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Tuesday, December 11th


December 17th, Board Meeting, continued to January.

December 18th, Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, annual Steak and Eggs Holiday Fare, SDYC

January 8th, Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC, Speaker to be announced


Aerial View of NBPL

“It’s pronounced SPAAAA WAR.  We don’t make hot tubs. We are cyber specialists. We operate in Space . and in the air, on land and under the sea,” according to Greg Geisen, the Facilities Plan & Revitalization expert at the Space & Naval Warfare Systems Command, headquartered in Naval Base Point Loma, Old Town Campus. “We provide the Navy with Cyber Security, Communication and Warfare Systems.”

SPAWAR was moved from Washington DC to San Diego as part of BRAC in 1995.  Currently, the Command employs 10,000 people worldwide, 5,000 of which are here in San Diego.  In general, the military in San Diego accounts for $25 billion in direct spending, representing about 22% of the regional GDP.  And, they indirectly account for almost 1 in 5 jobs in the region.

Today, SPAWAR is housed in the 1.2m sf of office and industrial space spread over 70 plus acres, in two parcels, along Interstate 5 and Pacific Highway.  “In 1942, these facilities built B-24 Bombers for the Army.  At the height of their production, they were completing one new bomber every hour and working around the clock!” Greg shared with us.  “The plant is no longer used to build aircraft.  We are building computer driven communication and command systems.  We still assemble some of these systems in the facility and then they are installed in Navy ships on the waterfront.”  The large warehouse/assembly buildings are still in use.  But, the +60 foot ceiling heights are no longer necessary and the buildings feel relatively empty by comparison.

Greg Geisen of SPAWAR and Pres Steve Doyle

That has provided Greg with a new job, helping the Navy plan the reuse and redevelopment of the Navy Base Point Loma site.  The Navy is looking for some new ideas and some new office space. Opportunities abound in the world of P3 contracting.  P3 stands for Public – Private Partnerships.  In
general, the Navy will make the 70+ acres of Navy Base Point Loma available to private parties in return for redevelopment of the property and the provision of new office, production and research space.  A Request for Information was sent out in early September.  SPAWAR is looking for 675k sf of new Administration (office) space, 590k sf of Production Floor/Lab space, 275k sf of Warehouse space and 360k sf of Open Staging Area.  Greg believes this required build space would occupy a smaller portion of the current site; the remaining site could then be built by the private party and include such development as commercial office space for SPAWAR contracting partners, commercial retail space and housing or recreational amenities.

The City of San Diego recently approved an update to the Midway District Community Plan.  This updated plan recognizes and encourages this type of growth and P3 programs.  Greg believes there is a high level of interest in the redevelopment of the Navy Base Point Loma Old Town Campus. “Not long ago, ground was broken on the Manchester Pacific Gateway project. This is a similar P3 type agreement. The Navy gets a new Headquarters office building and the Manchester Group gets the balance of the property to build hotels, office buildings, commercial retail and open space parks.  We think the potential for development here is even greater and we look forward to moving ahead next year with an RFP/RFQ proposal on the redevelopment of the property. ”

The PL Optimists want to thank Greg for the information and update on the Navy Base Point Loma facilities.  We are very encouraged by the presentation and look forward to an update in 2019 as the process moves forward!

Tuesday, December 3rd


Saturday, December 8th, 6:00 pm, PLO Holiday Party, at the home of Russ and Sandy Valone

Tuesday, December 11th, 7:00 am, Breakfast Meeting at SDYC, Speaker will be Greg Geisen, Facilities Planner at SPAWAR.

Monday, December 17th, 5:00 pm, Board Meeting at SDYC

Tuesday, December 18th, 7:00 am, Breakfast Meeting at SDYC, Holiday Steak and Eggs Fare


Do you remember Seaport Village?  That waterfront shopping center with a few restaurants and of course the carousel?  When was the last time you visited Seaport Village?  Do you know there are big changes planned for this aging San Diego icon?

Enter Gafcon et al.  In 2016, the Port of San Diego awarded Protea Waterfront Development a $1.6 billion redevelopment opportunity on 70 acres of prime waterfront property in downtown San Diego.  The Managing Partner of Protea is Yehudi “Gaf” Gaffen, the CEO of Gafcon, Inc.  Gaf brings over 35 years of construction and program management experience to this venture.

Original concept for Seaport Village redesign

According to Gaf, “this new waterfront development will include about 2,000 hotel rooms in five different classifications, from Hostel to 5 Star luxury.  We are also planning commercial opportunities, to allow existing tenants to remain in Seaport Village and bring in new tenants to the mix.  The 500′ tower will act as the focal point for the property.  The top 8 floors will include an observation deck, restaurant, meeting facility and other uses.”  Also included in the plan is a Blue Tech Hub.  Blue Tech is exciting new research, science and innovation of the oceans of the world.  The Hub, will bring together Scripps Institute researchers with ocean focused industry to foster the development of new technologies and innovation.  The combination of education, research and industry, all focused on the ocean environs, will be unique to San Diego.

Pres Steve Doyle and Gafcon CEO, Yehudi Gaffen

“We will also be enhancing the waterfront access and usage for all San Diegans,” he told us.  “Tuna Harbor will be upgraded and we hope to bring in a true fish market, so our local fishermen will have a place to auction off their fresh catch to restaurants and grocers.”  Improved access to the water will also be provided by a new “beach area” and enhanced marina access for visiting vessels.  A new aquarium for San Diego is also planned to be integrated into the project.  “You might even get to sleep with the fish,” Gaf joked.

Seaport Village is also looking to keep the carousel as part of the historic linkage for the property development.  And, is investigating the possibility of a new Medal of Honor Museum as a way to link the Military History of San Diego and the Midway Museum, into a contiguous waterfront experience.  But all these new and unique waterfront amenities do come with a cost.  The project must deal with the active Rose Canyon fault line, a major sewer line from Coronado, a large fiber optic communication cable and a very large storm drain from the city of San Diego.  Nothing is ever easy in the redevelopment business!

“We are projecting 4 years of entitlement work to process the project through the Port District, Army Corps of Engineers and California Coastal Commission.  Then, we are looking at a 4 year construction timeline,” Gaf shared with us.  “We are very upbeat about the plan and the process.  There is a lot of work in front of us, but also a lot of potential!”

Thanks for sharing your new Seaport Village plans with us, Gaf.  We are excited to see this new waterfront project come to fruition.

Tuesday, November 27th


December 4, 11, and 18 (new), 2018 – Breakfast Meetings, 7:00 am, SDYC.

December 8, 2018 – Annual Optimist Holiday Party (6 PM at the Valone home)

Thank you, Tom Lewis, for arranging a fun and tasty evening event at Miguels last Monday!   Hopefully, all had a wonderful Thanksgiving this past Thursday.


Membership Chair, Tom Lewis, welcomes our newest member Max Senescall …

… as does member Vernon Lee.














We inducted long-time Point Loma resident, Max Senescall, as our newest member at this morning’s breakfast meeting.  Welcome aboard, Max!  And thank you Vernon Lee for introducing Max to our club.

Today’s guest speaker was Mr. Greg Sterner, licensed physical therapist and owner of Fitness Together Point Loma, located at Liberty Station for the last 9 years.  He enlightened all in attendance on what’s important on reaching and maintaining better health and fitness as we age.  We were all very grateful to hear his detailed brief, which including a short demonstration and an excellent handout with a sample exercise program for “50-Something’s” to maintain physical fitness.  (A modified version for our Under-50’s or Over-70’s is available on request!)  For further information, his Fitness Together website is located at this link.  Thank you very much, Greg.

Optimists enjoy French toast and all the fixings, as they learn from Greg Sterner how to burn it off.

1st VP Jeff Fischbeck thanks Greg Sterner for sharing his knowledge with us this morning.


Tuesday, November 13th


November 19, 2018 – Evening Event, 6:00 pm, location to be announced

November 22, 2018 – Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2018 – Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC. Speaker – Greg Sterner, Physical Therapist


Question:  Name the fourth branch of the United States Armed Services?

Question:  Name the oldest branch of the United States Armed Services that operates in the air and on the seas?

Question:  Name the only branch of the United States Armed Services with less than 50,000 active personnel?

