“PopUp Picnic” Planned for Ocean Beach Seawall – Sat. Jan. 17th

by on January 16, 2015 · 34 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach, Organizing

OB PopUp Picnic 1-17-15Some folks associated with the OB Town Council have planned a “PopUp Picnic” to be held down at the end of Newport Avenue, near and around OB’s famous SeaWall, the Veterans’ Plaza and grassy area, this Saturday, January 17.

They see it as a “way of taking back the SeaWall for families, community members, and people that Respect OB.”

There’s a facebook page on this that calls for a peaceful time, asking OBceans to get into the spirt of the event, and come with a picnic blanket, a couple of snacks to share (bring your own utensils), some light games for the kids and grownups alike (bubbles, hula hoops, frisbees) etc.

It will be held from noon to 2:00pm.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

cc January 16, 2015 at 11:40 am

the street kids probably think its free meal for the bums day

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 16, 2015 at 11:49 am

Good question, cc, what would Jesus do if the bums showed up, – would he give them food?

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obracer January 16, 2015 at 2:14 pm

What would Jesus do if they urinated in his bushes ? and stole his bike, broke into his house ?

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cc January 16, 2015 at 3:55 pm

If he lived in OB and had to deal with them all the time…. he’d uh feed them because he has to?

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Mari January 16, 2015 at 1:23 pm

I wonder too Frank, that’s an excellent question :-).

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tia January 16, 2015 at 1:23 pm

Great idea. Sad timing. These folks will be needing a bathroom and the tower bathrooms (or at least the women’s) were hit by vandals wielding black paint last night.

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Barb January 16, 2015 at 2:49 pm

Perhaps those who picnic will take up the cause of new/improved public bathroom/bathing facilities for O B with the city. Maybe the Mayor and Laurie Zapf will attend and see for themselves the deplorable situation here.

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objamie January 17, 2015 at 2:51 am

Maybe Barb. Or maybe they can’t get past the deplorable situation in downtown SD because there are 25x more times as many people without permanent housing there than there are in Pt. Loma/OB.

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objamie January 17, 2015 at 2:52 am

I DISAGREE with the wording of the promotion of the event. Saying “take back” the SeaWall? That is pandering to paranoia and fear mongering. You don’t take back something that isn’t lost in the first place. You can encourage a community event without that attitude.

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Barb January 17, 2015 at 7:13 am

Agree with you, OBJamie.
What we need are decent public facilities to take care of those who have chosen us, for whatever reason (perhaps one reason is a history of tolerance, well earned in my opinion).
What would really help would be a planned urban encampment, one in which those with no roof could live in the best sort of dignity they could devise, with public facilities just for them.
But since we seem unable to get from the city decent public facilities for O B itself, fat chance to hope for this, I guess.

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Kandi Anderson January 20, 2015 at 7:26 pm

My husband and I came to San Diego to get warm for the winter… our 2nd winter outside without a roof…. we had been told great things from a variety of people along our journey that SD was the place to be…. :)

We arrived in SD on Oct 15th, 2014… and was told that if we wanted a “cool” place to hang, and chill without really being “harrassed”… that would be in Ocean Beach… so on Oct 16th, 2014… we hopped a bus to OB and havent left yet!! BUT we will eventually when it warms up… We hope to have jobs at a farm in Washington come April of this year.. :)

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Posey January 17, 2015 at 9:18 am

I’m no Christian, but I know what they say Jesus would do if he showed up. Number 1, he was homeless, number two, he would turn the other cheek. As far as I know, some of the urinating and bike stealing is done by OB kids!

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Tyler January 17, 2015 at 10:48 am

Love this idea. I think it should be expanded in the Summer for weekend movie nights for the community. Surfrider set up a screen for a showing of The Endless Summer last July or August and it was so much fun. I think more of those events would lend a hand.

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Gary Gilmore January 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm

Well said Tyler, something worth exploring. Thanks!

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Barb January 17, 2015 at 11:47 am

Off the subject (reverting to the restroom situation at the life guard station), breaking news from this morning is that all the black paint graffitied about has been painted over. So Parks and Rec is on the ball on this one.

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tia January 17, 2015 at 12:30 pm

Yes! I was thrilled to see that the bathroom was painted in less than 24 hours! Big shout out to Park & Rec.

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Gary Gilmore January 18, 2015 at 1:01 pm

I agree. Thank You Park & Rec.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 17, 2015 at 11:57 am

Personally, I like the idea of having public picnics on and in public parks. I think if there’s anything to “take back” it’s taking something back from fear. We cannot allow our parks to be taken over by fear. And just remember, travelers and homeless people are not the only groups that stack out our parks and beaches, it’s also developers and the new gentry moving into OB, it’s also private groups who use our beaches for their own profit – like those who run surf-schools, yoga classes and exercise gigs on public sand or grass. Let’s ensure that Saratoga Park doesn’t become the exclusive grassy area of the new million-dollar condos about to open up. Let’s ensure the grassy areas in Dog Beach parking lot don’t become the exclusive view corridors of the West Pt Loma gentry.

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kenloc January 17, 2015 at 9:24 pm

What is the salary cap for being able to use the park?If you make more than 20k but less than 100k?
Being concerned that upper class people are using the park is just as ridiculous as being concerned that poor people are using the park.So is the notion that you must “take back”public land from anyone because you don’t like them.
Class discrimination sucks both ways.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 18, 2015 at 9:46 am

Seriously? We should be as concerned for the wealthy as we should be for the poor? More than once have the gentry called police to clear out the poor from their view corridor in OB.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling January 18, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Where is the beach that discriminates against rich people?

