Abbott and Saratoga Sold!

by on January 11, 2011 · 19 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, Ocean Beach

By A.W. Maris / Special to the OB Rag

“Too long a sacrifice

Can make a stone of the heart

O when may it suffice?” – W.B. Yeats

You don’t see the signs. Especially in these times of gaiety lost amongst an otherwise grey and somber season.

“I don’t smoke!” he replies.

You’ve taught him well. Some other son may have gotten defensive in response to the random, hapless drunk. But this kid is different. He’s got compassion. Not the stuff of the market that places a monetary value upon the charity unto others. No, not that! Compassion for him is the ability to access a situation, identify what is needed and do whatever he can. Maybe he’ll become something other than a Kerouac-ian but for now… that’s enough.

“What do you hear from Dad? “ The serendipity doesn’t escape you as you walk past the Newport Avenue ghost of VFW Post 1392.

“He’s still in recovery up at the VA. I don’t think he’ll be able to see us though he wishes you well…” You lie just a little. It’s been reduced to a reflex now. What’s in us that causes a collective rejection of our military veterans when the wounded tatters of their glory days are no longer of economic significance to us?

“How about Guy?”

“Oh that! He still can’t get over the fact that his character is imaginary.”

“Like us!”

“Yeah, like us, his character lives in a world of words not deeds. A world where things get debated, not done. An ideal world where very little gets implemented just discussed. A world where, not even the tiles beneath your feet are set in concrete. Forget about the notion of words having consequences! For us, ‘Les Mots et les Choses’… is the order of things.

“Well I like being a fictional character! I can do whatever I want!”

“Whatever your creator wants, you mean.”

“Don’t get religious on me, Mom. Not as we breakfast amongst the heathen.”

Once inside “The Newbreak” you encounter Kathy Blavatt and her husband Ray. Not just the photographs that adorn the walls or the illustrations of the “Caffeine Diaries”. Those things are in the Abbott Newbreak. Here on Sunset Cliffs are the real Kathy and Ray Blavatt. Photographer, author and illustrator. Leaving aside that ‘Almost Famous’ walk up Newport, you engage Kathy in a real discussion about real things. In particular the southwest corner of Abbott and Saratoga. Good thing too! After all, here are some real people who make up for “accomplishment” by being creative.

Upon leaving Newbreak, “I wish that Kathy had won her bid for San Diego City Council. And I really like her notion that the question of Saratoga and Abbott should be approached from the lack of handicapped parking.”

“Don’t get your hopes up, Sunny.” you caution “That’s a tactical question. Try to put yourself in the role of Sun Tzu’s Sage Commander. What do you come up with?”

“Taking Whole! Basing your decisions on the five appraisals. Making a strategic decision and not just a tactical one.”

“…or end up with a Stebbins Residence.”

“Let’s go up to the Tower and start now…” He with the impatience of youth “…and when we’re done, I’ll stand upon the Wall butt naked with a bottle of beer, pipe and cigarette in hand declaring, ‘Look Ma’, I’m King of the World!’”

“Sun…Dance…Moon, if you do, I’ll have you arrested for attempted cliché. Besides I think there’s a real story in here somewhere and I want to give my Guy a chance to make a contribution. Why don’t you be a good little boy and run around in a stingy brim fedora pretending to be a hipster?”

His senses detect the snare of fashion cliché hidden in your matronizing tone. “Like everyone else? Fuck that!” Changing the topic, “Do you think that Dad will let me visit him?” He doesn’t always hear his full name coming from a ‘Mom’ but when he does it stirs in him a deep and vital sense of responsibility.

“Why don’t you call him?” as you break into a broad smile. ‘This is my son’ you think. ‘My only…and he’s a character!’

A time was that you could see the signs. But this is not the time. How could you? You have to walk the freaking alleys of Ocean Beach just to get a whiff of reality anymore. There are too many latte sipping yuppies on the streets. There are too many luxury foreign vehicles too. There are too many poor schnooks at the potlatch and not enough VW’s. But ahh, the alleys of O.B., where the perennial city of dreams lives on.

