Ocean Beach

For First Time Ever, House of Representatives Passes Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana at Federal Level

December 4, 2020 by Source

The House of Representatives has approved legislation that would decriminalize marijuana and seek to “address the devastating injustices caused by the War on Drugs.”
Friday’s vote in the Democratic-led House is the first time a chamber of Congress has voted on federal marijuana decriminalization. It has little chance of passing the Republican-led Senate, however.

The bill passed largely along party lines: 222 Democrats, five Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash, a libertarian, voted in support while 158 Republicans and six Democrats voted against.
The Republicans who voted for the bill are Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, the bill’s co-sponsor, as well as Reps. Brian Mast of Florida, Tom McClintock of California, Denver Riggleman of Virginia and Don Young of Alaska. The Democrats against were Reps. Cheri Bustos and Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and Collin Peterson of Minnesota.

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San Diego Planning Commission Likes Jen Campbell’s Plan for Short-Term Vacation Rentals

December 4, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The San Diego Planning Commission liked Councilmember Jen Campbell’s plan for short-term vacation rentals so much that on Thursday, they unanimously endorsed it and even made it more friendly towards STVR hosts.

The Commission raised the percentage cap of short-term rentals of the city’s housing units. Campbell had proposed 0.75 percent threshold of the city’s more than 540,000 housing units to be STVRs. The Commission raised the cap to 1 percent. Both Campbell’s and the Commission’s versions allow a “carve-out” for Mission Beach.

Proponents of the plan say the new regulations “would slash” the number of vacation rentals by a whooping 50%! Aren’t we lucky.

Apparently, a lot of people raised objections to Campbell’s plan. Commissioner James Whelan was quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune as saying, “We received well over 200 comments in writing, and most of them were not supportive of doing short-term vacation rental ordinances.”

If approved by the City Council, the ordinance would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. But it’s’ not clear that the newly-refurbished City Council will just lay down for those who want to see vacation rentals everywhere. Five brand new members will be sworn in on December 10.

Besides the raised cap, there’s nothing new. But, briefly, here is what the new proposed regulations would do:

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Two Runways at San Diego International Airport?

December 4, 2020 by Source

Point Loma Association/ Peninsula News / Dec. 3, 2020

Two weeks ago, before the holiday break, we noted the possible closing of MCRD. Details here.

We wondered aloud, if that land became available, could San Diego International Airport use it to build a second runway?

It was a naïve question that we foolishly thought the Airport Authority could easily address. And yet, several requests for comment went unanswered.

We should have guessed, one of our Point Loma sages, Wayne Raffesberger, has a sharp perspective on the topic.

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‘My Cancer Demands a Rematch’

December 4, 2020 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / WordsandDeeds / December 3, 2020

As of December 10th, I’ll be taking a break from my daily musings [writing at Words&Deeds].

To make a long story short, I’m going to have surgery at UCSD La Jolla on December 11th. All the preoperative appointments are crowding my schedule making it difficult to write a daily column, so I’ve missed a day or two recently.

This has been on the horizon for a while. A biopsy found cancerous cells. A CT scan didn’t find any tumors. A PET scan says, yes, there is localized cancer in my throat at the same location leading to the surgery that cost me my vocal chords in 2012. A sonogram says my tissues can take another round of surgery.

Up and down and up and down my spirits go. And I know the best medicine is to take one day at a time, putting one foot in front of the other.

One surgeon will remove the cancer, another will put me back together in the hope that I’ll be able to eat real food and make noises that sound like speech. They tell me they won’t know exactly what will happen until they see the cancer during the operation.

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The Whole Story Behind the OB Peace Sign

December 3, 2020 by Source

“Peace Rocks” or . . . . “Signs of the Times”

Editordude: The following exclusive is the whole backstory behind the OB Peace Sign by one of the peace rockers who helped install it in 2007 on Bird Shit Rock off Sunset Cliffs. Thirteen years later, it still sits atop the old OB hotel, presiding over Newport Avenue.

by Johnny Peace Rocker / December 3, 2020

A few days ago a friend sent me a news clipping about the mysterious nine-and-a-half foot tall “Monolith” that was recently discovered in the red canyons of southeast Utah. The Monolith–installed anonymously on government land without publicity or attribution to any artist or group–appears to be made of stainless steel, riveted together into the shape of a triangular prism, resembling the monolith from the classic Kubrick 1968 sci-fi film: 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Anyway, there’s a great story there about the mysterious Utah monolith. A few days later, it mysteriously disappeared. Then another one just turned up in Romania. Go figure! The story is still unfolding, and I encourage you to go read up on it further. But that is not the story I am here to tell.

Instead, I tell today a similar story about which I have some personal knowledge . . . a story of a series of three stunningly beautiful, six-foot, stained glass PEACE SIGNS

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Christmas Tree Rant

December 3, 2020 by Source

OB Christmas Tree 2020

By Geoff Page

Another beautiful local tree was donated by some residents to be the OB Christmas tree at the foot of Newport this year. It’s a Star Pine and was growing in the upper part of Del Mar Avenue. I decided to check it out when I heard about it on Tuesday from friend who lives near where the tree was.

I went by the location and saw what was left of the tree lying about the yard, not yet cleaned up. A piece of the trunk was among the debris and it was at least two feet in diameter. I was originally told the tree was so large that only a part of it was used.

I rang the doorbell to the residence and a woman answered after a moment. She was quite elderly. I asked why the tree was taken down wondering if it was unhealthy. Her answer was that they were concerned the tree might blow over and hurt the neighbors like the tree that blew over two years ago on Santa Barbara. I asked if an arborist had looked at it and she said no.

It seemed the only reason the tree came down was fear, although this was not the reason they gave the OB Town Council. I explained to her that the tree on Santa Barbara was a Torrey that came down because the root system was cut off to accommodate some construction, damaging the tree’s ability to stay anchored. The damage was on the west side of the tree and it fell to the east.

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Readings From LoVerne Brown – OB’s Poet – Online Sat., Dec.5 – By Ocean Beach Library

December 2, 2020 by Staff

LoVerne Brown- Online Meeting and Book- “Garment for a Long Journey Poems”

Please join the Ocean Beach Library for a very special celebration of OB’s own Loverne Brown. This will be an online event with readings from “Garment for a Long Journey.” You can find more information, including the Zoom link to this free event, from the OB Library online calendar.

A NEW Book release of Collected Poems by Ocean Beach and San Diego’s poet, LoVerne Brown. To read select poems from Garment for a Long Journey: The Collected Poems of LoVerne Brown, ordering and information, go to: lovernebrown.com

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December 2020 Events from the Ocean Beach Green Center

December 1, 2020 by Source

December Events All events are online and free unless stated otherwise.
December 4th Friday 9 am – 1 pm Fifth Annual Community Choice Energy Forum
December 4th Friday 12:15 pm Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Speaker Series:

December 4th Friday 4 pm – 6 pm First Friday meetings Green New Deal at UCSD

December 4th Friday 7 pm- 8 pm Sierra Talks Online – How Nature Lovers Survive COVID

December 5th Saturday 1 pm -5 pm United We Move – December Conference

December 5th Saturday 2 pm – 3 pm Backyard Composting Basics Webinar

December 5th Saturday 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm Freedom & Justice Campaign: SB 1437 & The Fight to Get Free from Mass Incarceration

… AND MUCH MORE INSIDE

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OB Planners’ Committee on Short-Term Vacation Rentals Meets Tuesday, Dec.1

December 1, 2020 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Planning Board, historically, has led the resistance to the community being inundated with a flood of short-term vacation rentals. This history involves the last five years – and much has changed – and nothing has changed – except coastal residents’ awareness of the problem.

Most recently, however, Councilwoman Jen Campbell has been pushing her plan to allow the vacation rentals into the city. This week, in fact, she’s taking her plan to the San Diego Planning Commission.

Whether this is on the agenda of the Planning Board’s committee is not quiet clear – but we’re sure it will come up. The Board’s committee (actually an ad-hoc subcommittee) that covers short-term rentals meets Tuesday night, December 1.

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Finally Passing the Equal Rights Amendment Would Be a Brilliant Bookend for Women’s History

December 1, 2020 by Source

Champagne, Champagne: to Toast a Brilliant Bookend for Women’s History

By Colleen O’Connor

It only took 100 years from securing women’s right to vote to winning the Vice-Presidency.

Grandmothers; Great Grandmothers; and their ghostly presences are cheering.

My own grandmother was a suffragette who held strategy sessions in her farmhouse in North Dakota.

Could she have imagined a woman becoming the Vice-President of the United States; Speaker of the House of Representatives; Justices on the Supreme Court; Head of the U.S. Treasury; Secretary of State; Ambassador to the U.N.; Presidents of Colleges; Senior Counsel to the President; Director of Intergovernmental Affairs; Manager of Major League men’s sport team?

Probably not, but she would be cheering for all of them; astronauts; doctors, lawyers, aviators, professionals in sports, academia, fintech, bio-tech research, environmental justice; and so much more.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early December 2020

November 30, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Gas Leak on Cape May Causes Evacuations Sunday

A gas leak forced an evacuation Sunday of an Ocean Beach neighborhood, police said. The leak was reported at about 4:45 p.m. at 4700 Cape May Avenue and the north side of the street was evacuated,

Young Man Fatally Shot in Point Loma Heights

Padre Outfielder Sues Midway’s Strip Club

San Diego Padres outfielder Tommy Pham has sued a Midway District strip club where he was stabbed last month.

Professors Ben Cater, James Wicks examine the history and culture of surfing at Nazarene U.

OB and Pt Loma Restaurants – Bars Join Long List of 2020 Establishments in San Diego Closed for Good

Here’s a list of OB and other local restaurants and bars that have joined a long list of eateries and bars that have closed for good (for various reasons – not all related to COVID-19):

San Diego Highway Man Helped by Hundreds of Locals

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Pt. Loma and OB Democratic Club Endorses Monica Montgomery Steppe for Council President

November 30, 2020 by Source

Influential Democratic Club Comes Out for Steppe for San Diego City Council President

By Kip Eischen – Secretary, Point Loma/OB Democratic Club

Councilmember Monica Montgomery Steppe showed us the very best of what a City Council President could be. She has exported the values of her district to the city at large. Thanks to Montgomery Steppe the privacy of San Diegans in all council districts is more respected and the city rests assured that the San Diego Police Department will operate with oversight from their communities.

Montgomery Steppe is ambitious and inclusive in pursuit of solutions to constituents’ needs. When the smart streetlight program infringed on all San Diegans’ privacy rights in yet another lopsided contract that drained taxpayers, Montgomery Steppe effectively worked to defund it. As the community awoke to a reckoning over police practices, Montgomery Steppe turned action into administration; she helped to pass Measure B that coupled effective policing together with an independent community review board.

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OB Planning Board: Bermuda Beach Stairs, Mariner’s Cove, All-Way Stop at Froude & Cape May – Wed., Dec.2

November 30, 2020 by Staff

There are several projects up for review of interest at Wednesday’s Ocean Beach Planning Board. The Board meets at 6 pm and is held virtually via Cisco WebEx – and you can register for the meeting (see below).

Here are items of interest:

  • Nimitz I-8 Safety Improvements – on consent agenda;
  • Bermuda Beach Access Stairs
  • Mariner’s Cove Redevelopment
  • All Way Stop at Froude and Cape May
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The OB Holiday Pandemic Parade 2020 – ‘You Are the Parade’ – Floats Will Be Set Up in Dog Beach Parking Lot for ‘Drive-Through’ View

November 30, 2020 by Source

For the first time in OB history – “you are the parade!” says the Ocean Beach Town Council. The village will have a totally unusual pandemic “parade”. The holiday theme this year is, appropriately, “Home for the Holidays.”

