Internet Date Rape in Ocean Beach Reported

November 6, 2012 by Christopher Dotson

Police Believe Suspect Lives in OB

According to San Diego Police, a three week relationship built online has ended as a horrible nightmare for a woman, and a hunt for the man she met over the internet has begun. Lt Natalie Stone confirmed a report that an OB woman was raped Sunday morning – after being drugged while on a first date with a man who lives in Ocean Beach.

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More on OB Crime – Using the Tools to Find Maps and Charts

November 2, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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OB Crime Report – Using the tools

Earlier in a post, we began to examine OB crime trends and hot-spots, identifying important crime maps from crimemapping.com to help understand the recent crime spike and to improve crime awareness and prevention efforts throughout OB. We also examined online statistics from ARJIS.org which indicate OB crime was slightly lower, overall, for August 2012 compared to August 2011.

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Examining Ocean Beach Crime Rates

October 30, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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WTF, OB? Another Sex Crime?

We’ve had another sex crime in OB! Another woman was groped but this time the pervert was inside her home, creeping around at 5:45AM Sunday. The woman had to push the man away, running and locking herself inside her bathroom to call police. The suspected attacker was discovered by police afterwards in the victim’s backyard, and the Latino male adult with dark skin and bald head is being held on suspicion of sexual assault.

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San Diego Police Conduct “Audit” of 137 Known Sex Offenders in the Area

October 19, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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The SDPD’s Western Division is conducting an audit of the some 137 known sex offenders in the area. And it began Thursday, Oct. 18th. (The “area” is assumed to be the City of San Diego that is in the Western Division.)

We learned of the audit while conducting some follow-up of our own on some OB crime activity, including the recent stabbings, as well as the status of DNA evidence which is believed to have been collected from the Saratoga Avenue peeping tom.

Police say this on-going operation is not in response to any perceived increase in recent sex crimes, but rather it is an effort by the SDPD Western Division to determine the status of the area’s sexual offenders. The police summary report reflects the efforts of eleven different agencies.

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Suspect in Ocean Front Grope Attack in Custody – Police Call for Witnesses

October 19, 2012 by Christopher Dotson

Suspect Arrested on Other Charges – SDPD Calling for Witnesses and Information to Attack in Ocean Front Alley on Wednesday

San Diego Police Department’s Lt Natalie Stone has confirmed a suspect who police think is the perpetrator in the grope attack is in custody – although he is in custody on other charges. The man had just been released from jail last Monday – 2 days prior.

A 25 year old woman was ambushed while walking in the 1600 block of Ocean Front alley shortly before 9 a.m. on Wednesday, the 17th of October. She was hit on the head, told to be quiet, and then groped. The man ran off. There is some new info – the assailant apparently was frightened off by the sudden appearance of a Cox Cable truck.

Police say they need any witnesses to come forward who may have any information regarding this most recent attack against a young woman in South Ocean Beach. If you do have info, contact the San Diego Sex Crimes unit by calling 619-531-2210.

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OB Town Council Hears Outrage From Residents Over Recent Sexual Assaults and Peeping Tom Incidents

September 28, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Community Members Jam OBTC Meeting and Voice Impatience at Lack of Progress by Police

Wednesday night at 7PM, the OB Town Council held their monthly public meeting, as a crowd of more than 100 Ocean Beach residents filled Masonic hall to express anger over a growing perception serious and violent sexual crimes are increasing in OB.

While the actual number of reported incidents remains low, a strong showing by residents, and several television camera crews from local media stations, were met with serious concern from San Diego police, as officers and residents reported on both known and unreported incidents.

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Peeping Tom Reported on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach

September 20, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Earlier this week, a flyer was hand delivered to OB residents along Saratoga Avenue issuing a warning of a “peeping tom on Saratoga Ave.” The flyer goes on to describe events surrounding an individual male stalker which San Diego Police are now investigating.

The word “BEWARE” appears in the heading, and the flyer narrates events as they unfolded on Monday morning, 9/17, around 10:30am after an OB parent found a large hunting knife outside their back door, on Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach. Even more alarming, the same startled parent also discovered a red velvet top-hat sitting on a trashcan which was located underneath their daughter’s bedroom window.

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The Green Store of Ocean Beach: Solar 101, DVD’s, Lending Library and more!

