OB Mainstreet Association Makes Call to Save Special Events in the City of San Diego

by on January 25, 2012 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach, Organizing, Popular

Editor: The Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association has issued a call for OBceans to join a city-wide campaign to save special events in San Diego. There’s a press conference on Friday – see below – and also a petition to sign – also see below.

Action required to save special events in the city of San Diego!

By OBMA

The Ocean Beach MainStreet Association would like to get you involved in a critical movement to save special events throughout the city of San Diego. Make your voice heard today by signing the petition on the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce “Save Our Events Coalition” website.

Without drafting and implementing an exemption to the CEQA Review legislation, all special event permits issued in the city – ranging from family birthday parties to to non-profit events – will be affected by being subjected to unnecessary fees, reviews, delays and potentially cancellations.

UPDATE: A press conference will be held this FRIDAY, January 27th at 11am on the corner of Balboa Dr. at El Prado. To show your support of the bill Senator Juan Vargas will be authoring (SB973) be at the press conference and wear your neighborhood or organization t-shirts – this will help illustrate how many different groups, neighborhoods and organizations are being affected by the law suit.

The mission statement of the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association is to find a unique balance of economic development, within a neighborhood setting and, through special events, to contribute to the health and welfare of the entire coastal community.

We strongly believe the unique character of our community would be greatly diminished if our events were subjected to some of the complications that can be caused by a CEQA review. The cost of a CEQA review would put many events out of business right out of the gate. In addition, we are already adhering to all environmental requirements at our special events.

Please take a moment to show your support of our community and this organization’s efforts by signing the petition.

SIGN THE PETITION by clicking here.

TO READ MORE about CEQA Review and the Save Our Events Coalition click here.

For more information on the Save Our Events Coalition, read below:

The Save Our Events Coalition has formed to help protect temporary special events from disappearing in the San Diego region and across California. Each year the City of San Diego approves more than 500 special events and 20,000 park use permits, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism and charity.

The costs of these low-budget events can easily escalate as vendors try to abide by local regulations and restrictions. But now in addition to existing expenses, special use and park use permits are required to undergo California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review – a costly and time-consuming review process.

Temporary special events come in all varieties and can range from family birthday parties to firework displays to non-profit fundraising races and parades. See the organizations that will be affected by this ruling.

Learn more about the coalition or get involved today! To show your support for new legislation to amend CEQA to exempt special events and park use permits from costly and time-consuming review, sign our online petition now! JOIN THE COALITION!

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Marco Gonzalez January 25, 2012 at 5:39 pm

If anyone wants to better understand what’s going on, and what’s gone on, with the lawsuits that have given rise to this ill conceived piece of legislation, I’d be more than happy to come to any meeting and discuss it.

The City got caught playing favorites with the La Jolla 4th of July fireworks show. That’s the only event that’s been challenged in all of the lawsuits. When the court agreed with us that the City was violating its code, the City had two choices — either make La Jolla comply, or roll the dice on the judge applying her ruling to all special events. And what did the City do? It’s San Diego, so of course they rolled the dice… and lost.

Now, all of us are caught in the middle of the City’s bad decisionmaking. Fireworks CEQA exemption legislation has twice failed. Even if this legislation is successful, it’s virtually certain fireworks will be removed from the list of exempted activities. And it should be. Do you know how much trash, heavy metals, air pollution, and marine animal impacts occur from fireworks? This is what we should be rallying around, not legislation that will be used by developers and City staff do do thing it was never intended for. CEQA exemptions already exist for “minor alterations of land” and for projects that do not cause environmental impacts. Why does the City want to bootstrap so much into this one? Ask yourselves that question….

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avatar Frank Gormlie January 27, 2012 at 8:35 am

Two things, Marco. There’s a big difference between, say, once-a-year fireworks – like in OB at Fourth of July – , and with the fireworks that SeaWorld puts on – almost nightly during the summers, and many times during the other seasons. A bunch of us tried to get the City to rein in the SeaWorld explosions – on environmental grounds – without success.

