Love Fest and Good Vibes at the Ocean Beach Town Council Meeting

by on January 25, 2018 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

Merry members of the Mermaid float form at the front of the room to accept their award.

It was like a love fest during the Summer of Love at the Ocean Beach Town Council meeting Wednesday night, January 24th. It was all good vibes as the Board bid a cherry and teary farewell to Gretchen Newsom, president for the last 4 years, and to other members who are stepping down from the Council. It was merry times as well during all the various governmental reports.

It was very celebratory as the Board presented the awards to the OB Holiday Parade winners – including members of the Mermaid float who came dressed in costume. And it was all very friendly as more than a dozen candidates for the open chairs on the Town Council gave their brief spiels (see separate article).

In direct contrast to last week’s ominous OB Town Hall meeting on the dreary subjects of arson and vandalism, this gathering of OB folk and kids was more akin to a circus, where ringmaster Marcus Turner, OBTC vice-president, directed the various performances and shows in a delightful couple hours of entertainment.

From the back of the room. All photos by Frank Gormlie.

Dusty Rhodes Park Is Too Dusty

During the non-agenda comment period – which is a great time for OBceans to hear of announcements and gripes from their fellow citizens – first up was Erica Ripley, volunteer head of the Dusty Rhodes Park group. She reiterated her complaints of late to the city about the park and all its problems, and has to keep reminding the city of all the plants that are dying, of the sprinklers that are not functioning properly. Ripley repeated the observation that as the entrance to OB, the park “looks terrible” to people and visitors coming in.

But her main gripe, she said, was that the group that monitors the park has been waiting 10 years for the city to repave the parking lot, only to find out the city decided to only repair the pot holes. And she wanted OB people to complain to their representatives.

Dan Dennison, also a member of the park group, jumped in and said they want to focus on the irrigation problems as their first priority, as right now the sprinklers are wasting water. Dan wants to “make Dusty Rhodes Park great again.”

Board members prep for the meeting. From L to R: Rich Grosch and Jon Carr standing, Corey Bruins, Jill Kent, Priscilla Turner and Andrew Waltz.

New Head of Friends of OB Library

Tony Cataldo announced he no longer heads up OB Friends of the Library, but that Maureen S is the new chair.  He also told the audience that over the last 6 years, the volunteer group’s income from book sales has risen noticeably. Their last book sale, he said, raised $1,200 – all in one day. Tony also made a pitch for people not to throw away their old books, but to make them into art pieces – or give them to the OB Friends.

OB Woman’s Club Monthly Social – Feb. 13

Susan Winkie announced the OB Woman’s Club is holding their monthly meeting on February 13; it’s more like a social, she said, than a meeting.

Dangers on West Pt Loma Blvd – Motorcyclist Died Wed.

Denine Hunt, a resident of West Pt Loma, complained of the dangers to West Pt Loma and particularly at Abbott; a motorcyclist died Wednesday due to injuries from an accident at the location; it’s the 2nd one, Hunt said, in 4 to 5 years, as there was another one in 2013. She added that a lot of people speed down the street, which has a posted 25 mph limit.

Board members: L to R: Trudy Levenson, Mel Roark – who is leaving the Board, Gio Ingolia and Marin Green.

Board Business

Turner moved the meeting into the quick, friendly, Board reports. Jon Carr, correspondence secretary, said dues paying members of the OBTC should be receiving an email about a new system employed by the Board to deal with membership and volunteers. Carr also urged people to join the OBTC for $20 a year membership fee.

Keith Fink, treasurer, gave his last report as he leaving the Board also, “to get my life back” he said. The Board has $24,324 in the bank, a large amount for any volunteer to have to keep track of. Fink received an ovation for his services.

City Reports

Anthony George, from Mayor Faulconer’s office, gave an outline of the mayor’s priorities, as were stated in Faulconer’s recent State of the City address; they are homelessness, housing and public safety. There’s a new facility soon to open in downtown that will store homeless people’s property, acting as a navigational center.

