The Politics of the OB Entry Way Project: Mayor’s Competing Ribbon-Cutting Excludes Councilman Harris

by on November 7, 2014 · 23 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, Politics

UPDATE: See Most Recent Post  about the mistake that led to the hubbub

Competing Ribbon-Cuttings Undue Harmony of Community; Councilman Harris Keeps Original November 20th Event

It’s strange the way certain public improvement projects get politicized.

The OB’s Entryway Project is scheduled to open sometime around mid-November.  And a ribbon-cutting event has been planned for the opening for some time now – and was scheduled for November 20th. Councilman Ed Harris of District 2 plans to be present – as the project – which has been going on for years – is being finalized on his watch.

But wait!  There’s a big glitch in this scenario! Mayor Faulconer on Friday, Halloween, announced that his office has scheduled the “official” ribbon-cutting for the project. And that date is on December 14th.

So what, you ask? Ah, look at the calendar.

Harris  has  held the District 2 council seat for seven months as he was appointed by the City Council after Faulconer’s departure from that in order to enter the mayor’s office.  Harris’ last day is December 10th – the same day that current councilmember-elect Lori Zapf – will be sworn in as the new District 2 council rep.

By then, of course, Harris will be out of his current job. And would not be at the ribbon-cutting.

Bingo! Faulconer and now Zapf get all the PR, media coverage and credit.

Perhaps Faulconer is deserving, as he was the councilman when the project got off the ground. Of course, he was also the councilman during all the godawful delays the project has suffered. And during all the promises that its completion was right around the corner.

This has been one of the longest ventures and has tested everyone’s patience as residents and visitors driving into OB for years would see nothing but a barren and weed-infested pile of dirt.

It got so bad, that some local community groups organized a clean-up a little over a year ago. So, sure – Faulconer – take the credit for all the delays.

So, what’s up now? Well, Ed Harris’ office is still moving on their ribbon-cutting scheduled at the project site on November 20th. As far as we know Faulconer is still moving on his ribbon-cutting on December 14th.

This is not the first time something like this has happened, where a public event is politicized.

Do you recall how the announcement of “Tony Hawk Day” at t he OB skateboard park was politicized?  On May 29th, less than a week before the 2014 Primary, Mayor Faulconer went down to Robb Field with the famous skateboarder Hawk to proclaim the day as his day.

By Faulconer’s side was none other than Councilwoman Lorie Zapf of District 6 – Robb Field of course is in District 2. At the time Zapf was in a Primary contest with the other main candidate, Sarah Boot.  Boot was not there nor invited.  And neither invited was the current councilman at the time – Ed Harris.  Harris is a Democrat.  Faulconer and Zapf are Republicans.  Here’s what we said at the time:

Okay, we know it’s election season, with the June 3rd Primary date less than a week away.  So, why are Republicans Mayor Faulconer and District 6 Rep Lorie Zapf politicizing a proclamation today in honor of legendary skateboarder and native San Diegan Tony Hawk?  The City is declaring Thursday, May 29 as “Tony Hawk Day” in San Diego.  …  But why Zapf? She is running for District 2 – BUT SHE AIN’T THERE YET ! Why the heck will she be there – except to promote her candidacy against Democrat Sarah Boot.

If anyone ought to be there, it should be Councilman Ed Harris – who does represent District 2.  Was he invited? Was Sarah Boot invited?

This politicization of a tribute that should be fairly non-partisan of a local doing good things by Zapf is disgraceful, actually. There are not Republican skateboarders and Democratic skateboarders ….

Looks like the partisan divide that has ground much of our national government to a halt is now plaguing the OB Entryway Project. This deliberate effort to bypass the current Democrat in office for District 2 does not stem from a value system that pushes partisan politics to the background in favor of compromises and good governance for all.  These competing ribbon-cuttings will do much to upset the harmony in this community – as different camps will favor one or the other.

Some might say – ‘boycott the Faulconer event’ – but this just leads into more divisiveness. Then some might boycott the Harris event and so on.  This is not the way to do public improvement projects.  This is not the way to do the OB Entryway Project.

