OB Town Council Gets Prepped on RoundUp

by on May 23, 2019 · 23 comments

in Ocean Beach

The main presentation at the Ocean Beach Town Council meeting Wednesday, May 22, was by a team from Non Toxic San Diego about the City’s use of herbicides and toxic chemicals in our parks and playgrounds – Roundup.

Anne Jackson Hefti started out by describing how she came about getting involved; she and a friend were walking their dogs at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park and came across a work crew spraying Roundup. The men had no masks or other protective gear and the women were allowed to walk through the sprayed area just minutes after their work. Later, Anne’s dog became sick – and she started researching Roundup and its component glyphosate.

She was so shocked by what she found that she helped to found the group Non Toxic San Diego. (Much of the material the group handed out was from www.beyondpesticides.org )

The city sprays all the local parks and playgrounds with Roundup, including – as Anne ticked off the list – Sunset Cliffs so-called “natural” Park, Robb Field, Dusty Rhodes Park, NTC Liberty Station parks, Shelter Island, Spanish Landing … The City also sprays a lest tern nesting area. Plus no signs are posted warning people about the spraying.

Anne did find an actual sign one day at Spanish Landing, but only one for that entire lengthy park. She also met a man who had come out to walk his dog supposedly on the day before a spraying. But after he got there, he found a worker spraying – the day before the spray dates posted on the sign.

Anne Jackson Hefti explains her encounter with spray crews at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

So the group is working the different community groups, trying to educate us all – but mainly pushing the City to quit using Roundup and other toxins and to post standardized warning signs. Up in Irvine, that city has a Non Toxic model organization and Anne and friends are trying to get our city to join their efforts.

Another member of the team, Tom Craig, explained how he got “caught” in Sunset Cliffs park as well after a spraying. He began coughing and developed a lung infection. He also did research, especially on glyphosate. Needless to say, he doesn’t go to “Un-natural Park” any more.

Teresa Craig is looking into how San Diego Unified School District is using glyphosate on their school ground and playgrounds and fields. There are alternatives, she said, and produced slides showing through the use of organic material to stamp down weeds a beautiful school field of grass in just 3 months.

Lastly, Gina Feletar the devastating effects pesticides are having on the Monarch butterfly community. The Western Monarch, she said, is now in a 99.4% decline. She urged people to plant milkweed plants, the only bush Monarchs lay eggs in.  (Jordan Beane of Jen Campbell’s office has info on a non-profit that sells native milkweed plants.)

One interesting fact: the County of San Diego has to approve all use of chemical sprays and other toxic pesticides used. (Go here for more info and their petition.)

Other announcements or reports

Laura Dennisen of Friends of the OB Library announced they’re having a Summertime Book/ DVD /CD sale on Saturday, June 8, from 9:30am to 1230.

This reporter announced the “Impeach at the Beach” event for Saturday, June 1 at Dog Beach at 11am.

Vice-chair of the OB Planning Board, Kevin Hastings, invited people to attend the next OBPB meeting, Wednesday, June 5th, where Capital Improvement Projects for OB will be discussed.

Susan Winkie with the OB Woman’s Club encouraged any woman to attend their monthly gathering on Tuesday June 11th; there’s a light meal provided at 5:30pm; china cups with succulents will be given out.

Political Reports

  • Mayor’s office  had no rep; Anthony George is reportedly leaving his post.
  • Assemblyman Todd Gloria’s office: Michaela Valk spoke of AB 1731 and how her boss wants feedback about the bill that would place some restrictions on short term vacation rentals in San Diego County. “All bills,” she said, “need to pass the Assembly floor by May 31,” and wasn’t certain where this bill would end up.
  • Senator Toni Atkins‘ office: Chevelle Tate also talked on how Sacramento is also in the midst of the budget cycle. She said their office has had “lots of calls” on SB 50, a somewhat controversial bill to supposedly kick affordable housing into reality.  She explained how it’s a 2-year bill and nothing will come of it this year. The bill does have some exemptions, she said, for “coastal zones” and “fire zones” and added most of the city is in one of those exempted zones.

