Civil Rights

Rule By American Dynasty Sinks Deeper Into Our Democracy

April 28, 2016 by Source

idealismBy Frank Thomas

I’ve always thought it would be nearly impossible for Bernie to ultimately win over the establishment status-quo Democratic forces so typically fearful of genuine progressive change … so caught up in an incremental rear guard progress and presidential nomination campaign that is manipulatively, simplistically characterized as one of ‘idealism’ versus ‘realism. So, the message in short seems to be, vote for the candidate of “lowered expectations.”

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Hippie Life in Ocean Beach

April 27, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor Frank Gormlie will speak about “Hippies in OB” this Saturday, April 30th at the OB Library, from 2 to 3 pm.

OB as the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego

By Frank Gormlie

In my many writings about Ocean Beach history – some of which I share below – I’ve always noted that in the late 1960s, OB became the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego. By 1967 – a year after the OB Pier had officially opened – it was already evident that Ocean Beach was morphing into the San Diego equivalent of that fabled and iconic San Francisco neighborhood synonymous with “hippie-ism”. If you were a hippie or a hippie-wannabe during this time somewhere in San Diego, you ended up in OB.

Of course, other factors contributed to the incubation in Ocean Beach of a community sympathetic and supportive of the new emerging counter-counter:

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Is Affordable Housing in the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? Part 2

April 27, 2016 by John Lawrence

Homeless Population Under-counted

homeless familyBy Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

The 8700 people identified by the Point-In-Time-Count are not anywhere close to the total number of homeless people in San Diego City and County. They didn’t count all the people sleeping in their cars nor the many that are staying with friends or couch surfing.

Nor did they count the many that sleep “off the beaten track” in the many hidden gullies and the river bed. Nor did it count all those who slept in places unlikely to be found by the volunteers who did the counting who, after all, could not be expected to expose themselves to dangerous situations and environments.

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The Story of the First Election of the Ocean Beach Planning Board – May 4th, 1976

April 25, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: This May 4th Ocean Beach celebrates the 40th anniversary of the historic vote that established the very first OB Planning Board and the first popular community plan for the neighborhood. Below is an accounting of that vote and events leading up to it, taken from a larger article entitled “How Working Class Ocean Beach Spoiled the Establishment Plans and Created a Revolution in Urban Planning” – Part 2.

Election Scheduled for Early May 1976

Finally the San Diego City Council set a date for the community-wide election of OB’s first planning committee: May 4, 1976. All residents, all property owners and all business owners could vote, and it would be monitored by the non-partisan League of Women Voters.

The Community Planning Group spun into action and set up a process where local residents vied to be included on an organizational slate for the election.

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Urbanologist Mike Davis Reflects on His San Diego Upbringing and the 2016 Presidential Election

April 22, 2016 by Source
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A New Electorate: Mike Davis on Clinton, Trump, and Sanders

Editor: In the following – somewhat dated – interview, local-boy and well-known urbanologist Mike Davis, who is from El Cajon, reflects on his upbringing and the 2016 Presidential primaries. The interview with Maria-Christina Vogkli and George Souvlis first appeared on the LSE Researching Sociology blog.

By George Souvlis and Maria-Christina Vogkli / Verso / March 1, 2016

1) Could you please tell us a bit about your family background?

My family background is distinctive only in being impossibly average. My dad came from a rural Protestant background in Ohio and was a fervent New Deal Democrat. My mom was an urban Irish Catholic and a registered Republican, but twice voted for the Socialist candidate Norman Thomas. She equally adored President Eisenhower and Liberace.

Both were high-school graduates. Apart from the Vulgate Bible we had no books in our home, but my father was an avid newspaper reader (sports and politics) and my mom devoured the Reader’s Digest cover to cover. My dad worked in the wholesale meat industry in a strangely hybrid white collar/blue collar job.

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Let’s Build a Wall Between San Diego and Donald Trump

April 22, 2016 by Staff

Trump San Diego

By OB Rag and San Diego Free Press Editors

We anticipate that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will visit San Diego during the California presidential primary campaign.

We at the OB Rag and San Diego Free Press will join with other San Diegans during his campaign stops in our city in expressing our adamant opposition to the racist, xenophobic and misogynist policies espoused by Trump.

And we join in solidarity with those whom Trump has targeted. Upon Trump’s arrival in San Diego, we want to join with others protesting his policies and we will support any and all of those who express their opposition through various forms of non-violent and civil-disobedient direct actions.

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Meaningless Police Oversight Charter Amendment Recommended for November Ballot

April 21, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Council Committee Ignores Community Alliance’s Call for Subpoena Powers

By Hugh Moore

The San Diego City Council Charter Review Committee met yesterday, Wednesday, April 20 and voted to submit for approval to the full City Council a Charter Amendment recommended by the Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

The recommended amendment changes the name of the Citizens Review Board on Police Practices (CRB), mandates that all police involved deaths be reviewed by the board, and gives the Mayor and City Council joint authority over the board.

However, these are only cosmetic changes, according to Martha Sullivan – member of Women Occupy of San Dieg – and do nothing to improve the CRB’s ability to actually investigate a complaint about the police department.

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A Celebration of the “Last 420” Before Legalization in California

April 20, 2016 by Source
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Ye Ol’OB Hippie Speaks

It seems rather fitting, doesn’t it, that today we celebrate the last 420 before recreational marijuana is legalized in California? It’s on the November election ballot – (a bunch of other different initiatives are trying for the ballot). But by all polls and tokens, marijuana legalization, in some form or rather, is expected to pass.

The last time weed legalization was on the California ballot, it was Prop 19 – the marijuana legalization initiative on the November 2010 ballot. It lost, 53.5% to 46.5%, but more people voted for Prop 19 than voted for the Republican candidate for governor – Meg Whitman. Remember her?

Since then, all kinds of polls show Americans increasingly favoring legalization. Majorities of Americans, in fact, have favored legalization for 3 years already.

Adult Use of Marijuana Act

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Mayor Faulconer’s Republican Unicorns: Jobs! And the Minimum Wage Veto

April 20, 2016 by Doug Porter

Kevin Faulconer headshot colorrevers Kevin Faulconer headshot

The Committee for Slave Wages and Free Puppies for Everybody Lives On

By Doug Porter

Have you seen the Falconer for Mayor ads in social media yet? San Diego’s incumbent mayor is claiming credit –sort of– for a 34% drop in local unemployment since he was elected. If you buy into this claim, you’ll love the expected follow-up ads claiming credit for the sun rising, the sun setting, and better-than-usual surf in Ocean Beach.

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Is Affordable Housing in the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? Part 1

April 20, 2016 by John Lawrence

Has the City squirreled away millions of dollars in off-budget funds which could be used for affordable housing and housing for the homeless?

afordable housing coverBy Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

In the City of Palo Alto, if you make less than $250,000 a year, you’re eligible for a housing subsidy. The city council has voted to study a housing proposal that would essentially subsidize new housing for what qualifies as middle-class nowadays, families making from $150,000 to $250,000 a year.

Here in San Diego, the situation is not much better as teachers, police and government workers cannot afford to live in the city they work in. So if middle class, college educated professionals can’t afford to live here, how can anyone else lower on the economic ladder afford to live here either? In particular, those on the bottom most rung, the homeless, can’t even afford a foot in the door.

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Open Letter to San Diego City Council Committee on Reform of Civilian Police Review Board

April 19, 2016 by Source
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Editor: The following open letter to the San Diego City Charter Committee was accompanied by this urgent call for action from Martha Sullivan:

This Wednesday, April 20th, at 9am is our last chance to convince the City Council Charter Review Committee to recommend our CRB Reform Ballot Proposal be put on the November Ballot. It’s Item 1 on the agenda – come to the 12th Floor Council Committee Room in City Hall. Allow time for parking and to get through the ground floor security screening.

See our latest letter to the Charter Review Committee following — and come on Wednesday morning to support more independence, transparency and accountability for civilian police review:

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Is It All Coming Together?

April 18, 2016 by Source
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By Jeeni Criscenzo

Is it all coming together,
or all falling apart?
I can’t tell anymore.
I came with love,
but can’t find your heart.

I tried to explain how we could help get people off their streets,
by providing basic shelter in supportive communities.
We’d carefully thought out the plan,
Laid it out for them in ways they could understand,
how this would make life better for everyone.

