OB CDC – Plans for “Wall of Names” of New Veterans Plaza Revealed

by on February 16, 2015 · 16 comments

in Culture, Environment, Ocean Beach

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOB CDC Votes to End Its Involvement With OB Entryway Project

by Lois Lane

The OB Community Development Corporation (CDC) meets on the second Thursday of the month at 7:00 in the OB Rec Center, and February 12 was no different.

The Future Veterans’ Plaza

The primary focus of this meeting was the Veteran’s Plaza. This project was originally funded by the City of San Diego with $76,000 in 2014, but this money was de-allocated and the entire project must be funded with donations. No funds were included in the 2015 city budget.

OB Vet Plaza OBCDC bh 02The project description states that:

”the project provides for the demolition of the existing veterans memorial plaza at the foot of Newport Avenue and the installation of sidewalk pavers, veterans memorial wall, landscaping, lighting, and enhanced coastal access.”

OB Vet Plaza OBCDC bh 01Recommendations were presented and prepared by the Veterans Committee (organized by treasurer Dave Martin) regarding the “wall of names.” Topics included recommendations for precedence in the list, beginning with existing names from the current plaza, followed by any Medal of Honor winners. After that, names would be nominated by the community, starting with Ocean Beach, then Point Loma, then San Diego, etc. Lines per person will be reduced to two per person to accommodate the 2400 names.

None of the existing plaques can be preserved. The Veteran’s Committee who made the recommendations were not present.

OB Vet Plaza OBCDC bh 03In addition to veteran selection, the OB CDC also plans to manage the maintenance of Veterans Plaza, funded by application fees. The costs of building and construction will be met via grants and donations.

There will be a $250 charge to nominate a veteran, and the veteran’s wall will contain 2400 names, resulting in $600,000 to cover maintenance. A scholarship program will be developed for hardship cases. There was no vote on the recommendations, still in the planning stages.


OB Entryway Park dedication, December 2010.

OB Entryway Project Involvement Ended

There was brief discussion of the of the OB Entryway Project. The account and the project were voted to be closed, and the OB CDC has ended any involvement.

Elections of Officers

Before going into “closed session,” elections were held. There are two vacancies on the board, as Nicole Burgess has resigned.

All members were re-elected, and the same officers were re-elected, Tom Perrotti, President, Stephen Grosch-Vice-President, Jane Gawronski– Secretary, and Dave Martin-Treasurer. The two vacancies will be filled via appointment by the current board.

In an early order of business, the board congratulated Stephen Grosch on updating the web site –  www.obcdc.org. And sure enough, when we all got home, there was an Agenda from the meeting we just went to.

The OB CDC does not publish the agenda in advance, and has no requirement to do so or to advertise meetings.  This organization is unlike some other organizations which are government advisory. There are no general members, only the board.  In 2003, the OB CDC filed with the IRS a change in their by-laws, stating “regular meetings of the Board shall be held without call or notice on such dates and times as may be fixed by the Board.”   The OB CDC as a policy does not have an e-mail list to provide agendas to interested parties in advance of the meeting, but a copy was made available to the four attendees.

Hint: If you need to check the meeting dates, the web site Agenda has the next meeting at the bottom-Thursday, March 12, 7:00 PM at the OB Rec Center. You can join me, as Katie, Tom and Joe did at this meeting. If you care about what the Ocean Beach ocean-front looks like in the future, you might want to be there.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben February 16, 2015 at 1:45 pm

Before raising money for the “wall”, why not take an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach and instead of honoring vets by putting up another edifice to be damaged, put the names on tiny plaques on the existing structure, plant around it, and put up a low fence – then maintain the heck out of it.

Put the money saved toward the expanded OB Library project.


tia February 16, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Thank you, Ben. Couldn’t have said it better!


Geoff Page February 16, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Who then is responsible for maintaining the OB Entryway project? I would like to report a problem that someone needs to fix. Anyone?


Lois Lane February 17, 2015 at 11:49 am

The Entryway? Responsibility? Certainly not Robb Field. They have made their position obvious. The OB CDC is done. You might try to call Conrad Wear. He is Lori Zapf’s OB rep, and has been mentoring the OB CDC Projects. bwear@sandiego.gov or phone (619) 236-6622. he should be able to provide you with the problem reporting process.


