San Diego Community Newspaper Group - Civic engagement, volunteerism head OB Town Council's agendas for 2015
Dave Schwab - 2014 was a good year for Peninsula residents, whose leaders are looking ahead to an even better 2015. Meanwhile, The Beacon reached out to Peninsulans to talk about their wish lists this year and about what they anticipate happening as the new year unfolds.
Gretchen Kinney Newsom, president of Ocean Beach Town Council, said there’s a plethora of things to look forward to and to strive to achieve, adding that she expects the council to be up to the task.
“The OB Town Council,” she said, “will be deepening and broadening civic engagement and volunteer opportunities that promote the general betterment and beautification of Ocean Beach and the welfare of our residents. This will include working with community groups and elected leaders to apply best practices toward solving homelessness, address our community infrastructure needs, promote our local economy and enhance public safety.”
The town council president said she’s also interested to see how the referendum on the new California law that bans plastic bags proceeds.
“The OB Town Council is supportive of the ban because it protects our natural environment (clean beaches and oceans),” she said.
Denny Knox, executive director of OB MainStreet, the beach community’s 300-member business improvement district, offered up a short list of things to do in the year ahead.
“The OB security program will continue, and hopefully we’ll have the participation of residents in the next phase,” Knox said. Under the program, private security guards patrol the beach’s commercial district and environs, alerting police to problems.
Knox said that on Tuesday, Jan. 13, the district will be hosting its annual members marketing meeting to explore the theme “growing your business beyond your existing four walls.”
‘We’re trying to get people off on the right track,” Knox said.
Knox noted that the community is looking even further ahead, gearing up for the 50th anniversary celebration of OB Pier.
“We be working on plans for that celebration in 2016, and I have no idea what that’s going to look like yet,” Knox said, adding the district has other irons in the fire.
“We’ll be printing our new OB local business directory in early February,” Knox said. “It will bring more awareness to the general populace about our local businesses here.”
Most importantly, Knox said the district will focus in the new year on “continuing to work with all the organizations that are really making things happen in the community, like the veterans plaza that we’ve put a lot of time and energy into (redeveloping), and that we hope the community will come up with the funding for.”
Democrat U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, whose 52nd Congressional district includes the San Diego beachfront, talked about what his constituents should expect to see happening in Washington in 2015.
“In the coming year,” he said, “I see three areas ripe for action: making Congress work for the country again, creating jobs and promoting our region’s innovative sectors – this includes comprehensive immigration reform – and taking action on climate change.”
Insisting “Congress is broken and needs reform,” Peters said that that necessitates “getting back to working for you.
“I will be focused on making No Budget, No Pay permanent and reviewing regulations to make sure they are helping spur growth instead of delaying or stifling it,” he said. No Budget, No Pay centers on no remuneration for Congressional members if the body doesn't pass a budget.
Peters noted that while the economy continues to recover and job creation picks up, “Congress must look to the future and avoid the self-inflicted crises that have kept our country from its full potential. Passing common-sense tax reform, making college affordable and upgrading our nation’s crumbling infrastructure will help the economy grow.”
The congressman also maintained that “We must take action to protect our community by taking action to stop the root causes of climate change while simultaneously mitigating its harm by building up resiliency against sea-level rise, wildfires and other natural disasters.
“I want to hear your suggestions for Congress,” Peters concluded, adding, “If you have comments or ideas, or if you’re having trouble with a federal agency, please contact my office in San Diego or Washington. I am here to serve you.”