Peninsula Planning Board Campaigns Heating Up – Election Thursday, March 21

by on March 20, 2019 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach

Board Election : The Peninsula Community Planning Board election is Thursday, March 21, 2019 from 4 to 8pm and is held at the Point Loma Library.

The following post is by Geoff Page, who is a candidate for the Board

By Geoff Page

The Peninsula Community Planning Board election is heating up as expected and is getting nasty.  There is something of a Trumpian tone to the whole thing.  People are flouting the election rules as if rules don’t apply to them and are resorting to tearing down election posters and putting up others.  All this for a planning board election.

As related in last week’s Rag story about the PCPB Candidate Forum, there are a record number of candidates running for seven open seats and there is a concerted effort to take control of the PCPB.  That effort solidified in the past few days as a slate of candidates has appeared with list of seven candidates, three of whom have never attended an actual planning board meeting.

The current PCPB chair who is up for re-election, Robert Goldyn, related that he came home to his condo complex Wednesday, March 19, and found that the posters he had put up promoting him in the election were pulled down.  In their place was a collection of five election flyers promoting the seven candidates.  Two of the posters were full slates with the same seven candidates.  The other three were each individual posters for candidates running in the election.

One of the two slates listing seven candidates was created by sitting board member Don Sevrens.  It was almost the same as a slate he promoted in the 2018 elections, same picture and same layout. It is against PCPB by-laws for candidates or board members to promote a slate; Sevrens knows this.

In this slate, as in last year’s, Sevrens advocates for replacing all the incumbent board members running for another term and replacing them with some people who have never even been to a meeting.  The people he is promoting are all associated with the Save Famosa Canyon group, of which Sevrens is a member.

In my opinion, Sevrens has had a checkered presence on the Board. He has stirred up controversy involving volunteers to the panel, involving the city attorney and the planning department.

The second slate of Board candidates was distributed by a poster on Nextdoor. The same seven candidates. The posted strongly pushed the same seven candidates out of the 17 people running.

The Save Famosa Canyon group is a collection of one-issue people who are upset with the PCPB and want to take control of it.  It has a Trumpian feel as seen in this post on Nextdoor by candidate Margaret Virissimo:

“We need people whom do the work for the community not realtors, architects nor attorneys.

Sorry the current board destroyed our community in 2018 you dont need knowledge for that to see and be on this board we need power to send letters to the city and that is exactly what we plan on doing if elected!”

This one quote illustrates something eerily similar to Trump’s base, a clear dislike of professional, educated people.

Virissimo resigned from the PCPB in November 2018, as a result it appears of complaints filed against her by community members – including this writer. Part of the complaints accused Virissimo of misrepresenting her educational achievements and a charity listed on her PCPB application. There were also charges she had sent personal messages while on the Board to community members that were unbecoming of a Board member.

In my opinion, rather than face these complaints publicly, she resigned.  Of course, that is not her story now.  Here is another Nextdoor post from Virissimo.

“First and foremost I never lied, secondly you dont have to vote for me just vote. Lastly, I was never confronted by the board I chose to resign so that I can focus fighting for Famosa and figured out I was a solo voice with the current board. My ridiculous complaint that was sent to the current chair Robert Goldyn was never brought to the board for discussion due to my resignation so very interesting that you got leaked false information.”

Unfortunately, there is no rule preventing a board member who resigned in disgrace from running in the very next election three months later. Virissimo has positioned herself as the head of the Save Famosa Canyon group and has gained new support from well-meaning people.

Virissimo stirred up trouble in the past two Board elections because she promoted slates of candidates.  She first did this in 2017 when she ran as a candidate. She was told by the Board to remove her slate from social media. She did it again in 2018 only days after hearing from the PCPB election subcommittee chair that slates were not allowed.

In the past, she has misrepresented Board candidates’ positions – including mine – on the fiasco surrounding the Prince Recycling Center, which Virissimo takes credit for closing down.

In comments to a Peninsula Beacon story on Famosa Canyon, Virissimo became down right nasty and threatened this reporter. Here is a sampler from her comments:

“Geoff Page you are a hostile, angry man. I have officially reported you the SDPD police today and copied community members.”

When asked for proof of this report, none was forthcoming. Neither from her or the SDPD.  These comments were from January 30.  (There is more for anyone interested in reading the thread. )

The point of all this is that some of the group of people attempting this takeover are going to great and nasty lengths to attack decent, honest folks running for the PCPB.  It is both sad and angering to watch.  I would encourage people within the Peninsula Community Planning Board boundaries to come out and vote and consider what these people have done in an attempt to get elected. Then decide who to vote for. If they are successful, Trump will be smiling.



{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie March 20, 2019 at 1:05 pm

We encourage any responses in the comments as long as they abide by our basic rules of decency and common sense.


Greg March 20, 2019 at 2:19 pm

The current board has done an excellent job so far. I walk my dog and ride my bike with my son down Wabaska Street every weekend now and visit Voltaire local businesses on the now cleaned up sidewalks and accessible bike paths. This type of project doesn’t get arranged by the city and PCPB was instrumental in achieving this.

I am pretty sure most people (including myself) would desire people with professional experience in these matters making decisions on the board. Will definitely be voting tomorrow and looking at the “actual” planning experience and/or previous PCPB involvment of all candidates.


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