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    City: big thumbs-down on 55-year leasing pact for Belmont Park operations
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Oct 01, 2014 | 1971 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    In the end, District 2 City Councilman Ed Harris, representing Mission Beach and the other beach communities in San Diego, said the proposed long-term lease extension of iconic Belmont Park came down to a question of dollars and cents. The dollars weren’t there, so it didn’t make sense. Seeking “a better deal,” the City Council on Sept. 22 rejected a long-term lease extension for Mission Beach’s iconic Belmont Park, with its signature and historic wooden rollercoaster, delaying final action for 60 days. On the table was a proposal for a 55-year lease, which also called for valet parking at Belmont Park. “The total net rent the city has collected on the Belmont Park lease since 1988 is only $1,639,166,” said Harris in a press statement on the lease negotiations. “How is that possible? It’s my job to get the best deal for the taxpayers and not go along with business as usual. I think we can do better.” After reviewing the proposed lease, Harris said he asked the city’s independent budget analyst (IBA) to determine whether it was consistent with best practices of other cities and whether a longer-term lease would be in the city’s long-term best interests. The IBA reported the 50-plus-year term of the proposed extension is longer than the average municipal ground lease and that its rental rates seemed lower than the percentage rent-average of comparable municipal leases in other California cities. There’s been speculation that a failure between Belmont Park’s operators, Eat Drink Sleep (EDS) — a Pacific Beach-based hospitality management company — and Pacifica Enterprises, a Rancho Santa Fe-based real-estate investment firm, and the city to iron out differences on an extension for Belmont could delay or even kill expansion plans in the works for the amusement park. The centerpiece of that expansion has been redevelopment of the former Canes Bar & Grill, which closed in 2009 after a fire, into three distinct restaurants on the Mission Beach boardwalk: the beach-themed Cannonball on the 6,000-square-foot rooftop, not yet open; Draft, a brew pub now open downstairs; and an Italian concept eatery. The complex’s other eateries include the WaveHouse Beach Club, North Shore Cafe, Belmonty’s Burgers and Plunge Pizzeria. Belmont’s previous operator, Tom Lochtefeld, had ambitious plans for re-inventing the aging park to make it more family friendly. That plan was abandoned in the wake of a bankruptcy that eventually led to new management of Belmont.  In November 2010, Wave House Belmont Park LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Lochtefeld, who was the master leaseholder at the time, alleged the city had breached its lease agreement. He filed a $25 million lawsuit in 2011 against the city, accusing it of breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation for preventing him from completing a second major expansion of the park, including adding a hotel. The city said Lochtefeld was no longer eligible to receive rent subsidies and his rent increased by about 800 percent, from about $70,000 to $550,000. The lawsuit was settled in November 2013 after Lochtefeld decided not to pursue the case against the city. In 2012, Pacifica Enterprises LLC acquired the park leasehold in a bankruptcy trustee sale.  Belmont Park’s redevelopers have said they’re not trying to reinvent Mission Beach’s seven-acre, 88-year-old amusement complex. Instead, they said, they just want to “localize” it. “Our goal is to have this park be one of the top six in San Diego, along with Petco Park, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and Legoland,” Brett Miller, managing partner of Belmont Park previously told the Beach & Bay Press. The amusement park, in the heart of Mission Beach, which features an athletic club, amusement rides, retail shops, restaurants, multiple bars, a miniature golf course and FlowRider and FlowBarrel wave machines, is currently in the middle of redevelopment. Belmont Park was initially developed by sugar magnate John D. Spreckels and opened on July 4, 1925 as the Mission Beach Amusement Center. Besides providing recreation and amusement, the park was intended as a way to help Spreckels sell land in Mission Beach.  The attractions and rides remaining from the original 1925 park include the Giant Dipper historic wooden rollercoaster listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Plunge, an indoor swimming pool temporarily closed, which is now a fresh water pool, started out as a saltwater pool. Other amusements include a Tilt-A-Whirl ride, a three-story “Vertical Plunge” drop tower, a Carousel and the Wave House Athletic Club. The Wave House Bar and Grill overlooks the ocean and features two artificial waves, FlowBarrel and FlowRider. Newer attractions include a SkyRopes obstacle course, a Moser Gyro Loop dubbed “Control Freak” and a Chance Unicoaster dubbed “Octotron.” The park’s rides, including the Giant Dipper, are operated by the San Diego Coaster Company.
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    Pacific BeachFest is back for new round of boardwalk bliss
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Oct 01, 2014 | 295 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Thousands of visitors pack a recent Pacific BeachFest, slated to take place this year on Oct. 4. Courtesy photo
    Thousands of visitors pack a recent Pacific BeachFest, slated to take place this year on Oct. 4. Courtesy photo
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    A visitor to a recent Pacific BeachFest (left) checks out artwork on the boardwalk.