But is it a bad thing that ‘Terriers’ has taken somewhat of a bloom off the rose. Who would have thunk it!? By elevating downscale Ocean Beach to a movie set, they did something that enriched them not but made Allison W. Maris, private eye, all the lesser.

“I think Shakespeare…” said Guy.

“The hell…” you say. “Besides, I think he was talking about someone’s reputation, not the O.B. City of Dreams.

“It’s just the time of our season, Allie” Guy says

“Yeah the season of war and the season of greed.” you say

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.” Guy retorts

“And the storms that come with it. ‘Wars and lechery nothing else holds fashion’ Forget about it, Guy. I need you to help with some legwork.”

“Anything for you, doll.” He knows you love it when he talks like this. It means you’re ready to play ‘Allison W. Maris, private eye.’

And Guy once thought that the fog crept in on little cat feet. In the midst of the latest rumor of war you can see that the early morning haze has left a bigger footprint in Ocean Beach. It’s not just the climate and the thundering breakers upon the shore that have left you with the music of Weimar Rundfunk ringing in your ears. Funny about that! The soundtrack of your fantasy world today is more that of pre-Hitlerite Germany than depression era America. Not that you haven’t heard it before.

But as you and Guy go down to the sea wall, the jetsam and flotsam of our pauperized working class are all the more apparent. It is only appropriate that the beach, up to and including the lifeguard tower are closed today because of the salt water pollutants and exceptionally high seas. This situation requires more work than looking at parking and staring up at the princess of tides.

Guy Luna’s Report

There are sixteen (16) Units at 1984-92 Abbott St. in Ocean Beach, CA 92107. Fourteen (14) above ground parking spaces are used to service this location. Adjacent parking includes sixty-six (66) public parking spaces of which three (3) are dedicated to the handicapped. In addition, there are thirteen (13) parking spaces around the lifeguard tower, six (6) of which are used for (presumably) lifeguard parking, three (3) are reserved for emergency vehicles, three (3) dedicated to service vehicles of which one (1) remains for a maintenance vehicle.

County parcel map number: 448-010-18 includes the parcels 15-19 of 1984-92 Abbott Street. This southwest corner of Abbott St. and Saratoga Ave. in O.B. is currently assessed at the value of 3,276,653 (USD). The sale of this property was recorded in July 2010 to 1984 Abbott LLC which uses the address of:

1984 Abbott LLC

c/o Clark Realty Capital LLC

3655 Nobel Dr. #500

San Diego, CA 92122-1051

“Nice work, Guy.” You say as you follow his directions around the net.

“Check out Sunshine’s link:

…in addition to the parking and real estate,” He says, “It might provide some more fuel to our literary beach bonfire.”

“Not just yet, honey.” you interrupt, “I’m doing a Google search of Clark Realty Capital LLC in San Diego”

“I’ll call.” Guy asserts. After a while, “Sunshine thinks that we might just have an opening to create a real people park in O.B.”

“Gimme the phone.” You demand, your jealousy only slightly camouflaged, “Like the disabled, the traveler? Uh huh…”, as your tele-conversation drifts off into a discussion about the differences and similarities amongst the homeless and the houseless.

“Why would a real estate developer that takes pride in its accomplishments in the public arena want a property that is slated for upscale condo development?” Guy asks looking through

“Maybe they want to create upscale public housing in O.B.” you muse. “Anyway, Sunshine thinks you should go talk to Danny.”

“I’d rather smoke medical marijuana in hell than talk to that mope.”

“Wait, I’ll turn the heat up.” you suggest.

