GrokSurf's San Diego

Local observations on water, environment, technology, law & politics

Posts Tagged ‘Ocean Beach’

Unwanted water leak in Ocean Beach

Posted by George J Janczyn on April 6, 2010

I stopped in Ocean Beach to check the waves at 9:30am this morning while on the way to a tour at the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant and came across what appeared to be a water main leak at the corner of Cable and Brighton. I called the Water Department and reported it, but when I called back a few hours later to find out what happened, they told me they assumed someone was already working on it because of a wastewater problem that was being repaired about a half-mile away, also on Cable. I don’t know what the outcome was, but here’s what it looked like when I was there.

The water was bubbling out of the asphalt, between the trash can and the car driving through the pool. I couldn’t see if there was a manhole cover there.

By the way…the waves were pretty good at the north jetty.


Posted in Water | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Lake Murray area residents work to restore park playground

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 17, 2010

These days in San Diego, one can’t avoid hearing of the city’s inability to pay for municipal services and infrastructure maintenance. “Brownouts” of fire crews, elimination of civilian employees in the police department, reductions in branch library operations, and reductions of lifeguards have been recently announced in the wake of the FY 2010 budget approved by the city council. So too, it goes for recreational facilities.

Just three old playground items remain offerering children little variety

At Lake Murray Park, located in the Navajo Community within the Mission Trails Regional Park system, a playground serving a large community of children originally built in the early 1990s has shrunk from nine pieces of play equipment to just three, because over the years the city removed aging equipment rather than repair or replace it. Residents also saw the playground deteriorate from hazards such as litter and sand contamination, while the sparse aging equipment attracted fewer users. Frustrated that the city would/could not fund any improvements, two local residents, Marilyn Olson and Tracy Dahlkamp, decided to organize a grassroots fundraising project to restore and improve the playground.

Tracy and Marilyn organized a nonprofit organization called Lake Murray Playground Project, setting a goal of raising $250,000 by 2011 to buy new equipment and perform upgrades to the playground area. The Lake Murray Kiwanis Foundation agreed to serve as the group’s fiscal sponsor. David Reed, a local landscape architect, donated his expertise for the playground redesign. With the help of others who became members of a steering committee to manage the organization, they officially launched the project last December with a fundraising event where they unveiled a proposed new playground design.

They’ve attracted funding and material support from local businesses (Windmill Farms, Keil’s Food Stores, Trails Neighborhood Eatery) and other organizations. The Union-Tribune caught wind of the project and published a story about it. So far, the city appears to be responding favorably to their idea, with Councilperson Marti Emerald publicly supporting their effort.

The Playground Project has its own website and Facebook fan page (as of this writing it boasts 310 fans).

The work by Tracy, Marilyn, and the many volunteers sets a great example by their positive, constructive response to the declining municipal services compounded by the latest city budget woes. Speaking to the initiative of these two women, Jay Wilson (Executive Director, Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation) told me “they may not know it yet, but they are this area’s next community leaders.”

Some future users of the playground


Another notable effort is under way at Ocean Beach. Recently, the city decided to cease maintenance of the fire pits at Ocean Beach and announced the intention of removing them altogether. Actually not just the fire pits in Ocean Beach but also in Mission Bay and La Jolla Shores (see OB’s Frank Gormlie (co-founder of the OB Rag) helped lead an effort to find individual sponsors to “adopt” fire pits and be responsible for their maintenance. Unfortunately, city policy may prevent them from doing so, as they’ve been told that such an effort would require a $1 million insurance policy, among other things, in order to comply with safety and legal requirements of public fire pit maintenance.


Posted in Government, Land use | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Beach parking fees on Mayor Sanders’ agenda?

Posted by George J Janczyn on March 4, 2010

At yesterday’s San Carlos Area Council meeting, President John Pilch said that Mayor Sanders recently attended a Past Grand Juror’s Association luncheon and wanted to know how many people support paid parking at the beach. Mr. Pilch asked for a show of hands in this meeting as well. This stimulated a few questions and a little discussion.

One outspoken individual, who said he was born and raised in Ocean Beach and owns commercial property there, said that he had suggested the fee. He said in a community he saw in Virginia with a beach parking fee “the beach is clear, the homeless folk are not all over the place…like, just simply walk down to the foot of Newport in Ocean Beach and you can’t sling a dead cat without hitting some homeless folks and panhandlers and all that sort of stuff.”

A woman then asked him, “Just how would charging a fee change the homeless population?”

The man continued, “Well, also they clean the beach, police the beach, they hire college students during the summer, they clean the area up, there’s a greater security presence, it prevents people from parking their motor homes there, from sleeping there, we could buy fire rings.”

People wanted more details. Mr. Pilch said the basic idea is to install parking meters at the beaches, which would accept cash (paper or coin), credit card, or parking card. One idea for the fee would be between $5-8, whether you stay the whole day or not. 45% of meter revenue would go toward improvements in that community.

