Saving Historic Wintersburg: One of America’s 11 Most Endangered

August 11th, 2014 Comments off





NT_Final_LARGE_Master_M4On June 24, 2014, Huntington Beach received an honor never before bestowed on an Orange County historical site.  Historic Wintersburg—home to the Furuta Gold Fish Farm and the Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Mission complex—was named one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Historic Wintersburg is the only historical place in the western continental United States to be named to the list, the majority being in the eastern part of the country.  This national recognition by our country’s premier historical experts is an indication of the significance of the Historic Wintersburg property.

Historic Wintersburg documents three generations of the Japanese American experience in the United States, from immigration in the late 19th century to the return from incarceration in internment camps following World War II. The site contains six extant pioneer structures and open farmland, and is one of the only surviving Japanese-owned properties acquired prior to California’s anti-Japanese “alien” land laws of 1913 and 1920. In contrast to Japanese American confinement sites from the World War II era, Historic Wintersburg captures the daily community life and spiritual institutions of Japanese settlers as they established a new life in America.

“Historic Wintersburg is a unique cultural site that tells the important story of early Japanese American immigrants as they sought to make a new life and build a community in Southern California,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “We strongly support a collaborative effort that preserves Wintersburg’s historic landscape while building upon its longstanding role as an educational and supportive space for the Huntington Beach community.”



WINTERSBURGFor the past several years, there has been an increasingly organized effort to save more of Huntington Beach’s unique history.  The effort to save from redevelopment and list the Main Street Library on the National Register of Historic Places, the personal efforts of local residents to save the businesses and homes of Huntington Beach’s first mayors, and the growing interest in the fate of the Main Street Post Office are all part of an awareness that our community is losing more of its historic resources every year.  In fact, Huntington Beach has lost half its historical properties since 1986.

Included in preservation efforts is the property known as “Historic Wintersburg” in the former Wintersburg Village now part of north Huntington Beach.  Unlike any other historical property in California, Historic Wintersburg represents the span of history of Japanese pioneers who arrived in the late 1800s through the rebuilding of their lives after World War II.

If you ever wondered why many Huntington Beach homes have koi ponds, why the now-gone mural in the Art Center parking lot showed a family surrounded by leaping goldfish, or why the rededication of the pier 100 years ago in June 1914 included Japanese sword dancers, the clues are in the story of Historic Wintersburg.



WINTERSBURG_2Historic Wintersburg’s 4 ½ -acre farm property contains six intact structures:  the 1910 Japanese Presbyterian Mission (founded in 1904), 1910 manse (parsonage), 1934 Depression-era Japanese Presbyterian Church, 1912 Furuta family bungalow, the Furuta barn (1908-1912), and the 1947 post-World War II Furuta family ranch house.

Once a goldfish and flower farm, the property pre-dates California’s Alien Land Law of 1913—prohibiting  Japanese immigrants from owning property—and includes one of the oldest Japanese Missions in Southern California.  Historic Wintersburg is part of California’s unrecognized Japanese Mission Trail, beginning less than six decades after the last Spanish Mission. Pastors at the Mission traveled a 225-mile circuit by horseback to reach Japanese pioneers around Orange County.

The Mission also supported language schools in Garden Grove, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach in the early 1900s.  The Wintersburg Mission is the fifth on the Japanese Mission Trail (after San Francisco, Salinas, Watsonville and Los Angeles).   The Wintersburg Village became the heart of the Japanese pioneer community in Orange County.

The property was designated as a “local landmark” in the mid-1970s in the Huntington Beach General Plan.   The Orange County Japanese American Council identified the Wintersburg property as having primary historical value in a 1986 survey of 33 pre‐1940 Japanese‐related sites.  Three decades later, nearly all the buildings on the county-wide survey have been demolished, except Historic Wintersburg.



Historic Wintersburg’s history includes: James Kanno, the first Japanese American mayor in the United States; Justice Stephen Tamura, first Japanese American attorney in Orange County and California’s first Japanese American supreme court justice;  the Masuda family, cited by President Reagan when signing American Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (he remembered meeting them as a young Army captain visiting Orange County); Clarence Nishizu, the first Japanese American Orange County Grand Jury appointee who joined President Reagan at the Civil Liberties Act signing;  Reverend Joseph Inazawa and Kate Goodman, Mission clergy making international headlines in 1910; Reverend Sohei Kowta, a unifier of religious organizations at the Colorado River Relocation Center; Yasumatsu Miyawaki,  owner of the first Japanese market on Main Street before 1911 (now the Longboard Restaurant and Pub); Japanese aviator Koha Takeishi; and World War II Congressional Medal of Honor nominees.