Here’s what the OBTC says:

Your favorite “floats” from the classic OB Holiday Parade will be setup in the Dog Beach Parking Lot for you and your family to drive through and view from the comfort (and safety) of your vehicle. Plus – you are welcome to decorate your vehicle to get in on the action!

DETAILS INSIDE

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The OB Christmas Tree Arrives Tuesday Morning

November 30, 2020 by Staff

More than a rumor has it that the famed Ocean Beach Christmas Tree arrives on site at the foot of Newport Avenue Tuesday morning, December 1.

Workers were seen this morning digging up the “manhole” the tree trunk sits in.

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The Autumn Colors of Ocean Beach and Point Loma

November 30, 2020 by Source

By Kathy Blavatt

Autumn is the season when deciduous trees burst into rich hues from red to yellows. We don’t have the full fall colors that the East Coast is known for, but Ocean Beach and Point Loma have many lovely trees such as Sweetgum Tree, Liquid Amber Tree, Decorative Crabapple Tree, and others throughout the committees.

As Winter approaches, these colorful trees drop their colorful frock of leaves and stand bare and dormant through the Winter.

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Happy Thanksgiving From Ocean Beach

November 26, 2020 by Staff

Happy Thanksgiving ! From Ocean Beach.

Judith Starker saw these latest chalk works by Sidewalk Chalk Dad and preserved them for the rest of us.

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This Thanksgiving – Look to the Stars

November 25, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Want a graceful prayer for this Thanksgiving? One that will help alleviate all the chaos, the fear, the divisions and the frustration gripping the country? Or just change the topic?

Try quoting the great, Bette Davis’ best lines, in “Now Voyager.”

“Oh, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We’ve already got the stars.”

And do we have them.

Not just the zillions that twinkle the night skies; or the millions of frontline responders lighting up countless hearts in the midst of a pandemic; or the thousands of our neighbors behaving like grown ups, or the hundreds of of our family and friends that keep us optimistic, but also other standout candidates in a chaotic year.

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Peninsula Planners: Presentations on ‘Central Mobility Hub’ at Old SPAWAR and Residential Displacement at Marina’s Cove Redevelopment

November 24, 2020 by Source

By Geoff Page

The two main items of interest at the November 19 regular Thursday monthly meeting of the Peninsula Community Planning Board were two presentations. One presentation was by SANDAG titled the “Central Mobility Hub Project Update.” The other presentation was by the company redeveloping the Mariner’s Cove apartment complex on West Point Loma next to the Barnes Tennis Center.

“Central Mobility Hub Project Update.”

SANDAG was up first and Gia Ballash gave a very polished PowerPoint presentation. One thing that seems very clear is that the idea of large central mobility building on part of the old SPAWAR facility on Pacific Highway has moved far beyond the idea stage. Notice it was “Project” update. Ballash’s presentation was about something that is steamrolling along, with SANDAG leading the charge.

That the process is moving along was evidenced by the $50 million SANDAG has already authorized to pay for preliminary engineering and environmental work. And, this before an actual decision where the hub will go. The clear favorite is at the SPAWAR site but a second, less favorable possible location is just south of Washington Street.

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The Widder Curry: Right-Wing Heroes and Gun Rule

November 24, 2020 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

What in the world is happening to America? What has happened to the values our ancestors fought so hard for? How can so many people be so obtuse as to approve the “goings-on” in the world today with a smile and a “victory” sign? And I am not just talking about the man in the White House. No, I am talking about the people that somehow have taken a wrong turn.

Does the name “Kyle Rittenhouse” mean anything to you?

He’s the new “hero” (sic) of the conservative right. He’s the 17 year old boy whose mother drove him across state lines – Illinois to Wisconsin – with a rifle to attend the “Jacob Blake” protest. He’s the 17 year old boy that killed two people and said it was “self defense” when every television channel showed him walking down the street with his rifle just “itching” to take a shot a people.

