Questions Being Raised About New Sunset Cliffs Merchants’ Group and So-Called ‘Street Fair’

by on August 24, 2018 · 15 comments

in Ocean Beach

There’s just too many questions being raised about the newly-formed Sunset Cliffs Merchants Association and a so-called “Street Fair” they are organizing.

On this past Wednesday, Aug. 22, the OB Rag published a post about the group and the street fair supposedly calendared for September 1 – a week away – using a report in the online The Beacon by Judi Curry and using the group’s facebook page.

But over the last two days there’s been some pushback mainly in the form of comments and questions to the article, private comments made at Wed’s OB Town Council meeting, and more concerns raised after some quick digging by locals.

Here’s part of what we posted:

So, on September 1, the new group will have the 4700 block of Point Loma Ave closed off, and hopes to have at least 100 vendors exhibiting their wares, several food trucks, along with food from Sunny’s, Rosario’s, Sea Trader, Little Lion, Surf Check, a “food eating contest”plus a beer garden, Judi tells us. And there will be street performers, chalk artists, etc.

The vendors will be the typical ones other street fairs offer from jewelry, artistry, clothing, food, and everything else of the like. Plus some of the local businesses will be exhibiting their wares, such as Sunset Cliffs Pilates and The Inn at Sunset Cliffs.

They also hope to have 5 stages of music.

First, despite claims by the group and street fair organizers that all these local businesses are involved, comment statements included these:

  • “Inn at Sunset Cliffs is not involved with the organization nor the event.”
  • “Neither is Peak Performance Holistic Therapies and the majority of the merchants on this block.”

Then there were complaints: “Many of us small business will have to close for the day due to no parking for clients./ residences ….”, “A street fair is not conducive to many of the businesses on this street,” “We do not support this event.”

One businessowner claimed he would be out $1,000 that day. He also complained that “None of the businesses were spoken to to see how it would affect us.”

Another commenter stated: “If you talk to any of the merchants around there, they have and want nothing to do him or the made up association.”

Then there was this:

As far as I can tell, the Sunset Cliffs Merchants Association is made up of one guy who rents a 200sq ft spot in a parking lot. He’s trying to give himself more power so they can’t kick him out of that spot as they want him gone. … He’s still using the names of those merchants to advertise for an event that is benefiting him and him alone.

And this:

I’m surprised it’s gotten as far as it has. It seems nobody in that neighborhood is supporting the event, and businesses are making concerted efforts to distance themselves. I think there’s more to this story. I can’t even locate a corporate filing for this merchant association, let alone a proper 501c application with the IRS despite the claims being made that they’re a 501c6. Something is fishy in the state of south OB…

So, there are doubts whether the street fair will even happen. One commenter to Judi’s Beacon article, stated: “Rumor has it that they have not been granted required permits for this and therefore it might not happen.”

Another commenter raised this issue: “I thought we were trying to minimize traffic to the cliffs…”

The OB Rag was also taken to task for not doing more investigating, checking into permits to see if they even exist. Good ideas but as we were just running a composite of the Beacon article and the facebook page, those were beyond our immediate means. We innocently thought – however naively – we were doing some good PR for the community.

Richard Aguirre – Photo by Judi Curry

These questions and allegations raise issues with the owner of Surf Check – a sort of “food truck” on the northwest corner of Sunset Cliffs and Point Loma Avenue – who is Richard Aguirre. And Aguirre certainly has had his issues with the city – and a neighboring business. (And the OB Rag has been a sympathetic ear for his problems and gave him a favorable food review.)

But, it would be naive to say Richard Aguirre is not a local colorful figure in the neighborhood. Nephew of former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, Richard once ran for California governor back in 2009-10, as an independent. Before that, Richard hosted weekly music and beer events at the Masonic Center. Currently a member of the OB Planning Board, he is known for his extensive rants during board meetings – some of which are right on, and others, … well, ….

