Fun and Games at the OB Town Council

by on June 27, 2014 · 0 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics

You never know what you’ll learn or see at a OB Town Council meeting until you’re actually there.  There’s usually fun and games at these monthly events. And this was true last Wednesday night as well.

Nearly 60 people gathered in the Masonic Center to get in on the action of the Town Council that night. With 4 TV stations present for the marshmallow controversy, there was a certain tension in the air as President Gretchen Newsom gaveled the meeting to order.

The marshmallows and the OB Community Plan were the big ticket items on the agenda, but there was lots else going on – not to mention the upcoming 35th Annual OB Street Fair.

OB Firefighters and Para-Medics Have Warnings

Newsom, as per usual, allowed the OB firefighters in the room to have the first public say.  And paramedic George Duardo had plenty to offer the hungry audience.

“It was busy today,” he said, “we’re seen an influx of folks into OB right now putting our station in the center of increasing responses.”

In the winter months, he said, the OB station at the corner of Ebers and Voltaire has an average of 130 medical-response calls per month. During April and May, it gets up to 180 a month. But in the peak summer months, Duardo iterated, it approaches 300 medical-response calls per month.

The trends they see, he went on, are the many “BBQ-related injuries”, with coals – still hot coals – being the biggest source of the injuries.  “People don’t know what to do with lit coals,” he said, and he ticked off a list of “no-no’s”; don’t place fire pits next to buildings; “it’s not legal”, he said, to use BBQs on balconies.”  “People put the hot coals outside when they come home, right on wood,” which catches fire.

The bulk of their calls are medically-related, he said, like CPRs, cliff-rescues.

Next up was Chet Barfield, aid to Councilman Ed Harris. “Lorie Zapf will take office on December 8th,” he said, but “you’re stuck with us for the next 4 and half months,” he said to chuckles, reminding folks that Harris is still on the Council doing his job.  Barfield reiterated Harris’ support for OB and the Community Plan.

Newsom then called on Police Dept rep, Lt. Natalie Stone. Stone gave an update on the recent hit and run near OB on Nimitz.  Police are looking, she said, for a 2009 Ford Mustang with some significant damage. In other fronts, she assured the crowd police are ready for the 4th – “we’re here to support the OB Town Council,” she said. She has also assigned a couple of extra officers to the OB Street Fair.

After a few complaints from members of the audience about slow-response time from police, Lt Stone let her hair down for a moment, and got a little emotional. She described how during her 27  year career with the SDPD she’s witnessed 5 mass resignations of employees from the Department. “The reality is,” she stated with emphasis, “is that a lot of officers are going to the County where they make more money.”  These grim stats settled the crowd some.

Next on the agenda were reports, and Board member Steve Grosch rose and explained that over 70 Ocean Beach businesses were funding a pilot project that just started of a private patrol circulating around OB and Newport.  They work 4 days a week, with 5 hour shifts, he said. “It’s the guys with the red shirts,” from Elite Security. “They’re just here to help,” he said.

Other Board members gave quick reports. Gretchen said the OBTC is still taking grant applications until the deadline on July 1st. Plus the Council has doubled its student scholarships.

There were several reminders of the “day after” clean-up on OB on July 5th, in conjunction with Surfrider. There’s also a Dog Beach clean-up on July 12th with the sponsoring dog wash, Dog Beach Dog Wash.

Representing the OB CDC, Grosch also reported that there will be a second meeting on Saratoga Park sometime in August. He also stated that the Entryway Project is entering the second phase, breaking ground in July and completing in September. A few eyes in the audience rolled. Also, the new Veterans’ Plaza is moving into its construction document phase, and they’re starting to raise money for the project.

The main event of the evening – the “Mallow Out” pledge then took over the meeting. (See here for our report.)  Following that was the update on the OB Community Plan campaign. (See here for our report.)

Can you tell? There’s a lot going on in OB these days. And you can usually find out about everything at an OB Town Council meeting.


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