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San Diego officials discuss enforcement after weekly mass gatherings in Ocean Beach

City officials have said that the police will increase their presence in the area and will let the public know exactly what the guidelines and restrictions are.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — San Diego officials attempted to unveil their plans on Tuesday to prevent large gatherings in Ocean Beach after police broke up a massive crowd last week following several complaints from neighbors.

Things got heated at Veteran’s Park on both sides, those that really want the beach to be completely open and those that want people to follow the safety restrictions due to the coronavirus.

Community leaders and neighbors call it mayhem in Ocean Beach and said it has to stop. City Councilmember Jennifer Campbell and other local leaders discussed possible future law enforcement action for Veteran’s Plaza.

San Diego Parks and Recreation went to Veteran’s Park just before 7 a.m. Tuesday and put up posts all around the park and wrapped plastic netting around the grass in order to keep people out of the immediate area. 

Just after 12 p.m. individuals showed up and began to remove all of the fencing by tearing down the netting and pulling the stakes out of the ground.  

Credit: KFMB

Instead of an organized press conference, individual community leaders spoke to News 8 from the grass at Veteran's Plaza while people gathered around, loudly expressing their approval or disapproval. 

"It’s disappointing to see what happened here this morning,” said Mark Winkie, President of the Ocean Beach Town Council. “As a town council, we would really like education to go first to notify people about what they need to do when they are gathering here in such large quantities.”

“While I appreciate the San Diego Police Department’s increased presence last week, it’s clear more comprehensive action needs to be taken to keep San Diegans safe,” said Councilmember Campbell.

If large gatherings continue, it could mean that the park is shut down.

“But when you shut the park down, you are taking space away from the community and that hurts the community since they won’t be able to use it,” said Winkie.

City officials have said that the police will increase their presence in the area and will let the public know exactly what the guidelines and restrictions are especially because many of them are tourists.

Neighbors told News 8 the crowds keep getting bigger on Wednesday nights after the Farmer’s Market in OB at Veteran’s Park. Last week, police tried to break up a large party. Residents who live nearby said they hope more is done to put a stop to the drum circle events that show no social distancing and no mask-wearing despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Neighbors said the large crowds aren't the only problem. They said at Veteran’s Park, there are concerts and DJs blasting music and when it quiets down, OB Town Council has to pick up thousands of gallons of trash left behind. The OB Town Council and residents said they sent a letter to the city, county leaders and police pleading for help.

   

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