OBTC: Toni Atkins, Marty Block and Community Grant Awards

by on July 27, 2015 · 5 comments

in Culture, Environment, Life Events, Media, Ocean Beach

OBTC Awardees 7-24-15 jl

Town Council members, Marty Block, Toni Atkins, and grant awardees ham it up at OBTC meeting, July 24, 2015. (Photos by Susan Peinado)

Report of OB Town Council Meeting July 22, 2015

By John Loughlin / Special to the OB Rag

The Ocean Beach Town Council monthly meeting was packed full of goodies with the presentation of community awards and reports from the Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins and State Senator Marty Block, plus the regular array of reports from law enforcement, firefighters, lifeguards and others.

Amid the long list of topics covered on Wednesday night, July 22, were surprise announcements about a feature of the OB Library – air conditioning is coming! – and the theme for the Holiday Parade.

The meeting started with the presentation of a certificate to two young community core volunteers, Soren and Kobi Oldenburg who went above and beyond the call of duty clearing armloads of marshmallows after the 4th of July OB Fireworks. It read:

Hereby recognize on this 22nd day of July 2015 by the Ocean Beach Town Council for their service to the environment and the village of Ocean Beach after the 4th July 2015 fireworks.

State Senator Marty Block

Senator Block introduced himself as having worked at San Diego State University for 26 years, President of the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees for 8 years, and member of the San Diego County Board of Education for 8 years. He was elected to the State Assembly in 2008 and served 4 years, and chaired the Higher Education Committee.

Block was elected to the State Senate in 2012 for his first term that runs until 2016, and then he will be termed out in 2020. He chairs the Education Budget sub-committee that handles the budget for K12 and higher education, which is about half of the state budget.

Good, local staff are key to providing constituent services and Senator Block advised any one with a California state issue or problem to contact our Ocean Beach local representative, Roberto Alcantar whose contact details are available at Marty Block’s website . (Roberto regularly attends the OB Town Council public meeting every month.)

Senator Block talked about various workshops including protecting seniors from fraud, helping veterans find work and helping vets with relevant education.

Obviously the budget is an important part the Senator’s work. His first year in the legislature California had a $42 billion deficit. In 2008 there were 4 all-night sessions in Sacramento trying to reach a budget deal, and where one of his colleagues remarked that it was “the most people he’d slept with since the ‘70s”. Thanks to Proposition 25 those days are behind us. Now we have a majority budget vote “like 48 of the other 50 states” and budgets are set in a timely fashion.

Last year Senator Block carried a bill to make sure that lifeguards in San Diego have the same protections as those in many other parts of the state if they are injured on the job. He said:

“If they’re hurt protecting us, their families are protected.”

An issue close to Senator’s Block heart is Human Trafficking. A constituent had come to him a couple of years ago with a story of how one of her daughter’s best friends had gone for a joy ride with some gang members, and for almost a year didn’t come home. It turned out that she was being sold up and down the state into human slavery, being prostituted.

Senator Block helped pass legislation to increase penalties for human traffickers, and to increase fines for those who allow human trafficking to take part on their property with the fine money split 50:50 between law enforcement and helping the victims.

Last year the Senator carried a bill that for the first time in the history of California that allows Community Colleges to offer 4 year degrees in subjects with high workforce needs.

Later in the fall there will be a townhall called “There Ought to Be a Law” to allow constituents to suggest ideas for legislation and Roberto will inform the council once the date is determined.

Two bills of direct interest to Ocean Beach:

– Water quality testing used to take 24-48 hours, this caused health issues for residents and was an economic drag for businesses like the OB Hotel when tourists came to San Diego and were unable to enjoy the ocean for 24-48 hours. SB1395 now allows a new, safe 4-hour test to be used in the state.

– The OB Mainstreet Association lobbied to change the regulations on reporting trespassing offenses every 6 months, to make it open ended to allow police to enforce trespassing laws.

Senator Block then fielded questions:

  • Interest on student loans? Yes, too high, but federal issue to discuss wit Scott Peters;
  • Smog test exemption for old cars? Unlikely, most legislation wants to reduce pollution;
  • Fracking? Referenced a study driven by Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills (Los Angeles County) whose results will direct whether to impose a total moratorium
OBTC Award + 7-24-15 jl

Assembly Speaker Atkins on left and Senator Block on right, with unknown recipients and kids.

 Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins

Toni Atkins has been speaker of the Assembly for a little over a year, and has spent the last few months working extensively on the budget.

The budget has $97 million more for CSU and $25 million more for UC than originally allotted. The extra UC money is tied to California student enrollment. The Assembly has continued middle class scholarships, where 85,000 students (statewide) have received up to 40% of their tuition costs $12,000/year (UC) and $5,500/year (CSU). At San Diego State 4,600 students took advantage of this program and 1,800 at UCSD with 60 of those students from Ocean Beach.

The budget also has an earned income tax credit for 2 million more Californians, helping lift 50,000 out of deep poverty and 50,000 more from near poverty. There are about 1500 taxpayers in Ocean Beach that will be able to take advantage of this state program.

