Civil Disobedience

Prop 64 – Just Legalize Marijuana, Already

October 13, 2016 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts will be voting on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana this fall.

Some people, including many pro-legalization advocates, think this is about easing another legal intoxicant into society. It’s not. It’s about undoing a prohibition based on ‘scientific racism.’ It’s about a ‘war on drugs’ that served as a gateway towards militarization of law enforcement and eroded the constitutional rights of all Americans.

Legalizing pot won’t undo those things. In case you haven’t noticed, government and society rarely move backward. But legalization does provide a path moving forward that makes a lot more sense than the failed policies proceeding it.

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Activist-Photographer Fred Lonidier’s Photos of 1972 Anti-War Protest Part of Museum of Contemporary Arts Exhibit

October 10, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Activist-Photographer Fred Lonidier’s Photos of 1972 Anti-War Protest Part of Museum of Contemporary Arts Exhibit

Way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, there were very active social movements stirring in San Diego – and across the country. Here in San Diego, there was always this one guy -the “movement photographer” on the scene – Fred Lonidier, with his long-lens camera dangling from his neck, always there to record it all.

There was one particular and historic event in May of 1972 where 88 students and supporters were arrested for peacefully sitting down in front of the local Naval District HQ in protest of the Vietnam war. Fred Lonidier was also there – but he only had 29 shots remaining in his camera. So, he took 29 photos of those being arrested that day.

And now those 29 photos are part of a larger exhibit, called The Uses of Photography, currently at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.

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UPDATED: 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party – Celebration Oct. 15 – SDSU

October 10, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for UPDATED: 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party – Celebration Oct. 15 – SDSU

UPDATED – see inside

The 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party is being celebrated this week on the campus of San Diego State University. There’s a showing of the current film of the Panthers, a roundtable discussion of their contributions, and the semi-formal celebration itself.

It’s been over 40 years since San Diego Black Panthers roamed the campus of San Diego State University. The local chapter had its origins right there. It all started with Black Student Union members, Kenneth Denmon and Shirley George-Meadors. Today, the African Students Union is the off spring of the Black Student Union.

Here it the the itinerary for October:

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Today Is the 5th Anniversary of San Diego’s Occupy Wall Street Movement

October 7, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Today Is the 5th Anniversary of San Diego’s Occupy Wall Street Movement

On October 7th, 2011 – a long 5 years ago – the Occupy Wallstreet movement burst upon the San Diego scene.

Upwards of 4,000 demonstrators marched through downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp District, rallied at Civic Center Plaza at City Hall – renamed “Freedom Square” for awhile -, and then returned to Children’s Park – all the while protesting the inequalities of the American economy. A tent encampment was set up – which moved the very next day to the plaza at City Hall.

It was on that October 7th that San Diego had very visibly and demonstrably joined the nation-wide movement – then a world-wide movement – against the disparities of the financial system. Local activists had been meeting for a couple of weeks and had planned the large protest.

The numbers of San Diegans who turned out was stunning – on October 7th, 2011, I was there, see my full account : :

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ACLU Seeks Answers in Arrests at El Cajon Vigil for Alfred Olango

October 6, 2016 by Source

San Diego ACLU troubled by “community reports of aggressive police response” and “potentially unlawful arrests” at peaceful vigil

Ferchil Ramos / San Diego ACLU

Alfred Olango KillingIn response to a video post by a community member at what appears to be a peaceful vigil at the site of the killing of Alfred Olango, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties sent a letter requesting information from the El Cajon Police Department (ECPD) concerning the arrests of individuals at the vigil on the evening of Saturday, October 1.

While no video necessarily tells the complete story, the available information raises serious questions that the arrests were unlawful. One of the factors in declaring an unlawful assembly is whether there is a clear and present danger of imminent violence.

The available information does not show the vigil itself presented a clear and present danger of imminent violence.

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“What Would You Do If Trump Is Elected?” – Results From Our Survey

October 4, 2016 by Frank Gormlie


Back a few weeks ago, during a particularly “bad week” campaign-wise for Hillary Clinton, it looked like Trump could actually be elected President. It was during that period that the OB Rag asked a number of activists and progressives what they would do if Trump was indeed elected.

Today, still, Trump winning is not a far-fetched concept, for as recently as last night – Monday, October 3rd, Rachel Maddow of msnbc made the plausible case that there could be an electoral college vote tie between Clinton and Trump and it all may end up in a divided US Supreme Court.

(The OB Rag also ran a readers’ poll on the very same question with some startling results.)

