Brouhaha at Ocean Beach Town Council, President Asked to Resign, at least One Member Resigned in Protest

by on August 3, 2021 · 19 comments

in Ocean Beach

There is a serious brouhaha going on with the Ocean Beach Town Council these days. For unknown reasons, Mark Winkie, the president and a board member for 5 years, was asked to resign on July 6.

At least one other board member has resigned in protest. And former board members and others in the community are demanding that the current board explain why Winkie was asked to resign or offer an apology, or both. There’s also allegations the board did not follow its own by-laws.

On the OBTC facebook page, the board stated it “will consider a response and the community can expect that from us in the coming days” as it relates to issues raised by Susan Winkie’s public comment, Mark’s spouse. Here is Susan Winkie’s public comment:

Statement Regarding the Resignation of Mark Winkie, President, OBTC

Ocean Beach Town Council
July 27, 2021

On July 6th Mark Winkie received a letter from this board and was asked to resign as President of the Town Council. The membership of the Town Council deserves to know the way this situation was handled and have it become part of the public record.

Just 7 hours before Mark received the letter asking him to resign, he sent a letter himself to the entire board. In this letter he took responsibility for his personal actions outside of the Town Council and wanted to reach out and address any concerns. In addition, he offered a vision for the future and re-committed to the issues he is passionate about in Ocean Beach. Lastly, and importantly, he said he would be contacting every board member individually to have an open and transparent conversation to ensure the Town Council could move forward effectively and with confidence.

He never had the opportunity to talk to anyone because less than 7 hours later he was asked to step down. Note that two legacy members of the current board never had the opportunity to weigh in on this letter. Another board member felt coerced to sign quickly, and has since resigned and an additional board member refused to sign and also resigned.

The Ocean Beach Town Council has a very specific set of by-laws that includes guidance on asking someone to step down. These by-laws were not followed as intended and there was no due process.

The OBTC is one of the key advocacy groups in this community. It’s great to have pancake breakfasts and parades – but advocacy is critical for our town. Mark provided consistent leadership on the issues that really matter; the rise in homelessness, unchecked crime, Short Term Vacation Rentals and the erosion of our neighborhoods, the future of the pier, and a vendor ordinance to curtail the out-of-control situation at Veterans Plaza. He knows the problems intimately, has contacts throughout the city including partners in other Town Councils up and down the coast.

He will continue to be passionate about these issues and work as a citizen to make sure they get the attention necessary. However, the Town Council provided an elevated platform for these messages. And that has been taken from our community by this board and specifically a few people who advocated hard for his resignation.
The membership of the Ocean Beach Town Council deserves an apology from the board for the way this situation was handled, and / or rescind the letter, reset and move forward following the by-laws in an open and transparent manner.

Susan Winkie

Arlene Schreibman-Fink, a board member who resigned, stated this on the OBTC facebook:

Susan Has spoken for many of us who have felt manipulated and out voted. I am in total agreement with her narrative and factual account of events that led to the resignation of board members.

Another former board member said:

I was very disheartened and dismayed when I learned of the Board’s actions relative to the Council’s President. These actions seemed to have been an underhanded overreaction . As a former Board member, I am aware of how hard my original cohort worked to update and uphold the Council’s bylaws and standing rules, following the decades of precedent preceding us.

These bylaws and standing rules not only bestow credibility on the Council, but as a registered organization, the Council is required to adhere to them. These actions strike at the very credibility of the Council. I believe the community deserves having this issue brought to the forefront as a top agenda item at an upcoming public meeting, including all of the individuals affected who are willing to participate.

Mel Roark, a longtime resident and active community contributor, said she likewise, “would very much like to express my disappointment in the way that the Town Council has been to making choices for the whole community, without giving us and some new Board members the opportunity to have a full understanding of changes being made. And most importantly, not having a chance to weigh in on the changes. This shows a total disregard and a disrespect.”

Roark also stated on the OBTC facebook:

There are members of the Town Council Board that have agendas unrelated to community service. A Board member was targeted for something that was personal, and a narrative was put in place to imply that their leadership was questionable. The manner in which the situation was handled was very manipulative and does not serve the community well

Claudia Peters Jack, the unofficial mayor of OB said it was “scary” in “having this many board members step down …”

There is much the denizens of OB don’t know about all of this. Just as a reminder, the OBTC is a private organization run by a board of directors; it has an active membership which elects the board members and then the board members select the president and other officers. It holds two meetings a month, one private and one public. As a private organization, the OBTC is not beholden to the Brown Act and is not required to be wholly transparent to the public.

Meanwhile, the board has a lot of vacancies and is actively campaigning to fill them.

Yet, the Town Council is usually the most important group in the village of OB. Publicly, it represents the community and the community’s will and tries to resolve community problems. It also does a ton of fund raising, normally, for various efforts to help the needy.

But when a scandal like this puts a pause in the step of a mighty organization, then the fog must lift so the rest of us can see what happened and why. But not until then, will the OB Rag advertise for new members to the board.


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

GML August 3, 2021 at 11:14 am

I think some clarity on what those personal actions were needs to be made before any other judgements can be passed. Maybe they were so inappropriate that resignation was the only good solution…or maybe not.

“In this letter he took responsibility for his personal actions outside of the Town Council and wanted to reach out and address any concerns.”


OB man August 3, 2021 at 11:17 am

So what was this “personal” matter? The wife won’t share, or only at a Public Meeting?


kh August 3, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Her entire point is that it was a personal matter. That generally means you aren’t entitled to that information.

To the extend that it isn’t just a personal matter, the OBTC board of directors absolutely owes its membership an explanation on why it’s president was apparently suddenly forced to resign.

Also, to correct the record, there have been 4 resignations this year. 3 of them coincided with this issue.


Bob Edwards August 3, 2021 at 1:12 pm

I don’t know anything about this issue, but would like to complement the author on using one of my favorite words: “brouhaha”. Hahaha.


Chris August 4, 2021 at 8:00 am

I need a brew ha ha.


Don Wood August 3, 2021 at 4:31 pm

Has the OBTC been taken over by YIMBYs lately. Once a YIMBY slate of candidates gain control of local community planning groups, one of their first orders of business is to try to force other panel members who may not support their agenda off the planning group. All an effort to consolidate their takeover and firm up control for their pro-development agenda. Did the political make up of the OBTC change significantly in the last election? If so, that could be the reason for the new board demanding the resignation of the chair.


bobo August 3, 2021 at 5:09 pm

To be clear, the OBTC isn’t the OB Planning Board. The OB Town Council doesn’t review and make any recommendations for land use. That’s the OB Planning Board’s responsibility. Easy to get those two groups mixed up.


William "Bill" Turner August 3, 2021 at 8:31 pm

Mark,You stepped up and took a bow, brother, I understand what you did, and I just don’t think you were thinking when you made that decision, you are forgiven in my books, and Jean and I fully support your decision in whatever your final decision comes down too.
Love you bro,


Mr. Zurkon August 3, 2021 at 11:49 pm

When did the Board of Directors of the Ocean Beach Town Council become the morality police? How is what is clearly a personal matter that some members caught wind of become their business in any way shape or form? I know Mark Winkie. He has been an excellent ambassador for Ocean Beach. He has done nothing but be a kind and humble servant to our little town. Honestly you should be ashamed of the way you’ve treated him. This is 100% none of your business and in no way affects the way he has worked for the betterment of this town.

There are 4 open seats on the board as of right now. I think we clearly need to have a general election by the entire membership to fill those seats, as the current leadership has shown a serious lack of judgement.


kh August 4, 2021 at 11:49 am

Also I’d like to know why the other OBTC director involved in this personal scandal hasn’t received the same treatment.

