Beach & Bay Press top stories in 2018: Scooter invasion, pipeline projects, Bahia Hotel expansion plans, short-term rentals, and Mission Bay’s basketball title
Visitors to Pacific Beach attempt to walk on a slackline in mid-November during a beautiful sunset. / Photo by Thomas Melville
Mission Bay beat Foothills Christian, 52-42, at SDSU and won the CIF Open Division title, the school’s first sectional basketball championship since 2007. / THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
Motorized scooters were all the rage in Mission Beach in 2018. / Photo by Thomas Melville
From short-term vacation rentals to trolley stops to RV parks to electric scooters, residents made sure their voices were heard loud and clear when it came to some of the most talked about stories of 2018. Notorious crimes, like the patio furniture thief, were finally solved, and the seemingly endless projects, like Pacific Beach Pipeline Replacement Project, continued to move forward.
• The San Diego Park and Recreation Board’s Mission Bay Park Committee voted almost unanimously to affirm Evans Hotels’ redevelopment of Bahia Resort Hotel. Locals opposed the expansion, claiming it would decrease parking spaces and public beach access.
• The two owners and a property manager of the Casa De Las Palmas apartment complex in City Heights were charged with misdemeanor health and safety code violations. The seven refugee families who occupied the complex complained that the property had bathroom leaks, inadequate heating, insects, rodents, and improper wiring.
• Iron Pig Alehouse in PB stopped serving beverages with plastic straws in an effort to be more environmentally conscious.
• Pacific Beach surfer Ryland Rubens competed in the World Junior Championships in New South Wales, Australia after winning the North America junior tour crown last year. "Competing or not, just being in the ocean is great for many aspects of life,” Rubens said. “Just to take baby steps, because nothing happens overnight."
• A study titled Part 150 was conducted to evaluate flightpath improvements and noise reductions in and around San Diego International Airport. Residents from Point Loma to La Jolla have complained about an increase in noise for the past couple of years.
• The Beach & Bay Press went out and sampled all the different kinds of pizzas in San Diego in honor of National Pizza Day on Feb. 9.
• Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced early February that San Diego Police Department Assistant Chief David Nisleit would be appointed as the City’s next police chief, replacing Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who retired in March after 35 years on the force. “It is both a privilege and an honor to become the next San Diego police chief,” Nisleit said. “Keeping San Diego one of the safest large cities in America will be one of my top priorities.”
• Campland on the Bay achieved the highest occupancy and revenue level in 2017 than in any prior year since 2006. The commercial leasehold opened in 1969 as one of the first in Mission Bay Park.
• Pacific Beach broke ground for a new two-mile segment of the Coastal Rail Trail known as the Rose Creek Bikeway. The construction was part of an effort to provide a more convenient connection between the biking segments in the greater University City area and PB.
• St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and School celebrated its 75th anniversary in Pacific Beach. “The people here are phenomenal,” said James. D. (Pastor Jim) Henkell. “It’s just a neat church to be a part of.”
• Bird electric scooters started popping up in Pacific Beach, resulting in mixed reviews from residents. "These new electric scooters for rent all over PB is getting annoying,” said Dan Michaels, a Pacific Beach business owner, on the Next Door social media site. “Riders are intoxicated renting them, underage, and don't obey any laws of the road.”
• Residents were concerned that the Pacific Beach Pipeline South and West Projects were damaging streets while replacing nearly 39,000 linear feet of water main and nearly 6,800 feet of sewer main. “The patchwork is terrible,” said Dan Bernard. “Ingraham felt like the Belmont Park roller coaster.”
• Mission Bay Bucs beat Foothills Christian 52-42 and won the CIF Open Division title, the school’s first sectional basketball championship since 2007.
• A protest was held by Mission Bay residents against the Bahia Resort expansion plans, which would eliminate parking along Gleason Road. Gary Cannon, a retired coastal planner and recreational paddler, called the project, "an attempt to privatize the entire Bahia Point, and to minimize the public’s ability to recreate there.”
• Students of Mission Bay High joined the National School Walkout on March 14 to support tougher gun laws and school security following the mass shooting that killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.
• After selling its housing community Luther View, Christ Lutheran Church in Pacific Beach donated $138,000 to community nonprofits such as Doors of Change, Rwandan Orphans Project, and Third Avenue Charitable Organization.
• Three PBMS Mandarin students competed in the Chinese Bridge Contest on March 6, at PBMS. Leah Markworth took first place, and Christopher Santy placed second in language, and the cultural talent award went to Liliana Capalbo.
• Mission Bay and PB residents attended the March for Our Lives rally in downtown San Diego along with thousands of other people advocating for stricter gun laws.
• The infamous Pacific Beach patio bandit was arrested after residents reported patio furniture being stolen from their front porches for several months. Jose Luis Manjarrez-Ledesma, 44, was taken into custody following a traffic stop on March 22.
• Locals criticized the dockless bike and motorized scooter “invasion” at the Pacific Beach Town Council on March 21. Representatives from Ofo, Mobike, LimeBike, and Bird defended the dockless technology, but critics said the scooters’ presence has only created chaos and dangerous situations.
• Pacific Beach civic leaders pushed to move the Tuesday Farmers Market from Bayard Street to Garnet Avenue at the Metropolitan Transit System board meeting.
• MBHS distinguished student Alessandra Garcia was one of nine girls from the United States selected to join the “Girls On Ice: Cascades Expedition team.” She climbed Mt. Baker, an active volcano in the Cascade Mountain range, and studied mountaineering skills, glaciology, and designed biological experiments.
• The YMCA and San Diego Unified School District held a “ribbon-tying” ceremony to debut the new shared multipurpose field at Pacific Beach Middle School.
• SeaWorld's new roller coaster, Electric Eel opened and took the title of Mission Bay’s tallest and fastest roller coaster.
• Paradise Point Resort & Spa in Mission Bay announced its $24 million renovation that includes a remodel of the 44-acre island hotel’s 462 California bungalow-style guest rooms by the award-winning international firm Perkins + Will.
• Members of Team Survivor Sea Dragons collectively celebrated their 10-year anniversaries of surviving cancer with a 26.2-mile fundraising dragon boat paddle around Mission Bay.
• Pioneering surf legends Larry Gordon and Skeeter Malcolm were honored with memorial benches at Tourmaline Surfing Park. Mayor Kevin Faulconer proclaimed May 10, 2018, as “Gordon and Smith Day in the City of San Diego."
• Councilmember Lorie Zapf announced she would ask the City Council to endorse an emergency ordinance prohibiting motorized scooters on sidewalks and the boardwalk from Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach to the jetty in South Mission Beach. The City Council members voted against the ban because they either weren’t convinced of its necessity, or they felt the issue hadn’t yet been properly vetted.
• I Love A Clean San Diego empowered 1,049 elementary school students, teachers, and volunteers to be a wave of change at Mission Beach for the 25th annual Kids’ Ocean Day.
• Belmont Park’s Giant Dipper was repainted in its original rich coats of red, black and gold.
• Locals celebrated Go Skateboarding Day on June 21 with skate sessions, barbecues, and competitions. “There is a strong community of skaters,” Paul (Pablo) Smith, owner of Soul Grind Skate Shop in Pacific Beach, said, “but each person has a different style, does unique tricks, and follows a certain brand to express themselves.”
• San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced that construction to replace the West Mission Bay Drive bridge will start in July. The $110 million project would replace the current four-lane bridge, built in the 1950s, with two separate three-lane structures.
• The Pacific Beach Planning Group voiced its environmental concerns for the new Balboa Avenue Transit Center. Those concerns included mobility and traffic congestion and mitigation, as well as proposed zoning changes to create higher residential zoning onsite.
• More than 200 students graduated from Mission Bay High School on June 13.
• PB patio thief Jose Luis Ledesma Manjarrez pleaded guilty to five felony counts of grand theft. He was later sentenced to a year in jail.
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer released his much anticipated new regulations on short-term vacation rentals that included charging cost-recoverable fees to administer licenses and enforce code violations, establishing a “Good Neighbor” policy, hiring additional staff for complaints about nuisance properties and implementing a per-night fee that would generate an estimated $3 million annually.
• Mission Beach residents spoke against being "carved out" of the mayor’s rental plan at a special meeting of Mission Beach Precise Planning Board.
• More than 500 volunteers removed 1,493 pounds of trash from beaches after July 4th as a part of the Surfrider Foundation San Diego’s annual post-Fourth of July “Morning After Mess” beach series.
• The City Council voted in favor of stricter regulations allowing primary-residence-only rentals with a six-month maximum, which came as a disappointment to local short-term rental industry members who insisted it will negatively impact San Diego tourism.
• San Diego was named the most scenic West Coast city in an Expedia poll.
• A 130,000-square-foot International Arrivals facility opened at the San Diego Airport’s Terminal 2 in an effort to allow the airport to accommodate the increase in international passengers resulting from recently added overseas flights.
• RV residents rallied at South Shores Park in Mission Bay to demand an end to City policy allowing ticketing and impounding of their vehicles. One of the City ordinances prohibits parking an RV anywhere on City streets and lots between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.
• People complained on NextDoor that homeless who frequent meals served at Pacific Beach Methodist Church are doing drugs and having sex in public parks.
• U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) defended his co-sponsorship of the Keeping Families Together Act, which would have immediately halted separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the right thing to do.
• The water off La Jolla was 78.8 degrees, according to measurements taken by research scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a record-setting warm for San Diego. It was nine degrees above the typical temperature for this time of year.
• City Council voted 4-2 against putting a proposed Aquatic Safety and Junior Lifeguard Center in Mission Bay Park on the November election ballot. “It’s a long process,” said Corey McClelland, volunteer CEO/board chair of the nonprofit Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego. “We’ve been in it for five years, and we’re not going to go away. It’s sorely needed for the students, the lifeguards and San Diego.”