We tried to call Surf Check but it doesn’t have a phone number listed.



{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ August 24, 2018 at 2:25 pm

I don’t think you guys are obligated to try to fact-check short articles about community events.

I like block parties and appreciate people who volunteer their time to organize them. Thanks for digging into this once people raised questions.

Now that I think about it, how can you have five music stages in one block?


marc johnson August 24, 2018 at 4:08 pm

The intentions are good just trying to bring exposure to small businesses in the area. Should start a Sunset Festival since everybody wants to look at the sunset every evening.


Debbie August 24, 2018 at 4:29 pm

I thought is was strange people in the neighborhood would allow bands, closure of the street, advertising to encourage crowds etc. when they made such a fuss of a restaurant opening serving alcohol where the old Ranchos used to be

If they want more business put some advertising together and/or offer discounts to locals to encourage them to patronize.


Chris August 25, 2018 at 7:35 pm

A restaurant? I thought they were fighting off a VFW.


Debbie August 27, 2018 at 9:42 am

Oops! you are so right a VFW. Can’t have one of the those in the neighborhood!


Nicole August 29, 2018 at 2:41 pm

I’m pretty sure Harbor Town tried to come in, too.


kh August 24, 2018 at 5:38 pm

I searched just now and couldn’t find any traffic control permits for the area. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt that it’s a well-intentioned but disorganized effort.

There will always be some that can’t be pleased, but a street fair should highlight and generally bring more traffic to the effected businesses. That business district seems dead, so I’m a little surprised there isn’t more support for something like this.


Loward August 27, 2018 at 8:42 pm

Because the majority of the street is residential!!!


Nicole G. August 29, 2018 at 2:37 pm

As a merchant on the 4700 block of Point Loma Ave., I can tell you that there’s been interest & a need for some exposure here. To hear people say the area is ‘mostly bearded up and dead’ is saddening. 80% of the other business owners here on PLA, as well as myself, feel that something smaller would suffice & hopefully be more pleasing to the residents. Some might argue that the timing of this Street Fair is a bit off as well, with the busy Labor Day weekend already bringing quite a bit of traffic to the Cliffs. In conjunction with your first sentence, KH, hopefully the city has ‘prepaired’ us well.

Nicole G.


Lt September 4, 2018 at 6:08 pm

The businesses were not consulted about this event, it was s party of one business dictating how all the other businesses are represented. Richard is not representing any one but himself. He says nonprofit $$$ going to protect the cliffs? He had not advised businesses on his goal or plan as to how profits are to be used, to protect the cliffs in what way? It’s hard as a business owner to get behind the non plan , plan. The liability in making these claims and allowing him to speak for your businesses can put your reputation in jeopardy . The more I’ve learned about this individual is cause for concern. In my opinion. Bottom Zero consideration was given to the businesses or neighbors. In my book that’s just wrong . Do your research on him folks !


Doug Blackwood August 24, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Too many events already: if the local residents want a block party let them stage it!
Sorry Richard; glad you have the “coffee cart”, but: the Cliffs is beyond saturation already!


Cliff Local August 27, 2018 at 4:49 pm

The thing is, none of the locals want or need this attention. The last thing the cliffs needs are more drunk a-holes trolling around…and falling off. The only guy that wants this is the tool on the corner.


Dave August 24, 2018 at 9:51 pm

Interesting idea, this street fair thing – not saying I’m pro or con, but the whole thing does seem a bit ambitious, and I don’t see exactly how the small handful of businesses along the Pt. Loma corridor stand to benefit.


Al August 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm

If advertised well enough, the event should draw folks from across the county. Come for the food, music and inflatable jumpers, stay for the slog back down Sunset Cliffs to the 8 and out.


Debbie August 30, 2018 at 5:06 pm

My prediction…..visitors parking in neighborhoods won’t be appreciated….and who is cleaning up and when?

Are the vendors donating a portion of their proceeds to the “cliffs”?


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: