BASE Jumper From OB Dies in Brazil Accident

July 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Fernando Goncalves Is 5th BASE Jumper to Die in Last 6 Weeks

A BASE jumper from Ocean Beach has died in a recent accident in Brazil. OBcean Fernando Goncalves was a professional wingsuit pilot but was killed while diving off Pedra da Gavea, a 2,769-foot granite dome mountain in Brazil.

The day before his death, Goncalves, 36, posted a video of a dive on his Facebook page off Pedra da Gavea. That was Thursday of last week – a week ago – and then on that Friday, he was killed making a similar jump, using a wingsuit and parachute.

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Abuse of Amber Alert in San Diego?

July 29, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Late Monday night I had turned on the Jon Stewart Daily Show to watch, but by midnight I was dozing and had leaned all the way over on the couch.

Suddenly, I could tell that the TV image changed – and a sharp and loud buzzer sound went off – 3 or 4 times. It was so loud, it rousted me -something awful was about to happen – it must be some kind of emergency – my mind raced. Are missiles coming? I wondered … but no, that image quickly faded – then I imagined hearing the roar of flood waters cascading down the mountains after some dam had broke, but no, maybe it was an eminent earthquake warning.

My heart start beating faster, my anxiety level shot way up. WTF? What on earth is going on?

By now I had bolted upright and was starring at the white image that blared from the screen, filling the darkened livingroom. I could read something about an alert – then “Amber Alert” by the County Sheriffs … and then more text as the image changed. There had been a child abduction out of Oceanside. Suspect was feared to be in San Diego County, armed, and a description of his vehicle was given.

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Ocean Beach’s Newport News

July 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Comings and Goings on OB’s Main Street

Several new restaurants on Newport Avenue are set to open while a couple of others are still works in progress.

BBQ House Expansion to Open Publicly

David of the BBQ House family, told me that the new expansion will open to the public this Wednesday, July 29th. Then they’ll figure out, he said, when the ‘grand opening’ will be. This has been a long haul for the family and its employees (and customers) as it’s taken 2 years to get this far.

The day I was there – Friday the 24th – the place looked full – but they were all servers and bartenders in training. The expansion includes a new kitchen, a new bar and new eating areas both in and outside.

Not Much Progress at Apple Tree Market

The new Apple Tree Market on Newport has yet to open and by all looks and appearances, nothing much has progressed since our last visit.

New “OB Brewery”: 50% of Interior Completed

The new brewery – also years in progress – is much closer to fruition.

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22-Unit Santa Monica Apartment in Ocean Beach Sells for 2nd Time in Less Than 2 Years

July 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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A large apartment complex in the 5000 block of Santa Monica Avenue in Ocean Beach has sold for $7.5 million. This is the second time “Playa”, the 22-unit apartment at 5041-5043 Santa Monica Avenue, has been sold in less than 2 years.

The complex, built in 1957, sits on a one-third-acre lot (assessor’s parcel 448-092-07 and 08) and consists of 14 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units, totaling 14,978 rentable square feet. It has a courtyard, 22 off-street parking spaces and an on-site laundry facility.

The sale also represents one of the largest in terms of units in recent years – and joins a trend we have been watching of late – the sale of apartment complexes in northwest OB – this sale is the 5th this year alone. (We think the trend is “unprecedented”.)

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Numbers Game at San Diego Anti-ALEC Protests

July 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Looks Like San Diego Union Tribune Is Up to its Old Tricks In Downplaying Dissent

A hell of a lot of people came out to protest ALEC’s convention yesterday in downtown San Diego. Local demonstrators had their numbers bolstered by bus-loads of union members from Los Angeles.

There were the labor locals, the environmentalists, the Democrats, the progressives and social activists – and many people energized to protest ALEC because they’ve been educated in just what it is and what it does.

There were a lot of demonstrators. Just how many is a good question. And now we’re in a numbers game in trying to determine just how many people were protesting against the right-wing lobby and legislative powerhouse – with all its corporate sponsors.

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What’s the Future of Short Term Rentals ? Panel Discussion – Sunday, July 26

July 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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From Pt Loma – OB Dems / July 21, 2015

Earlier this month the Democratic Woman’s Club hosted a great presentation by (and discussion with) Sarah Saez (United Taxi Workers of San Diego) on Making a Living Wage in the 1099 Economy. The focus was on taxi drivers, the rise of Uber and Lyft, and the move to contracted (1099) labor.

The ability to use internet services for alternative transportation, delivery services and accommodation may (at least in the short-term) be great for (some) consumers, but the longer term effects are likely to only benefit the corporations who rise to dominate each space. We only have to look at the $40 billion valuation given to Uber, by a salivating Wall Street, who sees in it the future of cash generation and wage control.

The short-term vacation rental market poses many similar challenges and has made strange bedfellows of San Diego hoteliers and progressives.

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It’s Time to Give “Gitmo” Back to the Cubans

July 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

It’s time that the U.S. give “Gitmo” – or the Guantanamo Bay prison – back to the Cubans.

It’s time to end a shameful period of our history and close down the military prison on the coastal edge of another sovereign country. It’s time that we hand Guantanamo Bay in Cuba – which we’ve held for over a hundred years – since 1903 – back to its rightful owners.

Today the population at Guantanamo is 116, a definite drop from the 242 detainees who were imprisoned when President Obama first took office. It still costs a reported $2.7 million per prisoner to house a Gitmo detainee. And over the last 13 years, the bill to keep open the place that Amnesty International called the “Gulag of our times”has been $4.7 billion.

There is no longer any reason to retain this chamber of horrors that tortured and abused people in our name, and which begot a human rights disaster.

Consider this: 751 people have been detained at Guantanamo since 2002, when the Bush administration opened it. Of those, 602 were released without charges, and of the remaining 149, seven had formal charges and only six have been actually tried on their charges.

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Poll: Should the OB Planning Board Hold a Design Contest for a New Logo?

July 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Recently, the OB Planning Board changed the logo that the Board has used for nearly 4 decades. They did this without much fanfare due to the request by Bob Sorben, the originator of the iconic OB seagull image, as the Board’s logo looked very similar.

Sorben had copyrighted his image. His request for the planners to change their logo had been made a couple of years ago in a phone conversation with someone from the then-Board.

So, a few of the current Board members took the initiative and designed a new logo for the planning committee. The new image began appearing on agendas and other Board documents.

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San Salvador Replica to Be “Launched” Sunday, July 19th

July 17, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Finally, after 4 years of construction, numerous delays, controversies and logistical problems, the San Salvador – actually a replica of the original San Salvador – is being “launched” into San Diego Bay this Sunday, July 19th.The event off Spanish Landing next to Point Loma is not open to the public but is to the media.

Actually the replica of the galleon Spanish explorer Juan Cabrillo used when he sailed into San Diego Bay back in 1542, and built mainly by volunteers, is being hoisted onto a barge and floated over to a dockside boat yard and lifted into the water.

Begun in February 2011 as a joint project of the San Diego Maritime Museum and the City and Port of San Diego, the ship was originally scheduled to be launched in 2013. Then it was scheduled to be launched on April 19th earlier this year but the builders discovered that it weighed 20 tons more than originally estimated …

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Sign a petition calling for John Oliver to be Jon Stewart’s replacement on the Daily Show.

July 15, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Comedian John Oliver has just shown that he is the best person to replace Jon Stewart on the Daily Show what with his recent pieces on the public monies being spent on privately-owned football stadiums, on ALEC, on visiting Edward Snowden in Russia – and the list is much longer.

His humor and wit and incisive, cutting insights and satire demonstrate that Oliver is the guy to continue the tradition that Stewart started – and besides that, John Oliver became famous on Stewart’s show, so he’s a graduate. Currently Oliver is on weekly on HBO.

COME INSIDE FOR THE PETITION

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San Diego’s Agreement With Airbnb to Collect Tourist Taxes Gave Them Huge Windfall

July 15, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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If you are one of those people who are keeping track of the short-term rental issue here in San Diego, you’re probably aware that Airbnb – the largest online short-term rental company – has just made an agreement with the City to begin collecting tourist taxes from visitors and remit them to the City.

And July 15th is the day that Airbnb will begin collecting those taxes on behalf of the hosts that sign up with them for rentals within the City.

This is great if you’re longing forward to see more money pour into the City’s coffers.

But guess what – this agreement includes a huge win-fall for Airbnb.

Okay, you ask, just what did our “Number 2″ city just give away to the online rental agency, worth an estimated $20 Billion?

Okay, what just happened in our town?

Comic-con, of course, which just ended after a 4-day bonanza.

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Comedian John Oliver Gives San Diegans Some Advice in How to Deal With Chargers and the Stadium

July 15, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Here’s John Oliver of Last Week Tonight take down of stadiums using public monies in building stadiums that make private profits for the NFL owners – and he used San Diego and the deal with the Chargers and our stadium. It’s excellent, btw, and every San Diegan should watch it.

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The Day – One Year Ago – that the San Diego City Council Unanimously Approved the Ocean Beach Community Plan

July 14, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: On July 29, 2014, the San Diego City Council took an historic vote and unanimously voted to approve the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update. This is a repost of the report of last year’s City Council vote .

With a 9 to zip vote, the San Diego City Council approved the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update, yesterday, the 29th of July and in the middle of the afternoon. Immediately, the 150 plus OBceans jumped to their feet with whoops of delight and sustained applause that went on for minutes.

It was an emotional day for OB, with the Council vote culminating a very long process of updating the community’s urban design blueprint, a blueprint that will significantly affect OB for the next 20 to 30 years.

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Special Meeting of OB Planners to Review City Changes to Community Plan – Wed., July 15

July 14, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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It’s entirely reasonable for OBceans to believe that the Ocean Beach Community Plan was a done deal – what with all of last years fanfare and mobilizing and petition drives and all.

On July 29th, 2014 – nearly one year ago exactly, the San Diego City Council approved the Community Plan in an unanimous and historic vote.

Yet, there’s always been one more hurdle to go – and it’s always been the California Coastal Commission. The Commission always had to give its stamp of approval on the Plan. Their vote on it was originally set for August 2014 – but has been constantly pushed back.

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The Celebration of the OB Red House Centennial

July 13, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Tom and Jane Gawronski hosted a celebration of the centennial of one of OB’s most famous old houses – the historic “Red House” o- n Saturday, July 11th. In attendance were some of OB’s most well-versed historians and socially-minded folks.

The Red House celebration was complete with speeches, beverages, a birthday cake and song, with tours of the house – since rehabbed and remodeled from the days during the 1970s when it earned its reputation for being a center of the anti-Vietnam war movement and grassroots politics in OB -.

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California State Beach Showers to Be Shut Off Beginning July 15

July 10, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Ready for a sandy summer?

California state beach showers will be shut off to save water, beginning July 15th. State park officials announced the new policy as an effort to deal with the severe drought. The ban only applies to outdoor showers, not the indoor ones at state campsites.

City of San Diego outdoor beach showers – some call them ‘rinse stations’ – will continue – beaches like Ocean Beach. OB has such stations near the main lifeguard station and over at the new public restrooms on the beach near Dog Beach.

It’s estimated that each shower at the beach to rinse off uses 1.2 gallons of water. State officials hope to save up to 18 million gallons annually with the shut-offs.

Most of the beaches affected by the water-tightening rules are in Southern California.

In San Diego County, beaches affected by the change are:

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Centennial Celebration of OB’s Famous “Red House” – Sat., July 11th

July 10, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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This Saturday, July 11, is the celebration of the centennial anniversary of a house in OB. It’s not your ordinary 100-year-old house at the beach – for this is OB’s famous (some say ‘infamous’) “Red House”.

What is the “Red House” you ask?

The Red House is an old craftsman-type single-story house on Cape May Avenue that was the home to a bevy of radicals during the 1970s.

Painted red, the house was lived in by some of OB’s most notorious leftists and anti-Vietnam war activists. Beginning in 1972, the large, roomy house – a half block from the sand – at 5113 Cape May, became a type of leftwing movement and social center. Some of the leaders of San Diego’s anti-war movement lived there during that heady decade, as well as some grassroots activists who were instrumental in helping to cause a shift in local community politics.

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Crosswalks and Stop Signs Coming to Ocean Beach

July 7, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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At the most recent Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting last week, Chair John Ambert outlined a number of OB intersections that will have crosswalks and stop signs installed, information released to the OBPB by the City.

Five intersections are impacted and affected. The funds for four of them have not yet been identified – only Newport and Abbott improvements earmarked. The other projects are under review and do not have funding at this time.

Come inside for the list and photos.

