The Ocean Beach Town Council Is Where It’s At

by on September 26, 2019 · 4 comments

in Ocean Beach

The Town Council unveils its new logo for the 2019 Holiday Parade.

It’s at the monthly Ocean Beach Town Council meetings where one learns a lot of what’s going on in the community. From reports on the OB Library’s programs and updates on other community groups to announcements from political representatives of various office-holders, to shift changes with police and lifeguards, to what’s going on at OB’s Elementary School – these meetings are where’s it at.

And it’s during the public comment portion of the meeting where details of the many goings-on occur.

OB Library: October Programs and Sat. Book Sale

Matt Beatty – head librarian at the OB Library – announced the upcoming programs for October. (See flyer). It’s been under Beatty’s administration that the programs aspect of the library has blossomed. (Find out just who Matt is here. ) Plus, Matt has done other improvements, like adding the “OB Shelf” where books and novels of OB or by Obceans are kept.

Matt was followed – as he often is at these meetings – by Laura Dennison, a stalwart on the Friends of the OB Library. Laura had two things she was announcing; the book and CD sale on the lawn of the library on Saturday, Sept. 28, and that the committee needs more community feedback on the plans for the new library. She passed around a list that people could add to about what they wanted to see at the new facility. (If you want to add to the list, you’re be able to find Laura at the booksale, from 9:30 to 2pm.

OB Woman’s Club: Luau and Ping Pong

Susan Winkie rose from her seat to give the audience info on upcoming events at the OB Woman’s Club. First, there’s the monthly get-together on the 2nd Tuesday of every month and the next one is on October 8. There’s a light dinner served at 5:30 and then a presentation by a rep from Homestead, a group that works with pregnant young women.

Second is the Club’s largest annual fundraiser – the annual Luau coming up on November 2nd. For $35 guests receive great food and the best Mai Tai on the west coast. Money raised goes to the Club’s awarding assistance to local needy families; this year the Club has identified 19 recipients they will help.

And Susan announced the very first Annual OB Ping Pong Tournament coming up quickly this Friday, Sept. 27 (see this).

Politico Reps

Teddy Martinez from Jen Campbell’s District 2 office introduced himself again to the audience and Board; he’s been on the job for about a month. The City Council is returning from recess on Thursday of this week. His email is .

Calif Senate leader Toni Atkin also had a new rep: Miller (last name I didn’t catch). Miller – who now lives in OB – spoke of the state-wide rent limits signed into law; it will limit rent increases to 5% plus inflation – although it doesn’t apply to any buildings built within the last 15 years. He also brought up AB5 just signed which makes independent contractors employees.

Police Community Relations

The new Western Division lieutenant was present and he explained his responsibilities cover OB, Point Loma and the Midway District. He turned over other announcements to Officer David Surwilo, who in turn introduced his new partner Mike Hayes. Hayes spoke briefly, said he is a San Diego native, went to UCSD and is on the Swat team.

Surwilo also described the new shift change – no officers are leaving OB, just changing shifts, a rotation actually; this is a seasonal thing. Also David said there’s been some “creative staffing” where the Western Division will maintain its OB walking team of 2 officers, who begin at 6 am and patrol on foot until 4pm. “No one was taken out of patrol,” Surwilo assured the meeting.

“Why so early?” Sean, sitting behind me asked Surwilo. This way he responded, the walking patrol can “address issues” before businesses and the library and the schools open, mainly helping people from the doorways of the shops and centers. In the summer, he added, the patrol is walking from 2pm to midnight.

Lifeguards to Close Towers

Joe Gaydos, representing OB’s lifeguards, also spoke of changing staffing and the seasonal closing of the towers. In October, he said, only Tower 5 and the main tower will be open. After that, only the main tower. Their shift rotation is coming October 5 and the team is getting 3 new members for a total of five.

Update on OB Elementary – Threatened with Loss of Title 1 Funds due to declining enrollment from STVRs

The principal of OB Elementary, Marco Drapeau, gave his customary update on the school. “We’re in the fourth week of school,” he said, and they’re to have the AC up and running by mid-October – just in time for …. winter. The school is also getting a technology upgrade and will then have internet improvements and accessibility.

Marco gave us an update on numbers: the school has 420 students and 17 teachers. This is the second year, he said, that the projected staffing levels and student enrollment were accurate.

