Controversy on Deck

“Is there any more comments?” asked Pacific Beach Town Council president Rose Galliher at the monthly meeting on June 16. Community members had just commented on the motion read by Scott Chipman, “That the Pacific Beach Town Council take a mail-in vote of the general membership and ask the following question: Shall the town council provide a letter of support for a premise expansion of the PB Shore Club to allow alcohol consumption till 2:00 a.m. on a proposed 1895-square-foot deck, and which would increase the maximum occupancy from 126 to 312 persons?... I assume the Shore Club will provide statement for.”

Some public comments included: “This audience does not reflect a balanced vote — that’s why it has to be a mail-in vote”; “Let’s listen to what the general membership has to say. There are almost 600 members”; “Word on the street is that people are really not in favor of the expansion.”

The council voiced concern about the cost of the mail-in ballot. A few community members expressed worries about “bought votes” (also mentioned during the May meeting), with references made to the Shore Club potentially purchasing town-council memberships for community members. A few expressed the importance of only current members being allowed to participate in the mail-in ballot.

“If a lot of memberships are bought between now and [the Shore Club’s] presentation or now and the ballot,” said a resident, “they can all vote and that’s fine, but I’d hate to see the town council get manipulated by moneyed interest.”

A community member who supports the expansion said, “We’re asked to come, we show up, and we’re looked at as a bought vote.”

Town-council vice president Ruby Houck along with another council member whispered and giggled while adding up the votes on the motion; both their backs were turned to the audience.

“What’s goin' on? I’d like to hear it,” yelled a resident.

Sixty-nine community members voted: 35 voted in favor, 34 in opposition.

As to the issue of “buying memberships,” Galliher said in a follow-up interview: “You have to remember we are just a liaison between our Pacific Beach Town Council members and [the San Diego] City Council. Whatever is brought to us, we make recommendations. We want people to be invested. You are not required to live in Pacific Beach but have to have an interest in Pacific Beach or work in Pacific Beach to be a member."

Cost of an annual membership? $20, individual; $25, family or service group; $50, business.

For the video version of this story, click here.

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One easy solution would be to require a length of time and or number of meeting that need to be attended before someone could vote.

I'd also suggest that your bylaws be changed to reflect that all officers elected must also have met minimum meeting attendance requirements so that 200 new folks cannot join and take control of your Organization without ever attending a meeting before!

Unfortunately, Ms. Galliher's follow-up interview did not answer the question of the buying of memberships. Sounds like she wants memberships no matter where they come from or who buys them. Other town councils limit their memberships to persons that live, work or have some affiliation to the community.

If a business wants a recommendation, then let the business pay for the entire membership mail-in vote. This PBTC board doesn't seem concerned at all about the residents, or this issue would not have escalated to this (see article about April 2010 general meeting).

This council should stick to community service and remove itself from issues that might cause the individual board members to be liable.

I feel sorry for all the long time residents of PB and especially those that live near the Grand Garnet Bar Zone. They have seen their quality of life eroded, as more and more alcohol venues were allowed to open creating ever more Neighborhood Blight!

First their elected Officials "turned their other cheek" choosing instead to support the BarClub's & BID , now their own PBTC is doing them wrong yet again. NIMBY residents that do not care about the negative effect on their impacted neighbors and the Bar/Club Owners, interested in Gold not the Golden rule, have now joined forces to make PB more Blighted and less Safe than it should be.

I predict that PB Crime will now increase yet again and when it starts to impact all the NIMBY folks that voted for more BarClubs, I'm sure we'll hear them whining in Midtown! All PB property owners are going to also take a "financial hit" as the Quality of Life in PB continues to change and they have to start disclosing to all their perspective Buyers and Renters that PB is not only a High Crime Area, but now has the worse crime stats in all of San Diego!

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