Tuesday, June 6th

Dr. Cynthia Smith, Pres. Roger Storer and Kristina Martz

The mission of the National Marine Mammal Foundation is to improve and protect life for marine mammals, humans and our shared oceans through science, service and education.  That is big job for Dr. Cynthia Smith, the Executive Director and Kristina Martz, overseeing Executive Operations.  The Optimist Club of Point Loma welcomed these ladies to our weekly breakfast meeting to hear all about their work.

Focusing on the scientific and health related issues of marine mammals, protecting the health and well being of these amazing creatures and educating the next generation of scientists and ocean ambassadors about marine mammals and their habitats is a full time job and passion.  Dr. Smith related to us some of their important ongoing studies.

“We have 180 professionals and 60 college interns working across the world on special study programs,” Dr. Smith told us.  “Do you know dolphins don’t get diabetes? And, dolphins don’t age the way humans do?  We are hopeful we can learn why and use that knowledge to improve human lives!”  At the same time, the Foundation is working to understand the effects of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on dolphin health and safety.  They are rescuing sea lion pups that get stranded on California beaches.  They are studying the impacts of military activity on the endangered Beluga whales and Killer whales in Alaskan waters.  They are conducting hearing and acoustic  studies with elephant seals.  These are but a few of their recent activities.

Vaquita porpoise

In a cooperative engagement with the government of Mexico, the Foundation is attempting to save the remaining few Vaquita porpoise in the northern part of the Gulf of California.  The plan involves relocating some of the remaining vaquitas to a temporary sanctuary, while crucial efforts aimed at eliminating illegal fishing and removing gillnets from their environment continue. The emergency action plan will be led by the Mexican government and supported by a consortium of marine mammal experts from more than a dozen organizations around the world.  “We believe there may be as few as 30 Vaquita porpoise remaining in the wild,” stated Dr. Smith.  “Without an immediate action plan and the cooperation of the Mexican government, this species could vanish!”

To learn more about the National Marine Mammal Foundation, please follow this link to their website: http://www.nmmf.org/.  Special thanks to Dr. Smith and Ms. Martz for sharing their stories with us this morning!

Cabrillo Elementary students and Optimist Steve Doyle

In other news about the Club, on Monday, June 5th, the Club made a follow up presentation of their donation to the students, teachers and parents of Cabrillo Elementary at their monthly Awards Program.  Club Members Steve Doyle, Jeff Fischbeck and Chuck Shedd provided the surprise of the morning when they offered the BIG CHECK to Principal Irene Hightower.  The students were extremely excited at the prospects of new school computers and library books.  If you would like to view a short video on the presentation, please follow this link:  https://www.dropbox.com/s/nvc723nv8sshvp8/170605%20Cabrillo%207897.mp4?dl=0

In addition, Club Member Bob Silides announced that the Optimist Club of Point Loma would be awarding $20,000 of scholarships to graduating seniors from Point Loma High School on Thursday night.  “We are really proud of the students we selected and amazed at their scholastic and civic achievements,” Bob said.  “They will make us proud as their accomplishments grow in their college experiences.”

Two additional notices were provided to Club Members.  Member Bert Barclay announced the Annual Golf Tournament will be held on July 17th.  Watch your email for more information.  And, Member Jim Seman announced the 3rd Annual Baja Chefs on the Point event will be held on October 15th.


Tuesday, May 30th

Another BIG DAY at the Point Loma Optimist Club.  We started the morning by celebrating four members’  birthdays.  A special congrats go out to Jim Dennison, Bob Silides, Mike Panissidi and Ron Lauderbach.

(left-right) Chuck Shedd, Pres. Roger Storer, Principal Irene Hightower, Steve Doyle, Admin. Asst. Arlene Precola and Library Asst. Venessa Stokely

We then awarded Cabrillo Elementary with a check for $12,400.  The money was raised at the Club’s Annual Golden Grand Gala, chaired by Check Shedd.  Principal Irene Hightower thanked the Club members and promised the donation would be used for new computers and books.  “We have been without a computer lab for a couple of years now.  This money will bring 16 new Google Chromebooks to the classroom and provide new books for our library.  We are very grateful to the Point Loma Optimists!”

Our speaker for the morning was Gary Gallegos, Executive Director of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).  Gary is a nationally recognized expert in transportation, land use, regional public policy making and binational planning.  He leads a staff of approximately 350 professionals who develop public policy initiatives for elected officials of the 18 incorporated cities and the unincorporated County of San Diego.  SANDAG is responsible for regional planning issues including, population growth, transportation, environmental  management, economic development, municipal financing, public safety and binational coordination.  The budget for SANDAG for FY2017 is $1.357 billion.

“While many of the subject matters covered by SANDAG concern the recommendations for policies to be implemented by the individual jurisdictions, regional transportation infrastructure is an area that starts with planning and ends with construction.   TransNet, is a voter approved 1/2 cent sales tax measure that originally passed in 1988 as a 20 year plan.  It was extended by a second voter approval in 2004, taking the sale tax addition out to 2048,” according to Mr. Gallegos.  “During the recent economic downturn, SANDAG to advantage of the bonding provisions of the measure and the aggressive bidding of subcontractors to build 50% of our approved projects.  We now have 30 years left to finish the other half!”

Pres Roger Storer and SANDAG Ex. Director Gary Gallegos

The Mid-Coast trolley extension takes the trolley from the Old Town Station thru UCSD to the UTC shopping center.  This $2.6 billion construction project is underway and received nearly 50% of its costs from a Federal Transportation grant!  The North Coast corridor program includes the double tracking of the rail lines from San Diego to the Orange County border.  This project is 2/3 complete.  A second part of this program is the widening of I-5, adding 2 lanes in each direction.  This project is now underway and will take over 30 years to complete.

Mr. Gallegos fielded questions from Club members and shared some interesting perspectives regarding upcoming SANDAG work programs.  The Optimist Club of Point Loma thanks Mr. Gallegos for his presentation and invites him to come back anytime!



Tuesday, May 23rd

The Point Loma Optimist Club recognized eight local elementary school students today during their Annual Youth Appreciation Breakfast today at the San Diego Yacht Club.   Students are nominated by their teachers and principals.  To be nominated for the award, “a student must represent the qualities of citizenship, academics, and most of all, an optimistic spirit that radiates from him or her making everyone’s day a little brighter”.  An amazing group of young people were presented to an audience of club members, family, friends, teachers and principals.

Vince Glorioso, Club Vice President and Executive Director of the Point Loma YMCA, served as the master of ceremonies, “Welcome to the Optimist Club of Point Loma Youth Appreciation Awards Breakfast.  This is our signature event, celebrating accomplishments of the youth in our community.”  Vince asked the award winning students to introduce themselves and their guests, then began the awards program.  The winning students include:

Pres. Roger Storer and the 2017 Youth Appreciation Award Winners


David Baker, from Loma Portal Elementary, is a responsible student and great friend.  He is a leader and very helpful to his teacher.

Amelie Jacobs, from Ocean Beach Elementary, is a helpful friend, shows great empathy to others and volunteers to help all other students.

Marina Jacoway, from Sunset View Elementary, is an ideal student, who gives 120% and takes her education very seriously.

Isabel Kincart, from Warren-Walker School, has a passion for learning and Girl Scouts, she is a leader, athlete and outstanding young lady.

Jehu Perez-Gonzalez, from Silver Gate Elementary, is a great benefit to his school, and a thoughtful young man who always looks out for his younger sister.

Daniel Rose, from Dewey Elementary, is a great student, determined to go to college and rides a bus from Spring Valley every day to attend school.

Giovanni Sanchez, from Cabrillo Elementary, volunteers for school flag duty, tutors kindergarten students and helps out his teacher and classmates.

Emma Santos, from Saint Charles Borromeo Academy, is an excellent student, leads by example, a great friend and a nine-year attendee of the school.

The Youth Appreciation Award reads: “For upholding the dignity of youth, for showing sincere devotion to the welfare of others, and for generous and unselfish contributions to society.” Each of these outstanding students received a framed, personalized Certificate of Achievement and a cash prize of $200.

Vince asked for all attendees to applaud these great young people.  He then asked the parents, teachers and principals of the award winners to be recognized and applauded for their continuing efforts to guide these students.

The event concluded with Club President, Roger Storer congratulating the winners and requesting the students, family members and school dignitaries to join him for a group picture.

Tuesday, May 2nd

The University of San Diego (USD) is a 180 acre campus with 3.2 million square feet of space in 94 buildings.  The University serves over 7,800 full time students and 65,000 alumni.  USD is a highly regarded by US News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Bloomberg Business Week, Forbes, Business Insider, Kiplinger and many other professional organizations.

         Steve, Glenn and USD VP of Operations, Ky Snyder

USD offers 43 bachelor’s degrees, 29 master’s degrees, the JD, five LLM degrees and 3 doctorates from 440 full time and 466 part time faculty.  USD student athletes compete in 17 NCAA Division I teams and 23 sport clubs.  USD is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and has been since 1956.

Ky Snyder is the Vice President of University Operations and oversees a diverse job that includes Facility Management, Parking Services and Campus Scheduling, Public Safety and Intercollegiate Athletics.  And, as busy as he is, he still found time to visit with the PL Optimist Club this morning to give us an update on all things important at USD.  First and foremost on Ky’s agenda is the University’s Conditional Use Permit and Master Plan Update.  After three years of planning and public review, the approval is now scheduled to go before the San Diego Planning Commission on June 1st and followed then with a City Council approval in mid-July.  “This is very important to the University.  The approval of the Master Plan update will allow USD to grow it’s student population to 10,000 and governs the site development of the campus,” he shared with us.  “Everything from the number of employees we may hire, to the landscaping to be installed is governed by the Master Plan.  We need to get this completed and begin implementation.”

Ky also shared with the Club members his thoughts on NCAA athletics and the challenges they will be faced in the near future as television contracts come up for renewal and court cases regarding athlete rights make their way through the system.  “We will see change.  The rules will be re-written.  How athletics and athletes are treated by the system will change, hopefully for the benefit of both the schools and the athletes,” he concluded.  Ky should know, as he started his employment with USD as the Director of Athletic Development and then spent 12 years as the Executive Director of Athletics for the University.

The Vision for USD  is to set the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic University where innovative change-makers confront humanity’s urgent challenges.  This Vision is guided by Core Values that include Academic Excellence, Knowledge, Community, Ethical Conduct and Compassionate Service.  Ky asked us, “Whatever happened to civility in discourse?  Why are we so polarized in our opinions and positions?  There is no middle ground anymore.  We are pushed to extremes and refuse to recognize compromise as a viable solution.”  USD is looking to create change-makers who are compassionate leaders.  The Optimists believe with leaders like Ky Snyder, they are headed in the right direction!

Tuesday, April 25th

Do you have a desire to give back?  Is public service in your future?  Do you want to get elected?  Then maybe you should be talking with Tom Shepard & Associates, an 18 time recipient of the American Association of Political Consultants coveted Pollie Award.  For 30 years, Tom Shepard has been providing consulting services to public affairs clients and political campaigns.  Tom got his start in politics while still in college, serving as the president of Associated Students at UCSD and after moving into the private sector, he served as Mayor for the City of Del Mar.

Pres Roger Storer, Tom Shepard and John Ponder

     Pres Roger Storer, Tom Shepard and John Ponder

“As a political consultant, I’m responsible for much of your annoyance over the past election cycle,” Tom chided us.  “Because negative advertising works for undecided voters.”  Why?  You might ask.  Because human nature is such that we tend to believe more about the negative of a candidate than we do the positive.  “If negative advertising stopped working, we would stop using it.”  There is also a greater amount of negative campaigning, because more and more, voters are self-filtering their source of news.  This means they tend to listen and read more about things with which they already agree.

Tom Shepard & Associates focuses on clients and ballot measures.  They are known for their public opinion research, radio, television and direct mail production and political consulting.  Their current clients include a group of Mission Valley business owners, focused on defeating the SoccerCity proposal for the Qualcomm Stadium site.  According to Tom, land planning by initiative denies the citizens of San Diego of hundreds of million dollar value potential.  “We should be looking at a process that is open to all potential development entities.  We should be creating something on the most valuable asset the City owns, that will benefit all the citizens of San Diego.”

Tom also gave us his perspectives on term limits.  “While term limits is good for my business, by creating a continuing need for political consulting services, I will agree that there are examples of the lack of term limits being good for the citizens.”  As an example, he pointed to the last 25 years of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.  “The County of San Diego is in a much better fiscal position because of the work done by our Supervisors,” he said.  As an example of why term limits is needed, he pointed to the California legislature.

