Environment

The Ocean Beach and Point Loma Peninsula Was Once an Island

March 5, 2015 by Source
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Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Advisory Committee Gets the Low-Down at March 2nd Meeting – Meanwhile Native Plants in Park Near Full Flower

By Lois Lane

No OB Rag reader doubts that we live in the most beautiful place in the world. Almost springtime is one of the most beautiful times of year, and within the next two weeks the native plants in Sunset Cliffs Natural Park will be in full flower.

Native plants were a hot topic at the Advisory Committee meeting on March 2nd, and the 25 people in attendance were gifted with spectacular presentation on the Unique Paleontology and Geology of Sunset Cliffs byDr. Tom Deméré, Curator of Paleontology, San Diego Natural History Museum.

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Faulconer’s First Year: Mostly Doing Nothing, But Looking Good While Doing It

March 4, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Unlike the women performing on the field at Chargers’ games, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is getting paid for his cheer-leading efforts.

The local daily paper ran a puff piece on Sunday, celebrating Faulconer’s first year in office, reporting on the “nearly unanimous praise” for making San Diego a “vastly different place than it was under the tumultuous tenure” of he-who-cannot-be-named-without-contempt.

Largely airbrushed out of history was former interim mayor Todd Gloria, whose reward for leadership following the fall of Filner was to get booted out of the position of City Council President, lest he actually accomplish any items proposed during his tenure.

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Oil Trains: Death and Destruction on the Rails

March 4, 2015 by John Lawrence

Department of Transportation Predicts Oil Train Derailments Will Become Increasingly Common

train derailmentBy John Lawrence

On Monday Feb 16, 2015 an oil train carrying millions of pounds of crude oil derailed in Boomer, West Virginia. The accident was the latest in a spate of fiery derailments in Canada and the U.S. as vast quantities of oil are being moved across these nations through sensitive environments and large population centers.

A couple days earlier on Feb. 14, there was a crude oil train derailment south of Timmins, Ontario. It took almost a week in subzero temperatures for the fires to burn out. Both the West Virginia accident and the oil train derailment and fire in Ontario involved recently built tank cars that were supposed to be an improvement over a decades-old model in wide use that has proven susceptible to spills, fires and explosions – the Dot-111.

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Ocean Beach Planning Board Agenda for Wed., March 4th

March 3, 2015 by Staff
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Here is the agenda for the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s March 4th monthly meeting. They meet at 6pm sharp in the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

The Board will receive an update on the Pacific Beach pipeline project – which will replace water and sewer main lines near OB.

The Friends of the OB Library will give a presentation to the Board which will include an update on the library expansion status, and current plans for fundraising.

A Candidate Forum will then be held during the meeting, where those seeking election or re-election will have an opportunity to address the community.

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The Lobbyists at Your Dinner Party

March 3, 2015 by Source

Every purveyor of food and drink wants the government to advise Americans to consume more of what they produce

new_food_pyramid_2012By Jill Richardson /Other Words

Remember the old food pyramid?

Until “MyPlate” replaced it a few years ago, the U.S. government’s official dietary advice for Americans fit neatly into that triangle.

The government recently moved toward updating those standards again. And the result isn’t nearly as digestible. In classic bureaucratic form, the Department of Health and Human Services cooked up a 571-page draft report for Americans to comment on.

The actual updated dietary guidelines will come later. Here’s what we know about the draft

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Peninsula Community Planners: City Puts the Kibosh on Cañon Pocket Park

March 2, 2015 by Source
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City Planner Defends Carleton Row Homes and Condemns Cañon Pocket Park

By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

City Planner Addresses hot-button issues

Yes, there are structures in Point Loma taller than 30 feet. However, those buildings were properly approved by the city’s Development Services Department and do not violate the landmark height limit initiative approved by San Diego voters in 1972.

Similarly, there was nothing irregular about the city’s approval of Carleton Row Homes, a four-unit condo project at 3015-21 Carleton St. blasted by its detractors as a deceitful proposal and currently under appeal to the San Diego Planning Commission

But recent grassroots improvements to a vacant lot supporters call Cañon Pocket Park, on the other hand, were improper. And the city’s Park and Recreation Department will fence off that quarter-acre space west of the Avenida de Portugal cul-de-sac if anyone organizes a similar activity in the future.

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Midway Planners – Hampton Inn to Be Renovated to 4 Points Sheraton

March 2, 2015 by Source
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By Tony de Garate / Special to the OB Rag

Driving down Camino Del Rio West, the northern edge of the Midway community dominated by a hodge-podge of low-cost eateries, auto repair shops and adult entertainment venues, you may not even know the Hampton Inn, with its 208 rooms, meeting facilities and business center, is there.

That may change this fall when the Hampton emerges from a three-year renovation re-branded as a Four Points Sheraton.

Every room will be renovated, but the hotel will remain open because only 30 percent of the rooms will be removed from inventory at any time, said Victor Ravago, the hotel’s general manager and board member of the Midway Community Planning Group.

The project includes the addition of a bar and full-service restaurant. It’ll be the first cocktail service at the lodging since the 1980s, when it was known as the Lexington Hotel, Ravago said at the planning group’s monthly February meeting.

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Joining Spirit with the Billions of Us Human Beings

March 2, 2015 by Ernie McCray
[caption id="attachment_123238" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Lao Tzu humanity quote (Image: Flickr – Hartwig HKD)[/caption]

By Ernie McCray

I was driving and turned my radio to 89.5, KPBS, and there was a conversation going on about “7 Billion Others,” an exhibit that’s opening in the U.S. for the first time – at San Diego’s Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA): February 21 to September 13.

I liked what I was hearing and googled around and found, on the MOPA website, 45 questions written for visitors to the exhibit to answer so that they can find in themselves that spark that resides in us all and connects us to the journey of human beings featured in the video project.

My answer to the first question was: Ernest Charles McCray; age 76; retired school principal; widower; American as in United States of America.

Here are my replies to the other questions, based on what first came to my mind:

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Why hundreds of starving sea lion pups are washing ashore in California.

March 2, 2015 by Source
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By Nick Kirkpatrick / Washington Post / February 26, 2015

Sick, starving and dying sea lion pups are washing up on the shores of California in record numbers this year. In 2015, 940 young sea lions have turned up, officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said last week — four times the number California would normally see. But why?

Experts say it’s the warm water. Scientists believe warmer coastal waters force the prey of sea lions — squid and sardines, for example — deeper beneath the ocean’s surface. Then nursing sea lion mothers must look further afield for food, leaving their pups for longer than normal. Deprived of sustenance and weakened, the pups limply wash ashore.

“The prey source is just too far away for the mothers to go out, get food and come back and wean the pups,” Jim Milbury of the National Marine Fisheries Service told Yahoo News. Peter Wallerstein, director of Marine Animal Rescue in Los Angeles County, said the pups are unable to dive down to get food for themselves.

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Golden Hill’s 25th Street Nightmare Gives the Lie to Faulconer’s Infrastructure Fantasy

March 2, 2015 by Jim Miller

IMG_0452By Jim Miller

A little over a week ago I was amused to see the Turko Files run a couple of segments “exposing” a disastrous Golden Hill renovation project on 25th Street that I had covered nearly six months earlier in late August of 2014. The KUSI angle was, appropriately, how bad the endless construction has been for local small businesses who have suffered through the scatter-shot planning and surreal whack-a-mole approach to getting the job done more“efficiently.”

Neighborhood residents might recall how Mayor Kevin Faulconer claimed his administration would change the game back in April of 2014 when he opined, “It’s a mindset that’s changing, and it says do it all at once. It’s taken awhile and it’s been frustrating for us, it takes more planning. So now, we do all of the projects at once – pipes, streets – so you don’t have to come back six months, two years later.”

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Avoiding Contaminated Ocean Waters After Storm Has Special Meaning for OB and Pt Loma Surfers

March 2, 2015 by Staff

The word is getting out – don’t go in the water for 3 days after these current storms. And this warning has special meaning for Ocean Beach and Pt Loma surfers. For it wasn’t 2 and a half months ago that long-time surfer, Barry Ault, died from a bacterial infection he obtained while surfing in local waters after a storm.

Urban runoff has polluted coastal waters and the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has issued a general advisory telling beachgoers to avoid swimming, surfing and diving in all coastal waters for 72 hours following rain. This is due to increased levels of bacteria, that is especially prevalent near rivers and outlets that discharge urban runoff, which can include animal waste, soil, and decomposing vegetation.