Question:  Name the only branch of the United States Armed Services with policing power?

The answer to all four questions is …. The United States Coast Guard!

Captain Joseph Buzzella, USCG

San Diego is a COAST GUARD CITY.  A Coast Guard City is a municipality designated by the Commandant of the Coast Guard on application of the local civilian government.  It is an honorary designation intended to recognize communities of special importance to the Coast Guard.  There are currently 21 cities designated “Coast Guard Cities”

Captain Joseph Buzzella is the Sector Commander and Captain of the Port of San Diego, California.  He is a qualified pilot (both fixed wing and helicopters) and has served as the Deck Watch Officer for two Coast Guard cutters.  He has worked in the Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon.  Captain Buzzella holds multiple Master Degrees and is commonly referred to as the Sheriff of the Port.  The San Diego Sector for the Coast Guard service area includes not only the San Diego Port area and surrounding ocean waters, but inland navigable waters like the Colorado River, Lake Powell, and Lake Mead.  The Coast Guard is charged with the safety and defense of our navigable waters.

“There are three branches of the Armed Services, Army, Navy and Air Force, that operate under the Department of Defense,” according to Captain Buzzella.  “The Coast Guard operates under the Department of Homeland Security, as our principal mission is the defense of the navigable waterways of the United States.  The Coast Guard was permanently established August 4, 1790 and has remained in continuous service since that date.  The US Navy began earlier(1775), but was disbanded after the Revolutionary War (1783) and not revived until 1794.  Today the Coast Guard has 40,075 active service men and women.  And, we are the only Armed Service authorized by congress to use policing powers with the public.  These things make us unique!”

“And, just so there is no confusion about our abilities … The Coast Guard was at Kitty Hawk, when the Wright Brothers took their first flight… The Coast Guard has provided NASA with astronauts… and the Navy with SEALs!”  The primary responsibility of the Coast Guard is the safety of our navigable waterways.  This means rivers, bays and ocean waterways.  The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of human life (over 300 lives have been saved so far, in 2018 by the San Diego Sector).  The Coast Guard is responsible for safety of our borders (illegal entrance has been sought by Chinese, Middle Eastern and Central American countries this year).  And, the Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of our ports.  This mean knowing who, what, when, where and why visitors and commercial vessels are entering and leaving our ports.

Pres. Steve Doyle and Captain Buzzella

And then, there was the 9-11 Boat Lift.  With the Twin Towers disaster in lower Manhattan, millions of people were looking for a path to safety.  Many of them went south, to the waterfront, but then found themselves trapped between the tumbling buildings and the East River.  A small flotilla of private boats starting taking people off the piers.  Watching the crowds grow and the ships being overwhelmed, the Coast Guard sent out a general plea for boat owners to bring aide and assistance to the waterfront.  The story is told by Tom Hanks in this amazing video.  Almost 500,000 people were rescued in a 9 hour period on 9-11 by the Coast Guard and hundred of volunteer boat owners.  It is one of those miraculous stories from 9-11 and it needs to be remembered.

The Optimist Club of Point Loma thanks Captain Buzzella for stopping by and sharing this amazing story with us.

Tuesday, November 6th


November 12th – Board Meeting (rescheduled from calendar); 5:30 pm, San Diego Yacht Club

November 13th – Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC.  Speaker – Captain Joseph Buzzella, Sector Commander, Coast Guard San Diego

November 19th – Dinner Meeting, 6:00 pm, location – to be announced


November 27th – Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC.  Speaker – to be announced

   Pres Steve Doyle and Principal Hans Becker

Program:  He was born and raised in San Diego.  He graduated University High School and San Diego State University.  He has worked in education for the past 24 years, starting as a special education teacher.  And, he has worked as a professional musician around San Diego for the past 30 years!  Today, Hans Becker is the Principal of Point Loma High School, a job he has held for the last 5 years.  “I believe PLHS is the finest high school in San Diego.  And, I am dedicated to making sure PLHS students have the best high school experience, while preparing them for their future!” he told us.  “And, I want to thank the Point Loma Optimist Club for being one of our biggest supporters.  The scholarship program you run, is greatly appreciated and highly sought after.  Our students look forward to the opportunity each year to apply and compete for your scholarships.”

PLHS started serving students in 1925.  In the early 1970’s much of the campus was torn down and remodeled.  A new remodel plan is coming later this year.  “The round building, just off Chatsworth, will be torn down and replaced with a more functional and upgraded facility.  This is a much needed improvement and will be a welcome addition to the campus,” according to Principal Becker.  “We will also be adding some security fencing along Chatsworth to better protect our students and campus facilities.”   While these are welcome changes, some of the things we love most about PLHS are in great shape!

“We have 1,912 students enrolled today.  We also have a waiting list of 400+ students wanting to attend PLHS.  We have a graduation rate over 97%.  More than 85% of our students go on to a 2 year or 4 year college.  65% of our students live in the Point Loma service area (PL, OB and the Midway areas).  35% come from other neighborhoods.  Our curriculum uses an ‘A-G compliant course plan’.  That means these are courses approved by the UC and CSU system.  This is an amazing place to work and get educated.”  PLHS also has 80 full time teachers and teaching staff, 20 classified staff members and 20+ classroom assistants.  Add to that, sports coaches, security, and volunteers, the total of which is almost 200 adults working at PLHS.

Vocational classes, like auto or wood shop, are distributed throughout the district, not every school has every vocational program.  At PLHS, a focus on Arts & Entertainment courses prepare students to leave high school and immediately start work in the entertainment business.  The computer classes focus on cutting edge work being done in Hollywood’s special effects, editing and production companies.  Graduating students can move into good paying jobs in these fields with the skills they can learn at PLHS.  Hans told us, “we offer an exceptional high school experience at PLHS.  We have college professors teaching some our best and brightest students.  We have a system in place through our counseling department to work with our students to ensure they get the education they need and want.  It is a great place to work and get an education!”

Keep up the great work Principal Becker.  We are very proud of PLHS, you and your team for the jobs you are doing and the students you are preparing.


Tuesday, October 30th


November 3rd – Breakfast Meeting, San Diego Yacht Club, 7:00 am, Hans Becker, Principal for PLHS

November 12th – 5:30 pm, rescheduled Board Meeting, SDYC

November 13th – Breakfast Meeting, San Diego Yacht Club, 7:00 am

November 19th – Special Evening Meeting, time and location to be announced

Program:  This morning the Club welcomed SDPD Officer David Surwilo.  Officer Surwilo is somewhat of a regular at our meetings, keeping us apprised of law enforcement activities in the Point Loma, Ocean Beach and Midway areas.  Officer Surwilo is attached to the Western Division of the San Diego Police Department and is an 18 year veteran of the force.

After the discussions of the homeless issues, residential burglaries and parking challenges, Officer Surwilo reminded us of the new “Get it Done San Diego” app.  He told us the quickest way to report concerns or non-emergency issues is to email him ( or to take a picture and submit the question/issue through the Get it Done app.  It is simple … first open the app store on your phone.  Then search for “Get it Done San Diego”.  The press “GET”.  Now you are ready to go!  Open the app, select “New Report”, select your issue, take a picture, describe your problem and send it in.

We appreciate all the fine work done by our San Diego Police Department and we especially appreciate Officer Surwilo for joining us on a regular basis to keep us informed!

In other news, as reported earlier, the Optimist Club of Point Loma was the recipient of the Lighthouse Award, presented by the Point Loma Association.  The award is to recognize the many years of service by the Club to the youth and community of Point Loma.

Our City Councilmember presented the PLA Lighthouse Award to the Point Loma Optimist Club. Accepting is Club President, Steve Doyle




Friday, October 19th

Council Member Lorie Zapf and Club President Steve Doyle

Special Post:  On Tuesday evening, October 16th, at the Point Loma Association (PLA) Annual Dinner, our very own, Optimist Club of Point Loma (PLO) was awarded the 2018 Lighthouse Award.  This is the top award given by the PLA to recognize people who have made significant contributions to the Point Loma Community.  Council Member Lorie Zapf, representing District 2 of the City of San Diego, introduced the award and announced the winner as the Optimist Club of Point Loma!

