“Villa Famosa” Project Promises to Be a Challenge for Famosa Slough

March 28, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

A new construction project coming to the shores of Famosa Slough promises to be a challenge to one of the last natural vestiges of Mission Bay.

The “Villa Famosa” project is slated for a remodel of one already existing 2-story apartment building at the site on Camulos Drive, the 90 degree “turning” of the other already-existing 2-story, and the construction of a brand new third 2-story building that will hold 6 units.

The existing lot is on the edge of Famosa Slough at 2727 Camulos Dr.within the perimeters of the Peninsula Community Planning Board (ed. we don’t know when the project is scheduled for their meeting review). It’s on a .38 acre site. The applicant is Alex Miller, and the project manager at the City of San Diego is Derick Johnson.

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Ebers and Greene Project Contractor Has License Suspended

March 27, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The owner/ contractor of the controversial Ebers and Greene project has had his contractor’s license suspended.

Curtis Nelson of Nelco Contracting of Vista, California, had his license recently suspended “for failure to comply with an Arbitration Award. The suspension occurred on March 23, 2017.

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OB Town Council Provides Forum for Groups to Recruit

March 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie


The Ocean Beach Town Council held their monthly public meeting Wednesday night, March 22nd, at the Masonic Center – and more than 60 people filled the large hall.

The high point of the evening was something called “Engage OB” where chair Gretchen Newsom allowed representatives from different groups to address the crowd, each asking attendees to join their group or project. And 8 to 9 individuals made their pitches, including this reporter asking for people to be involved with the OB Rag.

The meeting began as per usual, with non-agenda public comment.

  • One guy who called himself a “5th generation OBcean”, complained that there hasn’t been enough public input into the plans for Saratoga Park, and he thought, for instance, that it needed input from the PTAs. He was reminded that it’s a project of the OB Community Development Corp.
  • Board member Keith Fink announced the upcoming 28th annual Earth Day in Balboa Park on April 23rd. It’s “the largest free event on the planet,” he said. For info, go to earthdayweb.org .
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San Diego Second Worst City for Renters in Nation

March 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

According to an annual list of best and worst cities for renters by Forbes real estate research company, San Diego ranks the second worst city in the nation. Just behind Miami as the worst.

Marcus & Millichap calculated their results based on data collected from monthly rental costs in 2016, rent changes, and vacancies. Importantly the percentage of shared income that goes into paying for rent is a big factor.

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Was the OB Rag Yahoo Account Hacked by the Ruskies Back in 2014?

March 23, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Back in June of 2014, a Yahoo account that I used for personal matters as well as for OB Rag business and communications was hacked. I lost thousands (at least 2300) of email address that I had gathered over the years as my contact list. I wrote about the hack and the loss. Here is part of what I said then:

Yes, it is true, and at first, I sort of laughed it off, as I went ahead and changed my password to the email account that was hacked on Thursday, June 19.

But then I realized all 2300 of my email contacts were gone ! – stolen by the hacker. Hundreds of those were my OB Rag email accounts. (It was my personal yahoo email account that was hacked – not the OB Rag gmail account.)

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Is it a Joke? Or Is it Real? Airbnb Advertises “Van Living” in Ocean Beach

March 23, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Somebody named “John” is advertising his van for $25 a night in Ocean Beach on Airbnb. “Van livin’ at the beach” is the come-on line.

That’s right. It’s incredible – too incredible to be real do you think? Is it a joke?

He advertises his van:

“Empty van with a bed in the back. Parked in a quiet safe neighborhood.”

He says it accommodates 4 but with no bathroom. Hmm.

Check out these screen captures INSIDE. You tell us if it’s a joke.

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San Diego Council Committee to Hear Proposals for Short-Term Rentals – Fri., Mar. 24th

March 22, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

A San Diego City Council committee is posed to hear three different options for short-term vacation rentals being proposed by the Planning Department this coming Friday, March 25th.

The Smart Growth and Land Use Committee of the Council will meet in the morning at the Jacob Center and attempt – once again – to juggle the contentious issue of how to deal with these particular types of rentals, an issue that the Council and city staff have bounced around now for 2 years.

The issue of short-term rentals have roiled the beach areas and Ocean Beach in particular.