September 15, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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So, we’ve been hanging out at the OB RAG “desk” the past month or so, and it’s been a blast to take up residence at The Green Store of Ocean Beach. The co-founder, Colleen Dietzel, is on-hand with a wealth of knowledge, able to discuss at length most anything in the store, as well as the scene around town. What she isn’t familiar with, Colleen will readily admit without failure, yet, somehow all the while she’ll be steering you directly to a shelf or publication or DVD which will arouse your curiosity, and further your search for knowledge and resources available in Ocean Beach. She really is quite amazing!

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Community Weaving: Is this the new face of activism – as the Ocean Beach Entryway clean-up showed?

September 12, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Is activism dying out in America? According to a recent OB RAG article which revisited the Occupy movement one year later, the Occupiers may no longer have their tents staked to the ground downtown, but they have returned home or are looking for jobs while continuing the movement. Since activists are a wide ranging bunch, is this now the state of activism in America?

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Sunset Cliffs Rescue Operation – Was Victim Pushed or Did He Fall?

September 6, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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UPDATE: See Inside …

Around 5:45pm on Thursday, August 6th, San Diego Police, Fire and Rescue, and Life Guard vehicles swarmed the streets of OB at the west end of Del Monte Avenue, as they rescued a man after he was injured from a fall along the cliffs.

While several officers reported the man was injured when he fell while “horsing around”, another report from Fire and Rescue personnel claimed he was pushed. Given the sheer number of police officers, and the police interviews being conducted along the cliffs, the high volume of activity seemed to suggest the latter report may be closer to the truth – that is he may have been intentionally pushed.

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Remembering ‘The Great Black Out of 2011’ in Ocean Beach

September 5, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Some OBceans Are Planning Anniversary Block Parties

So, here we are one year along after what should only be described as a wake up call to Southern Californian’s – one year has passed since OBceans came together for The Great Black Out of 2011.

One year after someone “accidentally kicked a switch” and a multi-state black out ensued, and one year after OB’s own indomitable spirit spontaneously ignited, lighting the streets with BBQ’s and lawn parties.

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Ocean Beach Projects: Gateways, Signs and Stall Doors

September 4, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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At a recent OB Town Council meeting on August 22nd, our representative from Councilmember Kevin Faulconer’s office, Michael Patton, gave updates to several issues of interest here in Ocean Beach. Patton cited new information regarding the OB Gateway Project (see our recent post here) and the OB Sign design process. He also commented on the addition of highly anticipated bathroom stall doors for the recently completed Brighton St. comfort stations.

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Ocean Beach Town Council Preps for Election of Board Members

August 31, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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The Ocean Beach Town Council (OBTC) held a special meeting Wednesday, August 29th, for the upcoming elections of the new OBTC Board of Directors. Each of the ten candidates submitted a letter of intent, and each was given the opportunity to brief the council that night, prior to the elections which will be held over the next couple of weeks when ballots go out to OBTC members.

Despite the nature of this important public meeting, each candidate addressed only the existing board members, as there were no other members of the public and no other members of the OBTC present during the meeting.

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OB RAG Desk Now At The Green Store

August 15, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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OB RAG Desk at The Green Store,
4843 Voltaire, Suite B,
Ocean Beach, 92107

Yes, it’s true! The OB Rag has a new desk located in OB at The Green Store, 4843 Voltaire, Suite B, Ocean Beach, 92107.

In the past year or so, OB RAG readership has quadrupled with some months to over 100,000 hits per month! With OB RAG expanding, and the introduction of our online sister publication, San Diego Free Press, we feel the time is ripe to expand our physical presence, too. An OB RAG volunteer will be available between 12 and 2PM, and again between 4 and 6PM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

What better partner for OB RAG than The Green Store?

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Report on Ocean Beach Planners’ Hearing on Proposed Waterfront Design Changes

May 19, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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From OB Planning Board Project Review Committee Meeting of May 16th, wherein the “Ocean Beach Master Plan” is renamed “Waterfront Enhancement”, and more …

Last Wednesday evening, the Ocean Beach Planning Board Project Review Committee met at the OB Recreation Center. It’s worth noting the first change to the agenda was item#1, originally entitled the “Ocean Beach Master Plan”. At the onset of discussions, it was requested by the submitters to rename the agenda item as “Waterfront Enhancement”. The new proposal was discussed too briefly, and it is expected to grow as additional projects are developed.

Currently, the plan lists a series of important and independent projects around town. A new committee has been formed around these efforts, and they are requesting additional members join them from the community at-large. The newly formed committee has several important tasks, as they work together to develop and submit more formal plans and proposals intended to modernize the legacy of our waterfront areas and reshape our “funky” OB imagery.

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Support Solana Beach’s “Rise Above Plastics” – Public Hearing on Wednesday, April 25

April 25, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Wednesday Public Hearing at 6pm – Call For Action – Support Solana Beach’s “Rise Above Plastics”

Solana Beach is taking “alarming” action Wednesday and needs our respectful presence and active support in joining other thoughtful cities around the globe which have banned single-use plastic bags. The Solana Beach City Council will be holding a public hearing on Wednesday, 6pm at the Solana Beach City Hall, located at 635 South Highway 101 Solana Beach, CA 92075, for the proposed plastic bag reduction ordinance.

A growing list of cities have taken similar actions to reduce production and use of single-use plastic bags.

Surfers, swimmers, fishermen and boaters know of these ominous and highly notorious pollutants in our litter stream. Plastic bags are too easily and too often seen stuck in kelp or high up in tree limbs, or floating away on the air and in water.

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Silencing the Drums – Continued attacks by Balboa Parks and Recreation threaten World Beat Center

April 6, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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San Diego’s best known cultural center with a history of celebrating the cultural diversity of the region and the people who work there have become the targets of discrimination.

The World Beat Center needs our support. This prized venue of music, art, and creativity is at the center of San Diego’s Black, Hispanic, and Native American cultures. Located on the fringe of Balboa Park, the World Beat Center (WBC) is under increasing attack that has been described as systematic, “institutionalized racism”.

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Film “Bag It” Asks How Plastic Are You? Free Showing In OB

April 5, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Free Screening of “Bag It” at Indie Yoga April 7th at 7pm

Billions of plastic bags and bottles are used in the U.S. each year. Take a look around your own household, or check out the trash littering our streets and beaches.

The average American uses about 500 plastic bags each year and, according to estimates, each bag is only used for about twelve minutes before being discarded.

There’s no denying it. Plastics are everywhere! Most of what we eat and drink, and the products we purchase, are packaged and wrapped in petroleum plastic – a material designed to last forever, yet used for products that most people use once and throw away.

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Federal Assistance With “Keep Your Home California”

March 26, 2012 by Christopher Dotson

Homeowner Prevention: Federal assistance and “Keep Your Home California”

A new federally funded program is in place, under the banner of “Keep Your Home”. This is a foreclosure prevention program intended to help qualified homeowners who 1) own and occupy their home, 2) collect unemployment benefits from Employment Development Department (EDD), and 3)have a current loan balance under $729,750.00.

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Tell Congress to fund beach water quality monitoring.

March 22, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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By Christopher Dotson

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced cuts to all federal funding for beach water quality monitoring in 2013, putting over 90 million Americans at risk along with our fragile coastal economy.

When the federal Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health (BEACH) Act of 2000 was passed, water quality monitoring made big advancements in setting standards, providing funding for much needed monitoring programs to ensure safety of local beachgoers and tourists, alike.

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First-Graders to Present Art From Reused Materials to Protect Sea Life – Cabrillo National Monument on March 23rd

March 21, 2012 by Christopher Dotson

Raising funds and awareness: “Saving Sea Life Exhibition”

By Christopher Dotson

“People start pollution. People can stop it.”

This message from the 1971 Earth Day campaign should still be ringing in our ears. To this day, this simple fact reminds us how our children’s children still carry the burden of ensuring future quality of living standards for all creatures on the planet. Teach the children. Inform the parents.

Teaching American youth about “problems and solutions” is probably the best long-term strategy. Thankfully, one dedicated teacher at Audubon Elementary School has been doing just that! Melissa Han’s eighteen first graders are leading the charge and setting an example for us to learn and follow.

Along with classroom presentations from New Ocean Blue, Miramar Recycling Center , and a local environmental artist, Teresa Espaniola, students have been learning ways to reduce, reuse and recycle trash.

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Ocean Beach Performs Community Clean-Ups and Outreach Services to the Needy

March 5, 2012 by Christopher Dotson

By Christopher Dotson

Pushing the Boundaries: First-Timers Perform OB Community Outreach

Just the other day we were getting our favorite take-out, and while talking with the owner, he responded, “It was a slow start, but WE’RE PICKING IT UP!”

The statement was simple and seems obvious. My facial expression showed him I truly felt and appreciate his positive tone and affirmation. Why not? We can all use a bit of infectious sincerity . . . Why not re-affirm his assertion: We are picking it up.