Once the Entryway Project is turned into the Entryway Park, then we’ll see that there are not Republican park lovers and Democratic park lovers, there’s just OBceans trying to get through the park to Robb Field.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie November 7, 2014 at 10:10 am

This project has had different names; for a while it was called the OB Gateway Project …


RB November 7, 2014 at 10:20 am

Why not invite Bob Filner, to cut the ribbon, as a bi-partisan compromise? Without Filner, Faulconer would not be mayor and Harris would not be our un-elected representative.


daniel beeman November 7, 2014 at 10:39 am

Hey, who cares anyway, IT IS ONLY YOUR MONEY, YOUR TIME, YOUR COMMUNITY! You work for decades, the new “representative” slides in and takes all the rewards! ON YOUR NICKLE!
I know Ms. Zapf, they suggests, because of my address that she is my council district representative, and I as a republican voter, was regularly never heard. She only once had a staff member contact me, once, about a on going project. She did nothing for our district, roads are much worse! no new parks, development how we didn’t want, w/o asking us, even though we asked be involved/informed.
Well I decided to become politically homeless. She is like all the other party members here in San Diego County…all about themselves, pushing partisanship in NON-PARTISAN issues & offices, and using you for their own goals.
Good luck District 2 and my OB friends! You’ll really need it now!
daniel P.S. Some fun a couple weekends ago: OB Green Store event


Adam Dricsoll November 7, 2014 at 12:04 pm

You know what would have been nice is when they fixed the entry way they fixed the issue with all the cars in the right lane stopping traffic to merge into the front of the left lane.


Bill Smith November 7, 2014 at 12:17 pm

Get over it. Zapf is your councilwomen. In two years the council will have a Republican majority, this is largely due to the fact that people in OB don’t vote. You had a chance to fight for Filner, but you and the other liberals fell into the Republican PR trap. Where is all the indignation about the actions of Demaio, his acts make Filner look like a amateur. Harris is gone and could have never been elected in the first place, he is a political nothing that you have to get over. Let’s move on Frankie and see what we can make out of these most unfortunate turn of events.


SaneVoice November 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm

1. False. Plenty of people in OB vote.

2. There’s plenty of indignation about the actions of Dirty DeMaio. Apparently you don’t read the OB Rag, San Diego Free Press and any of the other decent news services available to us. Perhaps you get your news from Papa Doug’s fishwrap ? You won’t find anything in that tabloid except right-wing grandstanding and biased opinions. The real indignation is that while Republicans were ready to burn Filner at the stake, we’ve heard nothing but crickets from them regarding their own candidate’s transgressions.

3. Ed Harris has done the best job he could in taking over Faulconer’s Council Seat and making positive changes in OB. Besides supporting the end of the Marshmallow War, he also succeeded in helping OB defend the OB Community Plan.


Bill Smith November 7, 2014 at 4:29 pm

The OB community plan means nothing when there is a Republican majority on the Council. OB planners decisions will be overturned by development money going to Republicans on the Council. You need Zapf more than she needs you, start building a relationship. The community of OB needs to choose it’s fights more carefully and think of politics two or three election cycles down the road.


Seth November 7, 2014 at 5:58 pm

You know what would be cool? If instead of begging electeds to do their actual job, they just served their constituents like they were supposed to.

Understood on the community plan, but kissing her ass won’t do anything for OB. She didn’t even campaign here until like a day before the election when she went to some ribbon-cutting ceremony. I don’t care what party you are or are not, but by doing so, she made a statement IMO that she does not care about OB at all.

Yeah, they had to hide her from getting clowned at a community debate by a much smarter candidate in Sarah Boot, but come on, even people like DeMaio wouldn’t have have completely ignored the place like that.

Sorry for the rant, but OB doesn’t need to change anything or go begging to their own representatives. Demographically, it is really just a matter of time until the old boy network and minions like Zapf get swept away in San Diego proper.


Tyler November 9, 2014 at 8:57 am

I agree with most of what you said save point 1. OB had one of the lowest city turnouts in voting. Barely 20% voted in several precincts of OB


Seth November 7, 2014 at 6:12 pm

There is no place in any professional workplace for Filner’s behavior, never mind the Mayor’s Office. You have to support due process, but once it became starkly clear that it was a matter of habitual, and uncontrolled sexual harassment, he obviously had to go.

