“’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