The Destruction of Point Loma Palm Trees – A Photo Gallery

by on April 25, 2022 · 22 comments

in Ocean Beach

OB Rag reporter Geoff Page was on site this morning as city crews removed 5 tall, healthy palm trees on Newport Avenue.

Here is a photo gallery of what he witnessed.

Community Relations Officer David Surwilo passing out literature to residents.

Here’s video of the trees being cut

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie April 25, 2022 at 11:53 am

Here’s Todd Gloria’s newsletter from today– he had a chance to celebrate Earth Day, he reflected on climate change, air quality, and he’s seen real progress lately in tackling environmental concerns, plus he hired a new Chief Sustainability Officer to guide the implementation of the city’s updated Climate Action Plan. All this on the day he sent crews out to destroy 5 and maybe 7 healthy palm trees:

Dear Neighbor,

Over the weekend, I took part in some of the festivities celebrating Earth Day, which for me is an opportunity to reflect on our efforts to address climate change, air quality concerns in our neighborhoods, and efforts to protect our beaches and waterways.

We’ve seen real momentum recently in our local efforts to tackle environmental concerns. One of the most significant accomplishments is the launch of San Diego Community Power — the energy-procurement agency owned by the public and committed to purchasing significantly more renewable energy to power our homes and businesses. In addition to the City, major power users like Sharp HealthCare and the Padres have opted in and will purchase 100% renewable energy to power their operations in the county.

My proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 includes significant investments in infrastructure that will help prevent pollution of our beaches and bays by upgrading stormwater systems.

The City is preparing to launch our organic waste-recycling operation, which will reduce the significant carbon emissions that are released from waste like food scraps rotting in landfills. My budget includes funding for the green recycling containers and kitchen pails, as well as an educational campaign, so all residents can take part in this effort.

Last week, we hired a new Chief Sustainability Officer to guide the implementation of our updated Climate Action Plan, and in the coming year we’ll hire a Chief Resilience Officer to ensure our communities are prepared for the impacts of climate change.

We’re currently in the process of updating our City’s Climate Action Plan to help us achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. You can provide input on the draft plan and learn more about our climate efforts by visiting sandiego.gov/CAP .

As always, it’s an honor to serve as your Mayor.

Sincerely, Todd

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Vern April 25, 2022 at 1:01 pm

T. Gloria, is after all, using his predecessor’s leftover hair gel.

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Octavian April 25, 2022 at 6:04 pm

Maybe the Mayor has more important things to do than waste his time with a handful of palm trees.

Look I understand why you guys are upset about this because you live in OB and the palm trees mean something to you. That said, most people outside of OB don’t know about this and likely wouldn’t care if they found out. I think OBceans have fought so hard over the years to resist change of any kind that most of the city finds them rather insular and self-absorbed. Not everyone in OB obviously, but the most vocal people that make a lot of noise about stuff like this. This doesn’t mean that cutting the trees down is therefore justified exactly but is it really that surprising that the city just went ahead and did it without consulting the “community”? It’s not clear what would make you guys happy as you’re constantly complaining about any kind of effort from the city to exercise its authority over what is essentially its jurisdiction. If you don’t want the city involved in your affairs then maybe you need to organize yourselves to separate from the city to become your own city the way Coronado is. Perhaps joining forces with Point Loma and/or other coastal areas would increase your chances of increasing your autonomy. Until then you are going to have to put up with the city calling the shots regarding a series of issues including zoning, housing development, street maintenance, etc. You guys may think of yourselves as the People’s Republic of OB but you aren’t your own city and it doesn’t appear that you’re prepared or even truly willing to take on the responsibility that would entail.

DISCLAIMER: No I don’t live in OB but went to middle school there and grew up close by. My uncle owned a business there growing up and I frequented OB on a regular basis as a kid. It is indeed a beautiful place but the general culture of the town has become quite decadent in recent years.

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Vern April 25, 2022 at 6:49 pm

“… any kind of effort from the city to exercise its authority over what is essentially its jurisdiction…”

WTF?

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Geoff Page April 26, 2022 at 10:50 am

You have missed the point entirely, Octavian. This is not just about a few trees, it is about the city acting as if was a dictatorship, ignoring the community that pays their salaries.

