News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Mid-December 2015

by on December 14, 2015 · 19 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Labor, Life Events, Media, Ocean Beach


The foot of Newport Avenue

Will New Vegan Restaurant at Sunset Plaza Be a “Drive-up”?

The new vegan restaurant – Plant Power Fast Food – set to open in early January at the new Sunset Plaza at the busy intersection of Sunset Cliffs and Voltaire is being advertised as a vegan “drive-up”, despite claims to the contrary and despite the conditions originally placed on the building when it was originally constructed by the city and OB Planning Board. Check this out from a vegan site:

The drive-up spot — in the hip, surf-style neighborhood of Ocean Beach — will offer an entirely plant-based menu that features burgers, shakes, fries, tacos, wraps, smoothies, salads, and fresh juices. Customers will be able to cruise into a Sonic-style drive-up, order through a kiosk, and wait for a staffer to bring out their food. The vegan fast food spot will also offer a sit-down interior, complete with bamboo tables and aluminum chairs. Founded by ethical vegans, the spot is all about winning hearts and minds through delicious, familiar food.

Props for OB’s “Holiday Parade”

In a discussion of “Christmas” vs. “Holiday” terminology at the San Diego U-T, OB’s solution gets props: At the Ocean Beach Holiday Parade, inclusion means a very open participation policy that allows for floats and entries from churches, businesses, community groups and a bunch of neighbors whose entry is called, “We Just Want to Be in the Parade.” And so they are.  “We just let people be,” said Gretchen Newsom, mayoral candidate, president of the O.B. Town Council and the chair of the holiday parade, ….

“We are a little hands-off, and that is O.B.’s character. You have to honor the diversity of people in Ocean Beach and what they want to present, and we have never had a problem with that.”

OB Christmas Tree Has Given Twice But Why So Many Cops?

See San Diego Reader article about how it’s now twice that OB’s current Christmas Tree at the foot of Newport has given itself to the village.  The tree from upper Brighton Avenue has been chopped a second time to become the community’s holiday tree. But the article did not address why some locals were surprised when up to eleven San Diego police officers showed up for the tree cutting that day on December 1st.

Lifeguards May Halt Rescues in Polluted Water Until Healthcare Coverage Improves

San Diego lifeguards may stop performing rescues in Southeastern San Diego’s Tijuana River Valley and other areas with polluted water amid a controversy over their city health coverage, lifeguard union president Ed Harris said Tuesday. Harris said he has asked the union’s attorney to explore the legality of discontinuing such rescues because city officials have repeatedly declined to provide lifeguards the “presumptive” health coverage they’ve been seeking for more than two years.

Presumptive coverage, which firefighters and police have throughout the state, guarantees employees health care for illnesses they receive without them having to establish that the source of the illness was work-related. See more at San Diego U-T.

Three Surfers Rescued Dec. 12th – One With Head Injury

Three male surfers in their 20s were rescued from the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Saturday- Dec. 12th – afternoon after crashing into some rocks.  One surfer suffered a head injury and was transported to UCSD Medical Center. The condition of the other two men was not made available. San Diego lifeguards repelled down the cliffs to remove the surfers. That rescue was part of a very busy day for lifeguards because of high waves that hit Southern California beaches this weekend. SanDiego6

Another Surfer Rescued Off Ladera

During a high surf advisory, on Dec. 7th, lifeguards rushed to the aid of a stranded surfer off the coast of Point Loma. The initial report stated two surfers were missing, but San Diego Lifeguards later determined one person was in distress around 5:45 p.m.  south of Ladera Street.  A rescue helicopter crew was called to pluck the stranded surfer from the rocky shore of Point Loma.  A high surf advisory was issued along the San Diego County coast through Tuesday evening. Fox5

Newport Ave to Get a Make-Over

Tony de Garate over at the Reader tells us: Newport Avenue is the most important commercial corridor in Ocean Beach. The avenue’s historic buildings, bars, eateries, and antique shops rate high on the funk scale, drawing people from all over San Diego and beyond.  But drive the street and you’ll discover ruts, gouges, dips, cracks, and other breaches. A recent announcement, then, that the avenue is about to be repaved for the first time in nearly four decades struck many as an early Christmas present. But not everyone is ready to thank Santa.

As early as this February, heavy equipment will be used to dig in and pulverize Newport Avenue between Abbott and Guizot streets — a six-block stretch — in preparation for a new layer of asphalt. The whole job will take three days, possibly jeopardizing the weekly Wednesday farmers’ market held on the street, said John Ly, aide to Mayor Kevin Faulconer.  For more, see San Diego Reader.

