Semi-Breaking News: Mayor Faulconer Endorses Current OB Community Plan – Rejects Planning Commission’s Recommendations

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

In a “semi-breaking” news flash, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has come out and publicly endorsed the current OB Community Plan – the Plan that is being supported by every group in the community and thousands of its residents.

The U-T reported today – July 22 – that “Faulconer er said through a spokesman this week that he prefers reverting back to the previous version of the plan, which strongly discourages city officials from allowing exceptions to the community’s strict density limits.”

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The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbuse in 1988

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Navy Ship Responsible From San Diego

The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17th – allegedly by separatists fighting the Kiev government – killing all 295 people on board, has shocked the world, and has intensified the demands for sanctions on those responsible.

But if no sanctions materialize, it wouldn’t be the first time a civilian plane carrying hundreds of passengers was shot down by combatants – with nothing happening to those responsible.

In fact, a lot of the general elements are the same. But the incident that I am reminded about is the day – back in early July 1988, when two US military missiles fired from U.S. Navy ship Vincennes hit Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board.

Nothing – I repeat – nothing ever happened to the U.S. because of this incident. It did go a long way in creating a deep distrust towards America by an entire generation of Iranians.

But nothing happened. No sanctions. No boycotts. No United Nations condemnations. Nothing. Most Americans alive then have probably forgotten about it.

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Special Meeting of OB Planning Board – Wed., July 23

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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There will be a Special Meeting of the Ocean Beach Planning Board this Wednesday, July 23rd. The meeting is called to have the Board formally take up the issue of the recommendations made by the staff of the California Coastal Commission to the OB Community Plan, being considered by the City Council on July 29th. … As per usual, the Board meets at the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue at 6pm sharp.

Reps from the Update committee and city planning staff will present the Board with the Coastal Commission’s proposed revisions, staff response, and how the update committee views them.

Also on deck is a proposed residential project at 2143 Bacon Street. The owner has requested that the Board give him feedback to his proposal.

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Momentum Continues as OB Readies for City Council Showdown on July 29th

July 21, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The momentum in support for the Ocean Beach Community Plan continues as the showdown at the City Council hearing nears. The OB Plan is scheduled to be before the Council on Tuesday, July 29th.

It’s estimated that activists now have close to 3,500 signatures on the petitions, with at least 60% from OB or the 92107 zip code, with the remainders being residents of the city of San Diego.

This is the last full week that OBceans can sign the Petition in support of the Community Plan – and it will be available for signing during Wednesday’s Farmers Market, as well as in certain businesses. Organizers have close to 3500 signatures at this point.

This is what’s going on:

Meeting tonight – Monday, July 21 – of Sub-committee on Draft Plan, 6pm, at Dog Beach Dog Wash, located at 4933 Voltaire Street. ….

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3 Unit Apartment on 4900 Block of West Point Loma Sold for Close to $1 Million

July 18, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The Daily Transcript (subscription) / July 16, 2014

A 3-unit apartment on West Point Loma Avenue has just been sold for close to a million bucks. Buyer Robb A Murphy just spent $950,000 for the 2-story structure and yard at 4960-4962 W. Point Loma Blvd.

The building has 2,016 square feet total and is on a 5,624-square-foot lot (assessor’s parcel 448-230-02). Within the 3 units, there’s only four bedrooms and three bathrooms. It was built in 1953.

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The Story of How Community Planning Came to O.B.

July 17, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Staff: This is the second part of a 2-part series published this week. The series is loosely based on a talk by Frank Gormlie at the February 21, 2013 OB Historical Society monthly meeting. Here is Part 1

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The Twists and Turns of the Community Plan for OB

By Frank Gormlie

Last we left off was the Spring of 1972, when the City Planning Department canceled or postponed all its meetings or workshops on the Pen. Inc sponsored Precise Plan. This was due to the establishment of a substantial opposition to the plan, which was in the form of a damning survey of resident attitudes toward development, high-rise and density increases, and a petition calling for a building moratorium signed by thousands.

So, in the spring and summer months of 1972, the crisis was over – at least temporarily as Ocean Beach had awoken, and its residents had successfully halted the threatened onslaught of massive development.

