Calendar for this Weekend Is Full : OB Pier Breakfast, Coastal Clean-up, Paddle for Clean Water, Earthdance and March for Climate

September 17, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Have you checked your calendar for this weekend recently? Yeah, it’s full. There’s plenty happening in OB and around the City – so, here’s the short list:

Saturday, Sept. 20th

OBTC Pancake Breakf 9-20-14Annual OB Pier Pancake Breakfast – 7:30 am – Noon

The annual OB Pier Pancake Breakfast will take place from 7:30am – 12:00pm. Proceeds of this community event benefit the OB Town Council holiday events and the annual OB Toy and Food Drive, which helps over 80 local families and seniors in need during the upcoming holiday season. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets are available at Dog Beach Dog Wash, Raglan Public House, and South Coast Surf Shop!

This event and the Toy and Food Drive are not possible without the generous support of our community sponsors. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your support for Ocean Beach and market your business or organization to over a 1,000 local attendees. The cost to sponsor a table at the OB Pier Pancake Breakfast is $100. (See OBTC website for more info.)

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What really happened at the Battle of San Pasqual? Come to OB Historical Society Presentation – Sept. 18th

September 16, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Come to the OB Historical Society presentation, Thursday, September 18th for “the Battle of San Pasqual – Looking Through the Haze of Gunsmoke” – featuring local historian Richard L Carrico.

Ever wonder what really happened at the Battle of San Pasqual on Dec.6-7, 1846? Who really won the battle between Andres Pico and the Californios and General Kearny and the American forces?

What was Kearny’s objective? How many men did he lose in the ill-fated skirmish? What was the role of the Kumeyaay at the village of San Pasqual and who was the mysterious Indian Andre who accompanied Kit Carson to seek reinforcements? How can you visit the site of the battle and learn more?

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3-Foot Rule Between Bicycles and Cars Goes Into Effect

September 16, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The 3-foot rule goes into effect today, Tuesday, September 16, 2014. A new California law – signed by Gov. Brown a year ago – called the Three Feet For Safety Act – requires vehicle drivers to stay three feet away from bicyclists while passing from behind or slow down to a “reasonable and prudent” speed. Then the driver must wait for a chance to pass safely. It also does not allow drivers to cross a double-yellow line to pass.

A $35 fine awaits the driver for a violation of the law which jumps to $220 if there is a collision and the bicyclist is injured. The California Bicycle Coalition says, however, that with court fees, fines are really somewhere between $230 and $960.

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OB Community Plan Will Not Go to Coastal Commission Till January

September 15, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

The OB Rag has heard that the Ocean Beach Community Plan will NOT be reviewed by the California Coastal Commission in October, as we reported, but instead will not go to the Commission until their January 2015 hearing. Their hearing is scheduled for somewhere in the South Coast area of the state.

According to emails from City staff, they were able to meet with Coastal Commission staff on August 29th. At that meeting, the two staffs agreed on all points except for three: …

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California Fish Stories – How Some Seafood Has ‘Come back’ and How San Diego’s Bluefin Tuna ‘Is On the Way Out’

September 12, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for California Fish Stories – How Some Seafood Has ‘Come back’ and How San Diego’s Bluefin Tuna ‘Is On the Way Out’

There’s mixed California fish stories right now. There’s good and bad.

Twenty-one species of commercial fish have just come off the ‘watch list’ and are no longer on the ‘avoid list’.

On the other hand, at the same time, the population of Bluefin Tuna – popular here in San Diego – has plunged to just 4% of its historic highs on a worldwide basis.

It was recently announced that 21 commercially important species of West Coast groundfish have been removed from the “Avoid” list. This was announced by the prestigious Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. They were upgraded to either “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative”, and includes species such as sablefish, rockfish typical sold as “snapper,” and popular flatfish species caught by bottom-trawl and other methods.

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OB Community Plan Tentatively Scheduled for Coastal Commission Hearing in Newport Beach, Oct. 8 – 10

September 12, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Right now, the Ocean Beach Community Plan is tentatively on the agenda of the California Coastal Commission for its October meeting. Each month, the Commission changes its location, and in October it will meet at the Newport Beach Civic Center. The dates are October 8 – 10th.

Where exactly the OB Plan is on their agenda is not known at this time.

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Praise to the OB Rag From the Planning Board

September 10, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The other day, the OB Rag received a wonderful letter of appreciation from the Ocean Beach Planning Board, signed by Chair Pete Ruscitti. The Rag was praised for our work on the OB Community Plan.

