It’s all happening again – or we should say – it all is still going on. Unlicensed or unpermitted vendors and a crowded, loud drum circle are all still going on unchecked at Ocean Beach’s Veteran Plaza on Wednesdays during Farmers Market Day.
Last summer, politicians, health workers and police attempted to stop the drum circle gatherings – or appeared to – after pressure from the OB Town Council and neighbors. But, their efforts have washed away like a sand castle during high tide.
The vendors are back, the crowds are back – with many not wearing masks.
Corey Bruins, with the OB Town Council, tried to bring it to the attention of the city – once again – and was interviewed Wednesday by CBS8.
Bruins was quoted as saying:
“It’s unregulated, we’re in the midst of a pandemic. There are crowds. … We have a thriving beach community down the street that’s regulated by our Main Street association and just here in front of the beach we have a park that is not regulated and not being checked….”
“We have seen very little help from the city and county in terms of regulating specifically the vendors but also the music.”
CBS8 reported that on Wednesday, “there were dozens of vendors who set up shop without health and sellers permits, there was a band, not many people were wearing masks and dancing close in the drum circle.” Their reporter spoke to vendor Chris Williams of Circle City Cooperative who sells CBD. “This is open season and first come first serve to set your tent,” Williams said.
“There are some folks that don’t have the capital at this point to pay for a $60 or $100 permit at the official farmer’s market.”
Last summer San Diego police broke up the crowds after 10 p.m. and issued tickets for drugs and alcohol but it was short lived, apparently.
District 2 Councilmember Jen Campbell’s office issued a statement:
“Our office previously worked with city and county teams to educate folks about mask wearing and social distancing. That seemed to help for a period of time, and we will request those teams be re-engaged as crowds begin to increase again.”
“We are now working with our new mayor, Todd Gloria, and his team to address the vendor issue. This issue presents differently in OB/D2 as there are weekly clustering that does not challenge other communities the same way, especially in OB and MB. The goal is finding the balance between protecting entrepreneurship and individual’s livelihoods while also protecting open park space for regular use by families and other visitors.”
Bruins – who is the treasurer for the OBTC – joins others who hope something is done before the summer crowds. “The vibe here is not to squash the beauty that is a thriving beach community,” said Bruins.