Tuesday, April 24th

                                    Time to Tiki!

Announcements:  OptimisTiki is here!  Saturday, April 28th, the gates to the sold out, first annual, OptimisTiki will open at 4:00 pm.  The gates will close to attendees at 6:00pm, so that the show and dinner events may begin.  Tiki attire is highly recommended.  OptimisTiki mugs and raffle tickets will be available at the event.  Get ready for a great evening of food, beverage and fun at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island!

Breakfast Meetings on May 1st and 8th will take place at the San Diego Yacht Club, starting at 7:00am.

The Board Meeting will take place on May 14th at 5:00 pm followed by the Steak Fry at 6:00pm, both at the San Diego Yacht Club.

May 22nd is Youth Appreciation Day at the Optimist Club Breakfast.  7:00 am at the San Diego Yacht Club.  Come support the terrific youth of our local community!

                 New Member Paula Perretta

Program:  Paula Perretta was introduced as the “first Italian female member” of the Optimist Club of Point Loma.  Paula said she was drawn to our Club because of its history of good support for the local youth, our friendly and welcoming members, and our good sense of fun and optimism.  Welcome aboard Paula!

Dr. Daniel Murin (Ph.D. in Biophysics) from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) joined the Point Loma Optimist Club for breakfast and a presentation on “The Ebola Virus”, a wonderful meal time discussion!  Dr. Murin (please call me Daniel), gave us an overview of  TSRI and some specific insights into his research.  The Scripps Research Institute is the largest private research center in the US.  They have two campus locations, a smaller facility in Jupiter, Florida, with 400,000 sf of research space and the more well know, Torrey Pines/La Jolla facility with over 1.5 million sf.  There are over 3,000 employees at TSRI, including 255 faculty members, 483 post-doctorial and 271 grad student researchers.  TSRI has an annual research budget of over $375 million!  In 2017, TSRI was named the “World’s Most Influential Research Facility”, outranking some of the most well known facilities such as Harvard and Stanford Universities.

TSRI started in 1989 and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools.  US World & Report ranked the Biochemistry program at TSRI as #2 in the country, Organic Chemistry as #5, Chemistry as #6 and Biology as #10.  Graduate students fro around the world compete to continue their education and work in research at TSRI.  Graduate students selected for the program receive $30-35k per year in pay, and receive housing and food stipends to attend the TSRI while earning their Ph.D.’s.  It take approximately 3 years to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry and 5-6 years for a Ph.D. in Biology.  

Dr. Daniel Murin and Pres. Bill Bramley

Daniel completed his Ph.D. in 2016.  He has continued to work at TSRI in collaboration with Dr. Andrew Ward, as they search for the development of antibiotic therapy for the Ebola virus.  Daniel explained the history of the Ebola virus, which was limited to minor outbreaks, quickly contained, in the sub-Saharan dessert areas of Africa.  “Then came the massive outbreak 2014/15,” he told us.  “The strain was highly contagious, fast moving and far more deadly than earlier outbreaks.  It caught the healthcare community flatfooted.  They were not prepared for this type of disaster.”  The initial slow response proved to complicate matters, as through this outbreak over 25,000 people would perish.  “What we learned is we needed more research and better ways to attack the virus,” he said.  Daniel’s research has included work at a molecular level, using electron microscopy, building models of the virus at a cellular level, and exploring antibodies created by survivors.

Daniel told us his research is about ready for publication and peer review.  “My years of research have brought new insights to the Ebola virus.  The antibodies we are developing have shown some success in laboratory tests.  We are now ready for a broader conversation on the next steps into a therapeutic program.”  What is still unknown is where the “host” lies for the Ebola virus.  The host, is an animal that carries the virus, but is not destroyed by it.  Some people believe that one or more species of bat may be the host.  But more research is necessary to confirm this hypothesis.   Meanwhile, Daniel and the team at TSRI will continue to look for new therapeutic programs to treat the Ebola virus, while also working on the ultimate goal, a vaccine to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.

Thank you Daniel for sharing some of your work and giving us a better insight into The Scripps Research Institute!