But they came armed with one practiced phrase:
“Not in my backyard!”

Can it all come together?
Or is it already falling apart?
It’s impossible to tell
When we say we want peace,
but we’re fighting an uphill battle from the start.

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Some Friendly Suggestions for the Ocean Beach Planning Board

April 15, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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The Ocean Beach Planning Board, like other neighborhood planning groups around San Diego, is often plagued by low turnouts at its annual Board elections. It’s not uncommon for candidates to receive votes that total in the single digits. This year was no different.

The low audience numbers at the Board’s monthly meetings say something. Plus the fact that the OB Board currently has a 36% vacancy rate – there’s 5 seats vacant on a 14-member Board.

So, I have a few friendly suggestions to make for the OB Planning Board – a good chunk of them aimed at increasing the community’s participation at and with the Board. In addition, My background quickly: 3 years on the OB Board, one year as Chair.

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A Call for Ocean Beach to Celebrate 40th Anniversary of Huge Vote that Established Planning Board and First Popular Community Plan

April 14, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

precise plan -newcoverThousands of OB Residents, Property and Business Owners Took Part in Historic Election of May 4, 1976

There are a lot of important anniversaries these days, it seems, like the 50th anniversary of the Ocean Beach Pier, and like the 50th Re-Union of the Point Loma High School Class of 1966.

But there’s one significant anniversary for Ocean Beach that has as of yet been highlighted for its deserved respect and celebration.

And that’s the 40th Anniversary of the popular vote on March 4, 1976 that established both the Ocean Beach Planning Board and the first OB Community Plan (then called the “Precise Plan”).

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La Migra: A Chicano Historical Perspective

April 14, 2016 by Source

By Herman Baca

Herman Baca Bert Corona Corky 1977If the so-called U.S. immigration issue is a historical labor issue as Chicano/Mexicanos activists, historians, scholars & academicians claim, what then has been the historical role of the U.S. Border Patrol (BP)?

To answer that question one has to study the U.S.’s historical addiction to free and cheap labor. That started when white supremacists created the Afro-American slave labor system in Jamestown, West Virginia in 1619. A town named after King James I of England who organized the slave trade in America, and translated the King James Bible?

Today, those white supremacists are represented by Republican party presidential candidate, Donald Trump, and his Know-Nothing let’s make America great again supporters.

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Change We Can Believe In

April 13, 2016 by Ernie McCray

3040901870_561e28c135_oBy Ernie McCray

Obama first sold young people
on “Change we can Believe In”
and now Bernie
has them thinking along those lines again
in deeper ways
and I love watching their faces
at his rallies when he says to them
“Change comes from the bottom to the top.”
Their faces light up
as he teaches them how
they might best proceed
as they strive to meet
their world’s desperate needs.

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Immigrants Shouldn’t Be Locked Up for Being Poor

April 13, 2016 by Source

jail_cell_1336162381_600x275By Michael Tan, Staff Attorney, Immigrants’ Rights Project, ACLU

In the federal criminal bail system, judges are required to consider someone’s financial ability to pay a bond and determine if alternative conditions of supervision — check-ins, travel restrictions — are enough to get the person to show up for court.

But such protections don’t apply to immigrants locked up in detention centers. The result is that people like Cesar Matias, a gay man from Honduras, end up jailed simply because they’re poor.

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Will the Trump Campaign Wipe Out in California?

April 12, 2016 by Doug Porter

trump TP rollBy Doug Porter

The candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination are looking to the June 7th California primary to be the final showdown. One hundred seventy-two delegates are up for grabs, and there is a big-money push underway in the nation’s most populous state.

Donald Trump is now mathematically unable to seal the deal until the last day of the primary calendar. Senator Ted Cruz, who is holding rallies in Orange County and San Diego today, is ahead of the other candidates in terms of grassroots organizing and campaign infrastructure.

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Statement by Ed Harris – Candidate for San Diego Mayor

April 11, 2016 by Source
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Editor: Here we post, unedited, a statement from Ed Harris who is running for San Diego’s mayor. We do welcome statements from other candidates.

A mayoral debate has been set for the next OB Town Council meeting for Wednesday, April 27th. Harris and Lori Saldana have confirmed for the debate, but Mayor Kevin Faulconer has not.

