Despite Failure by City and Community to Resolve Issue, Compromise Must Be Sought Between Tennis and Pickleball Players

by on August 2, 2022 · 106 comments

in Ocean Beach, Sports

Clearly a compromise between local tennis and pickleball players must be sought, before more angry public arguments, yelling and disruptions through acts of faux civil disobedience lead to fisticuffs or worse.

After months of simmering, the conflict between pickleball and tennis players burst out into the open over the weekend when a group of pickleball players ambushed staff at the Peninsula Tennis Club  and took over tennis courts for about 40 minutes. Staff called in San Diego Police and eventually the scene quieted down when the pickleball players left.

The beat officers who appeared seemed stymied by the issue — can you blame them? — But they didn’t really “persuade” the pickleball players to leave, as alleged by staff.

Kids and adult guardians on deck observing the incident. Was their tennis school disrupted?

Staff claim that a kids’ tennis club was disrupted — which is denied by the pickleball players. Yet their own video shows a group of kids and adult guardians on the deck of the clubhouse, apparently having their tennis lessons disrupted.

Club staff confronting pickleball players.

Clearly, the sides have hardened and crystalized. Heated rhetoric is heard from both sides. No side is immune from castigating the other as the enemy. Tennis players are called “elitist” while the tennis advocates point to a 100-year tradition of tennis in the Peninsula, some of them thumb their middle-finger at the upstarts.

Because the issue and conflict has simmered for months without being resolved by either the city or the community-at-large, something like this outburst could have been predicted.

But where is government? Where’s the city? Why hasn’t the Park and Rec department, guided by the Mayor, stepped in and found a compromise? Where is Jen Campbell? Why hasn’t her office brought the sides together to find a reasonable solution?

And where is the community-at-large? Why hasn’t a town council or association stepped in and sought some kind of resolution to the boiling controversy? The OB Planning Board tried a few months ago, but apparently nothing held.

A sign of true leadership is to seek compromise, to seek solutions where the sides appear to have legitimate claims and allegations. To bring people together.

For our part, the Rag has offered our pages for statements, responses, arguments or comments and observations from either side and by people on the sidelines. (Send signed statements to our email: obragblog@gmail.com )

Both sides do have worthy claims, but there must be a solution to this conflict within the community. Claims from both sides need to be aired out and investigated by a neutral third-party, perhaps.

The community needs the debate and someone needs to put it together.

{ 106 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris August 2, 2022 at 10:14 am

As morbid as this sounds, if there really ends up being a fist fight between tennis and pickleball players I want front row seats.

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triggerfinger August 2, 2022 at 12:14 pm

don’t forget to bring your kids so you can act like they’ve been victimized

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Chris August 2, 2022 at 4:25 pm

?

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Geoff Page August 2, 2022 at 8:33 pm

I’m not sure it would be fair fight if you look at the pickleball demographic. Think Izzy Mandelbaum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcFSOnumgZA

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Chris August 2, 2022 at 8:57 pm

Geoff, you think you’re better than me?

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Geoff Page August 2, 2022 at 9:24 pm

Well, I’ve got a T-shirt that says “Worlds Greatest Dad!”

What’s yours say, something silly like #1 Dad?

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Chris August 3, 2022 at 7:40 am

Neither of those tho my wife wants to get T-shirt that says “I’m with stupid”.

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Geoff Page August 3, 2022 at 2:35 pm

Aww, that’s sweet. You need to get her one to be nice that says, “I’m Stupid.”

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Chris August 3, 2022 at 2:56 pm

True.

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Geoff Page August 9, 2022 at 6:17 pm

Let e know how that goes, if you can still hit a keyboard after.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 10:21 am

The local community absolutely needs the City to step in and be a fair arbiter and to help work towards compromise. It’s the only way. This is not a fight, this is a tough discussion that the City and community has put off for far too long. We are not causing trouble, we are bringing awareness to existing trouble, and we are encouraging everybody to partake in this discussion even if it’s uncomfortable at times. It’s time to work together on solutions that can serve the largest portion of the local community while costing the city the least. What we cannot stay silent on is that the City Attorney and City Auditor have confirmed in writing that they are investigating the Peninsula Tennis Club for taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars per year under the table, paid in cash, and failing to report this revenue on state and federal IRS forms. They have also operated as a revenue-generating business on public land without a valid permit since 2018 (!). All Pickleball wants at this time is a lawful permit process, which involves public participation and a fair hearing. We formally submitted applications for a permit for the space and others, and the city said they will not consider us because the current tenant is in good standing. But there is no current tenant, because there is no current permit. We have and always will try to work with tennis to compromise.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 11:32 am

Most regular tennis folks want to see a compromise. A lot of people play both pickleball and tennis. And a vast majority of the broader community of course wants compromise as well, they want the option that serves the most local residence at the lowest cost to taxpayers. It’s only a small but vocal handful of tennis leaders who want to just see everything stay the same.

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Frank Gormlie August 2, 2022 at 11:39 am

There’s also a “small but vocal handful” of pickleball players who feel righteous and of being the victims of “a great injustice.”

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triggerfinger August 2, 2022 at 12:22 pm

i think we should ban pickleball within the city limits because i heard two of the people that play it are jerks.

a little disappointing this is repeating most of the same info in the first article despite seeing the video. i expect it’s selectively edited, but the court reservation sheet and what happened before and after the pickleball play made it plainly clear there was no kids camp displaced, and that only 1 court was used, and that didn’t even block access to any other tennis players, since there were still empty courts at the end of the video.

the first step to sorting this out is getting the facts straight and not intentionally propagating falsehoods to suit our predisposed narrative.

ob rag should post corrections to both of these articles. if something reported is one persons take and can’t be verified, say so. if authors of either have ties to one side or another, say so.

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Frank Gormlie August 2, 2022 at 1:01 pm

Appears you’re doing the corrections for us.

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sam August 3, 2022 at 7:09 am

which city department handles the permit process?

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Sorry not Sorry August 2, 2022 at 11:53 am

Michael, you keep saying “But there is no current tenant, because there is no current permit.” Does PTC pay anything to the city to lease the land? If they pay rent or other “fees”, they are in fact a tenant. Maybe the permit to act as a business expired and nobody at the city realized it, but if they pay the city to occupy the space…..

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David C August 2, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Fact: PTC pays ZERO rent! They have never had to pay a penny in their over 30 years on site.

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Jamie R Lawson August 2, 2022 at 4:15 pm

The Peninsula Tennis Club pays all costs to maintain the club. They pay to resurface the courts, put up windscreens, build a lighting system, maintain the clubhouse, and all other expenses associated with the club. This is many hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you ever go to resurface 12 tennis courts, bring your big wallet. It’s very very expensive. The wind screens alone are probably $25,000. Lights, easily $100,000. Maintaining a tennis club is very expensive. The club pays these expenses under a permit where the City requires that they do nothing besides tennis, and that the club is open to the public so that anyone can play tennis. The City gets huge benefits from this. They get a beautiful recreational facility that they don’t have to pay for. That’s how this works. That’s the give-and-take. That’s the deal that has always been in place: we make the land available, you spend the money to turn it into a beautiful tennis facility for the public.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 12:04 pm

No, they do not pay any rent/lease payment for the land. Anyone can verify this via public record, as we have.

For reference, on page 2 of 19 of the previous (expired 2018) Peninsula permit, item #9 states: “No Holdover. If PERMITTEE continues to occupy the Premises after the expiration or earlier termination of this Permit, such occupancy shall neither constitute a renewal or extension of this Permit, nor give PERMITTEE any rights in or to the Premises. If PERMITTEE continues to occupy the Premises after the expiration or earlier termination of this Permit, PERMITTEE will pay to CITY rent calculated on a per diem basis at the market rental rate as calculated by competent CITY staff. CITY’S acceptance of such rent shall neither constitute a renewal or extension of this Permit, nor give the PERMITTEE any rights in or to the Premises.”

We have read the permit many times. Anyone can ask the City for a copy. Item 9 means that Peninsula owes local taxpayers over 1,300 days of market rate back-rent, something the Parks Department confirmed to us. You don’t owe rent if you have a permit, but they didn’t have one all this time.

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triggerfinger August 3, 2022 at 10:06 pm

“competent city staff” lol. is there language about unicorns too?

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Jamie R Lawson August 2, 2022 at 4:05 pm

The local tennis clubs all apply for a Special Use Permit. Once the permit is obtained, the club can build the courts on the City owned site. This allows the City to provide its citizens a recreational service to its citizens without the expenses of maintaining the facilities.

The clubs pay to build and maintain the courts and clubhouse facilities, which includes lighting, resurfacing, wind screens etc., from the membership, either through dues or donations. Most of the clubs will have small monuments to those members who have made particularly generous gifts.

The City doesn’t pay for that stuff. And this stuff is very expensive. Much of it has a long life. For instance, when the membership pays for new lights, that may cost the members $100,000, but is expected to last for 20-30 years. Resurfacing is ridiculously expensive and lasts 5-7 years. Again, the members pay for the club facilities, and the City enjoys the benefits at the cost of permitting the club their special use of the land. The SUPs always stipulate that the public has access. Usually, the SUPs will require a certain level of vacancy in order to to support the general public. So, for instance, the SUP will say that the club can’t have more than 80% average court utilization. This assures that nonmembers can get adequate court time. It also assures that the courts can be adequately maintained. Court surfaces need to be washed frequently, trash vessels need to be emptied (preferably when no one is playing on the court), benches need to be cleaned, etc.. And the members absorb all of these expenses under the assumption that those lights will be available for tennis play for 20-30 years, etc., and the courts will be clean and playable when they use them.

These Special Use Permits (or SUPs) almost always include an assignment clause, which says that the club has to use the facility for tennis. This prevents the club from subleasing the property to Walmart and having them build a department store or something.

But this is also one big reason that when someone wants to play pickleball at one of these public tennis clubs, they get the boot from the management. If the management allows the land to be used for something besides tennis, they are in violation of their SUP. So when they give the pickleball players the boot, they aren’t being mean or unfair, they are fulfilling the obligation they have to the City.