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Angst Over Police Shootings Rocks California Cities

October 4, 2016 by Doug Porter

rip-olango-via-aaron-belfer-facebook police shootings Via Facebook

By Doug Porter

Community unrest over the deaths of black people at the hands of police in California continued unabated throughout the weekend. And it wasn’t just in El Cajon/San Diego.

Alfred Olango died in El Cajon on Tuesday. A composite video taken from a security camera and a bystander’s cellphone was released on Friday. Carnell Snell Jr. died in Los Angeles on Saturday, the second police-involved death in two days. And a particularly grotesque video of the July 11th death of Joseph Mann in Sacramento surfaced showing police officers trying to run him down before chasing him down and firing 14 shots into him.

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Fear and Loathing in El Cajon – 1,000 People in the Streets for Alfred Olango

September 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of El Cajon Wednesday, September 28th, in protest of the fatal shooting of Alfred Olango by police Tuesday afternoon. And on several occasions, the non-violent demonstrators faced off with helmeted police, as night fell and tensions mounted. This is my accounting of the protest that swept through the suburb of San Diego over a 7 hour period.

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Press Excluded from El Cajon Mayor’s Press Conference

September 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

EL CAJON, CA. A number of local and regional press and media reporters were excluded from Wednesday’s press conference held by El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells about Alfred Olango – the African-American man killed by police on Tuesday.

At a conference held in mid-afternoon at the El Cajon City Hall, nearly a half dozen reporters were barred from entering the room, including reporters from the San Diego Union-Tribune and Univision, the Mexican television station.

San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Lynsdsay Winkley -who has been covering the Alfred Olango shooting and protests – told this reporter that she and a number of other media people were blocked from entering the press conference. She then rapidly ticked off at least four news outlets. Then was confirmed by Sarah Parvini, a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, who was able to attend it.

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Results of OB Rag Poll on What to Do If Trump Is Elected

September 23, 2016 by Staff

The OB Rag ran a readers’ poll for one week asking the question: “What would you do if Trump was elected?” and it had 145 respondents.

The answers ranged from nearly a third saying they would be celebrating Trump’s election (31%), contrasted with nearly 10% who said they would be joining the “underground resistance”, and where 23% claimed “nothing will change.”

About 38% of those who answered chose options in the poll that expressed some level of negative impact with Trump’s election. Nearly 8% said they would move out of the country (2% to Mexico and 5.5% to Canada).

Another 14% would be mobilized politically against Trump – with an astounding 9.7% of the overall respondents agreeing to the option, “Joint the underground resistance.”

Almost 5% said they would “take to the streets”, meaning demonstrating and protesting.

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President Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden

September 19, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for President Obama Should Pardon Edward Snowden

By Anthony Romero / ACLU

Thanks to Edward Snowden’s act of conscience, we’ve made historic strides in our fight for surveillance reform and improved cybersecurity. That’s why with the release of the Oliver Stone movie “Snowden,” we’re unveiling a major effort calling on President Obama to pardon the NSA whistleblower.

Cases like Edward Snowden’s are precisely the reason the president’s constitutional pardon power exists.

Historically, outgoing presidents have often invoked this power in the last days of their terms — at times on behalf of people who’ve committed reprehensible acts — under the premise that mitigating circumstances outweigh the rationale for punishment. President Obama now has the opportunity to use this power proudly, in recognition of one of the most important acts of whistleblowing in modern history.

Since Snowden first disclosed documents in 2013 detailing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs, we’ve seen an unprecedented global debate about the proper limits of government spying.

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We Can Display Our Patriotism In Many Ways

September 9, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Photo credit: / PacificKlaus PatriotismI keep thinking about Colin Kaepernick and how so many people have badmouthed him for sitting during the National Anthem rather than addressing his concerns in a “more appropriate way.”

And considering that (as I brought out in a prior piece about Kaepernick) his concern is about the oppression of black people and other people of color, those of us who are so designated really want to know how we can pursue our dream of “liberty and justice for all” in a way that suits the country’s fancy.

Because we’ve been trying like hell. For centuries.

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Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Protesters With Dogs and Mace

September 5, 2016 by Source

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Security guards confront Indigenous protesters with dogs and pepper spray. (Screenshot/Democracy Now!)

Video and photos of a private security team pushing dogs to bite Native American protesters from Democracy Now!

By Nadi Prupis / Common Dreams

The ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests were hit with violence on Saturday, as private security forces reportedly hired by the pipeline builders descended on the Native American activists with pepper spray and dogs that bit and threatened the protesters.

Democracy Now!, which was on the ground at the time, posted several photographs and video of the attack:

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Will Governor Brown Do the Right Thing for Farmworkers?

September 2, 2016 by Doug Porter


By Doug Porter

After two years and more than five thousand proposed laws, resolutions, and constitutional amendments, the current version of the California Legislature wrapped up its session in frenzied fashion.

Wednesday, August 31st saw more than one hundred bills up for consideration. Now it’s up to the Governor to say yea or nay on legislation affecting all aspects of life in California.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), who successfully shepherded 19 of 20 bills through the legislature this year, is leaving nothing up to chance with her hard-fought victory on AB 1066, gradually phasing in standards for farmerworker overtime.

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An NFL Quarterback Was Just Added to My List of Social Heroes

August 31, 2016 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for An NFL Quarterback Was Just Added to My List of Social Heroes

by Ernie McCray

This is so deja vu, this state of affairs with Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49’ers quarterback who sat when one is “supposed to stand” in honor of The Star Spangled Banner that heralds a time when non-white people in our county were not seen as human beings.

I fully understand and appreciate this man’s stance although I stand whenever the anthem is played out of respect for those who get goose pimples in such moments. However, I bow out at singing about “bombs bursting in air” and “flags still being there” and the empty promises inherent in the braggadocio “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!” at the end of the song.

That aside, I can’t help but think back to the 68 Olympics, when the quest for “liberty and justice for all,” in a spirit of today’s “Black Lives Matter” movement was pursued like never before. My soul still fills with pride remembering the image of Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the ceremony for handing out the gold and the silver and the bronze medals for the men’s 200, standing on their podiums with their heads bowed and their hands raised in the “Black Power!” salute.

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Crystal Rose Speros Is the Ocean Beach Hero for the Week – Saves Torrey Pine Temporarily

August 4, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Torrey protest 80416 in tree good
A young, local woman, by the name of Crystal Rose Speros, climbed up into the Torrey Pine the City wanted to chop down this morning – dramatically bringing any work on the tree to a half – at least for the rest of this week.

A small crowd of residents and OBceans had gathered around the Torrey by 9 am on the 4600 block of Saratoga, some willing to stay until threatened with arrest or more.

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Another Ten Minute Acquittal Against DA Dumanis in Medical Cannabis Trial

June 21, 2016 by Source

By Terrie Best / San Diego Americans for Safe Access

cannabis logoThe thin-as-air manufacturing case against medical cannabis patient and collective operator, Shaun Smith swept so quickly through trial that, before we knew it, Attorney Michael Cindrich had queued up his third cannabis-related not guilty verdict in four months.

The Cindrich winning streak started with defendant John Mazula in El Cajon, moved north to LA and then touched down in San Diego County’s Vista yesterday – surely making waves in District Attorney’s office and changing the landscape for medical cannabis patients.

Shaun’s arrest occurred May 13, 2015, near his Oceanside home. He had been running a small legal cannabis collective out of his residence, providing flower, bubble hash, cannabis butter, tinctures and ointments to his members.

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Did San Diego Police “Overreact” During Anti-Trump Protests or Did They Simply Follow “The Zimmerman Plan”

June 3, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Trump SD protest FG cops diners 3-ed 2

Is it true that San Diego Police overreacted during the anti-Trump protests in downtown last Friday, May 27th, or did they simply follow Chief Zimmerman’s plan to corral demonstrators and push them into Barrio Logan where they could make arrests – arrests made out of the lens of the national media?

I attended the protests and was downtown for about 6 hours that day a week ago. The following observations and opinions are my own. What I did see and experience has led me to believe that the police manipulated the anti-Trump protesters in order to declare an illegal assembly – which then gave them the authority to make mass arrests – arrests police made largely out of sight – and in the ethnic Chicano- Mexican-American community of Barrio Logan.

Knowing that the police had earlier announced that they were setting up two separate “free speech zones” – one for the Trump supporters and one for the anti-Trump protesters – …

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San Diego ACLU Seeks Public Records Related to SDPD’s Militaristic Tactics at Trump Rally

June 3, 2016 by Source

Trump SD protest cops why

Many San Diegans dismayed at the City of San Diego’s unprecedented response to public protest

By ACLU – San Diego / June 2, 2016

In response to the community’s objections about San Diego Police Department’s unprecedented show of force at last Friday’s Trump Rally, the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties sent a letter early today requesting public records from the City of San Diego concerning SDPD’s operations.

