Economy

Former Gallagher’s Evolves into “The Holding Company 1502” Music Venue

June 28, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Former Gallagher’s Evolves into “The Holding Company 1502” Music Venue

Steve Yeng and his family, the owners of both the OB Noodle House on Cable and Bar 1502 over on Niagara, had moved into the old Gallagher’s on Newport Avenue. They held an opening night under the old name not too long ago – which a bunch of us attended.

And now there is a new handle on the place.

The new name: “The Holding Company” or “THC” and “1502” (the positions of the alphabet for “O” and “B”).

Some locals find the new name very edgy, even controversial due to the obvious double layer of meaning. But Yeng is not fazed. After all, this is the year that Californians will (probably) vote to legalize marijuana.

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Let Them Eat Rocks

June 27, 2016 by Source

police ticket homeless

By Jeeni Criscenzo / San Diego Free Press

Last week was a helluva week for those of us helping people without a place to live.

There were plenty of tweets and Facebook posts about the heatwave, as well as the Border fire that was threatening several communities out in East County. But unlike the all-out effort to help residents, pets and livestock in the path of the fire, there was no effort to help the residents of downtown under direct assault from a relentless sun.

Except for access to the library which, for those living on the street, would entail leaving all of your few meager possessions outside, unattended, there was no Health and Human Services program to help them.

The week actually began last Friday for me when my friend Martha Sullivan called asking for help to provide a Cooling Station offering lifesaving hydration and shade for homeless people during the predicted heatwave.

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Bernie Sanders: “Here’s What We Want”

June 24, 2016 by Source

Bernie Sanders wp shot

By Bernie Sanders / Washington Post – RSN / June 24, 2016

As we head toward the Democratic National Convention, I often hear the question, “What does Bernie want?” Wrong question. The right question is what the 12 million Americans who voted for a political revolution want.

And the answer is: They want real change in this country, they want it now and they are prepared to take on the political cowardice and powerful special interests which have prevented that change from happening.

They understand that the United States is the richest country in the history of the world, and that new technology and innovation make us wealthier every day. What they don’t understand is why the middle class continues to decline, 47 million of us live in poverty and many Americans are forced to work two or three jobs just to cobble together the income they need to survive.

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Socks for Homeless Vets Being Collected for Stand Down San Diego

June 24, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Socks for Homeless Vets Being Collected for Stand Down San Diego

By South OB Girl

Victor Brown, Field Representative for Speaker Emeritus of the Assembly, Toni Atkins, had his hands full of socks at Wednesday night’s OB Town Council meeting – all donated by local OBceans.

Socks for Stand Down was started in 2015 by State Assembly Member Toni G. Atkins, Speaker Emeritus, after local Stand Down organizers expressed a need for socks and underwear for homeless veterans attending Stand Down.

Under the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Stand Down events are one to three-day events providing supplies and services to homeless veterans.

Homeless veterans receive food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, dental care, VA Social Security benefits, and counseling.

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The High Costs of Policy Shortfalls in Housing

June 24, 2016 by Source

Close-up View of Garden HoseBy Murtaza Baxamusa / Rooflines

The high cost of housing is one of the most challenging planning issues of our time.

The meager supply of affordable housing is a major contributor to the problem, yet the policy tools to address the shortfall often seem to worsen the problem.

But this is because they ignore the underlying infrastructure and financing to support growth.

Housing affordability is really about two things: income and cost. The building industry is doing very little about the former, oftentimes opposing prevailing wages for construction workers. On the latter, the key question (being debated in California now) is whether deregulation of market rate housing projects will somehow “trickle down” to households, enabling them to afford rising rents and mortgages.

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The Loss of Community Is Still the Biggest Threat from Short Term Vacation Rentals

June 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB airbnb map
The Ocean Beach Town Council will have a presentation and discussion on short term vacation rentals tonight at its monthly meeting, Wednesday, June 22.

Representatives of the group that has been lobbying city government to “do something” about the disruption to residential neighborhoods, Save San Diego Neighborhoods, will be making at least one of the presentations.

They will be discussing how the hundreds of short term rentals in OB and other coastal communities are cutting into San Diego’s housing stock – and making rents higher and even more restrictive. They will demonstrate how neighborhoods are negatively impacted and disrupted. And even how the character of a neighborhood is altered.

This is all well and good – and necessary.

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OB People’s Organic Food Market – Worker-Owned Co-op – in the Gig Economy

June 21, 2016 by John Lawrence
Thumbnail image for OB People’s Organic Food Market – Worker-Owned Co-op – in the Gig Economy

The Gig Economy: Okay If the Profits Went to the Giggers

By John Lawrence

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of working a job here and a job there according to the worker’s convenience and other activities.

The problem is that the profits go to some centralized corporation rather than being spread out among all the giggers in proportion to their participation in the system.

gig economy

If Uber or Lyft were a co-op, the profits would go to all the worker/owners instead of a handful of investors.
Then the gig economy would offer not only a technique for working at one’s convenience and fitting into one’s schedule whether that schedule might be educational or child care or surfing or whatever.

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OB Town Council Meeting – Short Term Vacation Rentals Presentation and Discussion – Wed., June 22nd

June 20, 2016 by Staff

OBTC OB image 6-22-16

Everyone is invited to the OB Town Council meeting on Wednesday, June 22nd, to discuss Short Term Vacation Rentals in Ocean Beach, a very hot topic these days at the coast.

From the OBTC website:

Tourism to our quaint beach town helps our economy thrive, but many residents have been feeling the affect of short-term vacation rentals as fewer homes are available for affordable long-term rental.

Representatives from Save San Diego Neighborhoods will provide an overview on short-term vacation rentals, community impacts, and enforcement of current municipal code. The Town Council wants you to come and share your experience, concerns, and feedback on STVRs during the community discussion.

The meeting begins at 7:00pm at the Masonic Center (1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.)

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Lori Saldana: Ask Mayor Faulconer to Stop Downtown “Cleansing” of Homeless

June 20, 2016 by Source

June 20th Is World Refugee Day and Day Mayor Authorized Sweep of Homeless Possessions

Today – June 20 – is World Refugee Day. It is also the day that Mayor Kevin Faulconer has authorized a massive “sweep” to clear tents, tarps, and other personal belongings from areas downtown.

Whether from economic or political crisis, displaced families with no safe, permanent housing face increased health risks on a daily basis. They are more likely to be victims of violent crime. Women and young people are more vulnerable to rape and sexual assault.

Forcing people away from shelter, and/or to pack up their belongings and move on the hottest day of the year, will add to physical and emotional stress that may result in more emergency responders being called to manage their care. That cost falls on all San Diegans- both in economic and humane ways.

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The San Diego U-T Looks at Short Term Vacation Rentals – and Still Misses Major Point

June 14, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

SD U-T stvr 3

By Frank Gormlie

The San Diego Union-Tribune had veteran reporter Lori Weisberg write an extended piece on short term vacation rentals in Sunday’s “SD In Depth” entitled “Opportunity or Nuisance” (June 12, 2016). Weisberg looked at the impact of short term rentals on San Diego’s housing market and wrote based on her research into who exactly was profiting “from the rise of the home sharing.”

Two of the immediate take-aways from her article are that more and more commercial rental agencies are dominating the short term market and that the available housing stock in San Diego is being affected.

Yet, she still has not focused on one of the key effects of the short term vacation rental industry: the loss of community.

Weisberg’s piece showcases Ryan Scott, who – as Weisberg explained – owns or sublets a dozen STVR dwellings and manages another 10 – many in the beach area and including Ocean Beach.

“The reality is,” he told Weisberg, “you’re leaving money on the table if you’re renting to a long-term tenant.”

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A Bad Climate? The State of Social Justice Efforts in the Labor and Environmental Movements

June 13, 2016 by Jim Miller

no bakkenBy Jim Miller

Among the stories that you may have missed during the stretch run of the primary season was some significantly bad news out of labor on the national front.

Several large unions in the building trades came out against a plan by some of the biggest public sector unions to join forces with environmentalist Tom Steyer in order to fund a major anti-Trump get out the vote operation in the fall. The New York Times noted that:

Two of the Democratic Party’s most loyal constituencies, labor and environmentalists, are clashing over an effort to raise tens of millions of dollars for an ambitious voter turnout operation aimed at defeating Donald J. Trump in the November election.

