Ocean Beach and Point Loma News – September 2020

by on September 11, 2020 · 13 comments

in Ocean Beach

Lost Parking Spaces on Newport Ave

As OB restaurants and bars responded to the new COVID reality, they applied for and were granted the authority to set up outside – and in the process took over Newport Ave parking spaces. Out of a total of 204 parking places between Abbott and Sunset Cliffs, 45 have been occupied by tables and chairs of the eateries. It’s a trade-off, certainly.

Newport Ave photos by Bob Edwards

New Management of OB Hostel Acknowledges Counter-Culture

Samesun Ocean Beach is the new owner of the OB Hostel on Newport Avenue. And the new ownership recognized the historic OB counterculture as giving value to their new property acquisition: “McKeon also noted OB has a lot of culture and vibrancy born out of the California counterculture movement, which makes it more attractive to youthful guests.”

Donations Starting to Flow For Prop E – Demolition of 30 Foot Height Limit in Midway

Matt Potter over at the SD Reader informs us: “Proponents of abolishing the thirty-foot height limit in San Diego’s Midway District are beginning to donate to the campaign for the November ballot measure. On August 11, Helmut Kiffman, proprietor of Kiffman Properties, came up with $10,000 for a campaign committee calling itself San Diegans for Midway Revitalization. Ex-port commissioner and Republican insider Steve Cushman gave $1000 the day before.”

Coastal Tide Pools Being “Loved to Death”

With San Diegans and visitors alike seeking time outside after staying at home because of coronavirus restrictions, people are flocking to local beaches. Many of them are checking out the tidepools up and down the coast, including Point Loma, Ocean Beach, La Jolla, and marine advocates are trying to get the word out about how to do so safely for the environment. Fay Crevoshay, communications and policy director for Wildcoast, an Imperial Beach-based environmental nonprofit that aims to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife, said San Diego County’s tidepools, especially those in Marine Protected Areas, are being “loved to death.” La Jolla Light

Point Loma Sisters Start a COVID Safety Course for Small Businesses

Kristi’s a full-time 5th grade teacher and her sister, Heather, is the director of compliance and relations at San Diego State, Heather also runs a small tattoo removal business on the side. When COVID came around, the sisters added even more to their plate. “We’re both born entrepreneurs and always are thinking about solutions,” says Heather. While Heather was creating a COVID training guide for her employees as her small business prepared to reopen, the sisters stumbled upon an idea that could help small business owners navigate some of their own challenges.

“We started brainstorming and began to go through pieces, did the research and provided a training for her employees and thought,’oh my gosh, if she needs this everyone’s going to need this,'” Kristi recalled. That’s when Small Business Employee Training was born. Their safety course takes in-depth COVID-19 information, along with CDC guidelines and regulations, and transforms it all into a 30-minute safety course for employees. Since the course have became available, over 300 employees have taken the course through their employers. The course is only $7 and employees receive a certificate of completion afterwards. KGTV

Money for Airport Noise Reduction

An $18 million federal grant just awarded this week to the San Diego airport will likely come as welcome news to many homeowners who have long had to tolerate aircraft noise. The award of $18,023,885 from the Federal Aviation Administration — the second largest sum awarded to California airports — will be used to insulate hundreds of homes that are in a specified geographic area surrounding the airport where it has been determined they are exposed to noise levels of 65 decibels are more. Under what is known as the Quieter Home Program, qualifying residences can receive retrofitted exterior doors and windows, installation of a ventilation system, or other items, such as weather stripping and caulking around openings. The $18 million will cover 200 to 400 homes depending on size, as well as one non-residential property, said Sabrina LoPiccolo, spokeswoman for the San Diego International Airport. San Diego U-T

Huge Party Crowds in Mission Bay

It’s not just OB’s drum circle that is drawing large crowds unconcerned about COVID-10. “Huge crowds in Mission Bay Park during the COVID-19 pandemic have brought more trash, graffiti, illegal fires, traffic jams and other problems to the 4,000-acre aquatic park. Park rangers say they’ve also been dealing with people breaking into closed-off playgrounds and participating in unauthorized volleyball games. Police say incidents of gunfire near the park’s roller coaster also are on the rise. SD Union-Tribune

Officials Concerned about “Superspreader” Labor Day Parties

Cell phone video captured a massive Labor Day party on Mission Bay over the weekend where hundreds of maskless partiers were seen in the water, on boats, and sharing drinks.
It was everything health officials warned against ahead of the holiday. “Most people won’t be working over the long holiday period, but COVID- 19 will not be taking the day off. The more people go out and the more they interact with people outside their household, the more likely they are to contract the virus,” said San Diego County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H.

