What Was Happening in Ocean Beach One Decade Ago – August 2012 ?

by on August 18, 2022 · 1 comment

in History, Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach Town Council, August 2012

Every now and then we step back and gaze at our seaside village through the lens of time.

Today, we view what was happening in Ocean Beach one decade ago in August of 2012. Here are some of the stories from the pages of the OB Rag that month.

OB Planning Board Takes on Variances

August 1, 2012 The Planning Board was taking on the issue of the “Variance Dilemma.” After some discussion, the Board unanimously agreed to request an immediate moratorium on variances in the RM 2-4 zone, the FEMA 100 yr Flood Plain A, without alley access and on substandard lots while the OBPB works with City Staff for a policy solution to these specific parcels. And Chair Landry Watson made a request for a referendum of the Ocean Beach citizens in the upcoming ballot to help the OBPB know their wishes however it was decided that the moratorium will be requested first.

Ron’s stacked rocks near entrance to OB. Photo by Dave Rice of San Diego Reader.

Ron – the Rock Stacker

Dave Rice, at the San Diego Reader told us about Ron, the OBcean who stacks rocks in his “spare” time.  Ron was stacking his rocks along the San Diego River just outside OB but police officials moved in and took them down.

An interesting phenomenon has been noticeable to drivers leaving Ocean Beach northbound on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard over the past week. First, a pile of precariously balanced rocks appeared, followed by another and another, gradually taking the form of a winding serpentine sculpture. (Go here for the remainder)

Two Women Seriously Injured in Fall from Sunset Cliffs

Two women were seriously injured Saturday when they fell off Sunset Cliffs near Ladera Street in Point Loma. The incident occurred around 3:50 a.m. where the women fell in the 700 block of Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Witnesses reported that one woman lost her footing – and when the other went to save her, she too fell.  One of them fell 40 feet and broke a leg.  A Fire Department helicopter and lifeguards responded.

 Raccoons Give OB Tenant and Property Manager Headache – Was it the Cat?

The raccoon noise at the Maggards’ Narragansett Avenue apartment in Ocean Beach began in early May. They were often awakened around three in the morning to a racket above their bedroom. At first, they thought it might be coming from the roof. But it was too close. Meg Maggard said it sounded like “chirping, cooing, and a purr, although louder.” She and husband Ron “Woogie” Maggard, say they left messages about the problem with CIS Investments, the company that manages their building, but got no response. (For the remainder of this article, please go to SD Reader here.)

We’re Reminded Why OB Has Lifeguards – OB’s Deadliest Day at the Beach

The Voice of San Diego reminded us why we have lifeguards at all.  Human ignorance enacted a huge tragedy in 1918 on May 5th when 13 servicemen attempted to walk or swim to OB from South Mission Beach.  The ocean claimed them all – which set in motion efforts to create the city’s very first lifeguard program.

Complaints About Rough Surface of OB Skateboard Park

A major complaint about the OB Skateboard Park in Robb Field had risen. One young man who had been skating here for 15 years believe the ocean air had worn away the surface of the park’s cement so much, that the cement’s pebbles and rocks were exposed and causing problems. The cement is too rough now, he said. It’s so rough, that on Friday, the third of August, he broke a wheel on the surface, while doing tricks.

Discussion of who is OB’s “founder”?

OB back then was having a discussion of exactly when was the “true” birthday of the community and on contenders for Ocean Beach’s “founder”.

Good News at the OB Gateway Project

There was good news for the OB Gateway Project – The site’s Phase Two was announced by city officials but no date set. The entryway at the intersection of West Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard – its first phase completed months ago – had become an eye sore for those traveling into and out of our fair village. Weeds as high as a person dominated the site. “Phase Two – delayed due to lack of funding, is now back in gear, as the City of San Diego has now released additional funds which will make the gateway area more accessible to people – you know the joggers, walkers, and bicyclists who cruise our area. There will be – when completed – a user-friendly walkway ADA compliant, some improvements to the intersection and enhanced crosswalks.”

2nd Sexual Attack in 10 Days

A second sexual assault was reported in Ocean Beach late Saturday night, the 25th of August. This makes the second such assault within ten days in OB – not a very proud mark for the community. This one was called an “attempted assault” but an attempted assault is still an assault, according to the legal dictionary. The latest assault occurred on the 5000 block of Muir Avenue at about 2:10 a.m. Saturday night. The victim told police she was walking home alone from an early-morning party. According to the report, the man was somehow spooked during the attempt, and took off. The woman was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Props for OB’s band Slighty Stoopid

“Its name notwithstanding, Slightly Stoopid is seeming pretty smart these days. When this unassuming Ocean Beach band started off nearly 20 years ago, major record labels were still the dominant force in the music industry. Bands toured to promote their latest albums, MTV was still a major force and the Internet was more of a hazy concept than a game-changing reality.” And here’s a review of one of their concerts by OB writer, Mercy Baron.

