Reader Rave: The Key to Keeping the Balance on Newport and Voltaire

by on June 14, 2016 · 10 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

Byron Wear Wear strategiesEditor: The Widder Curry’s post yesterday about the tragic death of a dog during a road rage incident in Ocean Beach over the weekend and her theory about the overabundance of alcohol-serving establishments in OB touched off quite a debate in the comments – about many things. One response, posted below, was from Byron Wear, the former Councilman who represented OB and Point Loma years past, about keeping the uniqueness of the village.

By Byron Wear

As a 52 year resident of Point Loma and OB and a lifeguard stationed in the old tower at the foot of Santa Monica, I can remember shopping on Newport Avenue to buy clothes and shoes, visiting the Coronet variety store, the OB hardware, SD Glass and Paint and the local drug store independently owned.

There were always a few favorite restaurants like Little Chef, Village Kitchen, Pomas, Natis and of course Hodads.

Beginning in the late 60’s we began to lose our local neighborhood shopping districts (Point Loma, Pacific Beach, North Park, etc) to big box retail. We all started driving to Midway/Sports Arena or Mission/Fashion Valley where we could catch a movie.

It was cheaper to buy our clothes at Mervyn’s or household stuff at Fed Mart (now Target) and fill our prescriptions at Savon. And we lost the Strand Theatre.

So Newport became a center of Antiques and great local restaurants and drinking establishments. There have always been a few unique places for ice cream, special health products, beads and of course The Black.

On Voltaire, we worked to improve the pedestrian orientation, planted trees and created diagonal parking.

They key to Newport and Voltaire Street is to create a safe, healthy and attractive business atmosphere for a balance of retail and restaurant establishments that will attract shoppers from all of the Peninsula including the 92106 zip code.

Well operated restaurants, bars, and tasting rooms can attract people that might shop at the other specialty “mom and pop” retail stores.

Additionally, developing a vibrant and active performing arts facility could be an important strategy with evening performances. (Note: The successful Point Loma Actors and Comedy at The Point Loma Assembly on Talbot St.)

The key is to maintain the balance, continue to beautify and enhance, effectively deal with homeless and assure public safety to attract all ages in a friendly environment. The new Veterans Plaza, a children’s playground (near Tower 2) , along with an expansion of the OB Library and replacement of the lifeguard station and restrooms are good long term projects that will attract families and people of all ages.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

John June 14, 2016 at 10:23 am

“effectively deal with homeless”

Would the author kindly clarify this remark?


RB June 14, 2016 at 10:30 am

Unfortunately, OB is not very business friendly.

We have had lengthy protests of Starbucks, the Black, and CVS that have hurt the perception of our business climate. We have had public fights about sidewalk use for restaurants and other slight variances. We vilify property owners and landlords while ignoring the lack of rental units, the cost of real estate and high property taxes with each property sale. We expect family friendly businesses to want to locate next to tattoo parlors, hookah lounges and aggressive panhandlers. And we have public planning and civic organizations that exclude those who live on the hill above OB.
OB is not really ready for change.


Connie June 14, 2016 at 2:45 pm

“OB is not really ready for change”.
What sort of change would you prefer?
As a relative newcomer to Ocean Beach, I think (by reading the history here) that some of the very people who protested corporate businesses coming into O B have helped save the town from becoming just another cookie cutter town as can be found in so many other locations. Lucky for us, we have some wonderful independent businesses here that seem to thrive. Yet there needs to be a balance, and absorbing so many bars may be a tipping point we don’t want to reach.


RB June 14, 2016 at 3:09 pm

The first thing OB needs and has needed for some time is a grocery store.
I am hoping the current store plan works out. And those ‘evil corporates’ Starbucks and Subway are positives for the community. The biggest lost opportunity for the business district was the loss of the Strand, IMO……….


RC June 14, 2016 at 8:12 pm

RB, I lean towards your thinking in regards to business, but Starbucks is one of the problems on Newport Ave. It supports the homeless population with internet, bathrooms, and loitering. Walk in early any morning and see the show. The Employees at Starbucks complain about homeless issue and have relayed their concerns, but know one wants to deal with it, because they aren’t owners. That wouldn’t be, and isn’t, tolerated at the independently owned coffee shops. Local owners care about their business. Corporate chains have employees and managers that work for a small paycheck and don’t care about the community.


John June 14, 2016 at 11:24 am

“OB is not really ready for change.”

If by “change” you mean acquiese to real estate speculators’ demands, then you are absolutely correct!


Geoff Page June 14, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Well, I read the whole thing but I didn’t understand what the “rave” was.


Frank Gormlie June 14, 2016 at 1:39 pm

We publish either “rants” or “raves”, and because Byron wasn’t “ranting” at anything, it became a “rave”.


Geoff Page June 14, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Understood, Frank, thanks. Still don’t understand what the point was. Maybe it’s just me.


kip of voltaire ---=-=-===========kip--kip of Voltaire-----------------------=-=- June 17, 2016 at 1:11 am

of all the councilmen in dist. 2, wear was the best. I have only been here since 1988 so I can remember – roberts, zuchet, faulconer & zapf & maybe harris, but that’s about it. wear came out against an Exxon station at voltaire & sunset cliffs (where we now have the OB skyscraper) and also was behind getting all those beautiful shade trees getting planted on Voltaire and some of the side streets nearby. SD has such lame politicians that it is amazin


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