Group of residents upset with affordable housing plans at Famosa Canyon
by Don Sevrens
Published - 01/29/19 - 12:48 PM | 2427 views | 18 18 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Jan. 26, community activist Margaret Virissimo and other residents held a protest rally calling for preserving the last open space in Point Loma.
On Jan. 26, community activist Margaret Virissimo and other residents held a protest rally calling for preserving the last open space in Point Loma.
slideshow
Open space or development?

Famosa Canyon, a five-acre bowl at Famosa Boulevard, next to Nimitz Boulevard but with no access, is where the Housing Authority plans to build affordable housing. On Jan. 26, community activist Margaret Virissimo and other residents held a protest rally calling for preserving the last open space in Point Loma.

It is a battle of a community versus the Housing Authority, Virissimo said.

“They want to build 78 low-income apartments. But questions from the community go unanswered, under the guise of ‘We have no plan yet,'"she said.

“We have turned the corner,” said event organizer Jon Linney, a community advocate, former chair of the Peninsula Planning Board and former vice chair for an umbrella group representing all of the city’s 42 planning boards.

“The community is aware of the issue now, people are coming forward to sign our petitions,” Linney said. “Traffic comes to a crawl in Point Loma with few ways off the peninsula. Residents are angry as politicians allow over-development on a peninsula that has no practical mass transit solution. Even the token bus service has been reduced.”

D.C. Collier gave 60 acres of land to the city in 1909 to be used for parks. The land has been whittled away, often for other uses, and this five-acre site is all that remains untouched. Original records from 1909 cannot be located and title to the land appears to be clouded, showing up under other names, including the Faulconer family – apparently no relation to the current mayor.

The Housing Authority acquired control of the land a few decades back but has done nothing. Opponents of housing on the site question the legality of using gasoline tax money years ago to buy land ostensibly for subsidized housing.

“After decades of inaction, why is the Housing Authority stepping forward now,” Linney asks. “Questions from the community are being dodged. Some fear the authority will sell the land to private developers. The difficulty of building on the site probably would lead to twice as many units going at luxury prices to recoup the investment.”

The deep bowl with access on only one side (Nimitz Boulevard), is beneath power lines from a nearby SDG&E substation and is environmentally sensitive, draining into the Famosa Slough preserve. Catalina/Famosa boulevards are the main artery serving Correia Middle School.

Virissimo said eight organizers have helped galvanize the community. Save Famosa Canyon proponents are reaching out to mayoral candidates Cory Briggs, attorney and Point Loma resident, Council Member Barbara Bry, Assemblyman Todd Gloria and Mayor Kevin Faulconer who recently advocated removing building height limits and cutting parking requirements in a push for density. “This must be an issue in the coming mayor’s race.”

“We believe affordable housing has a place,” Linney said, “on less costly land farther inland that is near transit corridors and closer to employment centers.”

 

Comments
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Ted Williamson
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February 22, 2019
As a long time Peninsula resident, I would have to say that Mr. Page is an asset to the community and brings vast knowledge and experience. I, as do many, appreciate his efforts on the behalf of all of the Peninsula.

I also believe that both Mr. Linney and Ms. Virissimo can recover some decorum by dispensing with the childish, knee-jerk reactionary behaviour and settling in and appreciating not just Mr. Page's efforts and experience, but that of their peers and those before them.
Geoff Page
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February 28, 2019
Thank you very much for the kind words, Ted, it is always heartening when someone takes the time to sit down and post a supportive comment. I very much appreciate that.
Geoff Page
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January 30, 2019
Oddly written story.

“On Jan. 26, community activist Margaret Virissimo and other residents held a protest rally calling for preserving the last open space in Point Loma.” So, one person is singled out by name and the rest are “other residents?” Makes it sound like a one person show and it wasn’t. Later in the story, the writer said “Virissimo said eight organizers have helped galvanize the community.” But, none of their names were included in the story.

Why is this article quoting Virissimo, a person who had to resign from the Peninsula Community Planning Board because of her public behavior and putting credentials on her planning board application that were not true.

