Reader Rant: July 4th Aftermath in OB – Power Washer on Newport Pushes Trash Into Gutters and Storm Drains

by on July 5, 2013 · 21 comments

in Environment, Media, Ocean Beach

OB July 4-5 Cleanup va 03Editor:  The following rant and photos were sent to us by a local OB resident who witnessed an early morning clean-up today – July 5th – on the sidewalks of Newport Avenue that disturbed him.  He was upset and made the following accusations, which are of concern if true, but they cannot be independently verified at this moment.

Of course, as we all know, the clean-up in OB after the fireworks and marshmallow fight is very staggering and any effort to wash up the mess is applauded. Yet if the Newport trash – including marshmallows, cigarette butts, cans and bottles – is indeed washing down the storm drain – then that is a concern.

OB July 4-5 Cleanup va 01By OBracer

The Ocean Beach Main Street Association ( OBMA ) pays for a power washer to clean the sidewalks along Newport Ave after the fireworks.

All night they clean the sidewalks pushing all the trash into our storm drains and gutters. Yes, if this is true then it is very questionable action but the sidewalks are clean.

When I asked the person power washing he informed me:

“The OBMA wants the sidewalks clean. The street is not my problem”

The city of San Diego’s storm water division either looks the other way or does not care about this questionable activity.  Not one single media outlet wants to report on the questionable cleaning of sidewalks in OB.

 OB July 4-5 Cleanup va 04


 OB July 4-5 Cleanup va 05

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyler July 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

I spent 2 hours this morning cleaning up trash from my block all the way down to the water. 60 pounds of trash and didn’t barely even put a dent in everything. I was happy to see more joining in towards the end as more people were waking up.

It’s quite pathetic to hear that response from the OBMA. It shows how little some of them truly about the overall health of our community unless it involves businesses. For people who claim to care about the environment and our beaches so often, it’s the most hypocritical thing ever.

I said it last year and ill say it again. The marshmallow fight needs to end. Every year it causes more disrespect to our community. Ends up inciting ACTUAL fights, people end up throwing random objects, and it adds a “well if I can throw marshmallows I guess it doesn’t matter if I throw anything else on the ground too.”

It’s unfortunate, but with many things in San Diego. People take advantage of a good thing and drag it down to the lowest common denominator


Debra July 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

I completely agree with your last sentence. After all, why stop at a couple of drinks (or bong hits, if you prefer) when you can get completely sh!t faced and act like an idiot? Why NOT get so intoxicated that you can act like a jack@ss and puke all over someone’s property? Why use a trash can when you can look kewl throwing your garbage all over the street? People like that are pure filth and have NO respect for themselves or others.


William Dorsett July 5, 2013 at 1:02 pm

OMBA doesn’t care about the streets of Ocean Beach, OMBA just cares about all the money they get from the chilli cookoff, and from all the business it generates at the 4th celebration.. cause all those people coming to see the fireworks sit around and spend money at all the businesses in OB. The OBMA doesn’t care about rights or regulations,, accept their own, and they want everyone else to fall in line with what they believe.


Mike James July 5, 2013 at 1:48 pm

I call B.S. I know the people at the O.B.M.A. actually do care about the situation. Anyone take a moment to actually address the concerns with the O.B.M.A.? Probably not.


Tyler July 5, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Agreed at least in regards to OBMA. I definitely misread the quote thinking it was someone from the OBMA who said it wasn’t their problem when it was just the power washer. I’m sure they will resolve the issue.


Mike James July 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Yeah Tyler it could have been easily missed that it was a statement by an employee of the steam cleaning company and not the O.B.M.A. I am sure the O.B.M.A. will be talking to the company about the need to keep the trash out of the storm drains. Here is a statement from the O.B.M.A. about the clean-up:
Now the issue is how to stop the marshmallow fight? It was once harmless fun, but now it really needs to be addressed. I don’t see any easy solution, short of canceling the fireworks for a couple of years to make the point. I don’t make this statement lightly since it was my idea to bring the fireworks back to O.B. in 1980.