He’s the same 17 year old boy that was released from jail on a two million dollar bond, primarily funded by Mike Lindell – the “Pillow Man” and Ricky Schroder, the “Silver Spoons” actor of yesteryear.

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News Briefs for Ocean Beach and Point Loma During the Pandemic Holidays

November 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Sports Arena redeveloper delinquent on $190 million loan

A unit of the Toronto investment behemoth that bankrolled the demise of San Diego’s Midway area height limit in the form of this month’s successful Measure E is falling short on mortgage payments to retire a multi-million-dollar debt.

OB Holidays Will Be Different This Year

Ocean Beach is ramping up for its year-end charity fundraisers, Christmas parade, community brew, and other holiday highlights. Like everything else with COVID, things will be handled a little differently this year. Though fear not, the “crooked” Christmas tree will be firmly planted in the oceanfront sand. And people can still buy and decorate ornaments, especially Ocean Beach MainStreet Association’s annual themed ornaments, to decorate that tilted tree.

There will be a parade. Though social distancing will require parade floats to be stationary in the Dog Beach parking lot. Families can drive through the lot to check them out, like a drive-through light show.

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The Crooked Tree Ale of Ocean Beach

November 23, 2020 by Staff

Some good news for the holidays!

The OB hamlet is really fortunate to have a strong brewer community thriving within. Last year the OB Town Council gathered together some top San Diego brewers who happen to live in OB to create a special holiday brew just for our town.

The name Crooked Tree Ale comes from the infamous OB holiday tree that we place at the foot of the pier every season. The tree notoriously leans to one side or the other, some years more than others.

Some proceeds from the sale of the brew and commemorative t-shirts will come back to the Town Council to help fund their suite of holiday events which include getting the tree in place.

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Midway Planners: Proposed Land Use Changes Going to San Diego City Council

November 20, 2020 by Source

By Geoff Page

The main take-aways from the Midway Pacific Highway Community Planning Group’s regular monthly meeting Wednesday, November 18, were from the government reports. The planning boards and some town councils have an agenda section titled something like “Government Reports.”

During that part of the meetings, representatives of various government agencies provide up to date information from whoever they are representing such as Jennifer Campbell for District 2. (See list from the MPHCPG below.) The Ocean Beach Town Council list includes the city Lifeguards and the Fire Department.

These reports are often a snooze and mostly consist of nothing more than campaign ads for the politicians as their reps recount all the wonderful things they have done. But, some good information does come out. Usually, only a few of the reps show up.

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What the Curfew and Its Enforcement Means to San Diegans

November 20, 2020 by Staff

What does the new curfew Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Thursday for counties in the purple tier — including San Diego — mean for San Diegans? And what does the new level of enforcement mean?

Basically, the new curfew will take effect at 10 pm on Saturday, November 21, and all nonessential work and gatherings must stop from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Right now, the curfew will remain in effect for a month, until 5 am on Dec. 21. It could be revised or extended.

Also on Thursday, San Diego County officials announced that law enforcement will step up COVID-19 compliance education and citations. Sheriff Bill Gore said four two-deputy teams will begin making “a full-time commitment” of the county’s 18 cities and unincorporated areas, ensuring compliance with public health orders. Several cities have already confirmed they will send officers to assist deputies in their duties, Gore said.

While residents are urged to be home by 10 p.m., there are still things they can do at night, including:

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Is OB’s Recycling Center at Pat’s Liquor Still Open?

November 19, 2020 by Judi Curry

Are they Or aren’t they? That is the question.

By Judi Curry

I received a phone call this morning telling me that the recycling center at Pat’s Liquor Store at 5096 Voltaire was closed. That there was a YELP review that said it had been closed for awhile, and there was no place left to recycle cans, bottles and plastic left in Ocean Beach.

I told my caller that I didn’t think that was right; that the “YELP” review was probably referring to the old recycling center next to Stumps. She thought I was wrong.

So, I called Pat’s Liquor and had a delightful conversation with Basil, the owner of the liquor store, who said that the recycling center was very definitely open, from 11:00am to 5:00pm six days a week.