Progress, Not Politics

By Ed Harris

Kevin Faulconer is a nice enough guy. He’s worked hard to build an image as a down-to-earth
problem solver. His political handlers claim that polls show he’s viewed favorably by most
voters. In fact, they say he’s done such a good job that he’s now a contender to be California’s
next governor.

So an obvious question is, why am I running against him for mayor in the June 7 primary
election?

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Here’s to the Folks Who Demanded the Impossible and Brought Us the $15 an Hour Minimum Wage: The Labor Movement

April 11, 2016 by Jim Miller

Marching Inside Wendy's just one year ago... (SEIU Photo)

By Jim Miller

Time to give credit where credit is due. It was not the noblesse oblige of individual politicians or the Democratic Party that brought us the $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, it was the labor movement.

Surely, the governors of New York and California and their fellow Democrats in those statehouses deserve credit for listening to the cry for economic justice and having the good sense to do the right thing, but the historic victory of the Fight for $15 that we have just celebrated would never have come to pass without the bold vision and prolonged struggle of working people standing together and demanding what many called impossible.

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Barnstorming for Bernie From OB

April 6, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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Monday night, April 4th, a large crowd crammed into the theater space at the OB Playhouse on Newport. They weren’t there for a stage production or music event, but were all there for Bernie Sanders. It was “barnstorming” for Bernie in OB.

All told, I counted more than 120 human beings assembled on couches, along the back walls and on the rugs laid out on the floor, all for a workshop on the Sanders campaign. It was an event for the west wing of the campaign’s local electoral efforts on Sanders’ behalf, that included OB, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.

A woman named Jessica addressed the crowd from the stage a bit past 7pm, and the noise in the space quieted down. She thanked Stu for allowing the campaign to take over his theater.

It became clear that the show was being run by women, as Jessica and several other women spoke to the crowd and presented the program for the night in front of the very enthusiastic crowd. Those gathered were mostly younger people but there were some middle-aged and even older folks crowding in.

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UPDATED: Activist Calendar for April 2016

April 5, 2016 by Staff

Hands AcossSandPic

This April Calendar Has Been Updated to Include Some Upcoming OB Events
April Events

Events in Ocean Beach

* April 11th Monday – Forum on Wild Parrots and Recent Killings; hosted by SoCal Parrot – at the OB Rec Center, 6 to 8 pm;
* April 14th Thursday 7 p.m. Film night “This Changes Everything” Free of charge; OB Green Center
* April 15th Friday 7:30 pm Local-Earth’s Film night ” How to Change the World” Lazy Hummingbird, 4876 Santa Monica Ave.
* Apr. 21st Thursday – The Carlson & Higgins OB Scandals – 7 pm at P.L. United Methodist Church, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B. presented by the OB Historical Society;
* April 23rd Saturday 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Ocean Beach Green Center’s 27th Anniversary Celebration
* April 27th – Wednesday, 7pm – the Ocean Beach Town Council holds its monthly public meeting;
* April 30th Saturday “Ocean Beach Hippies” – a Discussion, 2 – 3pm; Local political muckraker and gadfly Frank Gormlie talks about hippie life in Ocean Beach through the years. It’s free so come join the fun at the Ocean Beach Library, 4801 Santa Monica.

AND MUCH MORE INSIDE ….

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April Fool’s News from Ocean Bleach and Pot Loma

April 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

big surf day 11-3-10 jg 03-sm

* Parrot Shooter Apprehended After Pellet Gun Misfires
* Homeless Hold “People’s Court” and Dish-out Sentences to Thief and Ear Slashers
* FAA Re-Routes Airplane Take-off Routes Over La Jolla and Coronado
* City Crews Decide Torrey Pines Are Not in Danger of Falling – Plan to Plant New Torries

* Decline in Deaths and Injuries at Sunset Cliffs
* Two Breweries on Newport Close – Bookstore and Dispensary to Open
* Homeless Contract With OB Merchants to Clean Sidewalks and Streets

* Travel Blog Downgrades Ocean Beach
* Huge Turn-out at OB Planning Board Election – Inspirational Slate Elected
* Tourists Unite and Clean Beaches and Parks

AND MUCH MORE INSIDE…

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Assault on Public Employee Unions Fizzles at the Supreme Court

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Gets Split Decision

By Doug Porter

Friedrichs-v.-California-Teachers-AssociationRebecca Friedrichs, the elementary school teacher honored with a ‘Torch of Freedom Award’ at the San Diego County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner last weekend, won’t be celebrating this weekend.