As for DeMaio, who I personally would never even consider voting for, that first accusation was nowhere near as clear. There was that whole break-in, and it could just have as easily been a disgruntled former employee trying to extract revenge or whatever. Anyone should have had serious questions about it, and now that a second accuser has come forward, there should certainly be a lot more of them. Given the slight margin of his likely loss to Peters, it probably cost him the election IMO.


Bill Smith November 8, 2014 at 8:58 am

The first accuser of Demaio was a fellow councilman who viewed the behavior multiple times in the council restrooms, which was backed up by a councilwoman. Republicans did not wait to pounce on Filner, especially with the support of the liberal press. Only Citybeat seems to understand how progressives were played for fools.


Seth November 8, 2014 at 10:16 am

Bill, I get that you have an axe or two to grind, but what exactly is your point here? It’s a behavior issue and not a partisan one, and given that it cost both of them elected positions, I’d say neither flew under the radar.


Bill Smith November 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm

I appreciate your point of view and your being fair and well spoken. But if Filner was a Republican, he would never of been removed from office. He might of been in therapy the rest of his life and somewhat marginalized but still in office. His election was a major sea change for San Diego, we finally had moved beyond the old boy Republican network. Now we have moved back thirty years and the Chamber of Commerce runs this city again. Had Filner remained in office so many progressive initiatives would have passed, we would have a new minimum wage in effect today. It kills me how orchestrated the Filner attack was, with a new allegation coming out each day, just in time for the evening news and all staged for maximum affect. Everyone fell for it; hook, line and sinker. Some of the allegations were dubious (some serious) but they all fell in nicely with the narrative prepared by the news stations under control of the Chamber. All the while the liberal news media stood by so as not to upset Donna and the rest of the ladies. I cry for all the single mothers who lost their chance at a decent wage. We missed our chance and San Diego will not be a Progressive town in either of our lifetimes. Thanks for letting me grind my axe, it is good and sharp now but the die is already cast, alas I have no dragons to slay. We will have to bow to our overlords at the corrupt Chamber of Commerce.

I have been involved in politics for many years, having played a large part getting Pete Wilson elected; as Mayor, through his try for Governor and through the Senate. I know how politics works in San Diego, and it is not pretty. My life is exceedingly comfortable, but it saddens me so many will have to suffer until a second chance comes along.


RB November 9, 2014 at 10:22 am

It was Democrats (to their credit) who first presented the Filner problem to the public. This was not a Republican witch hunt. Having Gloria as temporary mayor worked well for all sides, IMO.


Marc Snelling November 7, 2014 at 1:27 pm

“people in OB don’t vote”

Voter turnout in OB is the same as the rest of the City and that fact is easily verified by looking at a map of voter turnout by precinct.


Bill Smith November 8, 2014 at 10:45 am

I looked at precinct counts on inewsource. OB comes in in the mid 20% turnout, much worse than any other area in the 52 Congressional district (which of course was the most contentious). Perhaps we need to add a marijuana initiative to the ballot to boost the OB count.


Frank Gormlie November 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm

That will come I’ve heard in Spring of 2016.


Tyler November 9, 2014 at 11:43 am

It will definitely get young voters into the precincts. Hopefully it’s not another 2010. Kevin Sabet and “SMART” plan on spending a ton in 2016 in CA to try and stop momentum. Such a hack.


Tyler November 9, 2014 at 11:44 am

In fact, only one precinct in PB and the East village had a worse turnout than Nothern OB precincts

Although the real sad statistic is only 12% of voters under 30 voted nationally


Marc Snelling November 9, 2014 at 12:32 pm

There were four precincts in PB with lower turnout than North OB; 221300, 224510, 220000, and 223500. The total for those precincts was 777 out of 4,099 registered voters for 18.9%.


Marc Snelling November 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm

OB is over a dozen precincts, the OB precincts had varied results from 22% to 47% turnout. Precincts partially in OB had turnouts over 50%. Even in north OB with the lowest turnout of OB precincts at 22%m there are 25 precincts with lower turnout in Center City, PB, Tierrasanta, University N, Coronado, Midway Old Town, and San Diego.


Debbie November 8, 2014 at 8:07 am

To all the officials who are going to the Ribbon Cutting…..


Give people a place to sit, gather and chat.


Frank Gormlie November 8, 2014 at 2:58 pm



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