    A visitor to a recent Pacific BeachFest (left) checks out artwork on the boardwalk.
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    Visitors check out food vendors and musical entertainment.
    Visitors check out food vendors and musical entertainment.
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    Visitors check out food vendors and musical entertainment. Photo by Paul Hansen
    Visitors check out food vendors and musical entertainment. Photo by Paul Hansen
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    Artisans will have plenty of wares on display and for sale at Pacific BeachFest. 				    Photo by Paul Hansen
    Artisans will have plenty of wares on display and for sale at Pacific BeachFest. Photo by Paul Hansen
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    There will be lots of free fun and family-friendly activity on the beaches and along the boardwalk at this year’s version of the popular Pacific BeachFest on Saturday, Oct. 4 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Like other coastal happenings, Pacific BeachFest has lots of booths with hand-crafted items and food vendors — and plenty of music. But what makes it special is the physical activities the public is invited to take part in. 
The action starts early on the sandy shoreline with the Healthy Souls Volleyball Tournament featuring Class A teams from throughout Southern California. There’s also the Revolt in Style Summer Surf Series Pro/Am Surf Competition for all ages, where surfers will surf on the south side of Crystal Pier for this one-time opportunity. Then there’s the Xterra Boards Pacific BeachFest 5K fun run, the only fun run along the sand and boardwalk.  “Pacific BeachFest is Discover Pacific Beach’s signature festival who’s mission is to highlight Pacific Beach, its businesses and active living lifestyle throughout the region and beyond,” said Sara Berns, Discover PB’s executive director. “Pacific BeachFest is unique in that we (DPB) prioritize vending opportunities to local Pacific Beach businesses including an exclusive merchant area and food court,” she said. “As part of Pacific BeachFest, we highlight the Action Sports industry synonymous with Pacific Beach including a 5K fun run, pro-am volleyball and surf contest. Pacific BeachFest is a great day to come out and have a good time whether young or old and celebrate all that is Pacific Beach.” Berns reminded people about the Best of the Beach Fish Taco Contest where “the people decide who reigns in fish tacos at the beach by purchasing a ticket to sample six fish tacos from local competitors and cast their vote.” “The winner will receive the coveted title and trophy for one as ‘Best of the Beach’ fish taco,” Berns said. Throughout the action-packed day, thousands of BeachFest goers can enjoy live music on three stages: the Car 2 Go Main Stage, featuring world beat dance music; the San Diego County Credit Union Community Stage, featuring the best talent in Pacific Beach; and the Ocean Park Inn Grand Stage, where the hottest DJs and reggae will be featured in the Dos Equis Beer Garden. Guests will have a chance to vote at the sixth annual “Best at the Beach” Fish Taco Challenge and can enjoy a craft beer with an ocean view in the Dos Equis Beer Garden and take part in wine tastings by Turquiose Cellars. Shop and browse among the dozens of fine arts and crafts displays and visit the many eclectic shops and popular restaurants in this laid-back beachside community at the PB Merchant Sidewalk Sale presented by Superpawn and Taste of PB Food Court. KyXy/Energy 103.7 presents Kids Action Alley, where the youngest dudes and dudettes will be kept busy with beachside rides, as well as other free fun games and activities. Local community groups from Pacific Beach will welcome you to the neighborhood with goodies and fun activities.  Register for the Pacific Beachfest 5K Run at www.pacificbeachfest5k.com. For more information, visit www.pacificbeachfest.org, or call (858) 273-3303.
