Pacific Beach Town Council: Eyeing a busy beach season to come, civic leaders issue call for volunteers
At the PB Town Council’s Feb. 19 meeting at Crown Point Junior Music Academy, police and lifeguard officials, along with local officeholders, described their preparations for the upcoming summer season, and outlined projects to improve the safety and welfare of the community, while addressing specific concerns from the audience.
They expressed pleas for support from the approximately 80 people in attendance for six endeavors — ranging from taking the U.S. Census to preserving an old boxwood tree slated for felling.
“The Town Council is a great place to solicit volunteers and get the word out on events,” said PBTC president Brian White. “Our members are engaged with the community and have a real desire to improve our town. Our organization focuses on volunteerism, so we’re a good place to find help for activities that enhance our community.”
Reporting for the lifeguards, Sgt. Rick Strobel said his department is ramping up operations for the approaching onslaught, with seasonal hires starting to come in and seasonal towers soon to come out.
He added that lifeguards are already increasing enforcement action regarding beach violations, such as alcohol and dogs, particularly in north PB.
“The days are getting longer,” Strobel said. “They’re warmer. Our spring break is basically starting. President’s Day kicks it off. We’re seeing larger crowds. Every college in the Western U.S. seems to have a different spring break week and before you know it, it’s June and we’re in full swing.”
E-scooters on the boardwalks
Foregoing any presentation, police community relations officer Brandon Broaddus opened the floor to questions and was instantly interrogated about police plans to enforce the recent ban of e-scooters on the Boardwalk and Baywalk. Broaddus said that although no official directive had been issued yet, police would probably dispatch special details to the Boardwalk and Baywalk focused on e-scooter compliance “a couple of times” throughout the year, to augment regular enforcement feasible for a misdemeanor.
“We’ll do some progressive enforcement,” he explained. “We start at the bottom, with verbal warnings, and then we start working our way up over time to citations.”
Addressing the same topic later, Monica Eslamian, PB rep for City Council member Jennifer Campbell, said the City would post signs in the targeted areas heralding the prohibition of motorized vehicles, and added that the new ordinance also ropes the companies profiting from e-scooters into the enforcement side of the issue.
“They now have to geofence down to 3 mph (miles per hour) in the proscribed zones for all their scooters,” she noted. “So for those who aren’t listening — as we know, there will unfortunately be many — they will have to go 3 mph to at least increase the safety when enforcement can’t make it there.”
Call for ‘impact panelists’
Yet for all the words poured out to inform the audience, many more were spoken to inspire residents to volunteer. Sara Berns, executive director of Discover PB, described the Beach Area Community Court for misdemeanor offenders, operated in part by her organization.
Offered as an alternative to prosecution and fines for minor infractions such as open container alcohol and urinating in public, the offenders attend a two-hour class where they learn how their minor crimes have major impacts from residents (aka impact panelists) and then serve four hours of community service, after which their offenses are expunged.
“We’re looking for impact panelists,” Berns said. “We’re getting short on them as we had a very busy summer of citations last year, and we don’t want to burn anyone out.”
Announcing the May 2 date for this year’s 13th annual Graffiti Clean Up Day, Marcie Beckett scoured the audience for volunteers to identify graffiti in the neighborhood that will be incorporated into a map for cleaners on the actual day. The surveying effort is led by Jim Menders.
“It only takes one hour or two of your time,” Beckett said. “It’s entirely up to you when you would do it, some time between March and the middle of April. If you have a smartphone like everybody does, you can also just take photos and the site be GPS’d right on your phone and that’s even easier.”
The PB branch of the Guardian Angels also sought volunteers to join its recently launched street patrols on Saturdays. Volunteers get 30 hours of self-defense courses free of cost and are trained in CPR, and while they can make citizen’s arrests, Ryan Luke said they report incidents and suspicious activities to police.
“We’re mainly a visual deterrent to crime,” he said. “People definitely feel safer when we’re out and about. They know we’re not going to let anything happen while we’re in the area.”
Laurie Carlock made her pitch for the volunteer work needed to preserve and maintain Rose Creek while it sits in limbo, devoid of any remedial assistance from City or County agencies.
“You have a beautiful estuary in this community,” she said. “But the Friends of Rose Creek take care of it. We clean it. We clear it. We cut it back. We take out the invasives (plant species).”
Raquel Juarez of the U.S. Census Bureau was seeking enumerators to follow up with those folks who don’t respond to the 10-year census on April 1 this year, but distinguished her recruiting efforts from the others by offering $21 per hour as pay.
“The Census is important to your community because it allows you to get federal funding into Pacific Beach — direct to the communities you live in,” she said.
Want to Volunteer?
• To be an impact panelist for the Beach Area Community Court, call Discover PB, (858) 273-3303.
• To survey your neighborhood for graffiti for Graffiti Clean Up Day, e-mail Jim Menders, email@example.com
• To volunteer with the PB Guardian Angels, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• To join the Friends of Rose Creek, visit saverosecreek.org
• To become a Census-taker, apply online at 2020census.gov/jobs or call (855) 562-2020.
— PB Town Council next meets 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 at Crown Point Junior Music Academy, 4033 Ingraham St. pbtowncouncil.org