But San Diego police said they didn’t issue any citations for people not of the same household. Police did issue citations for what they called “various beach violations,” – 400 in Pacific Beach, Mission Bay, and La Jolla plus 600 warnings. “And we also, as you are aware, have our county’s compliance team where if individuals or entities report gatherings… so we are doing all that we can to work with the various jurisdictions,” said Wooten. Whether the celebrations lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases, health officials won’t know for a few weeks. But researchers are raising the alarm about these types of “superspreaders.” CBS8

El Fandango Owner Passes – “Connie” Puente Miller

Consuelo “Connie” Puente Miller may be best known to San Diegans for the El Fandango Restaurant she owned and operated in Old Town San Diego for 30 years. But to her friends and family, she was beloved for her tireless support of local Mexican and Chicano communities and causes. She died Aug. 29 at age 94. Connie lived her last days in Ocean Beach. SDU-T

New Citizens’ Group Forms – “Don’t Trash Mission Beach”

A citizen group that picks up trash and advocates for education and change has launched a website and new campaign, “Don’t Trash Mission Beach“. Launched Sept. 2020.

Point Loma Author Joseph Wambaugh Donates to LA District Atty Challenger, SF DA George Cascon

Ex-L.A. cop and best-selling crime writer Joseph Wambaugh of Point Loma is kicking in for the progressive former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón race for Los Angeles DA. Wambaugh, author of such hard boiled crime classics about L.A. police as the Onion Field, Lies and Shadows, and The Choirboys, made his $100 contribution to the Gascón campaign last November. SD Reader

Novo Brazil to Offer Beer and Hard Kombucha in Fall Opening at Former Culture

Hoping to bring the vibrancy and spirit of South America to Ocean Beach during these dark times, Novo Brazil Brewing Co. has taken the space formerly home to Culture Brewing Co. at 4845 Newport Ave., with a fall opening planned. Novo offers 60 types of beer, hard and non-alcoholic kombucha, hard seltzers and non-alcoholic beverages — many infused with fruit found in Brazil. The founders all hail from Brazil, where they led a brewery for more than 10 years before accepting a buyout from Anheuser-Busch in 2013. The following year, founding members of the Carneiro family moved to San Diego to open a brewery and tasting room in Chula Vista.

In 2018, they started brewing alcoholic kombucha, a tea drink. With the opening in Ocean Beach, Novo Brazil will be OB’s only taproom to regularly spotlight hard kombucha. “We started with one flavor only, but it’s been booming,” Zuquim said. “Today, the kombucha drives 90 percent of our growth.” When Novo Brazil opens, COVID-19 precautions will be followed. At the Chula Vista tasting room, masks must be worn while walking through the facility, patrons must stay six feet apart and masked staff cleans high-touch surfaces. PL-OB Monthly

Jacob Jewelers Closing

For 83 years, A.L. Jacobs and Sons jewelers has been part of the San Diego landscape. It was founded on Fifth Avenue in downtown San Diego during the Depression by Aloysius Leo Jacobs and his wife, Jolietta, who had five children. … The lure of newly opening Liberty Station beckoned them to Point Loma .. but hordes of customers never materialized. “I kept waiting for things to turn around,” says Chris. After eight years, he moved the store, which reverted to A.L. Jacobs and Sons when Spadea retired, down the street to its final destination at 1055 Rosecrans St. near Shelter Island. After five years in its newest location, though, the store is closing for good. The family business that successfully started during the Depression, and weathered San Diego’s growth spurts, is shutting forever in the throes of a pandemic. While it isn’t the only reason, Chris says, “COVID didn’t help. The store was closed from March 19 to May 6, and the bills kept coming in.” SDU-T

Almost Famous turns 20: Behind the scenes of Cameron Crowe’s unforgettable film

It’s all happening, again. It’s a look back at Crowe’s rocking 2000 film – partially filmed in OB -, with tales about these exclusive never-before-seen photos from the set. The year is 1973, a precocious 15-year-old journalist is on tour with America’s hottest rock band, and he’s about to get the story of his life. Cameron Crowe’s semi-autobiographical tale of music, fame, growing up, and “Tiny Dancer” sing-alongs may have premiered 20 years ago, but the experience of watching Almost Famous remains indelible. The performances are vivid: Patrick Fugit as young scribe William Miller; Billy Crudup as inscrutable rocker Russell Hammond; Kate Hudson in her star-making — and Oscar-nominated — performance as ethereal “band-aid” Penny Lane. Not to mention memorable turns from Frances McDormand, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Anna Paquin, Jason Lee, Zooey Deschanel, and the rest of the film’s starry cast. Explore

David Hendon and Marc Gervais

2 Homeless Guys Have Been Cleaning Up Ocean Beach Area for Years

This story started with an email sent to News 8 by a viewer. Mark Pacana lives in New Jersey, but he wants to move to San Diego. Every morning he watches the Ace Tattoo Surf Cam in Ocean Beach where two men caught his eye. “Every morning I see a little mini-van pull up, a beige minivan,” said Mark via our online call.  “They get out they open the back of their mini-van they pull out two buckets and they walk around the entire beach area cleaning up. God bless them for doing what they are doing.” Mark asked me if I could thank those men, so my photographer Scott Hall and I got up early and drove down to O.B. and sure enough there they were in the parking lot next to the pier.