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    Resolution in De Anza trailer-park tussle still not a done deal
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Oct 01, 2014 | 310 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The city’s 11-year litigation process to oust residents of the De Anza Cove Mobile Home Park on Mission Bay remains unresolved.       Photo by Jim Grant
    The city’s 11-year litigation process to oust residents of the De Anza Cove Mobile Home Park on Mission Bay remains unresolved. Photo by Jim Grant
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    It ain’t over ’til it’s over. The city is saying a protracted dispute in the De Anza Cove Homeowners Association resettlement case is all but done. The mobile home park’s residents, however, say it isn’t and are deriding the city for speaking out during  “confidential negotiations.” The city announced recently it is offering about $22 million to resolve how much to pay De Anza Cove Mobile Home Park residents to relocate. That’s less than half the $48 million De Anza Cove residents had been seeking, with an additional $7 million earmarked for plaintiff’s attorneys. “The settlement offer was approved unanimously by the City Council in closed session,” said City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. “If plaintiff appeals the offer, however, it will be withdrawn; the city can cross-appeal and the litigation will continue for years to come.” In response to the city’s offer, the plaintiffs replied in a statement: “The De Anza Cove homeowners have been in confidential negotiations with the city regarding the city’s obligation under state law to pay these elderly residents the relocation funds they’re owed before taking their homes and closing the park. The city’s admission that it is financially responsible for paying these relocation costs is a positive first step. However, the judgment is not final and does not yet comply with state law on park closure.” Noting the mediation process by design is meant to be confidential, the plaintiff’s statement added, “In order to allow candid discussions about insurance, the true cost of replacement housing, and the city’s development plans for this ocean-front property, plaintiffs will respect their ethical obligation to honor the confidentiality of these negotiations and will not provide public comment until the judgment is final and an actual agreement is reached.” Pointing out the ground lease for De Anza expired in 2003, after which De Anza residents filed their lawsuit against the city, Goldsmith said, “The City Council believes it is time to end the lawsuit, provide residents with reasonable compensation and reimbursement of attorney fees as determined by the judge and return this park to the people of San Diego. After 11 years of litigation, there are certainly legal issues that can be appealed on both sides. But, there are times when the lawyers should get out of the way and allow a problem to be solved without more litigation. We think this is one of those times.” The plaintiffs, in their statement, said they believe the judgment issued by retired judge Charles Hayes in June calling for 48 months of rent differential after requiring residents to move fails to meet the requirements under state law. “The law requires the park owner to fully mitigate the losses, and 48 months’ rent differential does not do that,” according to the plaintiffs. “Special Master Pappas, who along with experts analyzed the tenant impact, said tenants should be paid 84 months’ differential.” If the city’s settlement offer is ultimately accepted by mobile home park residents, neither party would appeal and the residents would be required to leave, returning De Anza Cove to the city of San Diego.  The plaintiffs have said all along that vacating the park is not at issue, but that the fair amount of their compensation for leaving is. There’s been speculation that the city is interested in seeing the prime De Anza Mobile Home Park site redeveloped as a hotel or recreational facilities.
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    Polish community to put rich culture on full display during 3-day gala in PB
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Oct 01, 2014 | 336 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Members of Polonez, a Polish folk-dance group from San Diego, perform in handmade, traditional costumes during a previous Polish Festival held at the Saint Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Polish Mission in Pacific Beach. 	           Photo by Don Balch
    Members of Polonez, a Polish folk-dance group from San Diego, perform in handmade, traditional costumes during a previous Polish Festival held at the Saint Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Polish Mission in Pacific Beach. Photo by Don Balch
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    For all things Polish, visitors will want to check out the 19th annual St. Maximilian Kolbe Roman Catholic Church Polish Festival and celebration Oct. 10-12 at 1735 Grand Ave. in Pacific Beach. For $5, adults can attend one of Pacific Beach’s most popular ethnic festivals. The Polish celebration attracts people from all around San Diego, as well as international visitors, during its three-day stint. “People wait for this all year, and many come from outside California just to be here in October,” said Father Jerzy Frydrych of Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe, who said the church’s mission is to serve the needs of San Diego’s Polish community. The Polish Festival is a tribute to Polish heritage, culture and cuisine. The colorful event features Polish song, dance and food. On the menu will be traditional Polish fare like pierogis (dumplings stuffed with sauerkraut or potato and cheese), golabki (meat-stuffed cabbage rolls), bigos (Hunter’s stew), potato pancakes and grilled kielbasa (Polish sausage), which are all worth the turnout. The festival menu is rounded out by Polish pastries and soft drinks, coffee and tea. There is also a beer garden for ages 21 and up, which will feature well-known Polish beers like Zywiec, Okocim and Warka. Entertainers will include Polish folk-dance groups Polonez from San Diego and Piast from Las Vegas, as well as the Los Angeles-based Krakusy Polish Folk Dance Ensemble and Greg & Grace, a duo playing lively, Gypsy-style Eastern European music, including sentimental French and Italian favorites, Amercian standards and polka. There will also be a polka band and a DJ entertaining festival guests. Guided tours with veneration of church relics will be conducted that Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.  All money raised by the event benefit St. Maximilian Kolbe Church. “Funds are used to renovate and beautify the church, including purchase of statues and  stained-glass windows,” said Father Frydrych, noting past improvements have included a new church sanctuary. A member of The Society of Christ Fathers for Poles Living Abroad, Frydrych said San Diego’s far-flung Polish community is made up largely of Poles who emigrated from their native land during the Solidarity labor-union movement of the 1990s. St. Maximilian was built in 1995 in Pacific Beach to serve the Polish community, and Frydrych has been there since 2005. He said church services are traditional, with Masses conducted in Polish. “People prefer their national language during clergy,” Frydrych said. There is also a Saturday service conducted in English. The Polish Catholic church in PB is named for St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan friar and World War II-era hero who voluntarily sacrificed himself in the place of a stranger at the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. Kolbe provided shelter to refugees from Greater Poland, including 2,000 Jews, whom he hid from Nazi persecution in his friary until he was arrested by the German Gestapo and imprisoned. While imprisoned, Kolbe volunteered to take the place of a man condemned to be starved to death. In his cell, Kolbe led men in songs and prayer. After three weeks of dehydration and starvation, only he and three others were still alive. He was murdered with an injection of carbolic acid. The festival’s hours are 5 to 11 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10, noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11 and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12. For more information, visit http://www.polishmission.org/festival/index.php, or call (858) 272-7655.