Historic Wintersburg represents the spirit and ingenuity of Huntington Beach pioneers.  It also represents a tragic civil liberties chapter in American history.  The Mission served pioneers who faced exclusion, discrimination, and who were unable to become citizens or land owners.  Historic Wintersburg’s Charles Furuta and Reverend Sohei Kowta both were interrogated on the property by the F.B.I. following Pearl Harbor, four decades after making their home in the United States. The Mission clergy followed their entire congregation into forced evacuation and confinement during World War II, and helped those returning to California after World War II, providing shelter and guidance as lives were rebuilt.



Historic Wintersburg is iconic of the little-recognized contributions of Japanese pioneers in America, Southern California’s agricultural roots, Huntington Beach’s mission era, and the struggle of for civil liberties.   One of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, the property has been recognized by the U.S. National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation as potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (for which the application is underway).  The National Park Service noted after their inspection of the property in 2013, that the buildings retain a “remarkable integrity” and can be restored.



Click on these links to learn more:
Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force PRESERVATION FUND
Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force FACEBOOK
Historic Wintersburg BLOG

No other city in California has a historical property like this. Community support has saved some of Huntington Beach’s pioneer history. Your support, small and large, is needed to save Historic Wintersburg.

Categories: Historic Preservation Tags:

2014 Fireworks Survey

August 10th, 2014 Comments off



JULY 5-10, 2014   After a two year trial period of legalized “safe and sane” fireworks in Huntington Beach, 2014 was the first year they were once again illegal. Prior to 2012, fireworks had been illegal in Huntington Beach since 1987. What was your experience this year as compared to last year?

FIRREWORKSWe reached out to HBDRA members and others from July 5th thru July 10th with that very question and below are the survey results from 398 residents. Each person was asked to provide their name, address and e-mail for the purpose of authentication. That information is now excluded from the survey for reasons of privacy. Persons not providing authentic information were removed from the survey results. Please CLICK HERE to see the survey. The password is “HBDRAsurvey.”

Categories: Downtown (General), News Tags:

Meet the Chief Event

August 10th, 2014 Comments off




CHIEF_2MARCH 5, 2014  The HBDRA sponsored an event at the Downtown Art Center on March 5th, 2014 to meet Rob Handy, our new Chief of Police. About 100 downtown residents attended the event where the Chief outlined his plans and then responded for more than an hour to residents’ questions. HBDRA president, Kim Kramer, made the opening remarks, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Shaw introduced the Chief, and several elected and other city officials were in attendance. Refreshments were graciously provided courtesy of “Baguertier Artisan Bakeries” located at the Strand, Downtown. It was a very successful event and the HBDRA and downtown residents were very appreciative of the Chief’s participation. Thank you Chief Handy!

CHIEFOFFICIAL BIOGRAPHY . . . Chief Handy was appointed as the Chief of Police on December 7, 2013, coming to Huntington Beach from the City of San Bernardino where he served as the Chief of Police for more than two years. Chief Handy guided the San Bernardino Police Department through turbulent times as the City filed for Federal bankruptcy protection. After severe staffing reductions and multiple reorganizations, the Department stabilized to realize overall reductions in crime. Despite the financial crisis, the San Bernardino Police Department improved training, policies, and organizational performance during Chief Handy’s tenure.

Prior to San Bernardino, Chief Handy was with the Phoenix, Arizona Police Department for 21 years. He started as a Police Officer in 1990 and rose through the ranks to Commander. During his tenure in Phoenix, Chief Handy served in a variety of assignments working in Patrol, Gangs, Training, Tactical Support, and Administration.

Chief Handy holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Arizona, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Arizona State University, and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He was also an adjunct professor at Arizona State University for 13 years teaching and developing Criminal Justice classes. Chief Handy was heavily involved in community boards and organizations in Phoenix and San Bernardino.

Categories: Downtown (General) Tags:

City Council Says “No More Alcohol”

October 22nd, 2013 Comments off



OCTOBER 22, 2013   Last night the City Council voted to cap the number of alcohol licenses in the downtown district at its current level for “off-sale” outlets. These are the liquor stores and convenience stores, such as the newly opened 7-Eleven Downtown at Main Street and Orange Avenue, which currently does not have an alcohol license.

The vote was 6-0 with Matt Harper dissenting. The ruling will be official in about three months after approval from the California Coastal Commission. Then it will become part of the zoning ordinance with no variances and no exceptions permitted.

During the City Council deliberations, it was mentioned by Mayor Boardman that the Downtown Task Force supported this proposal along with another proposal (recommended by Task Force member and HBDRA president Kim Kramer) to cap “on-sale” alcohol licenses as well, which are the restaurants and bars. Mayor Boardman indicated that she will bring this on-sale proposal forward to the City Council.