August 22 Mayoral Debate at the OB Town Council

The Ocean Beach Town Council welcomed San Diego’s two mayoral candidates to its monthly meeting at the Masonic Center on August 22 in the latest in a series of debates ahead of November’s general election. Not surprisingly a packed house gathered to hear what the two aspirants to the city’s highest elected office had to say about their plans for the city should they be elected. Here’s another view of the debate.

OB Celebrating 125 Years? Local OB Groups Gear Up for the Village’s 125th Birthday

Part of the village was gearing up to celebrate OB’s 125th “birthday”,. Several local organizations – such as the OB Mainstreet Association – were prepping for the 125th celebration; the logo had been established, T-shirts printed up, and arrangements made.  Meanwhile, always contentious, the OB Rag was asking the question: is Ocean Beach really 125 years old? Was the year 1887 really the village’s birth year?

“But is OB really this old or really this young? There are different theories. The main theory, as everyone in the know, knows by now, it was OB historian extraordinaire Ruth Varney Held who wrote about OB’s history and taught us all about the day in April 24, 1887 when local developers Billy Carlson and Frank Higgins staged a land-rush sale of lots in Ocean Beach, and that they named their sub-division “Ocean Beach”. Obviously, some in OB use this date as our “birth date”. And everyone agrees that Carlson and Higgins named the town. No question there. OB had had various names up to then, like Mussel Beds, the Dunes.” But, DC  Collier has more of a claim to the title.

Airport Authority Soundproofing Pt Loma Homes Sullied by Thefts

“A San Diego Airport Authority program that has been soundproofing homes in Point Loma for more than 13 years and which has soundproofed more than 2,000 homes, has had its image sullied recently with the report of three thefts by crews working under the program. The program – called the Quieter Home Program – is funded by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and is administered by the Airport Authority. It was set up nearly a decade and half ago to mitigate the loud noises from aircraft taking off at Lindbergh Field to homes within a few miles of the airport. The goal is to lower by 5 decibels the noise in houses caused by the airplanes.

But recently a couple in Point Loma went public about their plight from last year when they had valuables stolen from their home while a crew worked in their house as part of the soundproofing program.  They wanted to warn others as they have noticed the Quieter Home Program beginning a new phase. According to the U-T San Diego, the Point Loma couple – Brian and Diane Johnson – “were one of three households that reported thefts after an electrical crew did work on their homes during the Quieter Home’s project in their Park Point Loma neighborhood.”

Woman Jogger Groped by Bicyclist

“There are no new updates, according to police, on the OB jogger groped repeatedly by a bicyclist on Wednesday, August 15th. About 11:30 in the morning, a woman was jogging along the bike path next to the San Diego River in Robb Field, when a man riding a bicycle rode up behind her and grabbed her buttocks.  She looked at him and then tried to run away, but he came up to her and grabbed her again twice, before riding off.”

Low-Flying Helicopters Trouble Insomniacs

The sounds of low-flying helicopters over Ocean Beach and Point Loma have been an occasional sore-spot among some of our bloggers.  We’d raise more questions than answers, for example, Judi Curry queried as a troubled insomniac: “It almost appears that there is a heliport only blocks from the house, because nightly there are any number of helicopters that fly over the house at all hours of the late night and early morning. Helicopters that are loud; noise polluters; and wake people from deep as well as fitful sleep.”

Peninsula Planners Vote Rock Church Not Compatible With Land-Use Plans

“The majority of Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) members agree with a recent San Diego County Grand Jury report, which recommends the city suspend a conditional-use permit for The Rock Church to operate at Liberty Station — its home since 2007.

The board last month voted 7-5 in support of the grand jury finding released May 24 that the church is not compatible with local land-use plans. Under the grand jury recommendation, the 3,500-seat church and academy would potentially be forced to close while the city’s Development Services Department reviews whether the church is appropriate in Liberty Station. The action could leave thousands of worshipers and hundreds of students from pre-kindergarden through high school in the lurch.”

The OB Entryway Sign Under Attack

The OB Entryway Sign came under attack – by termites and the weather. “The wooden iconic welcome was installed back in the mid-Eighties, but now nature has taken its toll.  It needs to be replaced. The OB Town Council had issued a call to the community for new designs.  And the Council reports that of those designs submitted fourteen were accepted; they will pare the entries down to about five – and then place the issue up for a community vote. (It’s unclear how that vote will occur – it could be via facebook.) Also not clear is whether a brand new design will be approved by the village.”