Developmentally disabled MediCal reimbursement rates are still being worked on in Sacramento during the last month of the session.

Housing support programs received an additional $35 million for Homeless Outreach Teams (HOT) together with the Psychiatric Emergency Response Teams (PERT) and Serial Inebriate Programs.

San Diego County will receive $20 million more for housing for homeless to try to get people off the streets. Prop 41 sees an additional $75 million for homeless Veterans, and Cap and Trade will produce another $200 million more statewide for affordable housing.

Legislation (AB392) was passed to increase the timeline for the River Conservancy to be made permanent, and Speaker Atkins’ mention that in the water bond $17 million is allocated for the San Diego River and watersheds drew applause from the audience.

The budget also includes measures to make sure that 1,100 miles of California coastline is accessible and the backlog of 1,800 enforcement cases is gone. The threat of fines from the Coastal Commission resolved the issues.

Pacific to Plate (AB226) will enable fresh fish to be sold at the harbor much like at a farmers market.

California Competes Tax Credit has $200 million of tax credits available for small businesses. With the last $150 million program $34 million came back to San Diego. The application process is straightforward and there is a workshop to help businesses apply that’s being held in Torrey Pines, Friday July 31, 2015, 2-3pm. Details and Registration .

Lastly Speaker Atkins thanked everyone for all the help with the recent Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) Sock Drive. After all the heavy rain at the weekend the VVSD was really grateful for the support.

The Speaker then answered questions on:

  • Fracking? Really need to get thoughts and views to the Governor’s Office. The Assembly and Senate have recommended a moratorium. The study is important but let your views be known to Governor Brown.
  • SB128 End of Life Option Act (or Death with Dignity)? Speaker Atkins hopes to see the bill reintroduced in special session and for it fare better with a different make up of health committee.
  • Sexual assault on women at UC Campuses? The Women’s Caucus invited several women to Sacramento to highlight their Title 9 lawsuits. In her role as Speaker Toni Atkins is a UC Regent and she is a Trustee at CSU and has brought these issues forward together with Dr Webber.
  • Frustration with incentives for latest water restrictions helping latecomers to sustainable behavior? Understands frustration with need for a crisis to change some peoples behavior, but hopeful that water conservancy is working.

Other Reports From Reps of Politicos and Public Services

Conrad Wear, from Lorie Zapf’s office, reported:

  • Issue at the cliffs on Orchard is being worked on by the Mayor’s Office and SDPD.
  • The Climate Action Plan EIR is going out to the planning boards for public comment next week, so be sure to post comments.
  • Rebates for grass replacement are still available in the current $1.2m program that commenced July 1, so jump on it quickly.
  • The Ocean Beach Community Plan is going to the Coastal Commission in August (12 or 14).
  • OB Library is getting new air conditioning ($48,000) that should be installed before school starts, and will maintain the historical integrity of the building.

San Diego Police Department

Officer David Surwilo introduced our local Sgt Sal who reported that the SDPD had flown at day, and night, from the pier south and taken over 200 photographs of the caves near Orchard. As well as identifying the areas that are used by the homeless the reconnaissance had identified where sidewalks are undermined by cliff erosion and this has been reported to a city engineer.

The SDPD was very appreciative of all the work done for the “Mallow Out” campaign and reported that it was a big success this year.

Sgt Sal also had an unusual request for the council – to mark the red curbb zone on Newport for Police parking so that he could leave his car there on Wednesday Market days and not be hassled by citizens! (See the last tidbit below.)

San Diego Lifeguards

Lt James Gartland reported that Ocean Beach had an estimated 245,000 visitors in June with:

  • 76 water rescues,
  • 80 medical aids (9 serious),
  • 4 cliff rescues,
  • 1 water rescue and
  • 5,135 preventative acts.

A long planned project to install a 4 ft high, galvanized, blue fence near the lifeguard station will go ahead in September. Plans are available for review with Lt Gartland by dropping by the lifeguard station. (They will also be posted online.)

After the weekend storms the 72 hour advisory swimming prohibition was lifted on Wednesday. The county posts signs for warnings and closures but not advisories and updates its website accordingly.

OBTC Reports

Treasurer’s Report

Donna Zoll reported the council had received a Community Enhancement Grant from the County of San Diego for $6,000, to support holiday events. Bank account balance = $21,582.06.


Half the board (8 seats) are up for election.

If you’re interested in running for election to the OB Town Council Board and you live, work or own a business in 92107, send your letter of intent to info@obtowncouncil.org

This year they’re asking for the letter in the form of a personal statement that will be posted on their website so it should display why you’re running, and what qualities you’ll bring to the Board.

You must have your dues paid up to date by Saturday August 22, and your statement submitted by Monday August 24. Next month’s town council meeting on Wednesday August 26 will be a candidates forum providing an opportunity (optional) to talk to your candidacy. Voting will open on Friday August 28 and close on Monday September 7. The votes will be counted, verified and presented to the board on Wednesday September 9.