“There is just so much to tell you about the Optimist Club of Point Loma,” she began.  “Here is just a sampling of what this group has done and is doing: Scholarships to PLHS seniors as they go off to college.  Computers for Ocean Beach and Cabrillo Elementary Schools.  A science and math lab for their STEAM Program at Dewey Elementary.  Musical instruments for Correia Middle School.  Annual Oratorical contests for middle school students.  Annual Student Appreciation Awards for elementary school students.  Improvements at the Peninsula YMCA.  Support for all sorts of local children’s sports teams.  And then, the flags!  Over 150 flags displayed every Sunday and Holiday on Rosecrans Street from Talbot to Lytton.  And, on those special days when a submarine is returning from deployment to Ballast Point.  And, that’s just the beginning!”

Club President, Steve Doyle accepted the award from Council Member Zapf and PLA Chair Dave Martin.  “I want to thank the Point Loma Association for this marvelous award and recognition of the Club’s efforts to support the youth of Point Loma and Ocean Beach.  For 64 years the Optimist Club of Point Loma has been serving the peninsula communities.  From our work with local schools, the YMCA, other youth organizations and our flag work, we are proud of our community and the services we can provide.  For 54 years we have been placing the flags along Rosecrans Street.  As Council Member Zapf said, it is a matter of patriotism, pride and recognition for the military’s role in the development and growth of the peninsula.  Thank you, to each of you that wave and honk at our flag truck as we put up the flags in the morning and then take them down again in the late afternoon.  I also want to point out the Optimist Club Members who are with us tonight and ask them to stand.  I think we have 4 tables here this evening.  Thank you again to the Point Loma Association for this award and if you want to learn more about our Club, please stop by for breakfast.  Just about every Tuesday morning at 7:00 am at the San Diego Yacht Club.  We welcome all guests to attend.”


Tuesday, October 16th


October 22nd; Board Meeting, 5:00 pm at SDYC, 6:00 pm Last Steak Fry for 2018

October 30th; Breakfast Meeting. 7:00 am at SDYC

December 8th; Holiday Party, location to be announced

Program:  Ron Lee has made a career out of falling down … lots of times.  5,440 times to be exact and 5,439 of those times were really great!  According to Ron, the keys to happiness in life are simple.  First, Find something you like to do.  Second, Get really, really good at it.  And third, Find someone (or lots of someones) who will pay you to do it.  Sound simple?  Well, maybe not that last one.  But, if you are really, really, really good chances are someone will pay you!

Ron Lee and President Steve Doyle

Ron Lee is the co-owner of Skydiving Innovations and a 32-year professional demonstration skydiver.  “There are two types of skydiving shows,” he explained to us.  “The first is what we call a “Jump, Wave and Gone” style show.  That lasts about 5 minutes.  Then there are the Demonstration Skydiving shows, an aerial entertainment program, customized to the client’s wishes.  This is  our specialty.”

In the words of Medal of Honor winner, Eddie Rickenbacker, “Courage is doing what you are afraid to do.  There can be no courage unless you are scared.”  And, according to Ron, every jump comes with some element of fear.  Ron and Todd Lee started Skydiving Innovations in 1986.  In 1988, they were approached by some members of the Leap Frogs, the US Navy Parachute Team, about joining their operations.  The Leap Frogs are recognized as some of the best demonstration skydivers in the world.  This enabled Ron to significantly increase the offerings of his company and to create the most sought-after group of professional aerialists.  Skydiving Innovations has developed, managed and performed nearly 500 aerial demonstrations since 1986 for companies such as Wells Fargo, Callaway Golf, The NFL, Nationwide Insurance, Delta Airlines, Disney Enterprises and many more.

Ron has also taken his experiences to the world of motivational speakers, bringing his perspective about the value of risk, fear, struggle and failure as necessary precursors to personal and professional success.  In addition, Skydiving Innovations supports organizations that support military families like the Seal Family Foundation.  The Optimists thank Ron for sharing his words of wisdom and for agreeing to take David Gee on their next wing-suit high altitude dive.  We wish you both continued success!


Tuesday, October 9th


                       Professor Ron Lauderbach

  1. Next Breakfast Meeting, Tuesday, October 16th, 7:00am, SDYC
  2. Fall Festival at PLNU, Saturday, October 20th, 10:00am – 2:00pm, volunteers needed
  3. Next Board Meeting, Monday, October 22nd, 5:00pm, SDYC, with the last Steak Fry of the year to follow at 6:00pm
  4.  Holiday Party, Saturday, December 8th, 6:00pm, location to be announced


There once was an Optimist poet,

His work great, but he didn’t show it.

He bared his soul and opened his heart.

He enlightened us with the images of art.

Now grasp that spark and grow it!


Sometimes, when you run out of easy choices, when the simple solutions are not available, you just have to believe in yourself and throw that “Hail Mary” pass.  Quarterback Doug Flutie had a knack for that sort of last second heroics.  I never thought I could make such a similar pass…

Monday afternoon, preparing for our Tuesday morning breakfast meeting, I learned we were running out of options for the weekly guest speaker.  Half heartedly planning for a sorry “song and dance” routine, I lofted one of those “Hail Mary” passes and, low and behold, our All-Star historian, Poet Laureate and Optimist for Life, Ron Lauderbach made the catch, won the game and made me look good in my official Breakfast Meeting debut as this year’s Club President!  What can I say, sometimes the stars align for you!

President Steve Doyle and Poet Ron Lauderbach

Ron took up my jokingly “throwing him under the bus” comment and delivered an amazing presentation.  Ron’s fascination with poetry began at a young age. While some adolescents took to crude words on a restroom wall, Ron fostered his words into stories about his life and the people around him.  As an English teacher, Ron noticed that “great poets of year’s past” had a difficult time capturing the attention of teenage students.  He turned to more recent scribes of story telling poets to bring life and mystery into this writing format.  “If you can’t capture the readers’ attention, you can’t tell your story,” he shared with us.  “I try to open the minds of my readers by painting a picture with words.  Something they can relate to and understand.”

We are very proud to call Ron our brother in Optimism.  We are also encouraged by his determination to follow his heart and explore his love of poetry.  Ron is looking forward to completing his degree next year.  We know he will achieve this goal and we hope he will continue to catch those “Hail Mary” passes to the delight of all his fans.  Thank you and well done, Ron Lauderbach!

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018


L-R: 2nd VP Jacobs, President Doyle, 3rd VP Correia, 1st VP Fischbeck

Congratulations to all our new board members and leadership inducted at the club’s 64th Installation Dinner at the Bali Hai on Monday, September 24th!  We thank our most recent Past President Bill Bramley for leading our club through all of its successes last year, and look forward to supporting our new President Steve Doyle as he takes the reins.  Click here for photos from the Installation Dinner.

October 1, 2018 (post facto) – Funds generated at our 2018 OptimisTiki charity event were awarded to Cabrillo Elementary School at a school assembly.  This money will go toward completing the computer purchases necessary to support use by the students.  Photos from the event are posted here.

Principal Hightower is presented a check for computer systems by the Optimist Club of Pt Loma.

October 9, 2018 (7:00 AM) – Breakfast Meeting, SDYC.
October 16, 2018 (7:00 AM) – Breakfast Meeting, SDYC.
October 20, 2018 – Annual Fall Festival at Point Loma Nazarene.  Tom Lewis is seeking volunteers for booth.
October 22, 2018 (5:00 PM) – Board Meeting, SDYC (members welcome)
October 22, 2018 (6:00 PM) – Steak Fry (last one for 2018)
October 30, 2018 (7:00 AM) – Breakfast Meeting, SDYC.
December 8, 2018 (for your planning calendars) – Annual Holiday Party



Jeff F. and Larry B. thank Bonnie Dumanis for being our guest speaker.

We were honored to have Bonnie Dumanis, the former San Diego County District Attorney, as our guest speaker today.  She discussed her impressive background, as well as her vision for the future as a candidate for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for District 4 in the upcoming November elections.  Her full biography and positions on current issues may be viewed on her website.  She was accompanied by her campaign manager, Cameron Celeste, whose uncle was a stalwart member of the Point Loma Optimist Club in past years.  We wish her well as she aspires to continue her public service.



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