With a cap on alcohol licenses for restaurants and bars at it’s current level, there was some concern that new restaurants would not be able to open Downtown. It is the opinion of the HBDRA that we already have enough restaurants Downtown (more than 50) and that we need a better and more diverse mix of retail uses, not just restaurants. Additionally, if a new restaurant wants to open Downtown, they can certainly purchase an existing license for which there seems to be no shortage.

In the last several years, each of the following restaurants opened Downtown by purchasing an existing alcohol license: Beachfront 301, DeVille, 2nd Floor, 5th Street Bar and Grill, Dos Toros, Sharkeez, Pizza Lounge, 25 Degrees, G’s Boathouse, Shabu on Fire, Cucina Alessa, and Sandy’s.

The Downtown Public Safety Task Force endorses a cap on all alcohol licenses Downtown at the existing level and so does the HBDRA. Public safety is a moral imperative requiring strong and decisive action. This may not be the solution to all of our alcohol problems Downtown, but it is certainly a good start.

Deemed Approved Ordinance

September 27th, 2013 Comments off



A Viable Solution to the Downtown Late Night Bar Scene


SEPTEMBER 27, 2013   As a member of the Downtown (Public Safety and Residential Quality of Life) Task Force, Kim Kramer, President of the HBDRA has submitted the following memo to his fellow Task Force members for their consideration.


Date:  September 27, 2013
From:  Kim Kramer
To:  Downtown Task Force
Subject:  Deemed Approved Ordinance (DAO)

In an attempt to deal with downtown public safety and residential quality of life, we face a serious road block in the form of entitlements that are granted in perpetuum. I am referring to alcohol licenses issued by the State and CUP’s issued by the City. Both are granted forever, and to worsen the situation, both are granted to the physical location and not the business in question.

Because of this, we have new businesses Downtown taking over failed businesses and being grandfathered into their ABC license and their CUP.  As conditions change and time marches on, the City is all but helpless to modify either of these entitlements as might be necessary to deal with a changing culture Downtown or any other condition that might warrant an ABC or CUP modification.

The inability of our City to regulate grandfathered alcohol selling establishments Downtown is one of the most significant obstacles to affecting positive changes in public safety and residential quality of life. This needs to be fixed if the Task Force is going to be successful in its mission.

There is a solution. Since the State of California controls the licensing of all alcohol selling establishments throughout the state, the City of Oakland, California was prompted to enact the first ever Deemed Approved Ordinance in 1993. This ordinance authorizes local municipal authority over alcohol selling establishments by issuing Deemed Approved Permits and establishing Public Nuisance Standards that pre-existing retailers must abide by in order to maintain their permit.

The standards are monitored by the City through an enforcement and education program which is paid for by a fee on the deemed approved outlets. The standards do not directly regulate the sale of alcohol, but rather address land use and public safety issues associated with alcohol sales, such as disturbance of the peace, illegal drug activity, public drunkenness, drinking in public, harassment of passersby, public urination, theft, assaults, batteries, acts of vandalism, excessive littering, loitering, illegal parking, excessive loud noises (especially in the late night or early morning hours), traffic violations, curfew violations, lewd conduct, and police detentions and arrests.

The litany of Public Nuisance Standards described above are not my words. They are the official language of the Deemed Approved Ordinance, yet they describe precisely and exactly the conditions we face as downtown residents every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday as a direct result of the excessive Late Night Bar Scene in the Downtown Entertainment District.

The State holds ABC licensees accountable for the actions of their patrons while they are inside the business premises and uses the license revocation as a tool to affect positive changes in business and patron behavior.

In the same way, the Deemed Approved Ordinance holds the alcohol selling establishments accountable for the actions of their patrons while they are outside the business premises and uses the permit revocation as a tool to affect positive changes in business and patron behavior, including the issuance of a modified CUP for the business in question.

There are currently 19 cities in California using a Deemed Approved Ordinance including Oakland, San Francisco, San Leandro, Ventura and San Bernardino.

I am not suggesting that the City use the Deemed Approved Ordinance to come down hard on the late night bars as the City can structure and implement the Deemed Approved Ordinance in any manner that is appropriate.  I am suggesting, however, that the City be given all the tools it needs to do its job to fulfill its single most important and core responsibility to all of its citizens, and that is to ensure the public safety, peace and tranquility of the community.

I recommend the Task Force consider a Deemed Approved Ordinance for Downtown, DTSP District 1, and ask staff to provide information how this might be accomplished.


Kim Kramer
Downtown Task Force Member



“Reducing Community Alcohol Problems Associated with Alcohol Sales: The Case of Deemed Approved Ordinances in California” CLICK HERE.

