Planning Commission Approves Froude Project – OB Planning Board Chair Blasts Process

May 27, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Froude New Design project red

If the Planning Commission does not listen to the voice of the Peninsula Planning Board or the Ocean Beach Planning Board, then what is the purpose of having community groups speak on behalf of the communities they represent.”
John Ambert, Chair of OB Planning Board

On Thursday, May 26th, residents along Froude Street in northeast OB received bad news. The San Diego Planning Commission had approved the controversial project where 2 two large homes with 2 stories and underground garages is planned for 2 small lots. A single-family residence is currently on the lots.

Part of the problem, as we have reported, is that the property is just a few yards from the formal Ocean Beach planning district line – and if it had been in OB, it would not have met the more restrictive requirements that the OB Community Plan. But it was in the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s jurisdiction. Yet, the Peninsula planners voted 9 to 1 against the project and some of them called it “sore thumb” because of its relatively large size and flashy, more modern architecture.

And the OB Planning Board didn’t have a say at all.

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The Very Latest on San Diego’s “Crazy Anti-Trump Day” on Friday

May 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Here is the very, very latest in what’s happening on San Diego’s “Crazy Anti-Trump Day”, Friday May 27th.

More groups have announced they are mobilizing their members to protest Trump’s appearance in downtown. They include the LGBT community, San Diego Human Rights organizations and our very own Light Brigade – which is shining on tonight, Thursday.

The seven-or so networks that have been organizing their protest continue to mobilize, and are showing signs of cooperating with one another.

Police to Set Up Unconstitutional “Free Speech Zones”

In the meantime, San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman has come out with very restrictive – and even un-Constitutional – rules for demonstrations in front of the Convention Center, including threats to anti-Trump (and pro-Trump) protesters.

In today’s San Diego U-T, Chief described her contingency plans, where “effective crowd control is crucial to maintaining order.” While Zimmerman stated:

“We do recognize the First Amendment rights of all individuals of people who protest peacefully. I am going to emphasize peacefully,”

she stated that her department –

is creating two “free speech zones” across Harbor Drive from the convention center.

Both are on the grassy strip between Harbor Drive and San Diego Trolley tracks, with the anti-Trump area to the southeast and pro-Trump zone to the northwest, separated by Fifth Avenue. Large portions of both zones have fences and barriers on both sides.

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Reader Rant: ‘Tell the City to Reject Design’ of Controversial Froude Project

May 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Froude New Design project parry

 

Editor: The following “Reader Rant” was submitted to the OB Rag as a comment to the controversial Froude project – being heard by the San Diego Planning Commission today, May 26.

By Milladro

I am a third generation OB/ PL resident.

My great grand father, on my mothers side, arrived in San Diego during WW1 while serving in the US Navy. He purchased a modest home in the 1940’s where two subsequent generations have raised families.

That home has had its ocean views blocked by not one–but two boxy, out of proportion architectural designs.

These kind of developments really get under my skin.

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“Friday Is Going to Be One Crazy Anti-Trump Day in San Diego”

May 24, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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NEW UPDATES (as of 5/26/16) – see “The Very Latest ….”

It’s going to be literally one crazy, anti-Trump day in downtown San Diego on Friday, May 27th. So much is going on that it boggles the mind to try to imagine everything.

First, of course, Donal Trump is arriving at the San Diego Convention Center to speak to his throngs around 2pm. And coming out to see and hear him, of course, will be probably thousands of ticket-holders. There will be long lines of them snaking around the Convention Center – which undoubtedly will be off-limits to protesters. Except those protesters in line with tickets.

Second, there will be thousands of protesters coming out to demonstrate against Trump and all that he stands for.

There’s at least six different networks or groups mobilizing their supporters to show Trump that San Diegans will not stand for him. The groups range from Republicans, Democrats, to anarchists, and social justice veterans, to the Union del Barrio and border activists. These groups will all have their own tactics, displaying a diversity of opposition to Trump. And then there’s the janitors – hundreds of them will be demonstrating and marching through downtown.

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OB Town Council – Presentations on OB’s Controversial Private Cops and Women’s Self-Defense – Wed., May 25th

May 24, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB security patrolThis Wednesday, May 25th, the Ocean Beach Town Council will hold its monthly public meeting at the Masonic Center, located at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, at 7pm as usual.