The town council reported that the response from the community has been 6 to 4 in favor of the original. The plan is to have the new sign installed by the end of 2012.

People’s Celebrated Its 40 Years

“This month, Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market celebrates its 40th year as a retail vegetarian grocer. Our story began in 1971, when a group of liked-minded people met at a beachside picnic table to discuss the idea of creating a place where the community could purchase whole, minimally processed, organic (when available), vegetarian food at affordable prices. Today, as a bastion of sustainable and environmental living practices, People’s operates out of a 12,000 square foot, award winning “green” building, providing the very best in organic and vegetarian food.”

The Boltons’ Electric LadyLand Morphs Into the Ocean Beach Playhouse

Paul and Lynn Bolton, owners of the Electric Ladyland Art and Music Center, were interested in renting their 1,800-square-foot-space in Ocean Beach for theater productions. Electric Ladyland is primarily an eclectic art and music venue that fits the neighborhood’s culture with its fringe lamps, Persian rugs and sequined flags. The venue is equipped with a recording studio, and there is an elevated stage and room for about 130 seats.

OB “Comfort Station” Being considered for “Orchid”

In Roger Showley’s article on the year’s upcoming annual Onions and Orchids list, he said this about the Brighton Avenue “comfort station” on the beach:

On the Orchid side, architect Kevin deFreitas’ Ocean Beach comfort station design got a plug as “really cool… a fun little project that clearly reflects the values and character of the OB community: bohemian, artistic, environmentally sensitive, all while encapsulating the super laid-back beach town vibe.

Trust Sells San Diego “Multifamily” Located Two Blocks from Pacific Ocean

A large, 20-unit apartment complex at 4843-4851 Niagara Avenue was sold.  Listed as a “garden-style” apartment, the massive spread sold for $3 millions, or about $150K per unit. Located in the middle of the block, it’s only two blocks from Sunset Cliffs and the ocean. “The complex consists of 3 two-story buildings, which are large rectangles that include a total of 11,640-square-feet in the twenty one-bedroom apartments.  Although called by realtors and others in the business as “garden-style”, we really cannot see anything “garden-like” about the rather bland, concretized area that makes up the grounds of the complex.  There are a number of trees inserted between two of the buildings, but there is so much cement everywhere, that it really is a joke to describe the complex as anything having to do with a “garden”.

6 Unit Apartment Sold for 1 Million Bucks

Another apartment building in Ocean Beach was sold that month. “The 6-unit two-story complex at 5029 West Point Loma Boulevard was sold for over a million bucks – $1,052,500 – to be exact. The apartments consist of 4,483-square-feet within the apartments with a total of 7 bedrooms and 12 bathrooms. The building was originally built in 1976, and at that time, a large tree had to be cut down for the construction.”

Former OB Planning Board Member Offered Thoughts

Seth was a former OBPB rep whose term ended that spring 2012 and wrote: my thoughts – which a decade later, are still very much relevant:

While there are many good employees and some good departments, in my opinion there is an undeniable culture at the City that views Ocean Beach as something of an underutilized revenue stream, rather than as a community that they exist to serve.

Over and over, the OBPB and other engaged members of the citizenry are left begging for *basic* public services like paved roads, police and fire coverage, schools that are not ridiculously overcrowded, open libraries, or a bathroom at a beach that thousands of people use every day nearly every day of the year.

I realize that there has been some fair amount of recent spending on water infrastructure and the like, but often, the City has an approach where they are not actually providing us with anything, but riding in on a white horse to save the day after backing off from threats to take things away, such as the library, or the fire pits (which were saved largely as the result of a private donation).

Don’t misunderstand my point on that. I fully realize that like most municipalities in California, San Diego is in the midst of a very real budget crisis, but basic levels of these services are hardly extravagances. Providing these services is what the City is there to do. Whether or not Ocean Beach is as maximized in terms of providing tax revenue as they would like, they City is obligated to provide us with these services that we have paid for many times over. It’s fun to think of our community as a bunch of hippy drop-outs, but the fact of the matter is that it is a fairly major tourist, recreation and entertainment destination that provides significant revenue through a variety of sources.

In my opinion, the City additionally has very little commitment to community planning under the current elected leadership. Community planning is a tool that has a long history of serving OB well and helping to “keep OB OB”. There are some good City employees working in this area, but a lot more talk than action, and I am left with the impression that the general culture of the City hopes that a half-hearted going through the motions will be enough to placate the few people who have demonstrated recent interest in community planning. That the nuts and bolts of tit are just too boring, too arcane and not important enough for most people to care about. They might even be true, but it is unfortunate, if so.