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Frye, Alvarez and Faulconer Lead in OB Rag Poll for San Diego’s Next Mayor

July 6, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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In the latest OB Rag poll of our readers on who they’d like to see in San Diego’s mayor seat, Donna Frye, David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer took the lead.

Of the top three, Donna Frye came out ahead with 26%. David Alvarez had 23%, barely nudging out Kevin Faulconer who received 22%. Frye – a former City Councilwoman and top contender for mayor a few years ago, was the top choice of all the possible candidates.

Other well-known Democrats were in the single-digits, with Toni Atkins with 7%, Lorena Gonzalez at 4% and Nathan Fletcher at 1%.

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OB Planning Board: 2 Projects Approved, Concerns on Community Plan Update, Crosswalks and Stop Signs Cometh to OB

July 3, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ocean Beach planners were certainly busy at their last meeting, held on Wednesday, July 1st. They approved 2 projects, one on Santa Monica and the other on Cape May, they heralded an update on crosswalks and stop signs coming to OB, and they hosted an impromptu debate on the status of OB’s Community Plan Update.

Concerns Raised Over Status of OB Community Plan

Several veterans of OB’s Community Plan update process expressed their concerns over the status of the plan – as it is currently heading to the August meeting of the California Coastal Commission, to be held locally in Chula Vista. Both Mindy Pellissier and Gio Ingolia, co-chairs of the committee that led the update process, were concerned about the timing and any changes to the Plan that city staff were making.

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The Abuse of Ocean Beach Tenants on Saratoga

July 2, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

Mark has lived in his small unit on the 4900 block of Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach for 14 years. His is one of the front units in the 8-plex, where a sidewalk and a narrow space separate the two buildings that make up a narrow courtyard. A row of garages that face the alley forms a “T” with the buildings.

Mark’s longevity as a tenant is not the only one. A woman neighbor has been there for 17 years and a buddy in one of the back units has been there for ten years.

Everyone got along in his courtyard neighborhood. Everything seemed fine, until about six months ago when the property changed hands. And a new property management team appeared. It was the Torrey Pines Property Management company that took over, as it was one of their clients that had purchased the units.

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After Over 30 Years, OB Planning Board Changes Its Logo Due to Request From Originator

July 1, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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For over 30 years (we believe) the Ocean Beach Planning Board has sported its logo on agendas, letterhead, fliers and other documents.

The logo has the famous OB seagull with the “OB” with the planning board’s name below.

But now, the current Board – run by a bunch of upstarts apparently – has changed the logo into a symbolic “OB” with a parrot. My goodness! A seagull for a parrot. What’s next for OB? Veggie tacos instead of fish tacos? (JK guys, really.)

How could they change it after all these years? you may ask yourself.

But wait, they had a good reason it turns out.

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Is Ocean Beach Number 3 in Vacation Rentals for San Diego? Boasts Meet City’s Strict Law

June 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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There’s a new vacation rental property management company out there that’s boasting that with 12,000 short term vacation rentals, “San Diego is rapidly becoming the fastest growing market in the country.”

And it also claims that of the top 5 key regions in the San Diego area, Ocean Beach is number 3 in terms of potential earnings from property owners turning their units into short term rentals.

The company Pillow just announced that it is officially launching in San Diego, and it has a nifty graphic that shows that short term rental fees from OB make the community the third top community in the San Diego region.The breakdown: La Jolla, Pacific Beach, then OB, then San Diego generally, and fifth is Coronado.

The company is all about enticing homeowners to rent out their digs and has held several workshops around town. It’s already established itself in several other cities. Pillow

Wow! OB is number 3!

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OB Planners to Review Projects on Santa Monica and Cape May

June 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The OB Planning Board has two projects to review at their next meeting, Wednesday, July 1, over at the OB Rec Center.

The first action item is the application for the proposed project at 5040 Santa Monica Avenue. The Project Review Committee gave it their thumbs up when they met on June 17, voting 6 to 2 for approval. The full Board makes the final decision.

Here is the report we filed then:

Commercial and Residential for Santa Monica – the “Last Sand Dune in OB”

The project proposed for 5040 Santa Monica was a scaled-down version of a development that had been approved back in 2006 but never constructed. The developer was going for a ‘substantial compliance review’ with the city, as the site has been dormant for around 10 years. The lot supposedly contains “the last sand dune in OB”.

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Is Chumming Legal Off the Ocean Beach Pier?