The correct name for the project is “workforce housing” not “low-income” but that sounds scarier to everyone so they use it.

There is no explanation how a referendum can affect how private property rights.

The article also extensively quotes Jon Linney and it gives one credential he has used regularly as “former vice chair for an umbrella group representing all of the city’s 42 planning boards.” The writer surely knows the name of this group is the Community Planners Committee and the vice chair position was only attained because no one else wanted the job.

Linney is quoted as saying “The difficulty of building on the site probably would lead to twice as many units going at luxury prices to recoup the investment.” But, the writer did not ask where he got that information and I’m sure it is just an unsubstantiated scare tactic.

Linney is also quoted as saying “We believe affordable housing has a place,” Linney said, “on less costly land farther inland that is near transit corridors and closer to employment centers.” But, where exactly? What is an employment center? The writer never asked.

The article was written by a cohort of Linney and Virissimo, Don Sevrens, who has had his own troubles during his tenure on the PCPB. This article, and the prominent positions of Linney and Virissimo, are part of a push to get these two re-elected to the PCPB and the folks who are really working on this issue are being used.

Jon Linney
|
January 30, 2019
Mr. Page,

Glad to see you are back on social media obsessing over me (Jon Linney) and Margaret Virissimo in making the Point Loma community a better place. In my opinion, you are just taking out your anger and jealous because when you were our age you were not advocating for the community to reduce density, instead you were a construction worker building homes. Another interesting fact is you have allied yourself with Robert Goldyn who is not the Chair of the Peninsula Community Planning Board. I know you always have to have the last word so I will let you have the last word so you can make yourself feel better and contain anger and jealous you have toward me (Jon Linney) and Margaret. I am guessing we will be seeing an article on the OB rag ether written by you Geoff Page, Source and Staff. Look forward reading the article on the OB rag.

Regards,

Jon Linney
Geoff Page
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February 04, 2019
Just to update anyone who has read this, no police report, no police at my door, no nothing. Virissimo has produced nothing as would be expected. This was just an attempt to smear my name by lying about reporting me to the police for what? She never said. Just keep that name in mind, Margaret Virissimo, and remember this post, especially if she runs for a seat on the Peninsula Community Planning Board.
Geoff Page
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January 30, 2019
I don't believe a word of it. Every time you have ever been asked to back up one of your outrageous statements, this is how you answer. But, this time, you have crossed the line of defamation of character by telling the public I have committed a reportable crime and that I have been reported to the police. You need to substantiate your claim or withdraw your accusation as you have put yourself in legal jeopardy.
Margaret Virissimo
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January 30, 2019
I am not going to interact with you anymore after this final comment. I did indeed report you to the police I do not need to show my report to you, it will remain confidential and they will handle the situation. I did copy multiple community members in my report and Jon Linney was one member on the report. He can attest to my compliant being sent to the police. You bash me on a public forum and you better believe I will defend myself against your defamatory remarks.

This conversation is closed.
Geoff Page
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January 30, 2019
Ms. Virissimo, you have stated on a public forum that you reported me to the police for something. Either prove that statement or I would advise you to retract it immediately.
Geoff Page
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January 30, 2019
Prove it now, not "soon." Provide the copy of the police report or an incident number so I can look at it.
Margaret Virissimo
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January 30, 2019
You will receive proof soon.
Geoff Page
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January 30, 2019
Prove that you reported me to the police, Ms. Virissimo. I'd love to see that.
Margaret Virissimo
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January 30, 2019
Being reported to teh Police is not something you should be laughing at!
Margaret Virissimo
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January 30, 2019
Geoff Page keep trolling.
Geoff Page
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January 30, 2019
Thanks to both Ms. Virissimo and Mr. Linney for illustrating my points about them so much more clearly than I ever could. Let the readers be the judges.
Margaret Virissimo
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January 30, 2019
Geoff Page you are a hostile, angry man. I have officially reported you the SDPD police today and copied community members.

Instead of being a good citizen and helping us wth our community efforts you continue to hijack and troll every single thread that has to do with Jon, Don and myself and our community accomplishments. People see your trends. Trust me if we wanted to have a political position from all that we are doing we would have taken over a long time ago but we chose to be the voice for the community and continue to take bullets from people like yourself in our community.