On the issue of student enrollment, Marco explained that OB Elementary is losing Title 1 funding as the number of kids who are eligible shrinks. At one time it was 63% – the percentage of students eligible for Title 1 funding. It dropped to 50%. And if it goes below 40%, Drapeau said, the school loses all Title 1 monies. They receive approximately $25,000 a year through the program to assist schools with disadvantaged kids. And he equated it to the rising costs of renting in Ocean Beach – due mainly to the impact from short-term vacation rentals. “We will really feel the loss of that money,” he said.

OB Pier Pancake Breakfast Broke Records

Cameron Reid, one of the co-chairs of the Board for the OB Pier Pancake Breakfast declared this was “the biggest” breakfast the OBTC has sponsored, with record-breaking numbers of guests – over 1,200 (last year they saw 900) – and with record-breaking table sponsors. They had 70 volunteers – including 30 from the Navy – and most of the 14 board members were working as well; and there were other ecological aspects: the use of tokens instead of paper tickets and the use of metal utensils.

Money in the Bank

Cory Bruins, treasurer, announced the organization has $21,000 plus in the bank; much of this will go towards the annual Food and Toy Drive, the yearly grants to community groups, and to the annual parade.

Upcoming Dates

The Town Council has announced the following dates for the upcoming Holiday Season:

  • OB Restaurant Walk – Nov. 12
  • the OB Christmas Tree arrives – Dec. 3
  • Annual auction – Dec. 5
  • Holiday Parade – Dec. 7 with the theme “Miracle on Newport”

Applications for floats are anticipated to go quickly; $50 for individuals, $100 for groups; deadline for applications is Nov. 15. The OBTC is looking for parade sponsors, business and groups can have banners with their brand. The goal, Cory explained, is to have the parade pay for itself; it usually costs about $30,000 to put on.

Groundswell – Surf, Therapy and Community

Natalie Small has establish a non-profit that helps traumatized women recover, and she does it with surfing, love for Mother Ocean and the community of “Surf Sisters” who share their trials and joys. Called Groundswell Community Project, the group helps women from human trafficking networks and others who have emotional injuries to heal from their experiences. She does it by helping women learn how to surf -literally. “This is not a surf lesson” Natalie said, “it’s not about standing up on a surfboard,” but using the learning experience to empower women who’ve lost self-esteem and are filled with self-doubt.

“This is the future of therapy,” Small declared. She’s lived in OB since 2003, received her undergrad degree from Point Loma Nazarene and went on to beome a licensed family therapist. She combines surfing – her passion – with art and therapy. The women have donated gear and boards, which Natalie uses to get them to overcome their fears and self-doubt. Once they learn to surf, the women can apply the lesson to other fears.

“Therapy can be fun,” she said, as she castigated the standard therapy session as sitting in a room talking about your problems for hours and then when it’s over, you’re still on your own. Whereas Natalie uses the community of healers, assistants, surf-sisters to maintain a group process where people can rely on the commonality of trauma and overcoming. She started with eight women – and now help 500 she said. She runs an 8-week program – and helps women “invite their bodies into the ocean”, into “Mother Ocean”. Once the women come to appreciate the healing effects of the ocean, they wante to protect and save it; so the group has a ‘no to plastics’ campaign the women work on.

Small tries to find the triggers that people have of their trauma, and work to have them overcome them. 90% of the women in her programs have “scholarships” – and the other 10% represent women who have some means to help. Groundswell also receives grants from the County of San Diego and several corporate sponsors, like Patagonia and SOMA. She also allows “work-trades” for women who can’t afford the program.

Natalie Small is on to something. She’s been giving programs to women in Peru, Cuba and Scotland and around this country as well. (People in Peru claim they invented surfing.) “I’m in the ocean 5 hours a day – what better job is there?”

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page September 27, 2019 at 10:35 am

Atkins rep is Miller Saltzman. He was the rep for Dr. Campbell’s office for a year and recently left to work for Atkins.


Jon Carr September 27, 2019 at 1:06 pm

Natalie’s presentation was inspiring. I hope more people check out what she is doing. The OB Town Council was proud to support Groundswell Community Project this year with the donation of a Surfboard and the full sponsorship of one of their Surf Sisters.


Frank Gormlie September 30, 2019 at 11:34 am

I’ve heard from a reliable source that the OB Woman’s Club Luau has been moved to next May and won’t be held this Nov.


OB Joe October 17, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Hey OB Town council – I bought one of your new shirts, neato. But 2 things to think about for next year’s t-shirts: 1) get all cotton; 2) have a design that is appropriate for all seasons. I know Santa is cute in all his various poses, but remember the Wonderland tshirt? Wear all year.


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