Thanks so much, OB Planners. The Rag was inspired by all those who dropped their normal lives for a few months and got involved in pushing the Plan through the various challenges – and finally to the San Diego City Council

Here is the letter itself: INSIDE

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What’s Shaking in Ocean Beach?

September 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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What’s shaking in OB? Not an earthquake. But plenty of other things make the coastal village a happening place – especially in construction and new businesses.

On a recent tour of Ocean Beach, I discovered the following developments:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEntryway Project Improvements

There’s lots happening at OB’s Entryway Project – at the corner of Sunset Cliffs Blvd and West Pt Loma Avenue. The project at the frontdoor of OB has a history of delay, so any momentum forward is certainly welcome.

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Is This Really the Time to Let the Seasonal Lifeguards Go?

September 5, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Large Surf, Rip Currents and Large Crowds Expected This Weekend – But Most of the Lifeguards Are Gone

There was big surf and big crowds at the beaches on Labor Day weekend. It was estimated that 574,000 people visited local beaches. Monday, Labor Day itself – was the busiest day, with a reported 227,000 humans on the sand at OB, PB, Mission Beach, and La Jolla beaches.

During the Labor Day weekend,lifeguards made 164 rescues, 182 medical aid calls and 7,823 preventative acts – which are warning people of rip currents and other dangers – when they enter the water to warn swimmers to move to a safer area.

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OB Planning Board Approves 3 Two-Story Residences on Abbott and Voltaire

September 4, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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At last night’s meeting, the Ocean Beach Planning Board approved by a wide margin a new development at the intersection of Voltaire Street and Abbott Street. The development includes three 2-story houses with a modern “contemporary design”.

The Board also made two appointments – and now the OB Planning Board is at full strength with 14 Board members – the first time in many years.

The September 3rd monthly meeting of the Board was gaveled to order by Chair Pete Ruscitti. The first thing up was an agenda change and Rucitti did a mea culpa and had to remove Action Item # One – the “condo-ization” of the Quigley Complex at 5151 Long Branch Avenue, due to a noticing problem. It will be heard next month.

During the public comment time, Nicole Burgess got up before the Board and informed the room that there are “rumors” that the City is considering installing a Stop Sign at the corner of Newport and Abbott. Nicole said that a round-about would be better. She added that the City is looking into placing a round-about at the “terrible” intersection of West Pt Loma Avenue and Bacon Street. Burgess is the rep for District 2 on the City Bicycle Coalition.

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Are These Residences Coming to Abbott the Right Project for OB?

September 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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At tonight’s OB Planning Board meeting, the owner-applicant of a set of three, 2-story single family residences that he wishes to build on Abbott Street and Voltaire at their intersection will be looking for approval from the Board.

The OB Rag was given an artist’s rendition of the planned buildings – seen above. The plan is to construct them on that empty lot that has been there for decades, as the lot was recently sold.

OBceans need to study the images and determine whether these planned projects are the right thing for Ocean Beach – do they comply with the small-town character that is so cherished by village residents? Or do they contribute to the growing impulses of gentrification?

If you wish to study the images, the plans and blueprints more, and give your opinion, you need to attend tonight’s meeting at the OB Rec Center, at 6pm sharp.

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OB Planning Board Wed., Sept 3: Quigley Complex for Condos and New Units on Abbott Empty Lot

September 2, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Here is the official agenda – INSIDE – of the Ocean Beach Planning Board for their monthly meeting, this Wednesday, September 3rd. The Board meets in the community room of the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Ave., 6pm sharp. The Board will be looking at permits to convert residential units on Long Branch to condos and to allow the building of three one-bedroom units on Abbott.

Quigley Complex for Condos?

The Board has a couple of important action items on their agenda. First up is a permit and map waiver for the Quigley Complex at 5151 Long Branch. The current owner/developer Bateman wants to convert the 4 residential units in the unique building designed and built by well-known architect Rob Quigley back in the Seventies into 4 condos. (Quigley designed the new Central Library in downtown San Diego.) Bateman needs Board approval of his condo conversion plan.

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Watch the Video of the Guy Who Put “Sucks” in the SeaWorld Freeway Sign

August 21, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Steve-O took 2 days and 5 efforts to place “Sucks” in the SeaWorld freeway exit sign last May. He’s a star already. He released this video of his efforts and it has gone viral.

It’s hilarious. Steve got help in climbing up and taping the word “SUCKS” over the mileage part of the giant green sign near the I-5 exit. So, it read “SeaWorld Sucks”.

