‘Choosing Between Bry and Gloria Is Like Buying a Used Car’ – Report of Mayoral ‘Debate’ at Ocean Beach Town Council

by on September 25, 2020 · 17 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

The highlight of Ocean Beach Town Council meeting Wednesday evening, September 23, was the appearance of the two mayoral candidates, Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria.  How to describe the difference between the two?  Kind of like buying a used car.

Gloria would be the used car salesman all smiles and glad handing, diverting questions about how well the car runs to all the cool cup holders inside the car.  Bry would be the private owner selling her car and telling you about every nick and wart because she feels that is the right thing to do.  Folks should consider buying Bry’s car.

This was not a debate, as Mark Winkie, the council president explained at the start – it was more of a town hall type of appearance. Each candidate appeared by themselves, gave a short introduction, and then answered questions prepared by the OBTC and a few additional questions as well.  The whole meeting can be viewed on the OBTC Facebook page.

Todd Gloria

Gloria was first and he brought his polished game and equally polished smile. He explained all his accomplishments as a past council member and a state assembly member and mentioned a couple of times that he was the temporary mayor for a period of time when Bob Filner resigned.

Gloria’s part in that sorry episode should be remembered, as he was part of the cabal that wanted Filner gone and he benefited the most by stepping into the mayor’s office, which he now uses as a credential.  He was only elevated to the position because he was the city council president at the right time and the city charter called for the city council president to step in if the mayor left office as Filner did.

Gloria then “answered” the four scripted questions posed by different council members.  The first question was about short term vacation rentals and enforcement of the law.  His answer was non-committal but he did use one odd example to show he could be tough. Gloria reversed Filner’s hold on police enforcement of illegal pot dispensaries almost the day he stepped into the mayor’s office. This seemed an odd thing to tout as a credential in front of an OB audience.

The comment about the pot dispensaries was a bit of misdirection.  The marijuana dispensaries were not a coherent powerful group and were easy targets.  Instead of letting them operate until an ordinance was crafted and approved by city council, they were shut down mercilessly. He did not, however, say he would take similar action with the STVRs.

It was easy to see why Gloria did not provide much of an answer other than to say he was great at bringing diverse groups together and creating a consensus.  That very statement, however, implied that Gloria sees STVRs as a legitimate group the city needs to bargain with.  It does not appear that Gloria sees STVRs as illegal operations that just require law enforcement the same way the law was enforced on the pot dispensaries.  OB folks liked Bry’s response better.

The second question was about sidewalk vendors in OB.  The merchant’s association, in particular, has been complaining loudly and for months about the vendors at the beach. The most obvious offenders are in the grassy area between Newport and Santa Monica. The subject of Senate Bill 946 came up.

Simply put, SB 946 prohibits local governments from regulating sidewalk vendors.  It is as simply stated in the bill as follows:

“This bill would prohibit a local authority, as defined, from regulating sidewalk vendors, except in accordance with the provisions of the bill. The bill would provide that a local authority is not required to adopt a new program to regulate sidewalk vendors if the local authority has established an existing program that substantially complies with the provisions of the bill. The bill would apply these provisions to a chartered or general law city, county, or city and county.”

Both San Diego’s own, State Senator Toni Atkins, and our representative, Todd Gloria, voted in favor of this bill.  The bill essentially says only the state can regulate what happens on our sidewalks because, of course, Sacramento knows far better how to handle sidewalk vendors on the streets of San Diego than San Diegans do.  A bit of an insult to all California cities.

In San Diego’s case, maybe they were right.  This bill became law almost exactly two years ago on Sept. 17, 2018 and the city has yet to pass its own ordinance. But even so, where is the enforcement of the state law as it stands?  Gloria said he will fix this problem.

The third question was about crime and drugs. The questioner related that the city has told people to use the Get It Done app to report crimes and wanted to know what Gloria thought about that. This was a bit of a softball question.  Get It Done was not created for this purpose and if anyone at the city is telling people to use it this way, they should be re-educated.  Gloria said as much but, this was really the only possible answer.

The fourth questioner asked Gloria what he thinks the importance is of local groups like the town council and the planning board.  It was related that the mayor’s office has not sent a representative to the town council for over a year and this is also true of local planning groups. The questioner wanted to know if Gloria would ensure the mayor’s office stayed involved with these groups.

This was also a bit of a softball. How else is a person going to answer a question like that coming from a local town council and its audience?  Gloria, of course, said he valued these groups and would ensure his office stayed involved.  My guess is a similar promise could be found back when the lame-duck mayor was running for office.

A question from a Facebook viewer asked what he would do about the budget shortfall that the pandemic will cause. First, Gloria recounted all the budget work he had done in the past and how successful he had been. Then, he shifted to criticism of the current administration. He finished with “I did it before, I can do it again.”  No specificity or ideas even.