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Russian Bots and Bernie Lovers

March 22, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Last Tuesday night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow did an extensive report on how Russians used information warfare during the 2016 presidential campaign to undermine the Hillary Clinton campaign. And, she said, they are still using those cyber tactics to this day.

One of the main ways the Russians worked to throw sand on the Clinton electoral machine, was to sow discord among Bernie Sanders supporters and divide them from pivoting after the Primary to give Clinton their donations and volunteer hours.

The primary example Maddow used when she was drawing attention to the Russian information warfare effort against the United States was a fake Bernie Sanders supporters Facebook page that appears to be part of the Russian game plan. It’s called Bernie Sanders Lovers, and despite what the home page says about it being from Vermont, it’s actually out of Albania.

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OB Planning Board Unofficial Election Results and Current Make-up

March 21, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The results are in from last Wednesday’s OB Planning Board annual election (they’re not official until certified by the Board, which is expected to occur at the next regular meeting, April 5, 2017).

From the OBPB website:

The unofficial results of the 2017 general election of the Ocean Beach Planning Board are:

DISTRICT 2
Tom Gawronski

DISTRICT 4
Blake Herrschaft

DISTRICT 6
Dan Dennison

DISTRICT 7
Richard Aguirre

Come Inside for an Analysis and Current Make-up of Board

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Happy First Day of Spring! Go Out and See the Desert Flowers and Re-Charge

March 20, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Today – March 20th – is the first day of Spring.

Celebrate! Enjoy life! Go out and see the desert flowers.

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What’s Happening on the Mean Streets of Ocean Beach

March 17, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for What’s Happening on the Mean Streets of Ocean Beach

It’s not easy being a small businesperson, shopkeeper, store or office owner on the commercial streets of Ocean Beach. Rents are high in this popular, sunny, beach outpost from the rest of the world.

The commercial streets, Newport Avenue, Voltaire Street and Point Loma Avenue are tough for the unwary business enterpriser who takes a gamble opening up any kind of establishment on them. That’s why small businesses are always coming and going, and why empty storefronts remain vacant for months.

The commercial streets of OB are some mean streets and here’s what’s happening on them in mid-March 2017.

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Congressman Duncan Hunter Just Said Some Crazy Sh*t at his Recent Town Hall

March 15, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter just said some crazy sh*t at his Ramona town hall meeting on March 11th over last weekend. And he said it in front of a raucous crowd of hundreds.

There’s a good transcript and video of what he said, thanks to Indivisible San Diego’s four and half minute video and Dan Weisman’s annotated transcript at Escondido Grapevine’s Duncan Duane Hunter town hall (annotated).

You have to see it to believe it (the video is inside). But read the crazy stuff first.

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San Diego Lifeguards Complain of Yet Another Rescue Delay Due to New Dispatch System

March 15, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Another life-saving incident occurred recently that San Diego lifeguards say shows that a new dispatch system installed by San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy is causing problems. The new system is confusing dispatchers and adding to response times for first-responders.

The new system has water-rescue calls routed to the firefighters and not to lifeguards, as had previously been the system.

Sgt. Ed Harris, head of the lifeguard union, said that over last weekend a small child had to be rescued from the Model Yacht Pond in Mission Bay Park.

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Neighbors Mobilize Against Additions to Short Term Vacation Rental on Saratoga in Ocean Beach

March 15, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Neighbors in and around a property on the 4900 block of Saratoga Avenue are mobilizing tonight, Wednesday March 15th, at the OB Planning Board’s subcommittee meeting.

They aim to speak out against planned additions to the property at 4925 Saratoga, because the recently rehabbed main house is being used as a short term vacation rental – and they view this permit to add a garage and a house over the garage as an expansion of yet another STVR and a threat to their neighborhood.

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Saratoga Addition on Project Review Agenda – Wed., March 15th

March 14, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The Project Review Committee, a sub-committee of the Ocean Beach Planning Board, has one project before it at its upcoming meeting on Wednesday, March 15th.

It’s a permit application to build a 918 square foot residence over a garage at 4925 Saratoga Avenue.