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Public Safety and Pie Time at the OB Town Council

February 27, 2015 by Source
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By Lois Lane

A Report of the OB Town Council Meeting: Wednesday, February 25

A hundred OBceans turned out to help celebrate the birthday of Gretchen Newsom, the OB Town Council President, with what we all hope will turn out to be an annual pie spectacular. In addition, there was a more serious program topic:

Safety in Ocean Beach.

Stephen Grosch provided the PowerPoint presentation outlining the OB Mainstreet Association’s efforts to turn slogans into action: “Respect OB”.

As a result, two bicycling security guards form a patrol to enhance public safety through a variety of activities. These guards are armed only with the items we all have available as private citizens: a knowledge of the law and how to report through the channels.

They deal with nuisance and quality of life issues such as drug dealing, loitering on private property, illegal lodging (sleeping in business doorways), graffiti and illegal dumping. They also interface with services for the homeless, and have been known to call the paramedics for medical emergencies.

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OB Hostel Termite Tent Merely Precautionary

February 27, 2015 by Matthew Wood
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Those who walk by the OB Hostel this week and think the place is either wrought with bugs or hosting a perverse carnival need not worry. The owners are tenting the place as a precautionary measure to protect against termites.

“Who doesn’t have termites in San Diego?” said Maria Argyropoulos-Minos, Chief Operating Officer of USA Hostels.

“That’s pretty much the way it works. Anytime you have a house, you tent it.”

The tent has been on the iconic building for much of the week, but should be down by mid-morning on Friday.

“We just want to make sure it’s safe and secure from the little buggers and this seemed like a good time,” she said.

Argyropoulos-Minos said it is part of a number of upgrades the company is making to the place since purchasing it late last year.

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News and Notices for Ocean Beach and the Peninsula

February 26, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Mission Beach to Get New Lifeguard Station and Ocean Beach Doesn’t

South Mission Beach is about to get a new lifeguard station. And meanwhile, Ocean Beach continues with its own aging lifeguard tower and deteriorating restrooms. The Mission Beach Precise Planning Board was briefed on the new development at their meeting on Feb. 17. City engineer Jihad Sleiman told the group:

“The lifeguard tower was constructed in 1974 as a temporary facility. It is deteriorated, small, old and no longer serves the needs of the city lifeguards and the beach going public on this mile-long section of beach.”

He explained that the new station will have a rescue vehicle facility to store rescue craft, trucks and first-aid kits, and will also have separate men’s and women’s restrooms and a main observation tower on the third level. He called the new tower “an orientation landmark on the beach.” The total lifeguard tower replacement cost: $4.9 million. Construction is expected to start within the next few weeks and be completed by summer 2016.

The main lifeguard tower in OB is from the 1980s but is in very bad condition. The restrooms are an embarrassment. Various groups have been lobbying for its replacement for a while now. Perhaps with a new city councilperson, the efforts can be rejoined.

Robb Field Skate Park Now Is 15 years Old

The OB Robb Field Skate Park turned 15 a week ago on Thursday, Feb. 19. On Feb. 19, 2000, the park opened with a celebration with more than $25,000 in prize giveaways. And it was a dedicated group of volunteers who did the fundraising and development of the iconic skate park.They worked with then-Councilman Byron Wear and his staff. Some of the key volunteers were

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Nuclear Shutdown News for February 2015

February 25, 2015 by Michael Steinberg

No nukesBy Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and the people working for better energy alternatives.

As I was gathering information for this issue, one word kept popping up: Entergy.

Entergy is a gigantic energy corporation whose highrise headquarters renders the skyline of downtown New Orleans. Among its holdings are 11 nuclear power reactors, making it the nation’s second largest nuclear power company, after Chicago’s Exelon.

At the turn pf the century Entergy went on a nuke plant spending spree, buying up a half dozen aging reactors at bargain basement prices, as nuke plants go.

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Ocean Beach Planning Board Sample Ballot for March 10 Election

February 25, 2015 by Staff
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Qualified Write-In Candidates Still Welcome

Here is the sample ballot for the upcoming 2015 Ocean Beach Planning Board annual election. It will be held on Tuesday, March 10th at the OB Recreation Center. Polls will be open 4-7 p.m.

The Ocean Beach Recreation Center is at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Interested candidates are still welcome to run on a write-in basis provided …

COME INSIDE TO VIEW

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 4

February 25, 2015 by John Lawrence

Extremely Slow Progress Converting to Renewables in Face of Huge Increase in CO2 Emissions: What Are the Trends?

rising sea levelsBy Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

Part 3 can be found here

Parts 1 and 2 address the psychological denial mechanisms and economics behind the world’s ingrained obsession with increasing GDP rates, despite their environmentally cancerous impact. Naturally, developing countries want the same material benefits from boundless GDP growth and unlimited resource development that advanced countries have long been exploiting.

This abets the idea that, as long as people make money from despoiling the atmosphere and climate, the Market should have its free reins forever. The Market is assumed to be the best arbiter of our planet’s ecological stability, but that is patently false. In reality, the Market exploits the environment and now it is becoming clear that increasing population and economic growth fueled by fossil fuels do so as well.

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A Close Encounter With a Coyote at Laguna Ojo de Liebre

February 25, 2015 by Source

imageBy Lori Saldaña

The moon was waning that night at Laguna Ojo de Liebre, and clouds from a freakishly warm winter storm still blocked the stars. The sunset was beautiful, but all day heavy rain had fallen in towns near the camp: roads near Vizcaino were flooded, Ejido Benito Juarez had mud running through its streets. Yet here at the water’s edge, only a few drops had made it to the ground.

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Vacation Rentals Roil Beach Neighbors – Issue to Be Taken Up by City Council

February 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Councilwoman Zapf to Hold Hearings in April

Neighbors of some housing units that are used as vacation rentals in the beach areas are upset. And the new city councilwoman for the district is getting an earful from residents in Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. Her office has received multiple complaints from constituents about beach homeowners who have made their homes into full-time rentals and their unruly visitors.

Not coincidentally, PB and Mission Beach are the 2 neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of Airbnb rentals. Zapf told the Voice of San Diego that she heard the concerns of residents at a recent PB town council meeting almost “near tears” in accounts of the “constant rotation of people coming and going”.

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OB Town Council Meeting on Public Safety – Wed., Feb. 25

February 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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The February public meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council will focus on public safety with a number of community groups set to address issues such as watching out for another and creating a neighborhood watch group.

The meeting – as usual – will be held this Wednesday, February 25, in the Masonic Center- 1711 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

President Gretchen Newsom will gavel the meeting to order at 7 pm.

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Have You Been To a Foreign Country In the Past Few Weeks?

February 24, 2015 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

Sundog_looking_east[1]That seems to be the question everyone is asking since the Ebola epidemic started affecting people in the United States. My usual answer would be “no” but I now have changed that and say, “I’ve been to North Dakota in the past few weeks. Does that count?”

It’s obvious that I know that North Dakota is not a “foreign country” in the true sense of the meaning, but I’ve learned so much about the State that was foreign to me before.

How many of you know what a “sun dog” is? Living in San Diego my dog is frequently in the sun, but that’s not what is meant in North Dakota – and other communities nearby.

Sun dogs are an atmospheric phenomenon caused by the refraction of sunlight through ice crystals such as those hosted in cirrus clouds. A number of specific conditions must prevail for this phenomenon to form: the sun must be in the sky, usually less than 45 degrees from the horizon, and in the same horizontal plane as the viewer.

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The Dark Truth Behind Quinoa – the Popular Superfood

February 20, 2015 by Source

As the hype around quinoa builds, so do big questions about the problems with its production.

By Jill Richardson / AlterNet

Chenopodium quinoa in flower. / commons.wikimedia.com

Quinoa is rising up the popularity charts as a food staple in U.S. and Europe. A growing spate of positive coverage cites quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) as a high-protein grain-like relative of spinach and beets which is a newly discovered gluten-free superfood. Its growing popularity has also spawned a growing source of controversy, following reports that high global quinoa prices put the crop out of reach for the people who grow it.

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Ocean Beach News and Updates

February 18, 2015 by Staff
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Highlights of O.B.’s Historic Beach Cottages

OBceans Upset with Maroutis’ Arrest

Local Artist David Linton Passes

Two People Rescued by Lifeguards at Sunset Cliffs.

