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Tuesday, March 12, 2019


Monday, March 18th:  5:00 pm Board Meeting; 6:00 pm Evening Event (both at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern on Harbor Drive)

Tuesday March 26th:  7:00 am Breakfast Meeting at the San Diego Yacht Club

Friday, April 26th:  5:00 – 11:00 pm, 2nd Annual OptimisTiki Luau, Bali Hai restaurant, tickets available HERE


This morning, fellow Optimist Dan Williams and members of his committee treated us to the annual Optimist Oratorical Contest at our breakfast meeting.  Wow!  We saw a ton of talent in the 5 contestants who each spoke for 5 to 6 minutes on this year’s challenging nation-wide theme, “Is there a fine line between optimism and reality?”  The students were extremely poised and well prepared … bringing school, religion, sports, friendships, quotes and a myriad of life experiences into their presentations.  “Well done” to these winners, their families and teachers for such a terrific job this year.

More photos by Rico, Jimmy and Gary are available for viewing at these two links:  Slideshow or Photos (with captions).

2019 Oratorical Contest Winners with Dan Williams

Tuesday, March 5th


March 12th, Oratorical Contest, 7:00 am, San Diego Yacht Club

March 18th. 5:00 pm Board Meeting; 6:00 pm Evening Event

April 26th, 5:00 – 11:00 pm, 2nd Annual OptimisTiki Luau, Bali Hai restaurant, tickets available HERE  

Today:  Barry Scott was inducted into the Point Loma Optimist Club this morning.  Barry is a semi-retired musician and Point Loma resident.  He was sponsored by Bill Fiedler.  Welcome Barry!


The La Playa Trail is the oldest recognized trading trail in the western United States!  From Ballast Point to Mission Bay, the trail’s history goes back thousands of years and was started by our own native American Kumeyaay Tribe.  Today, the La Playa Trail Association is charged with maintenance and education of the trail’s history.  This morning, Kitty McDaniel and Eric DuVall, visited with the PL Optimist Club to educate our members on the history of the trail and its significance in the “recent” development of San Diego.

Eric is a local kid who grew up in Ocean Beach and Point Loma.  He is the current president of the Ocean Beach Historical Society and a member of the La Playa Trails Association.  Eric is also the co-author of the “Images of America, Point Loma” book, a fascinating look at the history and growth of the Point Loma community.  Kitty McDaniel grew up in Pacific Beach taught school for the SD Unified School District for 30 years.  She has 30 years of experience with the Pacific Beach and La Jolla Historical Societies and is currently on the  boards for the Ocean Beach Historical Society and the La Playa Trail Association.  Kitty also contributed to the “Images of America, Point Loma” book.  Together, they presented a brief history of the La Playa Trail and the growth of the Point Loma community.

The recent history of the La Playa Trail begins with Richard Henry Dana, who first set foot in Point Loma in 1834.  Dana spent much of his early days in Point Loma curing and trading in animal hides.  His 1840 book, “Two Years Before the Mast”, became a major source of information about California and the first recorded information about the La Playa Trading Trail.  During the mid to late 1800’s, the La Playa Trail was often used to allow Point Loma residents and visitors to gain access to the many beaches on the eastern side of the peninsula.

In 1866, Louis Rose, a local business man in San Diego’s Old Town, purchased a considerable amount of land in Point Loma and laid out a town he called Roseville.  It was Louis’ goal, that the growth of San Diego would take place in and around Roseville.  However, Alonso Horton was busy laying out a New Town San Diego across the bay.  And, it was this New Town of Horton’s that eventually grew and prospered as the new San Diego downtown.

Other note-able families from the early days of Point Loma include Fran Jennings, a lawyer, businessman and the Sheriff of San Diego in the late 1800’s.  Katherine Tingley, who in 1900 brought the Theosophical Society headquarters from New York to Point Loma.  A widely published author and peace activist, her headquarters facilities are today n the campus of Point Loma Nazarene University.  The Kettenburg family came to Point Loma in 1912 and established a world class boat building business.  In 1915, a 305 mile road race gathered over 50,000 spectators as world class automobile racers took over Point Loma.  In 1923, the Naval Training Center opened in Point Loma.  And, in 1934, the first trail markers for the La Playa trail were erected.  These tidbits about the history of Point Loma and the La Playa Trail and many more, are presented in the “Images of America, Point Loma” book.  Available at fine book stores and the Morena Blvd Costco!

Tuesday, February 26th


March 5th, next breakfast meeting, SDYC, 7:00 am, speaker to be announced

March 12th, Annual Oratorical Contest, SDYC, 7:00 am, Don’t miss this great event!

March 18th, Board Meeting, 5:00 pm and Evening Event, 6:00 pm, location to be announced

April 26th, 2nd Annual OptimisTiki Luau, Bali Hai restaurant, 5:00 – 11:00pm, Tickets available HERE


Pres. Steve Doyle, Director Elyse Lowe and Member John Ponder

Elyse Lowe is a native San Diegan and a Point Loma High Pointer!  She is a 15 year employee of the City of San Diego and currently serves as the Director of Development Services.  She oversees a staff of 500 and a $75 million annual budget.  She told us, “I am an advocate for transit focused development.  I want to see San Diego grow its housing stock.  Yes, I am a pro-growth democrat!”

The State of California Department of Finance has projected a housing deficit in the San Diego Region of 200,000 units by 2035.  According to Elyse, the City needs to find ways to make housing production more cost efficient and easier to process for approval of permits.  “Did you know that the City of San Diego issues almost 55,000 building permits each year.  Granted, a majority of them are for simple things like replacing water heaters or windows.  We also provide over 160,000 inspection visits each year for these permits.  Our goal is to simplify this process!” The City has embarked upon an aggressive, online permit processing program.  By the end of February 2020, the City hope to move the vast majority of these administerial permits to the online process.  “You will be able to get your permits online, from your home or office and schedule your inspections as well.  This will move things along much faster.”

The other focus is to streamline the “Granny Flats” approval process.  The cost of getting a granny flat permit used to be almost $100,000!  The City has reduced that cost down to about $25,000 and that may go even lower when the City of Encinitas uploads their three, free, granny flat architectural plans!  Granny flats, or accessory units are available in most single family residential neighborhoods.  But, they can not be used for short term rental units.  By law, a granny flat, if rented, must be rented for a minimum of 30 days.

“Parking is one of the most misunderstood issues in development today,” Elyse told us.  In high-rise buildings a parking space can come with a 30 year capitalized cost in excess of $100,000!  When you consider a car may be used to park at home, park at work, park at play and park on the street, the City is over-parked.  So for new development, Elyse said, “We are going to get creative about using the existing parking in this City.”  She believes if we can reduce new parking requirements we can ease the cost of development and provide incentives for more housing production.

Thank you, Elyse, for visiting with us this morning.  We are all looking forward to your positive changes for housing!

Tuesday, February 12th


February 15th, 5:00 pm, Jensen’s Market, 2nd Annual Optimists Wine Tasting

February 18th, 5:00 pm Board Meeting and 6:00 pm Dinner Meeting at Dirty Birds in Liberty Station

February 26th, 7:00 am Breakfast Meeting at SDYC, Elyse Lowe, the Director of Development Services for the City of San Diego will be the guest speaker

April 26th, 5:00 pm 2nd Annual OptimisTiki Luau at the Bali Hai restaurant, Shelter Island


Pres. Steve Doyle and Colin Parent, Ex. Dir. of Circulate San Diego

This morning we heard from Colin Parent, the Executive Director and General Counsel for Circulate San Diego, a non-profit organization focused on creating excellent mobility choices and vibrant, healthy neighborhoods.  Their primary focus today is a program called Vision Zero, with a goal to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2030.

Traffic safety includes vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.  “On average, one person is injured every day in San Diego while driving, walking or bicycling,” Colin told us.  “And, traffic collisions are the leading cause of accidental death of children under the age of 13 in the City.”  He also shared the San Diego rate of death by homicide is 2.9 people/100,000.  While the rate of death by traffic crashes is 4.9 people/100,000, a very scary statistic!

Vision Zero is a traffic safety program started in Sweden.  It has also been adopted by major cities across the United States like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Working with City and community leaders to prevent injuries and eliminate deaths our our local roads in the primary goal foe Vision Zero.  Studies have also shown that making streets safer will lead to economic and sustainability gains.

In 2015, Circulate San Diego was able to encourage the City of San Diego to join the Vision Zero program.  Simple changes to intersection design and facilities have already shown progress in reducing traffic accidents.  Mayor Faulconer has recently announced a goal to fix over 300 intersections in the next 4 years in the City.

According to Colin, that is a good first step.  “Road maintenance is also important.  We are working with Public Works directors to change the mindset of prioritizing road maintenance projects.  Human life and safety need to be the leading indicators of maintenance needs.”  This also works well with efforts of provide education on Safe Routes to and from Schools, regional transportation and Transit planning, and #Plan San Diego, which focuses on smart growth without economic or physical displacement.

Circulate San Diego has a full agenda to help San Diego move forward with safety and economic growth as their goals.  For more information about Circulate San Diego, please visit their website HERE.  Thank you Colin, for visiting with the Point Loma Optimist Club this morning.


Tuesday, February 5th


This Thursday, February 7, 2019 is International Optimist Day.  This year, Optimist International is celebrating 100 years of service to youth.