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San Diego Lifeguards Want to Leave the Fire Department Because of New Dispatching Procedures

March 10, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego City lifeguards and their union are seriously considering getting out from under the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The lifeguard union leader claims that recent changes in dispatching procedures initiated by the new fire chief, Brian Fennessy, now route all water-related 911 calls to the fire department instead of directly to lifeguards- who have historically made all water rescues.

This is leading to longer response times and a waste of resources, says Sgt Ed Harris of the lifeguard union.

In a recent Op-Ed piece in the OB Rag, Harris wrote:

“We cannot afford to have the Fire Department divert our trainers, personnel and budget. … Teaching Fire Fighters how to swim and perform river rescue is not acceptable.”

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Covering Ocean Beach and Point Loma in the Time of Trump

March 9, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

At the most recent OB Town Council meeting, a friend who is active in Ocean Beach and an OB Rag supporter, took me aside, and said, “You’re killing me with all the national news.” He was complaining that he felt the OB Rag was straying from its focus on local, OB news and material.

I explained to him that we had to do both, be the source of uber news for the village and the Peninsula and provide news and analysis about what’s going on nationally – especially now in the time of Trump.

Ever since we began trying to be the online newspaper for OB and providing a platform for the community, we’ve experienced a tension between covering really local stuff about OB and Point Loma versus both throwing out our news net for wider issues, more city and county related issues – and being a source for progressive views and analysis on national and international news and goings on.

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News and Notes for Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early March 2017

March 7, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Newport Ave Re-Paving Begins Thursday, March 9

The long-anticipated re-paving of Newport Avenue begins Thursday, March 9th. Beginning at 8am, the work crews will re-pave the normally-busy commercial street from Abbott to Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Workers will grind down the old asphalt 3 inches, and then pour in 3 inches of the fresh smelly, gooey, stinking-hot new asphalt (ever worked with it? it’s pretty bad stuff).

Gas Leak Tuesday at Sunset View Elem

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More Photos from “Impeach on the Beach” in O.B.

March 6, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Here are more photos from the wonderful “Impeach” and “Resist” event on Saturday, March 4th in Ocean Beach. These are in chronological order, more or less.

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“Impeach” Spelled Out in Ocean Beach

March 4, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Nearly 500 people showed up today, Saturday, March 4th, on the sands of Ocean Beach and spelled out the word “IMPEACH”. This all came down just north of the OB Pier.

Just earlier in the morning, about 200 people spelled out the word “RESIST” north at Dog Beach. That crowd then marched south along the beach to the other gathering and filled up the letters.

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OB Planning Board Approves Santa Monica Remodel – Praising Owner for Keeping His Single Family House

March 2, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Meeting Wednesday night inside the community room of the OB Rec Center, the Ocean Beach Planning Board found themselves with a full agenda.

By the end of the evening, they had approved a remodel / addition to a single family house on Santa Monica, formed a sub-committee on short-term vacation rentals, reviewed recent applications for alcohol permits, enjoyed a full discussion on a proposal to modify their bylaws about signature gatherings, and confirmed their upcoming annual election details.

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New Modular Units at Voltaire and Abbott for Rent on Airbnb Despite Owner’s Pledge

March 1, 2017 by Frank Gormlie


When the 3 two-story modular units planed for the south-east corner of Voltaire and Abbott were approved by the OB Planning Board in early September 2014, one of the applicant-owners stated to the Board unequivocally that he planned to live in one of the units. Now that they have been built, it appears that the units – at least one of them – are listed on Airbnb – for $229 to $349 a night.

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Some Memory Tiles Removed and Damaged During Repairs on Newport Ave.

March 1, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

During Tuesday’s demolition and repair of the ramps to OB’s mid-block crosswalks, some memory tiles were removed and damaged. These are the special tiles installed along the curb on Newport Avenue for several blocks that people purchased over the years.

This reporter while visiting the project asked the foreman of the work crew working on the ramp widening if he planned to save the tiles that his guys removed. He said no, and I advised him to keep them. So he said he did.

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OB Planning Board Agenda – Alcohol Permits and a Remodel on Santa Monica – Wed. March 1st

February 28, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The Ocean Beach Planning Board has a few spicy items to juggle at their upcoming monthly meeting, held this Wednesday, March 1st, over at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Alcohol Permits

One of the more juicy agenda items on the agenda is a Board review of an application for a new alcohol permit for OB’s latest beer pub – which hasn’t opened yet – Little Miss Brewing Company, at 4861 Newport Ave.