Micporte February 17, 2015 at 9:07 am

Geez, give the money to the living vets who are suffering war wounds and struggling with pessimism, to help them find housing and rebuild their lives….instead of a wall of “nominated” rich relative vets… Hate the depressing black marble, looks like the Islamist terrorist costumes, like the Mt Soledad black marble mausoleum, yuck. Looks like the thing is planned to block views and visibility and public access… What is with the ridiculous fake “water element” in the design, a block away from the beach? Is the sound of the ocean waves out of style? “Expensive Urban Clutter for a Cause.” Why not just build a benched gazebo dedicated to veterans so they have some place to rest their weary bones? How is it that unelected private development companies move in and try to persistently impose unnecessary and expensive , and ugly, street and city redesign?
On the beach: less is more. Just say no.


Geoff Page February 17, 2015 at 9:30 am

I could not agree more. OB doesn’t need this thing. Our beach doesn’t need this thing. Put the money to better use.


Melissa February 18, 2015 at 10:57 am

I agree 100%. Less is more at the beach.


Frank Gormlie February 17, 2015 at 9:27 am

There’s a very accessible 3-D model of the planned Vets’ Plaza at the OB restaurant, Shades, right across from the site itself.


Micporte February 17, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Maybe the war memorial should be attached to the military cemetery up the hill in Point Loma, a beautiful place and reflective upon the soul, and San Diego, but not in black marble. Is black marble a local material in any way?


Micporte February 17, 2015 at 3:50 pm

One last thought as I am the child of many a war veteran, any war memorial, if it is to list names, should list every name of every person who served their country, for free, and not use that memory and sacrifice as collateral for some construction project. Yuck.


South Park February 17, 2015 at 5:02 pm

The Veterans’ wall project is baffling. It is offensive enough to remove and toss existing commemorative plaques, but an even worse idea is to charge $250 for select names (chosen by OBCDC?), to be carved onto black marble. What are the criteria for inclusion, other than money? If I offer $400, can I get my veteran’s name etched in marble, even if I am the 2401th “donor” applicant?

The existing low-maintenance monument, with its grayish rock and turquoise plaques, is at least somewhat harmonious with the seaside environment. It has a sun-washed, ocean-spray-crusted, natural appearance. Why tear that out to create an element that requires $600,000 to maintain privately (and for how long, for that amount?) Who really wants this? The private nonprofits? Because it gives them another reason to ask for and be in control of public and government money? Why did the City back out? was the original funding ($76,000 taxpayer dollars) spent, or returned?

If you can’t go to Shades, here is a link to OBCDC’s photo of the “accessible 3-D model”: http://obcdc.org/2015/02/veterans-day-event/
Are the 50 motorcycling Vets who showed up for the photo getting their names on the wall?


Melissa February 18, 2015 at 10:59 am

Agree. The community can do a better job keeping the area clean, but the other proposed changes seem ill-conceived.


Don Johnson February 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm

I like the current plaques, and think it is a disservice to destroy what is there–in effect, any veteran who donates is destroying the pledges of prior families. Is that really the plan?

No doubt the expert analysis of the CDC has picked up on the fact that the current memorial is a bit too tall for the average skater to climb for a healthy ollie. Good to see this has been addressed with the new proposal, plenty of skating surface abounds.

Another plus–I am sure the homeless will be delighted with their new shelter / urinal.


Alan February 17, 2015 at 5:50 pm

The $76,000 that was to be donated was part of the money former Mayor Filner had received from a private business that had to be returned after the details of the company’s “donation” were disclosed.


South Park February 18, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Thanks for the info. Mayor Filner was a fierce advocate for veterans in Congress, but he probably would agree that the simulated-natural-cliff wall with an unnatural black marble face, the large charge for inclusion, the destruction of the old commemorative plaques, and the contrived maintenance requirements wouldn’t represent the real spirit of Ocean Beach.

I add that the City has taken lots of money from citizens, and when subsequent rulings have proved the taking to be wrongful, Jan Goldsmith has conveniently found a way to keep every dime.


Tom G October 15, 2015 at 6:28 pm

They just surveyed the area yesterday and whatever the were surveying for looks like it’s going to chop into a pretty significant chunk of the grassy area. Whatever the markings are for looks to be a little bigger area than expected. There are stakes and spray paint markings on the grass right up to behind the bench.


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