False Accusations Fly in Peninsula Planning Board Election

by on March 13, 2018 · 11 comments

in Ocean Beach

Someone once said ‘all politics is local politics.’ This is no truer right now than here in Point Loma, where politics are indeed swirling around the local planning committee’s annual election.

Apparently, false accusations have been spread against some candidates running for seats on the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB). And one of those candidates is Geoff Page – a Point Loma activist, former chair of that planning group, small-time developer and consultant – and a writer / reporter for the OB Rag.

On the surface, the imbroglio surrounds the controversial recycling center at Stump’s Market on Voltaire, and who supports it and who doesn’t. Page and 3 other candidates have been falsely accused by a sitting Board member of supporting the recycling center and who also has sent out emails urging Peninsula voters to not vote for them.

Here is Geoff Page’s response to an email sent out by Margaret Virissimo. We post the email following Geoff’s statement.

An ugly email from Margaret Virissimo

There’s an ugly email that was sent by Peninsula Community Planning Board member Margaret Virissimo to a person in Sea Colony about the PCPB elections next week. And take note that Virissimo only copied the PCPB chair Jon Linney and board member Don Sevrens.

This email is based on a lie and it contains extremely insulting and defaming remarks about four people who are running for a seat on the PCPB, one of whom is me.  I felt the need to publish this because it needs to be answered and because I can’t be sure that this is the only one of these emails Virissimo has sent.

In the email, Virissimo states:

“The people NOT to vote for that are for the recycling center staying and have put us through hell and back.”

She then lists me, Jim Hare, Julia Quinn, and Robert Goldyn. None of us have ever taken a position on keeping or removing the recycling center next to Stumps. Of the four people listed, three are current board members running for another term. She followed that with:

“We need them off this board they DO NOT want nor care for the safety of this community.”

That is also a complete lie.

Virissimo is telling people not to vote for the four people because of one single issue and she has ignored the fact that all of us have served time on the PCPB handling a large variety of issues for years. To say publicly that we don’t care about the safety of the community is hugely insulting and is a defamation of our character.

As you will see in her opening paragraph, she states that:

“…we have a few individuals that are running for a seat on the board who are for the recycling center staying where its at and have been an extreme nuisance [sic]…”

Ask Virissimo for substantiation of any of what she has said and she will be unable to provide it because there is none.  Virissimo has broken several of the rules governing the PCPB as a sitting board member, one of which is suggesting a slate of candidates to vote for.

Last year she posted a slate on the Point Loma Connections Facebook page when she was running for a seat and she was informed then that this was not allowed so she removed it.

At the PCPB Candidate Forum on March 1, the election subcommittee chairman reiterated this prohibition to advertising a slate of candidates and Virissimo was there, yet only four days later she ignored what she knew and was reminded of and provided a slate anyway.

In conclusion, I will say that this woman has defamed the character of people who have clearly demonstrated their willingness to serve this community as volunteers. Julia Quinn has served on the PCPB for many years and was chair for three years. Jim Hare and Robert Goldyn have each served one term and are willing to serve for another if elected. These three people are above reproach and did nothing to deserve such a personal attack.

My final comment is this. I know that people who may not be well informed about planning board issues often look to a more involved person for advice on how to vote in the planning board elections. My advice is to be very careful who you take this advice from.

Here is Virissimo’s email:

Click on above image for a larger version.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page March 13, 2018 at 4:38 pm

One minor correction in Frank’s description of me, I’ve never been a developer. I’m not mentioning it because it can have some negative connotations, I’m just clarifying the description that was otherwise accurate.

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Toolpusher March 14, 2018 at 4:27 am

So are you FOR or AGAINST the recycling center behind stumps? (Sorry had to ask and you brought it up).