“Conditional Use Permit – Deemed Approved Alcoholic Beverage Sales Regulations Ordinance” developed by The Institute for Public Strategies funded by the City of San Bernardino. CLICK HERE.


Oakland alcohol retailers challenged the Deemed Approved Ordinance in court on two grounds: (1) The ordinance constituted regulation of the sale of alcohol and was therefore preempted by the State Constitution; and  (2) The fee was in fact a tax, also prohibited under State law.

The California Court of Appeal rejected these claims and the California Supreme Court allowed it to stand without further review. As such, the Oakland Deemed Approved Ordinance has now become the model for other cities in California and today there are 19 California cities enacting some form of a Deemed Approved Ordinance.


Some of the information in this memo was taken directly from the report attached, “Reducing Community Alcohol Problems Associated with Alcohol Sales: The Case of Deemed Approved Ordinances in California” by Alcohol Policy Consultations. One of the authors, James Mosher, is considered to be the leading authority on Deemed Approved Ordinances and, if we are to move forward with this action, I suggest we invite Mr. Moser to make a presentation to the Task Force at the earliest convenience.

Categories: Downtown Task Force Tags:

Subscribe to “HB-TALK”

September 26th, 2013 Comments off



Your Window into Huntington Beach


SEPTEMBER 26, 2013 (Edited 5/12/14)    Did you know . . . there is a Huntington Beach Online Discussion Board called “HB-TALK.” It was started in 2004 by current Planning Commissioner and City Council candidate Mark Bixby, and since December 2010 has been moderated by Kim Kramer, president of the HBDRA (Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association).

HB-TALK is dedicated to all things Huntington Beach, some fun, some important and some political. The back-and-forth conversations are informative and the board is extremely active with an average of 400 posts each month on a variety of topics posted by a very well-informed cross section of the Huntington Beach community. No subject is off limits, but the focus is always Huntington Beach.

HB-TALK is a private board and only subscribers are allowed access. However, membership is free and open to anyone that lives or works in Huntington Beach.


Moderation is an essential element to the quality and success of any online discussion board. With membership up recently 60%, we asked Mr. Kramer to discuss the philosophy and reality of moderating HB-TALK.

“Like many online discussion boards and other social media, HB-TALK does not guarantee free speech. The board is subject to moderation and there are rules for participation. Some of the more apparent rules are:

• No sexual or offensive language.
• No unlawful activity.
• No advertising or self promotion.
• No disrespect of other members’ opinions.
• No name calling, aggression, confrontation or personal attacks.
In general, the moderation of HB-TALK is similar to the moderation of any group meeting. As subscribers and participants, we are asked to follow general rules of etiquette and the moderator’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the conversations remain on topic, respectful, and free from name calling and personal attacks against other members of the group expressing opposing opinions.

This last rule is most important as topics are sometimes controversial, so the general idea is to “disagree without being disagreeable.” Subscribers that post on online boards, such as HB-TALK, must feel safe to post without the fear of being personally attacked or ridiculed for their comments or opinions. Without that assurance, a “chilling effect” is created causing participants to stop posting for fear of exposing themselves to public ridicule and shame. The net result is a board that is no longer viable.

Although moderation is extremely important, it is almost always subjective. As such, moderators are sometimes criticized by those that are moderated and others that feel the moderation is too heavy handed, not heavy handed enough, and/or not equally applied. After 10 years (January 2014), with more than 5,000 posts annually on hundreds of different topics, HB-TALK, today, requires very little moderation and personal attacks and other objectionable posts are very rare.

With an understanding of moderation and the rules for participation, we hope many more Huntington Beach residents and others will subscribe, adding their voices and their opinions to HB-TALK. For those who choose to subscribe, whether they post or not, HB-TALK is an important source of information for Huntington Beach residents that is otherwise not readily available. Simply click on the “HB-TALK’ button on this website to e-mail a request for membership.”

Categories: News Tags:

HBDRA Supports Papa Joe’s Pizza

September 1st, 2013 Comments off



UPDATE OCTOBER 18, 2014 Papa Joe’s never received their alcohol and is closing on November 2, 2014. According to Papa Joe’s, the landlord did not renew their lease for reasons not stated. We will miss Papa Joe’s Pizza and we wish them well.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2013   Papa Joe’s Pizza at 414 E.Pacific Coast Highway in Downtown has inadvertently allowed their beer and wine license to expire and they have since re-applied for a new license. On June 19th, before the license was approved, a downtown resident (not a member of HBDRA) filed an official protest to the State of California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) to deny this license, the stated purpose being to improve the public safety Downtown.

