Report on October Meeting of Midway Planning Board

by on October 26, 2021 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach

By Geoff Page

While the agendas for planning board meetings don’t always look enticing, there are usually a few interesting nuggets here and there, some unexpected, in every meeting. This was the case for the Midway-Pacific Highway Planning Group’s regular monthly meeting, October 20.

District 2

For example, the government report for Council District 2 – oh, pardon please – for the Council President’s office, was provided by Makana Rowan.  Since this was a new name, this writer did some research and learned his official title is Director of Policy & LGBTQ+ Liaison.  Because this was an unusual title, the other council offices were checked and none of the other eight district offices had an LGBTQ+ Liaison.

Rowan appears to be making a career of this having begun January 2020 in Mayor Gloria’s office with this title and staying for 8 months. He then moved to County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher’s office with the same title for 15 months. He has been with District 2 for three months. Before he went to the mayor’s office, he worked for a non-profit, the Leichtag Foundation.

Just looking at Rowan’s history it looks like someone is making sure he has a job. The obvious question is why did our openly gay mayor and our openly gay city council representative feel the need to an have an LGBTQ+ Liaison staff member?

The only item Rowan spoke about was the long-awaited vendor ordinance, which is coming to city council December 14. When asked to see the exact language of the ordinance, Rowan said it was essentially the same as the draft that has been previously published. He said the city attorney is reviewing it and the final version is not ready yet. This item is not as much of a concern for Midway as it is for Ocean Beach and other beach areas.

Homeless Shelter renamed “Harm Reduction Shelter”

The verbal gymnastics some go through, in an attempt to avoid negative connotations of actual names, never ceases to amaze. The homeless shelter being created at the Old Pier One site has now been christened the “Harm Reduction Shelter.” It may not fool some but it will confuse the many.

Lisa Jones, executive vice president of the San Diego Housing Commission, gave an update on the project. Jones said the shelter should be open by the end of November and described what has been taking place so far. Apparently, this is joint venture between the city and the county. Jones characterized this as a new partnership, as in unproven so far.

Jones said the County will handle case management and outreach services through an operator of family health centers the County has contracted with.  The Housing Commission will handle shelter operations and has contracted with shelter operator Alpha Project. Jones said they were taking time to compare the two contracts to make sure they did not miss anything.

Anyone who has dealt with one public agency understands how difficult that can be. But, having two separate public agencies working on the same thing is enough to make anyone twitch. Hopefully, this will all work out swimmingly.

Jones offered the Midway group site visits before the facility opens.  Anyone interested in attending can contact the Midway board.

Sports Arena

There was brief presentation from another consortium that plans to propose on the Sports Arena redevelopment project. It consists of the Monarch Group, Essex Properties, Eden Housing, CMI Sports, an arena developer that is now involved with the new Aztec Stadium.

The group was introduced by former city council person Georgette Gomez. It was not clear what role Gomez was playing in all this.  Gomez appears to have a company called Toyon Strategies. It was not possible to find much on the company.  An email to Gomez’s company email address provided at the meeting bounced back. A call to the phone number she provided has not been answered yet.

The “presentation” was really just an introduction of the companies in this new group. What the group will be proposing was only discussed in very general terms. Other proposers came to the September meeting and did the same thing. They all sounded just wonderful.

But, there was another one of those interesting nuggets during this presentation. Laura Fink, the second woman to come forward with a sexual harassment allegation against Bob Filner, is part of this group. Fink came forward right after the first woman accused Filner and claimed that Filner patted her butt and made a crude joke during a 2005 fundraiser. This was eight years before the Filner fiasco erupted. Fink had never done anything about this in the past other than to email Filner. Trying to find a corroborating account after all this time was fruitless.

But, it certainly can be said, she was on the right side of that one because the San Diego establishment wanted Filner gone in the worst way.

Refugee Shelters

As reported previously in The Rag, the Midway group was surprised and upset to learn that two refugee shelters had opened in their area with nary a word to the group. Not much has been learned about these shelters but chair Cathy Kenton said she had a little information. Congressman Scott Peter’s office has indicated that Catholic Charities of San Diego was the entity that may have leased the two hotels being used, the Wyndham and the Four Points. Nothing else is known yet.

Other news

  • The representative for state senator Toni Atkins, Cole Reed, touted the governor’s signature on Atkin’s hugely unpopular Senate Bill 9. He moved on quickly.
  • SANDAG’s representative was not present but sent a statement that Kenton read.  As usual, SANDAG is looking for money.  They are currently proposing a budget amendment. For more information, email Jack Christensen at
  • The Navy pulled its environmental review for the controversial NAVWAR project from the Coastal Commission agenda. A Midway group member expressed puzzlement why was it docketed in first place since the review process is not complete. The Navy probably scheduled this well in advance expecting to be further along in the approval process.
  • The representative from the mayor’s office did not attend but sent a lengthy statement that Kenton also gamely read. The statement said blah, blah, blah, and blah. It was very generous to read something like that.
  • The Midway planning group finally has a website . It is still being developed but is up and running now.
  • The board appointed David Israel from Modern Times Brewery to fill a vacant seat. Israel offered the group a place to hold in-person meetings when those meetings resume.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page October 26, 2021 at 2:49 pm

Correction: It was JMI Sports not CMI Sports. This was founded by John Moores, former Padre owner.


Paul Webb October 26, 2021 at 3:24 pm

And you may remember that the Monarch group was the developer of the old Barnard elementary site and is currently working on the old Mission Beach elementary site. Pat Kruer, one of the principles in the Monarch Group is a former chair of the California Coastal Commission.

Usual suspects? Nah!


Geoff Page October 26, 2021 at 4:37 pm

Yea, that Barnard project is really a beauty, a canyon of 178 units crammed together.


Paul Webb October 27, 2021 at 11:05 am

It is also interesting to note that the person who has been the cheerleading face of Monarch in front of planning boards and community groups is also one of the most prominent voices against expansion of housing and other development at UCSD, which affects the University City community where that person lives. I guess it’s all a matter of context.


Geoff Page October 27, 2021 at 11:19 am

It makes a person wonder. From what I recall, if they do not receive what would be considered acceptable affordable housing proposals, the project can then be thrown back out to regular developers. With some of the same people participating, maybe there is way to make an unacceptable proposal.


Debbie October 27, 2021 at 4:32 pm

A recent article in the Reader stated, “Patrick Kruer, has years of San Diego political connections. Kruer Jager, a partner in the firm, is the daughter of Pat and ex-wife, former city councilwoman Barbara Bry, currently running for county assessor.”


Midway October 27, 2021 at 11:36 am

The weblink has a typo, it is


Geoff Page October 27, 2021 at 3:14 pm

Thanks for the correction on the web link. That was my mistake, not The Rag’s, I had it wrong in my article.


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