Changing of the Guard in Ocean Beach

by on December 12, 2018 · 0 comments

in Ocean Beach

Meet the Leaders of the OB Town Council and the OB Planning Board

There’s been a changing of the guard in Ocean Beach. The top leadership of the two main community organizations – the OB Town Council and the OB Planning Board – have just recently changed.

The OB Town Council has a new president – Mark Winkie, and a new vice-president, Jill Kent.

Over at the OB Planning Board, the new interim chair Andrea Schlageter was made permanent chair, and Kevin Hastings was selected as the new vice-chair.

Of course there’s other groups in OB but these two represent the grassroots of Ocean Beach, the residents and small business owners from the entire area.

The Town Council – now celebrating its 50th year – is a private organization but functions as a type of village council where local issues are aired and local politicians and public servants make appearances and give reports. It’s generally recognized as the voice for 92107.

Although the OBTC is seen as a representative body for the community, and it is responsible for many of the major annual social and fund-raising events of Ocean Beach, its board of directors are elected only by its paid membership – numbering in the hundreds. And the president and vice-president are elected by the board.

The Planning Board – established in 1976 as the first of its kind in San Diego – is formally recognized by the City of San Diego as an advisory body for land-use decisions on development projects and local infrastructure. Even though the board can only make recommendations to the Development Services Department and ultimately the City Council, its voice carries a lot of weight.

The board holds annual elections for board members every March and any resident, businessowner or property owner within the OB Planning Area can participate in the voting. The Planning Area is a smaller area than the entire 92107 zone.

The board members vote for the leadership positions, and members of the executive committee have one-year terms. Also the bylaws mandate the vice-chair run the Project Review Committee which has first crack of any project up for review and can often set the tone for the entire board.

Changes in leadership at the top of local groups is not uncommon, naturally. There’s usually an organic turnover of people providing leadership in the different groups and there’s a smooth and expected transition.

But now in OB we have a different situation. The leadership has changed in these two major organizations practically over-night without lengthy periods of time where individuals in subordinate roles can gain the needed experience in order to move up.

At the Planning Board, Blake Herrschaft – the former chair – had only been in that position for a few months when he announced he was leaving due his spouse obtaining employment in northern California. Blake, however, had been vice-chair for several years while John Ambert was chair.

In March of this year when Blake moved over to the chair’s seat, Andrea Schalgeter was chosen as the new vice-chair. And when Blake announced his departure in late summer, Andrea took over as interim chair. At the most recent board meeting, she was elected chair and Kevin Hastings took over the vice-chair.

A similar thing happened at the Town Council. Marcus Turner had been elected by the Town Council board of directors as the new president in February, and Mark Winkie elected vice-president. But in November, Marcus announced he had accepted a job position up in Long Beach and was departing San Diego. Marcus is from Long Beach and has many of his family members living there.

So, when he gave his resignation to the board, Marcus turned over the gavel to Mark. Priscilla, Marcus’ spouse, also a board member, resigned as well. Jill Kent was selected by the board to be vice-president.

With all these abrupt and unexpected turnovers, where suddenly vice-presidents and vice-chairs are thrust into roles they may or may not have been prepared for, there might be a cause for concern. After all, OB is a thriving community with lots going on and a high-level of resident participation in local civic affairs. Being on the coast, the village is a target of strong economic forces and a victim of strong city bureaucracies.

Mark Winkie

Which means there are lots of issues at stake and challenges to deal with at any one moment. And the leaders of these two main groups are often thrown into the public spotlight, where actions and words have widespread consequences.

Yet, upon a review of the individuals who have been charged with these new responsibilities, we can breath a sigh of relief, for they all are very capable people – and in bringing their own style to their new roles – have come prepared.

Here, then are some brief bios of the top two people in leadership roles at the OB Town Council and the OB Planning Board. First, the Town Council

Mark Winkie – New President of the OB Town Council

Mark has been on the OBTC Board for over four years, and most recently served as vice president. And be assured, the role of the Town Council vice-president is not a kick-back one. They’re often charged with taking on major events, like the annual Street Fair or the Holiday Parade. And just to be accepted by the rest of the board, the vice-president must carry his or her own weight and then some.

Mark grew up in and around London, across the Atlantic. He came to the US and went to University of Minnesota studying Communications. Passing through San Diego on his and his wife Susan’s way down to Cabo in 1983, they fell in Love with the city and OB.

Mark and Susan landed back here in OB in 1985 and since ’91 they have owned an e-learning development company here. He says, having seen the town grow and change over the years, he has a passion to maintain the OB vibe while finding ways to improve the community for everyone.

Jill Kent

Jill Kent – New Vice-President of the OB Town Council

Jill Kent – a northern California transplant – is now in her 10th year as an OBcean. She joined the OBTC Board of Directors in 2017 after volunteering at town council events for several years. She co-chaired the 2017 OB Holiday Parade and the 2018 Holiday Auction. Neither one of those are light-weight events. And she proved perfectly capable in both responsibilities.

For her day job Jill is an attorney representing indigent criminal appellants around California. She also spent over 10 years at the Northern California and California Innocence Projects. Before finding a home in criminal law, Jill worked in the graphic design, space exploration, night club, and video game industries.

Andrea Schlageter

Andrea Schlageter – Chair of the OB Planning Board

Andrea Schlageter was born and raised in the Ocean Beach and Point Loma area. A graduate of Point Loma High School Class of 2009, she went on to study Political Science and International Relations at Boston University (’13).

She began to attend Planning Board meetings, and soon found herself on the board. Her ability to work with everyone landed her in the vice-chair position when Blake took over as chair. As mentioned, the vice-chair runs the all-important and key Project Review Committee, and Andrea held plenty of meetings leading the sub-committee’s review of projects. As a local who grew up in the area, she brings a special passion for the community and she is straight forward about wanting to help ensure that Ocean Beach maintains it’s unique neighborhood. She also sees herself as able to represent the needs of the younger and up and coming generations. Not only is she chair but she also represents District 7 of OB.

Kevin Hastings

Kevin Hastings – New Vice-Chair of the OB Planning Board

Kevin Hastings – a new father with a new baby boy – was born and raised in California, from the beach to inland Los Angeles, and in the small mountain town of Tehachapi. He graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a mechanical engineering degree and has worked in the profession for 15 years. Over that time he has gained experience with design and construction of high-rises, single family homes, and commercial projects.

He has lived in San Diego since 2004 and in Ocean Beach with his wife Micki since 2014. Very active in the community cleaning trash and graffiti from our beaches, volunteering at OB events, and fighting for OB’s interests at city hall, Kevin has become the local expert on the consequences of short-term vacation rentals on local housing stock and community.

He is also holds a brand new seat at the Planning Board; an “At Large” seat.


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