Is Mark being held to a different standard?


claudia jack August 9, 2021 at 3:54 pm

KH~ From what I have heard many community people are asking the same question and agree with your post!


Tyler August 4, 2021 at 12:34 pm

This seems very “inside baseball” when no one really understands what the major personal issue was. Not saying I want that cat let out of the bag, but it’s hard for anyone to take an objective side here unless you happen to know the details, in which case this just seems like insiders trading blows. A shame to the rest as OBTC affects us all but we can’t really get a grasp on what actually occurred.


OB Mercy August 4, 2021 at 4:44 pm

I’m still keeping up with most everything in OB and trying hard to move back into the community I love and still call home.

That being said, I do know the details of what went on (but it’s not my place to further divulge private matters) and I find them utterly ridiculous, irrelevant and petty in relation to all the positive actions and influence Mark Winkie has had on and in OB.

I think the fact that several board members have vacated/resigned their seats in protest should tell the community that Mark is NOT the person or person’s of interest the town should be looking into.


Claudia Jack August 4, 2021 at 6:55 pm

First off, I want to Thanks Susan Winkie for coming forward with her statement concerning Mark Winkie so now the public knows their has been a issue! (This could be Defamation of someone’s Character) I agree with a few others their should be a vote by the Membership so it is fairly done. All the Yak Yak all over OB and the uproar that has been going on, If the voting is not open to the Membership, then a Board Member can sway the other members left over to vote their way and not with a open mind~~ Please if your interested to serve our OB Community & have Positive Energy put a letter in to OBTC to run for the Board, being on a Board is very rewarding~ c


Mellowme August 5, 2021 at 1:04 pm

I am only commenting because I am aware that the Town Council is scheduled to choose who to set in the 4 open positions. They still have yet to respond to the community’s request for an explanation. Under these circumstances, and the question of ethics, these seats should be determined by special election and voted on by the membership.


Itsnottheload August 9, 2021 at 4:30 pm

Another one bites the dust. Isaac Darby (Sir) resigned. So now they’re going to appoint 5? Good gravy. Let’s restore some faith.


claudia jack August 10, 2021 at 2:00 pm

Wheeeeeeee The OBTC should bury the weak links and restore with FRESH New Members with a General Election~ Everyone is discussing the other Personal issue PERSON also needs to StepDown so the Personal issue is completely off the Board. That would give the Board a Fresh & Positive movement towards the Future!! Just the feeling of some OB Community People!!


Brad Fernbaugh August 27, 2021 at 11:40 pm

What is the sequence of events? From all that I have read, this is what I make of it.

– Mark Winkie has a personal indiscretion
– He feels compelled to answer to his personal indiscretion by sending a letter to the OBTC board and offers to speak to each board member individually.
– The intent of Mark’s letter and conversations were to ensure the confidence of the board of his ability to continue to lead the OBTC as president.
– The OBTC board had communications about the matter unofficially
– 10 members of the 15 member board wrote a letter asking Mark to resign
– Mark resigns
– The letter to Mark from the 10 board members upsets other members of the board
– Board members resign
– 5 seats on the OBTC board are left open and a new bylaw is introduced to have special elections when multiple seats are open on the board
– 11 candidates step up to fill the 5 open positions on the board
– Only 8 candidates show up on the OBTC zoom meeting to introduce them to the community

Given the sequence of events and the subtext of what took place, I have questions.

– Did all of the OBTC board members have moral discussions about Mark?
– Did the 10 members that sent the request for resignation to Mark feel that he was unfit to be their president because he might tarnish the OBTC?
– What are the individual reasons for each of the board members resignations?

I appreciate and give thanks to Mark for his efforts and contributions to our community. Seems like he tried to do the right thing by owning up. The fall out just got botched.


Brad Fernbaugh August 28, 2021 at 11:31 am

I did not dig deep enough. I found this article and all of my questions were answered:
Best of luck to the candidates.


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