Alan Ziter – 9/8/15

Our guest speaker at this morning’s breakfast meeting was Alan Ziter, Executive Director of the NTC Foundation since January 2004.IMG_0056  He oversees the restoration and use of 26 historic buildings at the former 500 acre Naval Training Center in Point Loma, as they are converted to a new civic, arts and culture district “NTC at Liberty Station.”  This effort has been one of, if not the most, successful conversion of former military bases in our nation since the 1993 round of base closures.  There’s been $63 million of renovations so far, with an additional $25 million expected for the 9 remaining buildings.  There are 400,000 visitors to Liberty Station and NTC annually, and the entire venture has created thousands of jobs.  Mr. Ziter discussed the history, the successes so far, and the vision for the future of the arts and culture district, citing that it will be around for a long time with its 55 year lease with the City of San Diego.  He expressed appreciation for the Optimist Club of Point Loma’s funding contributions that enable students of Dewey Elementary School to attend Liberty School at NTC, as well as appreciation for the club’s upcoming event on October 18th to fund a much-needed math and science lab at Dewey.  [Registration for this fun event is online (only) and available by clicking here.  Sign up now!  Further information is available here.]

Our thanks to Alan Ziter for his hard work in making NTC at Liberty Station such a success!

Our thanks also go to Thomas Fitzpatrick, who presided over his final breakfast meeting before turning over the reins to Ken Stimeling at the upcoming installation dinner on September 28th.  Well done, Tom!

Danielle Magee – 9/1/15

The PLOC welcomed SeaWorld to our breakfast meeting today.  Danielle Magee, the Community Relations Manager and Jody Westberg, the Supervisor of Mammals for the Stranded Animal Program gave us an update on their activities.

SeaWorld San Diego opened in 1964 and their first animal rescue occurred in 1965.  Since the beginning of the Animal Rescue Program, over 25,000 rescued animals have passed through the SeaWorld gates.  In terms of Danielle, Tom and Jodyrescued sea mammals, California Sea Lions, lead the list, followed by Harbor Seals and Elephant Seals.  According to Jody Westberg, “Our goal is to rescue injured animals and return them to the wild once they are healthy.”   Jody estimates they deal with 200-300 injured or sick marine mammals on an average year.  This year is well above average!  “When we return the animals to the wild, we try to track their activities.  This is how we can learn more about the species and determine the success of our treatment,” she said.

A tracking device is about the size of two double A batteries.  It is attached to the animals fur with a marine type glue.  Within 12 months, once the animal molts its fur, the device falls off and is lost.  The only way to receive data from the device is for the animal to surface and allow the radio signal to be retrieved via satellite.  The data includes global positioning and information about the animals activities, like length and depth of dives.  This information gives the scientists at SeaWorld a good picture of the relative health of the mammal.

research-helps-sidebar[1]Danielle Magee Shared with us the plans for SeaWorld to expand the Orca Arena.  The current 5 million gallon pool will grow to almost double that size, by adding about 1.5 acres of new habitat.  The new pool will also increase in depth from over 30 feet to almost 60 feet.  And, the new facility will include underground viewing and a more natural habitat setting including kelp beds.  “We plan to obtain our approvals from the California Coastal Commission by the end of this year,” Danielle told us.  “We hope construction will begin in early 2016.”

Danielle and Jody shared stories of SeaWorld’s research and rescue missions, answered questions from our members and promised to return with further updates.  We thank Danielle and Jody for sharing and look forward to hearing from them again in the future.

Captain Jonathan S. Spaner, USCG – 8/25/15

President Thomas Fitzpatrick opened our meeting this morning with some important announcements:

1.  The 2016 Installation Dinner will be held on Monday, September 28th.  The event will be held at the Bali Hai restaurant on Shelter Island, at 6:00 pm, with an Hawaiian theme.  He also
announced our new officer slate with Ken Stimling stepping into the President’s role.  Vice Presidents include Roger Storer, Bill Bramley and Vince Glorioso.  Jim Dennison will continue as New Member Jon LinneySecretary/Treasurer and Alan Holmes will take the role of Senior Past President.  A reception, dinner and awards program are planned (with a minimal amount of speeches!!!).