Tuesday, April 10th


April 16th Board Meeting at 5:00pm at the SDYC

April 16th First Steak Fry of 2018, 6:00 pm SDYC

April 24th Breakfast Meeting at 7:00am at the SDYC

APRIL 28, 2018 – Golden OptimisTiki event, Bali Hai, Shelter Island, festivities begin at 4:00 pm

Program:  Mr. Marco Drapeau, Principal Ocean Beach Elementary School

Marco Drapeau is the Principal at Ocean Beach Elementary School (OBES).  Some people say he was born to be an educator.  While others think he was born to work in Ocean Beach.  “When I was 16 I discovered Ocean Beach.  What a great place! A beautiful mixing bowl of all San Diego has to offer,” he told us.  “I love surfing, heavy metal music, snowboarding at Mammoth and a good cup of coffee in the morning.”  Marco seems to have found his niche in Ocean Beach.   But then … there’s the tidbit about kissing snakes.  Yeah, the Principal of OBES kisses snakes!  To be fair, he was paying off a bet to his students and their parents who raised more than $50,000 at their latest Spring Carnival.

Principal Drapeau kisses a snake!

Marco is a native San Diegan.  He grew up in Lemon Grove and graduated from Helix High School.  After a stint in the family contracting business, he became a teacher in 1997.  Marco is in his 5th year as the principal of OBES.  There are approximately 430 students at OBES and 18 teachers for the pre-K through 4th grade students.  “I have a fantastic team of teachers around me!” Marco said.  “And, a very diverse group of students coming from varied economic, social, ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  It provides a wonderful environment for my students and the school community overall.”  Marco is especially proud of the Arts Program they have at OBES.  They fundraise every year to provide all students with the chance to learn about and appreciate the arts through drawing, literature, theater and music.

“The days of when kids had to fit into one teaching mold are gone.  To be successful, we (the teachers) need to work with the student and understand their ways of learning,” he shared.  “Our teachers are very welcoming, warm and open to all.  When a child knows you care, then they will respond more positively to learning.”  To take that special learning program to the next level, Educational Consultant, Marty Smith (also known as the “Point Loma Tutor”) was introduced by Principal Drapeau.

Principal Drapeau, Tutor Marty Smith and President Bramley

“I have 44 special education students at OBES,” Marty informed us.  “And, with the $5,000 donation from the Point Loma Optimist Club Foundation, we were able to purchase 24 Dell Chrome notebooks, 2 charging carts, 24 headphones, 24 computer mice and 6 swiveling stools!  It has made a tremendous difference for our program.  And, we are so grateful to you for this opportunity. ”  OBES was also able to acquire a special district approved reading and writing program that is designed to aid special ed students.  “With this program, our children can learn to write on the computer.  They can check spelling, definitions, dictionaries and punctuation.  They can speak to the computer, and it will write out their words.  The program can read the words written by the students back to them, so they can edit and rework their lessons.  It has been a great addition to our program!”

Marty showed us a short video the created to share their new computer system and thank the Optimists for their donation.  Click here to view the video.

Thank you Marco and Marty for joining us this morning.  We wish you continued success and a lot more snake kissing!

Tuesday, April 3rd


April 28th (4 to 11:30 PM):  Golden OptimisTiki at the Bali Hai.
Sign up now, and encourage your friends to join us for this fun and important annual fundraising event.
Tickets are available online (click here).
Raffle tickets ($25) are also available in advance, either online or by contacting Chris Jacobs.
First prize is a round trip to Tahiti (hotel included)!

May 20th:  We will join the annual Festa parade in Point Loma with our flag truck as in years past.  If you are interested in participating in this unique event, please contact Tom Lewis.


Can you say “Johnny Good Man” in Italian? All of us at this morning’s breakfast learned the name’s origins and how to properly pronounce “Gianni Buonomo” by the brand’s creator, winemaker Keith Rolle of Ocean Beach. We also learned how Keith became a vintner making world class wines on Newport Ave in OB since 2010, rather than following his Minnesota boyhood dreams of becoming a fireman, cowboy or attorney. It was an inspirational and intriguing path that took him to Europe, Baja California, Washington State, and finally San Diego … becoming a multilingual hockey player, marathoner, FM disc jockey, actor, and entrepreneurial founder of a Spanish language immersion college … while on the way to creating a very successful winery right here on the Peninsula. Keith’s undeniable drive and passion about wine and winemaking have enabled Gianni Buonomo Vintners wines to win multiple competitive awards, both in the US and internationally. Check out their website gbvintners.com for more details. We really appreciated Keith’s stimulating talk this morning, and the opportunity to learn more about wine.

President Bill Bramley thanks winemaker Keith Rolle for his presentation.

Tuesday, March 27th


One of the two mug styles created especially for our Tiki charity event. Buy some with your tickets or at the event. Limited numbers!

