OB Town Council ‘Candidate Forum’ Undermined by Refusal to Allow Questions of Candidates

by on August 26, 2021 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

The main and only business at last nights OB Town Council meeting on Zoom / Facebook was a “Candidates Forum.” Candidates introduced themselves for a membership balloting on the five open seats on the Board of Directors early next month.

Originally, there were supposed to be 11 candidates, but for some reason, only 8 are current and only 7 showed up for the meeting. The following statement was on the OBTC facebook page, August 24, 2021: “We now have a wonderful field of 11 interested candidates to consider!” This means that 3 bowed out of running for some reason.

Acting president, Corey Bruins, also explained how the Board is changing the OBTC bylaws to enable a “special election” for all the open seats. A 10-day waiting period is required before the Board can vote on any new bylaws, and the 10 days is up this Sunday. Once the new bylaw is enacted, the membership will be allowed to vote on the candidates.

Here are notes / observations on the different candidates:

Mara Cunningham – has been in OB for 2+ years, lived in DC, is a former Dept of Defense consultant, is in a masters program at UCSD, and is currently a volunteer with the County Board of Supervisors.

Greg Winter – has some kind of doctoral license, has been in OB for 4 years, 5 for San Diego, and considers OB is “not a better place to live.”

Tracy DeZenzo  – currently is on the OB Planning Board, is chair of the transportation subcommittee, has been in OB for decades, and is on the San Diego Commission of Arts and Culture; she made a pointed statement that she opposes short term vacation rentals.

Anna Firicano – Unfortunately I couldn’t hear a word that she said as it sounded like her mic was turned down too low.

Ashley Carrino Teijelo – moved to OB in January 2020 when she bought her first house here; she’s live in San Diego for 4-5 years, is a pharmacist by trade and volunteers at the county psych hospital. She loves Dog Beach.

Kim Harrell – has lived in OB for 3 years, is originally from a small town in Iowa, loves to garden, has a world of experience in setting up “large scale” medical programs in many countries.

DeAnna Polk – could not make the meeting as she just had hip surgery.

Jim Musgrove – probably the most well-known candidate, Jim is a former president of the OBTC and has been in OB since the early 1980s. Jim signed the “Open Letter” to the board by 22 community leaders asking / demanding transparency and a special election of the members.

Once the candidates concluded their introductions, there was no opportunity to ask any of them questions, as is usually done at these Candidate Forums. Several people commented on Facebook contemporaneously that they would like to ask questions, but there was no response either by Cameron or Corey on the issue.

This is crucial: the ability to ask questions is needed for OBceans and members to get to know the candidates outside of their own prepared introductions. All the candidates were there – or should have been – and they all were available to handle queries thrown at them by the audience. But the board leadership decided (ahead of time?) not to allow questions from the audience.

In a real sense, then, the inability to ask questions undermined the whole idea and concept of a candidates forum.

This was a travesty. How can the membership vote on candidates they know virtually nothing about, who haven’t answered any questions from the community they want to serve? Sure, watch the video of the meeting, that will help, but deeper questions remain unanswered.

No board member came out and said, ‘there will be no questions,’ but no board member asserted that questions needed to be asked. And, as mentioned, audience members wrote in that they wanted to ask questions. There was no specific response to these requests – they were just ignored.

Certainly, all the candidates are good people. However, most did not appear to have any OB volunteering experience. Many of them haven’t lived in OB all that long, in fact. Sure, we all love Dog Beach and walks along Sunset Cliffs, but the town council and its efforts are much more than that. The Town Council represents OB and advocates on its behalf.

If you haven’t lived in OB all that long, you may not be aware of all the issues, problems, traditions and needs of the village community. In a word, most of the candidates lack the gravitas needed to represent the community. On the whole, the candidates lacked the depth required of serving on a community board that has so much power.

Certainly, the two candidates who are aware and have accomplished records of volunteering for OB are Tracy DeZenzo and Jim Musgrove.

For OBTC members, there’s lots to consider. And there is still time to join the OBTC and vote in the election.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page August 26, 2021 at 3:26 pm

Some years ago, the Peninsula Community Planning Board was taken over by a group of people whose main goal appeared to be to silence the board and restrict public participation. One thing they changed was the Candidate Forum. No longer would candidates be asked questions directly. Questions had to be submitted to the moderator who then selected the questions to ask. Every candidate was asked to respond to each question, which was ridiculous. Candidates with no expertise or experience with the subject of the question nevertheless took time trying to say something when they should have passed. The result was that only three or four questions were asked before the event ended. In other words, time was deliberately wasted and no one was ever put on the spot.

A forum is defined as “a place, meeting, or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.” With no exchange of anything, it does not qualify as a forum at all. It appears the OBTC did not want to hold an actual forum. Wonder why?


Reader August 26, 2021 at 3:40 pm

that bruins seems worse and worse every step so far, and thse enablers, eegads, it is gross and insulting


OBcean August 27, 2021 at 8:51 am

I don’t think there are 5 candidates that I saw on Wednesday who I’d feel comfortable voting for. Many had little time in OB, or focused only on their professional resumes without saying much about why they wanted to serve on the TC. Off-putting and unfortunate.


kh August 27, 2021 at 11:12 am

If you only see a few you can support, just leave the rest blank. This is the best way to elevator your picks in the overall vote count.

Or if you think all hope is lost, pick the worst ones and enjoy the implosion? ;)


kh August 27, 2021 at 9:31 am

You can rewatch candidate statements here:


There are 8 candidates for 5 vacant seats. I don’t know when the voting will begin, but it should be posted at obtowncouncil.org, as well as emailed out to all members. If you are not already a member you can sign up at their website. It’s now free, although donations are certainly welcome.

I was able to hear most of Anna’s statement. They said they’ll post their written statements soon on their website, as well as maybe their emails if anyone has inquiries. Also look for Deanna Polk’s who couldn’t attend due to a medical commitment.

Then of course there will be a regular election next March(?) where half the seats on the board are up for grabs, including some of these seats being filled now. Officers are decided internally by the board of directors when a position needs filling, and after the annual election.


sealintheSelkirks August 27, 2021 at 9:47 am

Is this a joke? A so-called ‘forum’ that allows ZERO questions from the voters? And the ‘leadership’ doesn’t even bother to reply to the voters WHY there isn’t a question and answer period??? This sounds like a take-over by the wrong people and folks, there’s enough of a wall between people and politicians in San Diego which doesn’t need to be dribbling down into OB like too much hot salsa with dinner last night.

Dump this Bruins guy as he obviously doesn’t understand participatory politics. But maybe that’s the point?



Jake Ryan Raigoza August 27, 2021 at 10:47 am

the way i see it its just the way things stay the same… like change is bad fior you or fasssist ledership taking control


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