May News From Ocean Beach 92107

by on May 6, 2016 · 10 comments

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

chinese flame tree sample 2

A Chinese Flame Tree – very similar to this one – was cut down May 3rd on the 4800 block of Voltaire.

Healthy Chinese Flame Tree Cut Down by City on Voltaire

On the morning of May 3rd about 8 a.m. the city cut down a healthy Chinese Flame on the 4800 block of Voltaire without warning. Locals are very upset with what they see as a unnecessary travesty. The tree was a healthy 17 year old planted by the OB Community Development Corporation under a grant from then Councilman Byron Wear’s office. Locals who spoke with the tree trimmers said it was ordered by the city as it was tearing up the sidewalk. Yet, an OB Rag reporter observed the sidewalk in question, and cracks in the asphalt and concrete could be seen. But similar cracks were around every other tree in the vicinity. There was no warning or chance to stop this action. Locals also found this tree cutting ironic as the headlines in today’s paper read “Mayor Proposes Funding for Climate Action Plan” which includes planting trees.  Several people have contacted Conrad Wear – Bryon’s son – at Lori Zapf’s city council office for some kind of help.

Newport Avenue to Be Repaved in June

OB’s main commercial street, Newport Avenue, will be repaved during the month of June. An asphalt overlay will be put down on the busy roadway.


Round about being considered for the intersection of West Pt Loma and Bacon

Roundabout Being Considered by City at West Pt Loma and Bacon

Councilwoman Zapf’s representative announced at the recent OB Planning Board meeting that the city is seriously considering placed a “round-about” at the intersection of West Pt Loma and Bacon Street. Zapf’s office believes that there is SANDAG money for the project, and they want it on the City’s radar.  This idea has been around for awhile – at least since Fall of 2014. In fact, the OB Rag took a readers’ poll on the matter where a majority of the respondents answered that they support a round-about at that site, – 52%.  In contrast, just 12% were opposed to a round-about there.  There were a total of 67 respondents.


Frank Gormlie spoke about hippies in OB at the OB Library.

Many Former Hippies Turn Out for Frank Gormlie’s Talk on “Hippies in OB”

About 40 people turned out for Frank Gormlie’s talk on “Hippies in OB” at the Ocean Beach Library, last Saturday, April 30th, and Gormlie noted that many in the audience – from the looks of their gray-heads – knew firsthand what hippies were. He spoke about what “hippie” means and the history of hippies in OB from the late Sixties into the mid-Seventies. He described all the good things hippies brought – from yoga, new music, new art and a rejection of the consumerist and war-mongering culture – and many more things that we take for granted today. But also how they suffered at the hands of landlords, businesses, the police, and the conservative mainstream media in San Diego.  Gormlie took much of his presentation from a recent article he wrote.

OB Tenants United Meeting

tenants unitedOn Saturday, May 14, at 11 a.m. a group called San Diego Tenants United is calling for a meeting in OB at the Te Mana Cafe, 4956 Voltaire Street. According to their statement:

The rent in OB is steadily increasing. Landlords keep forcing rent hikes year after year. One landlord in particular, Michael Mills, (previously jailed for being a slumlord) is going out of his way to raise rent and make life harder on tenants. Enough is enough! Let’s come together to discuss and organize against high rents and bad living conditions. OB should be accessible to everyone, not just rich people!! This issue affects all of San Diego, so please feel free to join us regardless of where you live.

Please note that the 5/14 meeting is to build an OB Rent Control rally on Sat 6/4 at the flagpole, and that there will be more meetings and events around SD in the months to come. To get involved or find out more, please check out SD Tenants United:

Now OB Residents Can Order Their Booze Thru Delivery Service

If having quality breweries and beer tasting rooms is not enough for OBceans, we can now order our alcohol through a delivery service called Drizly. OB joins a host of other communities, including Gaslamp, Hillcrest, La Jolla, Little Italy, North Park, other beaches that can now utilize this online service and have booze delivered to their doorstep.  Drizly is a tech company that is making a grand effort at transforming the way consumers buy alcohol online across the U.S. and Canada. Legal-age drinkers in San Diego can simply download the free Drizly app on their smartphone or visit As a special welcome to new users in San Diego, Drizly is offering $10 off all first-time orders ($25 min. purchase) with the promo code WELCOMESD.

Much of the following were announced at recent community meetings, the OB Town Council meeting of April 27th and the OB Planning Board meeting of May 4th.

Update on Police Cameras – Signage Finalized

One of the things holding up the complete installation of the controversial police cameras was the exact wording and font size for the warning signs that will accompany the cameras.  Now supposedly the signs are completed and have vetted. The installation is less than a month away, the community was told at a recent OBTC meeting by the police representative, Officer Dave Surwilo.  Three cameras have been placed on the outside of the main lifeguard tower, but Surwilo said, “the lifeguard cameras are up but not being utilized. They’re wired into the building and that’s the extent of them.”

Oldest in the Country: the OB Kite Festival – May 14th

OBceans and their kids can celebrate the oldest kite festival in the country on Saturday, May 14th. Yes, it’s the OB Kite Festival . Join the Kiwanis and the Ocean Beach Recreation Center for the 68th Annual OB Kite Festival at Dusty Rhodes Park, at 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ,2483 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, San Diego, California 92107;  (Sunset Cliffs Blvd. between W. Point Loma and Nimitz). Free Parking at Robb Field – Free Shuttle to Event and Free Admission.