OptimisTiki Committee members hard at work. This is the other Tiki mug style created for our event.

April 28th (4 to 11:30 PM):  Golden OptimisTiki at the Bali Hai.  Sign up now, and encourage your friends to join us for this fun and important annual fundraising event.

Tickets are available online (click here).

Raffle tickets ($25) are also available in advance, either online or by contacting Chris Jacobs.

First prize is a round trip to Tahiti (hotel included)!




May 20th:  We will join the annual Festa parade in Point Loma with our flag truck as in years past.  If you are interested in participating in this unique event, please contact Tom Lewis.



We were honored to have a founding member of the Bonita Optimist Club and longtime SD County Supervisor, Greg Cox, as our guest speaker at breakfast this morning.  He has been a stalwart member of the County Board of Supervisors since 1995, overseeing the many achievements of over 17,000 employees which have considerably improved the public safety, health and environmental well being of his district’s 631,000 residents during those 23 years.  Some of these improvements include eliminating all deferred maintenance, building 11 new libraries, completing a new Sheriff’s crime lab, fighting the Hep A and flu outbreaks with hundreds of thousands vaccinations, and many more on-time-and-under-budget projects … all while moving away from the precipice of bankruptcy in 1995 to a funding a healthy $5.7B budget today.  San Diego should be proud to now be 1 of only 8 counties in the US that has earned a AAA bond rating.

One of the most significant take-aways from Greg Cox’s presentation was the “Live Well San Diego” program, whose vision is to work with community groups and companies to focus on healthier and longer lives.  This includes the establishment of more parks, trails, community gardens, a 5-city bay-shore bikeway, and perhaps most importantly … the establishment of the 2-1-1 San Diego hotline.  Calling 211 is the one-stop place to seek information referral assistance from a live person on matters of financial, health or behavioral problems.  It has been a great success in consolidating and streamlining the overlap of 6000 parallel efforts by 1200 regional non-profit organizations in providing help to the public.

Q&A followed, with Supervisor Cox providing details on proposed solutions for the border sewage spills, and listing the positive results of separating the San Diego Airport Authority from the Port Authority since 2001.  We wish Mr. Cox continued successes on our behalf in his remaining 2 years before his term expires.

SD County Supervisor Greg Cox accepts the club’s Optimist emblem from President Bill Bramley as a token of our thanks.

Tuesday, March 13th


April 28th:  Golden OptimisTiki at the Bali Hai.  Sign up now, and encourage your friends to join us for this fun and important annual fundraising event.  Tickets now available (click here).

A valuable Norm Daniels original oil painting of Pt Loma and the Bali Hai, one of the many Silent Auction bid items being offered at the Golden OptimisTiki

May 20th:  We will join the annual Festa parade in Point Loma with our flag truck as in years past.  If you are interested in participating in this unique event, please contact Tom Lewis.


Our annual Oratorical Contest was held at the San Diego Yacht Club at this morning’s breakfast.

The 6 contestants from Correia Middle School (7th & 8th grade) renewed our hope in this young generation.  They all spoke amazingly well, with no notes.  Each delivered a 4-5 minute speech on the topic of “Where Are My Roots of Optimism?” All students were eloquent in their prose, spoke with great confidence, were humorous, used quotes, provided descriptive analogies, seemed so natural and relaxed, and were very well prepared.  They were all masters of personal story telling and did such a terrific job that the judges had a difficult time selecting the best.

Dan Williams with the 6 Oratorical Contest participants from Correia Middle School

The ultimate winners were:

1st place     Gracie Snedden
2nd place   Taran Courchesne
3rd place    Beckett Bateman

The other amazing contestants were Jackie Inzunza, Sophie Compton and Rowan Byrne.  Congratulations to all for their hard work and superb job delivering their speeches!  Our thanks also go to Dan Williams and his committee, as well as the teachers and parents of Correia, whose efforts made this year’s Oratorical Contest such a success.


Tuesday, March 6th


March 13th:  Breakfast Meeting and Oratorical Contest, 7:00am, SDYC.

March 19th:  Board Meeting, 5:00pm at Goodbar (1872 Rosecrans St).  Evening Event there at 6:00pm.

April 28th:  Golden OptimisTiki at the Bali Hai.  Tickets now available (click here).

May 20th:  We will join the annual Festa parade in Point Loma with our flag truck as in years past.  We have 2 volunteers, but could use a couple more.  If you are interested in participating in this unique event, please contact Tom Lewis.


A proposal for our club to support the startup of a new Optimist chapter in National City with a $500 donation carried with a vote this morning.

