Fire pits out, tsunami signs in

by on December 17, 2009 · 12 comments

in Economy, Environment, Health, Labor, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Tsunami 01-sm

Newport Avenue looking east. Photo: Jim Grant

Is it me or does this thing about the City putting up tsunami signs ring a wrong tune in these budget cutting times?

On one hand, OB and the rest of San Diego beaches are threatened with losing our fire pits, yet at the same time, the City goes around and puts up these warning signs.

Whew! I am sooo relieved.  I never would have known which way to run, ride or skate if OB was faced with a tsunami.

While local pundits (Dave and Lane) think OBceans would grab a cool one to watch the action or head for the tides themselves with their boards, the City advises you – depending on how you interpret the sign’s arrow – to either grab the nearest helicopter and aim straight for the clouds – or more likely, head up Newport Avenue along with everybody else and seek higher ground.

I’ve lived and surfed at this beach off and on since I was 13.  Never had a tsunami and except for the occasional and predicted flooding from high tides and rain, OB has escaped major damage over the years from nature – EXCEPT of course the El Nino storm of 1982 – when the pier and its parking lot were heavily damaged.  (One of the results of that storm was the appearance of the long-lost stairs that had been buried by the sands of tides.)

We can joke and smirk about these signs.  But do you think it’s a case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing, or when department heads submitted their proposed cuts to Mayor Sanders a while back, the line item that included placing tsunami signs up at various beaches was blurred on his draft copy, and it stayed in … or what?

How many signs did the City put up?  How many hours were spent in engineering and design to figure out which sign went where and which arrow pointed the correct escape route? Then there was the manufacture and painting of the signs, their transport and then their placement.

I know, these are small details of life.  But so are fire pits.  I was just wondering whether the money spent on these signs would have saved us some of the pits (or library hours or city employees or ….).

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

bodysurferbob December 17, 2009 at 8:51 pm

dude, you totally don’t get it! the signs are for the tourists.


BillRayDrums December 18, 2009 at 9:25 am

More omnious warnings from the nanny government that doesn’t want you to burn your hands in the fire, and who doesn’t want you to get washed away.

Next thing you know stove tops will have warning labels, as well as light sockets.

When did government lose it’s common sense?


justmy2cents December 18, 2009 at 9:30 am

The Office of Homeland Security requested the City install the new signs…I just spoke with the City.


Frank Gormlie December 18, 2009 at 9:57 am

justmy2 – hey thanks. Did Homeland Security also then pay for them? The design and manufacture and placement? Who did you speak with?


Shawn Conrad December 18, 2009 at 9:42 am

I am willing to adopt a tsunami sign if need be.


Denny Knox December 18, 2009 at 9:48 am

I just wanted to thank Jim Grant for taking that picture and sending it to me yesterday. It really brightened up my day! Jim suggested that people could follow the arrow OR stop by South Beach Bar and get a front row seat! Gives a whole new meaning for South Beach’s claim to fame . . “the best fish tacos” . . . Keep those photos coming.


justmy2cents December 18, 2009 at 10:02 am

waiting on a call back from the city hopefully with a few answers to my stupid questions……..pure comedy considering the current state of affairs….


Dave Gilbert December 18, 2009 at 2:34 pm

I heard there’s one in I.B. as well….


john December 25, 2009 at 5:01 am

Whether the order came from the feds or city, the reason they did this has nothing to do with actually needing the damn things, and everything to do with bureaucrats covering their asses from liability when one hits. When we’re sifting bodies from the sand and debris they can say “look, we did something!” when the media asks questions.
There is an early warning system in the Pacific, it’s a very inexact science though. However quitwe frankly anyone who can’t figure out which way to run, tourist or not, can be a cushion between me and the encroaching waters. (children excepted)
From the films of the one that hit Thailand and Indonesia, seemed to me the only place to run was into a sturdy multifloor building.


Frank Gormlie December 25, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Ditto, John.


Editor December 26, 2009 at 10:04 am

There’s an article in the U-T local section today about these signs, and Gormlie is quoted. Here’s the link:
The comments to that article are very funny.


Chudleigh December 26, 2009 at 10:57 am

The last tsunami to hit San Diego county was when Council member
Marti Emerald dove off the end of the OB pier.


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