Most of the tennis clubs are quite diligent with keeping their SUPs current. Each club has a liaison to the City, and those relationships are kept current and active. The City has been a little slower. The clubs have applied for the renewal of their SUPs, and the City has written the clubs letters basically saying, “we’re kind of swamped, but you can keep operating under the existing SUP until we get through our workload”. And the City has gotten years behind. The tennis clubs have gotten anxious about it.

That’s presumably what happened here. And I do know that over this past weekend, the City rushed to get a whole bunch of temporary SUPs out to hold the tennis clubs over until the City can get through its paperwork. These temporary SUPs officially allow the tennis clubs to operate into 2023. It’s a formal grant of the informal permission the City has been giving the clubs for a couple of years while they deal with workload. Presumably, the administrative fire drill of this past weekend was triggered by what Pickleball SD did at The Peninsula Tennis Club last Thursday. And presumably Peninsula got their temporary SUP on August 1, just like other public tennis clubs.

In summary, the tennis clubs invest a boatload of their own money to make the City a better place to live. They generally work diligently to maintain not just the facilities, but also the relationships with the City. The City has gotten behind, probably because of pandemic-related issues but I hesitate to speculate more than that, and they have established informal agreements to let the clubs keep doing business-as-usual until the City can get its work done. This has actually caused the clubs a lot of damage because it has locked the dues rates in to years-old levels while the costs of operation have grown. Over the past 72 hours, the City has made those informal deals formal, probably because of the Peninsula Pickleball Petulance. The tennis clubs are really not falling short here. And the City is dealing with a huge workload where the public tennis clubs are a tiny fraction of their overall problem. They’re busy.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 5:13 pm

Hi Jamie, I’d like to address a couple points. Most of what you outlined, I completely agree with. What is taking place. We perhaps diverge on what shouldn’t be taking place, whether by City charter, by law, or just ethically. For us, it most regards the expedition and secrecy of permitting, when there is a competitive process with public participation outlined in writing. 

Renewal or rollover are disallowed on the SUP in question. I can email you it. I have the paper in hand. You reapply each expiry. And that has not happened since 2018. The City has confirmed this to us. The tennis-use designation is a fair point, IF you can produce the SUP, especially for law enforcement. I felt that was a very small ask. Yes, some blame is on the City. But 2018 was 14 months before the pandemic…the onus is on a permittee to have the paperwork they need to operate.

I agree that much of what you described is how things are being done. But I just don’t believe some aspects are being done correctly under the proper protocol. It even says in most permits, including this one, that no known other entities wish to vie for it. That’s not sign-able, given that we’ve submitted applications in May and the public participation segment is TBD (as per Parks, who said the Brown Act was priorly violated). 

We visited Peninsula today, just two of us, no cameras, and asked to just see the fresh permit with eyes. They said no. And perhaps they don’t have to show it, I’m not sure. I think the CA Constitution says they have ten days to show it? We said it would go a long way toward community understanding.

We’ve had good discussions with tennis leaders since Thursday. There is a compromise to be found.

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Jamie R Lawson August 2, 2022 at 11:17 pm

Mike, I know that our SUP application has been before the City since 2019. We have a liaison who checks-in with the City every two weeks. I know of one other club that has been in a similar position. I suspect that Peninsula’s case is similar. I don’t know for certain, but since you said that you went to Peninsula and they were open, I’m pretty sure that they have a temporary SUP. I say that because the letter that went out from the City that kept all the clubs and all of the City people busy working overtime this weekend said that if a club didn’t get their docs for the temporary SUP to the City by Monday that club would have to close. Here is a part of that letter:

“Hi All Tennis Operators…If you cannot get your insurance documents to me by the morning of 8/1/22, then you will have to cease operating…. Once we get your updated documents, I will immediately issue you the Temporary Park Use Permit and you can resume operating as normal until the SUPs can be updated and finalized…. As I said, I will be monitoring my e-mail all weekend”

The tone of that letter was one of frustration. It has been frustrating for the clubs, too. There are things the clubs want to try, and those things are outside the old SUP, so those things get put on hold. I suspect some of the clubs actually want to add pickleball, but they can’t until the City catches up because the “expired” SUP says “tennis only”. And again, operating costs have gone up, and the clubs have not been able to adjust fees to cover those costs. Fortunately, there are a whole lot more members at the tennis clubs now, so overall, dues revenue has gone up, but this has also put a whole lot more pressure on the clubs. Courts have to be washed down more frequently, trash is emptied more frequently, there are more stains from drink spills (most of the clubs say “water only on the court”, but many members prefer Gatorade), etc.

And the onus is not on the permitee when the City says “your good, just hang in there while we get our stuff together”. Which is basically what they’ve been saying. I could show you what the temporary SUPs look like. They basically have 180 different dates listed, and for each date it says “Event Begins 12:00AM, Duration 23 hours 59 minutes”. The dates go on for four pages; boring as all get out; and then it says “All other terms and conditions of the expired permit shall remain in full force and effect.” The City cranked a bunch of these out this past weekend, again, most likely because of what happened Thursday.

BTW, I think all of the SUPs have a clause that says it is unlawful to fly a remote controlled aircraft over the club. I know our SUP says that. One thing that’s likely is that when club managers see a drone, they will contact the police as part of their due diligence to live up to the City’s prohibition of remote control aircraft, and the police may work to pinpoint the location of the RF controller. That could get uncomfortable. This is a likely next step or at least a future step in escalation. And the problem with any of these escalations is that it makes it less likely for the City to support pickleball.

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Michael Shinzaki August 3, 2022 at 12:58 am

Hi Jamie, You’ve outlined some things that are a certain way or are happening. I am on the same page. We will have the temp permits tomorrow and are eager to review. I continue to hope that the process can be more transparent to the public going forward.

From City documents we’ve reviewed, a temp permit doesn’t even strike me as an option. The SUP on my desk says no holdover, no rollover, no renewal. Past expiry, must reapply. Competitive process, public participation. It has pretty harsh language for most activity beyond expiration date. It also has many items revolving termination of permit, and a lot on actions that do not necessarily constitute bring bad standing back to good, but are still mandated in instances.

If temp permits are possible, we are curious the why and how. If there’s no protocol in place but it’s “just how they’ve done it for 50 years,” how can that rest well with anybody? Our understanding is that granting rights beyond a SUP (in this case, the detail being date) invokes a cavalcade of stuff to do first (which can’t have happened over just the weekend). “All other terms and conditions of the expired permit shall remain in full force and effect” doesn’t jibe with the language I’ve come across regarding expired permits, including on the SUP itself.

I’m no legal expert, perhaps Parks can do what they want. In that case, I will die of old age before pickleball is in San Diego public parks. Permits outstanding for almost four years, all of a sudden processed all at once over a weekend…it just seems amiss. Counsel will review the temp permits, but it’s not like we’re going to sue or something. Our hope all along was and still is for the City to stick to its charters and protocols in good faith.

I can totally understand the frustration. Everyone’s. We’re frustrated too. We have stumbled across things that don’t seem right. Let’s at the bare minimum inform the public. I think a lot of folks learned some things last Thursday.

You’re in a privileged position knowing a lot of the tennis inner-workings. Put yourself in our shoes for a moment, on the outside of the Parks-tennis relationship, looking in. We keep asking for concerns to be allayed, and they keep being downplayed. It’s not comforting. Perhaps, as you alluded, the Venn diagram is almost all City and only a sliver tennis. Some people consider us to be causing trouble. We feel we are revealing existing trouble.

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David C August 2, 2022 at 10:34 am

We didn’t ambush anyone. We simply started playing pickleball on empty courts. All tennis players that were there to play tennis could and did because there were more than enough courts to accommodate all. The kids were not impacted in the least (other than by the poor behavior of their guardians). The kids played outside of the main facility on the other 6 west courts that are dedicated to very profitable lessons and clinics. We were in the East 6 courts that were empty when we arrived. Only 3 courts were occupied with tennis and 2 were still empty when left of our own accord. The writer of the above article is expressing opinion, not objective facts.

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Frank Gormlie August 2, 2022 at 10:45 am

David C – bullpucky! You intentionally organized a group of proponents to go into the clubhouse and make demands on the surprised staff, with all your videos running. This was no spontaneous display of simply “playing pickleball on empty courts.” You also have some valid points to make, just don’t fall into the partisan divide and weaken your position.

I’m sure if the tennis advocates wanted to, they could also organize a “spontaneous” incident to show their side.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 10:56 am

Frank – You are right, our choice to visit was not spur-of-the-moment. However, we truly had zero demands of any staff (also, there cannot be a staff if there is no valid permit, and we have written confirmation from the City that there hasn’t been a valid permit since 2018). The only thing I can think of was our request to see a permit. Given that we were demanded to pay and then subsequently to leave, and that it’s a public space, that is surely a fair request. This is a sentiment the police affirmed.

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Chris August 2, 2022 at 11:07 am

I have no idea how the permit process works, but don’t public golf courses charge for use? Why would tennis OR pickleball be any different?

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 11:13 am

Chris, excellent question. Municipal sports clubs can and should charge for use, if they have a permit to do so. Without a permit, nobody should be gatekeeping a public space, and money shouldn’t be changing hands. There hasn’t been a valid special-use permit for the tennis courts at Robb Field (on public land) since 2018. It’s public record, anybody can go back-check.

Once a previous permittee’s permit expires, there is no holdover clause. It cannot be renewed or rolled over. Anyone has to apply all over again. If more than one group wants to vye for the permit, there is supposed to be a fair and lawful permit application process involving healthy competition and public participation. That has not taken place. We submitted a formal application for this space and others, for pickleball, back in May. The City said other applications for other uses will never be considered until tennis wants to leave. The City said the ‘current tenant’ is in ‘good standing.’ But there is no current tenant, because there is no valid permit!

