Window opens for citizens to make difference in community
by Tony de Garate
Jan 29, 2014 | 1239 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OB planners set to host annual board elections

Obeceans, how much do you care about your community? Enough to run for office?

If so, get out your clipboards, sharpen your pencils and start knocking on doors. It’s election time, and seven positions are available for qualified candidates to serve on the Ocean Beach Planning Board (OBPB).

Citizens who want to make Ocean Beach a better place by vetting development projects and examining other neighborhood issues have until Feb. 5 to qualify for next month’s ballot.

Those who miss that deadline have until March 10 to qualify as a write-in candidate.

To run, applicants must be at least 18 and live, own property or run a business in the Ocean Beach planning area. This area is divided into seven districts.

Candidates must gather 35 signatures in the district of their residence, business or property. The boundaries of the planning area and its seven districts can be viewed at oceanbeachplanning.org.

Hopefuls must also have attended at least one meeting between February 2013 and January 2014.

The Ocean Beach Planning Board is one of more than 40 community planning boards across the city that have been sanctioned by the San Diego City Council to make recommendations on land use and other community matters.

Gaining office carries its weight of responsibilities and commitments. But for those citizens willing to serve their community, claiming a board seat may be an easier goal to achieve than you might think. Recent board members have been elected with little more than a handful of votes.

The requirement to gather signatures is rare among planning boards, but it’s a great way to gauge the pulse of the neighborhood, said Peter Ruscitti, vice chairman of the OB Planning Board.

“Gathering 35 signatures is an important requirement that provides candidates with an opportunity to get familiar with their districts and talk to their neighbors about issues that matter to them,” Ruscitti said in an email.

A candidate forum is planned for March 5 at 6 p.m. at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Ave. Balloting will be held March 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the same location. Identification and proof of residence is required. Voters may preregister and mail in ballots.

Ballots, candidate applications and information will be available at the Wednesday Farmers Market from 5 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 12, 19 and 26, or visit oceanbeachplanning.org.

Terms are two years and meetings take place the first Wednesday of the month. Successful candidates must also complete a planning curriculum as a community orientation workshop. A handbook may be downloaded at sandiego.gov/planning/community/cow.shtml.

KEY DATES FOR THE OBPB

Feb. 2: Last day to postmark candidate application by mail

Feb. 5: Last day to submit candidate application in person at OBPB meeting or by making an appointment; see instructions on application

Feb. 12, 19, 26: Ocean Beach Planning Board to host booth at Wednesday Farmer’s Market with mail-in ballots, candidate applications and other information

Feb. 23: Last day to request mail-in ballot to be mailed to you

March 5: Candidate forum

March 10: Last day for write-in candidates to submit application in person

March 11: Election 4 to 7 p.m. at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center. Last day to postmark mail-in ballot.

— Compiled by staff

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