I’ve only paid the attention to this issue to the extent that something like this deserves. I find it mostly silly and a bit NIMBYism (maybe a little more than a bit). I really don’t care about the issue, but, I am almost reflexively against a seething mob who finds these kinds of issues of the upmost importance when there are so many other things to worry about; especially, when they presumably don’t really care about the underlying and much more important issue. Instead they get their pitch -forks and torches out and scream: move the recycling center we don’t like the homeless there (and make it someone else’s problem). I say leave it up to Stumps and maybe the other business around the plaza. They (and their customers) are the ones who presumably suffer the most; if they don’t have a problem with it then leave it, if they want it moved then great.

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Geoff Page March 14, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Toolpusher, your characterization of what happened is very correct. I never took a position on this because I could never get the opponents to cough up any hard evidence that the center was a problem. I live in the area and have been in and out of Stumps and never even noticed the recycling center.
My take is this, it was handled atrociously. If people were upset about it, then listen to them first. Then, QUIETLY, talk to the recycling center owner and get their take, Then, talk to Stumps and any stores that depend on it being there to satisfy their CRV requirements. If improvements could be made, try those first. And they have added lights and a camera that some peole feel has improved the situation. Then, also see if there is a practical alternative location to put it where it won’t upset residents. The owner told me he did find an acceptable new site that the owners were originally willing to offer but once all the chaos erupted, they withdrew their support not wanting to be seen as a new bad guy. So, I personally don’t have an opinion one way or the other. I will say that no one has convinced me it needs to move but I’d be willing to look into it in an organized and calm way to see if there is an alternate that works for the recycling center owner, all of the stores that depend on it to satisfy their CRV obligations, and residents. I hope that answers your question.

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Toolpusher March 14, 2018 at 2:27 pm

It does. Thank you. Sounds like a very reasonable approach.

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K.B. March 14, 2018 at 6:33 pm

I feel the issue of the recycling center is a bit ridiculous since I have heard the states requires these centers in communities and the peninsula has a deficit. Instead of going after Jeff who actually has been a positive voice on the laws and being a positive force for our communities, why not figure out where you want to put the recycling centers if you have some ideas on that. Jeff fought to keep community character in Roseville by upholding the Coastal 30 ft. Height limit that was being broken in that community. I appreciate Virissmo’s efforts in keeping the Portuguese culture and dance alive, but I don’t see that any of the candidates she has mentioned are not for that. If she is concerned about homeless issues she may want to talk to our Mayor about that since that hasn’t been his priority until recently.

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Editor editordude March 15, 2018 at 10:07 am

Sorry about that Geoff; made the corrections.

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Geoff Page March 16, 2018 at 10:49 am

As Baba Looey used to say, Frank “Sawright!”

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hOBie March 16, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Kudos to the Rag for sharing the email from Ms. Virissimo. Those of us on NextDoor have seen what an unhinged bully (my words) she is. The fact that 1) she is on the PCPB Election Sub Committee and 2) she put the above in writing, speaks volumes. I took a snapshot of the names she said “NOT” to vote for and voted for each of them last night. Not due to the Recycling Center issue, but because it is clear that Ms. Virissimo is very much part of the PL Good ‘Ol Boys club; a subset of the SD Good ‘Ol Boys club.

Further, I have always appreciated the watchdog mentality of Geoff Page and his vigilance in one of the most important issues facing the Peninsula as a whole: the 30 ft height limit. I do not agree with him on all issues, but if anyone should be a voice on the Planning Board, it should be Mr. Page.

Unfortunately, I see from the results this morning that every single one of the people Ms. Virissimo openly advocated against did not garner enough votes to make it on the the Board. As our Twitter-obsessed POSTUS would say: SAD!

Mr. Page – on behalf of many of your Peninsula neighbors, thank you for throwing your hat into the ring and please keep up your vigilant work.

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Geoff Page March 19, 2018 at 11:32 am

hOBie, Thank you very much for the kind words, I appreciate that. Just to let you know, two of us have filed an election challenge this weekend based on the actions of some board members and one candidate. Let’s see where it goes.

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Neil May 30, 2018 at 6:06 pm

Financial reward to anyone who can provide me contact information to one Margaret Virissimo

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Geoff Page June 6, 2018 at 1:28 pm

If you go to the PCPB.net website, there is contact information for Ms. Virissimo.

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