The Widder Curry’s Open Letter to the Mayor and Councilmember: ‘Do Something About Sunset Cliffs! Now!’

by on May 20, 2020 · 16 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Judi Curry

Dear Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilmember Jen Campbell:

I have been a resident of the Sunset Cliffs area since 1966. I have never felt as concerned about living in this area as I do now.  I feel that my safety is in jeopardy, along with all of my neighbors living south of Pt. Loma Avenue.  Let me tell you why.

Since the pandemic the parking lots along the Cliffs are blocked off. At each lot there are many police officers and cadets asking people to “move on”.

“Move on” is not enough.  There are hordes of people that are flagrantly disobeying the officers; there are hordes of people that wait until the police presence is over and they cut the yellow tape and park in the lots.  There are hordes of people that are drinking, smoking weed, playing loud music and dancing when they are told not to.

Twice in the past 7 days there have been “drag races”, starting about 10:30pm, and lasting until well after midnight. People are urinating and defecating on the streets and in the yards of people living in the Sunset Cliffs area.  The trash is building up everywhere.  The traffic on Sunset Cliffs, going both south and north is horrendous.  Just recently a police car went screaming down Devonshire, sirens blasting, at a very unsafe speed, because he could not get down Sunset Cliffs.  My daughter and dog were crossing the street and just barely got out of the way of the police car.

When I inquired as to how many tickets had been given out during this time I was horrified to find out that only two had been given and, from what I can tell, it’s possible no one has even received a written warning.  I find this unfathomable.  These are direct violations of the rules and laws in effect today and no one is even getting their hands slapped?  Why not?   And why the police presence if they are not doing anything?

People are not dumb – well, those people going without their masks and refusing to stay 6 feet away from others are dumber than most, but they know that they can get away with violating the laws. There has not been an example shown to them, and I fear that there will not be one anytime soon.

This is not a one time occurrence.  This is every night.  We have a three day weekend coming up – Memorial Day.  It doesn’t matter that there are restrictions imposed upon us this year.  Many people are not following those restrictions.  Nightly.  Daily.  Hourly.

I suggest that both of you take a little trip to Sunset Cliffs anytime from sunset on.  Stay awhile.  See what is really happening.  Don’t leave until after 11:00pm.  Stay in your car parked along Sunset Cliffs.  (Oh right! We are not supposed to do that.)  Bring along a snack in case you get hungry while watching the “happenings.”  (Oh yeah. Not supposed to do that either.)

And if you are really bored, play some loud music to keep you awake and entertained. (Oh yeah. Also not permitted.)  Watch the people jump, or fall, off the Cliffs, and while watching the Life Guards perform miraculous rescues, have a beer, or a glass of wine, or something stronger.  It’s amazing to see the rescue from the sea and air. (What’s that? You are not supposed to drink in public? Who says?)  Watch the police try to maneuver around the dozens of cars traveling down Sunset Cliffs.  Count the number of Life Guard trucks that are struggling to get to the victim.

And while we are at it – remember those of us that live in this area.

What about  the house that had a kitchen fire and the fire department couldn’t get through before a lot of damage was done to the house. Or the man that had a heart attack and the ambulance that couldn’t get to him before he passed on.  Why aren’t the police doing something to clear the streets.

NO. NOT THE POLICE.  Why aren’t the two of you doing something to protect the residents?  Why aren’t you angry that laws are being broken and our police – and cadets – are developing wonderful tans that their dermatologists will state in later years was caused by sitting in their cars – or in chairs – in the Sunset Cliffs Parking lots watching the cars go by and trying to get into the closed parking lots.

I have talked to two police officers that were riding bikes in the area. I thanked them for the work they are trying to do.  We agreed that they are not doing enough.  A special “shout-out” to the officers that are here everyday. Wish they could do what they are hired to do.

Damn it! Do something.  Do it fast.  There are potential lives at stake. Don’t wait for the fatal statistics to come out.  Tackle it now while you can.  It is getting to the point when it is “too little, too late.”

Be safe. (In order to be safe you may not want to visit Sunset Cliffs.)

Judi Curry

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry Judi Curry May 20, 2020 at 12:06 pm

Here is the answer I received today from Campbell’s office. What do you think?
“Dear Judi,

Thank you for your e-mail. My name is Josh Coyne and I serve as the Director of Community Engagement for the Councilmember. I also serve as the community representative for the Point Loma and Midway communities.

Sunset Cliffs has been a topic of conversation in our office since we took office, but more so recently when the Mayor and staff opened Sunset Cliffs for passive use during COVID19. We understand the concerns of the neighbors as well as the guests of the park who have relayed health and safety concerns. A few weeks ago, our office did ask for the park to be temporarily closed so that a regional parks opening strategy could be assessed. Our ask for it to be closed was an effort to ask the Mayor to recognize that similar to Balboa Park and Fiesta Island (that are still not open) SCNP is a destination. Clearly one that needed a more thought out parking strategy, a social distancing strategy, and an enforcement strategy.

I live in Point Loma and have been to SCNP several times for the past few weeks to observe what you have stated. We have relayed the concerns to the Mayor and at this point there will be no changes. You mentioned in your letter that you wish PD, Lifeguards, and Parks and Rec Rangers could do what they are hired to do. We agree which is why we have asked them to increase enforcement.

As you know, these issues are not new. Our office is working on long term ideas (timed parking, curfew, etc.) and solutions that align with the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Master Plan and ones that would be approved by the Parks and Rec Board, the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Advisor Committee or the Coastal Commission.

Our goal is to ensure that guests enjoy the beauty of the park but remain healthy and safe while doing so.

Thanks again for your e-mail and outreach. If you have any more ideas on what we can do, please let me know.

Best,

Josh”

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OB Joe OB Joe May 20, 2020 at 1:07 pm

So, sounds like Jen’s office punted it over to the Mayor as if the councilperson has no power whatsoever. Is that true? Nothing can be done by the councilperson whose district has the park? Amazing.

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Judi Curry Judi Curry May 20, 2020 at 1:16 pm

My answer to Mr. Coyne: “Thank you for your response. I must tell you that I am not happy with it. A lot of words with no meaning. I am not talking about the Sunset Cliffs park. I am talking about ALL of Sunset Cliffs, from Pt. Loma Ave to Ladera. On Saturday a woman tried to use the porta potty on my friends property and found it locked. She then squatted and defecated in my friends front yard. I am talking about the two drag races of motorcycles that were held in the past week. I am talking about the trash being left. I am talking about the loud music. I am talking about the moving the barriers, and cutting the yellow tape and parking in the “no parking” lots. The police department is not doing their job. They are being too nice. They should be issuing tickets. They are not. They should be giving warnings. They are not. The helicopters are flying over with messages that no one can understand. And since they are 500 feet above the violaters, they, too, are doing nothing. What is your definition of “enforcement?” Doing more of nothing? Forget the talking about the problem. Do something about it. Right now it is all garbage – literally and figuratively”

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Avatar Toby May 20, 2020 at 5:19 pm

Judy,
Thanks for contcting Jen Campbell’s office regarding this mess.
My spouse and I did the same and received a similar dismissive response fom Mr. Coyne.
We also suggested issuing & enforcing a curfew at Sunset Cliffs as well as issuing resident parking permits. Council members & the Mayor’s office do little to nothing for neighborhoods, instead they pass the buck to each other or pass rules & regulations that they fail to enforce. Maybe it’s time to remind thses politicians they work for us and recall them to make them accountable. Enough is enough.

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Avatar Teresa Frey May 20, 2020 at 5:55 pm

Thank you both for sending letters. I’m assuming they were emails, easily passed off to someone else. I suggest printing those letters and sending them USPS Certified Mail with Restricted Delivery so that only Mayor Faulkner and only Ms. Campbell can receive them, personally, not their lackeys who are just there to be a buffer for these politicians who are doing nothing to help the citizens they were elected to represent.

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Avatar Peter from South O May 20, 2020 at 6:15 pm

Time to write to the Mayor, eh?

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Avatar FJL May 20, 2020 at 6:27 pm

I see this daily (on a much smaller scale) at the foot of Law St. Some of the reasons include unemployed, no schools in session, and I believe the most important, closed parking lots. Off limit Mission Bay/Beach lots are forcing people to find other outlets. People are coming from all over. Take a look at license plate frames and car stickers. And, sadly, 80-90% don’t even have a mask around their neck to pull up as needed. A gridlocked street and 3′ wide sidewalk does not promote social distancing.

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Avatar nostalgic May 21, 2020 at 5:56 am

Sunset Cliffs is one gigantic public bathroom for people and dogs. If you are thinking of getting a dog, the shelters are cleaned out of dogs to adopt. People are adaptable – if the parking lots are closed, they park on the residential streets. The new dogs are more cautious than the people when it comes to hanging parts of their bodies over the edge. People seem to think that being outdoors is a safeguard against COVID-19. I am not sure if this is true or not.

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Avatar Susan Flieder May 21, 2020 at 6:36 am

We got the same exact e-mail from Josh in response to our complaints! We talked with him by phone yesterday and not sure much will come of it.

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Avatar Richard May 21, 2020 at 8:25 am

Thanks for your effort Judi. It seems to me that the letter from Jen Campbell’s office was a nice blow off.

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Avatar Tyler May 21, 2020 at 9:39 am

Campbell’s office put out a memo saying they wrote the Mayor asking them to close ALL of sunset cliffs entirely for now, and not just at night. She was very rightly lambasted for doing so. Why should those of us who use it responsibly and surf be not allowed to come because of the idiots? I agree stronger enforcement at night is needed, but clearly Campbell and her staff are really bad at common sense solutions and taking action.

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Avatar CFan May 21, 2020 at 10:31 am

Thank you for trying Judy, I received almost the exact same response from”Josh”. It’s clear they don’t read the emails. He and Campbell are not addressing the issues at hand at all. Campbell continually puts short term “band-aids” on situations (whatever they may be) without thinking how those short term “fixes’ actually negatively impact the situation even more. It’s as if that office is incapable of thinking of long term solutions. It’s their MO. The absolute stubbornness of that office to be shortsighted to focus only on the actual Cliffs is insulting. If Josh truly lives in Point Loma it should be very easy for him to come sit and observe first hand the nightly happenings or better yet come and help clean up every morning!
It’s frustrating that the police can’t seem to patrol deeper into the neighborhoods – even just a few blocks and later into the the night.
I encourage you to screen shot or copy all of these responses and re-send them all to their office again until you get an appropriate response.
Thanks again Judy.

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Judi Curry Judi Curry May 21, 2020 at 11:52 am

I have copied my letters and sent them to the entire City Council again, as well as the Mayor. Some of you make be receiving letter from Glen Volk and his concerns re: the Sunset Cliffs area. I took his mailing list and sent the letters to everyone on his list. I sent a partial letter to the Union/Tribune asking them if they would post the entire sequence, but only did that this morning and have not heard back from them. With the Memorial Day Holiday coming up, and someone already shooting off firecrackers I think this weekend is going to be a zoo – and a dangerous one.

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Avatar Tyler May 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Thinking about this a bit more… I really do worry that if you all push for strict regulations, they will never disappear after the Pandemic dies down (whenever that is). Would be a shame to not be able to enjoy the cliffs after dark in perpetuity. Cause we all know it’s a heck of a lot harder to get rid of a regulation once in place. The simple answer is just enforcing the existing laws.

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Avatar Dr. Jack Hammer May 21, 2020 at 4:05 pm

The OB ghetto has also been slammed with people, primarily for Dog Beach. I get it, there are only a few parks open in the county (and even fewer dog parks). But it’s been pretty much 4th of July every day for sure and even more so at the outset of reopening the beaches.

I’ve witnessed people urinating on the street by their cars, leaving trash and driving right over it, a killed dog in a hit and run, etc… These people are like animals. Fights. Motorcycles and cars with loud exhausts setting off car alarms (which really is nothing new…)

It’s also both amusing and extremely frustrating to watch the SDPD do nothing, except spend time looking at their phones. I think their efforts early on were admirable, but that is no longer the case. We should seek an ouster of public officials.

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Avatar nostalgic May 21, 2020 at 4:07 pm

And then there’s the tuba player. He parks in the middle of the dead-end street every day here in Sunset Cliffs, sets up his music stand, and plays the tuba. I have never seen this before. Is there a special law for tuba players? How could anyone object? It is kind of charming. Are there some people who don’t care for tuba music every day? It’s a complicated world.

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