We have serious public safety and residential quality of life issues Downtown that stem from too many alcohol serving establishments and a robust late night bar scene. But Papa Joe’s is clearly not part of the problem and we must distinguish between late night bars, liquor stores and other establishments.

Papa Joe’s has been serving beer and wine since 2004 without incident. They close at 9:00PM during the week and 10:00PM on the weekends. They are clearly not part of the many alcohol-related problems we have with the late night bar scene Downtown; in fact they contribute in a very positive way to our residential quality of life as do many other restaurants. And now, because of a managerial oversight on their part, someone wants to deny them the opportunity to thrive at their full potential and continue to have a positive influence in the downtown community. We think a family-owned and family-operated “pizza joint” across from the beach on PCH is the perfect fit for Surf City USA.

This protest with the ABC has already started an 8-9 month delay in the approval process and could result in the ultimate denial of Papa Joe’s to continue serving beer and wine, as they have been doing successfully since 2004.

The HBDRA thinks this is wrong and we have pledged our support  to Papa Joe’s. We will do everything we can to ensure that our local Surf City “pizza joint” continues to thrive, serving great pizza and Italian food along with beer and wine, long into the future.

HBDRA will continue to oppose establishments that create unmitigated negative impacts on the downtown residents and we will support others that contribute to our downtown economy and residential quality of life in a positive way. Alcohol is not the determining factor.

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags:

Pacific City Late Night Venues

August 30th, 2013 Comments off



UPDATE AUGUST 30, 2013   Today, Mayor Connie Boardman appealed the Pacific City project to the City Council for final determination. Her reason for the appeal was based on the 2:00AM closing time of the restaurants as detailed in our article below. The HBDRA had not previously contacted Mayor Boardman regarding this matter. We are extremely grateful for her ongoing efforts to improve the public safety and quality of life for the residents of Huntington Beach. Thank you Mayor Boardman for making the citizens of Huntington Beach your #1 priority.

AUGUST 27, 2013  The Planning Commission tonight approved the Pacific City project which is scheduled to come online in 2015. This is wonderful news as we expect Pacific City to be a first class shopping and dining destination with amenities appealing to both residents and visitors. There is one significant problem, however.

Within Pacific City, there are 19 sites approved for restaurants permitted to serve alcohol until 2:00 am. With all the unmitigated negative impacts associated with the Late Night Bar Scene Downtown and the close physical proximity of Pacific City to Main Street, we can not imagine why our City’s Planning Commission would approve this entitlement.

As a result of this vote, there will no longer be a CUP (Conditional Use Permit) required from the City as there is with every other restaurant in Huntington Beach. It will now be up to the owner of Pacific City, at their sole discretion, to determine which establishments go in and how these establishments will operate. These late night alcohol-serving entitlements have the potential for serious negative impacts on residential quality of life and public safety, including drinking while drunk.

The HBDRA was told by a City official to “wait and see” but if this decision is not appealed to the City Council by Friday, September 6th, it will be the law of the land FOREVER. Once the entitlement is granted, it can not be taken away. The HBDRA started contacting our City Council members on Wednesday, August 28th asking for an appeal and our official letter to the City Council will be sent on Monday, September 2nd.

Planning Commission Chair Mark Bixby recused himself due to a lawsuit that he filed against the original project many years ago.

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags:

Downtown Task Force Members Announced

August 26th, 2013 Comments off



AUGUST 26, 2013  The newly formed Downtown Task Force members were announced today and will consist of 15 voting members and be chaired by Mayor Connie Boardman.

The makeup of the Task Force is as follows:

RESIDENTS (in alphabetical order):

Kim Kramer, Downtown Resident, Business Owner, President of the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Association (HBDRA)

Ralph Palomares, Third Generation Huntington Beach Resident, HBHS Alumni

Susie Smith, Downtown Resident, Owner of Makin Waves Salon at 320 Main Street, Downtown

Cathy Werblin, Information unknown at this time

Michael Wentworth, Fifth Generation Huntington Beach Resident, Great, great grandson of our first mayor Ed Manning


Mayor Connie Boardman, Chair

Council Member Joe Carchio

Council Member Jim Katapodis


Craig Glatz, Killarney Pub & Grill at 209 Main Street, Downtown

Ron Newman, Baja Sharkeez at 221 Main Street, Downtown

Cesar Pena, Black Bull Chop House at 300 Pacific Coast Highway, Dos Toros Mexican Grill at 221 Main Street, and Huntington Beach Beer Company at 201 Main Street, all located Downtown.