President Bill Bramley thanks our guest speaker, Andy Hanshaw, Executive Director of the SD Bike Coalition

Today’s guest speaker was Andy Hanshaw, the Executive Director of the San Diego Bike Coalition (a 501.c(3) non-profit organization) since 2012.  Their goals are to 1. Advocate, 2. Educate, and 3. Celebrate the increased and safe use of bicycles in San Diego.  This will be a big factor in supporting the downtown population tripling in the next 10 years (from 30,000 to 90,000) while downtown employment doubles (from 90,000 to 180,000).  Currently, there are no downtown bikeways, but a funded plan is in place for executing over the next 10 years.  Lime green, yellow and orange bikes populated the region overnight after the City of SD approved their use a few weeks ago.  They don’t take up parking spaces, are more available at places other than fixed stations, are power assisted (some), and provide data for future decisions on where bikeways are needed.  In the big picture, more people on bikes will lead to safer streets, healthier communities, less congestion, and many other benefits.  We learned quite a bit about the SD Bike Coalition’s initiatives and thanked Andy for his presentation.

Tuesday, February 27


March 13th, Breakfast Meeting and Oratorical Contest, 7:00am, SDYC

March 19th, Board Meeting, 5:00pm at Goodbar (1872 Rosecrans St), Evening Event there at 6:00pm

April 28th, Golden OptimisTiki at the Bali Hai, tickets now available (click here)


Some of you Optimists may have slept in this morning instead of facing the rain to attend our weekly breakfast.  You will be able to sleep even more soundly in the future knowing that our guest speaker and his people are on watch, protecting us from all sorts of threats including tsunamis, drug smugglers, Middle Eastern human traffickers, undeclared cruise ship viruses, and unsafe Lake Havasu boating … just to mention a few things.

President Bill Bramley thanks our guest speaker, CAPT Joe Buzzella, USCG

Captain Joe Buzzella, USCG Sector San Diego Commander, and Captain of the Port, gave us an impressive presentation of what the Coast Guard does locally and worldwide, and with only 40,000 people.  This is fewer than the NYPD and is the smallest of any of our major armed services.  He expressed his gratitude for the Coast Guard Auxiliary volunteers for enabling them to do their jobs.  This included one of our members, John Benya, who will retire next month after 40 years of service in the USCG Auxiliary.  Bravo Zulu, John!  CAPT Buzzella was proud to be in charge when San Diego was recently designated as our country’s latest and largest “Coast Guard City,” even before NYC.  His responsibilities are enormous, extending hundreds of miles out at sea, to the inland areas of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Southern California.  He is well qualified for the job, with experience as a ship driver, as a helo and jet pilot with over 3400 hours of flight time, and with his educational and leadership credentials, all of which are in his bio (click here).  We are truly fortunate to have CAPT Buzzella here in San Diego.  We look forward to taking him up on his promise to come back at a later date for a second presentation on “Things We Didn’t Know the Coast Guard Does.”  Don’t miss it!

Tuesday, February 13th

Announcements:  Adam Zack presented a contribution check of $2,296 from Jensen’s Market, the proceeds from the February 2nd Wine Tasting Event.  Thank you, Adam and Jensen’s Markets!!!!

February 19th, Board Meeting, 5:00pm, Bali Hai, Evening Event to follow at 6:00pm, Bali Hai

March 13th, Breakfast Meeting and Oratorical Contest, 7:00am, SDYC

April 28th, OptimisTiki Event at the Bali Hai, tickets now available!  120 tickets already sold!

Cameron Lamming and Pres. Bill Bramley

Program:  Cameron Lamming, the Chief Development Officer for RAR Hospitality visited with the PL Optimist Club this morning to share exciting news about their newest project, Monsaraz, to be built here in Point Loma.  Monsaraz will replace the existing Dolphin Motel and the Psychic/fortune teller on Rosecrans Street and Garrison Street.  The project will also take down one more billboard sign!!!

RAR Hospitality is a San Diego based hotel development, management and consulting company.  Their portfolio includes 25 west coast properties including 10 hotels in San Diego county.  Cameron Lamming is a Stanford University graduate, who has previously worked with Brixton Capital and The Walt Disney Company.  “I enjoy the creative aspect of the company.  We look at each properties’ unique situation and opportunities.  That is what drew us to this specific property”, he told us.  “The Point Loma Community has a rich culture and history that relates to the Portuguese heritage.  We want to bring that sense of community pride and culture into Monsaraz.”  Monsaraz is actually an historic hilltop town on the shore of the Alqueva Reservoir in the Alentejo Region of Portugal.  “The interior design and color palate for the hotel will be reflective of this Portuguese heritage.”