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New Online Journal Asks “Is OB Slacking?” Because There’s No Protests at CVS

August 21, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: There’s a new online journal, “Our City”, which has taken a crack at Ocean Beach with a recent article titled “Is O.B. slacking?” With photos of CVS under construction, the OB Starbucks, Hodad’s, and the new condo construction on Abbott, the article delves into why there haven’t been any local protests of the new in-coming CVS Pharmacy in the old Apple Tree market building.

They ask:

What, no protests? No nasty bumper stickers? No nothing?

A chain store is coming to Ocean Beach, and there’s little sign of any kind of major backlash against this latest corporate invasion.

Their conclusion is interesting. …

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“A Trail for Humanity’s” Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

August 19, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

A Trail for Humanity's walkers and supporters march through Barrio Logan.

By Brent Beltran / San Diego Free Press

On the morning of Saturday, August 16 over 100 people gathered by the temescal (sweat lodge) in Chicano Park for a ceremony to honor the walkers of A Trail for Humanity.

On July 22 a group of women and children left Merced, California on a journey south to the US-Mexico border in San Ysidro to pressure the Obama administration to put a halt to its deportation enforcement only policies; call for an end to the use of police as immigration enforcement agents; demand an end to family separations; and stem the tide of racial profiling that has incarcerated so many migrants and African Americans.

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From San Diego, LA, to New York City – Americans Demand End to Police Shootings of Unarmed Black Men In Solidarity With Ferguson

August 15, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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From San Diego to Los Angeles and across the nation to New York City, Americans of all colors rallied and held vigils on Thursday, August 14th, in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri, in their struggle against local police who shot and killed a young Black man, Michael Brown.

The common issue and demand that are uniting Americans is a call to end police shootings of unarmed Black men.

In the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego, more than a hundred people gathered to show solidarity with the people of Ferguson and with the family of Michael Brown. Organizer Kim Moore yelled out:

“Put our hands up, don’t shoot!”

This refrain has become a rallying call for those in Ferguson and in San Diego and elsewhere. Reportedly, Brown, the teenager killed by police, had his hands up before being gunned down.

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SeaWorld San Diego to Build ‘Bigger Bathtubs’ for Its Killer Whales

August 15, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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In response to the public pressure that has decreased its attendance and finances due to awareness of how its orcas are treated, SeaWorld has announced that it will “upgrade” its facilities for its killer whales. Larger tanks will be built along with “water treadmill” systems to give them exercise.

According to a Wall Street Journal article published today, SeaWorld is spending millions to build the new enclosures – beginning in San Diego:

The company plans to upgrade the killer whale tanks at three of its theme parks, beginning with the San Diego location. The new enclosure in San Diego will be almost double the size of the current one, holding about 10 million gallons of water and extending to a depth of 50 feet. The company wouldn’t specify the cost of the upgrades, only saying it would be several hundred million dollars.

Our lucky San Diego orcas will now have new exercise equipment

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San Diego’s Minimum Wage Battle Heats Up With Arrival of Sleaze of Political Consultant Hired to Defeat Ordinance

August 15, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Minimum Wage Battle Heats Up With Arrival of Sleaze of Political Consultant Hired to Defeat Ordinance

Editor: Doug Porter over at our online partner, San Diego Free Press, has hit the nail on the ol’ proverbial head with today’s column on the battle heating up over San Diego’s minimum wage ordinance.

The anti-minimum wage forces, boosted by Mayor Faulconer’s veto of the ordinance last week, plan on running a petition to overturn the anticipated City Council over-ride of Faulconer’s veto.

Today, Porter focuses on the political consultant hired to run the petition drive, and gives needed context and background to the whole battle – which is being fought nation-wide.

By Doug Porter

I’ve been saying it for months now–the minimum wage battle in San Diego will bring out the Really Big Lies and the Really Bad Guys. Today we’ll give you a little taste of what they’re saying and what they really believe.

On Monday City Council President Todd Gloria has called for a special session of the City Council to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a minimum wage increase and paid sick days for San Diego workers.

Gloria is quoted in this morning’s UT, saying, “The City Council should stand up for the 38 percent of San Diegans who are counting on this raise to help them better make ends meet, and I hope they will override the mayor’s veto”

On Tuesday, The “San Diego Small Business Coalition,” created by big businesses, will roll out a small army of signature gatherers armed with a spiel designed to fool voters into thinking they’re signing a reasonable petition.