Stephanie Wilson, Fred’s Mexican Cafe at 300 Pacific Coast Highway, Downtown

DOWNTOWN BUSINESS OWNER:  Moe Kanoudi, Main Street Eyewear at 200 Main Street, Downtown

MARKETING AND VISITORS BUREAU:  J.D. Shafer, Hilton Waterfront Resort at 21110  Pacific Coast Highway

DOWNTOWN BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT (BID): Brett Barnes, Duke’s Huntington Beach at 317 Pacific Coast Highway, Downtown

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE:  Dominic Iorfino, HB Digital at 1615 Alabama Street

In addition to the voting members, the Task Force will be supported by City Staff as follows: Economic Development, Planning Department, Police Department, City Attorney’s Office and Special Events.

The purpose of the Task Force is to review and make recommendations to the City Council on how to create a sustainable and vibrant downtown economy without the unmitigated negative impacts on public safety and residential quality of life currently affecting our downtown residents.

Meetings will be held on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 5:30 PM starting September 12th. The meetings will be held at the Main Street Branch Library at the corner of Sixth and Main Streets. The public is encouraged to attend the meetings and provide input to the Task Force.

Congratulations to all the people serving on the Task Force and thank you for volunteering your valuable time to “pay it forward” and help make Downtown Huntington Beach a better place for everyone.


Categories: Downtown Task Force Tags:

Downtown Task Force

August 23rd, 2013 Comments off



AUGUST 21, 2013 The City has just sent official notice advising Kim Kramer, president of the HBDRA, that he has been selected to serve on the Downtown Public Safety and Residential Quality of Life Task Force. The purpose of the Task Force is to resolve the many unmitigated negative impacts affecting the downtown residents as a result of the US Open of Surfing and the Downtown Late Night Bar Scene. The first meeting will be held at 5:30 PM on September 12th at the Main Street Branch Library Children’s Wing.

Kramer said, “I am very pleased and honored to have the opportunity to serve our city and our downtown community in this capacity. I would encourage everyone to share their comments and suggestions with me at and to attend each of the Task Force meetings.”

There is some interesting history here that should be noted:

In 2009-10, the HBDRA opposed the City’s (DTSP) plans to demolish and redevelop our historic Main Street Library and Triangle Park. Through a major grass roots effort supporting historic preservation and residential quality of life, the HBDRA was successful in saving both the library and park for future generations.

In 2012-13 the HBDRA worked with the City to relocate the BCIS Food Bank, then located at the Main Street Library’s (former) Children’s Wing to a more suitable location.  The reclaimed space (1800 square feet) is now being refurbished and returned to its original purpose as the Library’s Children’s Wing.

The fact that the site of the Task Force meetings is located at the Main Street Library Children’s Wing is, in our opinion, a fitting tribute to the HBDRA and
the 7,000 Huntington Beach residents who supported our historic preservation efforts to save the library and park, and to the entire community of downtown residents and business owners that contributed to improve our residential quality of life.

We would like to thank Mayor Boardman and the City Council for voting to establish this Downtown Task Force and for taking a positive and direct approach to solving some of the unmitigated negative impacts that affect our downtown community.

The Task Force meetings will be open to the public and we encourage everyone to attend and participate in the process to make our city and our downtown the best that it can be.


Categories: Downtown Task Force Tags:

Bohr Loses Bomburger Appeal

March 7th, 2011 Comments off




MARCH 7, 2011 CITY COUNCIL MEETING Preempting a City Council vote on a new alcohol license for Downtown hamburger restaurant Bomburger, Rob Sleenhof, owner of Bomburger, unexpectedly withdrew their application for an alcohol license citing concerns from the Downtown residents and alcohol-related crime resulting from too many alcohol licenses Downtown. The HBDRA is on record opposing this alcohol license.

City Council member Connie Boardman thanked Sleenhof for his sensitivity to residents’ concerns and his willingness to voluntarily withdraw his application on behalf of the Downtown residential community.

City Council member Keith Bohr, who appealed the application after it was denied by the Planning Commission, had a radically different and extreme reaction.

Violating the City’s Code of Ethics to “serve with dignity and to treat the public with patience, courtesy and civility,” Councilman Bohr attacked private citizen Kim Kramer and the HBDRA in an unprecedented attempt to discredit both Kramer and the HBDRA. His actions ultimately failed and only served to discredit Bohr himself and his high office.

According to an article the next day in the Huntington Beach Independent, “Mayor Joe Carchio stopped Bohr after (Councilwoman) Boardman, Councilman Joe Shaw and City Attorney Jennifer McGrath interrupted him several times.” Mayor Carchio admonished Bohr’s behavior in a personal statement at the close of the meeting.