2.  October 18, 2015 will be the date for our first Annual Baja Mex Celebrity Chef Challenge.  Stone Brewing in Liberty Station will be the site for this awesome event.  Food and Wine (and maybe a little tequila) from the Guadalupe Region of Baja California will be featured.  Specialty Chefs and Celebrity Sous Chefs will be announced shortly.  This Sunday afternoon social will be the talk of the Point and tickets will be in high demand.  More specifics will be announced soon.  Watch this Blog for more info.

3.  New Member, Jon Linney, officially joined the Point Loma Optimist Club this morning.  Welcome aboard Jon!

Captain Jonathan S. Spaner, USCG, is the Commanding Officer of the Coast Guard Sector San Diego.  There are 35 Sector Commands within the US Coast Guard service.  Each Sector Command comes with five principal responsibilities: 1) “Captain of the Port”, 2) Maritime Inspection, 3) Search and Rescue, 4) Maritime Security, and 5)Environmental Safety.  Sector San Diego is a very large region, including areas of responsibility like the lakes and dams along the Colorado River (a Federal waterway).

Capt Jonathan Spaner, USCGAs Commanding Officer of the San Diego Sector, Capt. Spaner has the responsibility for dealing with all things maritime within his region.  This includes commercial and recreational boating, security of the port and coastline, emergency response to boating or environmental accidents and coordination of intelligence and security activity involving drug enforcement and terrorism.  As an example of his focus, Capt. Spaner noted that in the fourth quarter of 2013, there were 48 documented jet ski landings along the San Diego coastline.  Whether these incursions were for transporting drugs, weapons or people is not quantified, but by the fourth quarter of 2014 that number had dropped to 12 and as of the second quarter of 2015 only 3 incursions have been noted!

Capt. Spaner comes to San Diego with an amazing resume.  He holds a senior pilot rating, licensed Airline Transport Pilot and US Merchant Marine Officer credential.  He has a B.S. degree from the US Merchant Marine Academy, an MBA from MIT and is a graduate of Harvard University’s US-Russian Security Program.  He holds a special interest in the Arctic Ocean, Ice and Natural Resources usage.  For example, did you know it is estimated that 30% of the “undiscovered” natural gas, 13% of the “undiscovered” oil and 30% of the “undiscovered” minerals of this earth lie within the Arctic Circle?

Capt. Spaner is also a “big fan and very appreciative of the flag program” along Rosecrans Street, sponsored by the Point Loma Optimist Club.  “It is a great way to recognize the work of the US military,” he noted.  Navy, Marine and Coast Guard personnel and their families are always made to feel welcome in San Diego and Point Loma, specifically!  We thank Capt. Spaner for his service and for spending an hour with us today.  Go Coast Guard!

Sarah Fogel – 8/11/15

The Point Loma Optimist Club welcomed scholarship recipient, Sarah Fogel, to our morning breakfast.  Sarah, a June 2015 Point Loma High Graduate, is attending The New School, in New York City.  The New School was founded nearly a century ago by a small group of prominent American intellectuals andSarah Fogel and Pres Tom educators, among them Charles Beard, John Dewey, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen.  Sarah plans to study design and journalism, working within a special 5 year program that will provide her

with a Bachelor and Masters degree.  Sarah is leaving for New York in six days!  She has already secured an internship with Elle Magazine, working as a fashion blogger!  Congratulations Sarah, we wish you continued success and good luck in your new studies.