Councilwoman Jen Campbell‘s office

Seamus Kennedy talked briefly how they’re in budget negotiations currently – and there has been some revisions to the mayor’s budget. About $60,000 will be going for the Ocean Beach Library plan, and the OB Lifeguard station will receive $50,000 for a continued study on a new facility (that has been promised to OB for many years).  There’s also $.5 million being approved hopefully for the Bermuda and Orchard street stairs. The last budget hearings are in June.

Kennedy also spoke of the return of the ban on vehicle habitation; a second reading is coming up – so obviously, the law is not in effect yet. He also told the audience the “Safe Parking Lot” at Qualcomm Stadium has not opened yet.

He also reminded the crowd the OB Pier has its official re-opening Friday morning at 8am.

Police Report

Community Relations Officer David Surwilo was at his charming best as he explained how the OB officers just had a shift change last weekend, how the same officers are still patrolling OB but they’re in new shifts. It’s also the start of the “Beach Team” he said, and introduced the police sergeant who is leading it. And about the vehicle habitation ordinance, we’re in the “educational phase” he said, as police get the public educated as to the new limits.

In response to a question, Surwilo declined to offer any statistics from last weekend’s focus on jaywalkers and wayward bike and scooter drivers. In stead, he reiterated that police did not give out any citations but just – again – educated the public about certain spots and locations that are dangerous, such as Rosecrans and Locust Street, he said.

Also, Surwilo had no update on a recent assault from a road rage incident in the Midway District, but a gentleman in the audience informed the meeting the suspect turned himself in.


Joe Gallo gave a report, telling everyone the ocean temperature has dropped – down to 60 degrees. More importantly, all the towers are now in place, and stated the 2 lifeguards at Santa Cruz cliffs will up and running on June 14. Lifeguards made 22 rescues in April, “the Cliffs have been quiet” he said. He invited everyone to attend the Open House at the new South Mission Lifeguard station that has just opened – on Friday. As an aside, Joe told the audience Of is the only place lifeguards want to transfer to.

Town Council Announcements

  • Treasurer Corey Bruins: the OBTC has $25,134 in the bank.
  • Community Grant Award applications are due June 1, said Stephanie Ritter.
  • The Street Fair and Chili Cook-Off is coming up on June 22, announced Grace Quigley, and the cook-off needs volunteers. Applications to take part are due June 7th.
  • June 8th is the First Responders Picnic; the public is welcome for $10 to sample all the wares donated by local businesses; from 1130am to 2:30pm at Veterans Plaza.
  • Cameron Reid announced the community clean-up sponsored by CSI-OB for Sat., June 1 at 8:30am.
  • Scooter Map -(see accompanying article, probably posted Friday, May 24.)

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

ZZ May 23, 2019 at 4:31 pm

You can buy milkweeds at Home Depot usually, and always at Armstrong on Morena/Knoxville and Walter Anderson on Pacific Highway/Sports Arena. Sometimes they are labeled “butterfly plants.”

The most common type to see in stores is called tropical milkweed. I have seen conflicting info on whether tropical milkweed is native to Southern California, however, it isn’t aggressive and Monarchs love it and once it is large enough it will be covered with their beautiful green black and yellow striped caterpillars. It does spread, but very slowly, and the seedlings are small and slow growing if one pops up where you don’t want it.

Don’t let the name “milkweed” deter you. They are actually pretty orange and yellow flowers that bloom all year, also are loved by hummingbirds, and are immune to most pests and plant diseases.

While they do grow pretty easily from seed, I suggest just getting a full grown plant for about $6-15 depending on size. It will soon produce seed pods with hundreds of seeds, and then you can practice growing from seed that way.


Vern May 24, 2019 at 6:27 am

additional info:

The Diet of the Adult Monarch Butterfly
The Monarch butterfly feeds on nectar form various flowers including milkweeds, Asclepias sp. like Asclepias speciosa. This is a large milkweed that does very good in gardens. It has large showy flowers and large leaves.

One of the true milkweeds that the Striated Queen Butterfly likes is Desert milkweed, Asclepias erosa. This is a tall slender milkweed with very odd leaves and white flowers. The leaves are alternate and they curve up around the edges, forming nearly two inch deep cups.

Also see:

Asclepias speciosa – California Showy Milkweed, Greek Milkweed and Common Milkweed.

Asclepias californica – California Milkweed.

Asclepias erosa – California Desert Milkweed.

Asclepias eriocarpa – California Monarch Milkweed and Indian Milkweed.


Eric May 24, 2019 at 9:52 am

We’ve had speciosa in our yards for quite a few years. We had our first monarch chrysalis last year, it was to say the least thrilling! It’s magical when we have a monarchs visit, sadly there are so few left. The plant self sows and we let it grow wherever it pops up. Super easy to grow from seed.


Vern May 24, 2019 at 10:36 am

Nice… Keep on growing!


ZZ May 28, 2019 at 1:51 pm

I see maybe 15 chrysalis per year and have about 5 big mature milkweeds and several smaller ones. The single favorite spot is hanging from the underside of wood lawn furniture. They are easy to miss there. I’ve never seen one hatch, but they’ll be full one day and popped open the next. I clear cobwebs from under my lawn furniture to encourage them.

They are diligent little guys, one crawled up the side of my house into my 2nd floor balcony. Seems incredible given how slow and small they are.

After years of doing tropical milkweed, I planted a couple other types this year.


dajohn May 24, 2019 at 5:43 am

Just an FYI, RE Todd Gloria’s office, he voted against the very bill he “wants feedback about ” literally the day after the town council meeting.


Typical political side of mouth talking from the Gloria staff, hopefully people remember this when this scam artist runs for mayor.


kh May 24, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Airbnb says this is an issue “that should be dealt with at the city level” and I agree. However when the city finally did deal with it, Airbnb funded a referendum to undo it.


Jon Carr May 24, 2019 at 8:12 am

Just as a point of clarification, Gloria’s rep was also at the April public council meeting soliciting feedback for the same bill.


dajohn May 24, 2019 at 8:33 am

So either they are soliciting feedback they don’t actually care about or the rep isn’t in the loop as to what Gloria is actually about to vote on. Either way, seems blatantly disrespectful of peoples time to ask for feedback on something that is already decided on at the head office


Frank Gormlie May 28, 2019 at 10:55 am

AB 1731 “Among San Diego County’s delegation of state legislators, Democrats Lorena Gonzalez and Shirley Weber supported the bill while Todd Gloria, also a Democrat, voted no, along with Republicans Marie Waldron and Randy Voepel. Democrat Brian Maienschein abstained.” SDU-T https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/tourism/story/2019-05-23/state-bill-clamping-down-on-airbnb-rentals-in-san-diego-clears-major-hurdle-in-state-assembly


Frank Gormlie May 28, 2019 at 11:39 am

“A spokesman for fellow Democrat and state Assemblyman Todd Gloria, who is running for mayor, said Thursday that Gloria voted against AB 1731 because he believes cities – not the state – should lead the way on regulations.

“(Gloria) has served on the City Council and he’s lived through all of these discussions related to short-term vacation rentals and what we realize is there’s really no replacement for local action on this issue,” spokesman Nick Serrano said.

Serrano said Gloria had urged Boerner Horvath to amend her bill to allow cities to choose to opt in or out of its regulations. He had also raised concerns about the lack of enforcement mechanisms for the proposed rules.” VOSD https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/government/san-diego-lawmakers-split-on-airbnb-bill-as-it-clears-assembly/


dajohn May 28, 2019 at 12:14 pm

Gloria is posturing to get the votes of every property owner who is pro AirBnB, since there will be no viable republican in the race this time, they need someone who will protect their investment property income and he know this is a good issue to get some secret republican support. Sneaky old Todd!

“Assemblyman Todd Gloria may have guaranteed that short-term vacation rentals play into the San Diego mayoral race, when he voted Thursday against a bill that would severely curtail such rentals in the county’s coastal communities. That draws a sharp contrast with his top rival, Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who championed a city policy that would have likewise severely limited the prevalence of short-term rentals in the city. Vacation rental companies were able to overturn the law after collecting signatures that would have triggered a referendum had the Council not withdrawn its new law.”