Famosa Slough and Mission Bay Wetlands Walk

Bossman Died of Natural Causes and Hodad’s Opened in 1973 – Not 1969

U-T San Diego Gives Hidden Props to OB Rag and Missed ‘the Roger Hedgecock Scandal’

Local Surf-Rock Legend Recorded on OB Pier

AND MORE – Come inside …

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The Idealism and Vision of the 1976 Campaign Platform for the OB Community Planning Group

February 17, 2015 by Source

OB CPG Broc graf3 The Platform Was a Guide to Making Ocean Beach a Citizens’ Paradise

Editor: The following is the 1976 campaign platform for the Ocean Beach Community Planning Group, the forerunner to today’s OB Planning Board. The OB CGP ran a slate of candidates for the May 4, 1976 election and won 8 of the 14 seats on OB’s very first Planning Board.

COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP

CAMPAIGN PLATFORM

• Preamble

Recognizing that all communities have a right to self-determination, we believe that the Community Planning Board is a step toward community self-government.

With this in mind, we believe the Community Planning Board, once elected will have and exercise real decision-making power over the planning decisions that affect Ocean Beach. Planningis more than density limits, traffic designs or height limitations ….

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Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 3

February 17, 2015 by John Lawrence
Renewable Solutions Are Here Now and Technically Feasible Today
By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence

6a00d8341cca9453ef01b7c74c9f94970bIt is now clear, at least from a technical perspective, that we could eliminate fossil fuels over a period of 20 to 40 years. That’s if we went full steam ahead without being blocked by fossil fuel corporations, the politicians beholden to them and various other vested interests who stand to profit from the status quo.

In 2009 Mark Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and Mark Delucchi, a research scientist at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, came up with a detailed, groundbreaking road map for just how this could be accomplished.

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OB CDC – Plans for “Wall of Names” of New Veterans Plaza Revealed

February 16, 2015 by Source
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OB CDC Votes to End Its Involvement With OB Entryway Project

by Lois Lane

The OB Community Development Corporation (CDC) meets on the second Thursday of the month at 7:00 in the OB Rec Center, and February 12 was no different.

The Future Veterans’ Plaza

The primary focus of this meeting was the Veteran’s Plaza. This project was originally funded by the City of San Diego with $76,000 in 2014, but this money was de-allocated and the entire project must be funded with donations. No funds were included in the 2015 city budget.

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Large Ocean Beach 22-Unit Apartment Complex on Bacon Street Up for Sale

February 16, 2015 by Staff
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After owning it for 28 years, the unidentified owner of the large apartment complex in the heart of Ocean Beach has decided to put the 22-unit complex up for sale. The apartments are prominently located at the corner of Bacon Street and Cape May Avenue, at 2051-59 Bacon Street. It’s on the market for a mere $4,199,000.

It’s an “old-school” 2-story type of apartment complex, as it’s been around for decades, and was always known as one of the inexpensive rental apartment buildings in that neck of the woods in OB.

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Ocean Beach Activists Join 350.org March in Oakland Urging Gov. Brown to Take Action on Climate Change

February 16, 2015 by Source
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By Kim McGinley

Friday, February 6th at 11:30 p.m. San Diego Activists, including representatives from The Ocean Beach Green Center, began gathering at the Old Town trolley station to hop on board a charter bus heading to California Governor Brown’s neighborhood in Oakland.

The goal was to encourage the Governor to be a “climate leader” …

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The Election Platform and Brochure of O.B.’s First Planning Group

February 13, 2015 by Staff

OB CPG Broc CovrIn May 1976 the OB Community Planning Group Won a Majority on the First OB Planning Board

In early May of 1976, OB’s very first election was held for the very first planning board. The forerunner of today’s Board, the OB Community Planning Group, ran a slate of candidates, hammered out an election platform and published and distributed its 8 page campaign brochure. The group won 8 of the 14 seats in the election.

We decided to republish their campaign literature, beginning here with the text of the election brochure. The platform and candidate statements of this election that occurred 39 years ago will follow.

And by the way, the current Ocean Beach Planning Board is holding their annual election on March 10th. Half of the seats are up for election. The Peninsula Community Planning Board is also having their election on March 20th.

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Mysterious Sea Lion Die-Off Strikes Again on California Coast

February 12, 2015 by Source
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Starving young sea lions are washing up on beaches for the third year in a row.

By Nadia Drake /National Geographic /February 11, 2015

SAUSALITO, California—For the third winter in a row, starving sea lion pups are washing ashore on California’s beaches. Since January 1, nearly 500 of the tiny animals have been admitted to the state’s rehabilitation centers—a number many times higher than normal.

Why these animals are struggling to survive is a mystery, and early stranding numbers suggest that 2015 could be even worse than the previous two years.

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