I was president of the Mission Beach Town Council in 2017 and 2018. During this time, our town council promoted a community based solution for STR regulations, but to no avail, as other communities and City Council members ignored our approach. In the end, our mayor proposed what would have been a disastrous plan for San Diego and Mission Beach, including the “carve out.” In the end, the town council voted to support the primary only proposal promoted by Councilmembers Bry and Zapf.
Up to this point, the vacation rental people were virtually invisible at MBTC meetings. But, once threatened by primary only, Blaine Smith of 710 Beach Rentals mounted a campaign to change the narrative and control of the town council. He created Save Mission Beach, a website dedicated to promote short term rentals. He used this website to build up supporters with STRs in Mission Beach, many non-residents. And when it came time for the November MBTC elections, he was able to bring in 50-70 new members all voting in favor of STR candidates. Matt Gardner, a strong advocate for an unlimited number of STRs in MB, was to become president of the MBTC. The article below was written just after the elections.
Mission Beach Town Council stakes are big
Are rental owners stacking the membership?
Matt Gardner, whose shop Cheap Rentals on Mission Boulevard ¾ of a mile north of the roller coaster rents bikes, surfboards, and other beach equipment, will be the new president of the Mission Beach Town Council starting on January 1. On November 14, he was elected to replace Gary Wonacott, who terms out on December 31. So anxious was Gardner to assume his duties as president of the Mission Beach Town Council, that on the organization website list of executive board members, he named himself president the day after he was elected. Off to the right, Wonacutt’s picture was included on the website, but bearing the moniker “past president.”
Gary Wonacutt: neighborhoods are for neighbors.
Even before his election, Gardner, whose email subscript is “You can’t buy happiness, so come to Mission Beach and rent it,” demanded that Wonacott stop advancing his personal views on behalf of the town council. In editorials he penned for Voice of San Diego and the San Diego Union-Tribuneduring last spring and summer respectively, Wonacott criticized the plan adopted by Mayor Faulconer to “carve out” Mission Beach from restrictions on short term vacancy rentals in the rest of San Diego. And using his platform as the Town Council president, Wonacott helped shape the argument that “neighborhoods are for neighbors, not vacation rentals.”
For the first time in many years, the town council has become contentious as Gardner and his STR supporters on the town council tried to silence me, and i fought back sending a substantial number of AiBnB educational materials to the Board. Led by Matt Gardner, Rob Brown, and Blaine Smith, the STR supporters on the Board initiated a process to remove me from the Board. But, there were two problems. First, Matt had failed to heed warnings from Scott Morrison back in December 2018 and did not turn in the non-profit tax forms to the State or IRS. As a result, the State suspended the Mission Beach Town Council, meaning business could not be conducted, no new contracts could be signed, and the organization lost its name (All of this could be reversed in the January time period).
Secondly, the accusations against me were of a very general nature. I contacted an attorney and he sent Matt a letter describing what the town council had to produce to support my removal. After making a few unadvised threats against the attorney, Matt reversed his decision to remove me.
In the meantime, I stood up a Bylaws committee as my last act in December of 2018 to close many loopholes, specifically addressing issues such as The Control Group business member ships. Matt and Blaine in particular worked very effectively during the 2018 year to delay votes by the membership on the draft Bylaws update. This allowed Blaine to use his website in November 2019 to advance his efforts to control the town council advertising his slate for Board members.
The Board, led by Committee Chair Klaus Mendenhall, has made every effort to push the draft Bylaws forward, only to be thwarted at virtually every turn. The latest is a proposal for substantial changes to the Bylaws made by 710 Beach Rentals employee, Dane McClearY. The proposed changes would make it even easier for non-residents of Mission Beach, even outside of San Diego, to vote on critical issues and elections.
Below is a blast from the Save Mission Beach website promoting the 710 Beach Rentals choices for the Board and officer positions for the November MBTC elections. Blaine Smith has used this website very effectively to communicate with those MB residents and non-residents who are members of the town council. Never before has the town council been manipulated as it has been in the past year plus.
You must be present to vote! There is no proxy or absentee voting allowed.
Mission Beach Town Council Board Elections
Wednesday November 13, 6pm
Belmont Park Community Room
(North side of the park, upstairs above the arcade)
There are 4 contested positions so we need your support and vote! Over the past year we have made progress on protecting short term rentals by working with community and city leaders on reasonable regulations, but our work is far from over. As this issue heats up again it's important we stay engaged and ensure accurate and fair representation! You must be present to vote! There is no proxy or absentee voting. If you have a family membership and would like to cast 2 votes, both family members must be present. To vote you must be a member in good standing for more than 30 days.We recommend the following candidates for the contested positions and support the unopposed candidates.
