South Mission Beach lifeguard station
A group of Mission Beach residents fighting against unpermitted construction of a new lifeguard tower near the Mission Beach Jetty has raised the $250,000 bond needed to stop the project until a court trial can take place.
Judge Katherine Bacal
On October 2, the group known as Citizens for Beach Rights submitted the bond money to Superior Court judge Katherine Bacal. Stopping construction, says the group's leader, Ken Giavara, was essential in order to strip a possible legal defense by the city that the project was too far along to stop.
Because the city had already hired contractor EC Constructors, and because construction had already begun, Bacal had ordered the beach-rights group to post a $250,000 bond to pay for lost revenues by the construction company in case residents lost the case. Attorney Craig Sherman tried to reduce the bond but to no avail.
Giavara assumed the high bond amount would prove to be the end of the case. The bar is set high for judges when ordering removal of new construction. Typically, the more money spent on construction, the harder the case is to win.
But Giavara's doubts were eased when residents and members of the group began pledging large amounts of money to pay for the bond.
"The fact that private citizens have to pay a bond to prove to the city that their own permit is void is just mind-boggling," says Giavara. "When the bond was set at $250,000 we had to dig in even deeper and really demonstrate our commitment to not only protect our rights but to protect the rights of every citizen in San Diego.
"It was not easy to come up with that amount of money for the bond — it was actually incredibly difficult but it was a necessity. We couldn't allow the city to win this case based on the bond issue and have the case decided on the merits of the lawsuit, which we believe are clearly on our side....
"We are fine with building something reasonable, a state-of-the-art station," continues Giavara. "But our ultimate goal is bring it back to the public. The reason permits have expiration dates is because neighborhoods change, zoning laws change, environmental laws change, and technology changes. A lot has changed since they got this permit seven years ago.
"I’m most disappointed with Lorie Zapf’s office. I placed 44 calls to Zapf’s office. She refused to speak on the issue. This whole thing could have been avoided. The city was even given a chance to settle and they refused. Now that the bond has been paid a trial will occur. Legal fees will have to be paid. Talk about taxpayer waste..."