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Shane Buysse August 2, 2022 at 11:20 am

this is a great point. all interested parties should have a fair and equal opportunity to apply vie for public space

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Jamie R Lawson August 2, 2022 at 4:21 pm

The Peninsula Tennis Club pays all costs to maintain the club. They pay to resurface the courts, put up windscreens, build a lighting system, maintain the clubhouse, and all other expenses associated with the club. This is many hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you ever go to resurface 12 tennis courts, bring your big wallet. It’s very very expensive. The wind screens alone are probably $25,000. Lights, easily $100,000. Maintaining a tennis club is very expensive. The club pays these expenses under a permit where the City requires that they do nothing besides tennis, and that the club is open to the public so that anyone can play tennis. The City gets huge benefits from this. They get a beautiful recreational facility that they don’t have to pay for. That’s how this works. That’s the give-and-take. That’s the deal that has always been in place: the City makes the land available, the clubs spend the money to turn it into a beautiful tennis facility for the public.

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Shane Buysse August 3, 2022 at 12:21 pm

so if pickleball reimburses PTC for these improvements would that be fair then? still ok to operate for several years w/o valid permit?

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Jamie R Lawson August 2, 2022 at 4:58 pm

Mike, you know we are going to disagree on this. And I don’t have a relationship with Peninsula, but I do have relationships with other public tennis clubs. You and I both know that the tennis clubs all have liaisons to the City and that they work hard to make sure their permits are current. You and I both know that the City has gotten behind in processing that stuff in the past couple of years and has made promises to the tennis clubs that they can continue to operate under the existing permits until the City gets through their workload. You and I also know that the City spent this past weekend getting temporary (6 month) SUPs in place with the tennis clubs, which basically say “keep doing what you’ve been doing under the old SUP until we can get through the workload”. You and I also know that those existing policies are pretty specific regarding what can go on at those public tennis clubs, and that most if not all of them say that they clubs can’t use the City property for anything except tennis. That’s an obligation that the club makes to the City, and that they are duty-bound by that obligation to not do pickleball at the tennis club.

I think the place where we disagree is on the question of whether it supports the objectives of the pickleball community to challenge the existing SUPs by having a flashmob show up to engage in an activity that the City normally prohibits at that facility. The fact that the SUPs are backlogged isn’t the tennis clubs’ problem. The City’s swamped. I suspect that the folks who manage Peninsula can find an email message from the City that says “hey, we’re swamped. Keep operating under the existing SUP until we can clear our backlog”. I know that the club I play tennis at has several such emails. So you weren’t really challenging Peninsula or its managing company. They’re operating in a generally good relationship with the City, and they are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of their members’ money to make their club a nice place to play. You’re not challenging them. You’re challenging the guy who works at the City, probably Tyler Canales, who is overworked already. Guess what he did with with his weekend? He worked overtime to get all of the temporary SUPs done. He’s the guy you’ve got to convince if you want pickleball to have opportunities in the City.

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Stefan Boyland August 2, 2022 at 11:27 am

The City has been ignoring pickleball, not just our group, but other groups too for quite some time now. We have been told, in the past, that we will not get equal rights to compete for park space. That even a ‘bad actor,’ that is blatantly violating its expired permit, has preferential treatment over pickleball because they were there first. That court utilization, empty courts most days and weekends, plays no role in decision-making about how best to use public park space. Why can’t data be used?

When there is a great injustice, sunlight is the best disinfectant. We needed to expose this hypocrisy, and strive towards a better San Diego. Change is not easy. Democracy is not pretty. We all strive to treat everyone with respect and goodwill. And I am very proud of our efforts. The City can do better. Andy Field, the Director of Parks, single-handedly can bring us together as a community and forge compromise if he is willing to lead. It has not been done with our flawed permit system in San Diego in decades. But it can be done, now, if there is the will!

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Frank Gormlie August 2, 2022 at 11:36 am

Ah, can we just step back from the hyperbole? This is not “a great injustice.” A great injustice is the on-going threats against our democracy. A great injustice is our climate crisis. A great injustice is the _____________________ (you dear reader, fill in the blank.)

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Pat Nissan August 2, 2022 at 10:37 am

Pickleball players deserve to have public courts just like tennis players are accustomed to. As a previous tennis player I think that the city needs to step in and make things more equitable for both groups to have opportunities to play…pickleball has no dedicated courts to date!

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Weston Quick August 2, 2022 at 10:38 am

Another day, another dirty dollar made by the Tennis Mafia. Meanwhile “America’s Finest City” can’t seem to enforce what appears to be reasonable protocol to host tennis. I can only assume there is no insurance either. We’re just waiting for the tennis mob to get injured and sue the city for an even bigger loss to the tax payer. What a ridiculous existence PTC, City Rec, and the City have. All of this needs resolved, but not at the expense of those waiting to play pickleball nowhere. This fraud is a major set back and should not affect the progression of the SD Development project. Fraud is a federal offense and needs to be recognized here. The City and the Tennis Tyranny is fraudulent on many levels and prosecution is warranted. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. Weston Quick

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Tyler August 2, 2022 at 6:12 pm

“Tennis Mafia” …. “Tennis Tyranny”

This website is FREE!

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Shane Buysse August 2, 2022 at 10:39 am

It seems like a lot of public space has been devoted to tennis courts. Pickleball has become quite popular and has very little dedicated public space in San Diego County. There are great pickleball courts in Santee, Chula Vista, Carlsbad with permanent nets where you can show up and play. Just as an example there are 4 pickleball courts at Gershwin Park in Clairemont-however you have to bring your own pickleball net. I wonder if tennis players would be willing to bring their own net to the courts? It would be great to have public courts in the city of San Diego dedicated to both sports. Having pickleball lines on a tennis court isn’t ideal for tennis players or pickleball players(many people play both sports to boot!) Pickleball is a social sport, mostly played as doubles(2v2) and it is the type of sport where young and old can play together and have a fun game. Many people who no longer can play tennis have found pickleball as an excellent alternative. Lets share our public lands!

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Jamie R Lawson August 2, 2022 at 11:53 pm

Shane, you are conflating some things here. Firstly, pickleball does deserve support in San Diego. And the rec centers have lots of dedicated pickleball courts indoors, and these are popular. Some have correct pickleball lines, others have badminton lines, but they aren’t very different. Pickleball players may prefer outdoor courts with permanent net posts, but from the City’s perspective, they are supplying pickleball courts in lots of places. They’d like to do more, but they feel like they can check the box.

As far as painting pickleball lines on tennis courts, that’s less than “not ideal”. It means that you can’t have tennis tournaments on those courts, which is a non-starter with most tennis clubs. So how about painting lines on just a few of the tennis courts? Well, when does the club have the highest demand on courts? During a tournament. So that’s a non-starter.

The big thing here is that the tennis clubs are already there. They’ve been there for decades, and their memberships have been growing over the last few years. They are more popular than at any time since the great tennis “Battle of the Sexes”.

And as for converting existing tennis courts, remember while the land belongs to the City, the members of the tennis clubs have paid for everything else. They put in the slabs, they resurface the courts, they put up the lights poles and pay the utility bill. All that and more is paid for by the members. So if you go into an existing public tennis club like Peninsula or Pacific Beach Tennis and say, “yeah, we want to convert this all over (or even half over) to pickleball. And those new lights that your members just spent $100,000 putting in, we can use those, thanks for doing that for us, and those wind screens that you just spent $25,000 on? Those are awesome. Thanks for putting those up, we can use them….” Do you see why the tennis clubs get upset by this. The City may own the land, but the club has done the development, and you’re basically saying that the development that the tennis club has done on their own money could be taken away from them and used by you for a different purpose. At my club, for instance (not Peninsula) in the last two years, we’ve resurfaced the courts, which I think came to somewhere between $60,000 and $70,000; we’ve put in shaded benches which was a bit under $20,000; we’ve replaced the nets, which was a couple thousand; We replaced the wind screens which I think was $25,000; we’ve repainted the club house and made it more swanky. All of that’s on the members’ nickel, and a lot of it is on the members’ labor. And there is a lot more as well that would be too long to list. What I will say is that if you go to almost any of the public tennis clubs, you’ll see plaques or pavers saying “in memory of so and so”, or “gift of so and so”. Basically, these are for gifts that a member made well over and above their membership. If a member funds a new barbecue area or something, they get a plaque or paver. The point is that these clubs are the work and enterprise of their membership. And to come in and kick them out is morally wrong.

Should the City do the same thing for pickleball? That is, allow a club to come in and develop City property to build a pickleball club open to the public? Well, that’s certainly one model. And it’s a nice model. I’m all for it. But don’t take away someone else’s club that they have sweat over for decades. And don’t make the tennis clubs the pawns in a game between the City and the pickleball community. The tennis clubs are trying to provide a valuable resource to the City and its people. They are trying to give the City a place where people can enjoy tennis. Don’t distract the tennis clubs from that mission.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 10:47 am

Addressing a few other queries in article:

We have tirelessly tried to get District 2 Campbell office to see the issue and work with the community to get something done. We agree, they absolutely need to be involved in brokering something for the local community.

Regarding local committees/boards. We have presented to OB Town Council, OB Planning Board, Robb Field CRG, and Mission Bay Parks Committee, most at least twice. We were sent to all these to demonstrate community support for pickleball. We have also had 15,000 letters of support for pickleball submitted to the City (just the ones that we know of). The Parks Department and City Council are ultimately who needs to step in and provide leadership, though.

There is a bright future for pickleball and tennis both in the City of San Diego.

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Frank Gormlie August 2, 2022 at 11:06 am

Ha! Join the club of those trying “tirelessly … to get District 2 Campbell office” to do anything.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 11:08 am

Not sure if I should laugh, or cry!

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David C August 2, 2022 at 12:05 pm

We have common ground! Jen Campbell will not do anything!

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joseph mcdonnell August 2, 2022 at 10:48 am

Cant believe san diego is so far behind the rest of the country when it comes to pickleball. I saw this happen in NY and Fla. years ago. Both of those places were quick to see the value of Pickle and accommodated them.Where is our local Govt? Its like they are non-existent. And there is such an easy fix for this silliness.
Tennis Nazis gotta go.

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Chris August 2, 2022 at 11:10 am

Bass player for Tennis Nazis broke the band up to form Tennis Tyranny. They’ll be playing @ The Casbah.

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Paul Webb August 2, 2022 at 11:35 am

I’m looking forward to the mosh pit!

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Chris August 2, 2022 at 11:47 am

That and crowd surfing in my Lacoste tennis shorts.