OB Fire House to Have Major Rehab

The OB Fire House No. 15, at the corner of Voltaire and Ebers, is up for a major rehab to begin over the next few months. The station, built in 1949, was delivered a package of repair monies by last year’s budget to the tune of over $500,000. The upgrade includes a new kitchen, dining/meeting room, and ADA upgrades. Crews at the  Fire Station celebrated the house’s 100th anniversary last year.

OB Library Expansion Could Be Caught in Catch-22 as City Insists on New Design Assessment

In recent announcements, meetings and discussions about the anticipated expansion of the OB Library into the building next door – which the city ownes –  called “the Annex”, the realization that the library’s very expansion could be caught up in a kind of catch-22 has come about for some keen observers. If the City obtains funds to connect the buildings – the Annex – OB will then have a new community room and other new facilities for their library. But if that expansion occurs, then the likelihood of OB ever having a “new” library diminish.

Ocean Beach was promised a new library back in 2001-03, plans were made, a study was completed, property was purchased next door – all in anticipation of a new library. The plans called for the new library to be built around the historic old building, and included an upstairs, a court yard, etc. Due to the budget crises that hit San Diego during multiple funding cycles, the plans for OB’s new library not only fell off the table, but many – including some in the community – totally forgot about it.

So that’s why some observers are worried that the new library will never be built. Meanwhile, Zapf’s office is locating $200,000 new preliminary design assessment, which some in the community say doesn’t need to be done again. The leases in the City-owned building next to the library expire in October 2016 and February 2018, so no expansion could occur until those run out and are not continued.

City Budget Includes Gains for OB

According to Conrad Wear of Zapf’s office, there is money in the current proposed budget for a number of items of interest to OBceans: a 2% raise for police officers; 2 additional lifeguards, training for lifeguards , . The budge is still in flux, Wear said at the recent OBTC meeting and he urged residents to get involved in the budget process and attend budget meetings.

Lifeguard Rescues for March

Lifeguard Sgt. Lonnie Stevens reported that during March, OB had 120,000 visitors, and that lifeguards made 60 water rescues, had 31 medical incidents – and 1 drowning. On March 12th, Cesar Ughetto, 46, who had gone out to dinner with family and friends in Ocean Beach, then went into the ocean, had trouble, was rescued but later died at a hospital. On the issue of the new blue fence and gate around the station, Sgt Stevens stated: “We need to be able to drive out of our facility without running into people, kids or dogs.”

OB Planning Board Presented with Final Version of Plan, New City Planner

The final version of the OB Community Plan was “presented” to the OB Planning Board Wednesday night, May 4th, by veteran city planner Brian Schoenfisch. It had recently been formally finalized byu the California Coastal Commission.  Schoenfisch shepherded the Community Plan through the Coastal Commission hearing when it met the Commission’s initial unanimous approval back in 2015.

A total of 3 copies of the finalized booklet were handed to Board chair John Ambert, as Schoenfisch quipped, “We don’t enough money for every [Board] member to have one.” Schoenfisch did promise to get several copies to the OB Library.  The final version signifies the end of a very long update process that began in the 1990s. After years of work the update Plan was unanimously approved by the City Council in June 2014, and then it was unanimously approved by the California Coastal Commission last summer.

Finally, the OB Planning Board was introduced to its new city planner, Sara Coma, who promised to attend as many meetings as she could. After her greetings to the Board, Board chair John Ambert urged Coma to have the City’s Department of Development Services to get the new OB Plan to new developers and builders.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Tessa May 7, 2016 at 4:30 pm

The blue fence and gates next to the lifeguard station are all well and good – for the lifeguards. For the rest of us who live here and for thousands of tourists who visit, gone is the natural loop of many pedestrians along the beach sidewalk then either out to the street or back around the street sidewalk. The only way “through” now takes one past where surfers shower and by the bathrooms – this is not a pleasant route, to say the least. Where is the consideration for those of us who walk and what about a sidewalk to the other, non lifeguard side of the blue fence? It’s just not right to take away what was a wonderful and joyous walk for so many in such a high-handed fashion.


PL Local May 8, 2016 at 9:23 am

Why can’t you walk to the left where there is grass?


tj May 8, 2016 at 7:59 am

sorry i was not able to attend Frank’s presentation – is there a youTube link?

unfortunately – the boomer generation went from the least materialistic – to the most selfish, shortsighted, & materialistic – in the history of the world.

hippieness – is a state of mind – though many have lost their way – we can truly come back home.

Vaya con Dios


rick callejon May 8, 2016 at 8:28 pm

Friends of Faulconer foul OB Rag poll.


Frank Gormlie May 9, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Looks like the OB Rag site was swamped Saturday ….


Muir Avenue Ale May 9, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Frank, was it a normal amount of traffic, or is there reason to suspect an organized effort by Faulconer supporters, as Rick charges?


Frank Gormlie May 9, 2016 at 6:47 pm

Usually we get about 1,000 or so readers on a Saturday; last Sat, we had over 1300 visitors.


kh May 8, 2016 at 11:31 pm

Meanwhile there’s a hideous dead tree on my street that the neighbors tried to have cut down…. the city brought in their own arborist and claimed it’s alive. At least when it falls on my car I’ll have some free firewood.


RogueFive May 9, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Repaving Newport in June ? What a great idea to do that at the start of summer along with the Chili Cook-Off later that month.


PL Local May 10, 2016 at 4:46 pm

There was another roll-over car crash in Point Loma. This one happened on the 8th, Mother’s Day, at the intersection of Hill st. and Cornish Dr. One car was going down the hill and another was going up. The car going up the hill attempted to turned left onto Cornish Dr. in front of the other car going down the hill.



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