OB Town Council Hands Out Parade Awards and Introduces Board Candidates

by on January 25, 2019 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Members of OB Pandemonium float receive their award. All photos by Geoff Page.

By Geoff Page

Technology almost put the kibosh on the Ocean Beach Town Council’s monthly meeting Wednesday, January 23.  The OBTC meetings are held at the Masonic Temple on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. and everyone was there ready to go that night but never got inside. Seems whoever controls the building can unlock it remotely so they don’t have to be there to do it.  The chair sends a text or calls and the doors are then unlocked.  This time, no one responded.  And the chair does not have a key.

Somehow, very quickly, the OBTC got an invitation to use the Water’s Edge Faith Community church (formerly the United Methodist Church) on Saratoga and Sunset Cliffs and everyone moved over there.  Within about 20 minutes, everyone was ensconced in the church and ready to go.  There were very comfortable padded and covered chairs for the audience, a contrast to the folders at the Masonic Temple.  Tables were assembled at the front enough to easily seat the council members.  It was kind of amazing how fast everyone regrouped.  The council was duly very grateful to the church for its generous offer.

Candidate Melissa Semels

Once under way, it developed that there were two main items on the agenda.  The first was handing out awards for float winners from the Christmas Parade and the second was a candidate forum presenting people running for open town council seats.

The parade awards came first.

They were:

  1. Most unusual float – Mesa College
  2. Best use of lights – Disco Christmas
  3. Best OB spirit – A tie between Wonderland and Surflodge
  4. Best kids group – OB Elementary
  5. Best Performance – San Diego Gymnastics
  6. Best live music – Winston’s
  7. Best overall – OB Pandemonium

Candidate Corey Bruins

This was a good-natured presentation, lots of laughs, and the finale was OB Pandemonium.  A group of them wearing green electric lights around their heads and parrot beaks and a few other things came up to accept their award.  Their last comment was a very good, loud imitation of the parrots by one of the ladies in the group.  Only in OB.

Candidate Forum for Board of Directors

Candidate Jill Kent

The candidate forum was typical for these sorts of affairs.  Each person running for a seat came forward and offered information about themselves and explained why they wanted to be on the council. Frankly, it was humbling to listen to the litany of public service the candidates related that they had already engaged in, or were engaged in.

There are 11 candidates running for 8 open seats. Members serve for two-year terms and half of the group stands for election each year.   Out of the 11, ten were present, the eleventh was unable to attend but provided a statement that was read by the council member handling the elections. Who began by attempting to imitate the high voice of a woman at the behest of someone.

The 11 candidates are:

  • Melissa Semels
  • Corey Bruins – a current council member
  • Jill Kent – also a current council member and vice-president
  • Dan Grofer – a short term current council member filling out the term of one who resigned
  • Scott Grace
  • Trudy Levenson – a current and long-time council member
  • Stacie Woehrle – also filling out a term or a former member
  • Ann Zigler
  • Isaac Darby
  • Christopher Hart
  • Stephanie Kane (was not present)

Candidate Dan Grofer

Candidate Scott Grace

Information about the candidates will be on the OBTC webpage . All of the candidates sounded appealing for their commitment to public service and the skills they could bring to the council. In order to run for a seat, candidates have to submit a Letter of Intent.  Members are actually called Directors.

Eligible candidates for the OBTC Board of Directors must be over 18 years of age, already be a paid-in-full OBTC member, and either live, work, own property, or operate a business in Ocean Beach (92107).  Candidate statements needed to be sent in by Monday January 21.  Yearly membership dues are $20 and candidates and voters have to be members. The election will take place from Monday, January 28 to midnight February 8 and voting is done electronically.  Presumably, members will be sent the link for voting.

Two long-time council members Gio Ingolia and Andrew Waltz are leaving the council and received thanks and certificates of appreciation from Scott Peters and the mayor.

Long Branch Tree

Some good news from Anthony George, the mayor’s representative at these meetings, about the now-famous Long Branch Torrey pine.  The city had decided to keep the tree and was sending a crew out on Thursday morning, January 24, at 8:00 a.m. to trim it.  This was the first this reporter had heard of both the good news about saving the tree and the news about the next day’s work, causing this reporter to wonder how well they had gotten this word out.  It was easy to foresee a confrontation on Thursday morning if the city did not do a good job of informing the neighborhood or say, oh, the OB Planning Board.  As related here in the OB Rag Thursday, that was exactly what happened.