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joseph mcdonnell August 2, 2022 at 10:49 am

BTW I like and play tennis too.

Power to the Pickle!

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Stefan Boyland August 2, 2022 at 11:10 am

I am one of the two organizers. We arrived at 2:45pm and all six of the tennis courts on the east side were vacant. See video! We were there to demonstrate pickleball’s rights to use public, non-permitted park space the same as anyone else. We played for 2 hours, not 40 minutes. The police affirmed our right to be there without reserving a court or paying a fee to an illegal for-profit organization operating without a permit on City property (for almost four years now!). We were on the east courts (using just one of six). During our time there, the courts were mostly empty and even when we left only 3 of the six were being used. We SHARED the courts. Everyone that wanted to play tennis had many open courts to choose from.

See what really happened here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oikmzspBUew

A youth camp was on the west 6 tennis courts, which you cannot see in the video. Their camp was NOT disrupted. We have their court logs and demonstrated this in the video (see below). The kids were paraded over to the west courts at 4:30pm when their camp ended (see them in the background of the video) and were lectured by tennis leaders telling them we were in the wrong. Using the kids as a prop. A real low blow.

But ultimately Frank you are correct, our real beef is not with some tennis ‘bad actors’, but ultimately with the City for not stepping up and leading on this issue. I am quite convinced if the City were to be a fair arbiter and invited us in a room with tennis, we could have a fair compromise worked out within 2 hours. It’s a pretty simple issue. Andy Field, Parks Director, can change all of this by simply leading and being a fair arbiter, bringing the two groups together, for a healthy, albeit tough discussion.

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Frank Gormlie August 2, 2022 at 11:12 am

It’s incredible that there hasn’t been better leadership from the city.

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Stefan Boyland August 2, 2022 at 11:41 am

Not to defend the City, but Park’s has been operating this broken permitting process for decades. This broken process has been ingrained into Park’s culture inadvertently preventing necessary change to occur.

As I said, Andy Field is the key to this mess. He is a smart guy. He knows what is happening. And he could be the first Director of Parks to address this broken issue and do something great for the City of San Diego. I think he knows that ignoring this issue is not a good solution. We have hopes that Andy will re-engage with pickleball and move this discussion forward.

Thank you Frank and others for staying open to us. We are happy to address any concerns you or others may have.

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Suede Boer August 2, 2022 at 11:28 am

Thank you OB RAG. I’d like to make a few corrections about Thursday 1) the court(s) were EMPTY and not being used where Pickleball set up. 2) the “kids” were paraded to the EMPTY courts by their parents, coach and tennis manager from another section which is why their class was disrupted. The swearing, yelling etc…was unprofessional and those parents should be embarrassed when they see themselves on video. This appears to be an “opinion” article but ALL Press is good press when it elevates the message that our San Diego PARK SPACE is NOT OWNED by PTC and they do not hold a valid permit to operate the space since 2018. The CITIZENS of San Diego OWN the space at Robb Field. Our elected leaders need to make sure our San Diego Park & Rec officials don’t play favorites. Their role & mission is to maximize the utilization of our park space. Time to care about FACTS and act on behalf of the citizens of Americas Finest City to support the HUGE Pickleball community. Help us on our journey and get the truth and facts here: Pickleball-SD.com

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Paul Webb August 2, 2022 at 11:48 am

This is just another example of the awful business practices of the City of San Diego. There are countless examples of leases, permits, rights-to-occupy, agreements to remove encroachments, etc., that have expired with no actions by the City. I have not seen the permits, but in my dealings with the City in the past there is usually a “hold over” clause, allowing the permitee or lessee to continue whatever use rights they have. Even if there is no such clause, the City allows the user to remain in place. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m not saying it’s good, I’m just saying it’s what the City does.

Really, it’s not fair to either the group, in this instance. There should be a clear competitive process to gain access to the courts, a process that is managed by the City. The City should exercise appropriate oversight, which is clearly not happening here.

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Frank Gormlie August 2, 2022 at 11:51 am

Paul Webb for city council … oh, wait.

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Paul Webb August 3, 2022 at 10:34 am

Frank, I’m trying to figure out what you mean.

By the way, that would mean I’d have to work a whole lot harder than I am willing to do.

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Frank Gormlie August 3, 2022 at 10:51 am

Your wisdom comes through in your comments and it’s too bad that we don’t have that sage at our council level.

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kh August 3, 2022 at 11:10 am

Paul, are you implying someone in that position is working hard now?

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Paul Webb August 3, 2022 at 1:50 pm

No, I’m only implying that I’m really, really lazy, and I would have to at least show up for a lot of things I don’t really want to show up for, like going to the office every day.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Paul, fully agree with your thoughts. Just for reference:

On page 2 of 19 of the previous (expired 2018) Peninsula permit, item #9 states: “No Holdover. If PERMITTEE continues to occupy the Premises after the expiration or earlier termination of this Permit, such occupancy shall neither constitute a renewal or extension of this Permit, nor give PERMITTEE any rights in or to the Premises. If PERMITTEE continues to occupy the Premises after the expiration or earlier termination of this Permit, PERMITTEE will pay to CITY rent calculated on a per diem basis at the market rental rate as calculated by competent CITY staff. CITY’S acceptance of such rent shall neither constitute a renewal or extension of this Permit, nor give the PERMITTEE any rights in or to the Premises.”

We have read the permit many times. Item 9 also indicates that Peninsula owes local taxpayers over 1,300 days of market rate back-rent, something the Parks Department confirmed to us.

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Paul Webb August 3, 2022 at 10:41 am

As I read this, and I used to do leases and permits of public lands for a living for a while, the tennis club can stay as long as they pay any rent demand presented to them by the city. It does not give them an extension or a new permit, but it allows them to use the site as it has been used when the permit was in place.

Again, this is just another example of the city’s failure to operate in a businesslike way. It is not unique to the city. When I accepted a position with a state agency that sometimes leased its land to private businesses, I encountered numerous horrors, such as a lease to a very large telephone company that was five years(!) in arrears for its rent.

That said, the tennis club appears to have every right to use the property for a tennis club. It may not be right, but it is what it is.

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Geoff Page August 3, 2022 at 10:55 am

Paul, I certainly defer to your experience in these things. My comment comes from my years of working on construction claims. The documents matter more than anything else. If the tennis club does not have a current document stating they that have exclusive use of the courts, then, they don’t. Precedence does matter of course, but that is a matter for the courts to decide. Whether or not precedence matters is a subjective, subject to interpretation of law.

Until the matter gets into a court, which it won’t, or until they get a permit through the proper process, those tennis courts are now open to anyone who wants to use them. The police can’t do anything because there is nothing to enforce. That is what I mean, the people who “manage” things can only do so in accordance with documents. In this case, the police were managing the conflict and the tennis club had nothing. I have to say the pickleball people were within their rights , although they could have handled it far better and not generated such animosity.

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Paul Webb August 3, 2022 at 1:48 pm

Geoff, my interpretation comes directly from the document: ” If PERMITTEE continues to occupy the Premises after the expiration or earlier termination of this Permit, PERMITTEE will pay to CITY rent calculated on a per diem basis at the market rental rate as calculated by competent CITY staff.” Basically, they can squat as long as they pay rent when asked and until they are ordered to leave by the city (as in the granting of a new permit to another party).

That said, I haven’t (and don’t plan to) read the entire permit, but it still seems to me that the city has created a problem where none should exist. My experience dealing with tenants and permitees on government owned lands has been that once a person or organization gets established on public property, getting them off is very, very difficult, particularly if the document is written the way the city’s permit is written.

No matter whose interpretation is correct, the city has really dropped the ball on this one in so many respects.

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Geoff Page August 3, 2022 at 2:29 pm

Paul, maybe I missed something, has someone provided a copy of the expired permit?

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Michael Shinzaki August 3, 2022 at 2:54 pm

Geoff, we supplied a paper copy of the expired permit when the police was called on us. We have had this permit for quite some time. Anybody can get it from the City. We also have written confirmation that it is the latest permit, that no more recent one exists (until temp permits were rushed through behind the scenes last weekend). Except there is no rollover or holdover or renewal clause in the permit. So when it’s expired, it’s expired, and anybody can apply. That’s all we’re saying right now. Back to the police last week, the onus to show permit documentation was actually on whoever called the police to come remove us, but we provided the expired permit papers anyways. And that is why even though the police were called on us, the police ultimately affirmed our right to remain. I can email you a copy of the expired permit if you would like to see it.

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Stefan Boyland August 3, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Hi Paul. The Peninsula Tennis Club does not pay rent nor has it paid rent ever as far as we can tell. It pays a small $404 permit fee every 3 years. Thats it!

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Paul Webb August 3, 2022 at 4:06 pm

You know, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t play either sport, nor am I interested in starting. My only concern is that this is another example of a dysfunctional city government that works very hard at not getting anything right, including, apparently, something as simple as working out an agreement to allow equitable use of city facilities by competing groups. That said (again not having read the whole agreement) I would maintain that the tennis club can squat on and control the site until and unless they (a) are ordered off by the city or (b) they fail to pay any rent or permit fee demanded by the city.

An aside: I used to have to deal with competing groups of civil war re-enacters. Their conflicts make this look like bean bag.

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Jamie R Lawson August 3, 2022 at 12:05 am

It’s a mistake to even discuss “a competitive process to gain access to the courts”. The public tennis clubs have built and maintained the courts on the money of their memberships. The City, decades ago, granted them the right to develop the clubs on City property.

It a win-win for both the City and the club. The club doesn’t have the expense of the land, and the City doesn’t have the expense of building and maintaining the courts that are open to the public. The City doesn’t spend $65,000 to resurface the courts, the tennis club does, out of membership dues. The City doesn’t spend $100,000 for lights. The tennis club does. The City doesn’t put in the French drains so that the courts don’t flood. The tennis club does. The City doesn’t fix the concrete slab undergirding the court when it cracks, the tennis club does. And so on and so on. All the City does is make the land available. And the City gets a huge public benefit from that. Some other club for some other sport has no right to come in and just takeover those facilities, to the disadvantage of the people who have invested their money and their sweat to build a nice tennis club.

