News Briefs for Ocean Beach and Point Loma During the Pandemic Holidays

by on November 23, 2020 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach via the surfcam, 11:15 am, Nov.23, 2020

Sports Arena redeveloper delinquent on $190 million loan

A unit of the Toronto investment behemoth that bankrolled the demise of San Diego’s Midway area height limit in the form of this month’s successful Measure E is falling short on mortgage payments to retire a multi-million-dollar debt.

A subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management is more than 60 days delinquent on a $190 million in so-called Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities secured by the White Marsh Mall in Baltimore, Maryland, according to

Rents have been plunging at the shopping center, the biggest in Baltimore, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and the loss of Sears, an anchor tenant, the report says. Amazon is now using the Sears parking lot for its delivery vehicles. For rest, go to Matt Potter’s article at San Diego Reader.

Did you miss this gem from Matt Potter? “Toronto real estate giant is funder behind killing height limit”

OB Holidays Will Be Different This Year

With Thanksgiving nearly upon us and Yuletide not far behind, Ocean Beach is ramping up for its year-end charity fundraisers, Christmas parade, community brew, and other holiday highlights. Like everything else with COVID, things will be handled a little differently this year. Though fear not, the “crooked” Christmas tree will be firmly planted in the oceanfront sand. And people can still buy and decorate ornaments, especially Ocean Beach MainStreet Association’s annual themed ornaments, to decorate that tilted tree.

There will be a parade. Though social distancing will require parade floats to be stationary in the Dog Beach parking lot. Families can drive through the lot to check them out, like a drive-through light show. Don’t fret, Crooked Tree Holiday Ale will also be available at OB Brewery and some will be canned as well. And of course, the community’s food and toy drive will transpire as usual in 2020.

“We are taking pre-orders for our commemorative ornaments for 2020,” said Denny Knox, OBMA executive director. “We expect our shipment in early December and we always sell out. Each ornament is $25 and comes in a box with the logo on it. It’s a very colorful and fun, metal alloy with 15 colors of enamel that creates the design, 2.75-inches round. There is a loop on the top and a ribbon for hanging.” For more information, visit

If this year hasn’t been puzzling enough for you, OBMA has added a community puzzle to its holiday mix of items for sale through the business improvement district’s online store. Funds raised are used to improve and promote business in Ocean Beach. “We just received our puzzle order this week,” noted Knox. “The puzzle is $29.95 plus tax. We’re selling them out of our office at 1868 Bacon St. and online at” Knox said the puzzle was designed by local artist AJ Knox for OBMA. “It’s a 1,000 piece puzzle, a very whimsical look at OB,” she said adding, “The finished puzzle size is approx 19 inches by 26 inches.”

Twist to Vendor Shopping at Point Loma Nazarene

During the normal school year, the Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR) at Point Loma Nazarene University fills Caf Lane with a variety of different vendors for a night of Christmas shopping with a twist. Each booth has ethically sourced products and is classified as a fair trade business. You won’t find any Shein, Target, Forever 21 nor Amazon products here. Due to the pandemic, the CJR moved this night of meandering among the booths onto a website, containing all your ethically sourced and fair trade needs.

The CJR posted several infographics on their Instagram about ethical gift-giving during the Christmas season, in preparation for the reveal of their website on Nov. 3. These numbers show the sheer environmental impact of the excess coming from the Christmas season. You might notice that the ethical gift ideas are a bit different than the normal things one might wrap up in red and green paper. Zach Lyons, a student staff member for the CJR, said the group is trying to change the mindset people have about Christmas shopping. “[We are] focusing on small businesses, and even this year we have one vendor who thrifted clothes,” Lyons said. “That second-hand purchase is really helpful in combating the fast fashion industry.” More? See The Point

Faulconer “Strongly Considering” Run for Governor

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said, “I am absolutely strongly considering it because we need new leadership in Sacramento,” when asked if he would run for governor. KUSI

Dirty Birds Co-Owner in luke-warm water trouble

Stacey Fulhorst, the recently retired Executive Director of the city’s ethics commission, ended her seventeen-year tenure in office with a whimper in the form of a $500 settlement with city council candidate Noli Zosa, a well-wired Republican restauranter who runs Dirty Birds, violated city ethics laws by hitting up a bevy of city hall employees, according to a stipulated agreement with Zosa reached under Fulhorst’s reign and approved by the ethics commission on November 19. For more, go here.

OB Guys Make it easy to be plant lovers

Brian Feretic is a plant guy. His Ocean Beach home has become a sort of plant gallery over the years, with framed staghorn ferns, bright anthuriums, and even a 10-foot pothos snaking across his bedroom walls. He says that taking care of something and watching it grow has always been a huge reward for him: “I feel like it’s just an innate human behavior to want to nurture something, take care of it, and see it flourish.”

It’s a shared feeling on Blossm, the app that Feretic and his business partner Nick Mitchell founded earlier this year. Think Meetup meets OfferUp, but for plants. Users connect with other plant lovers within a set mile radius to swap plants and connect over their shared botanical skills. The idea first sparked in October 2019, when Feretic found his way to a garage sale in Ocean Beach. After setting aside some items to purchase, he came back with money and a rubber plant he had recently propagated as a gift. In return, his neighbor let him pick out something from her garden. San Diego Mag

Nova Easy Kombucha in Former Culture

Tiago Carneiro of Nova Easy Kombucha is on a mission to bring the increasingly popular drink to Ocean Beach, one consumer at a time. To that end, he recently branched out from his Chula Vista base to open a new tap room at 4845 Newport Ave. “What we have there is our brand of alcoholic and non-alcoholic kombucha, as well as 10 beers and three (hard) seltzers,” said Carneiro of Nova Brewing Co. “We’re the first one to bring this to the OB community. This is our flagship location right now. We want to open two more next year.”

Likely originating in Asia, kombucha is a fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drink with probiotics, which are purported to have intestinal health benefits derived from bacteria and yeast. Probiotics are live microorganisms claimed to provide health benefits when consumed, generally by improving or restoring the gut flora. More?

Point Loma Trattoria Cesarina to Expand

Popular Italian trattoria Cesarina, which landed in Point Loma early last year, is expanding its footprint. The restaurant recently acquired a 1,100-square-foot space across the street and will be converting it into a new commercial kitchen that will be the hub of a variety of new ventures that will grow the brand beyond a straightforward eatery. Spearheading the efforts is Cesarina Mezzoni, who runs her eponymous restaurant with husband Niccolò Angius. Raised in Rome, the young, self-trained pastry chef started Cesarina as a pasta pop-up at local farmer’s markets, and handmade pasta still remains a cornerstone of the menu.

The restaurant, which is currently open for outdoor dining plus pick-up and delivery, will be moving its pastaficio to the new facility, which will add a retail component to the pasta program. Through an online platform, customers will be able to select from a variety of made-to-order doughs, shapes and fillings along with a rotating selection of housemade sauces, with access to recipes and how-to-videos from Mezzoni. The space will also house a bakery called “Le Torte di Cesarina”, offering custom cakes inspired by classic Italian desserts, as well as a full-service catering division capable of creating menus and displays for everything from private dinner parties to large events.  Eater San Diego

Point Loman having problems with getting his granny flat approved

For one Point Loma home-owner, it hasn’t been smooth, or fast. Six months in, his project still awaits review. Stephen Thein just wanted to join two existing legal units to create a larger one. In the end, he would have one 1,000-square-foot foot dwelling on Qualtrough Street in the La Playa area. For more.

Lawsuit against Measure E still around

Voter-approved Measure E, which removes the decades-old 30-foot height limit from the Midway District and Pechanga Arena area, has another hurdle to clear: an environmental lawsuit. The environmental challenge was filed back in August in San Diego Superior Court by Save Our Access, a nonprofit corporation opposing Measure E. Save Our Access claims E is a thinly veiled attempt by developers to grab land and erode Prop. D coastal-height protections.