[On Tuesday, March 29th], in a single-sentence order, the Supreme Court announced that the judgment of a lower court rejecting an effort to defund public sector unions “is affirmed by an equally divided court.”. A four-decade-old opinion protecting public sector unions will live to see another day.

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Financial Parasites Have Become Neo-Feudal Landlords

March 31, 2016 by John Lawrence

feudalism chartBy John Lawrence

Classical economics divided income into two types: earned and unearned. Earned income came from productive labor combined with capital investment. Unearned income was considered parasitical and consisted of rent, interest and dividends.

It was not considered as adding to GDP but as subtracting from it. It was money made by manipulating money much as feudal landlords made their money in what has been called a rentier economy.

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Wee Lives Matter

March 31, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

(Written for the closing of the Social Justice Conference at City College)

Group of four small children sitting in a group on the floor

“Black Lives Matter”
is heard
from a chorus of voices
in a protest in the street.
“All Lives Matter”
someone screams
from a car rolling by
on the street,
in denial
that Black Lives Matter
wouldn’t have come to be
if All Lives Matter
had ever been a reality
in this country
at any time
or any place.

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OB Rag Staff On “Staycation” – Be Back Soon

March 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

hammock palm

The OB Rag staff is on a “staycation” – we can’t afford a real vacation – so we’re hanging out in town, enjoying local restaurants, bars, bird-sightings, walks around Famosa Slough, bike rides.

IN the meantime … we’re reposting old articles with interesting subjects. Such as the 45th anniversary of the infamous Collier Park Riot of March 28, 1971.

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Joe Wilder: Gentleman of Jazz

March 24, 2016 by John Lawrence

The San Diego Jazz Society Presented Joe Wilder and Marshall Royal

By John Lawrence

Joe WilderJoe Wilder was not only a magnificent trumpet player but a gentleman according to all who knew him. I had the privilege of presenting him and saxophonist Marshal Royal along with a local rhythm section composed of Mike Wofford, Bob Magnusson and Roy McCurdy at the Lyceum Theatre in 1990 under the auspices of the San Diego Jazz Society.

A CD was made of the performance which, unfortunately, is out of print. Joe helped to break down racial barriers on Broadway, radio, television and in classical music.

Wilder’s sense of propriety was legendary.

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“I Had Tears in My Eyes at Last Night’s Bernie Rally”

March 23, 2016 by Source

Event Was Historic Occasion Where So Many Progressives Come Together

The Old OB Hippie Speaks

Old Hippie ob timeThere were tears in my wrinkled eyes last night at the Bernie Sanders rally at the Convention Center in downtown San Diego. I couldn’t help it.

There were so many young people – it was so amazing. It was historic. And the crowd was so diverse – it was even more amazing. And even more historic. I was simply overwhelmed by it all.

There was no beer being served, as this was not a beerfest.

There was no live music, as this was not a concert.

This was politics in San Diego – thousands of people – reportedly more than 13,000 – had gathered and stood in long lines – a mile long it was said repeatedly – for hours.

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Angry White Men on My Mind

March 23, 2016 by Ernie McCray

Head shot photo of an angry young white man

By Ernie McCray

I keep hearing that Donald Trump is appealing to angry white men and I say, of course he is. He’s an angry white man. Who else is he going to appeal to?

Truth is, though, a lot of those angry white men should be angry with themselves for supporting and voting for people who mean them absolutely no good, politicians who do nothing to better their lives. People who, in actuality, do all they can to see that the president doesn’t help them either.

But, anyway, those aren’t the angry white men this writing is about. It’s those out-and-out racist angry white men I see on TV at Trump’s rallies who’ve captured my attention. I’ve spent a month short of 78 years dealing with angry white men like them and they make me jumpy, to say the least.

They are angry, like so many of their ancestors, at the very thought of people who are darker than them being equal to them.

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