President Thomas Fitzpatrick provided the Optimists with an update on Cura Coffee.  Cura Coffee Company became an outgrowth of his work with the Foundation for Worldwide Health (FWH).  Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, a favored local dentist, along with other dentistry professionals from Loma Linda Dental School and the FWH, have established three dental clinics in Nicaragua in association with UNICA the national medical and dentistry university of Nicaragua.  These clinics provide dental hygiene and service to the rural regions of the country.  Many of their clients are farmers, specifically coffee farmers.  Since 2008, the FWH has seen nearly 4,500 patients and provided more than 7,700 procedures.

Curas SmilesWithin the last three years, San Diego dentist, Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, began developing the vision for Cura Coffee Company, combining efforts with Point Loma Nazarene University’s business students to develop a formal business plan. Cura means “care” or “cure” in Latin. In an effort to help provide the needed financial resources, Cura is teaming up with Tierra Nueva Coop to sell their highest quality, organic coffee in the United States, which will be essential to making these clinics sustainable. Cura invites coffee lovers to connect with the growers through this effort. Dr. Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Cura team wants each person who enjoys a cup of Cura Coffee to know that they are helping to sustain these dental services and improve the lives of individuals with little or no access to care. This is direct-trade coffee, with direct impact, brought directly to you, the caring consumer.  Please visit for more information or to place your Cura Coffee order!

More News!

The Point Loma Optimist Club is proud to announce:

New Member Niels MethlagiNew Member: Niels Methlagi
New Member Mike PanissidiNew Member: Mike Panissidi
2015 Golf Champ Malloy 22015 Club Golf Tournament Winner: Scott Malloy

Congratulations all around!

Principal Tanya McMillin & Kyp Scalero (Dewey Elementary) – 8/4/15

Celebration is the theme for this morning! The special guests of the Point Loma Optimists Club werePresenting Check Principal Tanya McMillin and Science teacher Kyp Scalero from Dewey Elementary School this morning.  As the official follow-up to our July 27th Board Meeting, President Tom Fitzpatrick presented Principal McMillin with a check for $19,000.00 to provide the teachers, students and parents of Dewey Elementary School with the equipment and furnishings for a new Science Laboratory!

Principal McMillin and Teacher ScaleroThe Club members celebrated with the teachers and learned more about the value of having a Science Lab on campus. “Exposure, access and opportunities are what we strive to supply our young minds,” Principal McMillin told us. The students will study a curriculum that covers physical, earth, life and technology sciences in a “hands-on environment”. All students at Dewey will participate in science activities and investigations. “It opens up their minds like you can’t believe,” said teacher Scalero. “You can’t imagine what you can’t imagine! “

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be planned in the future to inaugurate the new facility. Kyp Scalero said it best, “Someday, their world will be totally different from ours. Why not start that someday, today?”

Indeed! Why not today?

Carl DeMaio – 7/28/15

Good morning Optimists! Today the Club was visited by Carl DeMaio, former San Diego City Councilman, and former candidate for San Diego Mayor and US Congress. These days, Carl is hosting a daily radio program on AM 600 KOGO that “… combines investigative journalism with inside knowledge of politics and an eye on advancing solutions”. It all started over a lunch with former San Diego Mayor turned radio host, Roger Hedgecock, who told Carl “If you want to make a difference, stay on the outside and poke and prod things in the right direction.”

These days Carl is poking and prodding government pension reform. This is nothing new for Carl, who isCarl DeMaio often credited with reforming the City of San Diego pension mess. Carl, a well known Republican politician, has teamed up with Chuck Reed, the Democratic Mayor from San Jose, to draft a statewide initiative for reform of the governmental pension system. “Our proposal is in front of the State Attorney General for Title and Summary review,” he told us. “We hope to be hitting the streets to collect signatures in the next 30 days. We are planning on making the November 2016 ballot.”