• Residents claimed the Neighborhood Parking Protection Ordinance meant to curb abuse by oversized and non-motorized vehicles taking advantage of free residential parking isn’t being enforced in PB.
• Pacific Beach residents raised concerns about severely trimmed trees in the public right-of-way on Garnet Avenue west of Ingraham Street. The City said its staff had not trimmed the trees.
• Residents voiced safety concerns after the Pacific Beach Library changed their rules to better accommodate the homeless population. “We are a public building serving everyone regardless of their circumstances,” said Misty Jones, San Diego Public Library director. “We have a code of conduct across-the-board for everyone. You can’t be under the influence. You can’t interfere with other library users or staff doing their jobs.”
• Share San Diego turned in 62,000 signatures advocating to overturn a 6-3 City Council vote in July for an ordinance limiting short-term rental hosts to primary residences only, with one additional dwelling unit on the same parcel.
• RV residents who sued the City to end its policy of ticketing and impounding their vehicles, won a partial victory in court. U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia ruled that the vehicle habitation ordinance “is both vague on its face and is being arbitrarily and discriminatorily applied.”
• I Love A Clean San Diego mobilized 7,000 volunteers at 106 cleanup sites to remove an estimated 130,000 pounds of trash and debris, including a disco ball, 641 golf balls, a snowboard, and fake eyelashes.
• A judge sided with McKellar McGowan’s plans to turn the two-acre, long-abandoned Mission Beach Elementary School site into condominiums after Mission Beach Citizens for Responsible Development sued in an effort to overturn the City Council’s 6-2 vote in 2016 approving the project.
• The Beach & Bay Press went out and sampled all the different kinds of tacos in San Diego in honor of National Taco Day on Oct. 4.
• A vacation-rental coalition gained the number of valid signatures required to put their measure — overturning the council vote favoring residents and allowing primary-residence-only rentals with a six-month maximum — on a future ballot.
• Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill absolving adults from being required to wear helmets on electric scooters on city streets.
• Campland attended a Pacific Beach Planning Group meeting and pled its case for remaining an affordable bay front campground. It could be a casualty in the City’s ongoing three-year analysis of the 120-acre De Anza Special Study Area, part of developing a De Anza Cove Amendment to the Mission Bay Park Master Plan.
• Troy Horton and Kirra Barth were crowned Homecoming King and Queen at Mission Bay High School. “He is a man about Pacific Beach,” special needs teacher Amanda Logan said of Horton. “He’s Mr. Pacific Beach. He is known, not just on the school campus, but at the little league field, and all around town
• San Diego City Council voted 5-3 to ban the use and distribution of styrofoam citywide.
• Pacific Beach resident and realtor Kara Kay announced she would be competing on the CBS-produced competitive reality TV series “Survivor: David vs. Goliath.”
• San Diego City Council voted 8-1 to rescind a short-term vacation rental ordinance it passed in July. The re-vote was forced by a successful drive by a vacation-rental coalition to put the measure on a future election ballot.
• ReWild Mission Bay released the final conceptual plans for how wetlands can be feasibly restored to protect wildlife and communities. The plans include expanded public access and habitat restoration options, as well as cost estimates and sea-level rise modeling.
• The “Pacific Beach Pipeline Replacement Project,” ramped up again, causing traffic disruptions in the coastal communities.
• The City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee unanimously endorsed Mayor Faulconer’s proposed new regulations for electric scooters that limit maximum speed in designated zones, encourage rider education, data sharing, operating fees and legal indemnification for the City.
• Mayor Faulconer announced that more than $40 million in infrastructure investments will be made over the next few years in Mission Bay Park, including upgrades to playgrounds, restrooms, and trails as well as environmental projects.
• The City announced its preliminary plans to improve Capehart Dog Park in PB, which would cost an estimated $612,000.
• Democrat Dr. Jennifer Campbell defeated Republican incumbent Lorie Zapf by a wide margin in the Nov. 6 election for City Council District 2, which encompasses the Peninsula as well as Pacific and Mission beaches, MidwayPacific Highway, Bay Ho, Bay Park and Morena.
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer sanctioned forming a new joint-powers entity to purchase electrical power to achieve 100 percent renewable energy citywide by 2035.
• A new mobility board was created by the City of San Diego combining two previously existing bicycle advisory and parking advisory boards under the same roof. District 3 Councilmember Chris Ward, who spearheaded the creation of the new mobility board, said: “Innovation in transit and increasing competition for the public right-of-way has fundamentally shifted the way we move ourselves around, meaning the decisions we make will have greater impacts on the quality of life of all San Diegans.”
• More than 400 SantaCon participants journeyed through Pacific Beach bars wearing holiday-themed outfits. They donated more than 200 toys and raised more than $2,000 for the Toys for Tots.