So to throw the OB fireworks event into the big bucket where SeaWorld is taking up most of the room is disingenuous and short-sighted. Let’s get all our ducks in order before anyone charges off, without a consensus from the environmental and grass-roots neighborhood groups, and takes on the issue that is confusing everything and everybody.

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avatar Marco Gonzalez January 27, 2012 at 11:34 am

Actually, the way I see it, there’s a big difference between setting off fireworks over an enclosed bay with poor flushing, or a drinking water reservoir, or a highly protected ecological stretch of coast — none of which describe the open ocean off of Ocean Beach. So, while I would also note that the science we have thus far suggests there indeed may be negative impacts from OB fireworks, we have never challenged those or sought to rope them into the current lawsuit(s). The only reason they are threatened is because the City refuses to acknowledge that Lake Murray and La Jolla Cove are two of the worst possible places to conduct such events in the City.

But I’ve got to ask, would you advocate someone walking to the end of the pier and dumping a big old garbage bag full of paper and cardboard laced with toxic metals, even just once a year? I’d bet if you really saw first hand the crap that goes into the ocean from each show you’d rethink the premise of your argument. If you’d like a photo to post, let me know.

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avatar Frank Gormlie January 27, 2012 at 11:58 am

You made some great points – especially about the City’s response to all of this, however, you still are not addressing the big diff between SeaWorld’s pollution and once-a-year tradition that goes to part of our identity. Why not go after fireworks manufacturers to force them to use less toxic material and metals? The way this effort was seen was that it was one attorney, one group leading the charge – and there was no one behind them; no consensus. And btw I have seen what pollutants are left over – that’s why I was involved in trying to get the City to crack down on SeaWorld. SeaWorld’s fireworks are for profit, the OB Pier ones are for community joy and pleasure. No money is made.

If you had focused your attention on SeaWorld and got them to halt – that would stop most of the fireworks pollution in San Diego County.

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avatar Marco Gonzalez January 27, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Frank

Ten years ago the entire Bay Council (Surfrider, Coastkeeper, EHC, Sierra Club, and Audubon) worked together to challenge the Sea World Master Plan update, including focusing on significantly reducing the number of nights fireworks could be shot off. We got the number down, but not enough. Then Coastkeeper worked with us at CLG to require Sea World to get the first ever Clean Water Act permit in the nation for fireworks over water, including the first required water monitoring program for related pollutants. From that work, we’ve now succeeded in requiring a Clean Water Act permit for all fireworks shows over water, just as the law requires. However, our success has resulted in so much public blow-back that, instead of pushing for more studies to show whether the Sea World impacts are isolated to just them, the leaders in some of these environmental groups are more worried about their ability to raise funds than actually protect the environment. Nonetheless, we talk with all the groups and they’re generally supportive of our efforts — and happy that they don’t have to take the flak for it.

Our goal is not to stop fireworks outright at this time. Our goal is to have the impacts studied, alternatives considered, and mitigation undertaken where appropriate. However, we must realize there will always be some places where they’re just not appropriate. I refuse to believe that the environment matters less on any one day just because it’s a holiday, no matter what that holiday is.

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avatar Frank Gormlie January 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Thanks for giving us this background and history.

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avatar Merrilee Miller January 28, 2012 at 10:38 am

The truth is, the City of San Diego, is falsely portraying Lake Murray as incorporated into a public park. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are on title to the property that the City falsely portrays as a “public park.” We have never given pyrotechnic operators permission to set up camp on our private property. If you want the truth, check out the link below. It provides links to public record documents that proves the representatives of the City of San Diego are deceiving the public.

http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/note-to-san-diego-council-my-family-owns-two-thirds-of-land-under-lake-murray

Forward 18 minutes into video and you’ll see Marlene Dawson’s speech, before the City Council.

http://granicus.sandiego.gov/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=5085

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