If politics is in your future, a call to Tom Shepard & Associates may be the first call you should make!

Tuesday, April 11th

They run silent.  They run deep.

They are a defensive deterrent and an offensive threat.

They are the class of Los Angeles, but call San Diego home.

They are the Alexandria, Hampton, Pasadena and Scranton.

Commodore Brian Davies

Commodore Brian Davies

They are the boats of Submarine Squadron 11 and Commodore Brian Davies is the Squadron Commander.  Capt. Davies visited with the Point Loma Optimist Club this morning to share with us some of the amazing things his boats do on a regular basis.  Capt. Davies is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and was commissioned into the service in 1991.  He has had an impressive naval career which included service aboard the USS Hyman Rickover, USS Nebraska, and USS Houston.  In 2009, he was selected as the Commanding Officer of the USS Jimmy Carter, a position he held for almost 3 years.  Capt. Davies has received numerous personal awards, including the Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit.

In the Pacific command today, approximately 40 US Submarines are in service.  They are based in ports like, San Diego, Pearl Harbor, Silverdale (WA), Yokosuka (Japan) and Guam.  “The principle missions of the United States Submarine Force is first and foremost Strategic Deterrence, and secondly Theatre Undersea Warfare,” according to Capt. Davies.  “We still have the most advanced training and technological undersea capabilities.  But, other countries are gaining both in technology and training.  It is imperative we stay one step ahead of them.”

Pres. Roger Storer, Commodore Brian Davies and Capt. Jeff Fischbeck (USN Ret)

Pres. Roger Storer, Commodore Brian Davies and Capt. Jeff Fischbeck (USN Ret)

Other topics of increasing importance to the US Submarine force are the South China Sea, the Arctic Ocean and unmanned undersea vehicles.  Capt. Davies shared his perspective on each of these subjects and answered a number of questions from Club members.  Capt. Davies also expressed his gratitude to the Club for their assistance is welcoming home his returning submarines.  “The flags along Rosecrans and the “Welcome Home” banners are noticed and appreciated!” he told us.

US submarines, they go where others can’t.  With a legacy that stretches back for more than a century, today’s US Submarine Force is the most capable in the world and defends the homeland through stealth, endurance and deterrence.  This is due in a large part to the service, dedication to duty and commitment to excellence of Commodore Davies and of the men and women of Submarine Squadron 11, for which we are very grateful!

Tuesday, April 4th

Do you enjoy relaxing by the pool in a classic sun lounger under a private cabana?  How about a vigorous workout in a state of the art fitness center?  Or, an exciting ride on the Stars & Stripes sail boat? What if all these activities came with complimentary valet parking, Sunday afternoon concerts and many other special benefits?  Sound interesting?  Nobel House Hotels & Resorts hopes you do, and they also hope you will come and see the $25 million renovation at the Kona Kia Spa & Resort.  Good news Optimists!  You will have that opportunity on May 6th, when the PL Optimist Club hosts the annual Golden Grand Gala at the Kona Kia.

President Roger Storer and Andrea Lambert Club Membership Director, Kona Kia Club Director

President Roger Storer and Andrea Lambert Club Membership Director, Kona Kia Club Director

This morning, Club Management Director, Andrea Lambert, visited with the Optimists and gave us the update on the resort improvements and the reinvigoration of the Kona Kia Club.  The Club originated in 1953. It is a piece of San Diego/Shelter Island history and includes many well known Point Loma families through the generations who continue to be members.  “We are accepting new members at this time, but we are capping membership at 1,000,” Andrea told us.  “We want the Club experience to be special and treasured.  I invite all Optimist members to come to the Kona Kia for a special guided tour of the new Club.”

So, if you enjoy boating and water sports, fitness and workouts, great food, fun, friends and time with family, the Kona Kia Club may be for you.  Check out the new pool, the private beach, the steam room, fitness classes and Spa facilities.  And, give Andrea a call for a special private tour.  Just visit www.resortkonakia.com for more information.


Tuesday, March 28th

Larry Baumann, Don Sevren, President Roger Storer, PCBP Chair Jon Linney and Jim Seman

Larry Baumann, Don Sevren, President Roger Storer, PCBP Chair Jon Linney and Jim Seman

The Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) is the recognized citizen group that advises the City of San Diego on land use and development proposals for the neighborhoods of Point Loma.  Jon Linney is the new Chair of the PCPB and Don Sevrens is the Chair of the Park and Rec Subcommittee, they visited with the Optimists Club this morning to provide an update on the PCPB activities.  Jon’s hope is to use his time as Chair of the Planning Board to re-establish bridges with the other Peninsula civic organizations.  Don is focused on the design and development of the Avenida de Portugal pocket park.  They spoke to the Club about these items and other issues coming before their board.

The design for the Avenida de Portugal pocket park seeks to integrate the impact of the Portuguese community, the America’s Cup heritage and other Point Loma influences.  The City of San Diego has designated $843,000 for the construction of the park.  “We invite the Optimist Club to join with us in creating something special at this new park,” Don told us.

The PCPB is  dealing with a number of other issues important to community members.  Some of these items, like traffic management, airport impacts, code compliance, Liberty Station development, and land use project review are clearly defined and the Board has established committees to work on specific proposals and issue impacts.  Other issues, like the Point Loma High School athletic field lights are important to community members and the Board, but are under the purview of the San Diego Unified School District.  The PCPB can add its voice to the discussion, but the decision is not one made by the City of San Diego.

Jon and Don discussed other community issues and fielded questions from Club members.  Jon, consider the bridge between the PCPB and the PLOC re-established!


Tuesday, March 14th

(Click here for a quick slideshow of the event.)

The Annual Point Loma Optimist Club’s Oratorical Contest was held this morning at the San Diego Yacht Club.

170314 Optimists 4790-Pano-1

Led by Club Member Dan Williams, with the assistance of his committee members Ken Stimeling, Gary Correia and Rico Garcia, the eight students from Correia Junior High displayed their outstanding speaking skills to the crowd at our breakfast meeting.  Each contestant spoke to the audience of teachers, parents, family and Club members for 4-5 minutes on the topic of:  “What the World Gains from Optimism.”  The students were coached in public speaking by their teachers Keri Clark and John Snedden.  A panel of three invited judges, including Jill Curtiss, Mike Carleton, and George Beall, awarded the following after thorough deliberation:

First Prize

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis

Second Prize

Tristan Cooper

Tristan Cooper

Third Prize

Abby Antonio

Abby Antonio

The Point Loma Optimists want to thank all the talented students who participated in this year’s Oratorical Contest and wish them well with their future endeavors.

The 8 oratorical contestants with members Dan Williams and Roger Storer

The 8 oratorical contestants with members Dan Williams and Roger Storer

Tuesday, March 7th

Fred Schnaubelt was born in San Diego and graduated from Point Loma High School.  He has served on the San Diego City Council and numerous civic and professional association boards.  Fred has hosted radio shows, written for newspapers and given multiple presentations.  He has been a commercial real estate broker almost 50 years and is a recognized authority on politics.   Fred visited with the Point Loma Optimists this morning to share some of his thoughts on Income Inequality.

Pres Roger Storer, Fred Schnaubelt and Larry Baumann

    Pres Roger Storer, Fred Schnaubelt and Larry Baumann

“I want to live in a country where the poor people are fat!”  According to Fred, “If you took the total net worth of the ‘poor people’ in this country, they would be the 16th wealthiest nation in the world.”  Fred believes wealth is made, not distributed.  The USA gives every citizen the opportunity to be wealthy through innovation and providing goods or services to consumers.  “Consumers can make the poor man rich and the rich man poor.  They are the drivers of our economy.”  Fred is a critic of wealth distribution and a proponent of individual opportunity.

“Do you know when Bill Gates walks into a McDonalds restaurant, the average wealth of everyone in that restaurant is over $1 billion!”  This country has never been able to tax people into prosperity.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the top 3% of Income Tax filers pay more income tax than the other 97% of Income Tax filers.  We will improve the lives of the poor of this country by giving them opportunity.

“According to Oxfam, the proportion of the world’s people living in extreme poverty has been halved in just 15 years,” according to Fred.  Oxfam is a world-wide non-profit group that seeks to create lasting solutions to poverty, hunger and injustice.  Oxfam’s approach is to tackle the conditions that cause poverty.  They believe that providing people with the tools they need to be successful, they will pull themselves out of poverty and provide them with a path to growth.  Fred Schnaubelt believes this is a much better way to deal with income inequality.


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