The results of a long-awaited election are in, and it turns out few could bear the thought of revamping, renewing or updating in any way the blueprint of the entryway sign that greets southbound traffic heading into Ocean Beach on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. After nearly a year of discussion, eligible members of the Ocean Beach Town Council have overwhelmingly decided to stay with the familiar, and keep the sign just the way it is.
Nearly 58 percent of voters preferred the design that has been in place since the Town Council put the sign up in 1984. That’s more than three times the support of the option that came in second, a design virtually identical but for the addition of two parrots.
In all, 76 voters — roughly 52 percent of those eligible — spread their votes among the five designs in an email election held April 1-8. To be eligible, voters were required to have their $20 annual dues paid up as of
March 30 and live in the 92107 ZIP code. Results were released at the Town Council’s monthly meeting April 24.
After nearly three decades of relentless sun, ocean air, termites and rot, the sign has not aged gracefully. A decision was made last year to replace it, and a request for help from the community generated 20 designs. By year’s end, that total was whittled down to four, plus the original design. The five finalists were posted on the Town Council’s website for several months before being taken down last week.
“I think having the designs available on our website for several months gave everyone in Ocean Beach the opportunity to review and comment on their preferences,” said Town Council president Dave Martin in an email. “It also served to offer guidance to our members in voting for the most popular option. It was overwhelmingly obvious the most folks wished to maintain OB’s identity as it is.”
To generate interest in the vote, the sign was covered up with a tarp containing a red question mark and the Town Council web address. The tactic worked. In March, membership enjoy-ed its largest-ever one-month spike.
Now that a design has been selected, the hard part begins in terms of raising the estimated $10,000 to construct and install it. That is triple what it cost to install the old sign, said Jim Musgrove, who chairs the council’s Community Enhancement Committee.
The last sign was about 80 percent funded by private donations, Musgrove said. District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer and District 4 County Supervisor Ron Roberts have also expressed interest in locating funds. Musgrove suggested one idea that may remind some of the Berlin Wall: sell off pieces of the old sign as souvenirs.
The project has already benefited from this bit of good news. The upright posts holding the sign are in good shape. Not only does that save money — replacing the posts would have triggered a requirement to reapply for permits, Musgrove said.
In other Town Council news
• Faulconer aide John Ly, a San Diego State graduate and one-time Ocean Beach resident, introduced himself to board members. Ly replaces Mike Patton, who has accepted a job with a New York public relations firm. Ly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (619) 236-6622.
• Ocean Beach businesses are leading the way when it comes to making sure smokers have a place to dispose of their butts, according to Dukes Wooters, coordinator of the Surfrider Foundation's Hold On To Your Butt campaign. Of the roughly 150 Surfrider-installed ashcans outside bars, restaurants and other locations throughout the county, more than two dozen are in OB — the highest concentration of any community, Wooters said.
• A proposal to construct a 185-square-foot sidewalk cafe outside the OB Noodle House, 2218 Cable St., could come before the City Council as early as May 14, said Chris Duggan, director of local government affairs for the California Restaurant Association. The association has been advocating for lower permit fees for the cafes, which can require a deposit as high as $16,000, Duggan said. Restaurant owner Steve Yeng said he’s eager to add the space and take advantage of the buzz created by being featured on the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”