obracer July 5, 2013 at 3:58 pm

–Mike James , B.S. ? the photo’s tell the whole story.
The same power wash company “cleaned” early Thursday morning before the street fair, they did the same thing just blowing trash into the gutters and storm drains. The O.B.M.A. also does it’s own power washing on Wednesday nights, no vacuum, no method of keeping trash and water away from storm drains, also B.S.?
The O.B.M.A.’s employee also power washed after the Street Fair & Chili Cook off , I was told by Antonis Evans with SWPPP that a violation notice was issued. B.S. ?
There are many more photo’s including some from the street fair during the power washing, it’s a little hard to call what you see in photo’s B.S.
A business owner that was upset because the power washer was stopped before he reached the sidewalk in front of his business said ” whats a few marsh mellows going to do to the fish ? ” What an idiot ! now that’s B.S. caught on camera.
I think the KPBS camera caught it, I know for sure the KPBS reporter heard it.
This is the mentality of some of the members of the O.B.M.A. .
They think they can say that because they where just awarded small business of the year by Marty Block !
The O.B.M.A. has violations going back to last years events also, it just didn’t make the news, until today. B.S. or public record ?
When I asked the person washing this morning why he continues to pollute he said exactly what the quote says “ The OBMA wants the sidewalks clean. The street is not my problem ” .
The O.B.M.A wants the sidewalks clean ? how many members showed up to clean up the mess at the foot of Newport Ave ?
What precautions did the O.B.M.A. take to ensure the mess would be contained to the sand area, where are the signs, barriers or public announcements asking attendees to please stay on the sand ?
Was this mess a surprise to anyone ?
The largest pile of B.S. is when the O.B.M.A says they have nothing to do with the marsh mellow fight ? the fight is after the fireworks, who promotes and pays for the fireworks ?
Yup, lot’s of B.S. Mr James.


Matt July 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm

The street is trashed down there. They probably need to power wash the street. On the whole though, power washing the sidewalks is very irresponsible on a number level (run off, water waste) and I’m surprised they get away with it, I’d think the coastal commission would shut it down if it were brought to their attention


prock July 5, 2013 at 10:05 pm

OBracer, I think you could ease up a little on the personal attacks – I’m pretty sure Mike James was referring to the post by William Dorsett which he replied to ( click reply under the comment in question to post a comment on a comment FYI ), and not the article itself, when he called BS. Also, if you read his comment, I believe he is referring to the statements saying, “The OBMA doesn’t care”, as evidenced by his in retort “I know the people at the O.B.M.A. actually do care about the situation. ”

That said …
Should we really blame OBMA and not the ones who put the trash there in the first place?

I, for one, would rather take this space to thank the OBMA for raising money for the fireworks, and their attempt to clean up this and every other event on newport. Thank you Surfrider foundation and others who also did clean up throughout the morning.

By the way, it’s spelled “Marshmallow”.
/end rant


obracer July 6, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Dear Prock I don’t know where I got marsh mellows, duh ! typing too fast.
I know Mr James means well, It looked like he said my rant was B.S. .
Nothing personal, just replying to his comment . Please don’t take this reply personal.

You want to blame those that participate in the marshmallow fight but NOT the organizer of the event ? oooook……….. Got it.
When a baseball fan was beaten in L.A. in the parking lot, why did the family file a lawsuit against the Dodgers ?, and win ? they didn’t organize the fight, they failed to prepare properly.
How can anybody believe the O.B.M.A. cares when they have done the same thing for many years, this was not an accident, EVERY Wednesday night they power wash with their own power washer.

After you thank the O.B.M.A for the fireworks ask them when and how they plan to clean up the pier and Veterans Plaza THEY destroyed.
I did not see a single member of the O.B.M.A staff or it’s members cleaning up, did you ?


Clarke July 9, 2013 at 9:46 pm

In regards to your question why did they file a lawsuit against the Dodgers? Because that is where the money is and lawyers were involved. And btw, I don’t think the court has ruled so saying they “won” is perhaps premature (

Blaming only the event organizer and not the law breaker (littering is technically breaking the law) is kind of like turning one’s cheek. Both can (and should) play a role in fixing the situation.
[This is all related to Marshmallow issues.]

As far as the street/sidewalk cleaning, I am completely appalled and furious. Those drains don’t have filters and go directly to the coean. I can drop a rubber duck in one next to Willie’s Shoe Shine and in five minutes after a decent rain watch it bob next to me as I shoot the pier. Ridiculous!


Mike James July 6, 2013 at 3:11 am
We need to come together as a community. Please Like and Share!