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Michael Shinzaki August 3, 2022 at 2:01 am

The last sentence is just false! There absolutely is a right to vie or apply for a SUP as a non-incumbent.

There are two aspects being mashed together: One is ‘can’ you (defined by law or charter, and is clearcut). Two is, what to do. Two is for folks to consider. Two can be tricky. A person could arrive at “I don’t wish to do this, but it would be best for the broader community”, or vice versa, as well as two other more intuitive combos. Two is the hangup, the heart of the discussion, and why a community compromise (with City as arbiter) is inevitably necessary.

But for part one: If you mean “has no right” as just an expression, like “how could they,” I have no argument. But if you meant literally cannot, there’s just no debate, as you absolutely can.

Lost in this is that magnitude of public benefit is perhaps our most pinnacle focus. I acknowledge your primary point about money. If it really were only about money, there are so many ways to work with it. You’re saying it’s not just about that, it’s about the public benefit. But I don’t think the variable of ‘public benefit’ is a good defense of status quo in this instance, because I am certain we can be significantly higher in the associated metrics: Our formal proposal has written guarantees on utilization rates, total visits, unique visits, other things, that if not met would lead to repurposing back to tennis. It’s not about one sport being better than the other. It’s that it would be the first public pickleball facility in a City of 1.5 million…public benefit measurements would vindicate.

Public benefit matters a lot, it’s probably our most primary point…

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Jamie R Lawson August 3, 2022 at 8:12 am

You’re wrong on that Mike. Certainly from a moral perspective. Once again, using my club as an example, we’ve put probably millions of dollars of member money into our club over the years. It’s not your club. It’s not the City’s. You can’t just have it because you want it.

Let’s take a hypothetical situation, for sake of argument. Let’s say that you made an imminent domain case and got the City to turn the land my club is on over to a pickleball club. That’s not going to happen, but for sake of argument let’s assume it. We’d have every right to take down the light poles, jackhammer the concrete slabs etc. on the way out the door. We might have to leave the fence posts, I’m not sure. We’d have to leave the parking lot, because that’s managed by the City, but everything else is what we built. We could dig up the gardens and take the trees with us because we put them in. They’re not the City’s. The City owns the land, but not what the Club developed on the land.

You’re looking for that nice flat piece of pavement to paint pickleball lines on. In most of the clubs, that’s not the City’s pavement! The land that’s underneath the pavement is the City’s but the club put the pavement in and paid to maintain it over time. They are public courts, not the City’s courts.

The padel courts at Tekteka (Barnes) are a good example. The courts are portable. The courts are _on_ the land, but they aren’t _part of_ the land. If a disagreement arose between Barnes and Tekteka, Tekteka could move those courts to another piece of land more hospitable. Or they could haul them to the dump if they wanted. The Barnes folks couldn’t somehow claim that they owned the courts just because they were there and bolted down. Likewise, if the City refused to renew the tennis club’s permit, the tennis club could jackhammer the pavement and haul the rubble to the dump leaving bare soil.

So I think when we get a better understanding of what the City owns and what the Club owns, the picture comes into better focus. The city allows the tennis club to put their concrete on City-owned land. If the City chose to not renew the club’s permit (a three-year cycle I think) I suspect (because the long history and tradition associated with the club creates justified expectations that investments in facilities will be allowed to serve the club over many years) the club could sue for damages to its members who made the investment, unless the City had a very very good reason to not renew. Like it’s right in the path of a new major highway and there’s no other place for the highway. And even if that were to happen, the City would have to pay out the value of the improvements because that’s how imminent domain works: if you dislodge someone via imminent domain, you are responsible to make them whole.

Moreover, you don’t have a good imminent domain case. Essentially, your imminent domain case argues that the City should give you the piece of pavement somebody else owns and has developed with their own money, because, while there are lots of pieces of flat land around, few of them have the kind of pavement that you want, and since the other guy’s pavement is difficult to move, you want to make a claim to the other guy’s pavement. That’s more like the tort of conversion than imminent domain. A valid imminent domain claim would require that there be a compelling reason that the other guy’s pavement needs to be moved someplace else.

This always comes back to the same place. Public pickleball in San Diego does not need to convert existing public tennis pavement to pickleball pavement. Pickleball needs its own pavement. Lots of people in the other racket sports communities support that. Let’s find a place to put some pickleball pavement.

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kh August 3, 2022 at 9:40 am

This is S.O.P. for any lease, public or private.

If I lease a commercial space, I pay to build the restaurant inside of it. If I install lighting and plumbing that has a 50 year lifespan that does not entitle me to keep the place for 50 years, or a single day beyond the current lease term. If I choose not to renew your lease, you’re free to take all your improvements with you that you can.

Yes, a tennis club or any lessee needs some assurance that their investment can get an ROI or they’ll never invest anything in it. If that requires longer lease terms than what exist now, so be it. If it requires the city to reimburse some depreciated amount in the event they need the land back asap, so be it. I read that Barnes just renewed their lease, and has invested a ton of money.

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Vern August 3, 2022 at 12:09 pm

“…Let’s find a place to put some pickleball pavement…”

101 Ash appears to be available!
Multi-story, air conditioned pickleminton.
There’s an MTS bus stop close by, too!
Stack ’em & pack ’em!

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Geoff Page August 3, 2022 at 2:34 pm

Mr. Lawson, can you provide the tennis club’s required financial statement showing all income and expenditures for the past ten years? That might settle the argument and it would support what you say. I’m surprised you didn’t just show those to quiet things down.

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Stefan Boyland August 3, 2022 at 4:13 pm

The Peninsula members did not build these courts. San Diego tax payers did. If you can show me something credible that says different, I’d love to see! Peninsula never paid for the land in rent or in any fashion. Let’s see what the Permit says:

Page 1:

“Term. The term (Term) shall be for the period of three years, beginning on January 1, 2016, and expiring on December 31 2018, provided, however, that this Permit may be terminated by either party for convenience upon thirty (30) days prior written notice to the non-terminating party.”

A termination for convenience clause enables a party to a contract to bring the contract to an end without the need to establish that the other party is in default, for example because the client party’s needs have changed, or in order to arrange for another party to complete the contract.

Parties may agree to include a termination for convenience clause in a contract under the freedom of contract principle.

The permit goes on to say the Permittee has no rights to this property once the term has ended. The City of San Diego was very careful with this Permit, this no-rent Permit, to protect itself and have discretion, with 30 days written notice, to make changes and plenty of recourse if the tenant did not leave.

Are you stating that the permit terms are illegal or that I am misinterpreting them?

Barnes Tennis Center is totally different. They have a 35 year lease that is 175 pages long that is far different, due to the money it invested in the property. Barnes built their court and facility. Peninsula did not! They resurfaced the courts 4 years ago (expired permit says they must do so every 3 years, so that is a violation too).

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kh August 3, 2022 at 7:55 am

It certainly sounds like it’s been a win-win for the city and club for many years. With little incentive to consider or reevaluate or question that status quo. (Curious to see more on this allegation of Peninsula hiding revenue.)

But what the city or Peninsula benefits is secondary. First and foremost, these parks are created for the public at large, even if that requires uncomfortable discussions.

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OB Bike Lover August 2, 2022 at 2:11 pm

Regardless of the pickleball/tennis thing, what a scandal about that public property being hijacked by a private entity, needs to be investigated and the city needs payment for all those years asap!!! And an RFP for new managers.

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Jamie R Lawson August 3, 2022 at 1:09 am

It’s highly unlikely that the public property is being “hijacked” by anyone. Firstly, a public tennis club usually has four separate entities.

1) The Club: A not for profit that raises a membership and dues from that membership promises to use the money from dues to build and keep a tennis club that’s open to the public.
2) The City: Says “the Club can use this City-owned land for the tennis club but it must be available to the public”.
3) A management company: A non-profit that services the club, and contracts other services out. They hire a plumber when the plumbing is broken, and they setup a court reservation system, etc. They also subcontract to tennis pros.
4) Tennis Pros: Who teach clinics and lessons and so forth and generally operate the tennis education program. Teaching programs are important to any tennis club. Much more so than for sports like racquetball.

There is always some tension between the education program and the “open to the public part”. Of course the clinics and stuff are certainly open to the public, but the Club makes a promise to the City that courts will be available for walk-ons from the public. So if someone wants to drive-up and play, they can get a court. The management company is usually responsible for making sure that all parts of the public are served.

The management company is also responsible for making sure that the pros and coaches are properly certified, and bonded, and that they have their own insurance and stuff like that. The pros also have their own gear (ball baskets, orange cones, etc.).

So basically, the management company can say “Joe Pro, a tennis pro and subcontractor to us, is running a youth clinic. We’ll give him courts 6-9 from 2PM-4PM.” Joe Pro collects his coaching fee. And if there are 30 students, It’s probably 4 coaches out there. Regardless, the students pay the coaches. They don’t pay the Club. It has nothing to do with the dues. In fact, most public clubs don’t even require membership to get lessons from the pro. So Joe Pro is pretty popular. There are 10 people willing to pay Joe $60 for a lesson once a week. It could be a completely separate deal from the Club. And Rick Pro may only have 6 people willing to pay him, and maybe only $50 for a lesson. He’s not doing as good as Joe. But it’s still a separate deal from the Club itself. Typically, the club will ask for, say 20% of the lesson fee to cover using up a court and that stuff, but the pro has his own deal, and is a subcontractor. Not always, but usually. The club could just say that they choose the pros to subcontract to, and the pro has to pay $8/hour for the use of the court. That way the pros are at liberty to charge whatever they think they are worth, and the club doesn’t get involved in the business of their subcontractor. So at the end of the year, the club might show a few thousand dollars in lessons and clinics, and four pros could take in $300,000 in revenue, but the club would never know exactly how much because the club is just getting paid for court time.

In all likelihood, this is what goes on, and there is no corruption or hanky-panky whatsoever, so long as the pros report the income on their taxes. But that’s not the club’s problem. The pros typically aren’t employees, so the club doesn’t report income for them. I don’t see anything in the description Stefan gave that sounds fishy on its face.