June 26, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

OB pier fishingIs chumming legal or allowed off the Ocean Beach Pier?

Okay, you ask, what’s “chumming”?

There’s a variety of modern slang-type of definitions, but in relation to fishing, it’s when people fishing off the pier or in the ocean cut up large chucks of bait and throw them over the railings or overboard in hopes of attracting large fish – like tuna – or like sharks.

If the fisherman or fisherwoman is trying to attract sharks while fishing off the OB Pier – or any pier – when there are surfers and swimmers nearby – that makes it an extremely dangerous activity.

It was suspected that chumming may have been partially responsible for attracting the sharks that attacked children off Oak Island in Southern North Carolina back in mid-June, where two kids each lost a limb. The incidents – 2 miles apart – were followed by calls to regulate chumming off a local pier.

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OB Town Council: Drought Remedies, Mallow-Out Campaign, Caves, Grants, Vendors and Park Rangers

June 25, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The Ocean Beach Town Council juggled a lot of issues last night at its monthly public meeting – drought solutions, its “Mallow-Out” Campaign, the day after July 4th clean-up, the funding of grants …

It was well over half-way through the meeting when the keynote presentations on the drought and solutions were finally made to the crowd of about forty audience members and a dozen Council members.

Drought Remedies: Native Plants, Rainbarrels, Greywater and Diet

One-by-one several presenters laid out remedies that included learning about native plant gardens, which native plants are good to plant, about installing grey-water systems in your home, and how our diets also contribute to the waste of water.

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Donna Frye Calls for “Massive River Park” at Qualcom Stadium Site

June 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Donna Frye is trying to upset the apple cart that surrounds all the discussion about the Chargers and the Qualcomm football stadium site. Yesterday – Monday, June 22nd – she called for “a massive river park” at the 166-acre Mission Valley site.

In an Op-Ed piece in Voice of San Diego, Donna Frye – former City Councilwoman for the district that includes Mission Valley – called for something akin to another Balboa Park or Mission Bay Park.

In her piece, Frye dismissed the discussion about whether the Chargers want the current site and all the discussion about commercial and residential development of it, instead declared that it actually is “a big opportunity staring us right in the face – the potential to create a real San Diego River Park.”

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News Around Ocean Beach – Late June 2015

June 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Cheswick Bartender Memorial “Ride Out” for Shay Whitman Shay Whitman, a bartender at Cheswicks on Newport, was killed in an accident on June 4th,

BBQ House Expansion The expansion of OB’s BBQ House is really picking up pace.

OB Hookah Lounge Now Wants to Serve Food and Drink The hookah lounge at 4851 Newport Ave,

Voltaire Brewery Progress There has been progress on the brewery slated to open on Voltaire Street.

Sunset Plaza Towers Over Intersection It’s now clear just how large the building at the corner of Sunset Cliffs and Voltaire will be.

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“Ocean Beach Plaza” Planned for Cable and Santa Monica

June 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Demolition of Former Medical Buildings and Construction of Mixed-Use Commercial Buildings Planned

The owner of the large lot at the southeast corner of Cable and Santa Monica – whose buildings have for decades housed medical and dental offices – has applied for a permit to demolish the buildings and construct something he’s calling “Ocean Beach Plaza“.

The new planned project for the site – owned by well-known OB property-owner John Small – is for two commercial and mixed-used buildings, including a section with 2 stories, totaling 10,453 square feet. The lot is .45 acres and currently has a large parking lot in the rear of the building with alley access off Cable and street access off Santa Monica.

All the medical and dental offices have been emptied at this point, with only the dry cleaning business right on the alley still going. The property is addressed 1929 Cable Street and this is the address for the permit to demolish and build anew.

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Water Quality Report Card: Dog Beach Gets an “F” and OB Pier Gets an “A+”

June 19, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Drought Helps Water Quality at San Diego and Other California Beaches

The group, Heal the Bay, just released their annual report card on water quality. They assign a letter grade to beaches and coastal areas up and down the West Coast in three categories, the dry season from April to October, dry periods from November through March, and during wet weather.

Perhaps paradoxically, it appears the drought actually is helping water quality and the vast majority of San Diego County beaches reached A or B’s.

But not Dog Beach.

The San Diego River outlet at Dog Beach was one of the locations that received F grades — during wet weather. This is not that surprising, is it?

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