But Guy knew it would different this time. Three times he’s crossed paths with Dan Morales. Once in his youth, once in the Navy and this time here in Ocean Beach. Coming from a place where ‘Busting Balls’ is the national pastime, Danny Morales has a well earned reputation as being somewhat goofy and a bit of a prick. But it was different this time. Wearing a ‘Veterans for Peace’ sweatshirt Danny provided an existential take on Guy’s current dilemma.

You still don’t see the signs. How could you? Abbott and Saratoga has been sold. Writers, poets, librarians and their imaginary creatures are crying in the valley of the shadow, in a wilderness of powerlessness, under a rule of swords. The phenomenal world becomes manifest when reduced to writing but it takes real people to make a difference. For Danny Morales this is Guy’s dilemma.

Your dilemma too, Allison W. Maris! So as Guy recounts his conversation with the legend in his own mind, you eagerly listen.

“Danny said that Frank Gormlie introduced the Ragsters to Jon Christiansen, who was some financial bigwig in county government and he suggested…”

“Who suggested?” you ask seeking clarity

“Jon C. suggested that we establish a community service area (CSA) to provide a financial platform for converting this private property into a use that would benefit the public good. Danny went on to further suggest that we add the land of Ocean Beach Park and convert it into a ‘Veterans Park’ with increased parking, facilities and access for the disabled.” Guy says.

“But who can do…?” just as caller i.d. displays SD Moon, distracting your attention.

“Anyway…” Guy continues “I ran into Julie Klein at OB Hardware and added my suggestion that we use the CSA to rebuild the lifeguard tower as well and incorporate the old OBMA police trailer in it as a memorial to the veterans of 9/11. You know what she said?”

“That would be fantastic” you pronounce as you spell out the text in reply to your son’s message. This time the serendipity slips past your head. “My son is going up to the VA to visit his father” you say instead.

Synchronicity being a moment in time, Guy’s face went from being awestruck to pensive. He thought in mute silence,

“Of all the words of sword and pen

The saddest are these;

It might have been”

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

editordude January 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

Maris, we apologize that your fine article got sandwiched in between posts that are discussing the Tucson bloodbath and the vitriol political rhetoric, but the comments and emotion stirred up from Saturday are still with us, and many of us are still grieving.


Allison Maris January 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Frank- OOPS!- I really picked a bad time in the news cycle to submit my article. But we have to deal with the real world as it is. I’ll leave you with this thought from Bobby Kennedy-“Some look at things as they are and ask why? I look at things as they might be and ask ‘why not?'”-b/t/w you can call me Allison (and resubmit my piece at a latter time?)


annagrace January 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. WB Yeats


allison maris January 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Thanks Dave and Anna for your timely and appropriate comments-Allison


annagrace January 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm

So- are you willing to be our public private eye, looking for signs and reporting back to us?

“Signs are taken for wonders. ‘We would see a sign!’ ” TS Eliot


dave rice January 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Wow…now that was an interesting read. Anyone actively putting action to these ideas?


allison maris January 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Dave-We can only hope!


Sunshine January 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm

hey allison, i continue to hope and pray that those who recently purchased this property at Abbott & Saratoga would stop long enough to consider the significant benefits of utilizing this land for public use, not merely profit and gentrification as it seems to be going these days in OB. do real estate developers even have a conscious? or have their business dealings blinded them to even the smallest degree of humanity?

profit be damned. people still matter.


allison maris January 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Sunshine-Look at the Clark Realty website as cited in the story. If this company is as they want us to believe, then the jigsaw puzzle pieces fit nicely together. I suggest you take the suggestions I’ve laid out in the story to the office of Kevin F. for some insight as to whom may be able to effect a solution. After all this Ocean Beach is all about public spaces versus private interests.- Allie


The Mustachioed OBecian January 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

The intended use of the property is for a 12-unit condo complex that will be sold with subterranean parking. A development date has yet to be set. Not sure why tearing down an old apartment complex and replacing it with a new one shows a lack of humanity, or a lack of conscience. $3.8 million is a lot of money to spend to turn into a .463-acre public use space, especially considering that it’s near a, you guessed it, public use space. That’s like suggesting that the home I bought in OB should be turned into a public use space, instead of hoping it increases in value so that I can buy a larger home in OB. Isn’t the fact that it will bring in additional jobs a good thing?


