Book Review Of Bill Walton’s “Back From The Dead”

April 27, 2016 by Ernie McCray

backfromthedeadBy Ernie McCray

I just finished one of those books that fit the category of a book that’s hard to put down: Back from the Dead by Bill Walton, one of the truly great basketball players and human beings. On the cover one reads “Searching for the sound, shining the light, and throwing it down.” That’s Bill, for sure, as I’ve followed him since he was a kid.

I didn’t know until I read his book that he was a musician, but I’ve known for a long time that he’s someone who’s attracted to the sounds of music, that he has been a player in the Grateful Dead scene for decades. I’ve known that he’s a lifelong learner, a man who’s constantly growing and questioning and shining a light on things that need tending to in our world. And his writing details somewhat poetically how he’s “thrown it down,” all out, throughout his life, in spite of forever having to endure an almost unbelievable array of crippling injuries and intense pain.

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The San Diego Chargers Convadium – Part 1: 110 Pages of Gobbledygook

April 13, 2016 by John Lawrence

convadium 1By John Lawrence

On Saturday, April 2, the Chargers published a whole section of the San Diego Union-Tribune devoted to their proposal to build a football stadium for the Chargers combined with a non-contiguous expansion of the Convention Center.

The title of this section was “Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition.” Right off the bat I found several things wrong with this proposal. But before I go into that I want to discuss the MAJOR thing wrong with this proposal.

You see the Chargers think combining a Convention Center Expansion with a new stadium will make it more palatable to San Diego voters especially if the tax that will be raised to pay for it will be a tax on visitors not on locals.

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San Diego is Led Around by the Nose

April 5, 2016 by Source

pigs on paradeBy Norma Damashek / San Diego Free Press

How about taking a break from our city’s inane preoccupation with a behemoth sports palace for the San Diego Chargers?

And let’s give ourselves a break from the fiasco called a “Convadium,” a zany proposal to link a convention center annex to a new football stadium just down the street from our 18-acre ballpark. Talk about blocking pedestrian access! Talk about walling off the heart of downtown!
What self-respecting city in the USA would fall for such a ludicrous proposal?

So let’s NOT to take a break from simple questions like: Why are we even thinking about cramming a mammoth new football stadium into our modestly-proportioned, pedestrian-starved downtown streets? What rational person would want to do such a dumb thing to our city? Are we nuts, or what?

And while we’re at it, how about taking a clean break from convoluted (fraudulent?) financing schemes involving hotel taxes and bonds and subsidies and giveaways that inevitably come back to bite San Diego taxpayers and residents?

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Go Padres! “Vivas to Those Who Have Failed!”

April 4, 2016 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

in the standsToday is opening day and with it, if history is our guide, what is most likely another season of futility is born. Having grown up a Padres fan, this is par for the course as the Pads have only gone to the postseason five times and have a meager .463 winning percentage over the life of the franchise.

They are, in short, losers.

So why go? Why will I be sitting in the stands this afternoon as the Padres take on the Dodgers hoping against hope that the outcome will be different?

Sports psychologists inform me that my addiction to losing baseball might have some rough consequences. As Larry Stone reports in “The Psychology of Being a Sports Fan,” researchers have found that When your team loses, it’s like you lose a part of yourself, because your identity is so merged with the identity of the team and the fan community . . . Sports in the U.S. makes such a difference in people’s lives, a loss can be distressing.”

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Chargers Say They’ll Fund Their Own Stadium Downtown (Sort of)

February 25, 2016 by Doug Porter

SD Convention CenterOh, to have been a fly on the wall at city hall as the local football franchise went public with a ‘no thanks’ to the officially blessed plan of building a stadium in Mission Valley.

Once again the mayor and his minions have been left out in the cold.Last time they were spurned for an alliance with the Raiders to build a facility in Carson. This time it’s even worse, as the Chargers have thrown their support to a political coalition including the ne’er-do-well Cory Briggs.

In making this move the Chargers have rejected $350 million in city and county support –and the strings that came with it– saying they would get their own financing.

How’d they do that? Well, it’s complicated.

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The 56th Anniversary of Ernie McCray’s School-Record 46-Point Game

February 10, 2016 by Source

Ernie McCray 46pts
Editor: Ernie McCray – one of our regular and beloved columnists – still holds an Arizona basketball record. Ernie has written about his college basketball days, plus we have posted a few about his accomplishments. One of the posts we published was entitled:

After the game that McCray won, his teammates went to a restaurant to celebrate but he didn’t join them – he knew he wouldn’t be served.

By Javier Morales / Arizona Basketball, U of A/ 6, 2016

Ernie McCray was listed as a center in 1960 although he was only 6’5?. On the night, he set the Arizona record with 46 points in a 104-84 win over Cal State Los Angeles 56 years ago today, McCray said in a 2014 interview that he made “four or five shots” from beyond what is the three-point line today. No three-point line or shot clock existed back then, making the feat that much more respectable (Tucson Citizen front page screen shot)

For 56 years Arizona’s scoring record has stood, Ernie McCray’s 46 points at the old Bear Down Gym against Cal State Los Angeles.

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Chargers Dilemma: After Screwing the Fans, Now They Want Them Back

February 10, 2016 by John Lawrence

… At Least For a Year

roman colusseumBy John Lawrence

The Romans used to provide Bread and Circuses for their populace to keep them pacified. Nothing much has changed in 2000 years. The San Diego Chargers want taxpayers to spend $350 million to buy them a new Colosseum.

And they’re not really even the San Diego Chargers. They are the Dean Spanos Chargers. He owns them. The players should all be wearing “Dean Spanos Chargers” on their shirts.

The Chargers merchandise should all bear his name. As we’ve seen recently, the Chargers would think nothing of “Bolt”ing to Los Angeles if the grass were greener there. But their quest for a shiny new stadium in another locale has been stymied at least temporarily.

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A Beach, Burb, and Billionaire “Citizens’ Plan” for San Diego’s Urban Neighborhoods

January 26, 2016 by Source

Photo by Doug Porter Overlooking tailgate park and MTS building Photo by Doug Porter

Editor: Some months ago Attorney Cory Briggs and others rolled out the “Citizens’ Plan for the Responsible Management of Major Tourism and Entertainment Resources,” better known as the Citizens Plan. They are hoping to have this on the November 2016 ballot as an alternative to the current tourism/development scheme, which is dominated by hotel industry’s financial interests.

By Bill Adams / San Diego UrbDeZine

They’re calling it the “Citizens’ Plan” initiative. Like all such initiatives, the name is misleading. Said citizens are an alliance of a billionaire and a few advocates for a limited selection of public interests. Not included are the citizens who are most impacted nor the economic interests of the City’s working populace. Citizen Kane Plan might be a more appropriate name for the way it attempts to manipulate public opinion into believing it is a grassroots plan.

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Reader Rant: ‘It Would Be Disastrous if SeaWorld Proceeded With Hotel Construction and Workers Hit Another Pocket of Toxic Waste’

January 12, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Reader Rant: ‘It Would Be Disastrous if SeaWorld Proceeded With Hotel Construction and Workers Hit Another Pocket of Toxic Waste’

Debate Continues on Whether SeaWorld Can Built Hotel on its Present Site

By B. Ross

The area for the old, Mission Bay landfill that CK cites, in the article written to refute the OB Rag’s estimate of its area, is not accurate. Besides, the estimates for the size of the landfill are based on aerial photographs from that era. The City destroyed the majority of the records related to the landfill, which makes it impossible to prove either analysis correct. The study of the dump site was undertaken in 2005, so why point to 2002 data?

The Reader, San Diego UT and other sources in 2006 showed an area that is bigger than what CK shows and smaller than the map from the OB Rag story.

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Sea World & Mission Bay: No Place to Play?

January 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

seaworld2A group called Save Everyone’s Access has filed suit, seeking to halt construction of SeaWorld’s Blue World Project. The proposed addition to the waterpark would incorporate a 50-foot-deep, 1.5-acre-wide, ten-million-gallon tank to house killer whales and a 40-foot below-grade viewing area for visitors.

According to a story by Dorian Hargrove in the Reader, the group is asking a judge to order the park to study the potential environmental impacts related to toxic waste buried in the area back when it was used as a city landfill.

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‘We Told You So’ in Ocean Beach

January 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

One condominium complex in Ocean Beach was featured on newscasts throughout the region. Resident Johnny Caito made a YouTube video featuring the area around Saratoga and Abbott Streets.

The OB Rag ended up calling the units The Million Dollar Condos. Years of community opposition to building what some considered to be a fortress-type structure on the beach front ended with the OB Planning Board approving the plans in November 2011.

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A Renaissance Man in a Sports Hall of Fame

November 12, 2015 by Ernie McCray

FTS Dave BaldwinBy Ernie McCray

One of my most cherished honors is being among some pretty good Wildcat athletes in the “University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.”

I’m a member because I could snatch rebounds like a machine and get the ball in the hoop as a routine. But what does it really mean? For me, it hasn’t been something I’ve thought that much about day to day.

But a few months ago I got a little excited seeing a very familiar name on the list of super-jocks who were to join the club this year.

Dave Baldwin is the name. Pitching a baseball was his game. And I’m stoked that he and I are going to be in such a place of esteem together – because we go back before our college days, back to the Class of ’56 at Tucson High. Back to when I was stepping high, doing teenage boy things, testosteroned to the bone.

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SeaWorld San Diego to Phase-Out Orca Circus Shows

November 10, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for SeaWorld San Diego to Phase-Out Orca Circus Shows

SeaWorld Also Wants a Hotel on Mission Bay

The big news in our neck of the woods – or more accurately – our cove of the bay – is that SeaWorld has just announced that it is phasing out the Orca show performances at its San Diego park. They will be phased out sometime in 2016 – which means they could go on for another year. And replaced in 2017 with a “new orca experience”one with a more “natural” setting.

On Monday, November 9th, the company posted a document that stated that the theatrical Shamu stunts here in San Diego will be replaced with an “informative” experience with a “conservation message inspiring people to act.”

The changes do not affect killer whale shows in Orlando, Florida and San Antonio, Texas, where they own other similar parks with orcas.

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“Let the Chargers Go!” – A Poem by the Widder Curry

October 30, 2015 by Judi Curry

Let the Chargers Go – from a former Charger Fan
– who used to be able to afford to buy a ticket.

If Qualcomm is in such disrepair,
It will cost too much to keep them here,
Go away Spanos, take them away from here,
Tell old Faulconer, that they will still be near.

Go to Carson, Chargers,
You will still hear me cheer,
But don’t be surprised if it’s not for you
In fact it may sound like a jeer.

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Poor Mayor Faulconer

October 28, 2015 by Source

red long johnsBy Norma Damashek

It’s enough to make you cringe, the way they toy with our mayor – those brawny Chargers/ Rams/ Raiders sports team owners, our insatiable hotel magnates, those downtown real estate purveyors, our Chamber of Commerce henchmen. So many entitled guys diddling with our small-time politicians just for the fun of it, passing the time until they clinch their publicly-subsidized, taxpayer-financed killer deals.

But our mayor is a good-natured sport. He wears his what-me-worry grin even when he’s left flapping in the breeze, flailing like wet underwear strung up on the clothesline to dry. One minute limp and aimless. The next minute puffed up and billowing like a hot-air facsimile of a political contender hoping to score in big-boy Republican Party politics.

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Coastal Commission Bans Orca Breeding But Approves Tank Expansion

October 9, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Coastal Commission Bans Orca Breeding But Approves Tank Expansion

By Sneha Shankar/ International Business Times

The California Coastal Commission Thursday approved the bid by SeaWorld to expand the tanks the company uses to hold killer whales in San Diego, but banned the breeding of the captive orcas that would live in them. The decision came through a vote, which followed a daylong hearing with several speakers, who spoke for and against the proposed expansion.

While the decision was lauded by animal rights activists, it would only ban the breeding of captive orcas, including through artificial insemination, in the company’s California park but not in its facilities in other states. SeaWorld also operates parks in San Antonio, Texas, and Orlando, Florida. The amendment would also ban the sale, trade or transfer of the orcas, and provided an exemption for some of the whales that were caught in the wild, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

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Warm Water Has Created Banner Season in Fishing Off Point Loma But Also Drastic Changes in Ocean Food Chain

September 23, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Warm Water Has Created Banner Season in Fishing Off Point Loma But Also Drastic Changes in Ocean Food Chain

Fisherman are having a great time these days as it’s a banner season with boatloads of bluefin tuna, dorado and yellowtail returning to the docks of Point Loma. Anglers are catching 100- to almost 200-pound bluefin tuna off our coast, further out west and up north, locals say -normally not seen up here.

Usually the tropical fish are reeled in off Mexico and far off-shore, but now they’re being hooked as close as 10-20 miles off of San Diego, where water temperatures are exceptionally warm.

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Are the NFL Chargers Causing the NCAA Aztecs to Lose?

August 27, 2015 by Source


By Bill Adams /UrbDeZine

Are the San Diego National Football League (NFL) Chargers causing the San Diego State University Aztecs football team to lose games and fans? If so, which is worse for San Diego, losing its NFL franchise to another city, or sub-optimal performance and attendance at Aztecs football games?

While these question at first appear both absurd and provocative, there have been several studies that can answer these questions – at least to some degree. Moreover, the studies go further. The studies indicate that the success of a college sports team has an effect on the regional economy.

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Repulsed by Animal Cruelty, Attendance (and Profits) at SeaWorld Plummet

August 10, 2015 by Source

“People don’t want to watch abused animals being forced to perform pointless circus tricks,” says animal rights group

kathy-najimy-seaworld-new-hed-2014By Nadia Prupis /Common Dreams

Since the 2013 release of Blackfish, a bombshell documentary exposing animal cruelty at SeaWorld, the aquatic theme park has lost increasing levels of both profits and visitors, reporting an 84 percent plunge in net income in just three months.

SeaWorld announced its quarterly earnings on Thursday, acknowledging the steep drop in profits as a result of “brand challenges.”

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Ocean Beach Site of Annual Lifeguard Relay – Thursday, Aug. 6th

August 6, 2015 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach Site of Annual Lifeguard Relay – Thursday, Aug. 6th

The starter gun will go off at 6pm, today, Thursday, August 6th – right on the beach at Ocean Beach. It’s all because OB is the site of the annual memorial San Diego Lifeguard Relay – named after Ronald B. Trenton, a former lifeguard, lost in a plane crash at sea.

The competition relay event will be open to the public and will be held smack in the middle of the beach, just north of the OB Pier.

The rescue skills of the city-wide lifeguards will be on display as they will be competing against each other and organized in the 4 different districts. The lifeguard districts are divided up geographically: OB is in the Southern District; Mission and Pacific Beaches are in the Central District; La Jolla beaches make up the Northern District; and the fourth district is the Boating Safety Unit, including Mission Bay.

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BASE Jumper From OB Dies in Brazil Accident

July 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for BASE Jumper From OB Dies in Brazil Accident

Fernando Goncalves Is 5th BASE Jumper to Die in Last 6 Weeks

A BASE jumper from Ocean Beach has died in a recent accident in Brazil. OBcean Fernando Goncalves was a professional wingsuit pilot but was killed while diving off Pedra da Gavea, a 2,769-foot granite dome mountain in Brazil.

The day before his death, Goncalves, 36, posted a video of a dive on his Facebook page off Pedra da Gavea. That was Thursday of last week – a week ago – and then on that Friday, he was killed making a similar jump, using a wingsuit and parachute.

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There is No ‘Free Money’ for Stadium Study

July 30, 2015 by Source

By Joe Flynn / San Diego Free Press

money lobbyBack to basics. All money in the city’s funds, coffers, treasure chests, you pick the title, is taxpayer money. In the effort to fund the Stadium Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the unanticipated refund from the state is being treated as “free” money.

Perhaps the term “refund” got lost in the shuffle; a refund usually implies that the money you paid or over paid, is being refunded, i.e., given back. It comes back to the city with the same restrictions that it had when it was paid. It may not be earmarked for a particular use, but that only implies that it goes back into the general fund.

So a $2 million unexpected refund comes back to the city treasurer, and like any other funds owned by the city, it requires a decision by the Mayor and Council to spend it – period. This is not complicated.

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Chargers Stadium Financing Plan: Sell City Owned Unicorns and Fairy Dust

July 14, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Chargers Stadium Financing Plan: Sell City Owned Unicorns and Fairy Dust

By Doug Porter

This whole deal with using public money to build a stadium for a privately owned football team just keeps getting stranger.

Yesterday we learned the idea of using funds from developments adjacent to the Mission Valley site to fund the project was off the table. Ancillary development has been part of every stadium plan proposed over the past 15 years. That’s $225 million just vanishing. Gone. Poof!

Then where’s the stadium construction funding coming from? Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s spokesman, Craig Gustafson, emailed Scott Lewis at Voice of San Diego: “The plan the City/County team is developing is based on negotiations and discussions with the Chargers and the NFL.”

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Open Letter to San Diego City Council: Vote “No” Today on Stadium EIR

July 14, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for Open Letter to San Diego City Council: Vote “No” Today on Stadium EIR

Editor: The views expressed in the letter do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and staff of the OB Rag.

Dear San Diego City Council:

As a sports writer and stadium activist, I urge you to vote ‘NO’ with regard to ITEM-S500: Establishment of Stadium Reconstruction Project CIP and Amendment to AECOM Agreement for Environmental Review Services. (Mission Valley Community Area. District 7.)

In 2009, I broke the story for that the Chargers had re-engaged city officials and the focus for a new stadium had turned to downtown. Since then, I have built a strong relationship with the team and spent three seasons (2010-12) as the Chargers beat writer for

With deep knowledge of the stadium issue, I am extremely concerned that a ‘YES’ vote will cost the city

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Remembering a Track Star’s Granddad

July 8, 2015 by Ernie McCray

Thomas, Carl & Me

By Ernie McCray

I’ve been thinking about an old departed friend. My best friend. Thomas Ross. Loved the dude although we were dissimilar in some ways. He was stocky and bear-like strong and prone to growl every now and then and I was sinewy and laid back, trying to live life with a grin.

Anyway, he’s been on my mind because his son, Ron, keeps me posted on his grandson, Tavian, who’s got college track coaches salivating to beat the band because the dude recently ran the 400 in forty-seven-point-six seconds (47.60).

Thomas would say to that: “The dude can step, Jack!” He would be so proud of his progeny. Especially since he’s doing his thing for Tucson High, our old high school. And, we were pretty decent jocks too. Football. Basketball. All-State and all. Living the life, strutting down the hall, wearing the big red “T.” “Badgers” to the bone!

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“Empty the Tanks” Campaign to Hit San Diego’s SeaWorld this Weekend

June 5, 2015 by Staff
Thumbnail image for “Empty the Tanks” Campaign to Hit San Diego’s SeaWorld this Weekend

Animal rights activists from throughout Southern California will gather in San Diego this weekend in a kick-off for a world-wide campaign called “Empty the Tanks” with demonstrations against SeaWorld.

The main demonstration is on Saturday, June 6th outside SeaWorld from 10am to 1pm, at the intersection of SeaWorld Drive and SeaWorld Way. The goal is to advocate for marine mammals held captive worldwide for entertainment and profit.

One of the orcas at the center of this campaign is Corky, a female who has been at SeaWorld for 25 years and another 20 years at the former Marineland of the Pacific.

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What’s Going On With the Stadium and the Chargers?

May 20, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for What’s Going On With the Stadium and the Chargers?

By Doug Porter

Little green men from Mars could have seized city hall on Monday the 18th and I doubt anybody would have noticed.

The Mayor’s stadium advisory group presented its vision for building a facility worthy of consideration by the National Football League and its San Diego Chargers franchise. And that was the talk of the town.

Tuesday’s UT-San Diego had eight, count’em, eight stories about the team and the stadium proposal. (At least that’s what I saw on their web site. There could be more…)

Columnist Kevin Acee displayed some skepticism in the sports section:

A starting point will be the amount of money the Chargers are being asked to contribute.

There is the $300 million initial investment, which is at least $100 million more than the team has said it can give. Then there is the rent, almost $476 million in payments over 30 years ($10 million in the first year with a 3 percent annual increases), of which the city would realize $173 million.

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The Fuzzy Picture around the Chargers Stadium and Mission Valley

April 23, 2015 by Source

black-hole-money1A Reader’s Rant

By Joe Flynn / San Diego Free Press

Editor : The following “Reader’s Rant” by Mr. Flynn is a response to Taking a Wide Lens on Mission Valley by Mary Lydon, published in Voice of San Diego.

A wide angle lens may not be the appropriate analogy for this discussion. It seems a telephoto lens for a close up was used here focusing on providing a stadium for the Chargers. The rest of the picture is fuzzy. What is troubling about these discussions is that they begin and end with the assumption that the city owned land in Mission Valley, now improved with Qualcomm Stadium is “dedicated for sports facility use.”

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Manufacturing Consent for a New Stadium in San Diego

April 22, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Manufacturing Consent for a New Stadium in San Diego

By Doug Porter

Two months ago prospects for building a new football stadium were waning. The thinking was that San Diego had done too little, too late to accommodate the demands of the Chargers for a new facility. The football team, it seemed, was ready to head north for a more obliging locale.

Now, thanks to a blizzard of press releases and the timely release of a think tank study, the tide may be turning. Today we’ll take a look at those developments and the role they may play in shaping public opinion.

Back on February 2nd a certain columnist (me) noted :

“The only thing more likely to be declared dead on arrival than any plan coming out of the newly ensconced Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group for San Diego is the budget proposal the President is sending to the Republican-controlled congress.”

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OB Rec Center Make-Over Allows Everyone to Be a Kid

April 7, 2015 by Matthew Wood
Thumbnail image for OB Rec Center Make-Over Allows Everyone to Be a Kid

Spring Renovations Include Re-Surfaced Gym Floor

By Matthew Wood

This isn’t your grandfather’s Ocean Beach Recreation Center.

Oh sure, it’s the same building that has been on Santa Monica Avenue for the past 60-plus years. But recent renovations have sharpened up the place that gives kids of all ages a chance to, well, be a kid again.

The first thing you’ll notice is a brand-new paint job on the walls, …

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