Pension reform and ballot initiatives don’t excite you? What if you knew that 41,000 former state and local government employees took home over $100,000 last year in benefits? What if you knew there is over $500 billion of unfunded pension expense facing our state today? What if you knew a retired fire captain in LA took home over $980,000 in benefits last year and a retired San Diego librarian received more than $240,000 in benefits last year? How do those numbers compare with your social security and 401k benefits?

Shedding light on the truth behind the rhetoric. Explaining the government gobble-de-gook talk about budgets and financing. Asking the hard questions. Challenging the status quo. Poking and prodding things into a different direction, an open discussion and public debate. These are the goals of Carl DeMaio. You can join the discussion Monday thru Friday, from 1:00pm – 4:00pm on AM 600, KOGO radio.

Thanks Carl. We’ll be listening!

Dewey Elementary – 7/27/15

The Point Loma Optimist Club is focused on the children of our community. We work with the local schools and organizations that provide services to the young people of Point Loma and Ocean Beach. From ball fields to musical instruments, scholarships to scout projects and essay contests to oratorical challenges, the Point Loma Optimist Club looks for ways to bring out the best in our children.

Dewey Elementary is one of six elementary schools in the Point Loma cluster and is comprised of mainlyDewey Bulletin Board military dependent students. They are a Title 1 school with a 73% population of Free or Reduced Lunch rate. The military families attending Dewey are ranked E6 and below, which results in very young families who do not have significant incomes. Unlike all other elementary schools in Point Loma, Dewey does not have a Foundation and their PTO raises about $6,000 annually, which is used to keep their library open a few hours per week.

In addition, Dewey offers before and after school care, has 13% Special Ed students and 45% of their students are English as a Second Language. Dewey has 380 students in the K-4 grade levels. And, because of limited state funding, and no significant local funding options, Dewey cannot offer any enrichment programs, like art, music, dance or other specialty programs.

Dewey Board MeetingOn Monday, July 27th, the Point Loma Optimist Board of Directors visited with six teachers and Tanya McMillin, Principal of Dewey Elementary, in response to their Grant Request. The request was for funding to start a Science/Math Lab at the school. The items needed include furniture, equipment and supplies. Dewey would provide a dedicated classroom and appoint super-star teacher, Kyp Scalero, formerly a science lab teacher for elementary schools, to gather volunteers, write and share the curriculum school wide. Kyp holds a credential in Science and has been chosen to work on the SDUSD team looking at Next Generation Science Standards. Every student at Dewey would be able to experience the Science/Math Lab, with a minimum once per week visit. And, Dewey parents and friends would pay the cost of annual consumables used in the lab. The total request was for $18,600

After a lengthy discussion with the teachers and Tanya McMillin, the Board thanked them and began a private discussion regarding the request. The discussion was short and focused! We invited Principal McMillin back into the room and told her the Board would support a $19,000 Grant to the DeweyDewey School Elementary School for their Science/Math Laboratory! Efforts are underway to bring the Science/Math Laboratory to life for the children to experience this fall!

Congratulations Dewey Elementary! We are proud to support you, your students, teachers, principal and parents. We can’t wait to see the final product!

Amy Lisewski – 6/30/15

Improvisation, the art of the extemporaneous.  The ability to create something out of what is at hand.  The ability to be optimistic in the mist of total confusion and bedlam.  The best job you will ever have because “I get to make up stuff!”, or so says Amy Lisewski, the Founder and Artistic Director of Finest City Improv.

Tom and AmyAmy visited with the Point Loma Optimist Club this morning.  Or, more accurately, Amy introduced us to Finest City Improv by getting our members involved in improvisational conversations and activities.  Finest City Improv is located at 4250 Louisiana Street, in the North Park community of San Diego.  Amy performs, teaches and lives improv.  She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and IO West.

“Improv is all about possibilities.  We use an empty stage, with maybe a chair,” she explained.  And then, “we create something out of nothing, because everything is possible and the feedback is always positive!”