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SMART-Phone, DUMB-Driver: Crash-Data May Not Reflect the Trends – Part 4

March 1, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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By Christopher Dotson

For readers who are following this series, here’s the fourth and final installment of the article entitled, “Pushing the limits: SMART-Phone, DUMB-Driver”. Here are the earlier installments: Part 1 , Part 2 , and Part 3.

Auto-Related Fatalities: An All-Time Low But . . .

In the April 2011 report, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed the number of traffic-related fatalities in 2010 was the lowest since 1949. They cite a variety of factors which contributed to this improvement, such as increased awareness about the dangers of drunk and distracted driving, improvements in vehicle manufacturing and an increase in auto safety features – All may have contributed to the drop.

At the same time cell phone restrictions are taking effect, auto fatalities and injuries have been reduced, last year reaching an all-time low per miles traveled. Of course, cell phone purchases remained on the rise.

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SMART-Phone, DUMB-Driver: A Debate Worth Having – Part 3

February 29, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Editor: This is Part 3 in this series. Here is Part 1 and Part 2.

In-Car Distractions: A Debate Worth Having

By Christopher Dotson

It’s no longer simply about “Hang up and drive”, which I have always considered to be an ill-thought mentality. In retrospect, perhaps the sentiment was only ill-timed. But it’s a debate worth commencing now.

We’re doing far more these days while driving than simply “talking on the phone”. The unlucky person who has learned “the hard way” knows, and this unfortunate person will spend the remainder of their lifetime wishing things had turned out (even a little) differently.

In truth, regarding my own near-miss, if things had turned out -even a little – differently, this article may have been written from a hospital bed, or never written. And as I am writing this today, I remember consoling and counseling a young neighbor (we were both young, then) named Ricky after he had just run down and killed a homeless man– of course, this was long before technology could be cited or held accountable for such a tragedy about to unfold.

Ricky appeared at my doorway one night, after dropping his girlfriend off for work. Still wearing a “lost”, far and away expression, he needed someone to listen, as he recounted the horrors of running over the unseen man, who had been crossing underneath the dark, night time bridge, beneath the 405 freeway. He was reliving the moment, still fresh in his mind, and he began to exorcise the demon which invaded his thoughts and consciousness. His sorrow was heavier than ever I’ve known in another.

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Smart Phone, Dumb Driver: Another “Techno-Related Near-Miss” – Part 2

February 25, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Editor: For readers who are following this series, here’s the second installment of the article entitled, “Pushing the limits: SMART-Phone, DUMB-Driver”. The first part can be found here.

By Christopher Dotson / Special to the OB Rag

How Much Is Too Much? How Fast Is Too Fast?

As the face of the distracted young driver began filling my rearview mirror, I was amazed how he managed to keep his eyes so intently focused upon his “Top-1000” gadget of the week. . . while driving. And that’s the point here: Labor-intensive tasks require a huge amount of mental bandwidth and capacity, as measured over time.

At 60mph, you travel almost 90 feet per second. So even “a few” seconds could be, like, 300 feet! Plus, add to that your ability to (correctly) evaluate and react to new events on the road. Even three seconds is way too long to remain engrossed in non-driving activities.

But I digress . . .

Peering again into the mirror only heightened my emotions, as both his hands now moved off the steering wheel, and he was busily grasping at some type of tether attached to the device.

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Pushing theLimits: SMART-Phone, DUMB-Driver

February 24, 2012 by Christopher Dotson
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Editor: In response to recent announcements that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for further bans on in-car technology, this multiple part series by Christopher Dotson examines recent claims and studies announced by the NTSB to collect more consistent crash data. Dotson also shares personal insights into the growing phenomena and suggests ways we c an all better understand the everyday impact of cell phones and mobile technology which can impact traffic, as well as public safety.

By Christopher Dotson / Special to the OB Rag

Another Accident Waiting to Happen

Approaching Ocean Beach near the end of the 8 freeway, I began slowing as the car ahead of me was already stopping for the yellowing light. I cast a glance in my rearview mirror and immediately noticed the driver behind me showed no signs he was preparing to stop.

No big deal. He had time. Surely he is not too distracted that he is blind to what’s ahead of him.

As a lifelong motorcycle rider, it’s always been standard practice to observe how driver-safety, and other forms of driver behavior, can impact driving and traffic conditions. I’m writing this article because a lot of people (myself, included!) are too easily distracted using high technology while driving and, with so many new gadgets to amuse us in the car, “distracted driving” can really push the limits of public safety, however you may define this.

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