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Just Another COVID Power Trip

November 19, 2020 by Ed Decker

Straight Up With a Twist

By Edwin Decker

I received a few moderately angry emails in response to the tone my last column. The emailers believed I was downplaying the mortal dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the record, I am not against all the measures taken, however I do worry that the harm of these rolling shutdowns may exceed the harm of the virus – not the least of which is relinquishing too much power to government. And shortly after the writing of that column, I had an encounter in a bar and grill that reinforced my concerns.

November 7, 2020 (Red Tier) – With my trusty disposable mask (that I never dispose of) firmly affixed, I asked the hostess if a seat at the bar was available. I knew it was a long shot but the bar is my natural habitat and I really didn’t want to sit alone at a table. As expected, it was full, so she sat me a shorty in the dining room.

Given its low height, I’m guessing it was a wheelchair table, which wouldn’t normally be a problem if the chairs had been short too. However, all the other tables were cocktail tables, and the only seats available were bar stools. Whatever, I thought, these are the times in which we live and ordered an Ultra because, you know, I have my modeling career to consider.

While sitting on my tall stool hunched over my short table taking sips from my tasteless, beer-like beverage, I scoped the bar which was about 15 feet away. So close and yet so far,

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Prez of OB Historical Society Shares Memories of the Strand – and Snags Its Old Projector

November 19, 2020 by Source

Editordude: Eric DuVall – the president of the Ocean Beach Historical Society – recently shared some of his memories of OB’s old Strand Theatre, plus gave an account of obtaining its last motion picture projector – which we repost below. In addition, we share more memories of the Strand below Eric’s piece. Hey – add some of your own in the comments.

By Eric DuVall / Pt. Loma OB Monthly / Nov. 18, 2020

The last motion picture projector from the old Strand Theatre in Ocean Beach sat abandoned and forlorn in the Wings Beachwear store for 20 years. Maybe 21. A store employee posted a few lines on Vintage San Diego early last year, mentioning the existence of the old projector and suggesting the store might be interested in its relocation.

Would the Ocean Beach Historical Society be interested in such a thing? We sure would!

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Local Democrats Support Monica Montgomery Steppe for City Council President

November 18, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

During Meeting, No One Spoke in Favor of Jen Campbell

The San Diego County Democratic Party leadership met on Tuesday, November 17, and endorsed Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe for San Diego city council president.

At the beginning of the electronically-held meeting of the Central Committee, chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy asked for public comments and 32 people expressed support for Montgomery Steppe (who was recently married). Three people believed the party should stay neutral on the issue – and importantly for District 2 residents – no one spoke in favor of Councilwoman Jen Campbell – who was a no-show.

The final vote was 42 to 11 in favor of the resolution supporting Montgomery Steppe.

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‘Recall Jen Campbell’ Effort Gets Off the Ground

November 16, 2020 by Source

The movement to recall District 2 Councilwoman Jen Campbell is just getting off the ground – now that the November election is over. They have a website – here, and this is what they are saying:

“Campbell’s complete betrayal of her voters is unforgivably cruel.”

Housing Crisis/Illegal Short-Term Rentals

In secret, Campbell cut a deal with Expedia and UniteHere to sacrifice thousands of homes to criminal short-term rental operators. Campbell had vowed to eliminate all illegal short-term rentals if elected.

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Battle Over Famosa Open Space Continues

November 16, 2020 by Source

By “Just a Bike Mom”

Ah, Friday the 13th. As we all sat down to work that morning, so did the San Diego Housing Commission (aka SDHC) to discuss the “exclusive” agreement for Bridge to develop Famosa Open Space.

Short story: They voted to proceed with their exclusive agreement. The exclusive agreement to develop the last plot of natural, urban, open space on the Point.

We last heard from the SDHC in spring/summer of 2019 at the Peninsula Community Planning Board meetings. They had no plans to develop the land at that time they said. Yet, their PCPB presentation included a set of “visionary” plans.

Our community spoke out. Apparently they did listen to some points,

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