Vern hit the same point that caught my eye, “… any kind of effort from the city to exercise its authority over what is essentially its jurisdiction…”

Its jurisdiction? You do realize the city belongs to us, the tax-paying citizens? The city does not own anything, we own it all. They are there to manage and protect it and this is how they do it. There needs to be a turnaround in the mindset of the people running this city, we are the boss, not them.

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Octavian April 26, 2022 at 12:52 pm

There is a turnaround in the mindset of the people running this city and its increasingly in favor of the 70% of the city’s population that can’t afford a home here. That isn’t to say that every decision the city makes is a good one (those confusing bike lane signs they installed in a few neighborhoods come to mind) but should the rest of us really concern ourselves with a handful of people kicking and screaming about some palm trees? Even if the city is in the wrong here (they may very well be) why should the rest of us care? Especially after years and years of OB and other coastal areas attempting to close themselves off from the rest of the city while claiming to preserve coastal access which has only made these areas even less accessible.

There are 1.4 million people within city limits facing much more pressing problems than a few palm trees being hacked down. Again that doesn’t absolve the city of wrongdoing here but you’re going to have to do a better job of getting the rest of us to care.

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Bob Edwards April 26, 2022 at 1:17 pm

First off, Octavian, you can be against trees being chopped down and in favor of additional housing and services for the homeless. The OB RAG and progressives everywhere are people who are pro-environment and for solving the homeless problem in a humane way. You are delusional if you think that the city is making development decisions to help the homeless. If they were, they would require that all the gifts the city has given to development interests (such as allowing multiple granny flats, eliminating parking requirements and setbacks, etc.) come with restrictions that prevent the developers and investors from using their properties for short term vacation rentals and mini dorms. Requirements to prevent these interests from flipping them to predatory LLCs that will use them for vacation rentals are never promoted by the DINOs that now run our city. Political sellouts like Tod Gloria and Campbell are also unwilling to support rent control or other moves that would make housing more accessible but would limit the profits made by their big money supporters.

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Octavian April 26, 2022 at 4:10 pm

I never said anything about the homeless.

This paper ain’t that progressive. In its heyday sure but these days its rather regressive. Actively fighting change for the sake of maintaining the status quo just because you like it doesn’t strike me as progressive. Frankly there isn’t much separating OB progressives on this website from La Jolla and Coronado NIMBYS.

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Geoff Page April 26, 2022 at 4:19 pm

Ok, how about some facts, Oct. Point out Rag articles that “Actively fighting change for the sake of maintaining the status quo just because you like it…”

Provide some examples to support your contention.

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Frank Gormlie April 26, 2022 at 5:18 pm

You’ve managed to turn everything on its head. And in a manner that’s fairly grating and insulting. First of all, we have no idea who you are, what you’ve done, and of what work you’ve accomplished to better this world and city.

The OB Rag’s record stands for itself. I don’t have to spend a moment defending what the Rag and OB have accomplished over the decades. Try checking out our “About” page on the Nav bar. If your awkward judgement is that helping to save the OB Library is a NIMBY kind of thing to do, then so be it.

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Octavian April 26, 2022 at 5:33 pm

Saving the OB library is all well and good. Can’t complain about that. My mother is a librarian and I know firsthand the value of libraries.

I’ve gone through the Rag’s archives. Some of it is about quite noble stuff. There is no reason you shouldn’t be proud of some of those accomplishments.

Much of the content however is busybody BS about neighbors building granny flats and “greedy” developers and a bunch of hyperbole. Change can suck but I think you guys are on the losing side of a gradual shift towards denser living.

Could I be wrong? Sure! But the winds are really changing course and I as a native San Diegan from a coastal area am happy to see it. I’d really like to be able to afford a home here the way my parents could when they purchased their house in North PB in the mid 90s before it was prohibitively expensive. There isn’t much infill land left so building up is the only way around this mess. Does that mean I want the Empire State Building on the beach? No! But I think allowing people to build 40 foot duplexes isn’t particularly crazy.

Would any of you be open to relaxed height and other density restrictions if the developments were 50%+ affordable?

I’d like to think so but considering how the Famosa Canyon debacle went I’m skeptical.