OB’s Dave Martin Joins Pt Loma Association Board

There’s been a changing of the guard at the Point Loma Association (PLA) as the nonprofit has two new boardmembers — Dave Martin and Lynn Silva — for 2016. PLA is an organization of residents and businesses which, since 1961, has been committed to improving the quality of life of Point Loma through beautification, education, charitable activities and civic collaboration.  …

Martin: Born, raised and educated in Memphis, Tenn., Martin “discovered” San Diego while stationed at Camp Pendleton with the Marine Corps.“I began my career in the hospitality industry while living in Ocean Beach where I enjoyed serving on the OB Town Council including two terms as its president,” Martin said.Business opportunities took Martin and his wife out of San Diego for several years, until he made the decision to retire from his corporate position as regional operations director for KFC. He returned to San Diego to settle in Point Loma.

Martin and his family, of course, own and run Shades Bistro.

Lynn Silva: native Point Loman, graduate from Silver Gate Elementary, Dana Middle and Point Loma High schools, she attended SDSU and graduated from University of Missouri. Recently retired from US Airways, Lynn joined PLA with the true spirit of volunteerism.

Midway Fatal Shooting by Cop – Victim’s Brother Speaks Out

Fridoon Rawshan Nehad was having a manic episode outside of an adult bookstore in San Diego’s Midway neighborhood when San Diego Police Officer Neal Browder shot and killed him. … A nearby business’ surveillance camera captured his death, and a man who saw the video described Browder’s actions as shocking and unprovoked. Recently, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis declined to press charges against Browder, and said it was reasonable for the officer to believe Nehad was threatening his life. Nehad’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department, and Voice of San Diego along with other local media outlets are asking a judge to allow for the video’s public release – something Nehad’s family supports. Voice of San Diego

Hearing for Point Loma Man Charged with Human Trafficking

A Jan. 26 preliminary hearing has been set for a Point Loma man who is accused of extortion, rape, and other offenses involving him posing as a modeling agent to naïve young women. Maverick Mendez Rosales, 24, is also charged with human trafficking of a minor, oral copulation by threat, sexual battery, and digital penetration. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts. …

He is accused of extorting approximately $3,000 from a woman who paid the money to him after he threatened to make public her nude photos and videos he shot of her when she was younger, according to court records. … Rosales was not a legitimate modeling agent, but had advertised as such on Craigslist, according to a San Diego Police detective. Rosales … ls alleged to have used Facebook to lure other victims. … Rosales was arrested July 31. If he’s convicted, he could face up to 13 years in prison, according to the District Attorney’s office. He remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility on $300,000 bail.

Short Term Rentals Ordinance Goes Back to the Drawing Board and Peninsulans Weigh in On Dec. 3 the city Planning Commission “tore up” a proposed new city ordinance on Short Term Vacation Rentals (STVRs) cobbled together following months of public testimony and directed city staff to return Jan. 28 with a new set of proposed regulations.  … The failed city STVR ordinance was crafted by the Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee, chaired by Second District Council woman Lorie Zapf, whose district includes the beachfront between Point Loma and La Jolla. … Peninsulans weighed in …

“Despite comments to the contrary, there are no real STVR regulations on the city books,” said Point Loman Don Sevrens, who lives near an STVR. … “The worst thing that could happen now is inertia and continuance of the status quo,” continued Sevrens. “That would be harmful to the community and not in the best interests of both sides. If it is to be back to the drawing board, set a deadline and get with it. We need sensible regulations and we need them now.”

Point Loma Realtor Robert Tripp Jackson noted it’s been common for short-term rentals to exist in beach areas (most notably Mission Beach). He pointed out that when the real estate market “cooled” in 2006, that was when investors, who were sitting on inventory they couldn’t sell, realized short-term rentals could bring in more income than long-term rentals.  “It really started becoming a ‘big business’ here in Point Loma,” Jackson said. “Instead of just renting a home, it would be offered on a weekly rate.” Jackson added problems started when those short-term rentals started “popping up everywhere.” “Often there would be a ton of vacationing people partying late into the night,” he said, adding, “It has brought a real-world nuisance to our community.”

Short Term Rentals Slip

T­­he vacancy rate for residential rental units across San Diego County stands at 2.6 percent, a significant drop from the 4.1 percent vacancy rate in spring of this year, according to the San Diego County Apartment Association’s (SDCAA) Fall 2015 Vacancy and Rental Rate Survey. The current vacancy rate is much closer to the rates reported in the spring and fall of 2014 (2.7 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively). It is also more in line with current vacancy rates in high-demand metropolitan markets around the U.S.  “The latest numbers suggest the slight rise in the vacancy rate that we saw earlier this year was caused by temporary factors, not a fundamental change,” said SDCAA Executive Director Alan Pentico. “Despite a fair amount of new multifamily construction, we’re still experiencing the effects of a severe deficit of housing units in the San Diego region.”