                                                           Street View – Monsaraz

The design for the 92 room hotel will include a subterranean level of parking (one space per room), accessed by valet attendants only, “…because we will be using an elevator to take the cars to and from the parking level”, Cameron said.  Above ground, the building will adhere to the 30′ height limit and provide a clean and modern look to the fronting streets.  The interior spaces will be public and guest serving with meeting rooms, a bar and Tapas lounge, and outdoor space for relaxing and meeting with friends.  “We want to be part of the Point Loma community in a positive way.  We will have a meeting room available for civic and community group use, free of charge.  We will have street access to the bar, lounge and outdoor space that is welcoming to locals and visitors,” he told us.

Cameron Lamming and Monsaraz Interior

Cameron also told us the property may become a Hilton flagged boutique property.  “We  really like the boutique hotel business.  It allows us to customize our properties to the local community and property history.  Hilton has approached us about our boutique program.  This would provide us with access to Hilton patrons and allow us to stay unique and local in flavor.  Hopefully, this will be the way we go”, he said.

RAR hopes to be before the City Planning Commission in April/May and then begin the demo/construction for Monsaraz in late summer this year.  The PL Optimist want to thank Cameron for sharing his views on this exciting project and wish him success in moving ahead.

Tuesday, February 6th

Announcements:  February 12th, OptimisTiki Planning Committee, 5:30pm Bali Hai

February 13th, OptimisTiki Silent Auction Committee meeting, 3:00pm Bali Hai

February 19th, Board Meeting, 5:00pm, SDYC

March 13th, Breakfast Meeting and Oratorical Contest, 7:00am, SDYC

April 28th, OptimisTiki Event at the Bali Hai, tickets now available!

Program:  A graduate of Duke University and the University of San Diego School of Law, Peter Nunez began a long and impressive career as a federal prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office in San Diego.  President Ronald Reagan appointed Mr. Nunez the US Attorney in 1982.  President George Bush appointed him to be the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in 1990.  During his illustrious career, Mr. Nunez has served in many capacities overseeing legal and law enforcement organizations.  This career gradually began to focus his interests on immigration policy and immigration law, the subject of his discussions with the Point Loma Optimists Club members this morning.

Mr. Peter Nunez and 1st VP Steve Doyle

“You can’t talk about immigration issues without first understanding population facts,” he told us.  “Today, the population of the earth is approximately 7.5 billion.  And, the world adds about 80 million people per year!  Two thirds of the world’s population lives in poverty.  The vast majority of these people want to work and improve their lives.  This is the major factor behind immigration.”  Mr. Nunez also told us the US population is growing by over 2.5 million people per year (births over deaths plus immigration).  This means the 327 million people in the United States now will grow to almost 400 million by 2050!

The United States was built by immigrants and welcomed them through 1924.  The first immigration law went into effect in 1925, limiting future immigration from Asia and Europe to a ratio determined by the number of people living in the US from each of these countries as determined by Census data from 1910 and 1920.  However, there were no restrictions for immigration to the US from other Western Hemisphere countries.  In 1965, Congress passed a new immigration law, restricting immigration to people who could fit in one of three categories; (a) Family Reunification, (b) Special skill or talent, and (c) Recognized Refugees.  About 2/3 of the new immigrants came through the Family Reunification category.  The key for this category was a “family member” living in the United States as a citizen had to sponsor the proposed immigrant.  And, the immigrant had to show the ability to support themselves and/or receive support from their sponsor.  This is basically the law today.

According to Mr. Nunez, immigration is political question.  The Supreme Court has found that immigration is controlled by the Executive and Legislative bodies of the government.  Under the police powers of government, these branches of government determine the laws and policies around the immigration issues.  They also determine how best to enforce those laws.  The simple idea for solving the immigration issue is to improve the economic conditions in all countries across the globe, to provide opportunities for all people to rise up out of poverty.  The most difficult idea for solving the immigration issue is how to improve the economic conditions in all countries across the globe, to provide opportunities for all people to rise up out of poverty.  Then you add in the political finger pointing, infighting, special interest groups, etc., and you can understand how things are the way they are today.

We want to thank Mr. Peter Nunez for sharing his thoughts and insights on the immigration issues with us today.  Everything is much clearer now!


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