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Construction Crews Take Over Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach

February 28, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Two blocks of Newport Avenue were nearly closed down today, Tuesday, Feb. 28th as construction crews and their equipment took over OB’s main street and some nearby streets as well in the downtown area.

Part of it all was the beginning stages of the re-paving of Newport Avenue – the widening of Newport Ave’s two mid-block crosswalks. One crew worked on that.

Another separate crew was re-asphalting Cable Street, while a third crew cleaned out a main sewer line between Newport and Niagara.

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“Special Prosecutor, Special Prosecutor, Who’s Got the Special Prosecutor?”

February 27, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

There’s some kind of a sick and nefarious game being played out on national politics right now. It’s called, “Special Prosecutor, Special Prosecutor, Who’s Got the Special Prosecutor?”

Even as Congressman Darrel Issa walked back part of his solitary Republican call for a special prosecutor to look into Trump’s ties to Russia, White House press spokesguy Sean Spicer, was denying the need for one and that it would all be a waste of time. When pressed by a reporter to respond to Issa’s call for a special investigator, at a news briefing Monday, Feb. 27, Spicer said:

“ A special prosecutor for what?”

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This Cannot Stand! Trump’s War on the Press Just Got Real as White House Bars Select Media from Briefing

February 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Donald Trump’s rhetorical war on the press just got very real.

Today, Friday, Feb. 24th, hours after Trump threatened the press – again – this time at a conservative activist confab, the White House barred select media organizations from a press briefing.

Reporters from CNN, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed, and Politico were prohibited from being in a press briefing at the White House on Friday afternoon. The briefing – in Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s West Wing office – was a so-called “gaggle”— an informal, off-camera question-and-answer session between the press secretary and reporters. The Hill, the BBC, the Guardian were also denied entry.

However, right-wing media outlets were allowed in. These included the white nationalist Breitbart, the arch-conservative The Washington Times and One America News Network.

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OB Town Council Spotlights Unsung Heroes in Graffiti and Trash Wars

February 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
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During Wednesday’s Ocean Beach Town Council’s monthly meeting – Feb. 22nd -, the Council cast a spotlight on and honored some of the unsung heroes of OB’s graffiti and trash wars.

Representatives of two groups – OB Clean Streets Initiative and the OB Graffiti Task Force – were on hand to give updates and overviews of their efforts to clean up the village.

Greg Crowley of OB’s CSI told the gathered audience of some 70 people that his group’s motto is “Not talking spotless, just a little bit cleaner,” and how the group has organized 5 clean-ups in OB over the last year. They and the volunteers they organized collected over 600 pounds of trash – with the main items picked up being cigarette butts. One of the differences between CSI and other clean-up efforts, Greg said, was that his group goes into the alleys and away from the beaches to find their trash.

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Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

February 24, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Reader’s Rant: Will New “Smart” Led Street Lights on Newport Ave in Ocean Beach Write You a Parking Ticket?

By Not Amused in OB

Are “smart” led street lights coming to Ocean Beach to surveil you and write you a parking ticket? I heard Newport Avenue is slated to get new led lights.

The evening news on Channel 10 covered this, and it appears that our mayor, Kevin Faulconer , just rolled out on Wednesday a program of installing new street lights in San Diego and Ocean Beach. The mayor announced he’s expanding this program of putting in “smart sensors” which will be able to “gather and disseminate data on things like traffic, parking availability, public safety and air quality.”

And Kevin said that his city has partnered with a company from back east called Current which will install 3200 of these “Smartlight Sensors”, powered by GE.

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Ocean Beach, Peninsula and Midway Planning Boards All Have Elections in March

February 23, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

All three of the planning boards that make up the Point Loma planning areas have their annual elections coming up in March.

The Ocean Beach Planning Board holds its election on Wednesday, March 15th, the Peninsula Community Planners hold theirs on March 16th, and the election for the Midway – Pacific Hwy Planning Group will also take place March 15th.

Here are details for the various planning committee elections:

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