OB Makes “Young and Single” Neighborhood List – Duh!

AboutTravel gives props to OB: These are the top places where you’ll find 20-somethings (and oftentimes 30-somethings) partying it up each night in packs while simultaneously building their careers, all while enjoying the San Diego lifestyle:

Ocean Beach – Located just south of Mission Beach, Ocean Beach (commonly referred to as OB) is a bit more laidback and a lot more hippie compared to its neighbors to the north. Surfing, supporting local businesses, a wide beach with strong waves for surfing and a long pier, plus simple bars and restaurants that don’t skimp on quality make for a special place to live.

Homeless Guy in PB Protests McDonalds

Pacific Beach resident Nate Nicholson is ticked at McDonald’s. On December 10, he was protesting out in front of the restaurant at 1121 Garnet Avenue, to the honking approval of several passersby. After returning to the PB area in October, Nicholson said he and a friend would have breakfast in the restaurant almost every day. “I spent $200 the first month in there,” he said. Then, just after Thanksgiving, he and other friends — whom he said were all paying customers — started being charged 25 cents to use the restroom, when other customers were not being charged. More.

“Grimace Rock” Off Tourmaline a Hidden Danger

Grimace Rock is the largest rock in the cove at Tourmaline Surfing Park in Pacific Beach. Most of the time the rock is hidden underwater, even at low tide. But if the tide is unusually low, the rock becomes a dangerous obstacle if you do not know exactly where it is. It is located directly across from Six House on the cliff, and approximately along the line with P.B. Point. More.

Some Reminiscing About Point Loma During World War II

On the Point Loma peninsula, the soldiers at Fort Rosecrans were put on 24-hour alert. Bayonets, gas masks and ammunition were issued. The men of the 19th Coast Artillery set up machine guns from the World War I era, the only anti-aircraft weapons they had available. Japan was known to have two massive battleships, each carrying nine 18.1-inch guns with a range of 28 miles, and no weapon in the Fort Rosecrans arsenal could challenge them. The U.S. Army rushed plans for two guns, 68 feet long, that could fire a projectile 16 inches in diameter at a target up to 26 miles away.

Construction for the weapon known as Battery Ashburn included a giant casement of reinforced concrete, covered by tons of earth, to protect it from a direct hit by enemy battleships or aircraft. When the 46-ton guns were transported to Point Loma, the solid rubber tires of the tractor-trailers carved three-inch ruts into the asphalt roadway. More here from SD U-T.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page December 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Great round up OB Rag.


OB Mercy December 16, 2015 at 9:31 am

Why I’m even bothering to defend such a boring, non issue in my article for the Reader about the OB Xmas tree I don’t even know.

You stated above, “But the article did not address why some locals were surprised when up to eleven San Diego police officers showed up for the tree cutting that day on December 1st.”

What locals were surprised? You don’t even mention when or where you talked to such locals?? Great reporting there.

The reason there were that amount of SDPD at this event is mostly to direct traffic as the load, width and size of the tree on the truck making it’s way down from the hills of OB to Newport Ave is a possibly dangerous traffic situation. They also have to direct traffic away from the area during the cutting. Simple as that.

What’s your point Frank??


Frank Gormlie December 16, 2015 at 10:15 am

Mercy, the point is that there were 11 officers at a tree cutting and traffic problem, and not one could come out to the public forum last week on their cameras. Plus there were 5 officers at a recent Planning Board meeting. There’s an obvious contradiction here.


OB Mercy December 16, 2015 at 4:12 pm

I’m not my police officer’s keeper.


Geoff Page December 16, 2015 at 11:30 am

I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree about the need for 11 police officers for this event. Large trees are cut down all the time, when was the last time you saw a phalanx of police officers present for those events? As for traffic control, volunteers abound in OB, especially for the tree ceremony and volunteers could have easily handled the traffic control, that is done all the time. This does sound like overkill. However, I will say that perhaps the SDPD looked at this as a chance to show support for the community by helping out. If the officers were donating their time, that would be wonderful but if they were paid for this time, I would say their time would have been better spent doing their usual jobs. This may just have been a political opportunity for Zapf or Faulconer.