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    Giant mural to serve as traffic-calming measure at PBMS
    by STAFF AND CONTRIBUTION
    Oct 01, 2014 | 266 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    BeautifulPB, the ecodistrict of Pacific Beach, planned, organized and funded this huge mural as part of a “Safe Route to School” program to serve as a traffic-calming measure to increase student safety at Pacific Beach Middle School and other PB elementary schools. The mural was painted by PBMS students and volunteers. 		              Courtesy photo
    BeautifulPB, the ecodistrict of Pacific Beach, planned, organized and funded this huge mural as part of a “Safe Route to School” program to serve as a traffic-calming measure to increase student safety at Pacific Beach Middle School and other PB elementary schools. The mural was painted by PBMS students and volunteers. Courtesy photo
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    San Diego District 2 City Councilman Ed Harris, volunteers from beautifulPB and community volunteers participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 20 to unveil the first “Safe Route to School” intersection mural to emerge in San Diego.  BeautifulPB, the ecodistrict for Pacific Beach, unveiled its latest community improvement project at the intersection of Diamond and Haines streets. After nearly a year of planning, more than 110 volunteers gathered to paint an enormous street mural as part of the “Safe Route to School Street Art Murals Installation” project.  The mural project was a collaboration between beautifulPB and Pacific Beach Middle School, and is the first of several murals planned at PBMS and local Pacific Beach elementary schools. Student Ciara Gray, in ninth grade at Mission Bay High School, designed the mural while a student at PBMS and worked together with local artist Lorrie Blackard Friet during the summer to finalize the design. BeautifulPB planned, organized and funded the project and then invited the Pacific Beach community to paint the mural and celebrate its unveiling with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  “This project will engage students and the public in practicing a safe morning commute — something we cannot take for granted with so many children walking to school through the busy streets,” said Kristen Victor, board president of beautifulPB. The mural serves as a traffic-calming measure while highlighting local student artwork. “These murals will mark the heart and center of the PB community and help create a safe environment for our children,” Victor said.
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    News
    Flying high again
    The Navy’s Blue Angels are again on the docket for the 2014 Miramar Air Show, the country's largest military air show, after beng grounded last year amid federal budget sequestration and a 16-day g...
    Oct 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Sports
    Hydroplanes set to shred up waters of Mission Bay for 50th year
    Drivers Jimmy Shane and J. Michael Kelly will be battling for supremacy Sept. 12-14 when the unlimited hydroplanes return for the sport’s 50th anniversary on Mission Bay. Shane, piloting the Oh Boy...
    Sep 03, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Opinion
    GUEST VIEW: Unpredictable, unprovoked panhandler attacks car at PB intersection
    SOCIAL MEDIA SITE NEXTDOOR.COM DEMONSTRATES ITS VALUE TO NEIGHBORS While most panhandlers appear harmless, I learned a painful lesson recently how some can be violent. The attack came out of nowher...
    Oct 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Arts & Entertainment
    Live Music
    Country and rock crooner Sara Petite performs at Humphreys Backstage Live on Oct. 5. Backed by an excellent band, Petite is the real deal, blessed with an evocative voice and a lineup of great orig...
    Oct 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Business
    Got the blues? Hit up PB’s Reds Saloon for some good, free belly laughs
    Anyone looking for entertainment beyond the usual bands or DJ setups will want to visit Reds Saloon on Wednesdays for its free weekly Comedy Nights. Don’t let the “free” part fool you. This is no a...
    Oct 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
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    Obituaries
    James Fielding Vaughan, aka ‘Von Ton the Atom Bomb’ of Pacific Beach, 85
    James “Jim” Fielding Vaughan, 85, of Pacific Beach, passed away at home on Sept. 12. A celebration of life will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 10 at Mission Point Park.   “Von Ton the Atom Bomb”...
    Oct 01, 2014 | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend
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