The next Breakfast Meeting will be February 12th, 7:00 am at the SDYC.  Our speaker will be Colin Parent, the Executive Director of Circulate San Diego.

February 15th is the Second Annual Optimist Wine Tasting event, hosted by Jensen’s Market.  Tickets are going fast.  You can get yours HERE!


Eric Greupner, President of Business             Operations for the San Diego Padres

The Point Loma Optimist Club welcomed Eric Greupner, the new President of Business Operations for the San Diego Padres.  Eric joined the Padres organization in 2010 and served as the COO for the Padres over the last 2 years.

“The San Diego Padres are celebrating their 50th year as a Major League Baseball franchise in 2019.  We have a lot to celebrate this year starting with Petco being ranked as the #1 Ballpark in the MLB, Trevor Hoffman entering the Hall of Fame and the Padre organization raising over $20 million in the last 6 years to support cancer research here in San Diego,” he told us.

Eric shared with us some of the plans the Padres have to celebrate their 50 years in San Diego.  “Giving back is a not just a slogan, it is a way of doing business for the Padres.  We will be announcing soon a major investment in San Diego, in coordination with some of the biggest community organizations.  Padres RBI program has brought baseball to San Diego’s under-served and diverse communities.  This year, we will be expanding that program greatly.”

Pres. Steve Doyle, Pres Eric Greupner of the SD Padres and Member Tom Lewis

Eric also shared an brief review of the 2018 and a preview of the 2019 seasons.  “The Padres sent 3 players to the Futures Game in 2018, the most of any team.  We have 10 players ranked in the top 100 of minor league players, and 7 in the top 50!  Our future looks bright and we are excited to see these young players come to the major leagues.”

Eric also addressed the Padres pending color change.  “In 2020, the Padres will be returning to the Brown and Gold color scheme of the original teams.  The brown will be darker, the gold bolder, but we will be distinct in all of MLB.  The change is the result of many discussions, focus groups and stakeholder input.  You will see more on this color change as we move through the 2019 season.”

Whether you are a big baseball fan or one with just a passing interest, now is the time for Optimism!  Given our Optimist International 100 year history, our San Diego Club 64 year history and our San Diego Padre 50 year history, we have a lot of optimistic prospective to offer!  The Padres are in first place today!  Pitchers and catchers report to Peoria on February 13th.  The first exhibition game is February 23rd and Opening Day is March 28th at Petco Park!

Go Padres!

Tuesday, January 29th


Breakfast Meeting – Tuesday, February 5th, 7:00 am, SDYC, Speaker: Erik Greupner, President of Business Operations for the San Diego Padres

Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser – Friday, February 15th, Jensen’s Market.  Click here for tickets.


Dr Rajiv Redy, from the pain faculty of UCSD, enlightened all in attendance at this morning’s breakfast about many of the causes of physical and neurological pain … a fascinating subject that seems to be more applicable as each of us grows older.  It was also very encouraging to hear him present many solutions, some very high tech and some very basic.  We thank both Dr. Reddy for the valuable time he spent with us, and member Randy Rolfe, who introduced us to him.

Tuesday, January 15th


Board Meeting – Monday, January 21st, 5:00 pm Lafayette Hotel Lobby, 2223 El Cajon Blvd

Evening Event – Monday, January 21st, Dinner at the Red Fox, 6:00 pm, 2223 El Cajon Blvd

Breakfast Meeting – Tuesday, January 29th, 7:00 am, SDYC, Speaker: Dr. Raj Reddy, UCSD Pain Management

Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser – Friday, February 15th, Jensen’s Market


         Martin Lindsay presents San Diego Polynesian

Meet Martin Lindsay.  He is an art director, illustrator, writer and principal of Thrive Mediarts, a socially conscious design firm based in San Diego.  He loves cooking, food blogging, Hawaiian shirts, Tiki and history.  He is also the author of a new book celebrating San Diego’s Polynesian Pop Culture, Tiki Restaurants, Bars and Cuisine.  The book is entitled: Ninety Years of Classic San Diego Tiki, 1928-2018. The book chronicles the history of the Polynesian culture as represented by allure of the exotic and the beauty of the islands.  Beginning in 1928 with the opening of The Aloha Café in Tijuana (an escape from prohibition in the States) to The Grass Skirt in Pacific Beach ( an adventurous tiki-concept), Martin provides the story behind the successes (and failures) of some iconic restauranteurs, investors, establishments and their clientele.


Martin reviews the beginnings of the Tiki culture, where restaurants offered standard fare and some rum based beverages with maybe a hint of the Polynesian culture represented on décor and menus.  He calls this the “Pre-Tiki” period, generally the 1930’2  thru early 1950’s.  This is followed up by the “Classic Tiki” era (mid 1950’s thru 1970’s), where décor, menus, bar service and entertainment trended more to the Polynesian culture.  Herein lies the birth of the Kona Kai, the

Golden OptimisTiki Chair Glenn M, Author Martin Lindsay, Restauranteur Larry B

Bali Hai (previously Christian’s Hut), the Hanalei, Catamaran, Half Moon and Mandarin House, among others.  These fine establishments are carrying the Tiki torch still today.  “Modern Tiki” is generally from the 1980’s through the early 2000’s and is followed by the “Tiki Resurgence”, with many new Tiki restaurants and bars joining the scene.

“San Diego is a natural for the Tiki culture.  The Polynesian community is active here.  The military community, which spent many ports of call in the Polynesian Islands is strong here.  And, Hollywood, which fell in love with the Polynesian culture, has found the sun, beaches and palm trees of San Diego reminiscent of those in the Pacific Islands,” Martin told us.  “Even the ‘Goof on the Roof’ at the Bali Hai has it’s roots on Balboa Island.”

By the end of the presentation we were all thirsting for a Mai Tai and a great Polynesian floor show.  And, as luck would have it, we can get these items, along with a Polynesian feast, music, market and silent auction at the Second Annual Golden OptimisTiki Luau, on April 26, 2019, at the Bali Hai.  Tickets and information are available HERE !  Don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy a bit of Polynesian culture!

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019


Tuesday, January 15th, Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC.
Monday, January 21st, Board of Directors meeting, 5:00 pm, Lafayette Hotel.
Monday, January 21st, Evening Event, Red Fox Steakhouse, 6:00 pm, Lafayette Hotel.
Tuesday, January 29th, Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC.
Friday, February 15th, Annual Optimist Winetasting Charity Event at Jensens Market


Troop 500 Scoutmaster Ben Howard

Happy New Year Optimists! We were delighted to hear from Ben Howard, Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 500 in Point Loma. He gave a very positive, enthusiastic presentation that took us through the history of scouting. He started with describing how it was started by its British founder in the early 1900s, the famed Lord Baden-Powell. Ben brought us through the years to the present, and with a look to the future. It was encouraging to hear how scouting is currently on the rebound, and is poised to do very well as participation by girls is being incorporated … continuing to use the organization’s long time developmental philosophy that the kids learn to lead, and run the show with the adults supervising. Ben closed the meeting as he does with troop meetings, with one of his “Scoutmaster Minutes” in which he told a touching story about the massive and spontaneous displays of the American flag on 9/11 throughout the German village where he was stationed … likening the experience to what he sees the Point Loma Optimists do along Rosecrans every Sunday and holiday. Well done, Ben! And well done to all you Optimists!

Scoutmaster Ben Howard thanked by 1st VP Jeff Fischbeck

Tuesday, December 18th


January 8th, Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC.
January 15th, Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC.
January 21st, Board of Directors meeting, 5:00 pm, Lafayette Hotel.
January 21st, Evening Event, Red Fox Steakhouse, 6:00 pm, Lafayette Hotel.
January 29th, Breakfast Meeting, 7:00 am, SDYC.


Our annual “Steak and Eggs Holiday Fare” with sit-down service by the SDYC was excellent this morning.  A tip of Santa’s hat also goes to Bert, who provided us the Presidents’  Punch, with its secret sauce adding to the holiday spirit.  “Thank you” to our Breakfast Committee, chaired by Collin, and all the others who had a part in today’s breakfast.

With pictures and words, we looked back at some of the many successes of 2018, and look forward to 2019 being even better in our mission of supporting Peninsula youth.  Along those lines, we are pleased to report recent Board approval of funds for the Liberty School under the auspices of the NTC Foundation and Dewey Elementary, as well as for the field hockey and the boys and girls lacrosse teams at Point Loma HS.  “Well Done!” to Vince and members of his Youth Programs Committee.  Glenn reported presenting a large check to Dewey Elementary this week from the 2018 Golden OptimisTiki fundraiser.

Please do not hesitate signing up for this year’s Golden OptimisTiki.  Even though the 2019 event on April 26th seems far off, last year some Optimists could not get tickets because they waited until the last minute.  Online sign-ups are now available to the public as well as to the Optimist members at this link (click here or at ), with a sell-out crowd expected again.

Mark your calendar for attending our annual Red Fox Steakhouse evening event on January 21st.  More details will be provided via email.  It will be the last time this venue will ever be available for this annual dinner, since the Demos family will be closing it starting in February.  The dinner will be preceded by a Board meeting, for those interested in attending.

Best wishes to all for a very Merry Christmas, a great holiday season, and a safe, Optimistic and Happy New Year!  See you in 2019!

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!