There appeared to be a lull … for about 6 or 7 months.

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The Story of How Community Planning Came to Be in Ocean Beach – How Ocean Beach Was “Saved”

July 16, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Part 1
By Frank Gormlie

I have a story, and it’s a story about urban planning in Ocean Beach during the mid-1970′s – and how community planning came to be here in OB. It is a story about how a crisis of over-development encrusted the village of OB – and then it’s a story about how OBceans responded to that crisis – a crisis that affected much of coastal of San Diego and of the rest of the Southern California.

It’s a story how the small village blocked a plan that would have literally paved the way for the community to be redeveloped into a San Diego version of Miami Beach.

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No One Ever Charged in Attack in OB on Homeless One Year Ago

July 10, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

One year ago almost exactly, reportedly a “gang” from OB attacked several homeless men, causing serious injuries, and then also attacked some local residents. This happened on the 4900 block of Newport Avenue around 2 a.m. on July 14, 2013.

One year later, no one has ever been charged with these crimes or brought to justice. It had been alleged that an OB gang, the “OB Rats” were responsible. Here is what the OB Rag reported on July 17, 2013:

The OB Rag has heard from two independent sources that an Ocean Beach gang attacked several homeless men Sunday night, July 14th, causing at least one serious injury, and then also attacked some locals. This occurred at approximately 2 a.m. on OB’s main street, Newport Avenue.

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Sunset Cliffs Park – Is It a Park or a Parking Lot?

July 10, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Report on Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Advisory Council, July 7, 2014

By Lois Lane

At the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Advisory Council meeting, it was déjà vu all over again, as they say.

The public comment period of the meeting lasted over an hour, as Point Loma neighbors on Amiford, Stafford, and Cornish voiced their impatience with park graffiti, under-age drinking, any-age drug use, all accompanied by cars, noise and general disruption by the people involved (not all homeless in this case), most of it at night, with the park a regular hangout.Not to mention the off-leash dogs.

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Torrey Pine on West Point Loma Coming Down

July 9, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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A Torrey Pine on private property at 5035 West Point Loma Blvd is coming down today – Wed., July 9th.

Even though Torrey Pines are a protected species, the San Diego Municipal Code does not protect them if they are on private property. Public property is another matter, as it is illegal to cut them down. Here’s what the SD Muni Code say:

§63.07 Destruction, Injury of Torrey Pines Trees — Prohibited

That it shall be unlawful for any person or persons to cut, injure or destroy any trees known as the “Pinus Torreyana” growing upon Pueblo Lots Nos. 1332, 1337 and 1338 or any other public lots or lands, belonging to and within the corporate limits of the City of San Diego.

Of course, OBceans have been planting and saving Torrey Pines for a century.

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News From Around the Surf and Sand of Ocean Beach

July 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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* No Injuries a Miracle as SUV Plows into OB Episcopal Church

A Honda Pilot SUV plowed into OB’s Episcopal Diocese

* No Arrests at July 4th BBQ for Homeless

There were no arrests of anyone at the July 4th BBQ for homeless people in Saratoga Park.

* Volunteers Needed at Farmers Market to Circulate OB Plan Petition

Volunteers are needed as OB organizers gear up for the final showdown at the City Council. They’re needed to help circulate the Petition in support of the OB Community Plan.

* Councilman Ed Harris to Hold Forum on Homelessness – Thursday July 10

Councilman Harris will host a forum at the Point Loma library Thursday evening – July 10 – at seven

… AND MORE – COME INSIDE ….

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San Diego Media Discovering the Battle Over OB’s Community Plan

July 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Local Press Playing Catch-Up

Finally, some of San Diego’s mainstream media have discovered the battle over the Ocean Beach Community Plan. The U-T San Diego ran two versions basically of the same article by reported David Garrick on June 28 and 29, quoting Pete Ruscitti, the OB planning chair, and Gretchen Newsom, the head of the OB Town Council. Here is the lede:

O.B. RESIDENTS FIGHT SOFTER BUILDING RULES

OCEAN BEACH — Worried that a new community plan for Ocean Beach could destroy the area’s small-scale charm, more than 2,000 residents have signed petitions this month asking the city to maintain building restrictions that date back four decades.

The residents say loosening the rules would transform their community into Mission Beach or Pacific Beach, where three-story vacation rentals have replaced small cottages and other less intense housing in many areas.

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Surfrider: Significant Decrease in Trash on Beach After July 4th – Partly Due to Curtailed Marshmallow War in OB

July 7, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

The San Diego Surfrider, other environmental groups and all the volunteers who massed the day after July 4th to do the beach clean-up found a huge drop in the trash on the beach. A spokesperson stated that there was a “significant decrease in the amount of trash collected this year compared to the last few years.”

The group attributed part of the this to the curtailment of this year’s OB Marshmallow War.

In a press release from Surfrider San Diego, they announced that nearly 650 people gathered at 4 beach sites on July 5th as volunteers for the massive annual clean-up effort, led by Surfrider. By midday, they reported that a total of 1,410 pounds of trash and 326 pounds of recycling had been collected.

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OB Marshmallow War 2014 – a Shadow of Its Former Self

July 5, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The Marshmallow War in Ocean Beach last night, July 4th, was less than a third of what it was in 2013. Way less marshmallows were thrown, the throwing did not get out of hand, and by 9:30 it was over and there was hardly a marshmallow in the streets down around Newport and Abbott.

Compared to last year, there were no marshmallows thrown before the fireworks, none thrown during the fireworks, and after the explosions and light show, it took a few moments before the first white globs were seen in the air.

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OB Rag Looking for July 4th Monitors and OBservers

July 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Will the Marshmallow Ban Hold? Will Homeless Advocates Be Arrested?

Your online, local website is looking for a few good observers who have cameras for July 4th. That’s right, the OB Rag wants to sign up a handful of volunteers who will assist us in monitoring what happens in Ocean Beach on Friday, July 4th.

There’s a bunch of stuff to observe – and we’re not talking about the surf or the fireworks.

First, if homeless advocates go ahead as planned and feed homeless people in Saratoga Park at the beach, they may be arrested. The group that does feed homeless on major holidays say they have threatened with being arrested if they proceed with their plans. They’ll be doing this from 11 am to 2 pm.

So, we need observers with cameras and monitors for that potential scene.

And second, of course, is what happens down on the beach at night after the fireworks.

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Group Threatened With Arrest If They Feed Homeless at Saratoga Park on July 4th

July 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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UPDATE: No arrests made as volunteers served dozens of homeless and other needy people this morning at Saratoga Park in OB.

A group that feeds homeless people on every holiday at an Ocean Beach park has been threatened with arrest by police if they go ahead feed the homeless on July 4th.

The group – Second Chances – is a non-profit that works with local churches and homeless advocates. They feed homeless people in OB every Saturday at the Episcopal Church on Sunset Cliffs and Brighton. And on major holidays the also feed homeless folks at Saratoga Park down at the beach. The last holiday they did this was on Memorial Day this year – without hassles.

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Is Park and Rec About to Remove 2 North OB Park Picnic Tables Due to Complaints From OB’s Gentry?

July 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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UPDATE: It has been confirmed to the OB Rag by a Park and Rec manager that these two picnic tables will be moved. Dan Danerio said that these two tables have not always been where they are now, that his department had a couple extra ones and decided to place them in the grassy area as an experiment. It didn’t work out due to complaints from local homeowners, including some of the new owners of the large mansions close to the tables. …. More inside

Why? Why would Park and Rec remove two picnic tables?

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Break-down of Coastal Commission Recommendations to OB Plan

July 2, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Last Friday, June 27th, staff of the California Coastal Commission submitted 43 recommendations involving the Ocean Beach Community Plan to the City for its considerations. This 11th-hour submittal of modifications has now delayed the review and potential approval of OB’s Plan by the City Council. This past Monday, the Council moved their hearing to July 29th.

The Council felt that City staff, both from the planning department and the City Attorney’s Office, needed to review and respond to the recommendations.