“The City failed to consider the environmental impacts associated with the project, failed to prepare and circulate required environmental analysis, failed to consider feasible alternatives and mitigation,” read state excerpts from the Save Our Access lawsuit. “Petitioner seeks writs of mandate (a court order to follow the law by correcting its prior actions or ceasing illegal acts) declaring the City’s approvals invalid, and enjoining the City from taking steps to implement the approvals.”

Save Our Access is seeking a “temporary restraining order and/or permanent injunction enjoining the City from taking any steps to further the project until lawful approval is obtained from the City after the preparation and consideration of adequate environmental analysis, with adequate notice to and opportunity to participate for interested parties…”

Save Our Access spokesperson John McNab explained the group’s legal position. “Their environmental impact report was based on (then) existing conditions, which now have completely changed,” McNab argued. “The other thing is, since they did the EIR, they eliminated parking requirements. My understanding is there are also allegations of toxins underneath the Sports Arena site. That’s what an EIR is for.” The Beacon

Housing Commission and Famosa Open Space

The San Diego Housing Commission’s board voted Nov. 13 to enter into exclusive negotiations with Bridge Housing Corporation to further study the proposed development of affordable housing on a five-acre parcel at Famosa and Nimitz boulevards.

SDHC Board’s vote followed the reading of nearly 200 opposition letters from Point Lomans and a group named The Point Loma Recreation Advisory Group. Some residents for months have been contesting the proposed affordable housing project, arguing there is overwhelming support to preserve the long-vacant site as open space in the community.

“We ask the City to reconsider the San Diego Housing Commission’s sale of the Famosa Canyon parcel to an out-of-town organization for $800,000 and explore other options for the site,” wrote the PLRAG in a Nov. 12 letter to the City. “We voted unanimously to request that the City negotiate the sale of the Famosa Canyon to Park and Recreation, so that Famosa Canyon remains a passive park and open space.”

Housing project detractors presented a litany of reasons why Famosa Canyon should not be developed. Their arguments ranged from concerns about the physical difficulty of developing the canyon site, to environmental damage that could be caused to wetlands and wildlife, to overdensification of housing in the area and worsening of existing traffic congestion. Opponents also claim the proposed sale of the property for $800,000 is so far under market value that it practically constitutes a “giveaway.” for more.

More on Council Approval of Faulconer’s Complete Communities

The City Council on Nov. 9 voted overwhelmingly in favor of Complete Communities, a package of initiatives and planning strategies to provide incentives for housing development near transit, while promoting and investing in active transportation as an alternative to cars.

Complete Communities prioritizes the City’s resources channeling them to where the needs are greatest, in underrepresented lower-income neighborhoods referred to in the plan as “Communities of Concern.” The transit-oriented future housing and neighborhood parks development plan was championed by outgoing Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

“For far too long our under served and minority neighborhoods have been neglected when it comes to new infrastructure,” Faulconer said. “We will now prioritize and reinvigorate those neighborhoods through this initiative because we cannot truly prosper as a city until every community is complete. Our Complete Communities plan incorporates much of what our residents say they want – more housing near transit, more mobility options, and more public amenities like parks that strengthen neighborhoods. Now we have the ability to put those ideas into action and build a better future for all San Diegans.”

Beach planners reacted to passage of Complete Communities, which some had expressed concerns about. Kevin Hastings, vice chair of Ocean Beach Planning Board, was relieved that the plan has been amended. “Community advocates banded together and were successful in lobbying for reduced floor-area allowances (FAR) in the coastal area and excluding low-density multifamily zones from the plan,” he said. “I appreciate staff taking our feedback seriously, although I still think the proposal is too much of a developer giveaway that will gentrify affordable neighborhoods.” For more.





{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mervie November 23, 2020 at 5:42 pm

You can buy tickets to the 2020 OB Holiday Reverse-Parade here, just scroll to the bottom:

DECEMBER 5, 2020
5pm – 9pm


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