OB Town Council – Parade Winners, Zapf’s Budget Priorities and the Usual Suspects

by on February 2, 2017 · 1 comment

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Environment, History, Ocean Beach, San Diego

 By Frank Gormlie

At its monthly public meeting on Wed., January 25, the Ocean Beach Town Council celebrated the New Year and its first public event of 2017 by handing out awards to the winning floats that were in the December OB Holiday Parade.

As is true for many of the OBTC meetings, there was not one over-riding issue that dominated the meeting last week. Usually the audience is peppered with reports from the people who work for our politicians, from community groups, and from the reports of Board members – and this meeting was no exception.

Over 50 people sat in the audience, while half a dozen uniformed men stood off to the side, representing police, fire and lifeguard services. They all had their turn to address the meeting, as did reps from the City Attorney’s office and from Councilwoman Zapf’s office, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins’ office and Congressman Scott Peters’ office. Noticeably absent was anyone representing the Mayor’s office.

Winning Floats of OB Holiday Parade

The winners and the categories are as follows:

  • Category “Organization” – the California Innocence Project float;
  • Category “Neighbors” – “Christmas on Mars” float;
  • “Merchant” Category – the Inn at Sunset Cliffs float;
  • “Family” Category – Marriage of John Ambert and Jamie Wurtzbacher float;
  • Individual” Category – Lifetime Achievement Award winner Dave Martin and “Citizen of the Year” winner Julie Klein.

Most in Audience Attended San Diego’s Women’s March

This reporter, with permission from Chair Gretchen Newsom, asked the audience for a show of hands of those who attended the massive Women’s March in San Diego held the previous weekend – and the vast majority of folks sitting in the chairs shot their hands up – 80% – 90%. As Newsom pointed out with another query of the audience, there were many new and young faces attending.

Other News or Announcements

  • Friends of the OB Library now meet on the 3rd Saturday of every month, from 1030 to noon at the Library annex – which is the building right next door; this change in meeting days is a naked attempt to recruit new volunteers and members.
  • The City Council passed a 5-year plan for urban forestry with goals to increase the city’s canopy.
  • Joel Day, representing the County Human Relations Commission spoke of how the group deals with “the social potholes”, and stand up for equality, against human trafficking and hate crimes.
  • There is a fund raiser going on for the Point Loma High School Music Dept.
  • The OBTC has $55,320 in the bank – much of this is from the fundraising the Board does over the year to fund its food and toy drive, and finance its other events.
  • Mike from the firefighters warned of the dangers of floor heaters that occur this time of year. He said they experience on average “one major event per month”.
  • County Supervisor Ron Robert’s new rep, Adrian Granda, was introduced; she had recently worked for former City Councilman Todd Gloria, and explained how her boss Roberts was on the losing end of a 3 to 2 vote among Supervisors that continued the ban on medicinal marijuana dispensaries in the non-incorporated areas of the County.
  • Adriana Martinez is the rep for OB of newly-elected Assembly-member Todd Gloria, who was already made the assistant majority whip.
  • Chevelle Tate was introduced from State Senator Toni Atkins’ office.
  • Congressman Peters’ guy, Brian Elliott, reported on Peters’ continued efforts to get funding for “our share” of the homeless.
  • SDPD Community Relations officer Dave Surwilo and an acting police lieutenant for the area spoke of the recent shift change of officers working the area. It’s the same officers who have been working the beach – so there won’t be new faces; this is done three times a year, the officers assured the audience.
  • Surwilo announced the arrest of a suspect in the recent spate of bank robberies – including a bank in the Midway robbed twice – who was brought down by a police hound.
  • Also, the medical needs of homeless are being addressed in an outreach effort by police, who identify those in need and help them to get to a mobile medical team set up locally.
  • Surwilo in addition claimed that the police surveillance cameras have had positive results, with a number of cases going to court. He reiterated that “no one is monitoring the cameras”, but if a crime is committed at the beach, police go to the lifeguard station where the monitors are kept and view the loop for evidence. Under questioning, Surwilo denied that the cameras are simply driving crime inland into the neighborhoods. “The streets are better in downtown OB,” he said, “we’re seeing better behavior.” For more info, he offered folks to go to crimemapping.com.
  • Lt. Lonnie Stephenson of the San Diego Lifeguards reported that their jurisdiction reaches from the tip of Point Loma all the way to Black’s Beach, and that last year, the service made 9,000 rescues. Usually the average is 6,000 a year. Stephenson also said that stats were down for last December. He noted the “true hero” who pulled one of the women swept off rocks in OB to safety the weekend before. The other woman died.
  • The OB Pier was damaged at 8 different spots, Stephenson told the crowd – the reason for its recent closure. He added, “I haven’t seen this much damage [on the pier] before.”
  • Dave Martin announced that the California Coastal Commission and the San Diego Planning Commission have both approved the Veteran’s Plaza design, and now the project can move forward, he said.