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Michael Shinzaki August 3, 2022 at 2:50 am

Items 18 and 31 on the Peninsula SUP. Item 18 is fees, citing ‘Permittee’ (PTC) as the one and only entity that can collect revenue on ‘Premises.’ Item 31 says Permittee cannot assign or sublicense any rights granted to Permittee on Premise.

Item 18 says, go ahead and charge money. Item 31 says no one else gets these rights without further permission. We checked with the City, and they have not extended rights to anybody else to collect money on the Robb Field tennis courts besides previous Permittee. This type of item is why, when I taught pickleball at University City Racquet Club and Barnes Tennis Center, the club collected the money, then siphoned it back out to me. They had to collect the money. Me as instructor was not allowed. UCRC and BTC did it the right way. An extra, but mandatory step.

Peninsula doesn’t appear to do that. It’s exactly your analogy of Joe Pro: ‘Regardless, the students pay the coaches. They don’t pay the Club.’ Parks confirmed to us (in writing!) that if any individual was collecting money, and not PTC itself, it was a violation of permit. I get it, some folks aver ‘well, who cares, it’s such a minor detail.’ All we’re saying is the permit should be followed.

The sample story continues: “the club doesn’t get involved in the business of their subcontractor. So at the end of the year, the club might show a few thousand dollars in lessons and clinics, and four pros could take in $300,000 in revenue, but the club would never know exactly how much because the club is just getting paid for court time.” This is exactly what is happening in at Peninsula. But it violates item 31. Peninsula is hence reporting its tax forms ‘correctly,’ but it’s not collecting the revenue correctly, which would lead to filling out the tax forms with different numbers if done in such a way. Several implications and things that can branch from this.

“In all likelihood, this is what goes on, and there is no corruption or hanky-panky whatsoever, so long as the pros report the income on their taxes.” We have no comment on the pros and how they report their income. We are saying that PTC underreports its revenue by an estimated $500k+ each year. And these estimations are substantiated. We have combed through all the publicly available data with legal counsel. The City gave us all of their recent financial documentation spreadsheets. We have their IRS Form 990’s (public record). And we have their official court reservation logs (relayed to us by concerned members) and Board Minutes.

On February 3rd 2022, PTC wrote a letter to the City saying: “In addition to private lessons, PTC’s instructors hold 10 junior and adult clinics per week in which both members and nonmembers participate.” Website says $20 for members and $25 for non-members for clinics. We estimate 30 players per clinic, based on testimonies and video. It’s some $60 for private lessons, and we see them on the court logs too. Extrapolate these numbers for say 330 days a year. We’ve seen some court logs showing 20 clinics in a week. That’s 20 clinics*30 people*$20 = $12k in one week alone on just clinics. And yet, the reported revenue most years is sub-$50k, which is probably the club’s monthly revenue, instead of an annual $500k+. “Well of course, because the coaches are taking the money directly.” Exactly, but that’s a violation of permit. Why is it like this, or what does it solve? I don’t fully know. But I do know it’s a permit violation. Parks confirmed.

Every dollar of revenue is supposed to go through PTC itself and not paid in cash directly to any management figure or coach. I’ve seen this policy first-hand at other clubs with similar SUP’s. PTC is funneling like 90% of total revenue through individuals, blatantly violating the permit. NONE of this money is being accounted for on PTC’s books. None of it is itemized in the annual budget and records, which is a mandatory submission (revenue, expenditure, capital outlay, etc.) and the City confirmed to us that they do not know where any of them are. If these budgets were submitted, City would have noticed this activity at some point in the past. I am not saying it was done on purpose or for a certain reason. Only that the major money is not getting reported to the City or the Federal government. Again, item #31 of the permit, you can’t sublease or assign permit rights to individuals or entities outside of the permit. It was for PTC only. They are the only entity or thing that is allowed to accept revenue at the Robb tennis courts, yet they only report about $10 per court per day. We know that’s not the only money that rolls through.

We have almost every document and data point for the past six years. I think it’s all public. There is significant omission, not accounting for the biggest components. It’s not off by a little bit. It’s off by $500k or more per year by our calculations. And that’s not allowed! My focus and interest is not really on money at all. But this doesn’t corroborate when Parks says the club is in good standing. I’ve outlined three violations of permit. We know of at least three more. The City Attorney and City Auditor have launched formal investigations into the Peninsula Tennis Club for these financial topics (confirmed to us in writing). The City/Parks should be more involved and more concerned, in my opinion. I’m not calling it corruption. I’m just relaying what we’ve stumbled upon and folks can decide for themselves.

The permit also clearly says that a permittee owes per diem back-rent if they overstay an expiry, which cannot be renewed or rolled over but must be reapplied for. It’s been 1,300 days! It’s as clear as day in item 9.

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Jamie R Lawson August 3, 2022 at 6:49 am

I was speaking from the perspective of my club and the way it does business. I assume others are very similar because the same people on the City side are negotiating all of them. Our SUP has provisions for a management company. That company can operate a pro shop. They string rackets and sell gear. The management company works out the deals with the racket companies and all of that. It’s all provisioned in the SUP. The Club doesn’t see how many rackets were strung last month, nor does it really want to. We don’t want to have to account for that and we don’t have the infrastructure to account for that. That’s the management company’s job. But we’re all sure glad that we can get our rackets strung. The management company is empowered (by the SUP) to subcontract to instructors. In our case (and we’re extraordinarily meticulous) the instructors report their hours to the club, and the club gets a small fee to cover court use. But the club doesn’t collect money for lessons or clinics, nor does it buy balls to fill the instructors’ baskets. The club doesn’t have the machinery to do that. In our case, a couple of the subs are Yonex-sponsored, a couple are Wilson-sponsored, and I think one is Head sponsored. The Wilson-sponsored pros fill their ball baskets with Wilson balls, and the Yonex-sponsored pros fill their baskets with Yonex balls, and they all do that at their own expense. When sub-W does a demo day, it’s Wilson rackets. When sub-Y does a demo day, its Yonex rackets, but the Club doesn’t get involved except to collect court usage fees and insure that there are courts available to play even though the instructors are doing their thing on some of the other courts. Sometimes the management company (not the club) will make change for a member who is going to a lesson, because the management company has the cash register, but it would be absurd to try to run all of that business through the Club. Especially since the instructors are subcontractors. At Balboa, the instructors are employees. That’s a new thing. They just moved to that model (in the past all of that stuff went through Geoff). But usually it’s subs. If the instructors are subs, they are going to be collecting the money, not the Club, not the management company. The Club collects dues and court usage fees. The Club has zero employees. The management company has a couple of employees. They operate the desk where people check in, and they empty the trash and keep the club house clean. The Club doesn’t get involved with that. I don’t know the specifics of Peninsula’s deal, but I assume it’s pretty similar. The language on their website suggests so.

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Stefan Boyland August 3, 2022 at 4:29 pm

Jamie, you make some valid points. Which club are you referring to to keep this from getting confusing?

Yes, these special use permits do provide an avenue to sublease and or assign rights to others, yet that has not been given at Peninsula and to my knowledge any other clubs. If the City explicitly permits this in writing, the permit does have a provision for that.

We are NOT talking about IC’s vs Employees which is a separate issue. We are merely talking about the Permittee collecting and accounting for all monies on its property. And there is a simple reason for this. Transparency. The public has a right to know how money is being spent and resources utilized on its land with zero-rent. I keep saying zero-rent, because I want folks to notice the incredible deal these clubs are getting and know that we view this as a great privilege, if we were ever to be granted one.

So it’s important for the public to be able to oversee what going on at the publics park. And Peninsula appears to be blatantly circumventing that transparency allowing its management to take money outside of its Permittee without accounting for that anywhere..

It not just morally wrong, it’s a violation of the permit terms and the permit, goes on to say if this occurs, it is an immediate termination of the permit.

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Betsy Mains August 2, 2022 at 2:31 pm

I don’t understand why there is such vitriol for pickleball? Surely the pickleball players weren’t asked to leave because of a lack of payment of the court fee. Plenty of pickleball players would happily shell over the meager fee just to have a place to play. They are simply not allowed to play. Why not? There are several mixed-use facilities that accommodate both pickleball AND tennis. With limited park space and little opportunity to build new facilities, what is the issue with sharing spaces to accommodate both sports? Or repurposing a few underutilized facilities? Tennis has an oversupply (as evidenced by the ever-vacant courts) and pickleball has a substantial need (and almost no facilities in the city). It seems like a win-win.

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Jamie R Lawson August 3, 2022 at 12:29 am

Betsy, for the most part, when the tennis club started out, the City placed a restriction on the use of the land that it could only be used for tennis. They did this primarily because they didn’t want the tennis club to, say, sublet the property to perhaps a department store or something. The City wanted a guarantee that the City’s land was going to be used for a tennis club that would be open to the public. If the tennis club allows some other kind of activity on that land, they are in violation of their agreement with the City, and the City can shut them down. So when the tennis clubs say “no” to pickleball, it’s usually because they’ve made a promise to the City to keep non-tennis activities out of the club. I’ve seen times when kids will come onto the courts with their baseball mits and play catch, and they are asked to leave because that’s not what the City granted the land use for.

The issues with dual use and repurposing are that the City doesn’t pay for the facilities. The City just makes the land available. The tennis club pays for the courts and the club house and everything else. That all comes out of membership dues. So if by “dual use” and “repurposing” you mean that some other group should be able to come in and say “love the way you resurfaced these six courts last year. Must have cost your members close to $50,000. That’s going to work really well for our members because we’re taking those courts from your members and giving them to our members. Same thing for the wind screens. Those must have cost you at least $15,000. Love ’em. They’ll work fine for us. The lights to. Glad your members could put up the $100K. We’ll be using those lights from now on. Hope you don’t mind continuing to pay that electrical bill. That’s got to cost you at least $2500 a month. Glad you’re going to pay that bill for us.” You see, that’s not how stuff works.