Danny Morales January 15, 2011 at 11:06 am

Dear Mustachioed – After reading your comments to Sunshine and myself, there is left no doubt as to why the real estate industry and its governing clique is totally bankrupt. Apparently you didn’t read Allison’s article or get an education that would allow you to interpret the world outside of benighted self interest.- I don’t mean to personally attack you, but I feel sorry for our community when your arguments are accepted as the norm.


Dan January 13, 2011 at 2:22 pm

This article is poorly written. It is too hard to follow and has too many quotes. Further, most of the article is not relevant to the title. I was hoping for more news about the property, not a bunch of quotes from random people. Thanks for trying.


Allison Maris January 15, 2011 at 10:40 am

Thanks Dan for your insight. I’ll keep on trying. If for nothing, then in the hope that I can meet the standards of your critique. Stay tuned in!- Allison


annagrace January 15, 2011 at 10:57 am

Allison- I was challenged by your article and I was also willing to read it more than once. The title, which implied the usual journalistic facts of who, what, why,etc, dropped the reader instead down a rabbit hole with literary twists, allusions to the Terriers and to some of the ragsters and their “tendencies.” I savored the experience and I can also understand why it was perceived from a different critical perspective. I encourage you to keep writing in your true voice, enjoy the experience of writing and see what sticks!


Allison Maris January 15, 2011 at 11:12 am

Thank you Anna- Peace & Love, Allison


Kristin C. January 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

I really don’t want to be a negative-Nellie… but I read this b/c it’s 1/2 a block from the apartment I lived in for almost 4 years… only been gone from there for a few weeks. Could not find any actual info in the story – did it sell? for how much? what kinds of permits are they giving for the parking garage issue b/c of flooding there?… and etc and etc… really could have used some actual data instead of a weird conversation thing. That said – thanks for your efforts.


bodysurferbob January 17, 2011 at 10:31 am

really want to know what you all have been smokin’, cuz if the economy wasn’t so bad, this thing would have already been built. the economy is keeping a few things from being built, like the “medical office” that world oil got approved for at the corner of sunset cliffs and voltaire.

look, parks are not on the table – we – or rather the city/ county / state can barely afford the parks they are out there now. so sunshine, dan, guy, whomever, please for the sake of brevity, rejoin us in the modern world and understand the situation will not allow for more parks – unless of course they are part and parcel (no pun intended) of a development that has been already approved – like this one.

and kristen C – please re-read the article. the facts are there.


annagrace January 17, 2011 at 11:01 am

I disagree bsb about your assessment of the modern world & parks. The Broadway pier development is a case in point about how a bad economy made it possible for the people, the citizens, to get the park space that was promised in the Port Master Plan and then given away to the highest bidder (carnival cruise line) for other purposes. The high rise developers at Lane field have recently negotiated some kind of agreement for public access/park space- because of the bad economy. The Port District has made concessions to citizen groups. And Carnival Cruise lines has apparently pulled up stakes here and moved off to ports in Australia.

I think we must ask why we can’t afford more parks and maintain the existing ones. I don’t know if Ocean Beach is under served when it comes to park and open space. I know my community of City Heights certainly is. Parks and open space are a critical part of our civic infrastructure. I am sure you would agree that they make our communities livable, desirable places to be.

A failed economy actually gives us an opportunity to discuss again the issue of highest use in the context of both private investment and public benefit.


Danny Morales January 22, 2011 at 8:24 am

Anna- Last time I looked, Ocean Beach had a large deficit of community park space. Mission Bay Park (Robb Field, Dusty Rhodes etc.) and Sea World are considered to be regional parks. Thus O.B. has been rendered down to a “service” community for the transient tourist population… The People be Damned!


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