Kramer is the spokesperson of the HBDRA. Four weeks ago, Bohr attacked Kramer from the City Council dais when Kramer was not present to respond. This time Kramer was in the chambers and immediately came forward to defend himself and the HBDRA against to Bohr’s false allegations and accusations.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE VIDEO or go to the City’s website.

This is not the first time Councilman Bohr has violated the integrity of his high office and used his position in an attempt to intimidate a private citizen from freely engaging in public discourse as is their right.

Retired Huntington Beach high school teacher, Jerry Manion, whom Bohr also attacked several months ago, told the HBDRA that he used to speak up at City Council meetings until Bohr personally attacked him, and now he has stopped participating in civic affairs not wanting to deal with Bohr’s anger and bullying tactics.

Not only do Bohr’s actions violate every tenant of the local government process and every citizen’s guaranteed right of free speech, but is creates a “chilling effect” on others with whom Bohr might disagree, from fully participating in their City government by speaking up on issues opposed to those of Bohr.

Kramer said, “Councilman Bohr has disgraced his elected office and the City of Huntington Beach with his outrageous and offensive behavior and he should publicly apologize to the HBDRA, City Council members, City Staff, and to the community at large. Shame on him!”

Categories: City Council, Downtown Bar Scene Tags:

Public Safety Report Released

February 28th, 2011 Comments off



UPDATE AUGUST 23, 2013  It’s been two and a half years since this report was published and what has changed?  It is the opinion of the HBDRA that besides some facts and figures, nothing substantial has changed and this report is still the most comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date study of downtown public safety and residential quality of life that exists today.

We encourage you to read this report and understand the issues we face as a community in dealing with the unmitigated negative impacts of the Downtown Late Night Bar Scene on public safety and residential quality of life for all of the residents of Huntington Beach.

FEBRUARY 28, 2011 The HBDRA released a report today entitled, A PUBLIC SAFETY STUDY OF DOWNTOWN HUNTINGTON BEACH. Click HERE to view the PDF Report.

This is the first report of its kind released to the public quantifying Public Safety issues facing our Downtown Neighborhood of nearly 4000 residents.

As one might suspect, the Downtown Bar Scene is creating havoc with Public Safety in our Downtown Neighborhood as well as citywide; no one is immune.

• Of the 69 largest cities in the State, Huntington Beach is #1 in DUI traffic accidents involving death or injury. We are #1 in DUI arrests 4 years in a row.

• The Downtown Neighborhood has a crime rate 800% greater than other neighborhoods in the City. Thus includes crimes such as RAPE, AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, BURGLARY and other major felonies.

• Downtown crime is 40 times more than allowed by the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.

• We have over 700% more bars and 300% more liquor stores per capita than the rest of Orange County

• 28% of all the bars in Huntington Beach are located Downtown. We have 55 times more bars per square mile Downtown than the rest of the City.

• We have 73 times more alcohol-related assaults and 136 times more Drunk in Public arrests.

And here is the OTHER BAD NEWS. Our City Council majority continues to approve more alcohol licenses Downtown and they continue to ignore their #1 responsibility which is to ensure the Public Safety.

Why? What are the facts? Click HERE to view the PDF Report.

Please attend the City Council meeting on March 7th at 6:00 PM.

At this meeting they will vote on an alcohol license for Bomburger, a small take-out hamburger place on Main Street. We say NO! Enough is Enough!

Please join the HBDRA at the meeting.

The HBDRA is not asking for a moratorium on alcohol licenses. We are not asking to close down all the bars. The HBDRA is simply asking for BALANCE. We are asking that our City Council remember that Downtown is, first and foremost, a neighborhood of 4000 residents.

We are asking our City Council to place Public Safety for its citizens as their Number 1 priority and not sacrifice Public Safety in their quest for more and more revenue.


1) The HBDRA supports a more balanced Downtown that creates a safer environment for both residents and tourists.

2) The HBDRA supports public safety in the immediate Downtown neighborhood of 4000 residents and in the Huntington Beach community at large.

3) The HBDRA does not support a moratorium of alcohol licenses Downtown.

4) The HBDRA does not support the unwarranted closure of any Downtown bars or other alcohol-serving establishments Downtown, deferring these decisions to our City Officials.


Drunk in HB . . . By the Numbers

January 27th, 2011 Comments off


January 27, 2011 The 2009 study from the State of California Office of Traffic Safety was just released.

The following statistics include information from the California Department of Finance, Caltrans, California Highway Patrol and California Department of Justice.

1) There are 480 cities in the state of California.

2) Based on population, Huntington Beach is the 20th largest city in the state.

3) Based on all cities with a population of 100,000 or more (there are 69), Huntington Beach has the most Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents per capita than another other city in the state.

