what I saw Danny, even though maybe they left with me after they realized it was going to be less of an exchange and more of a script. I think the bald guy sits on both if I’m not mistaken. I don’t know his name off hand.

Thanks to the Rag for covering the story….the Beacon wasn’t and likely won’t be there for OB…. So, awesome that you guys are getting this information out there to the OB citizen who wants to know what is really going on instead of just hearing the highlights after the fact — if there are even any highlights.


avatar danny morales September 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Like I indicated, things might have turned out different if I didn’t focus on the negative instead of looking for you and the bald guy. Sorry about that counselor. I’ve gotta try harder next time. – Danny (8-p


avatar Brittany Bailey September 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Saw you there, Danny, but you disappeared before Christine and I had a chance to say hey! Astute observations about the meeting; I feel like these days we keep hearing about the same ol’ things, and while they’re certainly repetitive, they don’t exactly delve deep, do they?


avatar danny morales September 4, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Nope- Thinner than the hair on the bald guy’s (spelled W-A-T-S-O-N) pate! -Danny


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