Community Grants

This year there were 23 applicants (over twice as many as last year) requesting $21,403 but the awards are limited to $8,000 so some groups were not given a reward and some of the amounts were less than requested.

These are some very special groups who are hard at work beautifying our community and making it a better place to live.  As well as the dollar amounts the recipients received certificates of appreciation from Speaker Atkins and Senator Block.

San Diego Lifesaving Association – James Gartland and Jeff Hatfield, President, $1,000 for
Upgrades to the lifeguard station lunchroom and reception areas.

Peninsula Shepherd Center – Gerald Sanders, $1,000 for
Senior transportation (last year the center provided 2,223 separate rides for seniors).

OBCDC – Tom Perrotti, $1,000 for Funds toward a fitness area in OB.

Young At Art Children’s Creative Center – Kim Howell, $750 to To fund art scholarships
(They gave out $8k of scholarships last year, and their courses are not expensive)

Friends of the OB Native Plant Garden and San Diego River Park Foundation – Joel Kalmonson, $600 To design and fabricate plant ID cards for the garden.

Ocean Beach Friends of the San Diego Public Library, Laura Dennison, $600 To fund series of cultural performances in the library – Jazz in October, a New Orleans style band in November, and a harpist playing on the day of the Holiday Parade

OB Elementary Running Club (OB PTA) – Marco Drapeau, $500 To cover costs of trophies and medals- (Gives the kids something to do other than ‘lollygag around’)

OB Historical Society – Susan and Pat James, $500 To cover printing costs of historical OB Pier booklet. Planned for the 50th anniversary of the pier, will cover the history of fishing in Ocean Beach including a Kumeyaay fishing site, fishing bridge and the Del Monte pier.

Skateboardships/OB Community Foundation – Julie Klein, $500 Free helmets for skateboarders with academic success –

OB Woman’s Club – Sandy Asbury and Beth Gilmore, President, $500 Facility Improvements – new fence.

OB Community Foundation – Charlie Ryan, $500 for Pier Kiosk Project, Historical Plaques, Youth Sports

Sunset Cliffs Surfing Association – Donn Clark, $300 for Operating costs for Gromfest

Peninsula Youth Softball Association – Steve Ravellette, $250 for Bleacher/Bench beautification at Robb Field


The Holiday Parade Theme (announced by Trudy Leveson is “Joy to the Sea 36 Years of Celebrating OB”.

Susan Peinado invited everyone to the Point Loma Democratic Club meeting on Sunday July 26 at 4pm at the Point Loma Assembly to a panel discussion on Short Term Vacation Rentals.

Pat James, president of the Ocean Beach Historical Society, reported that the book the society put out last year on Ocean Beach has just won a local award chosen as the best local interest. The next OBHS meeting on Aug 20, 7pm at the Methodist Church will be about the 1915 road race held in Point Loma.

Roger Casey, an OB native, brought up the subject of making Ocean Beach an Alzheimers Aware Community. He explained that the Alzheimers Association is willing to come to the council to explain the things that can be done to make the community more Alzheimer’s aware.

Annual OB Pancake Breakfast – Saturday, September 19, 7:30-12:00 Pancakes and a Beach Cleanup – same day!

Veterans Plaza is now accepting applications for names on the plaza. Check online.

Other tidbits

  • Shout out to Dave Martin of Shades and Jim Musgrave for help with plenty of things for OB pancake breakfast.
  • San Diego Firefighters are still waiting approval for the design of the 100 year anniversary t-shirts.
  • Shout out by Jon Carr for staff members Rachel (Speaker Atkins) and Roberto (Senator Block) for regularly attending the OBTC meetings.
  • Scott Peters failed to send a representative – *for the 5th month*?
  • Free Family Movie Under the Stars – How to Train a Dragon
  • Angie Law, for the City Attorney’s office, was not sure if the city would actually prosecute the police for parking in a red zone :)

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Peinado July 27, 2015 at 11:52 am

Earlier that same day, we enjoyed seeing both Speaker Atkins and Senator Block at the  ALEC protest, along with Gretchen and other members of the OBTC board. I noticed that neither Toni nor Marty would leave the OB Town Council meeting before the other. It almost made me think they were in campaign mode?


nostalgic July 28, 2015 at 8:20 am

Glad to hear of the super-sleuthing by the police where Sunset Cliffs is concerned. A new park ranger for the area will help to keep an eye on things. Let’s hope this summer shows fewer rescues (and fatalities) as a result – maintaining a park that is safe for all.


Frank Gormlie July 28, 2015 at 12:02 pm

I told the author, John Loughlin, that this report has to be the most complete accounting on any OB Town Council meeting we’ve ever covered. Whew! Thanks John.


Debra July 28, 2015 at 1:32 pm

In regard to water quality, I really wish our city leaders would have billboards with pics of the DISGUSTING mess of the plastic garbage patches in the ocean and also the beach in Hawaii, which is now ALL plastic. I think that would be much more effective, in getting the point across, rather than those stupid-@ss rubber ducky commercials.


Molly July 31, 2015 at 10:23 am

Nice accounting John. With a report like this, the council doesn’t even need a recording secretary.


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