25 years of battling to save our coastal lands

Over the last 25 years, there has been a constant assault on public lands along the coast.

1995 The SD City Council agrees to a hotel’s demand to eliminate 20 public beach parking spaces, this by closing a coastal access road.north of Grand Ave in Pacific Beach.

1996 A SD City Council scheme to develop a large array of retail structures on the sand in Ocean Beach is narrowly defeated by a public coalition led by the Ocean Beach Preservation  League. OBPL flyering filled the OB Rec Center, where 600 residents unanimously opposed to the taking of public beach, killing the project.

1996 A SD City Council plan to eliminate 14 more beach public parking spaces is defeated by a Save Everyone’s Access (SEA) activist. Small flyers urged parked lunch wave watchers to call or email the mayor and beach area council member.

1995 – 2005, Activists fought an ever-changing deal that saw what the public was to get in return to handing Naval Training Center over to a developer disappear.

Lennar Homes, who provided a more honest and better proposal for redeveloping the site, got shoved out in a last-minute switch to “hometown boy” McMillin Companies. McMillin had provided major political donations to council and congressional candidates during this period. Lennar had not.

The public got virtually nothing in return for selling the 285 acre property to McMillin for $8.

1996 The City of San Diego cancels the ground breaking for South Shores Park in Mission Bay Park. The City is informed any grading would release area toxic waste or deadly Hydrogen Sulfide and Methane gases. South Shores hosts the huge unlined, uncapped Mission Bay Landfill Toxic Military Industrial Waste Dump. [claiming lack of funds to stop park dump releases, the City uses a dump study to continue a decades-long cover up]

1997 North Embarcadero Visionary Plan commences with the focus on stuffing as many hotels as possible on ‘We the People’ owned Tidelands from the downtown convention center up through Harbor Island.

1997 A SD City Council-backed Bahia Resort Hotel expansion in Mission Bay Park is voted down by the Coastal Commission (CCC). Opposing the plan was a SEA-recruited coalition of 140 recreation and community groups. The CCC ruled the expansion would violate the Coastal Act’s coastal access provisions.

1998 A SD City Council coastal rep fronts a Bahia Hotel scheme to privatize Ventura Cove’s sandy beach. SEA hydrology research defeats the project as unneeded. The City and hotel project would have banned public small water craft launching by building a new 300 foot long “seawall” along the cove.

1998 A SD City Councilmember’s opposition is reversed as SEA’s Mission Beach Boardwalk Coalition widens the boardwalk for millions who travel it or cross it to reach the beach. The too-narrow area had many accidents caused by the inventions of skateboards, mountain bikes, and inline skates.

2000-2018 Constant efforts have been made for the public to approve an expansion of the downtown Convention Center. At the core, the effort has always about the public subsidizing the Convention Center expansion so that more high rise hotels could be profitably built on our “We the People” Tidelands. Port District maps show 11 new hotels on our land.

2002 The SD City Council lets the Dana Inn bulldoze Sunset Point Park in Mission Bay Park – to expand for more rooms and meeting space.

2005 District 2 Councilman Michael Zucchet spearheads effort to giveaway the City-owned Sports Arena to developers for private housing. Activist pressure thwarted that development.

2005 Downtown players go after Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) when another Base Reuse and Closure (BRAC) round commenced. In the spring, a member of the BRAC committee, General Hoar, kept the base from closing.

That summer, those in the know communicated that the San Diego downtown power structure was furious that no military base in San Diego had been closed. By fall, the final list of base closures had one property added – Navy Broadway in downtown San Diego.

2006 – 2016 Navy Broadway development deal goes to Doug Manchester. Manchester has hidden ties to former mayor, senator and governor Pete Wilson.

A coalition of citizens organized around the civic group C3 to fight the Navy Broadway development. There were 3 major issues of the project – the setbacks were inadequate for a Military Headquarters, an active fault runs under the site and a highly dangerous terrorist target also existed. The lawyer, Corey Briggs, lost in court.

2016 A SEA lawsuit causes SeaWorld to cancel a $100 million expansion that would have dewatered/pumped contaminated toxic dump water into Mission Bay.

2018 West Mission Bay Drive bridge expansion project to relieve not public coast access, but traffic to ever expanding SeaWorld and Bahia Hotel commercial development in Mission Bay Park.

2018 With minimal public notice, the City of San Diego zones public-owned coastal land in the Sports Arena / Midway area for infill housing.

2018-2019? The Bahia hotel expansion, the first of a string of hotel projects that City Council wants to build in Mission Bay Park.

Elected District 2 representatives have championed all these takings.