• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Wayne Bamford knew more secrets about Linda Vista than anyone. It was the spring of 2007, and Bamford was helping me dig into the community’s ongoing squabbles. Two years later, in early May, I wanted to learn the latest on the fate of Skateworld, immediately north of the corner of Linda Vista Road and Comstock Street.

The roller-skating rink was facing a possible shutdown as part of local redevelopment plans. Bamford would be my first contact. I called the phone number I had for him. I emailed him. No response. A Google search eventually turned up a shocker: on April 30, 2009, Bamford, at 70 years old, had died unexpectedly at his daughter’s home. A memorial service would be held a few weeks later. “I found him when I got home from work,” his daughter later told me. “He was doing fine when I left in the morning. I really miss him.”

Linda Vista community activists miss him, too. Nick Hughes (not his real name) was one of Bamford’s closest friends. “Wayne could come up with information about every kind of issue. One time, we were together where a guy was entering a restricted-access area. [The guy] punched the keypad on one of those cypher locks. We were at a fair distance, but I noticed Wayne jotting down the numbers the guy had punched. I asked what the heck he was doing, and he said, ‘You never know when it might come in handy.’ He always seemed to be good at technical things, especially things related to law enforcement. We went up to the police academy off Miramar Road once, and Wayne was immediately familiar with a training simulator being used there.”

Mainly, however, Bamford seemed to have had a knack for convincing the right person to cough up the right information. Hughes kept duplicate copies of any interesting documents that turned up. “Wayne told me he had paperwork everywhere,” says Hughes, “and that if his house ever burned, a lot of important information might get lost.”

Bamford’s Linda Vista concerns ran from the seriously consequential to the trivial. “He never wanted leadership positions,” says JoAnn Carini, another longtime friend, “though he served on our planning committee and several other community organizations. Wayne liked to work in the shadows.” Carini tells me how Bamford obtained a badge for being a volunteer for the City of San Diego’s Neighborhood Code Compliance Department. “On weekends he would go to Morley Green, our neighborhood park on Linda Vista Road, where people were in the habit of setting up yard sales. It was making the community look like a ghetto. And Wayne would show up with his badge, like he was a City enforcement officer, and tell people they weren’t permitted to sell there. He’d say, ‘I’ll be back to check on you in half and hour.’ And the people would leave.”

But saving Skateworld was Bamford’s greatest preoccupation. He loved the skating rink, as many Linda Vistans still do. It attracted people of all ages and gave to neighborhood kids especially some great recreation and discipline. It offered them a place to connect with others. Parents could drop their children off and feel they’d remain safe and off the streets. There was structure. While in the facility, the kids had to follow strict rules; going in and out was forbidden, so the fun could not be mixed with drugs or alcohol. Skateworld also brought outsiders from all over San Diego County into Linda Vista, where they’d often spend money before going home. The rink served as a venue for birthday parties and school, college, and church outings. It staged benefits for worthwhile causes. And on and on.

Late in my 2007 conversations with Bamford, he finally hinted at what he considered to be the dark forces threatening Skateworld. He’d attended District 6 councilwoman Donna Frye’s Linda Vista appearances, most often at Bayside Community Center, kitty-corner from Skateworld, and ask her questions. Linda Vista contains a San Diego Redevelopment Agency project area, and Skateworld lies within it. Bamford told me he didn’t get much out of Frye. He said she always had a way of deflecting his queries.

But I couldn’t be sure about what he learned because Bamford kept sensitive information and suspicions close to the vest, perhaps waiting for the right moment to reveal them. For whatever reasons, his friends agreed, he confided different kinds of information to different people. I liked Bamford but found him to be a mystery. To understand him better, I pestered him about what his career had been before retiring. He wouldn’t say. So I guessed, more than half seriously, that he’d worked for the FBI. He made no response, though a wry smile appeared on his pleasant, round face. Then he went on to other topics. Recently, I learned that he’d retired from a career at General Atomics. Neither Carini nor Hughes knows anything further.

Bamford also gave me insight into his relentless yet circumspect modus operandi. He said that City officials seemed to think of Linda Vista as a doormat, a backwater full of know-nothings. I still have a few recordings of our conversations. “You can tell the Redevelopment Agency is planning something they know we won’t like,” he says on one, “and that something will split the community into bitter camps. Ultimately, the City will do whatever it pleases. And it is true; we are unsophisticated and simple people here, especially in comparison with the redevelopment honchos. By the time we figure things out, the game is already half over. What we need more than anything else is more participation by the whole community before decisions are made.”

∗ ∗ ∗

Skateworld is housed in a large rounded-roof building that looks like a World War II Quonset hut. As part of a shopping center built in the early 1940s, the structure was meant originally to serve as an entertainment facility for thousands of aircraft-manufacturing workers. Linda Vista was then a brand-new development built to house workers who came to San Diego to do their part in the war effort.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web

Comments

Brian_T_Peterson_DVM Sept. 1, 2010 @ 4:49 p.m.

Joe,

This is a great article. Everything you wrote is consistent with what I have been hearing through my involvement in fighting redevelopment abuse in Grantville. One complaint I hear from Linda Vistans is that all their redevelopment money disappeared. Now, from your article, I know why: it was all transferred out of the Linda Vista project area. Fortunately, this type of loss of revenue from a redevelopment project area will not happen again. In 2008 State Senator Christine Kehoe took note of the Grantville Action Group’s legal effort to stop the transfer of over $31 million in Grantville’s redevelopment proceeds to pay for downtown projects. (They claim that improving the trolley line on C Street and beautifying the County Administration Building will eradicate blight in Grantville.) Kehoe authored SB 93, which will prevent the transfer of tax increment out of redevelopment project areas, except in the strictest of circumstances. This bill passed unanimously through the legislature, Governor Schwarzenegger signed it, and it became law on January 1, 2010.

As far as the Grantville Action Group lawsuit, we will be in court on October 29th. If anyone would like to assist redevelopment reform in Grantville, after we helped to gain it for the rest of the state, please go to www.GrantvilleActionGroup.com and donate to the GAG legal fund. Thank you.

Brian T. Peterson, DVM Grantville Action Group, CEO

0

sdgirl92123 Sept. 1, 2010 @ 6:01 p.m.

The title on the cover says "Skateworld Rolls Away". Skateworld is NOT rolling anywhere! This is not a done deal!! We are fighting to save this rink and will continue to do so until we win!

Skateworld has been a pillar of the Linda Vista community for nearly 35 years! It is the ONLY remaining roller rink in the city of San Diego. Linda Vista has a recreation center, a teen center and a boys and girls club. There are also public use buildings at USD. If you want to play "Futsal" use one of those facilities. Don't be fooled skaters. Bayside claims they will have skating. But, mark my words, it will NOT be in the same capacity at which Skateworld currently offers skating.

The article states that the RDA owes the city money. Then WHY are they making a deal with a non-profit organization that pays NO money in taxes back to the city? Skateworld pays rent, property tax, sales tax etc. With the financial crisis facing San Diego tax paying citizens should be outraged that such a deal is even being considered.

This article does not tell of the many coincidences between those involved in this deal. When you start connecting the dots it makes an interesting picture. Stop to consider that Mike Weber is a long time board member for Bayside and Donna Frye is always there to support everything they do and has received many awards in recognition of that support, then add in the little fact that she and Mrs. Weber are best friends, it makes me question if they are in cahoots with each other for personal gain. After all Ms. Frye will be out of a job in just a few months. Perhaps one is waiting for her at MRW? I also find it interesting that there are prominent members from USD sitting on Bayside's board. Rumor on the street is that USD plans to buy the existing Bayside property to build housing. Although that's hearsay, I find it another interesting "dot" in the big picture.

The above article states the following:

"A page from the year 2002 stands out, a letter on Bayside stationery addressed to Gary Jones of the City’s Real Estate Assets Department. Dated October 24, 2002, and stamped as received in Donna Frye’s office four days later, the letter was written by Grover Diemert, then Bayside’s executive director. “We are developing a proposal to lease the property commonly known as the Skateworld property,” wrote Diemert. “We have alerted Donna Frye of our interest. She is looking forward to receiving our proposal. We request that you do not renew the Stang/Skateworld lease until you have considered and reviewed our proposal…. If you have any questions please contact our master plan committee chair Michael Weber.” "

So, Donna Frye knew back in 2002 that Bayside and her friend Mike Weber at MRW had this "master plan". Why was it not put into motion 8 years ago? Is it because she had just gotten elected after promising to do right by her constituents and she was afraid of committing political suicide? That's a bet I am willing take.

0

sdgirl92123 Sept. 1, 2010 @ 6:10 p.m.

Thank you Joe Deegan for your time in writing this article. I know you didn't have control over the cover and I want to clarify once again that this is NOT a done deal.

Skateworld is not rolling away!

To support our fight to save our Skateworld please join the "Friends of Skateworld Roller Rink" page on facebook or go to our blog at www.friendsofskateworld.com.

Thank you for your support!

S.O.S - Save Our Skateworld!!

0

sandiegojoey Sept. 1, 2010 @ 6:40 p.m.

I grew up in Linda Vista, spent many hours at Skateworld AND Bayside. Skateworld is still a community asset, however, I can't say the same for Bayside. Now I know why my family and friends in Linda Vista HATE Bayside, and refer to them as "Bayside hispanic center". I wasn't sure how accurate a nick-name that was until this article. They want to tear down an American past time, and replace it with Futsal??? Why not volleyball, indoor field hockey, Lacrosse, or any other sport that the kids can also play in high school.

I now live in Allied Gardens and get to see our Chicago style politics play out again with the Grantville redevelopment project (see Brian Peterson's comment above).

THANK YOU San Diego Reader!! This story would never have gone out if not for your publication. Keep up the good work and keep on exposing the dirty rotten politicians like Donna Frye and the so-called "community center's" like Bayside who have an agenda that more in line with the city council than it is with the communities they claim to serve.

0

RaffaelHoffmann Sept. 2, 2010 @ 11:21 a.m.

I had the pleasure to work as a full time volunteer at Bayside in 2008 and 2009. I'm a bit surprised by how the storyline is drawn and the previous comments are written. It is a black and white view of the world and the players involved. Skateworld is pictured as good and trustworthy, while Bayside is somewhat devious and untrustworthy. I resent this. Donna has been an outstanding advocate for the community of Linda Vista. Bayside and its present and former Executive Directors and Board members have been fighting for this community for decades. Insinuations, innuendo and libel don't raise the level of debate. I invite anyone reading this to take a stroll around the neighborhood. You will see with your own eyes that something needs to be done and what impact three decades of Skateworld had on the area. Here is hoping that the fierceness of the debate will subside and that Linda Vistans will work together as a community.

0

sandiegojoey Sept. 2, 2010 @ 7:04 p.m.

Raffael, you say "Donna has been an outstanding advocate for the community of Linda Vista. Bayside and its present and former Executive Directors and Board members have been fighting for this community for decades.", then I would say they were simply buttering them up for the kill.

C'mon, are you really going to ignore the facts presented above? Your simply saying "they're good people" wont make the facts go away!

Lets say for the sake of argument that the area was run down like you insinuate, and that a new development would actually benefit the area. Then why wasn't this deal done in full view of the public and the residents of Linda Vista? Why weren't the people of Linda Vista brought in? Why not propose a development that included Skateworld, a piece of Americana, and the last skating rink in San Diego? And if Donna and our city council are so full of virtue, why are they selling this parcel for $1 when this city if flat broke!!

And as for your final statement "Here is hoping that the fierceness of the debate will subside and that Linda Vistans will work together as a community." Well, that's all Linda Vista wanted in the first place but they never got the chance!! Donna Frye and Bayside chose this path instead, they knew Linda Vistans DO work together and they're finding out just how committed they are....the hard way!

The fact is, they underestimated Linda Vistans when they thought they could sneak this by them. Well, now it's time for Bayside and this city council to face the music. Linda Vistans will boycott any and everything Bayside for a long long time. And if Donna Frye EVER seeks office in San Diego again we'll use every resource available to us to stop her from winning.

The whole issue is a microcosm of how this city works. If you want to defend the actions of Bayside and Frye, Raffael, then address the FACTS from the article above! You won't because you can't, they're all public record, these things really happened in the way they're portrayed, it isn't just "insinuation, innuendo, and libel" as you claim. Joe Deegan did a damn good job putting the facts together, and if they don't sit well with you then you should direct your disappointment with the people you serve, not the victims of this debacle!

0

TomCleary Sept. 3, 2010 @ 7:44 a.m.

SDGIRL92123 is incorrect. USD has no intention of buying, leasing or otherwise using the Bayside Community Center property for housing or any other use. For many years, USD has provided its college students as volunteers, tutors and mentors in various programs conducted by Bayside. This relationship has been a productive and beneficial partnership, but USD is in no way involved with the Bayside/MRW proposal to the city’s Redevelopment Agency for the Skateworld site.

Elaine Elliott served on the Bayside board of directors for several years. Elaine is the former director of USD’s Center for Community Service-Learning, which provides hundreds of student volunteers to Bayside and other local nonprofit organizations each year. She recently retired from USD and is leaving the San Diego area. Dayanne Izmirian, Assistant Dean for Residential Life at USD, agreed to serve on the board of directors for Bayside as Elaine prepared to step down. Both Elaine and Dayanne have voluntarily served on the board of directors as private individuals and their service should not be confused as official representation by USD.

0

Linda_J_Wilson Sept. 3, 2010 @ 11:10 a.m.

Thank you, Joe Deegan for continuing to shine a light on these dark dealings. I have noticed a pattern in the comments posted to many articles pertaining to redevelopment related abuses. Most are made by people who seem to be the average/real community members, then one or two that have the stink of an "insider". In other words, someone who makes sneaky deals (with the help of the redevelopment agency and elected officials)to greatly enrich themselves, then shoves the plan down community's throat. Check out Raffael Hoffmann, Director of Development at Bayside Community Center http://www.linkedin.com/in/raffaelhoffmann

0

Rabid_Koala Sept. 3, 2010 @ 10:51 p.m.

Thank you for the excellent article. While I have never been to Skateworld, I have lived near the Linda Vista area in years past as well as traveling through the area frequently. While the property that Skateworld is located on is not the best in the city, it is certainly far from the worst. I am all for seeing Linda Vista move up in the world, as it is one of the most perfect locations in San Diego, this is not the way to do it. This is another example of how a power hungry and greedy city council will eventually kill another business, and one that produces revenue to the city.

They need to stop messing with Grantville, too.

0

Fred Williams Sept. 4, 2010 @ 6:45 a.m.

San Diego's Redevelopment Plan:

  1. Find a neighborhood without organized residents.

  2. Declare the neighborhood "blighted".

  3. Shift the "redevelopment funds" to downtown insiders.

  4. Repeat.

The folks who have honest businesses, paying taxes and contributing to the community, end up losing what they've built. Insiders stuff their pockets, then scram, leaving the public to pay off the debts.

Let's stop this pattern in Grantville first, then Linda Vista. Brian Peterson and the Grantville Action Group have stood up and fought, and they have a great chance of winning in court next month.

Donate at:

www.GrantvilleActionGroup.com

Once Dr. Peterson and GAG wins their lawsuit, it's time to work on what's happening in Linda Vista.

Thanks, Joe, for a great article.

Best,

Fred

0

Founder Sept. 4, 2010 @ 8:10 a.m.

Great article!

Remember, Good Redevelopment like Good Gov't. depends upon Good People who provide Good Leadership! The question is how do you insure you have "Good" Leadership instead of just "Good" Business relationships?

I wrote back in July*: -- Call Foul --

"Build and they will come" quotes, all our Big Biz, and they will keep coming, our bills that is...

making BIG profit at the expense of our Great City, forgetting about the Public's Good, that's a real pity.

If all the voters really did care, Developers would just move else where!

and while those Developers made giant bucks, The voters got stuck with huge bills, and that sucks!

It's all those Big Business deals, "What do you really expect", how about a bigger cut for the City, what the heck?

Doing the old, "Switch-A-Rou", ripping US all, me and you!

When they decide to do it again, it will be just another Win - Win,

but not for the City budget for that, it will be a fudge-it!

BTW: For too many years, the City Council has helped themselves, (sitting as The Redevelopment Agency), by taking all the City's Public Works money (and much more) out of the City''s own budget and then given it as The Redevelopment Agency to the same Developers that have supported our Elected Officials in a big way!

Same Officials + same supporters + two separate budgets equals one HUGE amount of San Diego debt!

A Win - Win, but only for all of them!

0

JoeDeegan Sept. 5, 2010 @ 3:52 p.m.

To RaffaelHoffmann: I agree that Bayside makes great contributions to the Linda Vista community. And the San Diego Reader recognizes it as well. On December 30, 2009, our writer Tom Larson wrote a story about the financial challenges of non-profit organizations. In the article, Larson speaks with great of appreciation of Bayside and its director Jorge Riquelme.

But the overall perspective I came away with after visiting Linda Vista over the last several years was dismay at the win/lose approach the City takes toward two great enterprises, one a non-profit service orgaanization and the other a private business, but both making recreational and social contributions to the community. Doesn't it seem a shame that to help one the City must drive out the other? And that is why I ask at the end of my story if greater imagination couldn't create a redevelopment project that would allow both to continue doing their good work.

0

RaffaelHoffmann Sept. 6, 2010 @ 8:36 a.m.

Dear JoeDeegan, Even though your comment is a fitting end for this commentary thread, I'd like to respond. First, I want to thank you for writing about this topic. Linda Vista is too often ignored. Second, I think you noticed that your mix of article and editorial has either confused people so much that they feel the urge to write hateful comments or they use it to support their preconceived opinions. Third, on a personal note and to respond to comment #9: I have left Bayside a year ago and I'm not affiliated in any way but the feeling of friendship for the wonderful people working there and an appreciation for the cause they serve. I don't stand to benefit from aforementioned project in any way and was not involved in it at any time. Fourth, don't we all wish that San Diego would really be "America's Finest City"? Here's hoping that the friction of this conflict causes enough positive energy to provide Linda Vista, the heart of the city, with a better future.

0

SurfPuppy619 Sept. 6, 2010 @ 2:55 p.m.

I used to live in Linda Vista-on Goodwin, and it was at the end of the street and overlooked the entire USD campus as well as the ocean-best place I ever lived.

I also liked the area b/c it was so centrally located-to everything.

Enjoyed living there.

0

kearnykomet71 Sept. 8, 2010 @ 10:27 a.m.

I grew up on Goodstone when those houses were newly built. Anybody remember the Linda movie theatre, the slot car track where you could bring your own racer and Bill's Burger Stop? Anyway the neighbor hood on Goodstone, Crandell, Flushing sts etc. has sure changed, maybe not for good. In the late 60's and 70's our house has been broken into several times and after I left home, my mom sold the house and moved to Chula Vista. I currently live in Seattle and continue to experience my hometown of S.D. through the Reader.

0

kearnykomet71 Sept. 8, 2010 @ 12:34 p.m.

I bet Skateworld's favorite background music is Melenie's "Brand New Key"

0

doughardy Sept. 15, 2010 @ 8:49 p.m.

Thank you for writing about the last place to skate in San Diego. I skated there when I was a teenager. Now my kids skate there. It would be a shame to lose it.

0

sandiegojoey Sept. 21, 2010 @ 6:12 a.m.

Raffael,

I'm having a difficult time trying to figure you out. On one hand you seem like a nice guy, and on the other you seem like a very smug and assuming man. You said;

"Second, I think you noticed that your mix of article and editorial has either confused people so much that they feel the urge to write hateful comments or they use it to support their preconceived opinions."

That statement speaks volumes about your view of Linda Vistans because it assumes that Linda Vistans don't know the facts and are easily confused by the Reader article. Did it ever dawn on you that these people have had first hand knowledge of the details and villains involved in this scandalous event? The Reader simply confirmed, in a public way, what they already knew! The Reader provided a voice for a community that, as you state, is "too often ignored". Joe Deegan did something that very few in this city are willing to do because of the players involved, and that is to expose the way money and power come together to corrupt, even community centers such as Bayside.

The solution is to re-enter into negotiations with Gary from Skateworld, come up with something that everyone can support, and work together to provide a service to all members of Linda Vista the way Bayside used to back when they were on Morley Street. I remember the old Bayside well and have nothing but good memories of the way they helped everyone. Talk to anyone in Linda Vista today and they'll tell you it's become the Linda Vista hispanic center. When I went to Bayside it was mix of black, white, hispanic, Vietnamese. What happened between 1978 and today?

Bayside has an opportunity to repair their tarnished reputation and regain the trust of Linda Vista, but they must do so by including Skateworld and the non-hispanic members of the community.

0

Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!

Close