Ocean Beach Town Council hears about plastic bag ban
by ANTHONY de GARATE
Published - 05/01/15 - 07:00 AM | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Banning single-use, carry-out plastic bags is a goal that has eluded environmentalists for years. But advocates of the ban may finally have the upper hand in San Diego, according to a leader in the effort who addressed the Ocean Beach Town Council at its regular monthly meeting April 22 - a date that also happened to be Earth Day.

A statewide ban signed by Gov. Jerry Brown last September is threatened by a repeal referendum that will be decided by voters in November of 2016. Meanwhile, a citywide plastic-reduction ordinance has never been more possible, said Roger Kube, executive committee chair of the Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego Chapter.

California was to be the first state in the country to ban the use of plastic bags at supermarkets and retail stores. Were it not for the repeal referendum, the law would have been phased in beginning this July.

With the statewide ban in doubt, the San Diego City Council has renewed development of a local ordinance, which should be ready for consideration in August. Five of the nine city councilmembers are on record in support of the ban, Kube said.

Meetings with Mayor Kevin Faulconer have further fueled Kube’s optimism. The city was developing a plastic bag ordinance in 2013, when Faulconer was still the District 2 city councilmember. Following a pitch from Kube, the OBTC endorsed the ban in November of 2013.

But after becoming mayor in February of 2014, Faulconer halted progress on the ordinance, saying the city should defer to the parallel state effort and save taxpayer money.

Faulconer has assured supporters of the ban he doesn’t favor waiting to find out whether voters will overturn the statewide ban, Kube said.

“He has pledged to support the process. We don’t have any concerns about it stalling,” Kube said, adding he doesn’t believe Faulconer would veto the ban if it passes.

As for District 2 City Councilmember Lorie Zapf, she is one of the four members who has not committed to supporting the ban, Kube said. It’s important to gain Zapf’s support because her district includes so much coastline, he said.

“Councilmember Zapf’s district is coastal. This is where we see the problem,” Kube said.

Surfrider participates in 45 county beach clean-ups per year, and more than 50 percent of the trash collected is plastic, he said.

People’s Co-op expansion

The vacant building at 4745 Voltaire St. that until recently was the home of Tiny’s Tavern will be guarded by a watchman while the Ocean Beach People’s Food Co-op decide what to do with the property, said Nancy Casady, the co-op’s general manager.

People’s Co-op, 4765 Voltaire St., bought the tavern and an adjacent residential duplex several months ago. The plan currently under consideration calls for Tiny’s and the duplex to be demolished and replaced with parking and a mixed-use structure that has four residential units atop a restaurant-juice bar, Casady said. But she welcomes public input on the design, she said.

Originally, a plan was considered to convert the duplex to a restaurant and put parking to the east at the Tiny’s location. But architect Hanna Gabriel Wells, which also designed People’s existing market, rejected the idea because noncontiguous parking would create inefficient traffic flows, Casady said.

Tiny’s unexpectedly closed earlier this month. The tavern’s founder, Alan “Tiny” Kajiwara, died in January, shortly after People’s bought the property. After Kajiwara’s death, People’s gave the minority owner three month’s free rent but a further agreement could not be reached, Casady said.

No library, lifeguard tower

in proposed budget

Despite the backing of Zapf, no funds are available in the next budget for two long-sought capital improvement projects in Ocean Beach: an expanded library and new lifeguard tower, Zapf aide Conrad Wear said.

Zapf had listed the projects in her January budget priority memo, but the expenditures were not included in the $3.2 billion draft budget for fiscal 2016 released by Mayor Kevin Faulconer earlier this month. “That is unfortunate,” Wear said, “(but) it’s something we’ll continue to advocate for.”

However, the draft budget does contain items of note for the community, Wear said, including: $100,000 to improve living quarters at Fire Station 15; 15 more hours per week for Ocean Beach recreation center staffing; money for Ocean Beach playground equipment; and $1 million for drainage and vegetation improvements at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

Winemaker comes to Newport Avenue

Out with the antiques, in with the wine. That’s the idea from Keith Rawley, who plans to take possession of Newport Avenue Antiques, 4836 Newport Ave., in July. Rawley said he has lived in Ocean Beach since 1998, save for four years in Washington state to study oenology.

The entire winemaking process will take place on site, from “grape to glass,” as Rawley put it. “It’s not a wine bar,” but tastings will be available, he said. The first batch of grapes will arrive from Washington and the California counties of Amador and El Dorodo in the Sierra foothills in the fall, and Rawley hopes the business, to be known as “Gianni Buon Uomo,” to open in November.

Candidate for state assembly

makes pitch to town council

Kevin Melton, Republican candidate for the California Assembly 78th District in 2016, introduced himself. Melton described himself as a former OBcean and retired publisher who used to be part owner of Senior Life magazine (now called Life After 50). Melton placed third in the 2014 primary with 11.6 percent of the vote. More information is available at kevinmelton.net.
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