To back up and go on the record for the Famosa project, we are indeed a brand new group of activists and neighbors working together called "Save Famosa Canyon" committee. A few of our group members perfer to not be named on media for privacy reasons. They may be afraid of people like you or previos Famosa volunteer group leaders that have grown upset that we started a new group because we dont want to be associated with an illegal non profit.

You do not know many of our group members and this is teh reason why they wish to remain silent and they in return hope you do not know them because of fear you will bash them all over social media as you have done to many innocent volunteers in the past.

It seems that you are upset and full of hate that the community the past few years has kept you at the very bottom in the elections in fact in last place the last two years right next to the current chair Robert Goldyn whom was also near last place. The only reason Robert Goldyn was elected was because there was a vacancy due to a resignation in which the community doesnt get to vote only the board votes and viola Robert Goldyn gets to be on the board after many threats he made to a few board members (we have proof) and is now the leader of the PCPB board and it was not because of the community votes, shows how this board works behind the scenes.

The initial letter that was signed by Jon Linney was a letter approved by all your friends that currently sit on the PCPB planning board today, as a chair Jon didnt vote on the letter to be sent so nice try, the board did so he has to sign the letter!

As for the new letter to be resent that was because of ME pushing for a new letter and your friend Robert Goldyn the current PCPB chair didnt vote on the letter neither as chair in fact he changed the verbiage that I had asked to be put on the letter which clearly stated the PCPB DOES NOT SUPPORT this project, he changed it to state they do! Well, that did not happen your chair Robert Goldyn tweaked the letter to still read that the PCPB supports the housing project.

I have plenty of community members that were at this meeting to back me up on the new letter that was sent and what I had actaully asked to be put on the letter!

Geoff Page you harrasing people that are doing great things for this community has come to an end. I will not tolerate your abuse or lies nor will the community!

You will also need to stop using my name and defaming my character in public forums.

Congratulations you had me resign off the PCPB, you win, now I ask you nicely to leave my name out of your mouth for good. I most certainly do not need the PCPB to get things done for our residents and you wont stop me Geoff Page.

Bash me all you want, the people know who is loyal to them and its not your buddies on the PCPB board.

Respectfully

Margaret Virissimo
Jon Linney
|
January 30, 2019
Mr. Page,

As you keeping claiming you are intelligent in all your jealous and hateful writes up about me and Ms. Virissimo. You should know that I signed a letter that the Peninsula Community Planning Board approved the vote 14-0-0. I appreciate you saying I have that much power to sign a letter, you should read your council policy and brown act.

Also if this is all you have on me to blaick mail me. You need to do better. :)

Regards,

Jon Linney
Geoff Page
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January 30, 2019
No need to comment on Jon Linney's comment, it speaks for itself. However, I would like to add one other thing. The Peninsula Community Planning board issued a letter in June 2017, during Linney's tenure as chair, that recommended the Famosa site as a good place to put affordable housing and the letter contained a picture of the site. It was signed by Jon Linney as the chair who has now become an activist fighting affordable housing at this very same site? This is what politicians do. After Linney was gone, the board voted to rescind the letter in June of this year and it was signed by the current chair Robert Goldyn. To see the original letter, click on this link. http://www.pcpb.net/documents/170615AffordableWorkForceHousing.pdf
Geoff Page
|
February 06, 2019
Ah, after re-reading your comment Mr. Linney, about signing the Famosa letter, it occurred to me that you were implying you signed it only because the PCPB voted 14-0-0 for it so you had no choice. But, there was another letter from the PCPB about the Point Loma High School lights the board approved in November 2016 with a vote of 9-2 with two abstentions that you refused to sign according to the meeting minutes: http://www.pcpb.net/agendas/161117boardmins.pdf

So, you could have also refused to sign the Famosa letter if you were opposed to it at that time but you did not refuse. The conclusion is that you were in favor of the development but now you're not. As I said, this is what politicians do.
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