Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station and Library Pushed at City Council Budget Hearing

by on May 12, 2015 · 8 comments

in Culture, Environment, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

San Diego City Co. district 2 newA group of OB leaders attended the City Council hearing on the mayor’s budget on Monday and gave the politicos an earful of what Ocean Beach has in infrastructural needs. On top of their agenda was the lifeguard station and the OB Library.

They included Gio Ingolia and Gretchen Newsom from the OB Town Council, Valerie Paz and John Ambert from the OB Planning Board, Judy Collier from the Friends of the OB Library, and a representative of the Sunset Cliffs Nature Park committee.

This group of OBceans joined dozens of other San Diegans who were requesting the Council to increase funding for parks and recreation around the city, as well for increased monies for public safety and the arts – all in the proposed budget of Mayor Kevin Faulconer. His budget includes $3.2 billion.

The City Council held court and for almost two hours listened to public comment about various projects and issues. The Council will take everything and every comment in consideration and come back with recommendations to the budget – part of the entire budget and revision process.  They will meet next week to discuss the community concerns and begin to finalize the budget by June 30th.

From the OB reps, the Council heard about the OB Entryway Plaza / Project and the Library from Ingolia and Newsom, about the lifeguard – police station from Ambert, and Collier talked about air conditioning in the library as well as its expansion.

City Council rep for the OB and Point Loma area, Lorie Zapf appeared – at least to some – to be more interested in funding a park ranger at the Sunset Cliffs Park. Zapf did note that she also favors funding libraries.

KPBS reported this on the OB lifeguard station:

The mayor’s budget shows the project needs more than $4.5 million in funding and lists it as a medium priority. The replacement structure would include an observation tower, first aid area, restrooms and garage for rescue vehicles.

After the 3-hour hearing, a number of the OBceans spoke to Zapf’s representative, Conrad Wear, who explained that the electrical circuiting for the library was an issue for the A/C.

Also, there is no current funding for the OB lifeguard station, as it’s at the “bottom” of the fire and rescue projects capital improvement list supposedly.

According to KPBS, the other projects advocated for other neighborhoods included:

Cesar Solis Park in San Ysidro;

San Ysidro Branch Library;

Increased maintenance at Teralta Park in City Heights; 

Film commission;

Additionally, members of the public and the council expressed support for:

  • increasing the library materials acquisition fund,
  • hiring more community relations officers,
  • making the city’s streets safer for walking and biking,
  • and creating a long-term infrastructure plan to address the city’s $2 billion backlog in needed improvements.

hat tip to John Ambert

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page Geoff Page May 12, 2015 at 2:28 pm

I would make a healthy bet that Ms. Zapf’s fixation on a ranger for the Sunset Cliffs Park is probably motivated by calls from some well connected folks who live adjacent to the park. A few years ago, an entire grove of eucalyptus trees was decimated just beyond the parking lot. One word that was heard was that the eucalyptus trees are non-native and needed to go but they went long before any action at all was made to replant native plants. Many of those trees could have remained for years. I also heard the reason for the removal was to increase visibility across the park from Ladera Street, based on complaints by the immediate neighbors, in order to monitor the riff raff more easily.

Anyone who visits the park regularly as I do has probably noticed an increase in the number of young people, who don’t appear to be from the area, flowing into the park now. My personal theory is that social media has made the cliffs a favorite place to party. Thus, a ranger is now needed. Maybe if some of these neighbors called Zapf and complained about the library and the lifeguard station, there would be some action.

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Kathleen Blavatt May 13, 2015 at 5:32 am

The film commission got me thinking about Zapf saying something along the lines of “OB doesn’t bring in the money because it doesn’t have the new develop others areas do”. The city was happy to have several TV shows filmed in OB, they are making some good money from all the new liquor licenses and the vacation rentals are attracting tourist. Then there is the 4th of July fireworks that brings thousands San Diegans to OB. These things all take a toll on the residents and resources, so shouldn’t we get a back some things that benefit the residents?

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Anna Daniels May 13, 2015 at 9:29 am

Excellent presentations by the speakers noted in the article! Readers may not know that public testimony was limited to 2 minutes, and after an hour, to 1 1/2 minutes. The speakers were focused and provided substantive testimony.
Zapf did say that she was committed to air conditioning in the OB Library- hopefully before the summer heat sets in. It’s sobering to think that in the age of internet, our libraries have not been adequately upgraded to provide heating and a/c.
A special shout out to Judy Collier for her excellent library advocacy. She’s been doing this for years.

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Christo May 13, 2015 at 10:57 am

Talked with Matt (the head librarian at OB Library) right before he headed out for the meeting. My understanding (from talking with him) is the ability to air condition the library is severely limited by the existing electrical system. It was never intended to handle the load placed on it by the computers (which generate additional heat) AND an air conditioning system.

Don’t take my explanation as the end-all, as we were both rushing to get out.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page May 13, 2015 at 9:37 am

As I mentioned in another post, OB as an area didn’t vote for Faulconer or Zapf and politicians have long memories for things like that. I don’t think OB is very high on the priority lists of the mayor or this councilperson.

Mayoral results: http://inewsource.org/data-tables/2014-runoff-voting-map/2014-runoff-voting-map.html

District 2 results: http://inewsource.org/data-tables/2014-runoff-voting-map/2014-runoff-voting-map.html

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RB May 13, 2015 at 11:38 am

The same people who complain about funding for the OB Library were the big promoters of the giant downtown library. Time to get a bus pass or come over to the wonderful Point Loma Library.

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Geoff Page Geoff Page May 14, 2015 at 9:32 am

I don’t understand how you make that connection. Seems to me that most people who were against spending money on the downtown library were against it because they felt the money would be better spent on local libraries that are more accessible and used for many purposes. The Pt. Loma Library is a really nice local library but it benefited by generous private donations, mainly from the Hervy family. OB could use such a sponsor.

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Byron Wear May 15, 2015 at 9:53 pm

The Point Loma Hervey Library was funded by $5 Million from the Hervey Fund of the San Diego Foundation, $4.8 Million in City of San Diego North Bay Redevelopment Fund, $1 Million in other private donations and $900,000 from the general fund for the original purchase of the site (former Mobil Gas Station).

For the OB Library…

We were successful in funding the acquisition of the adjacent parcel (commercial building) for the eventual expansion of the Ocean Beach Branch Library in 2001.

If we can keep our community united we will get the OB Branch expansion done with a combination of private and City funding.

Let’s stay focused in a positive way and we can get it done!

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