I think there is a false impression that the City takes care of all of this stuff. For the most part, they don’t even pour the slab. At the club I play tennis at, we’ve got a piggy bank fund that’s been accumulating for years, from member dues. At some point, we’re hoping to use that money to put in two additional courts. The City tells us what we can do on that land (which in our case is “tennis only”) and the City will probably tell us where the fence posts can go (they actually come out every so often and make sure we haven’t moved the fence posts, which I guess would be an indicator that we might be using the land for something besides tennis), but all the money for those new courts, including the fence posts, will come from member dues. The membership at Peninsula built the place with member dues, and they are rightly perturbed when folks who play a different sport go to the City and ask the City to turn over the assets that Peninsula Tennis’s membership have paid for to another sport and another club. Especially when tennis is more popular than it’s been in years.

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Michael Shinzaki August 3, 2022 at 1:29 am

“the City placed a restriction on the use of the land that it could only be used for tennis.”

Jamie, are you aware of a known document regarding the first part, a restriction on land-use as narrow as just ‘tennis’? Not being facetious, genuinely asking. We’ve seen land-use documents for comparable places, and they just say recreation. Recreational activity, undefined.

“They did this primarily because they didn’t want the tennis club to, say, sublet the property to perhaps a department store or something.”

The sublease restrictions are in the SUP. It wouldn’t need to be in a broader document, which would hamstring change. But there are examples of recreation spaces changing usage. Are you positive there’s an overarching land-use document for the property itself, restrictive to tennis? I know the permit has the word tennis on it, but something further?

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Jamie R Lawson August 3, 2022 at 7:00 am

Mike–Once again, I don’t know what the deal is at Peninsula. But I’m told by the President of my club that it states “tennis only”. And the management company makes other stuff disappear. We’ve got some walkways that are particularly attractive to skateboarders. They get rousted by the management company very quickly because it’s tennis only.

I had a talk with Geoff G. a few years ago (Balboa). The Geoff-talk was specifically about pickleball because I thought Balboa would be a good venue, and I was told that they were restricted to “tennis only”. I assume that UCRC is broader, because they have racquetball courts, and that’s probably why they were able to get some pickleball in. When we get our final SUP (been waiting for years now) I’ll gladly share the language.

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Stefan Boyland August 3, 2022 at 8:00 am

Jamie, I have the permits for multiple clubs right in front of me. It says the clubs must be used for “tennis court related activities.” I have four of the permits and the language is identical. In fact the entire permit language is nearly identical of the 22 pages, to the word! Yes the name of the club is different and the dates are different and usually there are a couple of sentences near the end that are different (benches, clubhouse), be 99.9% of the permits are identical. And pacific beach tennis club offers pickleball 18 hours a week on 2 of its courts without ANY modification of the language. I spoke to Andy Field about this personally and he said he has absolutely no problem with the tennis clubs allowing pickleball on the courts. He said “it is their choice.” He even told me to go to the clubs and see if they will do more of it.

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Stefan Boyland August 3, 2022 at 8:18 am

Jamie, also the Peninsulas tennis courts have not been resurfaced for 4 years (permit says must be done every 3 years). It says in the City report (public) that it cost about $75K to do. Amortized, thats almost $19K per year. Peninsula said it caters to 1,400 players a year. Thats about $13 per player per year to keep the courts resurfaced. Not very expensive! Windscreens were ripped and shredded there for years. They finally replaced them within the last year for about $20K or about $3.50 per player per year. Again, not very expensive.

Those are by far the two biggest expenses I see for this club. They pay no rent. ZERO. They pay a small permit fee of $404 every three years. That’s about $135 a year amortized. Not much for 2 acres of near ocean-front park space!

Who pays for this land? The City. Taxpayers. I’ve looked at private rents in the area. For 2 acres of premium real estate such as this, I would estimate a rent of about $80,000 a month. I also noticed that taxpayers build these tennis courts over 50 years ago, not the tennis folks.

It is true the tennis club upkeeps the courts, albeit resurfacing a bit more slowly than required. The rusted out fencing at Peninsula has not been replaced in 50 years, we think. The signage is faded and wood decaying to the point of cracks and missing pieces falling out.

The clubhouse or shack is an eye sore. The bare minimum has been done to upkeep that place. For such a premium property, I think we can do so much better, and use proceeds from a pickleball park to beautify the rest of Robb Field and upgrade and increase the public bathrooms.

Perhaps serving 10x more local residents than the current operator serves. While tennis is worrying about overflow courts for Barnes tournaments serving mostly out of town players, pickleball is focuses right here on serving the Ocean Beach and surrounding towns 50,000 Pickleball players. We have been waiting for 5-years now with the City. Laying more concrete would likely take another 5-years to approve and may not pass an approval process as many park officials have told me personally, they will not approve more “concrete jungles” as the current cement space that exists is not being used efficiently.

With 51 public city owned tennis courts within a 4 mile radio of Robb Field, on average, only 13 are in use at any given time. And 26 during prime time . Consolidation and efficient use of park space at BARE minimum is an important discussion that should be had, and not ignored or put off. This is an imminent need and the problem, I believe, is only getting worse.

With that said, Jamie, I do appreciate your perspective and sharing what you do know. If only Parks and Recreation would share half of what you shared with us in a timely fashion, we might not have had to wait for 5-years to get to where we are today. Still zero public dedicated, permanent pickleball courts in the City of San Diego.

Best, Stefan

This may not be the

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Carole Farr August 2, 2022 at 4:53 pm

Instead of working with the City or commercially developing their own sports facility as many others including Bobby Riggs in Encinitas and Smash! Badminton in Mira Mesa have done, Pickleball-SD has developed a bad case of tunnel vision focused on Peninsula Tennis Club over the last year and a half. Meanwhile, Barnes may be exploring adding more dedicated pickleball courts, the City has opened a new dedicated pickleball court at Fairbrook Park, the former Astiz Ranch property on Campo Road has been purchased and is reportedly being developed as a pickleball club, Rancho Arbolitos in Poway has converted many courts to pickleball, and there is a new club being built in La Mesa. The market is responding and these guys are stuck on taking over a community tennis club with bush league tactics like this one. What a waste of energy. Never mind that they interrupted a kids tennis camp (that’s why a bunch of kids were there!) — they were not props being paraded by their parents as these guys so callously claimed.

One other claim the Pickleball guys have made is that there are ZERO dedicated public pickleball courts in San Diego which is NOT TRUE (they have them at Barnes, Fairbrook Park and Pacific Beach Tennis Club to name a few), but this is the kind of fiction they will use to get what they want.

While the tennis community has been presenting concepts to add dedicated pickleball and more tennis courts, and will continue to advance proposals that address the needs of BOTH SPORTS, Pickleball-SD is only advancing a proposal to TAKE an established tennis club that has served the OB community well.

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Michael Shinzaki August 2, 2022 at 6:43 pm

Hi Carole,

We continue to work with the City as we have for some time now. We have never chosen to not work with the City, we feel it’s the only right way to broker a solution for the community. Let’s talk court examples. Let’s go through the list. We exhaustively research these locations, but I can see how there’s a discrepancy between how you and we see it:

“Barnes may be exploring adding more dedicated pickleball courts.” I have helped brainstorm the expansion of pickleball at Barnes since September of 2020 when I launched their program from scratch as a volunteer (donated 2,000 hours!). I even offered my own personal funds to add the courts, but it was declined on two separate occasions. They told me back back then they would definitely build more. But there are still three, facing the wrong direction, with no lights. They’re allegedly replacing the current three with more Padel, which is why we don’t classify them as permanent (because they are demonstrably at risk, at whim).

“the City has opened a new dedicated pickleball court at Fairbrook Park” One is better than zero, but our express goal is a facility of scale to offer the pickleball community resources for beginners, adaptive players, seniors, youth, veterans, and other demographics. Lessons, clinics, ladders, leagues, exhibitions, tournaments. One court way northeast implies a huge need in SD Proper.

“the former Astiz Ranch property on Campo Road has been purchased and is reportedly being developed as a pickleball club” Helix South is not located in the City of San Diego. I am not focused (although I am often inspired) by what other cities are doing. They are destined to be supremely busy, which will demonstrate exactly what we’ve been saying all along. Except, City of SD needs a solution (even just one!) too.

“Rancho Arbolitos in Poway has converted many courts to pickleball,” I just got off the phone with my contact who works there, who said this is wrong. The courts are all dual-striped, none are dedicated/converted.

“and there is a new club being built in La Mesa.” Not located in the City of San Diego. Again, I am inspired by what other cities are doing, but the City of SD is my focus.

Pacific Beach Tennis Club does not have dedicated nor permanent courts either. They are dual-striped. I am very familiar with these courts, as I used to be the head pickleball pro and taught on them.

The youth camp on Thursday was on the other half of the facility. We had the court logs in advance. If someone wanted us to move a bit for a photo op, we happily would have if anybody asked. But when we vacated, two adult men took the court, and 3 of 6 were still empty.

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Stefan Boyland August 3, 2022 at 9:35 am

Carole, Bobby Riggs repurposed its tennis courts. They did NOT lay new cement. Pacific Beach does NOT have any dedicated, permanent pickleball courts. ZERO. The former Mt. Helix Tennis Club you mention off of Campo road is in Spring Valley, well outside the City of San Diego and that club has not been built, yet. And Barnes Tennis has 3 courts with temporary nets, facing into the sun (east-west) with fencing that makes it a hazard. The nets are so flimsy, the club put boulders on the court to hold them up! We notified Barnes that both the boulders are a tripping hazard and broken fence is risk to getting foot caught in it and instead fixing or replacing either, Barnes put a sign up that says “play at your own risk.” Barnes invests almost nothing into those courts and instead uses pickleball money to upkeep tennis.

As far as our “protest” at Peninsula, we specifically decided choose a time to disrupt as FEW tennis players as possible. while still making our point that these are public courts, open to the entire pubic, and that no one has had a permit on them for almost 4 full years! Tennis players alike were bewildered when police basically told them as much!

The kids were using 4 of the 6 courts on the west side of the club about 200 feet away. We disrupted ZERO kids. Camp ended at 4:30pm and they came over to watch the police tell everyone that basically they could not kick us out and we had a right to be there. We left 15 minutes later on our own accord. And 4 tennis courts were free when we vacated. Everyone got to play tennis and pickleball. We co-existed for about 2 hours that day…first time ever at Peninsula!

Lastly, ALL tennis clubs REFUSE to release court utilization logs, a travesty to the public that is trying to assess usage. Thankfully over the past few months, members have been sharing court logs with us! And they corroborate what aerial footage we have of the clubs. On average the club are vacant mostly, using just 25% of the courts on average. Carole, you justified keeping court logs private by saying we (the public) would just use them against the club, basically admitting the point that the clubs are not well utilized. The answer I think is transparency. Release the courts logs for the last 5-years and let the public decide for itself. And release the board minutes as the club did do once do in the past. What are you hiding?

Mike and I are simply two simple guys trying make this “insanely difficult process” MUCH MORE open and fair to ALL. Go to our website to see the see the reports, data and video evidence we have compiled over the last year as volunteers…for no money. We do this for the good of community…tennis and pickleball alike.

The old argument that “I was hear first” does not allow for necessary change. These issues should be debated on their merits. And largely, the City is responsible for this debacle. Thank you, Stefan

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Billy August 2, 2022 at 6:01 pm

I’m an avid player and I play both sports. The city has clearly dropped the ball. One of the main reasons PTC makes sense as a main hub for Pickleball in San Diego is it is central and under utilized. I’ve seen statistics where someone has been out to PTC for a week straight and documented hours and usage and only 30% of the courts were used on a Saturday which is usually a really busy day for tennis. It also should be made clear that there was no tennis camp disrupted. The kids were enjoying their tennis camp until PTC staff went over and told the parents to bring the kids over to the other side were only 2 courts were being utilized for tennis. So if you stage kids in the foreground anticipating media and pictures making it seem like the kids are being impacted seems morally wrong. The kids should’ve continue their camp versus having “adults” tell them to come over and see what’s happening next-door between adults. The main point is there is enough space for both why not allow compromise. That is all Pickleball is asking for. You go to any major city in the US and there is-Pickleball. For San Diego to be a city of its size and for people to come visit, flying to downtown San Diego and the only options for permanent Pickleball courts is Chula Vista, Carlsbad, Encinitas or private courts at someone’s house. Tell me how does this make sense San Diego?

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JS August 4, 2022 at 5:28 pm

It should be made clear that the youth tennis camp was disrupted. The kids were enjoying their last day of camp until that group occupied the area where the camp was to conclude and the “last day of camp” festivities were to be held. According to my daughter, one of the instructors had to leave them to address the situation, so yes, part of the tennis instruction ended early because of the group’s arrival. I am a parent who was there and at no point did any member of the PTC staff tell me to bring the kids over. The kids were not staged and we were unaware that the pickleball group was taking photos and recording them. I did not consent to have photos or video be taken of my kids. Now the kids and parents are victims of unethical digital manipulation and cyberbullying. It’s just sad. Since the pickleball group knew children were going to be present at the facility, I wish they would have chosen another way to raise awareness for their cause.

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frankf August 3, 2022 at 7:31 am

Oh how funny is this? The most radical rag in town gets 64 comments (so far) not on politics, not on civil rights, not on women’s rights, not on the invasion of Ukraine……but on pickle ball versus tennis.

Lord have mercy, I’ve seen it all!

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Chris August 3, 2022 at 7:43 am

Pickleball vs. tennis is much more fun than real world problems.

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Frank Gormlie August 3, 2022 at 9:32 am

Funny or ironic, the Rag provides a platform for local issues ignored by the mainstream and other media.

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Stefan Boyland August 3, 2022 at 9:40 am

The OB Rag does an excellent job providing a forum for a fair and honest discussion of the issues at hand. I am only saddened that it has taken me some time to discover this great resource.

Frank and crew, excellent job. And please continue to ask the tough questions of us and everyone else. I truly think it makes us better to have civil, respectful dialogue like this. Big fan o this forum/publication.

Thank you!

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Dr. Jack Hammer August 3, 2022 at 10:22 am

Ya’ll amaze me with the amount of typing and text that you have generated. I can only dream that someday this type of discourse will be utilized to create a better world.

Pickle Ball vs Tennis?

Talk about first world problems…

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triggerfinger August 3, 2022 at 10:58 am

Do you live in a 3rd world country? Maybe take your own advice and go fix the Congo with your keyboard if this such a waste of typing. Or go solve the ukraine crisis.

This is the obrag, and this is an ob issue.

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Frank Gormlie August 3, 2022 at 11:00 am

Ah, Jack, certainly is good to hear from you. It’s been a truism at the Rag for years that an article published about the ‘certain date of the coming of the end’ wouldn’t generate any comments / interest, but one on the best bars in OB would create a 100 comments. (true story – that one about the ‘best bars in OB’.)

Your comment, of course, is a reference to the ol’ ‘three worlds’ model that we used to have about the socio-politico-economics of the planet. The US and the “West” were the First World. However, with the rise of China, who used to be part of the “third world” as a world power, the model falls apart. For instance, who is now the “Second World”?

But the comment still highlights the world-level trivial nature of this brouhaha. Yet, the Rag continues to provide a platform and forum for local issues – which you know all too well, as you provided community leadership when the Rag tried to make OB’s homeless a human rights issue.

Cheers, mi amigo!

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Michael August 4, 2022 at 6:50 am

Why not just have pickleball at the YMCA and other senior oriented centers? Tennis is a sport played in schools and Universities. Pickleball is a children’s game played largely by senior citizens. Seniors should be accomdated in some way but this whole thing is silly. There’s pickleball courts in mission valley.

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Chris August 4, 2022 at 6:08 pm

In truth it’s played by all ages and in the past few years its popularity as exploded where it’s a pretty even mix. If you live in San Diego you’ve seen that with your very own eyes.

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Chris August 4, 2022 at 6:18 pm

So to say it’s mostly seniors is just not a true statement. Not at this stage. Whether or not the PTC should modify their existing tennis courts for pickleball is one thing and I understand their reluctance, but the city should at this point listen to the people who play it and find a way to accommodate them.

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Stefan Boyland August 5, 2022 at 5:49 am

Micheal, pickleball is attracting more people under 40 than over 40 for the past year. The sport is played by people of all ages, and although its true it started out as a sport that more seniors played it has grown massively in size and with those that play the sport.

Pickleball has ZERO public permanent courts in the City of San Diego. Tennis has 550 courts. Tennis has 12 facilities and 4 in the Ocean Beach area (with 4 miles of Peninsula) which are empty most of the day and weekends…I am against empty tennis courts. We can share space and give Pickleball a home. Pickleball needs a home and not in 5 or 10 years but now. Or actually 5 years ago!

City needs to get on this and either consider our proposal or build something fast (this year) and not with 1-2-3-4 bowling lanes but with 16+ courts, a bowling alley. And we will support!

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Josh J August 5, 2022 at 4:16 pm

The legal points do not signify if maintaining tennis facilities for tennis use is the right public policy.

I too believe that park land should be distributed to different kinds of facilities and activities to maximum fair public benefit. But I do not believe converting tennis facilities to pickleball use accomplishes that.

I believe that the city needs a higher proportion of its park resources devoted to tennis rather than less.

First, I believe that there is both high demand and latent demand for tennis in San Diego – tennis would be even bigger than it is in San Diego if not for a scarcity of public courts. That scarcity is magnified by the substantial growth of tennis in the last few years and the ongoing conversion of private tennis facilities into real estate developments due to the escalation of land values. San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club near to Peninsula is rumored to be shutting down soon. The existence of peak and off-peak hours or weekends or seasons is not evidence that tennis has insufficient demand to justify the existence of public tennis facilities.

Moreover, other sports may be better served with facilities than tennis. Tennis courts should not be converted to other use if it cannot be determined that tennis facilities receive a disproportionate share of park resources compared to all sports and uses, not just compared to pickleball. I do not believe that tennis is overserved relative to other sports, but rather underserved.

I think the claim that there needs to be compromise between tennis and pickleball interests is mis-cast. A compromise over use of an existing facility assumes that one party does not have the legitimate expectation to use the whole facility for its present purpose. Users of tennis facilities and the people who supported them over the years have that legitimate expectation.

Likewise, if pickleball interests succeed in getting pickleball facilities built, they would have the legitimate expectation that the courts would not be converted to padel, platform tennis or badminton courts in a few years if enough players of those sports complain.

Pickleball interests should be served, through the park development process, but not at the expense of tennis, another possibly under-served sport. It may take time to develop facilities for relatively new and growing sports, just as was true for tennis generations ago and football before that, etc.

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Josh J August 5, 2022 at 11:49 pm

The legal points do not signify if maintaining tennis facilities for tennis use is the right public policy.

I too believe that park land should be distributed to different kinds of facilities and activities to maximum fair public benefit. But I do not believe converting tennis facilities to pickleball use accomplishes that.

I believe that the city needs a higher proportion of its park resources devoted to tennis rather than less.

First, I believe that there is both high demand and latent demand for tennis in San Diego – tennis would be even bigger than it is in San Diego if not for a scarcity of public courts. That scarcity is magnified by the substantial growth of tennis in the last few years and the ongoing conversion of private tennis facilities into real estate developments due to the escalation of land values. San Diego Tennis and Racquet Club near to Peninsula is rumored to be shutting down soon. The existence of peak and off-peak hours or weekends or seasons is not evidence that tennis has insufficient demand to justify the existence of public tennis facilities.

Moreover, other sports may be better served with facilities than tennis. Tennis courts should not be converted to other use if it cannot be determined that tennis facilities receive a disproportionate share of park resources compared to all sports and uses, not just compared to pickleball. I do not believe that tennis is overserved relative to other sports, but rather underserved.

I think the claim that there needs to be compromise between tennis and pickleball interests is mis-cast. A compromise over use of an existing facility assumes that one party does not have the legitimate expectation to use the whole facility for its present purpose. Users of tennis facilities and the people who supported them over the years have that legitimate expectation.

Likewise, if pickleball interests succeed in getting pickleball facilities built, they would have the legitimate expectation that the courts would not be converted to padel, platform tennis or badminton courts in a few years if enough players of those sports complain.

Pickleball interests should be served, through the park development process, but not at the expense of tennis, another possibly under-served sport. It may take time to develop facilities for relatively new and growing sports, just as was true for tennis generations ago and football before that, etc.

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Debbie August 12, 2022 at 12:19 pm

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