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Bad Day at Blackfish Rock – SeaWorld Now Says Its Losing Visitors and Money

August 14, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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SeaWorld Shares Drop 30%

It was a bad day yesterday, Wednesday, August 13, for SeaWorld, as company execs admitted for the very first time that the aquatic theme parks are losing visitors and money due to the film “Blackfish” – the movie about SeaWorld mistreating orcas. Almost immediately SeaWorld shares dropped 30%.

Up to now, SeaWorld – which has 11 theme parks across the country – has denied that its earnings and numbers of customers have declined due to “Blackfish”.

Yet they had to admit the losses in the company’s financial results for the second quarter of 2014. The losses are due to a drop in people coming to their “destination-parks” – like SeaWorld San Diego. With audiences in decline and sales of everything from tickets and products affected, the company reported:

Attendance of 6.6 million, a 0.3% increase versus the second quarter of 2013” – plus

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Two Billion At Risk: The Threat of Limited Nuclear War

August 12, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Robert Dodge, Ira Helfand / Common Dreams

As physicians we spend our professional lives applying scientific facts to the health and well being of our patients. When it comes to public health threats like TB, polio, cholera, AIDS and others where there is no cure, our aim is to prevent what we cannot cure. It is our professional, ethical and moral obligation to educate and speak out on these issues.

Nagasaki A-bombThat said, the greatest imminent existential threat to human survival is potential of global nuclear war. We have long known that the consequences of large scale nuclear war could effectively end human existence on the planet.

Yet there are more than 17,000 nuclear warheads in the world today with over 95% controlled by the U.S. and Russia.

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Mayor Faulconer’s First 100 Days: Veto Minimum-Wage Ordinance and Stalling on City’s Environmental Policies

August 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been in office now just a little over one hundred days. And if this start to his administration is an indicator, the remainder of his term as mayor may be cause for some very rough going for San Diego environmentalists and minimum-wage supporters.

Faulconer’s actions – or, rather, inactions, around environmental policies have made eco-advocates furious. (More on that below.)

To the more immediate news, today, Friday, the 8th day of August, Faulconer formally vetoed the minimum-wage and sick-day ordinance passed by the City Council on July 28th. The measure would if enacted increase the hourly minimum wage to $9.75 on Jan. 1, $10.50 in January 2016 and $11.50 in January 2017, plus it provided access to five earned sick days.

The Council, with a 6 to 3 current ratio of Dems to Repubs, is expected to over-ride the Mayor’s veto, and the measure will become law. But then, in turn, this is expected to set the stage for an extremely divisive referendum effort by businesses and the Chamber of Commerce seeking to overturn the ordinance – which will be placed on hold until the referendum issue is settled.

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Logan Heights Restaurant Owner Faces Hate for Supporting Refugee Children

August 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Logan Heights Restaurant Owner Faces Hate for Supporting Refugee Children

“They’re not gonna make me not live. There not gonna make me stop what I’m doing. If anything they’re making my resolve harder and firmer.” – Mark Lane

By Brent E. Beltrán / San Diego Free Press

Last week I found out there’s a restaurant owner in Logan Heights who has been facing death threats from the people that have been hating on the refugee children from Central America. Mark Lane, owner of Poppa’s Fresh Fish, has received numerous phone calls and social media messages calling for his death and that of his family after calling for a boycott of Murrieta, Hate City USA, and for taking in a refugee family from Guatemala.

After hearing about the death threats and the attempted boycott of his business by hateful bigots I thought I’d contact him and see if he was willing to talk about his situation. He was and he had a lot to say. …

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Short Video of City Council Vote on OB Community Plan

August 6, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Here’s a short video montage – COME INSIDE FOR VID – by Anthony Palmiotto on last weeks City Council vote on the OB Community Plan – back on Tuesday, July 29th. Palmiotto is the OB Town Council’s Community Relations Chair.

Here, Palm has captured several memorable scenes, especially those moments as Gretchen Newsom, the OB Town Council president was reading off the list of OB organizations that support the Plan, and as members of the audience – mostly OBceans – stood as the name of their group was read.

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Reverberations from Historic City Council Vote on OB Community Plan

August 5, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The reverberations from last week’s historic City Council vote July 29th to approve the OB Community Plan have yet to be felt – other than the celebrations -, either in OB or throughout the City, but the vote will have consequences – good ones – for two or three decades.

Plus the dust hadn’t settled after the unanimous vote, when the question was raised ‘What’s next? What is the next hurdle the Plan must take before it becomes a reality?’

The short answer is that the Plan goes before the California Coastal Commission in October, according to city staff.