Places like Malibu where the local property owners put private property signs in the sand and in the water and hire private patrols to hassle people who use the beach are an actual problem. Its the only beach Ive ever been to in California where someone has tried to make me feel unwelcome. This is part of the reason there is a Coastal Commission no?

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cc January 19, 2015 at 8:52 am

I wouldn’t say its class discrimination. I get the point of the “take back the sea wall” but It is worded poorly. But it has become pretty discouraging and gross to walk around down there.

The amount of homeless who hangout there and panhandle has become pretty bad. The past several times I’ve gone to OB I can’t even sit down near the beach on the wall because it’s overrun.

So in my opinion the problem isn’t that the homeless are there, the problem is they smell terrible, litter, harass people and use drugs and alcohol openly in a place that is supposed to be beautiful and clean.

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obracer January 19, 2015 at 6:37 pm

CC , Police provide the areas for these individuals to sleep and lay around all day,
We need better communication with law enforcement.
This forum is censored, most comments get removed.

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Dave Rice January 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm

While there is certainly an issue regarding the questionable crowd that hangs out at “The Wall,” it’s not a new one – hell, I remember scoring pot off Wall denizens back in high school in the ’90s…and being from East County I only got the idea because it was where my dad and his Hoover High buddies went to hook up back in the ’60s…

If you really want to clean the place up, I think events like this that get a more family-oriented crowd out and using the place are a good start – along with getting police to enforce laws currently on the books. So far as I know it’s never been cool to litter, harass people, or use drugs and alcohol openly – I don’t think there’s a law against offensive odors yet, though, or Axe body spray and all of those flowery-scented girl sprays would be jailable.

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Barb January 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm

This is the concern here, Marc…..encroaching wealthy-dom….something we, who live “on the margins”…or thereabouts, don’t want to see happen to our little town.

Okay if you live in a mansion out on Sunset Cliffs – no problemo. But, for the rest of us, our little cottages or apartments – paid for in well earned rent in most cases – are all we’ve got. We like our “mix”, for the most part feel happy to share with whoever shows up – just don’t wish to be shoved out by the hoi polloi.

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Editor editordude January 19, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Readers: We plan to post photos from the successful PopUp Picnic held Sat. I was called away from my desk to cover the 4 Mile March today.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page January 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm

I was part of the construction crew that built the seawall probably 30 years ago. The part that everyone sits on is the top of concrete panels that are maybe 15 feet deep. I remember talking to the superintendent about the design. The reason the top was so wide was because the top was designed as a wave deflector. If you look at the ocean side of the wall, you’ll see it is curved from the wall up to the top’s western edge, designed to throw water back seaward. The super said something that was very prophetic. He said “We’re just building a place for the homeless.”

The homeless situation existed then as well. I have one of those brain frying memories from that project. One morning, I drove into the parking lot and parked down by the pier. I looked up and saw a man and a woman on top of the old pump house. He was facing this overweight, bedraggled woman holding her elbows to keep her up while she stooped, with her pants either off or around her ankles, pissing on the roof. I, unfortunately, can see that sight in my mind as clearly as the day I saw it.

These days, I run along this wall several times a week and have for years. I can testify that the problem has gotten much worse over the years. It is very unpleasant to run that stretch. I can only think of two possible solutions. One is to prohibit sitting on the wall at all. That is pretty severe and it penalizes regular folks who like sitting there. The other is to get an ordinance that limits how long a person can sit there and provide private security to enforce it. That one also has big drawbacks. Other than that, there isn’t much anyone can do. It is sad.

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Gary Gilmore January 19, 2015 at 11:12 pm

There is another option. Without modifying the original purpose of the wall (wave deflector). Use it as a base for a long low sculpture that would culminate at the stairs leading up to the pier. Something whimsical, interesting, clever & uncomfortable to sit on. By the way, I really enjoyed your comment.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling January 20, 2015 at 6:56 am

These suggestions are fine, but there is nothing OB can do about the bigger problem of homelessness. Their are more homeless people everywhere, in downtown SD, and every other major city, it is not an issue specific to the seawall. There are as many reasons for being outside as their are people out there.

Up in Toronto the city just rented motel rooms for the homeless population… after the fourth death from exposure to cold. OB’s weather is another part of this you cant get away from.

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Tyler January 20, 2015 at 12:27 pm

We could install parking pay meters at the parking lot by the seawall and the dog beach parking lot. That would get rid of plenty of them… and we could take in revenue at the same time. Give peninsula residents a sticker that allows them to still park for free….

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Geoff Page Geoff Page January 20, 2015 at 1:06 pm

Tyler, Please don’t suggest that one to the City, no one wants parking meters in OB. And, are you suggesting that meters would deter the homeless? I’m thinking I may not have understood that comment.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page January 20, 2015 at 10:21 am

Thanks. Yes, that was what I had in mind. I built a playhouse in my yard on stilts with a little deck and rails 42″ high. I no sooner finished it when I saw, to my horror, the little daredevil girl from across the street up there walking along the rail. I devised something to put along the rail to make it impossible to walk on it and it worked. A long, low sculpture or something like that would work, but, as I said, it would penalize other people who wanted to sit there. But, if you left some open spaces, enough for a couple to sit here and there, that might not be an attractive enough area for the homeless to congregate and would still provide some sitting room.

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Barb January 19, 2015 at 12:50 pm

A big problem that I see with the proposed “veterans’ wall” is that it creates yet another opportunity for this very thing. Instead of having stones that people step on, and that aren’t maintained, we’ll have a whole new wall for people to potentially desecrate.

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unWAShedWallmartTHONG January 19, 2015 at 6:39 pm

Anonymously, I stand w/ Frank.

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