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Vern April 26, 2022 at 1:21 pm

“… why should the rest of us care? Especially after years and years of OB and other coastal areas attempting to close themselves off from the rest of the city…”

Again, WTF?

Not only do many San Diegans enjoy the coast of San Diego on a daily, weekly & monthly basis, many folks from out of the area and out of state do as well.

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Geoff Page April 26, 2022 at 1:22 pm

What does affording a home have to do with this issue?

You are still missing the point when you wrote “should the rest of us really concern ourselves with a handful of people kicking and screaming about some palm trees?”

It isn’t just about trees. Why should the rest of you? This famous quote is tailored to fit the situation.

First they came for the palms, and I did not speak out—
Because I don’t care about trees.
Then they came for parking places, and I did not speak out—
Because I don’t have a car.
Then they came for the parks, and I did not speak out—
Because I don’t go to parks.
Then they came for what matters to me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

You wrote, “Especially after years and years of OB and other coastal areas attempting to close themselves off from the rest of the city while claiming to preserve coastal access which has only made these areas even less accessible.”

Where in the world did you ever get such an idea?

Yes, there are more pressing problems than palm trees, but we ain’t just talking about palm trees, that is what you are missing. How do we make the city address those problems if we can’t even control the city when it comes to a few trees?

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Octavian April 26, 2022 at 1:35 pm

The city has its work cut out for it addressing some serious issues. That said, why do you expect to be able to “control” the city regarding a few trees? I think you guys need to pick your battles and let this one go, even if you’re right on the merits. The problem is you guys feel entitled to some degree of autonomy from the city when its not at all clear you can run your own affairs. There is a process for seeking to incorporate if you’re interested in that.

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Geoff Page April 26, 2022 at 3:15 pm

Controlling the city is being vigilant in keeping tabs on what they are doing. The trees were saved the first time because oof this. As far as picking our battles, we have, that advice is not necessary.

“The problem is you guys feel entitled to some degree of autonomy from the city when its not at all clear you can run your own affairs.”

Where do you come up with this stuff. Who said anyone wants autonomy from the city? We want the city to do its job properly and openly.

And what affairs are we not capable of running?

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Octavian April 26, 2022 at 4:07 pm

Yeah you keep crowing about how the city should have consulted you guys first and blah blah blah. You guys in your little enclave think the city needs to consult you for everything and requires your input for housing construction of any kind and other things in your neck of the woods.

When I say you guys I mean the busybodies on this website and the Ocean Beach Community Planning board. I don’t think most OB residents even noticed this palm tree business since they probably have more important things to worry about such as housing affordability and crime among other things.

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Geoff Page April 26, 2022 at 4:13 pm

Your first paragraph would apply to every community in San Diego. You’re damn right, the city needs to ask, not dictate, that goes for everywhere in San Diego.

Ok, enough time wasted on you.

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Chris April 26, 2022 at 5:50 pm

“I don’t think most OB residents even noticed this palm tree business”

There is no way you have the cognitive ability to operate a light switch and really belive that. If you really belive with you wrote here, then the ball I was using when I went bowling last week is sharper than you. Also, if you really belive most SD residents outside of OB don’t care you may want to think again. I live in Hillcrest and I care. I care about other neighborhoods as well. I don’t know a single resident in the whole county that doesn’t care about other neighborhoods.

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Paul Webb April 26, 2022 at 1:01 pm

Octavian, the site of these trees is technically part of Point Loma, not OB. Froude street is the dividing line between the two communities, although I do self identify as living in OB while actually in Point Loma as defined by the city.

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Octavian April 26, 2022 at 1:38 pm

Thanks for the correction Paul

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Gravitas April 26, 2022 at 9:10 am

Thanks. The photos say it all.

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Frances O'Neill Zimmerman April 26, 2022 at 9:15 am

Octavian, your letter is as disheartening as this City of San Diego Earth Day event.Those amazing palm trees should never have been chopped down. OB’s culture is not “decadent.” Sober Obecians struggle to retain their unique community in the face of alternating City neglect or assault. These photos record a terrible loss. Mayor Todd Gloria had a chance to become a local hero by blocking this decision, but he blew it. Sad Diego.

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