George announced that 700 plus tons of trash and debris have been removed from the San Diego River riverbed over the last couple of months, as part of the mayor’s campaign to clean up the place – spurred by the Hep A crisis. This reporter asked George how many homeless people had been removed from the riverbed, but he didn’t know. He also didn’t really have an answer when this reporter asked him what the mayor could do to get the Midway homeless tent for vets up to capacity, as it’s only at 70 to 80 percent currently (as reported at a recent Midway planning committee meeting).

Mermaids and pirates await their award.

On the public safety side, George reminded the audience that the mayor had just signed a new contract with police officers for a near 25% raise. (This is probably the fourth or fifth time this reporter has heard this now at public meetings by George or Wear as it keeps getting trotted out to show everybody how great the city is in dealing with the problems of retaining police officers; they also fail to mention it’s 25% over a number of years, it’s not all at once.)

Councilwoman Zapf’s rep, Conrad Wear, asked the crowd who they wanted to see audited, as his boss is now the new chair of the city council’s audit committee. “The first to be audited,” he said, “is the Water Department.”  Wear also said, “It’s budget season”, and that Zapf is prepared to obtain more budget funds for the OB Lifeguard station studies and ultimate construction, which he added, also will include a “sub-office” for police.

Other notable news from the politico reps was from Chevelle Tate of State Senator Toni Atkins‘ office. Atkins has been chosen to be the president of the State Senate, the first woman to hold the position. This announcement generated a hearty round of applause. Another round of applause came when Congressman Scott Peters‘ rep, Howard Ou, stated that Peters had submitted a letter in opposition to offshore oil drilling.

SDPD Report – New Captain for Western Division

It was announced that SDPD’s Western Division – the division that OB is in – has a new captain, Captain Rudy Tai, who grew up in Hawaii. This gives him, he said, an affinity for OB. “It’s all about going out to the people,” he said, and don’t be surprised to see him out and about. Officer David Surwilo added moments later, that in terms of the homeless, officers offer shelter to every homeless person they encounter.

The City Attorney rep, Han Hershman, announced that OB’s favorite graffiti-ist, Mama Bear, is in a residential rehab for 180 days, and reportedly, is “doing well”.

Rich Grosch approaches Board to receive Merchants Award.

OB Parade Winners Awarded

The more colorful moments of the night’s events were the awarding of plaques to the winning floats from December’s OB Holiday Parade. (There were a number of no-shows.) Rich Grosch appeared to accept the Merchant Award on behalf of Ocean Beach Hotel & the San Diego Woodies. A memorable quip was made by Grosch when he commented that the OB Parade was the best in the country, and where those in the audience were more lit up than the parade floats.

OB Pause winners, on left.

An entire crowd gathered at the front of the room to accept the Neighbors Award on behalf of OB Pause. OB Pause has now won awards at the last 4 parades, this reporter believes. (They won in 2014 and in 2015 at least.)

And a boatload of pirates and mermaids accepted the Organization Award on behalf of OB Merpod –  Love the Ocean, Love Your Local Merpod!

Applause for Gretchen Newsom. Vice-chair Marcus Turner on left.

Board Says Good-Bye to Gretchen Newsom

Marcus Turner made a short impassioned speech on how much Gretchen Newsom meant to him, as the Board said adios to one of its favorite presidents with flowers and a standing ovation. Newsom, wiping away tears, was genuinely touched and told the Board and those in the room how much the Town Council had given back to her. Trudy Levenson said she’s been on the Council for 10 years and has never seen anyone get both flowers and an ovation.

Gretchen Newsom will keep her day job with the IBEW.

And with that, the love fest was over, and many on the Board ended up continuing the libations at Culture Brewing Co.

Candidates for OBTC Board of Directors – see separate article.






{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

micporte January 26, 2018 at 5:12 am

sweet, OB is a San Diego gem in the sparkling bracelet of all our beautiful San Diego communities…


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