OB Time Machine

Glimpses into the history of Ocean Beach.

Early OB Rag – ‘underground newspaper’ for OB – where the surf meets the hip

July 17, 2012 by Staff
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Originally posted September 29, 2009

Editor: This is part of a irregular continuing series about Ocean Beach since the late Sixties and the early history of the first OB Rag.

1968: The Rowdy College-Surf Town Morphs Into Hippie Haven

OB was already well-known for its rowdy and irreverent culture of beach, surf & beer; but by 1968, it began its transformation into something more. Bleach blond long-haired surfers lived next door to long-haired hippies, and soon you couldn’t tell them apart. It became official: Ocean Beach had become the hippie mecca. Since the late sixties, Ocean Beach had morphed into the hippie hangout for the entire city. OB had become the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego, shadowing the more famous early birthplace of hippie-ism. But if you were young and a hippie in San Diego, you ended up in OB.

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A Tail From Ocean Beach’s Past: “The O.B. Ranger Rides Again!”

January 13, 2012 by Source
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Local Radio Heralded Counter-Cultural Seventies Series Called “The O.B. Ranger Rides Again!”

Editor: We received this article from Jay Allen Sanford, who has been a San Diego Reader columnist and cartoonist (Overheard in San Diego, etc) for around 20 years. Sanford lived on Abbott Street in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and his first professional cartoons (ie paid) were for OB’s Strand Theater ads and newsletters (he’s working on a lengthy Strand article now).

By Jay Allen Sanford

“We were going after the progressive rock or the album rock crowd,” says radio DJ and programming vet Gary Allyn about his early seventies on-air gig in San Diego.

“We wanted an independent attitude of not giving a damn about anything because we could get away with a lot of that in Mexico. So our IDs and buffers had things you couldn’t say on American radio. We did quasi drug references. Like ‘It’s time for the scores’ – and the scores would be ‘four keys, two lids.’ With stuff like the O.B. Ranger routines, there was always that underground go-against-society undercurrent. Of course O.B. was the center of the hippie movement in that period, flower power and the drug culture and all that.”

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The first San Diego zoo and other historical notes about Ocean Beach

January 11, 2012 by Source
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By Dave Good / SanDiego.com / Jan 10th, 2012

The roots of the San Diego Zoo lie in Ocean Beach, California. That there is even a zoo here at all, world famous or not, is largely due to a chain of events that began in 1913 at the foot of Voltaire Street. On July 4th of that year the doors to the Wonderland Amusement Park were officially opened to the public.

In its time Wonderland must have been spectacular. Protected from the sea by high walls with exotic turrets it spanned eight acres of what is now dog beach.

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The “No to Starbucks” Campaign in Ocean Beach – 10 Years Old – Part 4

July 1, 2011 by Frank Gormlie
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A decade later, unofficial boycott of Starbucks continues among OBcians

This is the final segment of my four part series on the tenth anniversary of the anti-Starbucks campaign in Ocean Beach.

Plan A – the Formula Ban

The passage of Prop A – the Formula Ban of chain restaurants and other corporate-type businesses in Ocean Beach at the OB Planning Board elections on March 12th, 2002, had been a major boost for activists boycotting Starbucks. It had passed with more than three-quarters of the vote (77%) at the annual election – in a near record turn-out of voters.

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Does the “Green OB” still have meaning? A brief history

June 7, 2011 by Frank Gormlie
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Does the “Green OB” still have meaning in the OB of the 21st century? With only T-shirts bearing the “Green OB” nowadays, the verdant graphic with the letters “O” and “B” with the peace symbol being held up by a fist is more of a concept than a thing in Ocean Beach. But back in the 1970’s it had real meaning, and OBcians placed it in the windows of their homes.

What did it mean? What did it stand for?

The story of the “Green OB” goes back to the inception of the original OB People’s Rag, the hard copy predecessor from the seventies to this website.