If staff found a recommendation that is “material” – that is a substantial change – to the Plan, then the potential exists for even more delays, as the Plan then would have to go back before the Planning Commission.

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LA Times Discovers OB’s Marshmallow Controversy

July 1, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: Tony Perry, friend and San Diego stringer for the LA Times posted his take on OB’s marshmallow controversy. The Times also posted an OB Rag photo by Joe Ewing, and quoted the OB Rag in a statement no one here on staff recalls making, anywhere in the numerous articles the Rag has published about the marshmallows.

S.D.’s Ocean Beach weary of annual July 4 marshmallow fight’s mess

By Tony Perry
Since the mid-1980s, residents of the Ocean Beach community of San Diego have enjoyed a unique Fourth of July free-for-all: a marshmallow fight after the evening display of fireworks. But the sticky, gooey mess left behind in recent years has increased calls to abandon the tradition.

In that time, the spontaneous, leaderless event has gotten more aggressive, spreading from the beach to the main business street of Newport Avenue and then to surrounding streets. The mess left by countless marshmallows has been unsightly and substantial.

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City Council Pushed by OB to Set Earliest Date for Hearing on Community Plan

July 1, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Due to a last-minute Coastal Commission list of recommendations that the City has to consider, the long-scheduled City Council hearing on the OB Community Plan was postponed to July 29th.

This all came down on Monday, June 30th. Word had spread among OB planners, OB Town Council members, and other organizers that Mayor Faulconer was asking the Council to continue the long-awaiting hearing on the OB Plan due to time needed by city staff to review the Coastal Commission’s modifications.

So, the major mobilization of OBceans planned for a month, was called off – but only partially – as 40 people from OB were in Council Chambers on Monday, and thirty of them wore the blue ‘support OB’ T-shirts.

It has to be noted, that it was because of the presence of so many OBceans and because of the insistence by the OBceans who publicly spoke to have the Council review the OB Plan at the earliest possible date, that the July date was selectd. The Council had been considering September 19th …

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City Council Hearing on OB Plan Moved to July 29

July 1, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

At the insistence of OB leaders, planners and other OBceans at yesterday’s City Council meeting on the OB Community Plan, the Council set the earliest “possible” date for the actual hearing – July 29th.

Forty and more OBceans and supporters filled Council Chambers – on what was to be a fateful day of Ocean Beach. The City Council hearing on the OB Plan has been scheduled for weeks – if not months – for Monday, June 30th. OB planners had geared up a campaign to mobilize the coastal community downtown and with thousands of signatures on their petition.

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BREAKING NEWS: City Council Hearing on OB Community Plan to Be Postponed

June 28, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

At the 11th Hour, Coastal Commission Makes 43 Recommended Changes to OB Plan

The San Diego City Council Hearing on the OB Community Plan scheduled for Monday, June 30th, will be postponed to as yet an unknown date.

Councilman Ed Harris’ office was notified by the Mayor’s Office late on Friday afternoon that due to a brand new, 11th hour submission of 43 recommended “modifications” to the Plan by the staff of the California Coastal Commission, the Mayor will be seeking a continuance – or postponement – of the hearing slated for 2pm. It needs to be postponed in order to allow City staff sufficient time to evaluate the recommendations and make a response. …

COME INSIDE FOR THE MEMO …

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Even Tourists Are Coming Out in Favor of the OB Community Plan

June 27, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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(Hat tip to Wayne and Judith Starker)

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Fun and Games at the OB Town Council

June 27, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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You never know what you’ll learn or see at a OB Town Council meeting until you’re actually there. And this was true last Wednesday night at their monthly meeting as usual.

Nearly 60 people gathered in the Masonic Center to get in on the action of the Town Council that night. With 4 TV stations present for the marshmallow controversy, there was a certain tension in the air as President Gretchen Newsom gaveled the meeting to order. The marshmallows and the OB Community Plan were the big ticket items on the agenda, but there was lots else going on – not to mention the upcoming 35th Annual OB Street Fair.