Barbara Bry

After Gloria’s closing statement, Bry appeared, provided a brief introduction, and answered the same questions and a few more.

During her introduction, Bry actually answered the STVR question prematurely by stating “I will enforce the law.” She has been consistent in this position and faults the current administration for failing to do that.

When District 2 councilmember Campbell appeared before the OBTC some time ago, she told the community that enforcement was not possible – buying the current administration’s line. She encountered a buzzsaw. Bry’s response was what reasonable people want to see done; enforce the law first, then discuss a possible ordinance.

So, instead of the first question put to Gloria about the STVRs, Bry was asked what she thought about Proposition E [which curtails the 30 foot height limit in Midway District].  Unfortunately, Gloria was not asked this same question and was probably very grateful for that.

Prop E was put on the ballot by city council action, not by the same citizen initiative process that put Prop D, the 30-foot height limit, on the ballot almost 50 years ago.

The difference in the effort made to get Prop D on the ballot and getting Prop E on the ballot would be akin to skiers painstakingly climbing a tall mountain to ski down it and other skiers just jumping from helicopters at the top. This was a bald-faced political move on the part of the city government to please developers, forgetting that the city is supposed to be working for the community.

Bry’s answer was succinct.  She said she voted against putting Prop E on the ballot and she will vote against it.  Period.

The second question about sidewalk vendors was next.  Bry said that there was a draft ordinance but the mayor has refused to docket the item for city council.  She said she would move to have it docketed and heard right away if elected mayor.  She did not have a clear understanding she said about why it has not been docketed yet. “It’s normal not to get a straight answer at city hall.,” she said.

Question three, already described as a softball, was the one about planning boards and town councils.  Bry had nice things to say about them, as did Gloria.  Bry did have one suggestion that was well received.  She encouraged groups to continue the on-line meetings, even if things return to when groups can meet in person again.  She said it allows more people to attend and she said it would give her more opportunities to drop in easily and visit during meetings.

Bry responded as Gloria had to the question about using the Get It Done app to report crimes as some citizens have been told to do.  Bry said that was not the purpose of that application and would not be proper for reporting crime.

In her closing comments Bry said a few notable things.  She said the city government is bloated with middle management, that we have all kinds of building leases we don’t need, and we should turn unused office space into housing, and other observations.

Bry also mentioned that Gloria voted for a state bill that would allow a developer to buy a single- family zoned lot, split the lot, and build four homes with no parking. She said this will not guarantee affordable housing, which is the real housing crisis.

The OB Rag would encourage readers to watch the appearance on the OBTC’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/obtowncouncil/videos/2726262227617342.  Seeing each candidate up close, an unexpected advantage of these on-line meeting platforms, has a real effect.

The viewer can read the faces as the candidates speak.

This has to be a nightmare for candidates who depend on smoke and mirrors from behind a curtain to win.  Conversely, it has to be a boon to straight-talking candidates who are being honest and sincere and are not putting on a show.  Who they really are can be seen in their faces, keeping up a charade takes an effort that is very hard to sustain over time. Just being natural requires no effort. Watch the video, it is interesting, well, mostly.

Coastal Clean Up Day

This Saturday, September 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. is the 36th Annual Coastal Clean Up Day by I Love a Clean San Diego.  Register at CleanupDay.org. This effort collects data on what is picked up that day.  The group is not organizing at specific sites because of the pandemic. They are encouraging residents to help clean up their communities close to home safely with family and friends and to use social media to show the impact of their efforts.

Health Care Fair

On October 3, there will be a Health Care Fair at the corner of Sunset Cliffs and Niagara Ave., by the Point Loma Rotary Club and Retirement Time Advisors and sponsored by the OB Mainstreet Association.  It will feature free COVID testing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., blood donations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and flu and shingles shots from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

OB Library ballot drop-off

Starting October 6, people can drop off mail in ballots at the library.

OB Clean and Safe Program

The OB Mainstreet Association has a website called FriendsofOB.org set up to solicit donations for things the association has been doing for years that were funded by OB’s merchants and special events like the Street Fair and Octoberfest.  Because of the pandemic, all of these fund-raising tools are not available and money is needed.

The cash is used to powerwash sidewalks, maintain trash receptacles, clean up graffiti, buy and stock dog poop bags, and other beautification efforts most folks take for granted.  The money is also needed to bring back the private security team on a daily basis.

Pier Pancake Breakfast at home

On October 17 at 9:00, the town council will make kits available for sale so people can make their own pancakes at home and have the annual Pancake Breakfast pandemic-style at home.  Proceeds from the sales go to the town council’s Holiday Food and Toy Drive.

Restaurant Walk

Another innovation to accommodate the pandemic will allow the annual Restaurant Walk to be held.  It’s being called the “takeout edition.” There can be 200 attendees each of four nights November 8 to November 12.  People will be able to sample the food as usual with the twist being the food samples will be packaged up to take home and eat later or out at a park. Care will be taken regarding masks and safe distance procedures.




