Bicycles and Pie at the OB Town Council Meeting

by on February 28, 2014 · 4 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach

by Lois Lane

If you want to see OB, come to an OB Town Council meeting, and you are here. Held in the Masonic Temple Building on Sunset Cliffs Blvd, this icon of OB may not be quite historical status, but is provides ample parking, easy entry, and a comfortable venue for the number of people who arrived during the evening, along with their bicycles, children, and definite opinions on the agenda topics.

The meetings follow a standard format of public comment, official business, reports from the various  elected official staff members, a special program, and committee reports. This meeting had special  sixth item – pie with the president, as Gretchen Newsom, OB Town Council President, celebrated her  birthday with her friends in Ocean Beach. And yes, the shoo-fly pie was every bit as good as promised.

Ms. Newsom, a potential candidate for the soon-to-be empty City Council seat, packs a lot of action into  the time available.

Public comment is always interesting. There to represent District 2 City Council candidate Sara Boot was Laura Fink, her campaign  manager, providing Ms. Boot’s support message for the special topic for the meeting, bicycling.

Tony  Catalando came with pictures and a plea for solutions to the use of nooks and crannies around the pier as  de facto public bathrooms.

The representatives of our elected officials are obviously in a state of transition, with John Ly hopeful  to move to Mayor Faulconer’s office. A cheerful Chet Barfield, interim Mayor Todd Gloria’s rep, reported  for the mayor’s office. With the expectation that he will not be at the next meeting, Mr. Barfield was  presented with a gift from the OB Town Council. Always wearing a hat, he was presented with a feather  for his hat (with the disclaimer that the OB parrot who contributed it had done so voluntarily, in case  any animal activists were present).

Mr. Barfield provided the exact details for filing for candidacy for the City Council seat vacated by Kevin  Faulconer. Nothing can be done until there is a vacancy, and that will occur March 3 – the day Faulconer  becomes mayor and vacates the City Council position. Only then will the City Clerk post on the City of  San Diego web site a form for prospective applicants, and instructions for filing it. There will be a two  week window to apply. After that, applications will close, and two weeks later, the city council will vote  to select the next City Council member for District Two. There will be at least two rounds of voting.

There is no limit on the number of people who may apply, so the first round will be to reduce the slate  to a reasonable number of candidates, something like the selection of a Pope more than a primary  election, and the City Council will continue to vote until a majority is reached. The case where the city  council can’t come to a decision wasn’t covered, but presumably there is some sort of fail-safe provision  along the way.

The main program for the evening consisted of a panel discussion of bicycling experts – Andy Hanshaw,  Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition. Chris Kluth, Active Transportation  Manager of SANDAG, Bryan Genovese, City of San Diego, Ed Clancy, the Bike Guy SD, and Nicole  Burgess, OB Bike Advocate.

Everyone was interested in the report from City of San Diego rep Lana  Findlay, who outlined the planned bike-share program. Although the details are still not available, Ocean  Beach is expected to have 5 bike stations by this summer. The City provides the bike racks and bikes,  there is a fee in some cases – you pick up a bike in one place and drop it off in another official location.

SANDAG has the truly ambitious programs, with $200 MILLION allocated to implement biking plans and  15 projects under way. OBcean Nicole Burgess advocates for “safe routes to school” efforts. And the  city of San Diego itself has set aside $100,000 for bike racks.

Committee reports wind up the meeting – a request by Giovanni Ingolia for more OB Planning Board  members, and a request by the president for people to become members of the OB Town Council, with  information about how to join available on their web site:

OBTC meet 2-26-14 02

Nicole Burgess, OB Bike Advocate talks bikes at OB Town Council and gives Gretchen Newsom an Odometer for her b’day.

Others in photo and on panel include:

Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
Chris Kluth, Active Transportation Manager of SANDAG
Sam Olinger, Executive Director, BikeSD
Lana Findlay, City of San Diego

And then there was pie. The perfect end to a perfect OB day. As I walked home, I found myself thinking  “will I ever learn to ride a bicycle?” But this is OB – anything can happen.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Administrator February 28, 2014 at 12:01 pm

from L-to-R
Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition
Chris Kluth, Active Transportation Manager of SANDAG
Sam Olinger, Executive Director, BikeSD
Lana Findlay, City of San Diego
Nicole Burgess, OB Bike Advocate
(some more pictures here
{Ed Clancy, the Bike Guy SD was not at the meeting}


Gretchen Kinney Newsom February 28, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Always great to have ‘Lois Lane’ at our meetings – she’s just Super!

The City did indeed say that Ocean Beach will be home to 5 (or so) bike share stations (see – and that there will be a public process for our community to provide feedback on the locations of these bike share stations.

The City has initially plotted 4 stations along Newport and 1 at Dog Beach. The community audience at our Town Council meeting said the stations should be dispersed more broadly throughout OB. I would like to see one at Robb Field near the bike path toward Mission Bay and one at Sunset Cliffs Park. What about you? Where would you like to see a bike share station?

For those interested in learning more about how our physical environment will change to become more bike-friendly, check out the Bike Master Plan ( It’s interesting to read about all the different bike projects including an Ocean Beach Bike Path to Sassafras Street that is estimated to cost $5,890,372.


obecian March 1, 2014 at 11:48 am

I agree that we might spread them out and feel like Robb Field would be a great location. That’s a perfect spot to take a family or beginners out to learn.


Nicole Burgess March 3, 2014 at 9:51 am

Thank you again to Gretchen and Board members for organizing a great event to discuss bikes. If you want to talk more bikes, please join us at the District 2 Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee on the Third Tuesday of the Month at St. Peter’s Church at 7pm. This month we will be hearing the resurfacing project on Nimitz as well as Bike Share locations. Louis, I would love to get you out on a small bike adventure. I have a tandem and would love to show you around by bike. Being on a bike is so great – keep riding OB!


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