Besides the usual reports from the different politicians’ reps, reports from the public agencies that serve OB: fire department, police, lifeguard, elementary school, and library, and after all the Board members give their reports, the Town Council will move into its main agenda item: ‘OB public safety – engagement and empowerment”.

At the top of the public safety element, is a presentation of the OB Mainstreet Association’s “OB Security Program”- the enlistment of private security team patrols of a company called the National Public Safety (NPS). Reportedly, NPS teams “patrol the business districts of OB and work closely with SDPD to get positive results for the entire community.”

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Planning Commission to Hear Appeal of City’s Approval of Controversial Project on Froude Street – May 26th

May 23, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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This Thursday, May 26th, the San Diego Planning Commission will hear an appeal of the City’s decision to approve a controversial project slated for the 2200 block of Froude Street in Ocean Beach.

The project – two multistory residences – has outraged neighbors enough that they have supported the effort to appeal the decision by the City’s Development Services to okay it. The project includes:

“the demolition of an existing single-family structure and the construction of two new 1, 814 square-foot homes each over a 1,073 square-foot basement/two car garage on two legal lots.”

This is at 2257 Froude Street between Voltaire and Greene.

Here’s why there’s controversy – besides the bulk, style, etc of the project itself – :

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UPDATED: San Diego Mobilizes Against Trump – Due Here Friday, May 27

May 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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NEW UPDATES (as of 5/26/16) – see “The Very Latest ….”

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UPDATED: Four San Diego Networks or Groups Planning Protests for May 27th Trump Rally

San Diego is mobilizing against Donald Trump’s appearance later this week, when he stages a rally on Friday at the Convention Center.

At least four networks or groups are organizing protests outside the Trump rally. One of the 3 has also stated its intention of organizing something inside his event. One of the groups is mobilizing protesters from the LA area as well. And, of course, each network has their own facebook page.

The networks include:

The Love Trumps Hate Solidarity Network

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Kamala Harris Wins OB Rag Senate Poll

May 20, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, won the OB Rag poll on the US Senate race for the state. In a field of 2 Democrats and 3 Republicans, Harris ran at the top with 49.3% of the vote, with Republican Tom Del Beccaro coming in a far second with 18.8%.

The other Democrat, Loretta Sanchez, received 5.8%, and the other Republicans George Sundheim came in with 2.9% and Ron Unz also had 2.9%.

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Ocean Beach Airbnb Listings Rose 64% Since Last Year

May 19, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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New data from Airbnb shows that their short term vacation rentals listings in Ocean Beach have risen 64% since last year. This equates to 230 units, according to an article from Voice of San Diego.

The Voice article by Ashley McGlone, relies on new information from Airbnb analytics company Beyond Pricing, and says that “the number of Airbnb listings is rising in nearly every neighborhood across San Diego,”yet, “Ocean Beach and La Jolla saw the greatest gains.” (While OB had a rate of 64%, La Jolla rose to 58 percent with 404 rentals.)

And once again, Ocean Beach joined 5 other neighborhoods this year as well as last year in being the locations of almost half of all San Diego’s Airbnb listings. The other neighborhoods: Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, La Jolla, North Park and East Village.

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The Pot Wars 2016: The End to Marijuana Prohibition in California Is Near

May 18, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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The war on marijuana continues even at mid-point of 2016 – the year that California voters will end the marijuana prohibition in the state. While California voters get set to vote to legalize the recreational use of pot, there are good signs and bad signs around the state as the Pot Wars continue.

Right now, a majority of Californians favor legalization.

The folks who have been organizing the more successful of the legalize recreational marijuana initiatives have gathered more than 600,000 signatures, far exceeding the 350,000 needed. It’s a certainty that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act will be on California’s November ballot. This is the initiative that has support from California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and billionaire Facebook co-founder Sean Parker. And many marijuana policy reform groups also support it.

So, what does it do?

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Local San Diego Anti-Trump Emergency Response Network Forms

May 17, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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The “Love Trumps Hate Solidarity Network” Commits to Counter-Protest at Trump’s San Diego Rally

Two-dozen San Diegans met at the Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest last night, May 16th, and formed the skeleton of a local anti-Trump emergency response network.

So, once it’s announced that the presumptive Republican Presidential nominee is coming to town, a coalition has already began organizing a counter-protest. The same if Trump waits to visit San Diego until after he is nominated, San Diegans are getting ready now.

Called together by a well-known group, Activist San Diego, and chaired by Martin Eder, a long-time mobilizer for that organization, the meeting included at least one Republican, a bunch of socialists, Democrats, Bernie supporters, a Green Party person, a few independents, some just curious – and yours-truly, the rep from the OB Rag / SD Free Press.

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The Gentrification Machine Marches On – 5 Condos Planned for Lotus Street

May 16, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Residents in and around the 5000 block of Lotus Street have just been notified of a development application to build 5 condos on a lot currently holding a single-family residence. Some of those residents contacted the OB Rag out of extreme concern.

In the Notice of Application, see inside, the City announced that an application has been filed for the construction of 5 residential condominiums on the .15 acre site at 5064 Lotus. The five condos will total 10,560 square feet. The application also requests that the requirements to underground existing utilities be waived.

No reason for the request for a waiver was on the face of the Notice, but new developments these days are encouraged by City staff to obtain “waivers” on code requirements if they conform to the City’s Green Building Program.

The existing structure, a single-family residence with attached garage, would presumably be demolished – although there is no mention of that in the Notice. There is a large backyard and in the front there must stand one of the tallest Palm Trees in all of Ocean Beach.

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“Gallagher’s 1502” Launches Soft Opening Tonight on Newport – Friday the 13th

May 13, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Discounts Extended to 92107 Locals

It is happening. The “Soft Opening” of Steve Yeng’s latest bar and restaurant – called (for now) “Gallagher’s 1502” is on for tonight, Friday the 13th.

Steve Yeng and his family, owners of the original OB Noodle House on Cable and of Bar 1502 on Niagara, have taken over the former Gallagher’s on Newport Avenue – as we announced on Tuesday.

And tonight, beginning at 5pm and lasting till 2am, Steve will introduce his new “traditional Irish pub” to the OB community that he so loves.

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Wrong Tree Cut Down by City on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach

May 13, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Apology and Pledge Demanded by City Not to Cut Trees Without Community Approval

It appears that the City of San Diego – or at least its hired work crew – cut down the wrong tree on Voltaire Street in OB.

On May 3rd the company hired by the City cut down a Chinese Flame Tree on the 48oo block of Voltaire. Residents and local businesses were told that the tree was cut down because it was causing cracks in the sidewalk.

Locals were outraged – and the OB Rag has been following this outrage.

But in a tragic twist, our friends at The Green Store / Center – right across from where the tree was cut down – learned from the Mayor’s office on Thursday, May 12th, that indeed the wrong tree had been destroyed. The work crew apparently was supposed to chop down a pine tree just east of the Chinese Flame on the same side of the block.

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Faulconer Supporters Swamp OB Rag Mayoral Poll – Republicans Out Vote Democrats 2 to 1

May 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Mayor candidates Kevn Lori Ed

Mayor Beats Both Harris and Saldana Combined in Apparent Spike in GOP Visitors to OB Rag

In an unusual – but not unknown – twist for an OB Rag poll, it appears that supporters of the main Republican candidate for San Diego mayor – incumbent Kevin Faulconer – swamped the mayoral poll over the weekend, skewing the results. In the final tally for the week-long poll, Faulconer had a higher total than both other major candidates combined.

Kevin Fauloner, in the end, had 59% of the votes, while Ed Harris had 18% and Lori Saldana 13%. Harris is a liberal Democrat and Saldana is a progressive independent.

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Backlash Grows in Ocean Beach Against City Cutting Down Trees

May 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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There appears to be a growing backlash in Ocean Beach against the City’s cutting down of trees in the public right-of-way around the community. The backlash also includes negative reactions to the severe trimming of trees along commercial streets.

Three recent examples of OBceans exhibiting opposition to the downing or harsh trimming of trees illustrate this backlash.

The City is responsible for trees in the public right-of-way, and, of course, the City itself doesn’t cut down or trim trees – it contracts with private companies to do the dirty work. Signs of the backlash trend include, …

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Newport News – the Latest from Ocean Beach’s Main Street – and More

May 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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This is the latest of our occasional reports on the comings and goings of businesses on Newport Avenue – the main street of Ocean Beach, plus any new developments that have occurred recently. This is what we found on Monday, May 9th:

Renovations at the Sunshine Company

New exterior and changes inside the Sunshine Company may surprise locals who haven’t been there in a while. Part of the exterior wall in the front has been removed to move the establishment into the new way of drinking – visible and right off the public sidewalk. Upstairs, there is now more light and visibility.

Inside, the long counter and a series of tales has been taken out and replaced with cushioned seating along the wall and round tables in the middle.

