Oceanside became a city 125 years ago. It’s no surprise then that there are some classic old buildings in the downtown “Townsite” area.
But the challenges with some of these old treasures is that they fall in the category of “unreinforced masonry.” In other words, brick buildings — most of them built before 1930 — that potentially could crumble in the event of an earthquake.
In the late ‘80s the state legislature passed a law mandating that all old brick buildings in California need to be retrofitted so that occupants would never be at risk if the earth shook.
Ten years ago the city council sort of kicked the can down the road. They acknowledged that the city must enforce these structural reinforcement standards. But they said that the building owners have until December 2015 to have plans approved for the reinforcement. And that the work must be done by the end of 2016.
The Mission San Luis Rey recently commemorated the completion of its massive reinforcement.
Now many downtown businesses are looking down the barrel at this deadline.
Rick Brown is the point man for the city of Oceanside. The city’s chief building safety inspector, it is up to Brown to identify which buildings in fact need to be reinforced. He says his inventory now shows that there are 42 buildings that need to be brought up to code.
One new business, a pawn shop called Coast Jewelry at 205 N. Coast Highway had the work done before it opened a few months ago.
Another new restaurant to be called Industry is currently being built out at 208 N. Coast Highway (in the “Wheel Store” building). Owner Ryan Jubela says his building has already been retrofitted once, but that since the codes have changed, he will comply with the new regulations and have the building retrofitted up to code before it opens in April.
But other landlords may be hard pressed to spend the $40,000 to $50,000 estimated to retrofit their buildings. Businesses impacted include Carmine’s Pizza at 119 S. Coast Highway, and Bessie’s 1929 Cafe at 232 S. Coast Highway.
Brown says he will go before the city council in a couple months with his list of properties, and that it will be up to them to provide direction.
Brown says it is unclear what happens to the businesses if the buildings they inhabit are not in compliance by December 2016.
50 years ago today
On Nov. 22, 1963 I was in Mrs. Strong’s second grade class at South Oceanside Elementary. Mrs. Strong was a matronly, sweet, older lady who seemed to be about 60 years old as I recall. She called us “children” and made us sing “Good morning to you” at the start of each day.
I vividly recall our principal Mr. Hawkins, who came in just before lunch. Mrs. Strong was seated in front, leading us in a read-along session.
The tall principal bent over and whispered in Mrs. Strong’s ear.
After a short while, the principal left, and walked into the next classoom.
Mrs. Strong struggled as she tried to tell her seven-year-olds about the most unthinkable. She said she could not believe what she was hearing. That she turned her head and asked the principal to repeat the news in her other ear just to make sure she wasn’t hearing it wrong.
She told us President Kennedy was dead.
Lunch was strange. As I recall, the younger kids didn’t really understand what exactly was going on. The older kids were a lot more upset.
When we went home I remember that my shaken mom tuned in to Oceanside radio station KUDE-AM to hear newscaster Al Deidrich tell us what community events were planned following the assassination. Our church, St Michael’s Episcopal in Carlsbad did not organize a special service for that night. But St. Anne’s Episcopal on West Street did schedule an evening service for all the scared and shaken congregants who wanted a place to meet. That’s where we went.
Meanwhile my longtime friend Scott Threlfall was a first grader at Mission Elementary.
“Our teacher told us the president had been shot. She told us to put our heads down and pray. Then when they announced he had died they marched us out to the front of the school where they lowered the flag to half-mast. They sent us home early. I remember my mom was crying.”
Scott’s late father, Bill was then a USMC captain. He retired as a Lt. Colonel.
“My mom had been out at the base. She said people were coming out of the commissary in shock. My mom was a Republican but back then, if you voted for somebody and they didn’t win, you just supported who ever was in charge. It wasn’t like today where you have the badgering hate directed at the other side.”
Monterey Bay exits
Aloha Restaurants,the longtime owners of Monterey Bay Canners and Jolly Rodger, is scaling down.
They have sold Monterey Bay Canners to Waterfront Enterprises, the company that owns and operates Newport Landing Restaurant and Oyster Bar and the Harborside Restaurant, both in Newport Beach.
There will be a new name for Monterey Bay. The name that is being circulated is Oceanside Broiler.
If this new eatery follows its Newport sister restaurants, you may expect some new offerings like blackened ahi steak, swordfish and shrimp kabob, and twin Canadian lobster tails.
The big question: what will happen with the Jolly Roger, which historically does not have the same draw as its sister restaurant.
Oceanside born and raised, Ken Leighton is an Oceanside business owner. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org