(I’m curious about that because my understanding was that the high-tech “pay and display” meters they’re using downtown allow the purchase of individual amounts of time)

Most people didn’t seem to like the idea of having a fixed day-use fee as opposed to hourly metering. Then people started wondering about other ways of funding things, but the president had to stop discussion because it was just an informal poll not on the agenda, and asked for a show of hands. A large majority voted no for beach parking fees.

So, I wonder what was behind the mayor bringing this up with the (old) grand jury?

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Makers of camcorders must be armchair photographers

Posted by George J Janczyn on February 16, 2010

Test high def camera: only the smallest of hands will be able to finger the controls easily (holding it with one hand, my fingers and thumb almost completely encircle it)

Today I went to the Ocean Beach north jetty to test an HD camcorder (Sony HDR-XR150, built-in hard drive with 25x optical zoom) by filming some surfing action. My own camcorder (Sony DCR-TRV103, Hi-8 cassette tape with 20x optical zoom) doesn’t do badly for standard definition–that’s what I’ve been using for all the surfing videos I’ve posted here–but I wanted to see what can be done with a high def camera.

Alas, the test camcorder’s LCD display completely washed out in the sunlight, making it extremely difficult to follow the action. Since the camera has no optical viewfinder I had to jerry-rig a cardboard hood in order to see the LCD images at all. The resulting video looks very shaky, partly because I could hardly see what I was shooting, but despite built-in image stabilization and being on a tripod, this camera just didn’t perform to my expectations when it came to shooting action, especially at a distance.

My standard definition dinosaur--my hand can grasp about half of it

My experience reinforces my earlier opinion that a camcorder without an optical viewfinder is of no use for serious photography. I don’t know why manufacturers insist on omitting this critical component; I can only surmise they haven’t tried shooting action in bright sunlight themselves. Either that, or they just don’t care. Another thing most HD camcorders seem to lack is adequate optical zoom–this test model was unusual with 25x, but most consumer HD camcorders offer only 10x optical. Strangely, many standard definition camcorders have well over 25x optical. In any case, I don’t think the camera is worth the $700 asking price. As for other makes and models, I’ve looked all over without luck for an HD camcorder with an optical viewfinder and at least 25x optical zoom. If you know of one, please let me know where you found it!

Otherwise, it was a nice day at OB…the waves just kept coming, one after the other. Combined with the long paddle to get out, it made for a good workout (a fun one, though) for everyone.



Here’s video shot with the high-def camera. Although wide-angle shots with slow panning came out okay, the action sequences reveal the camera’s weakness. Keep in mind I was using a tripod here:



March 17: For comparison, here’s video I shot with my old camcorder. Its zoom isn’t as powerful and it isn’t high def, but the overall quality is much more satisfying to me.


Posted in Surfing, Technology, Videos | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Friday spot check: lull between storms

Posted by George J Janczyn on January 22, 2010

Shots taken between 8:30-9:30am. Click images for “like you’re there” size.

Sunset Cliffs

Smothered rainbow at Sunset Cliffs

Ocean Beach

"Insane" is what an observer muttered. Near OB Pier

Paddle out? Pass. Windansea

Click here to see the entire Friday Spot Check series.


Posted in Environment | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sunday waves aren’t too bad

Posted by George J Janczyn on January 17, 2010

The dawn patrol was out at Ocean Beach picking up remnants of the big swell of the past few days. With a series of storms expected to hit our area starting tomorrow, this may be the last clean surf we have for a week or so.


Posted in Surfing | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Friday spot check: Ocean Beach

Posted by George J Janczyn on January 1, 2010

It was a pleasant New Year’s Day for the morning patrol at Ocean Beach. I started shooting at about 8:30am between the little jetties. There was one unfortunate kick-out contact at about 4:09 after which a few words were exchanged, but everyone seemed mellow and happy to be catching waves.

Click here to see the entire Friday Spot Check series.


Posted in Friday spot check, Surfing, Videos | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Friday spot check: Ocean Beach, Point Loma

Posted by George J Janczyn on November 6, 2009

There was no surf to speak of this morning though they’re predicting it will build later today and tomorrow. So just a little sightseeing. The Army Corps of Engineers is repairing the OB jetty and replacing its light beacon due to storm damage over the years. They’ll also dredge the channel into Mission Bay. The OB Rag wonders whether the surf will be affected – and has an interesting account of the history behind the jetty. I got the close-up of the crane a few weeks ago when they were preparing to move it to its current position. At Point Loma the tidepools weren’t visible because of high tide, and the combination of clouds and haze made for an average view. I did catch a Navy submarine heading out to sea. Click small pics for enlargements.












Click here to see the entire Friday Spot Check series.


Posted in Environment, Friday spot check, Surfing, Water | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »