An Abbreviated Voter Guide to Electing Judges

October 23, 2014 by Anna Daniels

justice scalesBy Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

Editor note: The OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press have not endorsed any judges. The opinions in the article are those of the author.

Does this sound familiar? ” I’m filling out my ballot and there are 14 judges. Who do I vote for and specifically not for?” The usual means at our disposal for choosing voter nominated candidates and propositions are noticeably absent when voting for judges. It is therefore easy to blow off this obscure exercise in democracy until you wake up one day to find out that you have been Kreep’d, as in San Diego Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep.

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6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.

October 21, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for 6 Common Mistakes Made By Cities and Towns in Urban Renewal.

by Bill Adams / San Diego UrbDeZine

For the last half century, cities have attempted to repair the damage to their urban cores from migration to suburbs and exurbs. Redevelopment has evolved into smart growth, transit oriented development, and complete streets. In the last 15 years or so, the urban renewal efforts have had a receptive audience as people, tired of the car oriented lifestyle of the suburbs, are returning to urban cores and older urban neighborhoods. However, while cities get the big picture, too often in my 25 years as a land use attorney, I have seen the same mistakes repeated.

1) Failing to Understand How to Provide for Pedestrian and Other Active Transit:

Too often, cities and towns seem to think that all pedestrians need are sidewalks to walk on and greenery to look at. The same goes for bikes and bikelanes. It goes without saying that pedestrians and bikes work differently than cars, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

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OB Rag Voter Guide for November 2014 Election

October 20, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

please voteHere is the November 2014 Election Voter Guide by the OB Rag. It closely follows the endorsements of the San Diego Free Press editorial board – as the editors of the OB Rag are also part of the editorial board – and the SDFP is our online media partner (and prodigy). For all SDFP articles on the upcoming election, check out our 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.


The San Diego County Registrar of Voters issued a 76 page long list of the 671 local candidates for the November 2014 elections. And that doesn’t include local propositions, the statewide propositions and the dozen or so statewide races for office. So there are plenty of contests on the ballot we passed over. These were the ones we agreed upon.

Regardless of your political persuasion, we urge you to vote.

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Down-Ballot Races in San Diego You Need to Know About

October 16, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

While there is no rule saying a ballot must be filled out completely to be valid, there are four contests you should know and care about as we approach the 2014 general election.

Exhibit A is why we should care about down-ballot races is Judge Gary Kreep, who’s now lurking around Department 7 in the central courthouse, handling a full calendar of landlord-tenant disputes.

People voted for Kreep because the only thing they’d heard (if they’d heard anything at all) were rumors, spread via a suspicious robocall campaign saying his opponent was soft on crime.

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OB Rag Presented “Community Partner” Award by OB Town Council

October 15, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for OB Rag Presented “Community Partner” Award by OB Town Council

At the annual “OBie Awards” dinner last night hosted by the Ocean Beach Town Council, the OB Rag was presented with the yearly “Community Partner” award given out by the Council.

Frank Gormlie, editor, accepted the certificate on behalf of the OB Rag. Gormlie immediately thanked Patty Jones, his partner, “for making it all happen,” praised the new generation of the OB Town Council and the OB Planning Board, and spoke of the OB tradition of “doing it the OB way.”

In her prepared remarks, OB Town Council president Gretchen Newsom stated …

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Proposition 48: Are Casinos Coming to Your Neighborhood?

October 15, 2014 by Doug Porter

Prop 48By Doug Porter

The following analysis of Proposition 48 represents my opinion. The SD Free Press editorial board may or may not agree with me. For all the articles on the upcoming election, check out the online media partner SDFP’s 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

It’s funny how people who normally couldn’t be bothered to pick up a gum wrapper off the sidewalk will become environmental activists when it suits their economic interests. In this instance we have “environmental concerns” being voiced by groups who are themselves exempt from the laws.

