“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.
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