Community planning is one of the best and only means that people can have an actual say in what goes on in the politics within their lives. Your vote for President, or even Mayor, is not going to alter your daily experience in any appreciable way, especially if the races are not close. But being engaged in your local community can go a long way, especially in terms of preserving the funky mom-and-pop character of OB. That unique character is not the default, mind you. It exists only because many people have fought to keep it that way over a long period. Without those efforts of local people acting locally, OB would have long ago sold out to the interest of the short-term dollar. Quaint beach cottages eventually becoming bland, oversized vacation rentals, while mom and pop stores slowly become franchises. Neighbors who don’t know each other end up living in high-priced properties on gentrified streets that are less walkable, and soon, much of that unique character that makes this place so special washes away with the tide.

Is that entirely preventable over time? Is anyone to blame for it? I don’t know. We live in a different time. There’s not the same sense of activism among younger generations that there was in the 60s and 70s. There’s a lot of younger renters in OB who may not be here for the long haul, and by nature, they might be less interested in the long-term picture than those who are. There’s also a lot of property owners whose homes are their major source of equity, who are sometimes forced to make economic decisions for the good of their families in the face of real life challenges.

But despite all that, I come to a few conclusions about being involved in the OBPB and the community in general.

First, it is an undertaking worth doing. There are good people who are trying hard, not to just be sticks in the mud, but to help preserve the special character of this special place for both present and future residents. They deserve the community’s support in this cause that is vital to OB’s future.

Second, it is OK for people to have this say in their lives and their future. OK to say that they value their community more than they value being a revenue stream, and to have some actual agency in preserving and enhancing their experience as residents in OB and San Diego at large. That it isn’t communism for a community to want that say in their future, but rather democracy.

And last, being involved actually works. I will admit that part of me gets a chuckle when I see some of the community activists in OB getting so fired up about everything, but the truth of the matter is, it gets results and leaves the City wary of selling OB out from under us just to make a few more dollars to pay pensions with. When the uproar about the fire pits made the NY Times, it got people’s attention. When 50-100 people show up at a protest outside the library, or at some OBPB meeting, it gets people’s attention. Whether it is fear or a sense of opportunism in turning an issue to their own benefit — and it is both — they do not often mess with OB when that happens.

Apathy doesn’t get that done. Apathy just clears a path for people to work against the community’s interest by either ignoring them, as they often do with the Precise Plan update and the OBPB in general, or working underhanded, such as what the City is doing by granting these serial variances in North OB that are not in compliance with the zoning regulations of our community.

OBTC Board Candidates

The Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC) held a special meeting Wednesday, August 29th, for the upcoming elections of the new OBTC Board of Directors. Each of the ten candidates submitted a letter of intent, and each was given the opportunity to brief the council that night, prior to the elections which will be held over the next couple of weeks when ballots go out to OBTC members.

Despite the nature of this important public meeting, each candidate addressed only the existing board members, as there were no other members of the public and no other members of the OBTC present during the meeting.

Each candidate expressed a sincere love of living in Ocean Beach and sharing in our community. During their brief presentation, some candidates listed their personal goals for enriching our little town. They offered heartfelt accounts of their own volunteerism and community service, as each board member will be expected to volunteer to help manage and operate OB’s key events, such as the annual Chili cook off and the OB Holiday Parade, among others.

In short, most candidates indicated their desire to “do what it takes” both to manage the upcoming events and to improve OB, the community, and our misunderstood OB image around the county. Several candidates advocated for improved safety and security for OBceans, citing the recent assaults on a woman and a “wanted poster” and reward issued by the brother of the most recent victim. Others suggested their personal interests in building community, improving bicycle access and establishing an OB Marathon.

American Meteorological Society: Unequivocal Evidence that Earth is Warming, Sea Levels Rising, Snow, Glaciers and Artic Ice Shrinking due to Human Activities

This statement provides a brief overview of how and why global climate has changed over the past century and will continue to change in the future. It is based on the peer-reviewed scientific literature and is consistent with the vast weight of current scientific understanding as expressed in assessments and reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Although the statement has been drafted in the context of concerns in the United States, the underlying issues are inherently global in nature.

How is climate changing?

Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal, according to many different kinds of evidence. Observations show increases in globally averaged air and ocean temperatures, as well as widespread melting of snow and ice and rising

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joni Halpern August 20, 2022 at 9:34 am

Reading through the entries of a decade ago make that time seem relatively free of the perils we face today. On the other hand, they remind us that life goes on, and we shall overcome. Thanks for the memories.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: