SDPD Lt. Natalie Stone addresses the board and citizenry
  • SDPD Lt. Natalie Stone addresses the board and citizenry
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Doors were slammed and chairs seemed on the verge of being thrown at yet another O.B. Planning Board meeting regarding the temporary, yet seemingly permanent, police trailer in the Ocean Beach Pier parking lot. The trailer has been in the lot going on 14 years now.

The California Coastal Commission has requested a permit from the police department to keep it there for another five years and the planning board had to approve it, but when I spoke to Lt. Natalie Stone regarding this matter, she said the city’s Development Services department was responsible for approving or denying the permit.

The issue was amped up from the heated speeches of some locals who were for keeping it there, claiming O.B. needs a police presence at the end of busy Newport Avenue. Lt. Stone said the police store their bikes in the trailer, use computers to write reports, and utilize the bathroom facilities. She said the board approved the permit with a five-year “sunset clause.”

Those against keeping it in the parking lot included a man who was vociferous in claiming that Lt. Stone was lying about the use of the trailer by police. Another local against keeping the trailer there claimed they have staked it out for hours at a time and have never seen anyone go in or out of it. The vocal resident said the trailer blocks his view of the ocean, as he lives in a building at the edge of the parking lot.

The board gave only two minutes for each person to speak and when the resident claimed he wasn't finished at the end of his minutes, they told him sternly to sit down. He grumbled loudly all the way back to his seat and proceeded to push his chair around to show his displeasure. Several others in attendance offered up their two minutes so the angry resident could finish his thoughts, and he did.

Another argument against keeping it in the lot was that it is an eyesore and takes up parking spaces. When the suggestion was made to move the trailer underneath the pier or up against a building, Lt. Stone and other board members claimed people could then jump on it and possibly throw things onto it. She said she once found the doors super-glued shut; the vandalism cost the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association — which maintains the trailer — $400 to fix.

All parties agree that the trailer needs to be relocated, but no one has been able to agree where that might be. A storefront would be great, but none are available and no business owner is offering one up. The ultimate plan is to station the police and lifeguards in the new lifeguard tower, which has been discussed for many years.

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Dave Rice Aug. 9, 2013 @ 6:23 p.m.

No storefront is available? Not buying that...retail space turns over on and around Newport all the time.

No storefront is available at a comparable cost to OBMA, or no storefront is available in a location agreeable to SDPD? I'd believe either of those.

The people that say there needs to be a police presence in downtown OB certainly have a point, but so do the ones that say the trailer isn't much of a presence because just about everyone knows it's 99% abandoned.

Solution? I'm as stumped as the other merchants and locals (and local merchants) I've talked to about it...


Mercy Baron Aug. 9, 2013 @ 9:21 p.m.

Dave, as I understood it at the meeting, most seem to want to keep the police presence at the foot of Newport and Abbott, as that is where a lot of illegal activity seems to occur, i.e., the sea wall, under the pier, etc. Obviously a storefront near that area is what is needed, but I have no idea if one ever pops up. Would be nice if some merchant presently there would offer some space. Believe me, I've heard merchants complain about all kinds of crime and disgusting things in and around their stores, yet most never show any support by showing up at OBMA merchant crime watch meetings, nor at local OB Crime Watch meetings.

Even Lifeguard Sergeant Ed Harris has told me that he would love to see the police in the lifeguard tower with them, but there is no room presently and it seems even though the money was deemed for a new tower a long time ago, the city of San Diego, has not been forthcoming with the money. What's up with that?! PB and La Jolla have new OB the Red Headed Stepchild?? According to Harris, money is constantly thrown into Downtown projects, but not to the beach cities. We need a councilman who will fight for important issues such as this.

Back to the trailer. I'm still a bit confused after hearing every side possible. I would like to see a big sign on it saying POLICE TRAILER or something intimidating, but they said when they first put the trailer there, there was a sign, but of course, it got tagged with graffiti. Lt. Stone said she would still like to put up another sign, but didn't want to burden the police with the financial part of it. When I asked if she thought it would make a difference, in curtailing illegal activity, she agreed it would.

Obviously, I could write another article on this issue! The wheels turn slowly......


Dave Rice Aug. 10, 2013 @ 10:20 a.m.

Mercy - like many of us locals, I'm sure you've been following the issue for some time. And I'm sure we'll all continue to, as you say the wheels turn slowly indeed.

You're right in that the best solution would probably be a police outpost in the lifeguard tower which, from my understanding, is showing its 50+ years of age pretty badly. Anyone who's ever used the public restrooms knows what a travesty they are. So I've got to imagine that we'll be due for a new tower sooner than later (though "sooner" could still mean another 10 years), and I think the long term solution would be to design it with a small police storefront.

So far as the trailer goes - marking it with a "Police Trailer" sign is no good because the sign gets vandalized? I think that says it all right there - no one is stupid enough to walk up to a police cruiser and vandalize it if there's an officer sitting inside it or standing nearby. The very fact that vandalism of police property is a concern speaks volumes to the fact that the public (especially the under-pier dwellers, equivalent to The Wall's denizens when I was younger) knows that the trailer is in no way actually functioning as the "presence" needed.

If it's got to stay there, can we get someone to use it? Let officers that "write their reports" inside do so with the door open, make a point of having officers in cruisers stop by and hang out, anything to convey the message that there's something going on to create a genuine police presence. In my 7+ years as a resident I've never seen anyone going in or out...


obracer Aug. 11, 2013 @ 5:33 p.m.

Mercy-- YOU ARE VERY WRONG.................. AGAIN ! Have you read the notice of violation ? of course not, you would not make such ridiculous statements if you knew the FACTS , right ? Mercy, you wouldn't create stories, right ?

My view has never been the subject ! did the coastal commission issue a violation on my behalf ? NO !, the coastal commission is concerned with PUBLIC views and PUBLIC parking, I never mentioned my view. Get your story right. Private views ARE NOT protected by ANYONE, you are repeating what the OBMA told you to repeat, that's just ignorant and unreliable information, you want make into fact, what a shame. Report the facts, not your wishes. The trailer had signs for many years but where damaged from constant graffiti and police did not use the trailer, so the signs where removed in 2006. The trailer will be damaged more when an S.D.P.D. sign goes up. If the trailer does so much why are 90% of the calls for police in OB at the wall in FRONT of the trailer ? For those that want the truth, the corrupt Lt. has to create existing use to avoid an EIR., that's why she has to constantly lie, she does not stand a chance if an EIR is done, so the lies continue. Mecry-- Do you REALLY believe we would NOT have a police presence if the trailer was moved to Robb Field or the lifeguard tower ? really Mercy ? are you that ignorant ? You keep repeating how important police presence is in the parking lot, do you want police sitting in the trailer while drugs & alcohol are being consumed on the wall and the beach ? What storefront was replaced ? the trailer is NOT open to the public, you and I can't get help at the trailer , ever ! it's an unused bathroom. We are short officers as it is, and you want the trailer occupied ? There is plenty of room to move the trailer to the lifeguard tower TODAY, minimal costs involved. It can be moved anytime.

There is plenty of empty office space on Bacon and Newport, the sad truth is merchants don't want' them near their business. The failed restaurant behind the 99 cent store on Bacon and Newport is perfect, it even has a bathroom and has sat empty for years. Most important it's across the street from the OBMA ! they could wave at each other all day long from their offices. The owners of the building show up at every meeting, but don't want to support our police to the point of accepting less rent. Hmmmmm ?







obracer Aug. 11, 2013 @ 5:42 p.m.

This is what really happened. The OB planning board denied her project as presented, a motion was made to accept the project as presented and NOBODY would second the motion, after adding wording for a five year permit, they voted 10-1. The applicant did not want what she was given, the board did not have the will to do the right thing they are COMPLETE IDIOTS !

This is exactly why they do not take the board serious at the planning department, how many times have you heard them say " they won't listen to us " well no shit ! look at the crap you come up with. They did NOT serve the police OR the community, they are lame, unable to make a yes or no decision, it is not their job to "create" a solution not sought by anyone.W.T.F. ? When the Lt. was asked " what do you think about five years " she answered " I don't care, I won't be here in five years " ! did you remember that Mercy ? the Lt. could care less about what happens in O.B., SHE TOLD YOU and the board. I video tapped the vote, their body language says it all.

MERCY, If you really want to be a reporter post the photos of police using Robb field for bike patrol on various occasions, in complete contrast to what the Lt. told the board.

Police store their bikes and quads at an unmarked container at Robb Field, water power and sewer are ALREADY present, ready for hook up today, no permit is needed.

Post the photos of police sitting under a canopy in the parking lot on the 4th of July and using porta potties, contrary to what the Lt. told the board and the planning department.

Your credibility is zero when you tell half a story Mercy, and it's wrong !

The Lt. will have to answer to state officials for abusing her authority, no cop is going to lie this much and walk away without consequences. I warned the cpt of western division this would happen, he doesn't seem to care, he ALLOWS her to continue to lie in the face of hard evidence to the contrary. The city of San Diego code enforcement department , park & rec., the coastal commission, S.D.P.D western division, ALL agreed the trailer would be moved because it was not being used, this Lt. showed up one WEEK before it was to be moved and CREATED stories to stop the move, then continues to lie after knowing the truth, she is scum with a badge and a disgrace to S.D.P.D.. Be for real Mercy or nobody will take you seriously, leave the bias crap for the U.T.


Mercy Baron Aug. 21, 2013 @ 5:54 p.m.

obracer......geez, give it a rest will ya? I'm not an investigative reporter. Find something MUCH more important in town to work constructively towards and stop downgrading our police. They have a ridiculously tough job and you calling them names just makes YOU look bad. 'Nuff said.


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