Along with Alliance San Diego, the American Friends Service Committee, National Lawyers Guild, and Union Del Barrio, the San Diego ACLU has been responding to community members’ questions and complaints in the aftermath of what community leaders believe was an unacceptable show of excessive force by SDPD against peaceful protestors.

Citing the California Public Records Act (CPRA), the ACLU is requesting the following information:

  • How many officers? The number of and specific law enforcement agencies and special units, including plainclothes officers, who were dispatched or who in some capacity participated in responding to the protests;
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Free Speech and Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign at SDSU

June 2, 2016 by Source

Open Letter From SDSU Staff and Faculty Regarding Naming and Targeting of Students

sdsuThe following is an open letter sent to President Hirshman from the undersigned staff and faculty at San Diego State University regarding flyers posted on the university campus in April. The flyers listed the names of seven students from Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Students Association (MSA), accusing them of “Jew-hatred” and of being linked to “terrorists.”

They were singled out because of their support of the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement (BDS), which is used as a means of holding Israel accountable for human right violations against Palestinians. The letter touches on the broader implications of the flyer incident, whereby the naming and targeting of students represents a marked escalation of wide-ranging efforts to suppress the growing momentum of BDS campaigns across American campuses.

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Your Right to Protest In San Diego

May 27, 2016 by Source

Free Speech Rights, Free Speech Zones, Interactions with Police, Resources and MORE

By the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties

peaceful protestThe right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy.

But it is also unfortunately true that governments and police can violate this right—through the use of mass arrests, illegal use of force, criminalization of protest, and other means intended to thwart free public expression.

Standing up for your right to protest can be challenging, especially when demonstrations are met with confusion, excessive force, or violence. But knowing your rights is the most powerful tool you have against the stifling of your voice.

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#NeverTrumpSD Live Blog: Anti-Trump Day In San Diego

May 27, 2016 by Annie Lane

Trump free speech zones map from the San Diego U-T

Editor: In an important update, San Diego Police have backed off their earlier threats of arresting any demonstrator outside the so-called “free speech zones”, and now say people can demonstrate outside of the designated zones, but they must follow laws and cannot block traffic.

The day has come.

Donald Trump is rallying in San Diego at the Convention Center at 2 p.m. (doors open at 11 a.m.). The San Diego Free Press – the OB Rag’s associates – will be live blogging today’s events. We’ll be pulling pictures and updates from people on the front lines who use the hashtag #NeverTrumpSD or you can send them directly to

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

May 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Trump Love Trumps H8 Lt Brigd -sm

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.

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‘Love Trumps Hate’ Rally Outside Trump Speech at San Diego Convention Center

May 26, 2016 by Source

love trumps hate

“Tear Down the Walls!” Noon rally sponsored by the ‘Love trumps Hate Solidarity Network’

By Martin Eder / Activist San Diego

The Friday May 27 rally outside the Trump speech will be part of a mobilization of several thousand. This noon-time rally at 5th and Harbor Drive, across from the San Diego Convention Center will focus on the theme “Tear Down Walls Between Peoples: Unity/Unidad and Solidarity”.

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

May 24, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for “Friday Is Going to Be One Crazy Anti-Trump Day in San Diego”

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.

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

May 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Trump Love trumps hate solid netwk fb -edTrump DumpTrump fb -ed

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

Trump Union del Barrio fb -edTrump SmashTrump fb -ed

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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Much Ado About Raised Fists

May 17, 2016 by Source


By Denise Oliver Velez / Daily Kos

Here we go again, with yet another “incident” fueling right-wing outrage about black people and symbolism. The latest was over a photograph of 16 black female cadets who had come together to celebrate their upcoming graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point.

The New York Times reported:

The gesture, posted on Facebook and Twitter last week, touched off a barrage of criticism in and out of the armed forces as some commenters accused the women of allying themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement and sowing racial divisions in a military that relies on assimilation.

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Backlash Grows in Ocean Beach Against City Cutting Down Trees

May 11, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Ocean beach beachfront

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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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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Daniel Berrigan Dead at 94

May 2, 2016 by Source

Jesuit priest lived life of peace activism

By Andrea Germanos / CommonDreams

Dan Berrigan visit 1982

Daniel Berrigan—Jesuit priest, peace activist, poet, author, and inspiration to countless people—died on Saturday. He was 94 years old.

When America magazine asked a then-88-year-old Berrigan if he had any regrets over the course of his long life, he replied, “I could have done sooner the things I did, like Catonsville.”

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