“Morning,” I said. I was met with a man with a smile who said, “Morning.” I told him, “You’ve got a fan, watching you from New Jersey from the webcam over there.” I found out, David Hendon and Marc Gervais are two friends who wake up at the crack of dawn every day to pick up trash for free. The work hard! I said, “You are covered in sweat. It’s five o’clock in the morning. Why work so hard?”  Marc told me, “Well because this place looks like (expletive) otherwise.”  Marc and Dave are homeless and live in this van with their dog Pico. “I love this community and people come down here at night and break bottles and you know we are dog lovers and I hate to see a dog on a piece of glass and cut their paws,” said Marc.

Turns out the two guys who aren’t asking for anything do have a need. I learned that if they don’t get some work done on their van soon Marc and Dave won’t have a home.  “We are homeless, not moral-less. My dad taught me the first time I went fishing you always make a place look better than when you got there,” said Marc.  For four years, not only have they picked up litter in this lot, they’ve even swept the sand then sifted it to get the tiny pieces of trash. “Cigarette butts, little pieces of hair,” said Marc.  Dave then told me, “When we come down every morning it’s trashed, I mean look at it now. If you walk through here you may find one or two cigarette butts on the ground but you ain’t going to find many.”

Dave and Marc both beat addiction and figured if they were going to be clean the streets should be too. “Makes me feel good when everybody comes up and thanks me and say ‘Thank you for a good job,” said Dave.  I told him, “Well thank you.” Dave responded, “You are welcome.”  So from the west coast, it was time to report back to the east.  I called Mark Pacana.
“Their names are Marc and Dave and they are homeless,” I said. “They do it out of the kindness of their hearts.” Mark was incredulous. “They are homeless? Oh, then we need to set them up a Go Fund Me page or something to get them a home and some cash and whatever,” said Mark.

So that’s just what we did. “That’s amazing to find two people homeless taking it upon themselves to clean up a beach area every single night,” said Mark. “You know I’m warm, it warms me up especially considering all of the BS that is going on in the world right now.” A good deed. Spotted on a webcam by a Jersey Boy three thousand miles away. I asked Mark, “What do you want to say to them?” He told me, “Thank you for being a good citizen. More people need to take a page out of their book. God bless them, that’s amazing.” If you’d like to make a donation to help save the volunteers’ van, Marc and Dave have a Go Fund Me page. The men are asking for $1,500 on Go Fund Me but are too proud to ask for what they really need which is $ 3,500.  Let’s do this!! CBS8

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Stu September 11, 2020 at 3:28 pm

Like the out door eateries on Newport Maybe its time that We could think about closing part of Newport for part of the day and turn it in to a walking Ped Mall. I saw it done in Boulder with much moaning and groaning from the local populace. But after it was complete there would be no thoughts about going back. It was a huge success and made for a vibrant few blocks. Could imagine Newport from say Cable to South Coast closed to traffic except for deliveries, which could be done in the allies, and turned in to a walking mall with planters and out door eateries. It would be a first for SAn Diego. Other cities have done it and they have to deal with winter time and they all work.


Sam September 11, 2020 at 4:56 pm

That’s all well and good Stu, but there is no space to build parking lots or structures, which are integral to the success of places like Boulder or Santa Monica. Without parking you will not get the pedestrian flow needed to support these extra businesses you’re writing about.


Stu September 12, 2020 at 8:54 am

Parking could be planned for I realize that a problem. a parking structure could be a solution although expensive and ugly, a shuttle from robb field. I am not sure where people park in Boulder but I can’t recall having a problem parking. I am not familiar with Santa Monica. We certainly manage the parking with the farmers market and the street fair, but your right the problem would have to be addressed.


Dean September 11, 2020 at 7:07 pm

Our sidewalk and on street dining is temporary till the city allows them to dine inside. We should close off Newport from Sunset Cliffs to the alley at South Beach. With the short blocks off Bacon and Cable. The foot traffic is too crowded on the side walks. Impossible to keep social distance. Opening the street to pedestrians will ease the crowding and eliminate car stench for the diners.
Its a temporary local solution for the locals.


peggy mckeon September 12, 2020 at 9:34 am

Regarding your piece about the hostel. Jack McKeon, my son, was the Manager and oversaw the remodel of the hostel. He was in that position from September, 2014 until November, 2015. This quote is from a piece published during the remodel. So, it was not the new management acknowledging the counter-culture. Thanks, he’s enjoying being quoted five years later.