Candidate Trudy Levenson

But, it was heartening to hear the OBceans rallied immediately in defense of this beleaguered tree.  Editor dude was already texting at 8:12 a.m. and the crews were only supposed to show up at 8:00.  Twelve minutes, now that is an effective network.  The information quickly spread that they were only trimming and the tree would remain, calming everyone.  It is sad that such an outcome was not possible for the two majestic Torreys that were killed on Saratoga, but this one is a victory.

Government Reports

Anthony George said the mayor was meeting with the OB Library but also conceded that there are no funds set aside for the work and the expansion needed for the library.  It was not clear what the mayor hoped to accomplish.  George was asked about the long-awaited new lifeguard tower but had no update on that.

candidate Stacie Woehrle

He said the city engineers are assessing the pier damage.  When asked about the $3 million Conrad Wear had told the OB Planning Board was set aside for pier work, George did not appear to know anything about it but said he would check.  He was also asked about the beach stairs that need replacing and said we would check on that too.  Hopefully, George has a good memory because he didn’t write anything down.

Seamus Kennedy, the new District 2 representative for Jennifer Campbell, introduced himself.  He fielded questions about the Bermuda stairs and said he believed that repair would not happen until 2020 to groans from the audience.  He was asked about the four-way stop intersection that the OB Planning Board wanted at Saratoga and Ebers Sts.  And said that was a priority for Campbell and it would get done.

The SDPD attended and gave an update on recent crime in OB.  The two people who had stabbed someone in separate incidents in OB were in custody.  The sex crimes unit was working on the alleged sexual assault.  Walking teams are patrolling Newport in an added effort to get things under control.  They stressed that services are offered before any police action is taken if necessary.  Officer David Surwilo and his partner Ricardo Piñon explained that folks calling the regular police line can hit “star” to bypass the long introductory message and get to a live person sooner.

Candidate Ann Zigler

It was also explained that the homeless are not rousted between 10:00 at night and 5:00 a.m. in the morning if they are not causing a problem such as blocking a sidewalk or an entrance to an open business.  Apparently, the homeless know this and begin to pick up and move on at 5:00 a.m.

OB Elementary Principal Marco Drapeau receiving Parade award from Corey Bruins.

OB Elementary Principal Marco Drapeau gave a report:

  • The school will finally receive air conditioning beginning in February.
  • The school has removed bushes along the Santa Monica, sadly to deal with the homeless leaving trash there.  Some trees will be planted.
  • The school received a donation from the OB Women’s Club
  • The school may be in a major motion picture soon
  • Drapeau wants to tint the south-facing windows but does not have funds to do it and is looking for help from the community
  • The percentage of Title 1 students has dropped from 63% to 45%.  Title 1 is a program where the schools receive additional money for having a high percentage of low-income students, perhaps putting that money in jeopardy.  This reflects the changing demographics of OB.
  • The school budget will be released next week to much anticipation

Candidate Isaac Darby

Candidate Christopher Hart

Other Notes

There were a number of non-agenda public comments.  The first was from an organization called the Doors of Change that assists homeless kids with whatever they need. They are looking for help also.  See https://doorsofchange.org/ for more information.  This sounded like a very worthwhile effort.

There will be a beach clean up on Saturday, January 26 from 9:00 to 12:00.  People will meet at Pizza Port, 1956 Bacon Street.

On February 15, the OBTC in partnership with the OB Women’s Club will hold a meet and greet with Jen Campbell.  The meeting will be held from 7:00 to 8:00 at the Women’s Club, 2160 Bacon Street.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar kh January 27, 2019 at 2:41 pm

I tried to attend, got there 10 minutes late and the building was totally dark. I had no idea it was relocated. Disappointing.

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Avatar Geoff Page January 28, 2019 at 10:48 am

That is a shame, kh, I would have expected someone from the OBTC to have left a note on the Masonic Temple door. Guess that got lost in the confusion.

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