New City benches along Sunset Cliffs cool … illegal dumping by city workers not so cool.

by on September 21, 2010 · 19 comments

in Environment, Labor, Ocean Beach, San Diego

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Bench installation at Sunset Cliffs Park. All photos by Jim Grant.

Editor: The ever-present local photographer Jim Grant has filed this report. Apparently last Friday, September 17th, he was driving along Sunset Cliffs when … well, his story picks up from there …

by Jim Grant

Ocean Beach is known for being Ocean Friendly and aware of the community and environment. And the association between the two.

Surf rider Paddle out’s…Beach Clean Up’s and the like are very common in Ocean Beach.

People come from all over San Diego to watch the sunset ……From Dog Beach to Ladera Street, the Cliffs and Beach is packed with people coming to enjoy the sunset. So much so that people have installed simple benching to watch the sunset all along Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

The City determined these to be unsafe and unsightly and new ones are being installed thanks to a large donation from a citizen, or so I hear.

The installation has started and a dedication is set for Friday September 24th at 11am along Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

cliff benches jg 02 -smLast Friday at 11 am I was headed over to the Hydroplane Races on Mission Bay. As I drove along Sunset Cliffs I noticed 6 City trucks so I went over to see what a fleet of City trucks was doing. They were installing two benches in preparation for the ceremony Friday. As I took a few shots of the surf and watched the installation of the beautiful Ipe hardwood bench I noticed City workers cleaning out the small cement mixer, cleaning tools and getting ready to leave the site.

What happened next amazed me. The pushed the wheelbarrow with all the concrete debris across Sunset Cliffs Blvd and then DUG a hole on the bluff and buried the waste. City code is VERY clear how to dispose of such waste. Digging a hole on bluff sensitive Sunset Cliffs is NOT in city policy for waste disposal. While I think most are very happy for the new benches the method of waste disposal on Sunset Cliffs is very disappointing.

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After digging hole in sensitive Sunset Cliffs Park bluff, city workers pour remaining cement from the bench installation into the hole. Worker's face has been blacked out.

Dedication ceremony is Friday at 11.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Peyton Farquhar September 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm

Astonishing. Did you call the city to complain about the violation?


Frank Gormlie September 21, 2010 at 12:28 pm

Peyton, no we didn’t and I don’t think Grant did either. I wish someone would. At this moment, I’m swamped.


George (GrokSurf) September 21, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Hmm…maybe they’re experimenting with soil stabilization techniques?


jim grant September 21, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Anybody avalible to meet a news crew at 2:30 on sunset cliffs ???


OBWarZone September 21, 2010 at 1:55 pm

How about not building WOOD benches. We all know people will carve their initials into them by next week. That’s more of a concern to me. Why waste money on something that won’t last?!?!?!?!?!


Jon September 21, 2010 at 4:05 pm

People carve their names into everything. We would have to build benches with 6′ high fences and barbed wire around them to keep them from being vandalized. Just be sure to call out anyone you see defacing property of any kind as a poser. Taggers are scum.


OBWarZone September 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Coated Steel and Concrete would have been better


jim grant September 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

People will do that to any surface if they truly want to. This wood is almost indestructible. It can be sanded if necessary. The Ipe is a good call for this application.


jim grant September 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm

NBC shot a interview with me today at the Cliffs. In order to be fair they ( NBC) are holding the story at the request of the City until tomorrow. The City told the producer they will have a response/comment about the incident Wednesday morning. Stay tuned.


ss September 22, 2010 at 6:20 am

Nice to see them putting the benches that were taken away back. Thanks


George (GrokSurf) September 22, 2010 at 8:59 am

Jim – I’m curious about that private citizen that you heard provided the funding for this. If there was such a generous donation, that would be nice to acknowledge and give appreciation for. Do you think you could find out more from the source where you heard this?


jim grant September 22, 2010 at 9:03 am

I got that from a City worker and K. Falconer’s office and I guess that is the purpose of the dedication and thank you ceremony scheduled for Friday on the Cliffs …


Gary Gilmore September 22, 2010 at 9:22 am

I’m pretty sure I know the man who is funding the bench. He and his wife used to spend a lot of time walking and enjoying the cliffs. A few years ago his wife died in a diving accident. This is his way of honoring her memory. He’d like to remain anonymous . I can tell you that he is one of the most gentle men I know and he has a heart the size of the Pacific Ocean. It’s people like this that make me proud to be from this neighborhood.


Jon September 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

Thanks Jim for keeping such a close eye on our natural treasures. I’ve been rather busy lately, and I may have missed the news story. Did the city end up issuing a response to the incident?


jim grant September 22, 2010 at 10:26 am

No word from the City yet!


jim grant September 22, 2010 at 2:43 pm

PRETTY FUNNY !!! As of 2pm today the city is still working on coming up with a response to NBC explaining how and why the city crews dumped waste on Sunset Cliffs….


Frank Gormlie September 23, 2010 at 8:24 am

We’ve been informed that the Sunset Cliffs bench ceremony would be held at 1145 a.m. on Friday – not at 11am.


jim grant September 23, 2010 at 9:33 am

Well SURPRISE SURPRISE. When I first asked Storm Water Program Manager Joan Brackin how concrete waste should be disposed of I was told:
” Dig a hole , line it with thick plastic let the slurry mix/concrete dry out, then wrap it up and put it in trash” Perfect no problem she said digging a hole on the Cliffs is not in City policy. Kathy Ruiz at San Diego Park Dept. told me the SAME thing. The City begged me for the photos so they could investigate !!!
After I sent them the photos which shows CITY Workers doing the dumping they have since changed the story on how to dispose of concrete waste. I received this last night from the City Storm Water when referring to the photos of City workers digging and dumping on Sunset Cliffs: ” While the method of disposal may not have been a preferred method of disposing of rinse water, it was not a violation of any of our required BMP’s ( best managtment pratices) associated with our storm water regulations” direct quote from Joan Brackin Program Manager City of San Diego Storm Water Department.
It seems strange that the policy is so flexible once the City found out the people doing the dumping were City workers…
It appears that digging a hole and dumping crap on Sunset Cliffs is OK by the City…
Still waiting on word from Kathy Ruiz San Diego Park who oversees Saftey, Training , and Media for the Park Dept.

What a joke. If this were a private contractor he would be fined thousands of dollars.


Peyton Farquhar September 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

Great investigative work, Jim. Just goes to demonstrate that the City of San Diego’s left hand has no clue what the right one is doing. And the “BMP” is just a joke that is used to generate revenue from non-city entities.


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