Geoff Page December 16, 2015 at 12:59 pm

A couple of other things on your Reader piece, Mercy. You mentioned the tree is set in a “cement hole” under the sand. Cement is an ingredient of concrete along with sand and aggregates. Cement is a powder. The hole under the sand is a concrete hole. Also, you took Frank to task about not identifying and inter viewing the locals he mentioned, yet your article said “Many tourists and locals gathered…” How did you determine who was a tourist and who was a local?


Jon December 16, 2015 at 2:40 pm

A couple other things:

1. Nobody cares


Geoff Page December 16, 2015 at 3:05 pm

I care.

Maybe you meant to write that “you” instead of “nobody” because I can’t believe you’ve polled everybody in this short of a time span.


OB Mercy December 16, 2015 at 4:21 pm

I didn’t know there was a difference Geoff. You win, concrete.

Frank should not have said anything about the locals, since there was no one from the OB Rag there and there never is at the tree cutting or erecting of the OB Xmas tree. “Locals were surprised…” Again…what locals? He didn’t even address that above.

On the other hand, I spent 6 hours following this story. I talked to many that were gathered around the tree as it went up. Many were tourists….I even asked a few of them where they were from. The locals I usually know…and sometimes you can just tell. Frank is NOT a local, he wasn’t there, so don’t know why he states “locals were surprised.”

Not going to spend any more time on this issue. Happy Holidaze to all.


Geoff Page December 17, 2015 at 9:22 am

It wasn’t a matter of winning or losing, people make this mistake all the time. After 42 years in the construction business, this is a correction I have made many times. It wasn’t a contest. You work as a journalist, I would have expected a less than sarcastic response to someone who was correcting a technical error so you didn’t make it again.

How long have you lived in OB? Long enough to say that no one from the OB Rag has ever attended the tree cutting and erection in the sand? How did you verify that fact?

To say that Frank in NOT a local demonstrates a real lack of knowledge of OB history. He may not live in OB at the moment but Frank IS a local. I ask again, how long have you lived here?

And I love your conclusion, you decide to stop the discussion because it is getting uncomfortable. That’s brave.


Clarke December 16, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Cement vs concrete…wow.
So glad a masonry expert could join us to belittle a contributor in a transparent attempt to defend another.


Lyle December 16, 2015 at 10:56 pm

I thought Geoff’s comments were meant to be more helpful than critical. Plus I agree with his comment. Journalists generally do appreciate the value of precise language, and should appreciate help. Geoff and I (and the dictionary writers) are apparantly among the 1% who understand the difference between concrete and cement.


Lyle December 16, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Also, I don’t believe any reasonable person would intentionally “belittle” Mercy or any other of the fine OBRag contibutors, who all provide a tremendous service to the community.


Geoff Page December 17, 2015 at 9:31 am

Thank you Lyle. What I was trying to do was compare what Mercy wrote to what Frank wrote, pointing out that there were similar holes in both accounts, holes that, frankly, did not matter enough to make an issue of. Frank does a a lot with his time and there are mistakes that he readily admits. Kind of reminds me of the Detroit Free Press in the 60s and 70s. This was a major metropolitan daily that always had an unbelievable number of typos but they reported the news and we all got the picture desite the errors.


Geoff Page December 17, 2015 at 9:27 am

I’m not a “masonry” expert, I am, however, a construction expert and, as I replied to Mercy, I’ve had to make this correction many times in my career. My comment wasn’t meant to belittle but I know that many people believe that being corrected for an error feels like belittlement or criticism. Personally, I take these things as learning moments, I appreciate not repeatedly making the same mistake because I have learned what is correct.

And, that comment had nothing to do with defending Frank. I was doing that with my other comments and it is gratifying to know my attempt was transparent enough for you to see it. That means I was clear in what I wrote.


Clarke December 17, 2015 at 9:53 am

Lyle and Geoff,
If Geoff’s comments were purely intended for the sake of helping a fellow journalist, despite 1) being related to an article that is not on this page, and 2) in reply to a comment where she “took the author to task”, than I sincerely apologize for my sarcastic comment.

However, my reading of it was more tit-for-tat, as in, ‘if you are going to go after this journalist than maybe you should check your work since you are not perfect either’. If that was not the intended angle, and instead purely to support the community, I applaud the effort. I would suggest a change in tone however, as it came across more combative than supportive to this reader.

On a personal but related note, I felt agreement with OB Grace’s comments that the original author’s (Frank’s) passive aggressive comment about the number of police was not very ‘journalistic’ but more agenda driven narrative due to previous battles (as admitted in planning board reference in follow up comment). I respect the OB Rag and the time the contributor’s give. However, I equate that sort of ‘slap-and-run’ from a Manchester run newspaper, and was disappointed to see it here.