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Propositions 45 and 46: This Won’t Hurt. Much

October 15, 2014 by Doug Porter

dr cash2

Editor: The following analyses of Propositions 45 and 46 represent the opinions of the writer, Doug Porter, a member of the San Diego Free Press Editorial Board. The rest of the editorial board may or may not agree with him. The SDFP is the online media partner of the OB Rag. For all the articles on the upcoming election, check out the San Diego Free Press’ 2014 Progressive Voter’s Guide.

By Doug Porter

There are no special interests more special than insurance companies, doctors and lawyers. Here we have two propositions involving all three groups. And there is more subterfuge going on than anybody can keep track of.

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Lessons from Cointelpro – Many Learned in OB and San Diego in the Seventies

October 13, 2014 by Source
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Editor: The following is taken from a talk given by Professor Peter Bohmer at the Radical Ecology Conference, in Portland, Oregon on September 6, 2014. Bohmer currently is a faculty member in Political Economy at the Evergreen State College in Washington state. He lived in Ocean Beach in the Seventies and taught at SDSU. Many of the lessons Bohmer learned were from experiences here in San Diego and OB during the heady days of the 1970s.

By Peter Bohmer

I have been asked to share my experiences and knowledge of government repression with you not to scare you but so that we can deal with it and build stronger and more effective movements today for social, environmental and economic justice, locally, nationally and globally.

First a few comments.

We live in a society that is very unequal and growing more so. 50 million are below the official poverty line, and 10 million are officially unemployed and another 10 million have given up looking or are working part-time and want to work fulltime.

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Notes From the Education Wars: Marshall Tuck and the Plot Against Public Education

October 13, 2014 by Jim Miller

marshall-tuck-getting-chased-by-families-670x250By Jim Miller

After my column last week on the battle between Tom Torlakson and the corporate education reform machine backing Marshall Tuck, I was pleased to see The Nation magazine’s special issue on schools. The writers aptly note that the struggle in American education is not one of the “status quo” versus “reform,” but rather, it is between a kind of educational class war dressed up as reform and a more progressive vision that seeks to empower all kids equally.

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Reader Rave: “Scott Peters Is a Congressman Who Won’t Embarrass Us”

October 10, 2014 by Source

By Bill Reedhead

Greetings from Ocean Beach!

I really hate like hell doing this — contacting those fortunate enough to be included in my personal Rolodex file [Ed.: Bill gave us permission to repost his email.] This, in order to deliver a tawdry pre-Election Day pitch for a political candidate I haven’t actually met. Or especially care to meet.

But, if the current polls are correct, those of us residing in the 52nd Congressional District could, for the next two years, find ourselves having to answer an awkward question: …

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Extreme Weather Watch: September 2014: Fires in California, Cabo San Lucas Destroyed by Hurricane

October 9, 2014 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

Extreme Weather WatchAs many as 6000 firefighters battled blazes in northern California during the month of September.

The King Fire, which was deliberately set, devoured nearly 120 square miles of timber and vegetation about 60 miles east of Sacramento. The blaze in steep terrain forced the evacuation of 2800 people and burned multiple structures in the White Meadows area of Pollock Pines. Firefighters dropped record amounts of retardants – more than 203,000 gallons in a single day.

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DeMaio Accuser Comes Forward; Candidate Denies Sexual Harassment, Bribery Attempt Allegations

October 9, 2014 by Doug Porter

San Diego Free Press Has Wrap-Up of this Important and Breaking Story


By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

A press conference called by Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went awry yesterday after Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry asked questions regarding allegations of sexual harassment made by a former campaign staffer.

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Lobster Diving At Night Can Be Deadly – Five Deaths Since Beginning of Lobster Season in Southern Calif

October 8, 2014 by Source
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Fatalities Include One in Mission Bay

MISSION BAY Jeffrey Logandro, 38, of Carlsbad died in the San Diego Mission Bay Channel after he began to struggle near the surface of the water Oct. 1.

By Megan Nicolai / OC Register / Oct. 8, 2014
There was a scramble on the deck of the Magician, a scuba dive boat, as 20 men and women threw on scuba gear in a race to be the first to descend on the unsuspecting lobsters feeding below.

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November 2014 Propositions: Jerry Brown’s One-Two Punch

October 7, 2014 by Doug Porter

one two punch 3

An Analysis of Propositions 1 and 2

By Doug Porter

Back in the middle of August the California Legislature worked up a plan to renumber a couple of propositions appearing on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Two of Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy political projects — a multibillion-dollar bond for water needs and a constitutional amendment to enhance the state’s rainy day budget fund — dropped the ballot numbers assigned by Secretary of State Debra Bowen of Proposition 43 (water) and Proposition 44 (budget).

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Are You Smart Enough to Be a California Voter?

October 7, 2014 by Source

By Lori Saldaña

What's My Line(DISCLAIMER: This is a lighthearted look at a serious topic: how to read a California State Voter Information Guide. No names or facts have been changed to protect the innocent. Read it with a grain of salt, a sense of humor, and/or an open mind.)

The official voter information guide has arrived in the mailboxes of Californians all over the state! Have you checked it out yet, and started reading through its pages? Or is it sitting under a pile of bills, letters and other papers, where it will remain until a few days, or hours, or minutes before you realize it’s Election Day?

Don’t delay- find it! Open it!! Read along!!!

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Tom Torlakson Versus the Corporate Education Reform Machine

October 6, 2014 by Jim Miller

The Most Important Race on the Ballot is the One No One is Talking About

DFER real democrats

By Jim Miller

This fall in San Diego the Peters vs. DeMaio and Kim vs. Cate showdowns are getting all the attention, but my pick for the most important race on the ballot is one that nobody is taking note of at the statewide level—and that’s a problem. The race in question is for . . . (wait for it) . . . State Superintendent of Public Instruction!

O.K. I know, Superintendent of Public Instruction races don’t usually get peoples’ hearts pumping, but if you are dismayed by the full-court-press assault on teachers, public education, and democratic local control over schools, …

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My Advice to “Plastic Bag Ban Deniers”

October 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Here is some advice to those who I call “plastic bag ban deniers” – people who are upset – and deny the benefits – about California’s newly enacted ban on plastic bags, just signed by Governor Brown just this past Tuesday, Sept 30th – which goes into effect July 1, 2015. According to HuffPo:

Under SB270, plastic bags will be phased out of checkout counters at large grocery stores and supermarkets such as Wal-Mart and Target starting next summer, and convenience stores and pharmacies in 2016. The law does not apply to bags used for fruits, vegetables or meats, or to shopping bags used at other retailers. It allows grocers to charge a fee of at least 10 cents for using paper bags.

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Student Loan Debt: The Only Debt You Can’t Discharge in Bankruptcy

October 3, 2014 by John Lawrence

By John Lawrence

6a00d8341cca9453ef01b7c6e93f43970bToday’s students are being crushed with John Bunyan’s proverbial burden on their backs – student loan debt. Until relatively recently this debt could have been discharged in bankruptcy.

Then all that changed when Sallie Mae, the Student Loan Marketing Association, was privatized in 2004. Albert Lord, the new CEO, and his lobbyists went to work to change the laws so that student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy. Today the cumulative student loan debt is more than $1 trillion.

While a generation ago a high school diploma was considered sufficient for a decent middle class entry level job, today it’s a college diploma even if the job itself could be easily accomplished by a person with just a high school education.

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Fifty Years Later: Who Really Won the Battle of Berkeley?

October 1, 2014 by Staff

As student activists return to campus to celebrate the 1964 Free Speech movement that galvanized for social justice, big questions remain about the direction of higher education since those radical days of upheaval and hope

mario-free-speechBy Barbara Garson / Common Dreams

I’m going back to the Berkeley campus this week for the fiftieth reunion of the Free Speech Movement. You may have heard in some history class about Mario Savio and the first student sit-in of the sixties. That was us FSMers at Berkeley.

It will feel a bit surreal. The university that had 801 of us arrested is welcoming us back by hanging Free Speech banners on the building we occupied. Home like a victorious football team! But it’s not a real victory because …

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News From Ocean Beach and the Peninsula

October 1, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Former Barnard School Site Readied for Massive Apartment Complex
The former site of Barnard Elementary School in the Midway area of Point Loma looks nothing like it used to. Instead, the area is being prepared for one of the most massive apartment complexes to be built in the area. …

Voltaire and Catalina Complex Towers Above the Intersection
The large development at the corner of Voltaire Street and Catalina Blvd is still being constructed, but the size of the complex i …

Fight Near Dog Beach Results in 3 Sent to Hospital
A fight that went down in and around Dog Beach Parking lot on Monday, Sept 29, ended up with 3 people being sent to the hospital, . …

Suit Against Former Western Div Lt Natalie Stone and Others Settled for $225,000
On September 23rd, the San Diego City Council …


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Living on the Edge in San Diego, the Nation’s Most Biologically Diverse County

October 1, 2014 by Source

By Elliott Kennerson / San Diego Free Press

vernal-pool-shrimp_headerLet’s play a game. Name an endangered species from San Diego.

Anyone say vernal pool fairy shrimp? Doubtful, because when you think of San Diego, you don’t usually think of a one-inch long crustacean that you can’t even eat.

You said panda, right?

Though San Diego is the most biologically diverse county in the nation, according to the Nature Conservancy, with 200 or so threatened or endangered species, (the fairy shrimp among them), this town is much more famous for its beloved Zoo and our lately less beloved Sea World, animal parks that host tons of diversity, of course, most of it exotic.

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Comparison of Condo Conversions of Canada Versus Ocean Beach and San Diego

October 1, 2014 by Marc Snelling
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Editor: Condo conversions are once again before the Ocean Beach Planning Board. Are they a good thing for a community? Here, Marc Snelling does a comparison between the history of condo conversions in OB and San Diego with Canadian cities. Marc was a former member of the OB Planning Board and founding member of the OB Grassroots Organization. He currently lives outside Ottawa.

By Marc Snelling

Ten years ago San Diego was among the national leaders in condo conversions. Lack of City regulation combined with speculator greed resulted in a rate of condo conversions that threatened families and renters.

Condo conversion proponents invariably tout the supposed benefits of owner occupancy and the lower cost of a condominium versus a detached home for first-time buyers. They are also just as sure not to mention the inconvenient fact that renters need to be evicted to make a condo out of an apartment.

The owner-occupancy argument is dubious as many condo owners do not live in the properties but turn around and rent them at a higher rate.

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Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – An Unprecedented Win

September 29, 2014 by Source

By Lori Saldaña / Part Four of Four

Saldana smilingIn Part Three Lori Saldaña discussed the realities of putting together a door-to-door campaign.

I’ll always remember the shock, joy and celebration my volunteers, friends and family experienced when the first voting results came in on Election night, shortly after 9 pm. I was leading in the 3-way results by 10 points, with 40% of the vote going to me and 30% going to each of my two opponents. The number varied little over the ensuing hours, ultimately staying there for the remainder of the night.

We had overcome the odds and won big, despite being outspent by a ridiculous amount.

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Legalization Here We Come: California Campaign Underway for 2016 Pot Proposition

September 26, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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By Doug Porter

More than four decades ago (1972) California’s Proposition 19, which would have decriminalized marijuana possession, was resoundingly defeated by a 2 to 1 margin.

In the years since then, hodgepodge of voter approved propositions, legislative initiatives and executive orders have sought to lessen or eliminate criminal penalties for use and possession of pot. They haven’t worked as intended. Overzealous prosecutors and law enforcers have continued to put the hammer down, even as juries have increasingly refused to play along.

The beginning of end for pot prohibition in California came Wednesday, Sept. 24, as the Marijuana Policy Project filed paperwork registering a a campaign committee to start accepting and spending contributions for a pot legalization initiative on the November 2016 state ballot.

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New Owner of OB Hostel Operates Two “USA Hostels”

September 26, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

The new owner of the OB Hostel – Dr Hostels LLC – owns a company called “USA Hostels” which operates two well-known hostels. There’s one in San Francisco and one in Hollywood, in LA. The OB property makes it their third property.

We are assuming that the company – which was just incorporated in 2010 and is headquartered in Boulder City, Nevada, will open up an Ocean Beach USA Hostel.

USA Hostels San Franciso

Of the two hostels, USA owns, it seems at first look that their property at 711 Post Street in San Francisco is by far the more substantial. The 5 story building, built in 1907, has 123 rooms and 79 bathrooms including 36,780 square feet. The total assessed value of the entire property is near $8.5 million,

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Inside an Outsider’s Campaign for Political Office – “We Walk, We Win”

September 24, 2014 by Source

we walk we winBy Lori Saldaña / Part Three of Four

In Part 2, Lori Saldaña discussed the path to her decision to mount a grass-roots campaign for the California Assembly in 2004. She really didn’t have a choice: all the political pros around thought she was too much of an outsider.


I decided to give up on getting support from Sacramento. My volunteers and I adopted the motto “We Walk, We Win.” A typical weekday would be: make calls to raise money in the morning (rarely more than a few hundred dollars), walk precincts in the afternoon (rarely actually talking to voters at that time of day), then teach in the evening. On weekends I would walk 4 precincts: 2 on Saturday, 2 more on Sunday.

Between these activities, I was looking after 2 houses and providing care for my mother and grandmother, whose illnesses had required additional surgeries and hospitalizations.

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A Photo Essay of Sunday’s San Diego People’s Climate March – The Time for Change is Now

September 24, 2014 by Staff

By Court Allen

310,000 people marched in NYC Sunday to make politicians and world leaders focus on Climate Change in the upcoming United Nation’s Climate Summit. That’s right – 310,000 people. All in one place. All with one message – the time for change is now.

PIC 1 The Peoples Climate March in NYC – just a few people attending.

Here in San Diego, roughly 1,500 people gathered, marched and added their voice to the cause of Climate Justice. The march went from the Civic Center over to Broadway and then on to the County Administration building along Harbor Drive. Speeches were made, signs were held high, pledges were signed.

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Sign the Petition to Throw Out Lynching Charges Against Pro-Immigrant Protesters Arrested at Murrieta

September 24, 2014 by Staff

Two More Days to Sign Petition to Dismiss Charges

Gerald Singleton, a local San Diego attorney is representing a group of pro-immigration protestors who were assaulted first by anti-immigration demonstrators -who outnumbered them 4-5 to 1 , and then by the local police -who sympathized with the anti-immigration group.

Singleton and his supporters are trying to get 7,000 signatures on a petition below to drop the charges and dismiss before the Sept. 25 hearing. [Editor: at this moment there are 6,840.]

He is hoping you will consider signing the on-line petition below requesting that the Riverside DA drop the felony lynching charges against the 5 pro-immigration protestors who were charged.

The incident occurred because, on July 1, the anti-immigration group blocked several buses carrying refugees from Central America from entering a Customs and Border Patrol detention center in Murrieta, CA -the anti-immigration people demanded that the refugees be deported immediately.

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Descendants of Early Native Point Lomans Speak Out

September 23, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Local Indians Called Point Loma “Mat Loan

By Charlie Best / Special to the OB Rag

Five elders of the Kumeyaay Nation spoke out in Point Loma on Tuesday, September 16th. At the invitation of La Playa Trail Association, they presented an hour-long program at the Point Loma Assembly, where roughly 60 people attending the event – with strong contingent coming from OB.

Campo chairman Paul Cuero kicked off the affair with an overview of the Kumeyaay Nation, which we learned is made up of 12 bands living in 13 reservations north of the Mexican border, and five communities spread throughout northern Baja California. Kumeyaay are responsible for the protection of a little over three million acres in San Diego County.

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Who Runs San Diego? … How Do You Solve a Problem like Sea World?

September 19, 2014 by Source
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Shamu, we hardly knew ye

Womans Democratic Logo

By Linda Perine /San Diego Woman’s Democratic Club

For most of us it has been a slow, painful process to understand that our love affair with cute, cuddly, smiley Shamu has made us participants in a cold-blooded business that imprisons and mistreats sentient, social creatures in ways that turn the stomach and shock the conscience.

Concerned environmentalist and civic leaders have been telling us for years that the capture of orcas was nasty and brutal

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