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Was Chinese Flame Tree on Voltaire Needlessly Cut Down?

May 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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We have to ask: Was the Chinese Flame Tree on Voltaire needlessly cut down on May 3rd by the City?

At the time of the cutting, locals who inquired of the crews doing the work were told that the tree was causing cracks in the sidewalk and needed to be removed.

This particular tree was 17 years old and had been planted along with other Chinese Flames, as well as other types of trees, along Voltaire as part of a project sponsored by then-Councilman Byron Wear.

The problem with the explanation is that there are numerous trees along that block of Voltaire that have apparently caused similar cracks in the asphalt or concrete, or that exhibit lifts to the sidewalk, or that have patch jobs around them.

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OB Noodle House to Open New Restaurant and Bar in Former Gallagher’s

May 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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“Soft Opening” on Friday the 13th

The owner of the OB Noodle House is opening a brand new restaurant and bar in the former Gallagher’s on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach.

In an exclusive interview with the OB Rag, Steve Yeng stated that he has taken over the former Irish pub and is opening a new restaurant that will have “American food and Asian Street food”. Food, he said that didn’t need refrigeration.

Yeng wouldn’t give out the name of the new place – “it’s a secret”, he said, but he did say that the new restaurant – his family’s third within OB – will have some kind of OB historical theme – “honoring OB’s history,” he said.

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Ocean Beach Planners Okay Project on Bacon and Delay Vote on Controversial Abbott Condos

May 5, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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The OB Planning Board held their monthly meeting Wednesday night, May 4th – and they were presented with the grand, final version of the OB Community Plan, they appointed two new people to the Board, approved one project on Bacon and decided not to vote on a controversial project at Abbott and Muir.

Board Appointments

Two new people were appointed to the Board. Vivian McCardle, a resident of Del Monte Avenue, was appointed to District 1. McCardle is active in the wild parrot group, SoCal Parrots – and the recent spate of shootings is what has motivated her to get involved in the community. The other appointee was William Corwin, …

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May 4th: We Can’t Forget the Massacre of Students at Kent State – 46 Years Ago

May 4, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Kent State, Ohio, May 4, 1970In Response to Nixon’s Invasion of Cambodia, American Campuses Exploded in Protest in May 1970

Today, May 4th, 2016, is the 46th anniversary of the infamous Kent State Massacre – where 4 students were shot to death by National Guardsmen during anti-Vietnam war protests on the Ohio campus.

Protests at Kent State were part of a wave of demonstrations that swept the country right after President Nixon’s invasion of Cambodia. Ten days later, 2 Black students were shot to death by police during an anti-war protest at Jackson State.

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Celebrating 40 Years of the Ocean Beach Planning Board and OB Community Plan

May 3, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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All this week we will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the popular vote that established the Ocean Beach Planning Board and the first OB community plan.

It was on May 4, 1976 that thousands of OB residents, renters, property owners and business-owners voted in the very first panel to sit on the very first Planning Board for the community. It was truly an historic occasion because nothing like that had ever occurred in San Diego before.

So, to highlight this history, all week we will be publishing comments, notes, stories and accounts of the May ’76 vote and memories of those who served on the Board back then as well as over its 40 year history.

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Coastal Commission Still to Rule on Huge 63-Unit Project Slated for Mission Beach School Site

May 3, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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There’s a whole bunch of Mission Beach residents who have been questioning and challenging a proposed 63-unit development project being slated for the community’s former elementary school site. As the LA Times reports, they are now pinning their hopes of blocking it with the California Coastal Commission, which still has not finalized any decision on the 2 acre project.

With the Coastal Commission raising some issues about the development, the stakes just got higher for the developer, Chris McKellar, who is currently resting his laurels on the fact that the City Council voted 6 to 2 in favor of the project. Residents are banking that the Commission will overturn this decision in early 2017.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early May 2016

May 2, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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* Explosion in Apartment in 4900 Block of Del Monte

* Midway Medical Cannabis Shop to Expand

* Helm’s Brewing to Open on Newport in Mid-May

* Surfrider San Diego’s 16th Annual Art Gala

* 9-1-1 Dispatchers and Cops Taken to Task for Missing Urgent Calls from OB

* Are Sand Crabs in Decline?