OB Mercy July 6, 2013 at 8:16 am

Other than the one pic above of a storm drain, I don’t actually see ANY pics of debris being pushed INTO a storm drain. If anyone on here/out there witnessed it, I would like to see proof. A statement from one street cleaner, doesn’t mean it was being pushed INTO a drain because he sounded like he didn’t care.

Geez, let’s all jump to the worst conclusion without hard, concrete evidence.

The Marshmallow Wars were fun for many years. All those years they were pretty much contained to the beach and Saratoga and Brighton parks. Now, they are OUTTA CONTROL and when I head back up to my place on Long Branch just east of Abbott, I am pelted from rooftops. It HURTS when a marshmallow has hit the ground and picks up dirt and sand from the beach!

I say GOOD LUCK containing it. Can you imagine trying to control THAT MANY people?? Who in the hell is going to try to do that? I’m not crazy about the fact that they sell marshmallow guns at our street fair!

This was a very fun event that has gotten completely out of control. It’s about RESPECTING OB. It’s jerks like this that painted over the new lifeguard statue 6 days after it was put up! I LOVE OB, but what the hell is going on here??


obracer July 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm

O.B. Mercy–I’m sure there are videos from merchants along Newport Ave that show more than the pictures I took, it would take someone with a spine to show the video, or show the video to prove it didn’t happen.
Geez, look into it if you really want the sad truth, do you really want the truth ? You know very well you can disprove this very easy if you want to.
Do you think SWPPP issued multiple violations without proof.

Mercy, it is illegal to wash ANYTHING into a gutter and not clean the gutter, trash and debris left in the gutter goes into the storm drains, leaving debris in the gutter is a HUGE violation, it’s also common sense.
If we all swept our trash into the gutter people would swim in trash.

Nobody say’s we should not have fireworks or marshmallow fights, understand that it is part of the special event and take proper precautions. People have marshmallow fights after every4th of July fireworks show in O.B. , does this fact surprise you ?

Merchants in O.B. where selling $ .88 cent bags of marshmallows for $ 5.00
Put some of that profit back into the community you helped destroy.

Bigger crowds have been controlled in the past, the problem is the O.B.M.A. does not take responsibility instead they take care of themselves and let the residents deal with the mess.

What other days of the year do we have marshmallow fights at the beach ?
Be for real Mercy.


jason dalton July 6, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Calm down everyone… its just good fun. Move to PB if you don’t like it. We just need to clean up better and I will head a team next year to clean. OBAMA are great people who DO care about the community. So deal with it and have fun. They already took away our rights to drink on the beach. Lets not loose the marshmallow wars too!


obracer July 6, 2013 at 2:17 pm

That’s a great idea Jason , a little planning will go a long way.
Put the word out early, I can help post signs along the beach and surf check alley to inform visitors of some simple rules.
Perhaps we can we ask the lifeguards and police to make public announcements ?
We may not keep everyone on the sand but at least the majority.
And please show me how the OBMA cares for the community ? I’d really like to see ONE example.
My family has been in O.B. since 1905 , I don’t like P.B..


Steve July 7, 2013 at 1:19 am

Two whole days later and the Newport/Bacon street/sidewalk is still a sticky mess from the marshmallows… it’s not worth the mess.


ob resident July 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm

I think the clean up crews do a great job in spite of the OB residents. I hear a lot of complaining with little commitment to make a difference. The Surfrider Foundation steps up in the morning. JFK had it right. The complainers should volunteer and work with the OBMA to do the clean up and put a group together after the fireworks to do it. It is easy to bitch. Leadership is doing something with a plan. Otherwise, a thank you is appropriate in my humble opinion.


Steve July 7, 2013 at 1:08 am

I live on Del Mar Ave./Cable and found marshmallows on the street. WTF?


angeroo July 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm

It’s all fun and games til someone gets hurt. And I’ve heard a ton of stories and seen examples of injury and even medical attention needed. It’s one thing to throw some marshmallows at people, its another to light them on fire and throw them, or freeze them, or get them wet and make a huge ball of sticky goo. That’s where the disrespect really comes in. Last year I got pelted in the neck by a massive ball that was dampened to make it larger and stickier. I had a bruise for weeks from it. Not cool.


Clarke July 9, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Angeroo, you happen to see the person at the OB Street Fair selling Marshmallow guns????????


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