OB Firefighters and Para-Medics Have Warnings

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New OB Planning Board Chair Has Found His Groove

June 27, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Pete Ruscitti, the new chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board, has truly found his groove in heading up the local community planners. With a Masters in Public Policy and a number of internships with public agencies dealing with issues of planning and transportation under his belt, he is a currently a transportation planner for the firm he works for, Parsons Brinckerhoff.

Pete is certainly a policy guy. Urban planning is where his heart is – this is what he wants to do. Pete’s meteoric rise on the Board Board for OB has been noticeable. …

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Final Push Is On for Petition Drive in Support of the OB Community Plan

June 26, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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OB planners and their supporters are in a final push in the petition drive in support of the OB Community Plan. Petitioners have gathered about 1700 signatures at this point, announced Gio Ingolia at the OB Town Council meeting last night, June 25th.

Petitioners will be out in force at OB’s Street Fair this Saturday, June 28th. It’s the 35th anniversary of the OB annual event. Petitions will be available throughout the Fair, including at the OBTC Chili Cookoff booth, at the OB Mainstreet Association booth, at the OB Historical Society table, and at the Point Loma Democratic Club booth.

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Momentum Grows for End to OB’s Marshmallow Wars – Newport Avenue Merchants Pledge to Limit Marshmallow Sales on July 4th

June 26, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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It appears that the campaign to end OB’s marshmallow wars is gaining momentum. The campaign – led and organized by the OB Town Council – centers on a “Mallow Out” pledge effort to not use or buy marshmallows on the national holiday. It was announced at last night’s OBTC meeting that Newport Avenue merchants have promised to limit marshmallow sales on July 4th.

As the Town Council volunteers gather their pledges, Councilman Ed Harris has come out in support of their effort. His community rep, Chet Barfield, informed the audience at the OBTC meeting. Harris wrote a letter to local OB businesses, Barfield said to get them to cut down on bulk sales of marshmallows. Harris’ office, he also stated, is working to get city street sweeper trucks to be out in force along the beach right after the OB Fireworks end in an attempt to dissuade any marshmallow revelry.

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One Day Left to Protest Sale of Alcohol at the Future OB CVS Pharmacy

June 25, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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No One Has Filed Complaint Yet – June 26th Is Deadline

By Tony de Garate

The final hours are winding down on a 30-day period to protest an application to sell beer, wine and spirits at a future CVS Pharmacy at 4949 Santa Monica Ave., according to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

June 26 is the last day ABC will allow any citizen to protest the sale of alcohol at CVS, which is planning to take over the building that has been lifeless since the departure of Apple Tree Market at the end of 2012.

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New OB Consignment Shop Hits the Ground Runnin’

June 24, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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There is a new consignment shop on Abbott Street these days and it appears the partners who own it hit the ground running. The Consignment Shack OB – located next to the laundry mat and where formerly Rocky’s Surf Shop existed, near the corner of Abbott and Muir, was able to move in fully blown because the partners own another larger store in La Mesa – way out there in East County.

But the partners have lived in OB for years. Nancy Fiandaca was staffing the place the other day when I visited the shop. She owns it along with Dani Fiandaca and Kelly McFall.

Nancy told me, “We’re from OB,” and she herself has lived here for 27 years.

They opened about a month and half ago and offer unusual furniture, art and household decor, particularly mid-century, vintage and “just cool stuff”, Nancy said.

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Another community whose plan is in trouble – and this time it’s Ocean Beach

June 23, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

Coming on the heels of the electoral defeat of the community plan for Barrio Logan in the June 3rd Primary, there’s now yet another community whose plan in trouble, and this time it’s Ocean Beach.

After a 12 year process of updating its community plan, Ocean Beach finally had a Draft Update that was supported and endorsed by every community group in the village. The OB Town Council was on board as were the merchants’ association. Plus other groups as well, like the Friends of the OB Library.

But on its way for the anticipated final approval by the City Council, the OB Community Plan ran into a roadblock: the San Diego Planning Commission.

At their May 29th hearing on the Plan, the Planning Commission – having listened to City staff endorse it, and after nearly every Commissioner praised OB’s “unique character”, turned around and …

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