Zapf’s Budget Priorities

Conrad Wear, Councilwoman Lorie Zapf’s rep for the Peninsula, ran down his boss’ priorities for the 2018 city budget.

With the $12 million Chargers windfall (their early lease termination penalty), Zapf proposes:

  • $4 million for police retention bonuses previously negotiated;
  • $750,000 for Connect to Careers programs to help prepare youth for the workforce;
  • $500,000 gap funding to maintain current park and rec center hours;
  • $500,000 gap funding to maintain current library operating hours;
  • $500,000 to continue funding for youth literacy programs at libraries;
  • $500,000 to “begin strategies of implementation towards achieving the vision set out in the San Diego River Park Master Plan.”
  • balance for police, fire and lifeguard services.

Zapf also wants to “increase … code enforcement officers to assist with noise complaints, unpermitted property improvement violations and illegal lodging complaints”.

Specifically for Ocean Beach, here are Zapf’s priorities (quoted directly from her memo of January 20, 2017):

“Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station Design Funding:  Building a new Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station remains a top priority for the community of Ocean Beach and our San Diego Lifeguards. The existing station is inadequate to accommodate staff and equipment. SDPD has indicated that a new station could also be used as a joint facility with San Diego Fire-Rescue. As part of last year’s budget discussions, 7 Councilmembers listed design funding for the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station as a top priority for funding.  As a result of this overwhelming support, I am requesting the $600,000 be allocated to the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station CIP Project (S10121) to begin design workshops and environmental permitting.

Ocean Beach Library Expansion:  Momentum for an expansion of the Ocean Beach Library began in 2016 with the start of a feasibility study on options and cost associated with renovating and connecting the City owned annex building next door. With one tenant remaining in the building, it is currently being used by the Friends of the Library as a place of storage and may be used as expanded programing space in FY 2018. With these developments, I would like City Staff to consider CDBG funding for re-construction of the annex building following the completion of the feasibility study and that internal Library funds are used to initiate design and environmental permitting.

Robb Field Entryway Way Phase 3:  As a result of the voter approved Measure J, the Ocean Beach Entryway will be eligible to receive funding from Mission Bay Park Lease Revenues. As currently constructed, the Ocean Beach Entryway provides no ADA or pedestrian access to Robb Field. Serving as a funding source, I am requesting that $125,000 is allocated from the Mission Bay Park Improvement Fund to begin the environmental permitting and design efforts to complete Phase 3 of this important project

Bermuda Beach Staircase Construction:  As a result of the 2015-2016 winter storms, staff closed the stairway on Bermuda Avenue in Ocean Beach due to tidal action that eroded the lower stairway foundation causing the lower stairs to collapse. These stairs provided the only access to a pocket beach in the Ocean Beach area. As staff is currently working through the design and the environmental process, I ask the construction funding be allocated by means of the Regional Park Improvement Fund. This fund has increased by $1.0 million dollars annually due to the voter approved Measure J.

Abbott & Bacon Storm Water Infrastructure:  The current storm water infrastructure within Ocean Beach is under capacity. According to Engineering Staff, the greatest need in this community is drainage improvement along Abbott Street and Bacon Street. The current estimate is $5.0 Million which includes $1.0 Million needed in year one for design and $4.0 Million in year three for construction of the project.  I ask that funding be provided out of City’s Storm Drain Fund of $5.7 Million.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Judy Swink February 11, 2017 at 3:43 pm

At the Oct.6, 2016 meeting of the Mission Bay Park Improvement Fund (MBIF) Oversight Committee, Jeff Van Deerlin, D.D. Park & Rec Dept. announced that the Regional Parks Improvement Fund received $2.5 million in FY16, not the reported $1 million recited in this article. The RPIF also received $2.5 million in FY15.

Pursuant to Prop. J (11/16), the Regional Parks share of Mission Bay lease revenues will increase to $3.5 million if Mission Bay lease revenues continue to increase, as they have in recent years.

The Mission Bay fund received $6,945,644 in FY15 and $7,158,483 in FY16.

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