OB Town Council: Drought Remedies, Mallow-Out Campaign, Caves, Grants, Vendors and Park Rangers

by on June 25, 2015 · 3 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Energy, Environment, Health, History, Ocean Beach


Audience attentive as Surfrider rep Megan Hamilton explains the goodness of native plant gardens.

The Ocean Beach Town Council juggled a lot of issues last night at its monthly public meeting – drought solutions, its “Mallow-Out” Campaign, the day after July 4th clean-up, the funding of grants …

It was well over half-way through the meeting when the keynote presentations on the drought and solutions were finally made to the crowd of about forty audience members and a dozen Council members.

Drought Remedies: Native Plants, Rainbarrels, Greywater and Diet

One-by-one several presenters laid out remedies that included learning about native plant gardens, which native plants are good to plant, about installing grey-water systems in your home, and how our diets also contribute to the waste of water.

Megan Hamilton of the Surfrider Ocean Friendly Gardens project was first – and without doing justice to any of the voluminous information she and the other speakers presented – she described how her program holds workshops in OB and Point Loma to teach people how to plant a native garden. They advocate putting in soil and plants that retain water, and converting simple barrels into rain barrels capable of holding the precious liquid when it falls. “Every inch of rain,” she said, “is a 100 gallons.”

One concept Hamilton pushed was the “soil lasagna” – how it was unnecessary to actually pull up your lawn, but to just add levels of soil, mulch, cardboard or newspaper on top and build up layers that would absorb and retain water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA lesson in what native plants were best to plant came next, with Joel Kalmonson, head of the Point Loma Native Plant Society that runs the Native Plant Garden in northeast OB, next to Collier Park. As Richard Dhu of the San Diego River Park Foundation handled the slides, Kalmonson described the series of natives they advocate for less use of water. “Native plants,” he said, “make up 98% of the plants at the Native Garden preserve.”

The plants include:

  • White Sage,
  • Chalk Dudleya – a succulent,
  • Lemonade Berry – which makes a hedge,
  • San Diego Sunflower – a hybrid only found here,
  • California “Sage” Bush – not a true sage and once established does not need water;
  • Bladderpod
  • Ladyfingers Dudleya
  • Flattop Buckwheat
  • Shaw’s Agave – rare century plant, that has a flower that stands 20 feet.

Joel stressed that there’s a new OB Native Plant Garden next to Dog Beach, behind Ocean Villa.


Kit to convert your barrel into a rain barrel.

Greywater systems are Candance Vanderhoff‘s forte, and she explained the basic steps to take to install such a system. She iterated how “grey water was obviously the least-used source of water.” There’s a lot of confusion, she said; grey water is only from showers, washers and bathroom sinks. Black water is from the kitchen sink and toilet. And in 2009 – during that drought, the state government adopted laws that established it was okay to set up a grey water system with the washing machine without a permit.

Vanderhoff also emphasized the need to use eco-friendly soaps, and offered that Dr. Boner’s was one such locally-made soap.  She reminded the crowd that taking a bath uses 50 gallons of water.

The Town Council’s own Nate Bazydlo offered up his research on “The Drought Diet” as the next presenter. The following slide partially sums up Nate’s presentation, although he repeated that he was not into labels, and that it ought to be okay for someone to eat meat once in a while without being castigated as a drought sinner:


In Other News

“Mallow-Out” Pledge and Volunteers Needed for Peace Patrol for July 4th

The OBTC is pushing its “Mallow-Out” campaign and looking for pledges – particularly from local merchants to not sell marshmallows on July 4th. So far over 30 local businesses have taken the pledge. This will be the second year for the campaign, coming off a very-successful run last year.

The Council is also looking for adult volunteers to join their “peace patrol” during the fireworks and right after. They will meet up on July 4th at the Veterans’ Plaza at 9:30pm.

Surfrider usually leads the day after clean-up at the beach – and folks were urged to join the effort.

Applicants for Town Council Grants

The audience was encouraged to apply for some of the annual grants that the OBTC gives out – and the deadline is Wed., July 1st. One can apply online at their website.

OBTC Elections

Half of the Town Council board seats – 8 seats – will be up for election, it was announced. Letters of Intent to run are due by Monday August 24; a candidates’ forum will be held on August 26. Membership dues have to be current for any prospective candidate.


New kiosk from Friends of OB Library

OB Library Expansion Campaign

Laura Dennison of the Friends of the OB Library are expanding their campaign and will kick it off at the OB Chili Cook-off. They’ve made a new kiosk-type structure that explains the OB library’s predicament.

Park Rangers for Sunset Cliffs

Conrad Wear, aide to Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, announced that one of the results of the final city budget was that 2 park ranger positions – one a senior position – were created for the Sunset Cliffs and Coastal areas of District 2.  The rangers will not be armed but will be able to hand out citations – and plus call for police backup if needed to make arrests.

$62,500 for Cameras at SDPD Western Division

In addition, $62,500 was found and given over to the San Diego police’s Western Division – which serves this part of town.  Sgt Sal Betal explained that the money will be spent on installing surveillance cameras at the headquarters of the division.

Vendors On the Pier and Sidewalks

Sgt Betal explained that he’s always in OB and getting out to know the merchants and residents. He also told how they’re working on dealing with unpermitted vendors on the OB Pier and on local nearby sidewalks. “We don’t want to become another Venice Beach,” he declared, hinting that police would be stepping up enforcement against un-permitted vendors.  Vendors need a state tax ID, a solicitous permit, he said, and described how a chiropractor tried to set up a bed on the sidewalk and ask for donations.

Cave at Foot of Orchard

Fire and Rescue personnel will be responsible for removing anyone from caves in and around Sunset Cliffs as dangerous conditions. Residents have been complaining that homeless people have made a cave at the foot of Orchard Avenue, but it has been unclear just exactly what government agency was responsible for any caves along the famous cliffs. Police have said that the area is not their jurisdiction. It’s very dangerous to carve out or live in already-established caves in the sandstone that makes up Sunset Cliffs. People have died from being inside caves that collapsed.

Simulated Plane Crash Exercise Off OB Pier in September

Newly assigned to OB, Lt James Garland of Fire and Rescue talked to the audience about a coming mass-rescue exercise by local agencies with military and Homeland Security that will involve a “simulated-plane crash” – not an actual crash – involving 100 volunteers, who will mostly be lifeguards. Some of it, he said, would be visible from the OB Pier. The expected date: September 30.

Free Movies at Dusty Rhodes Park – Friday, July 24th – with free popcorn.

OB Film Festival

Noah Miller is the director of the OB Film Festival, and is planning on holding it on Sept 26 – 27. He’s not certain where it will be, but he’s looking for local film-makers to submit films made in 2014-15. contact him at obfilmfestival.com – the deadline for submittals is August 27.

 Note from editor: We have one suggestion for the OBTC leadership: push the announcements by the politico reps to the end of the meeting – or cut them very short, and have the keynote speakers somewhere closer to the middle of the engagement, at perhaps “time-certain” slots, or else you lose audience members who slide out as the hour gets later, and you will be able to maintain people’s energy levels in a more balanced way.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

tj June 25, 2015 at 3:20 pm

“rain barrels” – haa… that’s a good one.

“state government adopted laws that established it was okay to set up a grey water system with the washing machine without a permit.” – awesome idea & likely not too spendy to impliment – too bad it’s little known.

turf – apparently SUCKS UP about 50-70% of potable water used – in a DESERT, & in a DROUGHT = turf is obscene!! Some lawns are STILL so GREEN – i often have to do a double take & see if it’s Astro-turf?!?!?!

Some Water Districts have obscenely high fixed charges – creating a situation where conservation users are actually subsidizing water wasters!!



Debbie June 25, 2015 at 5:40 pm

Good news on getting rangers for Sunset Cliffs park…now, all they need to do is enforce the rules! Hopefully the presence of rangers will eliminate falls from cliffs by educating the visitors.


Jana June 26, 2015 at 4:40 am

Good to hear about Mallow-Out, simple ways to get to and use gray water, and methods to get rid of lawns. I used flattened cardboard boxes from People’s to smother the ivy in my front yard, and will be able to put in native plants soon.

Best of all was to read how far along the OB Friends of the Library are in telling the story of why we need a new library! Hats off to them!!!


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