Meanwhile, the vote was a clear victory for Ocean Beach but it was also a win for other communities around San Diego. Let’s examine this.

OBviously, with a new community plan, OB will be affected for the next 20 to 30 years. What else does the vote mean? For Ocean Beach, the vote did several things.

First, it vindicated the resistance by the OB Planning Board …

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OB – the “Haight-Ashbury of San Diego” – Not Eligible for Medical Marijuana Dispensary – But Midway Is

July 31, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB – the “Haight-Ashbury of San Diego” – Not Eligible for Medical Marijuana Dispensary – But Midway Is

San Diego’s Community Planning Groups Lobbied by Anti-Weed Group

Apparently, according to the new City of San Diego ordinance passed in March that regulates them, OB, the “Haight-Ashbury of San Diego” can’t have a medical marijuana dispensary. But the community of Midway can have a number.

It’s not just Ocean Beach – as the ordinance severely restricts dispensaries in most communities of San Diego. They are only allowed in a limited number of industrial and commercial zones. They also have to be:

  • at least 100 feet away from residential property and
  • at least 1,000 feet from schools,
  • playgrounds,
  • libraries,
  • parks,
  • churches
  • and facilities focused on youth activities.

That excludes OB – the community that most resembles the “hippie capital” of America, the Haight up in San Francisco.

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San Diego For-Profit Universities Making Tons of Money Handing Out Worthless Degrees

July 31, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Ashford University and University of Phoenix Worst Offenders Targeting Returning Vets

amPhxMagBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

Everyone wants to better themselves, right, by getting a college education. Most of all the Iraq and Afghanistan vets transitioning into civilian life. To that end our politicians in Washington have crafted a GI Bill that allows them to do just that at taxpayer expense.

Problem is most of that money is being gobbled up by for-profit universities like the University of Phoenix and Ashford University which don’t even qualify for state financial aid. These universities attract and recruit students by advertising heavily and “selling” them on the value of one of their degrees.

When many of the students graduate, they can’t get a job based on a degree which potential employers say …

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City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

July 30, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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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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Ocean Beach: All Out to the City Council Hearing Today – July 29th

July 29, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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4,000 Signatures Collected in Support of OB Plan

This is the day that Ocean Beach has been waiting for – for months, and for some, they’ve been waiting for years for this day. This is the day that the San Diego City Council does a final review for approval of the OB Community Plan – recently updated.

The Council takes up the OB plan at 2 pm. Every OBcean who can is urged to attend the hearing to show support for the Plan – and everyone who attends is asked to wear blue. (Blue OB “attitude” T-shirts are available at Dog Beach Dog Wash for $10 – 4933 Voltaire.)

Over a 100 OB supporters are expected to gather – as 40 were present last month just for a continuance. Already 85 have signed up on the online facebook page.

The City Council meets at City Hall, 202 “C” Street in downtown San Diego, 92101, on the 12th floor in Council Chambers. OB

Organizers are, in addition, asking OBceans to attend a 1:30 pm “rally” downstairs at City Hall on the bottom floor outside.

Plus, organizers expect to submit approximately 4,000 signatures in support of the Ocean Beach Community Plan –

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Ocean Beach Mobilizes for City Council Show-Down on Tuesday, July 29th

July 28, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach Mobilizes for City Council Show-Down on Tuesday, July 29th

You can tell something is happening in Ocean Beach by the number of emails fluttering around OB’s cyberspace.

For instance, the OB Town Council is sending out their email announcements calling on members of their group and supporters of their “Respect OB” campaign to attend tomorrow’s City Council hearing on the Community Plan.

The OBTC says:

Do you love Ocean Beach? Do you want to protect our small-scale character? Do you want to prevent bulky over-development?

Then heed this call to action!

Step 1: Sign the online petition to protect the small-scale character of Ocean Beach

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OB Property Owner Who Swore If Granted Variances He Would Live in House – Now Advertises It as “Vacation Rental” for $2500 to $3600 per Week

July 24, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Property Owner Who Swore If Granted Variances He Would Live in House – Now Advertises It as “Vacation Rental” for $2500 to $3600 per Week

Back in 2011, a property owner on West Point Loma Avenue who while pleading for variances to build his 3-story McMansion, swore both to the OB Planning Board and to the Coastal Commission that if the variances were granted, he would live in the house as his home.

Alvin Cox swore it. So, he was granted the variances, and he built his mansion.

And now, Alvin Cox rents it out as a “vacation rental” for between $2,450 to $3,675 a week ($350 – $525 a day).

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