Paul Webb September 12, 2020 at 10:31 am

I had read previously that Kiffman Properties had made a donation to the Yes on E campaign. This caught my eye for a couple of reasons.

First, Kiffman Properties and its principal, Helmut Kiffman, owns Glasshouse Square, site of In and Out, Eos gym, Staples, 711, etc. The proposed elimination of the height limit in Midway would certainly add value to his property. The corresponding redevelopment of the Sports Arena site would add even more. Nothing wrong with this, of course. That’s enlightened self interest on the part of the property owner.

The Kiffman name caught my eye because I became acquainted with Helmut back in the 80’s or early 90’s while I was a coastal planner for the California Coastal Commission. Helmut had a number of developments in the coastal north county area that I reviewed and made recommendation on in my professional role. I got to know Helmut and found him to be a reasonable person to work with most of the time, and he was clearly a charming and intelligent person. There were many property developers I worked with who were much more difficult, often antagonistic, than Helmut. Basically, I liked the guy, even if I didn’t always like his projects.

One thing I have always remembered clearly was a conversation we had about his affection for life in Germany. I believe he even talked on at least one occasion about returning to Germany as life there was so much more pleasant than in the U.S. I asked him if he liked Germany so much, why did he live in America? He responded that the laws and restrictions that made life in Germany appealing to him severely limited his business opportunities. He lived in the U.S. because the relatively loose restrictions on land development made working here much more lucrative than developing property in Germany.

I’m not trying to put him down for making money, but he clearly recognized that there are quality of life issues that can be improved through regulation, particularly regulation of land use and development. As we approach the election where Prop E will be considered, we all need to keep this in mind. Although there will be a lot of money to be made in the Midway area, we need to remember and remind our elected representatives that the quality of life in the surrounding communities will surely suffer. No on E!


Frank Gormlie September 12, 2020 at 1:36 pm

Paul, I lived in Bavaria in the mid-1950s as a kid with my Army family. That was 65 years ago, yet when I “visit” the town I used to live in via Google Maps – it’s the same! There has been no significant development since even though it’s nestled under the Alps along a river. I just think if that same place had been out west in the Rockies or Sierras or Lagunas, there’d be high-rise, resorts up the ying-yang , etc.


Paul Webb September 12, 2020 at 3:49 pm

Frank, that’s probably Helmut’s home town.

Seriously, I have friends that lived part of the year in Garmisch Partenkirchen and they loved it for the reason that it has changed so little over the years. Wonder what that’s like!


Frank Gormlie September 12, 2020 at 4:08 pm

It was Bad Tolz


Tom Cairns September 12, 2020 at 1:14 pm

On September 11, the San Diego Union-Tribune published a story about the loosing developer on the Midway redevelopment project criticizing the selection process. The Toll Brothers and San Diego Loyal group said the process “lacked transparency” but they had no plans to file a formal protest or take legal action. In the public poll on the two plans, Toll Brothers got 64% favorable votes to Brookfield’s 18%, with 18% undecided. But the interesting comment was from Warren Smith, president of San Diego Loyal. He said protesting the city’s selection could damage the prospects of Measure E, “which his team thinks is more important than the outcome of the battle between the developers.” And he doesn’t mean No on Measure E.


Frank Gormlie September 12, 2020 at 1:37 pm

Tom – thanks for bringing that to our attention! Hadn’t perused the U-T this weekend yet.


Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 12, 2020 at 3:45 pm

I appreciate the No on E letter from Paul Webb, former planner for the California Coastal Commission. First of all, thank you for your service! Second, let’s heed his message.

Let’s underscore that “making money” on redeveloping the Midway area by eliminating the law requiring a 30-foot height limit will negatively affect the “quality of life” of all San Diegans. It is useless to “remind our elected representatives” of this fact, because it was they who put this measure on the November ballot in the first place. Some of the profits accruing to developers if voters approve this measure will be passed on to City Council cronies in the form of pay-back campaign contributions. It is all about pay-to-play between developers and politicians — never community “quality of life.” Vote No on egregious Proposition E.


Tony Sanfelice September 14, 2020 at 12:36 pm

Thank you for covering our story! We had a hugely successful event. We had more than 60 volunteers come out and help us on our inaugural event. We had thousands of trash items on display that were collected by just one resident over a 30 day period. Needless to say the tourists, visitors and residents that stopped to take a look were shocked. If we stopped one or two people from leaving their trash on the beach then we were successful. Visit our site to see photos from the event and we’d love to work with on any upcoming events.


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