Secretary - Scott Gressard
Area 1 Rep - Marty Zimmerman
Area 5 Rep - Daniel Cota
We have not take a position on President as both are solid candidates that we support. Below are President candidate bios for your review and consideration. As a member of MBTC you should have received these bios along with all other candidate bios from the MBTC email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Matt Gardner- President
I have been the president of the Mission Beach Town Council for the year of 2018. Before that I was secretary for 2 years and before that I was area rep in area 6. I’ve lived previously in Mission Beach for over 12 years, partly in South Mission on Balboa Ct and then more recently up by Santa Clara. I also own two separate rental shops in Mission Beach which I’ve owned for 13 years and worked at for over 20 years. I fell in love with Mission Beach the first year I worked here in 1999. The fun of being at the beach and the loving neighborliness of everyone around is the perfect fit for me. I love our unique character here as well as everyone that comes through, both short term and long term. I consider myself a successful college drop-out with two other businesses, a wonderful family life with my wife, who I met here in Mission Beach, and 2 year old daughter. I have been very active in the community and city for years. I have helped on many issues in the past and have spoken on behalf of the community many times at city hall, lobbied/networked with city leaders and have spoken in other relevant public offices. I am a recent graduate of the public leadership institute established by the chamber of commerce and have held numerous leadership roles in many community organizations. My main approach is public advocacy through strong organizational strategy, relationship building with key individuals, and building an internal cultured working together with positivity.
Greg Knight- President
I was born in San Diego and grew up in the Clairemont/Bay Park area. At the age of 18 my family moved down to Mission Beach on El Carmel Place. I instantly feel in love with the beach and all the activities that it offered. Hard to believe, but I have now lived in this community for over 30 years. My wife (Cate Thero) and I live on Isthmus court on the bayside in the house that we have owned since 2001. As a long-time resident, home owner, and business owner in Mission Beach, I have seen the community change drastically over the past 30 years. I want to do my part to make sure this is a place that we all take pride in and we all want to be part of over the next 30 years. Even over the last couple years I have worked on numerous projects to help ensure that Mission Beach is a place we all will be proud to call home and many will come to enjoy. A leader and vocal advocate against the scooters and am still in communication and meetings with the mayor’s office to get enforcement on the scooter companies. The organizer of the scooter protest back in the spring which was well attended by many in the community and got the attention of the press which further got the attention of our local politicians. Worked on the MBTC Short Term Vacation Rental proposal with fellow board members and members of the public. This was a group of both pro and con STVR people who were able to work together and come up with a proposal that would be good for the entire community. I still stand behind the work we did and the proposal, even though the city has not acted on political reasons. I am on the Mission Beach Improvement Committee and if the city ever gets us paint, we will re-paint the mileage markers on the boardwalk. I have worked and will continue to work closely with the other groups in Mission Beach such as the MB Planning Board, etc. I am on and have been on nationwide boards (US Professional Paddles Sports Association - west coast representative and currently am active in the Event Professional Alliance). I own a party rental and event business with over 40 employees. I know what is entailed in both management of projects and leadership of people which I plan to bring to the MBTC. It has been a bit of a controversial issue on our Mission Beach Town Council if the president should be required to be a resident of Mission Beach. While our bylaws are still being debated, I am a resident of Mission Beach that would be honored to be your president.
Click here for meeting agenda.
We hope to see you tomorrow night!
SAVE MISSION BEACH is a local organization that gives a voice to residents, property owners, small businesses and vacation rental managers who believe that responsibly run vacation rentals are a vital part of Mission Beach. We support reasonable regulations that protect STR rights and enforce good neighbor policies.
We encourage stakeholders to be vocal about their support of short-term rentals. Join our local Town Council, follow and engage with supporters on social media, Nextdoor.com, etc. and spread the word to neighbors and friends!
We will continue to support Share San Diego, who is leading the fight city wide. Please be sure you are subscribed for important updates. All donations are received and managed by Share San Diego, with input from SaveMB leadership.Click Here to Donate to ShareSD
SO, ARE WE READY FOR A RESIDENT‘S TOWN COUNCIL? IT IS YOUR DECISION AS RESIDENTS OF MISSION BEACH.