Ocean Beach Man Faces Felony Vandalism for Trimming and Cleaning City Bushes and Property by Pier

by on November 16, 2013 · 36 comments

in Civil Rights, Environment, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Adame bushs 01 small

View of area that Adame is accused of damaging or destroying.

By Matthew Wood

A longtime Ocean Beach resident is facing up to 16 months in jail and $3,300 fine for a felony vandalism charge he says stems from a simple case of trimming nearby bushes.  Problem is, the bushes are on City property – property on strips of land right next to and near the OB Pier, including some strips of land along “Surf Check Alley”.

Vince Adame, who owns three different properties near the end of Niagara Avenue – a couple of cottages from the Pier, says he has been trimming the New Zealand Christmas Bushes and cleaning up the area across the street on property. And he has been doing this with a neighbor, who lives in New York.  A lot of what Adame does is pick up the debris and garbage left by homeless people who sleep in the canopies provided by the larger bushes.  [Ed.: original post erroneously cited Adame as believing property belonged to a neighbor; Adame has known it was city property.]

Admae bushs 02 small

Another view of area, along “Surf Check Alley”.

When he saw police officers inspecting the area in late October, he feared the worst.

“I thought they found a body,” he told me outside his residence late Friday. The area is a haven for homeless people to sleep and litter. When he was told what they were looking at, “I told the officer, ‘I trimmed those trees.’”

A month later, he got a letter in the mail saying he violated Penal Code 594, which outlaws defacing, damaging or destroying property. Adame says the six plants he’s accused of damaging or destroyed were valued at $499 apiece, making the violation a felony offense. He disputes the cost of the plants. “I found them in Ramona for $70.”

Adame, who has lived at the property for 13 years, believes the case is being pushed forward because of his run-ins with the San Diego Parks and Recreation Department. “I ride them hard” on local issues with the neighborhood, he said.

He is required to go through felony booking on Sunday, the 17th, a normal procedure, then will have to decide his next steps. He has retained a lawyer and awaits the progression of his case – and he isn’t happy.

Here’s the Channel 6 report.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

John O. November 16, 2013 at 10:24 am

This is ridiculous. It is no wonder that our government is broke. The police should focus on other issues. The other day I saw three patrol cars/officers talking to a lady at a bus stop. I don’t get it.
I am a supporter of the SDPD, but we should let them do their jobs without this trivial enforcement of ridiculous rules. And they (SDPD) should stop using infractions of silly rules as an income source.


joyce November 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm

This sounds so wrong….unless you destroyed the trees….you should be getting a medal for doing what the city should be doing….and does not do. i lived at the foot of santa cruz av for 5 years….and the city is not taking care of the plants on the cliffs there….they are eroding like crazy….just a matter of time till houses start to go. it is important that the cliffs be planted and watered to prevent erosion….but they are not. instead of going after a man who is (what sounds like) doing the city a favor, they should be taking care or the cliffs. and going after people who hang in the parking lots on sunset cliffs for hours disturbing the people who live there…..”the crazy van”


Dana Levy November 16, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Perhaps another case where the City Attorney, Goldsmith, is overstepping his bounds and striving to achieve his goal of cowering all residents by threatening a citizen for doing what the city should be doing all along (and ought to be thanking Vince instead). Are the plants dead? Does it look unsightly like graffitti? Has he actually harmed anyone? The police also need to get their act together and actually track down and catch REAL criminals that do harm in the city every day and leave local residents to lead their lives in peace. How about the trees that have fallen and maimed and killed local residents? And this is a felony he is charged with? Wouldn’t a simple letter suggesting he desist from trimming bushes on what is now determined as “city” (as if citizens aren’t part of the city) property the way to go? Damn, things must be slow at the SDPD these days! And, I think Faulconer is king of the lame ducks and doesn’t care what happens in OB anymore.


DW November 30, 2013 at 6:00 pm

The City Attorney’s office doesn’t prosecute felonies, the District Attorney’s office does.


Dana Levy December 1, 2013 at 4:42 pm

It seems to be a city issue done by city police and just because Dumanis is as big a pendantic dolt as Goldsmith, it doesn’t absolve him from culpability. She wouldn’t pursue this unless Goldsmith didn’t present it to her as worth doing (quid pro quo, I’m sure) and want it done!


Debbie November 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm

I certainly hope our councilman Mr. Faulconer is stepping up to support this man that is trying to keep things clean and safe in OB. Time to recall the DA!


doug porter November 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Once again City Attorney Jan Goldsmith shows he has no common sense.


Debra November 17, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Have you read the story about the 29 MILLION DOLLAR lawsuit the city lost thanks to idiot Goldsmith? It’s on THE READER website. It’s regarding a condo association and sewer lines. All the city had to do was turn the case over to the insurance company and it would’ve been settled. But, since Goldsmith was too busy prosecuting someone for writing on a sidewalk with chalk and investigating Bob Filner, he didn’t have time to do what he was hired for.


Debra November 17, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Ooops! Actually, the city hasn’t lost the lawsuit yet…


Susie November 16, 2013 at 11:43 pm

This is so unbelievable. I am sure the greenery will grow again. It is not at all damaged.
I hope the attorney takes this case gratis, as it should not set a precedent for the city to be a bully. Property owners are required to upkeep their property, why is the city not doing the same ? There is so much needed help in OB that the city should thank him for the help and pay him too. And, don’t speak to the police. Hire your own arborist to dispute the city and ask to see the city’s arborist report of Drew Potoki, if one exists.

We pick up trash, debri, garbage, doggie dirt, garage sale signs,cigarette butts and bottles left by others on a daily basis x 18 years. We load christmas trees left in the alleys at the holidays, take junk to the dump left out in alleys by others. Why can’t the city do their job better so citizens do not have too ? I have personally contacted Falconer x 3 in 2 years, spoke to him in person and only got rhetoric.I was actually shocked at how easily the political rhetoric flowed from his lips, with a smile of course. I wasn’t amused. It was as if his answers were being read and or memorized. Nothing was done or changed.He does not appear to know the big picture. The City is in a great financial trouble and will keep trying to get money any way it can.He will increase taxes. There is no way to get money for the city except more tickets and wrongful shakedowns. Don’t pay a lawyer, make them prove it in court. I am sure having the homeless trash and trample the shrubs is really healthy for plants !!! Give me a break.
I have called the OBMA about graffiti in the alley behind Newport painted on the buildings and was told there was nothing they could do. Why not call the owners of the property to come and paint over it ? Which is what we did. OBMA said they did not have time to do that. This is one of the reasons OB will never progress. Not too many people want to go the extra mile for fear of one thing or another.
The city and police just let any one on a daily sometimes hourly basis steal from the recycle cans all of the cities recycling. How about monitoring that for a change ? That would be a source of income for the city if they put a stop to the thieves stealing city property. $$$$ !
How about all of the speeders on Sunset Cliffs ? Pass out tickets the legal way.
Also, get rid of the street sweeping, another source of ticket revenue for the city. Another money making scheme for the city. Thanks to B. Wear for that one.
How about they try and trim a few more Palm trees instead ?
We will keep on picking up others garbage so we can live in a semi decent place. We hardly ever see others picking up trash and have been frequently asked over the years Why do you do that ? That is the city’s Job. LOL…Give me a break.


Debra November 18, 2013 at 3:18 pm

I totally agree with you. I called Faulconer’s office a few months ago to complain about a stupid neighbor who habitually blows trash, leaves and dirt into the street (and all over my car), usually right AFTER the street sweeper goes by. I was told by some moron, who sounded as though he was reading from a script, that “it WASN’T considered littering,” to do so. I can’t even believe anyone who lives in his district, would be so ignorant as to vote for Kevin Faulconer for mayor.
And true, I RARELY see anyone else picking up trash or even their own dog’s p**p around here. DISGUSTING.


obracer November 17, 2013 at 7:24 am

Local development code REQUIRES the City via park & rec. to maintain and protect public views by maintaining the bushes at a maximum height of 36″ .
Park & rec. director Daniel Daneri DOES NOT follow the law, he picks and chooses what will be maintained.
Look at the buses in the pier parking lot, most are 36″ or less EXCEPT the bushes near the curb. Mr Daneri instructed his people NOT to cut these bushes because he wants to block public views of the ocean using these bushes. This idiot thinks if the bushes block the view then the trailer is not obstructing public views.
Mr Daneri does not like the fact I send pictures of graffiti not painted over for weeks, he refuses to place trash cans in the parking lot.
Look at the pier TODAY, you will see bright purple paint sprayed all over the entrance , park & rec. ” tagged ” the pier to identify boards that need to be replaced, TWO MONTHS AGO ! some idiot added pink paint and tagged the sidewalk.
This is the first thing visitors see, if I call park & rec. I’m complaining, if I paint over the graffiti I’m vandalizing ?
It’s time for Mr Daneri and to go, he is the idiot that was named in the state violation notice to the City for allowing the illegal trailer to remain in the parking lot.
The violation notice is addressed to the City, Park & rec. AND Daniel Daneri.
The men and women that clean and pick up trash do a great job, it’s the trash in the park & rec. office that needs to go.


david millette November 23, 2013 at 11:15 pm

yes daneri needs to be fired he told me he knew the city ordinances were unconstitutional in regards to selling at the beach but he didnt care an would enforce the rules


Glenn Goss November 17, 2013 at 11:41 am

I spoke with Vince Adame this morning (Sunday), taking care of the landscaping around his property oddly enough. It turns out the city is NOT backing down from this. In fact, this was only a couple hours before he was on his way to be booked today. The reality is he will hopefully be in and out of the jail/booking process in 4 hours today, but it is costing him time and money. FELONY VANDALISM! They will probably try to get him to cop to a plea misdemeanor, but Vince assured me, he will fight this thing.
I am asking for all OB residents and otherwise to make some noise on Vince’s behalf.
What happened to the “clean up OB push SDPD Western Div. has been touting? The proof is in pudding.

Let’s make some noise. The community need to stand by Vince.
I am asking all to light up these folks with emails, twitter, FB, …..
Some ideal people were mentioned above.
I’m looking for more suggestions. Lets make a difference for someone who makes a difference for us!

Park & Rec. director Daniel Daneri ?
City Attorney, Jan Goldsmith
Councilman Mr. Faulconer
Intern Mayor Todd Gloria


Thank you all!
Glenn Goss


Charlson November 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm

use the power of the interweb!


Debbie November 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm


If something gets organized, I will be there if I can.

Good luck to Mr. Adame


Marilyn November 17, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Do I understand this issue correctly? Mr. Adame bought some plants, installed them on “city property”, and maintains them? How is that different from someone installing and maintaining grass in the parkway between the sidewalk and the sidewalk? Many of us do that out of a sense of “pride of place”.
Signed me Confused.


Matthew Wood November 18, 2013 at 8:46 am

Hi Marilyn. They actually aren’t his plants. They are next to his neighbor’s property. He has been trimming them for some time with no trouble.


Kathleen Blavatt November 17, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Vince is always out cleaning up trash and keeping the area nice. This is a joke. If the city needs something to do why don’t they go pull the weeds at the entrance to OB that we have put hundreds of thousands of dollars towards and still isn’t done… It has no area for people sit and it’s unsafe to ride bikes there! This unusable area is included as “Park” in the future community plan? Let people like Vince alone. We need people to help keep the community nice, not discourage them. OB residents have been doing a lot of clean-up of OB over the years that the city has neglected.


Mari November 18, 2013 at 9:42 am

There is a 1 year old little girl that was abducted by her mentally ill mother on Oct 30th in San Diego and the father (who lives in OB) can’t even get a call back from the police dept. or DA. Now I know why.


Tyler November 18, 2013 at 10:03 am

Right. He’s not getting a call back on a missing persons report. because he lives in OB…..

Take off the tin-foil hat.


michael realpeople November 18, 2013 at 12:53 pm


I get more and more amazed with the Political on-goings in OB…

When it comes to a Foreclosed property in despair, the Banks can be fined daily for lack of upkeep, per the eyesore can be described as detrimental to the value of the neighborhood. This article was put into place by the advisement of the local Governmental agencies, to enforce proper care. Why is the City not on the hook.

I challenge anyone here to find an existing California (or SD County) Case-Law that would not only protect him and his voluntary trimmings, but fine the City for the eyesore. I am pretty sure that the City charges us taxes for the upkeep, but then it is not done.

We take t time to protect our rights and live in a beautiful neighborhood, why should we pay the costs associated with them?


Jake November 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

This is the best thing that the police have to do with their time? This is the biggest ‘crime’ they can solve. The officers who wasted the time it took to do this should lose their jobs. The boss that signed off on this shoud be publically outted before being fired.
We have a property owner taking responsibility for the neighborhood where he owns property. A proptery owner who is doing what the local government is incapable or unwilling to do.
This is shameful. Absolutely shameful. WTF is wrong with the authorities? Unbelievable.


Susie November 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Give The Date/ Time/ what is needed / Contact info & we will All show up


Charlson November 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm

It is up to the city to prove that the accused was “defacing, damaging or destroying property” (as per Penal Code 594).

If the world were fair, he should be allowed to counter suit for back pay for taking care of city property (which could be a sizable amount considering another article that states that it would require $30K!!! for a crosswalk) .


John November 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

I say throw the book at him, the cultivation book. 420


Peter December 2, 2013 at 9:20 am

Clearly Vince has pissed somebody off and that is why they’re going after him. I can fathom no other reason. But I will tell you, there’s talk of this all over the community and the overwhelming consensus is that this is a waste of time and energy that our overburdened court system can hardly afford to squander. Are they serious downtown? Do they not remember Chalk-Gate?


Glenn Goss December 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm

LOLZ! Chackgate!!


Kathleen Blavatt December 2, 2013 at 10:57 am

My letter to the City and DA:
As an Ocean Beach resident, I am concerned and oppose “the charges of Vince Adame trimming neglected plants on city land”.
In 2012 in Ocean Beach with the support of the Town Council, Businesses, the Ocean Beach Historical Society and many long time residents and community leaders, had a “Respect O.B.” event and rally, with the idea of everyone getting together and helping keep O.B. a nice community and working together on solving problems.
The police were thanked and received a large applause for their work, as did many others that have worked at keeping our community safe, clean and a place we want to live.
Now we have someone that has done what the “Respect O.B.” rally was about… and the police and city are arresting him! Does the City really want to go down this path? Think of the waste of money, bad press, and what getting O.B. residents riled up is going to do?
As a board member of the Ocean Beach Historical Society, I have gotten to know Vince Adame well over the past year, because he has donated a large number of very important historical photos and documents to the Ocean Beach Historical Society. He truly loves Ocean Beach and it’s history.
Vince has also reported problems at the beach and parking lot, along with helping clean up the area. He is active in trying to keep our community nice.
I know people have different ideas on how to solve local problems, but heavy-handed police action against a well-known resident in O.B. seems like the wrong approach. How about Park and Rec sitting down and talking with Vince and others involved and working out a solution. With the Ocean Beach Community Plan being updated isn’t this be the time to work on how we deal with our public spaces and how we keep our neighborhood nice?
Frankly this is a no-brainer! Drop the charges against Vince and work on a viable solution. Please don’t waste the tax payers time and money.


Debbie December 2, 2013 at 11:26 am

Right on!

Vince Adams should run for district 2….bunch of numb nuts in this city. Residents of OB trying to keep their community clean and free from crime get busted! He should be given an award! Better yet, in charge of city maintenance cause somebody ain’t doin their JOB.


Glenn Goss December 2, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I’d also put links/comments on their “personal” social media (twitter/facebook) pages, as well as any and all social media pages of “the organizations/government agencies” they are connected with.
Your effort is appreciated by the community.


Glenn Goss December 2, 2013 at 3:07 pm

As of today, just a few minutes ago, the DA has used one of his two brain cells (the smarter of the two clearly) and has dropped the charges against Mr. Adame.


Frank Gormlie December 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Glenn, yes, you’re right – see our latest: http://obrag.org/?p=78590


Dana Levy December 3, 2013 at 8:38 am

Update, the DA is female (not a “his” as stated above, not to be confused with the other atrocious “City Attorney” Jan Goldsmith/male persuasion, who also needs replacing) and her name is Bonnie Dumanis and she is up for re-election and there is a credible opponent named Robert Brewer this time around and I urge all readers to vote for the alternative and not the incumbent!


Mike December 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm

this is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS, just another example of how city government will bully a taxpayer, these charges are bogus because they could not write the truth that the $400 is going to cover the pay, full benefits and pension of a government barnacle that was going to trim those shrubs when they got to it sometime in the next few months or years. Even though this man made it easier for them by doing a community service, they don’t see it this way, the city government & union see it as a loss of pay, that’s pathetic and what you Ocean Beach voted in.


Stacy December 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

This is absurd. I live in the neighborhood. To call what he did “vandalism” is nuts. It looks WAY better, and he’s made it SAFER and CLEANER for us. I’m very disappointed in this.


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