Political Link Round-up: https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/politics/politics-report-chula-vista-councilwoman-explains-a-firing/


ZZ May 28, 2019 at 1:43 pm

Oh yeah, it makes total sense for the state of California to be passing laws that specifically only apply to San Diego County.

Certainly all the members of the California legislature in the Bay Area know better than San Diego voters.


dajohn May 29, 2019 at 1:53 pm

They tried to write a local law and the Bay Area app company paid people to gain enough signatures to overturn it, so yeah, it actually does make total sense.


ZZ May 29, 2019 at 1:56 pm

They didn’t overturn it, they got enough LOCAL people to sign the petition to put it on the ballot for SAN DIEGO. That isn’t at all comparable to a statewide law applying only to one county.


dajohn May 29, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Local people didn’t pony up all the money to pay the people to gather the signatures, a big app company from the bay area did, stop kidding yourself


kh May 30, 2019 at 11:59 am

Also the referrendum was a total fraud. Signature gatherers telling people it was an affordable housing measure, or to “put it on the ballot” to restrict vacation rentals, also a lie because the restriction was already passed by city council and the sole purpose of this was to undo that action.

Based on the numerous reports, it’s clear that Airbnb groups orchestrated these lies but our weak city attorney didn’t want to take on that fight. Our referendum law is also weak and prone to this type of abuse. It wasn’t simply a matter of clueless petition gatherers, not that this would have excused it either.


ZZ May 30, 2019 at 1:35 pm

If they broke the law, by all means prosecute them. A few anecdotes by people who opposed them appears to be all the evidence however.

I would have signed it, but they appear to have got all the sigs they needed in a matter of a few days so I was never asked.

Ultimately it seems to be the NIMBYs who refuse to put the AirBNB question directly to the voters of the county.

I sympathize with people who have a bad apple STVR next door to them. However, there are several on my block, and I’ve never had the slightest issue with them. Not noise, not trash, not parties, not parking. If anything, they seem to mostly use Uber, or else rent one car for a whole family, so use LESS parking than a long term renter would. I’ve talked to few of them, many are from Germany, France, England or South Korea, and I am glad their impression of the USA is formed from time in OB.


dajohn May 31, 2019 at 7:41 am

Awesome to have your sympathy ZZ, I hope it helps our 6 year old stay asleep next time we have some loud inconsiderate people from Arizona screaming and blasting music right next door to us at their vacation rental. I’m really sick of telling people older than me that they need to act like adults and stop screaming at 1 AM, so send your positive vibes and German tourists over to our neighbors beach rental.

Also, It’s nice to know that isn’t the case in your own backyard tho, solid!


ZZ May 31, 2019 at 2:46 pm

The worst and loudest neighbors I’ve had were long term, not STVR. Anecdotes go every way.

The new state law could make your issue worse, not better. AirBNB has both host and guest ratings that allows some degree of screening of guests.

But the law would make hosts using AirBNB instead set up “dumb” webpages that lack this feedback on guests from prior hosts.

Your complaint is particular people are not following city noise rules and common courtesy. Trying to throw people out of work who are not causing you any trouble and do follow all the rules strikes me as an equally discourteous.

kh May 29, 2019 at 12:59 pm

Todd Gloria also voted against a proposal by Sherri Lightner to revise the existing code to clearly define these uses as visitor accommodations which would’ve prohibited them in most residential zones.


ZZ May 30, 2019 at 1:25 pm

This morning my garden had 8 monarch caterpillars chilling out below my biggest/oldest milkweed. I’ve never seen so many together in one spot. The milkweed leaves were running low, so I gave them a chard leaf. Hope they like it, certainly pest caterpillars do.


ZZ May 30, 2019 at 1:40 pm

On the topic of park lawns, can we get all the sprinklers turned back on this Summer? The drought seems to be well over, the big Carlsbad desal plant is running, let’s make our public spaces as beautiful as they were designed to be.


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