As far as the police, my family spent time talking to three of the officers during the time at the tree ceremony and felt it to be positive community outreach and relationship building. I did not see 11 there, but considering the size of the event’s area impact, street closures and safety issues (huge tree and crane) would not be surprised if there was a large presence.

Thank you all. Have a great day and wonderful holidays.


Geoff Page December 17, 2015 at 10:37 am

Clarke, thank you for your reasonable comments, this is more how I think these on-line discussions should be.

One thing I know from many years of writing is that, no matter how hard you try, people read words subjectively affecting their interpretation. I also know that some people take criticism, no matter how it is offered, as an attack and that was not my intent.

I would agree that some of Frank’s comments do not fit into the objective journalism mold, but I believe folks who read the OB Rag regularly would not be surprised that it has a bias that Frank has often and freely admitted to publicly. Frank is a far left activist, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. But, he does make a real effort to cover the news in OB that no one else is doing. The Beacon does it somewhat but it is a weekly paper, the OB Rag is a daily and it provides a forum to discuss, correct, or add to the stories. That makes it truly an interactive community organ for everyone. I think we can forgive the Rag for its foibles that are outweighed by the service it provides. Thanks again.


OB Mercy December 17, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Geoff. I was NOT being sarcastic at all in admitting I knew nothing about concrete vs. cement. I said you win, as in, I learned something. No intonation in writing text most of the time.

How long have I lived in OB? Only 7 yrs. Visited for 30. I’ve covered the OB Tree story for the last 4 yrs for the Reader. So far, I don’t remember seeing an OB Rag reporter at any of the cuttings. It’s something that starts at 7 am and it’s hours before we’re all down on Newport for the “planting” of the tree. We all sort of get to know each other during those 6 or so hours. I know most everyone that shows up to it. Again, if there was a report in the OB Rag after, I’ve never seen it. And again, there weren’t 11 police officers there…I don’t know where Frank got that number. Just like the locals thing….proof please.

Yes, I do know about Frank’s background and how he started up the Rag as a real paper in the 70’s before the Net. But he does not live in OB anymore. Does he do a great job of reporting what’s going on here with stores opening and closing and other goings on? Yes. I used to write for the Rag myself. But I’ve moved on. I don’t feel the Rag is very supportive of many issues here in my opinion….and many others agree that I’ve spoken with.

But the bottom line is…it’s hard to take a TRUE PULSE of what’s going on here…feel the vibe of the community living and breathing if you don’t live here! I’m sure many of you including Frank won’t agree with me. It’s just my opinion again, for what it’s worth.


Geoff Page December 17, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Sorry Mercy, I don’t see how anyone would get “I learned something” from “you win.” Maybe someone else can provide an objective opinion on that.

You said you’ve covered the tree story for four years and don’t remember seeing an OB Rag reporter there. The OB Rag just celebrated its 8th birthday on line so perhaps it would have been more accurate had you written what you just said here instead of “there was no one from the OB Rag there and there never is at the tree cutting or erecting of the OB Xmas tree.”

Seven years in OB with years of visiting. Do you have any idea of Frank’s long history in OB? He lived here for a lot longer than that.

Ok, so Frank says 11 police officers. You don’t agree so how many were there? Just saying Frank is incorrect doesn’t make it so. Proof please. He may well be wrong but so far we have no other count from anyone else. Perhaps you could check with the SDPD and settle that.

Frank’s lack of a current address in OB anymore doesn’t disqualify him from still being a local. He spends a good part of his week in and around OB as is obvious by the photos and writing in the Rag. He cares as much about OB as anyone I’ve ever met in my 35 years of living here. Frankly, I find this distinction to be petty and offensive, especially from someone who has only lived here for seven years. Being an Obcean is a state of mind as much as anything else, look at the Rag comments from folks all over the country who don’t live here anymore, they still feel like proud Obceans.

So you have issues with the Rag; that is your prerogative. I would like to hear what issues you feel the OB Rag is not supportive of, it seems to cover the gamut of race relations, women, property rights, the environment, right to privacy, lots of issues. What issues are you referring to?

I will reiterate what I said before to your closing comment. Frank spends a great deal of his time in OB and he lived here for many years. I think that is plenty enough to “feel the vibe” as you put it. Just because he doesn’t climb into bed here every night that doesn’t make him out of touch. Frank may rub some people the wrong way for plenty of reasons but I think this criticism of yours is unfounded. That is just my opinion, for what it is worth.


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