Amy uses improv to coach employees at major San Diego companies, like GoPro, Green Flash and Kaiser Permanente.  “It is an art to teach a customer service representative how to say ‘no’, when the customer wants to hear ’yes’.  But it can be done!”  Improv can also be used for team building, employee relations, communication skills and igniting the passion in your employees.   Or, as part of an entertainment program at your business function, fund raiser or celebration.  It is a great way to entertain and engage your friends, business associates and employees.  Besides, who doesn’t want to “make stuff up?”

Thanks Amy!  We had a great time this morning

Dave McVean – 6/9/15

On September 28, 1542, the San Salvador sailed into San Diego Bay, under command of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo.  He brought with him the first European explorers to visit the west coast of California.  They were cautiously welcomed by the local Kumeyaay Native Americans.  Today, a replica of the 200 ton, Spanish Galleon is nearing completion at the Spanish Landing Park, along North Harbor Drive.  The plan is to move the San Salvador to a barge within the next 30 days.  Then move the barge down to NASSCO where a large crane will set the ship afloat!

San SalvadorDave McVean is the former Chair of the Maritime Museum, an avid supporter, historian and volunteer for the San Salvador build, he provided the Optimist Group with an update on the San Salvador project.  Did you know the cargo of the San Salvador included about 150 crew members, numerous goats, chickens and two horses?  How did they fit all those people and animals in a ship that is 100 feet long and 24 feet wide?  The build operation has cost about $6.5 million in lumber, supplies and paid staff, and over 90,000 hours of donated labor.  There are more than 20 varieties of wood used in the construction of the vessel.  Some coming from as far away as Nigeria and Central America.

According to Dave, “San Salvador was the most powerful war ship on the west coast of the Americas when she set sail from Guatemala in 1539.  In 2015, she will be the most powerful educational tool on the West Coast.”  The San Salvador will offer insights into the history of San Diego and California, allowing teachers and students to explore the social, political, cultural and economic growth of the state.

We are all awaiting the successful launch of the San Salvador and wish to congratulate and thank the San Diego Maritime Museum on the near completion of this mighty venture.


Commodore Gene Doyle – 6/2/15


Submarine Squadron 11

United States Navy submarines, they run silent, deep, fast and are very powerful, everything that Jim Dennison’s golf game is not!  Luckily, Jim’s game is not patrolling the Pacific Ocean.  Commodore Gene Doyle, Commander of Submarine Squadron 11, was our guest speaker this morning.  He is the area’s senior operational submarine commander in charge of all San Diego based submarines.  His boats, support facilities and staff provide “Silent Service” capabilities that are essential in ensuring the US Navy’s undersea dominance.

Submarine Squadron 11 consists of 6 Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines, the floating dry dock ARCO and the Undersea Rescue Command.  In total, Captain Doyle oversees more than 110 officers and 820 enlisted personnel.  Captain Doyle took command of Submarine Squadron 11 on February 15, 2014.  His prior service at sea included 3 submarines before taking command of the USS Alexandria (SSN 757) in 2008.

Today’s US Navy utilizes four classes of submarines.  The largest boat, the Ohio-class ballistic missile boats are 560 feet in length! Most of these boats are 30 years into an expected service life of 42 years.   The most numerous boat, the Los Angeles-class, are also the oldest submarines in the fleet.  First commissioned in 1976, these boats are being phased out. The Seawolf-class was built as a faster, deeper, more powerful submarine first built in 1989.  A product of the Cold War defense plan, only three of these boats were built.  The newest member of the fleet is the Virginia-class fast attack submarine.  Entering service in 2004, these boats are innovative and designed for longer service life.

The priorities for today’s submarine fleet include a replacement for the Ohio-class ballistic missile boats, a program to increase the number of submarines in the fleet to a minimum of 48, to cover mission responsibilities from 2025-2035 and the design of new armament programs, specifically torpedoes.  Captain Doyle has his mission clearly defined and Submarine Squadron 11 is well prepared to meet its demands.