{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie September 25, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Mark Winkie has grown his beard!


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 25, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Thanks for an excellent summary of the OB Town Hall with mayoral frontrunner Barbara Bry and slickster Todd Gloria. I am incredulous that Gloria was not asked about Prop E. That measure on the November ballot is right up Gloria’s alley: a political gift to developers that begins unraveling a remarakble 1972 citizens’ initiative for a 30-foot coastal height limit that prevents Honolulu/Miami/Santa Monica-style walling off of San Diego beaches — oh, and also allows dense construction of many expensive tall towers in the Midway/Sports Arena.
Vote No on Prop E and in favor of Barbara Bry.


Geoff Page September 26, 2020 at 1:13 pm

I wish they had asked Gloria too but this was not one of the scripted questions. Bry was asked because she had already answered their first question in her introduction. But, there are going to be other appearances so this question can still be put to Gloria, hopefully.


Cheryl Davis September 29, 2020 at 9:07 am

Todd has already said publicly that he supports Measure E.


Sam September 25, 2020 at 8:12 pm

This race seems like a no brainer. Go Barbara Bry!


Paul Webb September 26, 2020 at 3:39 pm

Yeah, but that only is the case if you have a brain. I’m afraid that there are those of the progressive faction of the Dems that follow Todd mindlessly. Yes, he checks all the boxes of the progressive wing but he has not been a good steward of our city’s budget (101 Ash St.), has not committed to regulating STVRs and has introduced legislation in Sacramento that is contrary to the public good (e.g., eliminating a requirement that scooter riders wear helmets).


Tyler September 27, 2020 at 8:18 pm

has introduced legislation in Sacramento that is contrary to the public good (e.g., eliminating a requirement that scooter riders wear helmets).

LOL. Is this satire?


Peter from South O September 28, 2020 at 8:07 am

Nope. Fact.


Geoff Page September 28, 2020 at 8:50 am

Well, Tyler, if that isn’t enough for you, Gloria also sponsored legislation that will soon be signed ensuring that development of a big Central Mobility Hub at the old Navy SPAWAR site on Pacific Highway does not have to go through the California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA. The legislation lets it ride on the Navy’s National Environmental Policy Act NEPA review. A California legislator making sure a large San Diego project doesn’t have to be scrutinized by California. That a better one, Tyler?


Tyler September 28, 2020 at 12:19 pm

I mean, CEQA is a double-edged sword. Absolutely essential in some ways, and absolutely become an impediment to progress and used by the likes of Cory Briggs to stonewall development. Is the logic there that we have no idea how bad the ground below SPAWAR is after decades of military manufacturing? I suppose I can see the issue there.

I’ve just personally found the generational divide between liberals on Gloria/Bry fascinating. Go on reddit, for instance, and you won’t see a single person advocating for Bry. Go on here, it’s the opposite.


Geoff Page September 28, 2020 at 12:54 pm

I’m curious about your comment. First, how did you establish a generational divide, is there a way to determine the ages of the commenters? Second, what are you looking at to determine that no one is advocating for Bry on reddit?


Tyler Brand October 1, 2020 at 7:30 am

It’s anecdotal. I’ve always felt like one of the youngin’s on here and I’m in my mid 30s. Conversely, the San Diego subreddit based on a couple of demographic polls in the past swings very much young, primarily older Gen Z and young Millennials. Beyond the Rag, though, it’s noticeable how many older folks in my neighborhood in PL have Bry signs.

As for the Bry/Gloria reddit comment, there was a thread in the last week regarding the mayor’s race and basically every comment that was upvoted was in support of Gloria.


Geoff Page October 1, 2020 at 10:32 am

Thanks, Tyler. Is there a way to look at the thread from last week you mentioned? I’ll look for it myself too. I’d like to see those pro-Gloria comments. Manipulation of social media is a main ingredient in today’s politics as I am sure you are aware. You sound like an intelligent person but what if that thread was engineered by the Gloria campaign? Then, you mention it here spreading it further. That’s all Im interested in.


Geoff Page October 1, 2020 at 10:48 am

Never mind, Tyler, I found it and it sure looks like a set up to me, I would not trust what I saw there, especially since they allow people to use nom de plumes instead of real names. I would not use any information from any website that does not honestly show the posters real names. I realize the OB Rag allows it too, but I use my real name, always have.


Sam September 28, 2020 at 3:29 pm

The younger generation does not vote so I think the Reddit argument is moot.


Peter from South O September 28, 2020 at 3:31 pm

I think you are about to be surprised at the level of youth voters that show up this time.


Geoff Page September 28, 2020 at 4:02 pm

I’m never fond of generalizing about groups of people. If, as Tyler said, there are young people advocating for Gloria on reddit, that indicates some interest.


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