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The Empire of an Ocean Beach Land Lord

June 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On Saturday, June 4th, activists from a renters’ advocate organization called San Diego Tenants United held a rally at the foot of Newport Avenue, where among other issues in the speeches and testimonials given by organizers, supporters and OB tenants, the name of a notorious OB slumlord was mentioned several times: Michael Mills.

Mills owns a lot of property in Ocean Beach – many rental units. And he has a long history buying up properties, raising rents, and maintaining sub-standard living conditions.

Rumors have swirled for years about how many rental units Mills actually owns, so we set out the other day to find just a few of his properties. And what we found initially were four sets of units that Mills either currently owns or has owned in the past – four properties that had a total of 51 units.

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Sore Loser!

June 10, 2016 by Source

By Jeeni Criscenzo / San Diego Free Press

chess game chanceSore losers! you sneer,
because they question the way the game was played.
Cheaters! they cry,
because it just doesn’t make sense
the way it went down,
compared to what they saw with their very own eyes.
Just politics.
That makes it all OK,
As if this was just a game of chess,
With nothing lost but the round,
unless you waged a bet.

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2016 Primary Election Results and Analysis for San Diego

June 9, 2016 by Doug Porter

Election Returns

Editor: The following election results and analysis were put together by Doug Porter on Wednesday, June 8th, for his column at San Diego Free Press – and all vote tallies are as of yesterday’s numbers.

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over. But it’s mostly over in San Diego. Most of the ballots for the June 2016 primary election have been tallied. The remaining 285,000 ballots uncounted as of Wednesday morning are provisional and late arriving mail-in ballots. A few close races may change, but if history is any guide, what you see in the way of results the day after the election is what you get.

A multi-year campaign for an increase in the local minimum wage came to a close as voters overwhelmingly approved City Proposition I. For me personally, and for tens of thousands of San Diego workers, the last item on the ballot was the most important one.

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Renters’ Rights Activists Hold Rally in OB

June 7, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Renters’ Rights Activists Hold Rally in OB

Last Saturday, June 4th, a rally was held on the grassy area near Veterans’ Plaza in Ocean Beach by renters’ rights activists, who are circulating a rent-control petition for San Diego. They also have targeted one of OB’s landlords, Michael Mills.

Here is some of a report by Dave Rice at the San Diego Reader:

A group of activists seeking a rent-control ordinance and other tenant-protection measures gathered in Ocean Beach on Saturday, circulating a petition they hope will convince the city council to open a dialogue concerning their grievances.

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Calif Parks Dept Wants to Ban Off-Trail Hiking or Climbing in Cuyamaca and Anza Borrego Parks

June 7, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Calif Parks Dept Wants to Ban Off-Trail Hiking or Climbing in Cuyamaca and Anza Borrego Parks

From East County News Service

The California Department of Parks and Recreation proposes prohibiting public access off designated trails. [Ed.:The public had until June 6 to comment.]

In San Diego County, that would include Rancho Cuyamaca and Anza Borrego Desert state parks.

California State Parks Map

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It’s the Primary – Progressives – and Time to Vote!

June 6, 2016 by Doug Porter

ballot box san diegoProgressive Primary Voting Guide for San Diego

Endorsements by OB Rag and San Diego Free Press

By Doug Porter

If you haven’t voted in San Diego yet, now is the time to get focused, and I’m here to help.

While there are many candidates and issues on the ballot, let me remind readers that a Yes vote on Proposition I will have the most immediate impact locally. More than 170,000 hard-working San Diegans will get a badly needed, overdue raise and access to five earned sick days a year.

What I hope to do here today is offer one-stop shopping for those of you just getting around to making your ballot box decisions.

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Good Things Progressives Can Do Down-Ballot

June 6, 2016 by Jim Miller

Pro-Tip: Start at the Bottom of Your Ballot

Down-Ballot

By Jim Miller

While most of the attention is on the Presidential race this primary season, there are still some important things progressive voters can weigh in on down-ballot here in San Diego on June 7th that will do some good.

Here is a short list:

Vote Yes on Proposition I: Sure, $15 an hour is coming soon in California, but voting yes on Proposition I in San Diego will immediately lift the local minimum wage to $10.50 an hour (and eventually $11.50), giving a well-deserved raise and providing five much-needed sick days to over 170,000 hard working San Diegans. It will also right the wrong that was done by Mayor Faulconer and the Chamber of Commerce crew when they screwed local workers out of this necessary hand up.

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Ocean Beach Landlord Michael Mills Targeted by Tenants’ Rights Activists

June 1, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach Landlord Michael Mills Targeted by Tenants’ Rights Activists

OB Residents to Protest Mills’ Outrageous Rents at Saturday June 4th Rally

By San Diego Tenants United

San Diego is currently facing a massive Housing Crisis: rents have increased 25% over the past decade and are expected to increase by 19% in just the next five (5) years, while wages have actually decreased for many San Diego residents.

A February 2015 KPBS article exposed multiple shortcomings with the current system in San Diego for ensuring basic living standards for tenants, making the case that slumlords are not held accountable in San Diego.

Fortunately, tenants in Ocean Beach are fighting back against one such landlord: Michael Mills.

“In the apartment complex I am in, almost half of the apartments are empty because he [Michael Mills] just keeps raising the rent,” explains one displaced Ocean Beach resident.

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Modular Living on Abbott and Voltaire – Photo Essay

May 27, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Modular Living on Abbott and Voltaire – Photo Essay

Editor: Our good friend, John Story, was happening by the commotion at Abbott and Voltaire on Wednesday and was surprised to see what was coming down. Literally – the 2 story units at that corner are modular and can be installed relatively very quickly.

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Peering into the Heart of Darkness: Why I Oppose Mayor Faulconer’s FY’17 Budget

May 25, 2016 by Anna Daniels

homeless w signBy Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

The following is the public testimony that I provided at the May 16 budget hearing before the San Diego city council.

Good Evening. My name is Anna Daniels and I am a resident of City Heights. I have attended close to a decade of budget hearings, always as an advocate for our library system.

But this year is different. I stand here before you as a person of conscience who has been witnessing first hand a burgeoning and permanent underclass of the dispossessed in City Heights and San Diego.
homeless sign vet one in 4

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OB Town Council – Presentations on OB’s Controversial Private Cops and Women’s Self-Defense – Wed., May 25th

May 24, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB security patrolThis Wednesday, May 25th, the Ocean Beach Town Council will hold its monthly public meeting at the Masonic Center, located at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, at 7pm as usual.

Besides the usual reports from the different politicians’ reps, reports from the public agencies that serve OB: fire department, police, lifeguard, elementary school, and library, and after all the Board members give their reports, the Town Council will move into its main agenda item: ‘OB public safety – engagement and empowerment”.

At the top of the public safety element, is a presentation of the OB Mainstreet Association’s “OB Security Program”- the enlistment of private security team patrols of a company called the National Public Safety (NPS). Reportedly, NPS teams “patrol the business districts of OB and work closely with SDPD to get positive results for the entire community.”

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On Dark Patches and Redemption

May 23, 2016 by Jim Miller
Thumbnail image for On Dark Patches and Redemption

By Jim Miller

Despite all our best efforts, things don’t always go the way we would hope. Sometimes we are stunned by the unexpected bad turn and left groping for answers.

Last week in my column about what motivated me to go on the March for California’s Future, I explained how the stories of my students inspired me:

As a community college professor at City College, I am particularly attuned to the painful realities of economic and racial inequality because I see the costs of poverty on a daily basis …

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UC San Diego Faculty Call on Regents to Divest UC Funds from Fossil Fuels

May 20, 2016 by Source

Academic Senate votes in support of divestment resolution

UC San Diego Academic Senate

divestUC San Diego’s Academic Senate announced the passage of a resolution calling on the UC Regents to divest the University of California’s investment portfolio of stocks in companies whose primary business concerns the extraction and sale of fossil fuels.

According to its 1868 charter, governance of the University is shared between the Regents and the Academic Senate. The vote by tenure-track faculty and academic leadership took place electronically over a two week period ending May 11.

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The California Way of Poverty

May 16, 2016 by Jim Miller

Miller-marchers-walt-e1303747766621

By Jim Miller

Last week, I pondered the obscene spectacle of holding a mega-concert catering to the wealthy in the Southern California desert town of Indio where a quarter of the population lives below the poverty line.

The truth is that events like this that underline the contrast between the heedless luxury of the affluent with the deprivation of the poor are not the exception to the rule, but rather, a basic fact of everyday life in our era of historic economic inequality. It’s just the way we live now.

And in sunny California, San Diego in particular, the poor are accustomed to watching the party from the outside.

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Is Affordable Housing In the City of San Diego an Oxymoron? – Part 4

May 16, 2016 by John Lawrence

Section 8 Rental Assistance is a Cruel Jokesection 8

By Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

Approximately 46,000 households in San Diego are on a waiting list to obtain a federal Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8). The average wait time to obtain a housing voucher is 8 to 10 years.

Nobody’s housing needs remain constant over a period of time that long. Many people on the waiting list will have died before they are called for their Section 8 rental assistance voucher. Cruel irony.

In theory, the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program will pay the balance of a rent payment that exceeds 30% of a renter’s monthly income.

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“Gallagher’s 1502” Launches Soft Opening Tonight on Newport – Friday the 13th

May 13, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for “Gallagher’s 1502” Launches Soft Opening Tonight on Newport – Friday the 13th

Discounts Extended to 92107 Locals

It is happening. The “Soft Opening” of Steve Yeng’s latest bar and restaurant – called (for now) “Gallagher’s 1502” is on for tonight, Friday the 13th.

Steve Yeng and his family, owners of the original OB Noodle House on Cable and of Bar 1502 on Niagara, have taken over the former Gallagher’s on Newport Avenue – as we announced on Tuesday.

And tonight, beginning at 5pm and lasting till 2am, Steve will introduce his new “traditional Irish pub” to the OB community that he so loves.

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From 1969 Original SD Free Press Article on San Diego’s Critical Housing Shortage – ‘So What Is New?’

May 11, 2016 by John Lawrence

housing fistJL: This article was originally published in the 1969 print edition of the San Diego Free Press. It follows on to our 4 part series on affordable housing in San Diego. So what else is new? Nothing except the price of real estate. [Items in parentheses are my updated comments.]

Rent Going Up? Planning to Move? Welcome to the Street

By John Lawrence

The housing situation in San Diego, especially for people with low incomes, bears all the earmarks of a terminal illness. The condition is grave and seems destined to get worse. The City will tell you that 1968 was a year in which San Diego experienced a record boom in housing construction, but their figures are completely misleading.

It is true that there were 12,525 units of housing begun in 1968, as compared with 6,100 units in 1967, and that while city building doubled, rural building was up 47% in 1968 over the previous year.

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Newport News – the Latest from Ocean Beach’s Main Street – and More

May 10, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Newport News – the Latest from Ocean Beach’s Main Street – and More

This is the latest of our occasional reports on the comings and goings of businesses on Newport Avenue – the main street of Ocean Beach, plus any new developments that have occurred recently. This is what we found on Monday, May 9th:

Renovations at the Sunshine Company

New exterior and changes inside the Sunshine Company may surprise locals who haven’t been there in a while. Part of the exterior wall in the front has been removed to move the establishment into the new way of drinking – visible and right off the public sidewalk. Upstairs, there is now more light and visibility.

Inside, the long counter and a series of tales has been taken out and replaced with cushioned seating along the wall and round tables in the middle.

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San Diego’s Crisis of Compassion: Scorn and Indifference Do Not Solve Homelessness

May 6, 2016 by Source

By Jeeni Criscenzo / San Diego Free Press

homeless familyIt doesn’t take the recently released Point in Time Count report to know that the number of unsheltered people in downtown San Diego is exploding.

Seeing every vacant lot encircled with blue tent and tarp encampments propped against chain-link fencing has ceased to evoke alarm. It’s now the norm.

The fact that we have become so accustomed to seeing human beings huddled in these makeshift shelters is a pathetic indictment of our city’s dismal failure to solve our housing problem.

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