* Fund Raiser for Point Loma Shooting Victim

* Cop Involved in Fatal Midway Shooting Accidentally Discharges Weapon

* Pick-up Truck Flips on Canon Street

* Luxury Cinema to Open in Liberty Station

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“This Mayor Has Got to Go!” Faulconer Opponents Say at Town Council Debate

April 28, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Mayor Kevin Faulconer wasn’t too popular at last night’s Ocean Beach Town Council meeting during the “mayoral dialogue”.

First, he didn’t show.

Second, both his opponents, former-Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, and San Diego Lifeguard leader Ed Harris, trained their sights on Faulconer and not on each other.

And third, this was Ocean Beach – the liberal bastion of the city – which usually votes Democratic; Kevin Faulconer is a Republican.

But still, Faulconer used to represent Ocean Beach – and the rest of District 2 – when he sat on the City Council. And the crowd of the 80 or so good-natured souls in attendance probably would have applauded him if he had showed. But he didn’t and neither did his aide, John Ly.

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Hippie Life in Ocean Beach

April 27, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor Frank Gormlie will speak about “Hippies in OB” this Saturday, April 30th at the OB Library, from 2 to 3 pm.

OB as the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego

By Frank Gormlie

In my many writings about Ocean Beach history – some of which I share below – I’ve always noted that in the late 1960s, OB became the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego. By 1967 – a year after the OB Pier had officially opened – it was already evident that Ocean Beach was morphing into the San Diego equivalent of that fabled and iconic San Francisco neighborhood synonymous with “hippie-ism”. If you were a hippie or a hippie-wannabe during this time somewhere in San Diego, you ended up in OB.

Of course, other factors contributed to the incubation in Ocean Beach of a community sympathetic and supportive of the new emerging counter-counter:

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The Story of the First Election of the Ocean Beach Planning Board – May 4th, 1976

April 25, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: This May 4th Ocean Beach celebrates the 40th anniversary of the historic vote that established the very first OB Planning Board and the first popular community plan for the neighborhood. Below is an accounting of that vote and events leading up to it, taken from a larger article entitled “How Working Class Ocean Beach Spoiled the Establishment Plans and Created a Revolution in Urban Planning” – Part 2.

Election Scheduled for Early May 1976

Finally the San Diego City Council set a date for the community-wide election of OB’s first planning committee: May 4, 1976. All residents, all property owners and all business owners could vote, and it would be monitored by the non-partisan League of Women Voters.

The Community Planning Group spun into action and set up a process where local residents vied to be included on an organizational slate for the election.

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Meaningless Police Oversight Charter Amendment Recommended for November Ballot

April 21, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Council Committee Ignores Community Alliance’s Call for Subpoena Powers

By Hugh Moore

The San Diego City Council Charter Review Committee met yesterday, Wednesday, April 20 and voted to submit for approval to the full City Council a Charter Amendment recommended by the Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

The recommended amendment changes the name of the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices (CRB), mandates that all police involved deaths be reviewed by the board, and gives the Mayor and City Council joint authority over the board.

However, these are only cosmetic changes, according to Martha Sullivan – member of Women Occupy of San Dieg – and do nothing to improve the CRB’s ability to actually investigate a complaint about the police department.

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Some Friendly Suggestions for the Ocean Beach Planning Board

April 15, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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The Ocean Beach Planning Board, like other neighborhood planning groups around San Diego, is often plagued by low turnouts at its annual Board elections. It’s not uncommon for candidates to receive votes that total in the single digits. This year was no different.

The low audience numbers at the Board’s monthly meetings say something. Plus the fact that the OB Board currently has a 36% vacancy rate – there’s 5 seats vacant on a 14-member Board.

So, I have a few friendly suggestions to make for the OB Planning Board – a good chunk of them aimed at increasing the community’s participation at and with the Board. In addition, My background quickly: 3 years on the OB Board, one year as Chair.

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A Call for Ocean Beach to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Huge Vote that Established Planning Board and First Popular Community Plan

April 14, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

precise plan -newcoverThousands of OB Residents, Property and Business Owners Took Part in Historic Election of May 4, 1976

There are a lot of important anniversaries these days, it seems, like the 50th anniversary of the Ocean Beach Pier, and like the 50th Re-Union of the Point Loma High School Class of 1966.

But there’s one significant anniversary for Ocean Beach that has as of yet been highlighted for its deserved respect and celebration.

And that’s the 40th Anniversary of the popular vote on March 4, 1976 that established both the Ocean Beach Planning Board and the first OB Community Plan (then called the “Precise Plan”).

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