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May 4, 1970 – Kent State: How It’s Connected to OB

May 4, 2011 by Frank Gormlie
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(Originally posted May 4, 2010)
I was sitting on my porch this afternoon pondering the meaning of Kent State. I had more tears last year when I wrote a post about it. Yet – here it is – the 40th anniversary. Kent State, hmmm, OB, hmmmm. Something was there.

And then I figured it out! I figured out how Ocean Beach is connected to the Kent State massacre of May 4th, 1970. Or vice versa.

I was in college when it happened. I was attending UCSD and in my senior-year when it all came down. I had been involved in the campus anti-Vietnam movement and was deeply affected by Kent State,

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Why the Collier Park Riot in March 1971 Was a Watershed Event for Ocean Beach

March 24, 2011 by Frank Gormlie
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The following article was originally published on March 24, 2011

Anniversary to be Commemorated this Weekend

This coming March 28th is the 40th anniversary of the infamous “Collier Park Riot” – an event that reminds me of the refrain from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” which claimed: “… hardly a man is now alive who remembers that famous day and year, ….”

And like the pre-Civil War America to whom Longfellow penned his famous poem, the Ocean Beach of the 21st century has forsaken its very own history that made it what it is today – a celebrated iconoclastic corner of the hippie counter- culture that has consciously set itself apart from mainstream Southern California. And it is true, that hardly a man or woman now alive who lives in Ocean Beach remembers that famous day when the youth of the community stood up to “the Man.”

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Why it’s important for you to support the OB Planning Board.

March 14, 2011 by Frank Gormlie
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At times the local planning committee for Ocean Beach acts in relative obscurity. Not by choice, however, for the individuals who serve on the 14-member Board want all the attention they can get. And rightly so – for the Board – which holds two open meetings every month – is really the ONLY publicly-elected body in OB, and is the expression of the people’s will in our little village. It’s annual election – which is this Tuesday, March 15th – is open to every resident, property owner or businessperson in Ocean Beach.

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The Very First Issue of the Original OB Rag, Vol. 1, No. 1

January 24, 2011 by Staff
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Here it is – the very first OB Rag – the OB People’s Rag – published on September 17th, 1970. It was four pages – front and back of 2 pages stapled together. This is great because we have been missing many of the issues from the Rag’s first year, including this very first edition.

A blogger’s sibling found it in some old files and sent it our way. We have scanned all four pages – see below – plus we have retyped all of the articles so you don’t have to squint and ruin your eyes. In addition, we have included all of the graphics and most of the hand-drawn headlines.

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Memories and the OB Spaceman

September 27, 2010 by Source
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By Warren Patch

Ocean Beach has always been a colorful place. The Hippies seem to perpetually reinvent themselves there; long hair, short hair, dread hair, dirty hair, blue hair, no hair, it’s all cool. And tie-dye is still vogue. I buy mine at Sunshine Daydreams on Newport Avenue.

One of the all-time great characters of OB was Clint Carey, alias OB SPACEMAN. He used to sell plots of land on the moon. And he was the only OB’cean who had personally met the “Outer Space People” when they came visiting, and he alone was authorized to sell tickets for spaceship rides when they returned.

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The Strand Theater of Ocean Beach – Part 2 – Memories from the Seventies

September 14, 2010 by Frank Gormlie
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Mention the Strand Theater to an OB “old-timer” and a smile instantly embraces their face. And probably a laugh too. Now I don’t mean “old-timer” in the classic sense (the stooped-over scraggly white-haired old guy) – I mean somebody who experienced the Strand in its heydays of the Seventies. The Strand does brings back good memories to them. Funny memories. Incredible memories.

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The Strand Theater-Part 1: the Year the Porno Theater Was Stopped

September 10, 2010 by Frank Gormlie
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It was a gaggle of people moving back and forth – many with signs – in front of a Newport Avenue business. There was about twenty of them, many women, some children, and they began chanting:

“Get the smut out of OB! Get the smut out of OB!”

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The Ocean Beach Town Council of Yesteryear …

August 31, 2010 by Frank Gormlie
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Come meet the OB Town Council of yesteryear … of 1972. OB community activists were engaged in a stand-off with the then president Bob Miller. Here is a portion of the front page of the original OB Rag in March 1972.

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The Community Awakes – OB Responds to the Early Seventies Planning Crisis

January 4, 2010 by Frank Gormlie
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It’s been nearly half a century since the Peninsula Community Plan was officially launched by Peninsulans, Inc., its creator, in December of 1965. For the first time the organization of Point Loman business and property elites opened their vision of Point Loma and its sub-communities to the public.

The first urban plan for Ocean Beach was to grow out of this endeavor, as OB then was simply viewed as one of those sub-communities of the greater peninsula.

Peninsulans, Inc., or just “Pen Inc” – itself the child of the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce – had been officially endorsed by the San Diego City Council as “the citizen’s committee” for area planning on Point Loma. In 1968, three years after its launch, the Peninsula Community Plan was adopted by the City Council as the official plan for the Point Loma communities.

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Free Frank! More History of OB and the Rag

December 15, 2009 by Patty Jones
Free Frank Gormlie!

Today a good friend sent us a tidbit that he found tucked away in his morgue file, and that got me sidetracked in a real fun way….

Frank has written a lot of historical pieces on Ocean Beach (click on HISTORY up there in the navigation bar, you won’t be sorry) and in my opinion this article needs to be part of the story of the Collier Park Riot. Originally published in the door (another San Diego underground paper) in May of 1972, it tells a bit of the story of our very own EditorDude on that infamous day in March 1971.

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The dilemma of the disenchanted progressive: why it’s important for Ocean Beach – Part III

November 24, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

The dilemma of the disenchanted progressive has come full circle. If the progressive is disenchanted and deeply puzzled, what about the progressive community – what about a place like Ocean Beach?

This then is the third and final part of the series. In Part 1, I presented what I see as this dilemma for disenchanted progressives: as people on the political left we are disenchanted about the tempo and types of changes that President Obama has ushered in to date. And yet, as I discuss in Part 2, this country is facing a mass movement that represents an American brand of fascism, and it’s gunning for President Obama.

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1972: Early History of the OB Rag – Ocean Beach’s Underground Newspaper –

October 25, 2009 by Staff
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(Editor: With the blog OB Rag celebrating its second birthday, we thought it would be cool and appropriate to publish some more history of the original OB Rag, OB’s underground newspaper of the 1970s. The following recounts the 2nd anniversary of the first OB Rag:)

By Fall of 1972, it was the OB Rag’s second birthday – the beginning of its third year, and the community-wide effort to develop alternative institutions was in full swing.

The OB Community School was a year old. A childcare center had arisen among needy parents who were assisted by activists. The OB People’s Food Store had opened in a storefront.

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Voltaire and Sunset Cliffs: OB’s Corner of Contention

September 3, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

No other corner in all of Ocean Beach has had as much attention and been the point of so much contention and conflict within the community as has the corner of Voltaire Street and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. The northwest corner to be exact.

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The First OB Precise Plan: Pen Inc Plans High Rise for Ocean Beach

July 27, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

Since I came of age here in Ocean Beach, I’ve always believed that urban planning should be a process in which the citizens and residents of a community have a significant and substantial role to play.

This concept was shared by an entire generation of grassroots activists here in OB during the first half of the Seventies.

In this continuous series about the history of urban planning in Ocean Beach, I’m attempting to outline the historical record so newer generations of OBceans can appreciate how OB came to be what it is today.

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History of Ocean Beach Street Names (ho-hmmm?)

July 4, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

Always intrigued about the origin of words and idioms, I found interesting the history of Ocean Beach street names.

It is axiomatic in our world that whoever plans out and develops a community gets to name the streets! And the rest of us then get to live with those street titles. Now, of course, who does plan out and develop a community from scratch? Who was responsible for putting together the sub-divisions that make up what is the present community of Ocean Beach?

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Two Views of Ocean Beach’s Early Developers

July 3, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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Originally posted June 19, 2008

2 ENTREPRENEURS DEVELOPED TOWN IN THE LATE 1800s

By Joe Tash / UNION-TRIBUNE /June 14, 2008
Long before Dog Beach, the People’s Organic Food Market and The Black became Ocean Beach fixtures, Billy Carlson and D.C. Collier put their stamps on this seaside community. The two entrepreneurs are considered co-founders of Ocean Beach for their pioneering roles during the late 1800s and early 1900s, said Pat James, a businessman and president of the Ocean Beach Historical Society.

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How the West Was Won – how urban planning in Ocean Beach became democratic

June 29, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

Have you heard of the OB Planning Board? Meeting monthly, the Board is the official body – made up of local residents, property owners and businesses – that advises the City of San Diego on development and construction projects and issues slated for Ocean Beach. And it’s the closest thing to an elected body for OB. … MORE INSIDE …

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The Battle Over the Ocean Beach Precise Plan- how urban planning became a democratic process and how OB was saved

June 17, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

The wonderful and warm community of Ocean Beach thrives on, even while it harbors scars of tagging, and while its business folk plan for the annual festival, the residents go about their days and lives with a harmony uncommon in this day and age of high-tech, high-rise and low markets.

The contentedness – yea, even bliss – of the seaside village’s people, can be traced to …

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Flash to the Past: Original OB Rag Covers

June 13, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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As you probably know, this blog is named after the original OB People’s Rag, an underground or alternative community newspaper that flourished in Ocean Beach during the first half of the Seventies.

See the evolution of the newspaper’s covers, as they reflected what was going on in OB at the time and what was on the minds of its all-volunteer citizen journalist staff.

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New scenes from OB’s past

June 9, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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Here are some real treasures from OB’s past – these are from the original pages of the OB Peoples Rag – most from 1972.

And it was that merged surfer-hippie-politico subculture that was so unique in Ocean Beach that saved the community from over development.

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Scenes from OB’s once Voltaire Park

June 4, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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Once upon a time, a citizen-created park existed at the busy corner of Voltaire Street and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. It had been created and then was maintained by folks from the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization and supporters.

After the departure of the last business at the location – on property owned by World Oil – the lot had become an eye-sore with weeds and trash strewed about. Without authorization from the City or World Oil, OBGO took it over, uprooting the weeds, dealing with the junk, picking up the old asphalt, and planting flowers, trees and bushes. And watering it.

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Scenes from OB’s past

June 3, 2009 by Frank Gormlie

Here are a number of photos from OB’s past … (okay, I threw one current sunset by Jim Grant in there).

Check out the second one – it shows then Police Chief Ray Hoobler personally accosting young people on Long Branch Avenue in 1968. Check out his uniform. Thank you Steve Rowell.

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Remember the Collier Park Riot! March 28, 1971

March 28, 2009 by Staff
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38 years ago – check out our account of the riot – reposted here, what led up to it, the causes, the reporting, and the aftermath.

the Battle for Collier Park

Spring 1971. One of the first major issues the OB Rag jumped into wholeheartedly was to join up with a new OB environmental group, OB Ecology Action, and lead a fight to save Collier Park, an urban patch of land in northeastern OB.

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OB vs. Police in the 1970s

March 25, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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by Frank Gormlie

It was a nice spring day in the month of May. The 21st to be exact. It was in the year 1974. A generation ago. It was show-time for us as we were going up against the Chief of Police.

Four of us had traveled to City Hall to have a “get-down” meeting with Chief Ray Hoobler and our Councilman. The situation in OB had become intolerable. We had come to talk because police – community relations there had broken down.

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Ocean Beach and the Police in the mid-1970s: demand grows for that strange and foreign concept of civilian review

March 10, 2009 by Frank Gormlie
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It may be true, as someone has suggested, that young people of Ocean Beach today have no idea of the on-going, daily tension between the police and the youth of OB a generation ago. Things are taken for granted.

Take the concept of police review, of the idea that civilians with some authority review the activities of police officers through an independent process. Heh? What’s the big deal? you ask. Of course, there should be some sort of civilian monitoring of and control on how police act and behave toward citizens.

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