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!

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