That makes us #1 for 2009; worse than the 19 largest cities in California including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and 15 other cities larger than Huntington Beach in population. And we’re on a downward trend starting with our 2006 ranking of 8, then 7, then 4 in 2008, and now we’re #1.

4) In terms of just pure numbers (not per capita) of Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents, Huntington Beach is #8 in the state. We had 17% more Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents than Long Beach which has a population 2-1/2 times larger than Huntington Beach. What are they doing right and what are we doing wrong?

5) The California Office of Traffic Safety groups Huntington Beach in Category “B” – cities with a population between 100,000 and 250,000. There are 56 cities in this group and here are the statistics for Huntington Beach:


#7 Population

#2 Number of Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents

#1 Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents per Capita

#1 Number of DUIs

#4 DUIs per Capita

#1 DUIs per DVMT (Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled)

As a community, we need to understand why this is happening, who is to blame, and how we can fix it. Stay tuned to this website; the answers to these questions and much more information is coming soon.

And remember, this is NOT a “Downtown” issue. Alcohol Related Traffic Accidents and DUIs happen all over Huntington Beach at all hours of the day and night.

Please join the HBDRA by clicking the “JOIN HBDRA” tab at the top of this page. There is strength in numbers: add your voice to ours.

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags:


January 22nd, 2011 Comments off


January 22, 2011 The California Office of Traffic Safety just released their 2009 data for all 480 cities in the state of California. Of the 69 cities with populations greater than 100,000, Huntington Beach is #1.

Before you civic pride kicks in, that’s #1 in the number of Alcohol Involved Traffic Accidents in the state. That, of course, is nothing to be proud of.

And when they say “Huntington Beach” we all know that “Downtown Huntington Beach” is the main cause of this record-breaking and shameful achievement.

Would you be surprised to know the trend starting in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 is: 8th place, 7th place, 4th place and NOW WE ARE #1.

Huntington Beach Police Chief Ken Small provided the HBDRA with some additional stats for the period from January, 2009 thru October, 2010.

1445 arrests for Drunk in Public

814 arrests for Alcohol Involved Assaults (with 1030 victims)

2907 arrests for DUI

When will our City Council, specifically Carchio, Dwyer, Hansen and Bohr, stop the proliferation of alcohol licenses in Downtown Huntington Beach?

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags:

No More Downtown Bars – Really?

January 22nd, 2011 Comments off


RESOLUTION: City Council resolution 2010-05 was passed on 1/19/2010 establishing conditions of approval for eating and drinking establishments with alcohol beverage sales and/or live entertainment located within the Downtown Specific Plan Area District 1.

A copy of this resolution (PDF) can be found if you CLICK HERE.

BACKGROUND: Beginning in February 2009, residents of Huntington Beach along with Huntington Beach community and business leaders met for several months as part of a City Council sponsored Ad Hoc Downtown Image Committee. This Committee presented its findings to the City Council on August 17th, 2009 and the City Council passed Resolution 2010-05 on January 19th, 2010 in support of the Committee’s findings

SYNOPSIS: The late night bar scene in Downtown Huntington Beach creates a nightclub atmosphere that negatively affects public safety and residential quality of life. The City Council Resolution 2010-05 effectively curbs the proliferation of late night bars in the Downtown area by creating a standard set of conditions with respect to hours of operation, dining area/bar area ratios and other conditions of approval.

These new standards promote any new establishment with alcohol beverage sales and/or live entertainment in Downtown Huntington Beach be established as a bona fide restaurant and not as a late night bar.

REALITY: So far only one establishment has been subject to this new resolution. And it worked. Or did it? The restaurant in question is Luggatti’s Italian Grill on 5th Street. Check it out and let us know your thoughts. Bar or restaurant or both?

The next test of the City Council Resolution will be Bomburger, that hamburger hamlet on Main Street. On Tuesday, January 25th, 2011 they will ask the Planning Commission for an exclusion from “2010-05” that will allow them to serve beer and wine til 10:00PM, but still stay open until 2:00AM.

The resolution states that they would need to close at midnight if they want to serve alcohol. Can you have your cake and eat it too?

The HBDRA is hopeful that the Planning Commission will abide by the rules, which are now official City policy, and not allow this request. We are also hopeful that the Commission will go further and deny their alcohol request entirely.

Is Bomburger really a “restaurant” in the spirit of the resolution? And do we really need any more places downtown serving alcohol?

Unfortunately, if the Planning Commission denies Bomburger’s request, it is almost certain that it will be appealed to the City Council, and we all know what that means – “Damn the residents and full steam ahead” with at least four YES votes from Carchio, Dwyer, Hansen and Bohr.

Stay tuned . . .

Categories: Downtown Bar Scene Tags: