Hippie Life in Ocean Beach

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

OB as the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego

By Frank Gormlie

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

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

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What if We All ‘Left No Trace?’

April 27, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for What if We All ‘Left No Trace?’

by Averi Melcher/San Diego UrbDeZine / April 21, 2016

As I’ve been camping and sharing my adventures, there’s one thing that keeps showing up over and over in my experiences: trash.

About 2 months ago, I was crawling through mud caves in Anza Borrego, when I looked down and found 2 Starburst wrappers illuminated by my headlight. A month ago, I was hiking a mountain in the Joshua Tree back-country and happened upon a deflated helium balloon. Then – later that night – I sat my tent down and fell asleep, just to wake up in the morning and find myself trying to maneuver out of my tent on shards of glass and plastic.

I thought to myself: why is this happening? Why am I finding trash in areas that are off the beaten path – in fact, they are so remote that the Joshua Tree trail log I found indicated I was the first human to step foot on that mountain in a month?

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

April 27, 2016 by John Lawrence

Homeless Population Under-counted

homeless familyBy Katheryn Rhodes and John Lawrence

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

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

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

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

Election Scheduled for Early May 1976

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

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

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

April 22, 2016 by Staff

Trump San Diego

By OB Rag and San Diego Free Press Editors

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

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

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

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The Other Big 2016 California Primary: U.S. Senate

April 22, 2016 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

California’s primary counts this year. While media coverage of presidential candidates wooing voters in the Golden State is steadily increasing, another primary contest with national implications is flying under the radar.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement creates the first open U.S. Senate seat in California in more than two decades. Based on the activity level of Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently, it could be a while until the next opportunity presents itself.

It turns out the Presidential contest is so unstable at this point it’s left to curious voters to go online for information. There are 39 candidates from 6 political parties running for President. I’ll write about some of them in future columns.

The Official Voter Information Guide for the California Presidential Primary landed in my mailbox yesterday, and it’s got nothing on the various partisan contests for the top job in the nation. The guide does contain information about Proposition 50 and, again, I’ll get around to this soon.

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

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

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

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

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

Adult Use of Marijuana Act

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

April 14, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

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

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

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

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

That vote that day in early May four decades ago was truly an historic occasion because not only did it establish the Board that still exists and the Plan, but nearly 4,500 renters, property owners and business owners participated in the balloting that lasted all day.

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La Migra: A Chicano Historical Perspective

April 14, 2016 by Source

By Herman Baca

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

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

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

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City Council Races Beg the Question: When is a Democrat Not a Democrat?

April 14, 2016 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Are there candidates running for City Council in Districts 3 and 9 supported by interests with a history of backing Republicans really Democrats? Do campaign donations define a public official?

Is Bernie Sanders a Democrat? Is Hillary Clinton just a Republican in drag? How about Congressman Scott Peters after his votes on refugees and trade? Are people who used to be Republicans ever to be trusted? Where do you draw the line?

In this column I’ll explore these questions as they impact a couple of local contests…

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Change We Can Believe In

April 13, 2016 by Ernie McCray

3040901870_561e28c135_oBy Ernie McCray

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

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Will the Trump Campaign Wipe Out in California?

April 12, 2016 by Doug Porter

trump TP rollBy Doug Porter

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

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

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OB Planning Board: Harris and Saldana Blast Faulconer, Ambert Re-elected as Chair, and Del Mar Project Approved

April 7, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Planning Board: Harris and Saldana Blast Faulconer, Ambert Re-elected as Chair, and Del Mar Project Approved

A lot going on at last night’s OB Planning Board meeting. As nearly two dozen people crowded into the Community Meeting room at the OB Rec Center, they were witnesses to a type of mini-mayoral candidate debate, when candidates Ed Harris and Lori Saldana addressed the meeting.

Also, the Board certified its March election and there was a change of chairs, as several planners left the group, a newly-elected member was seated, and the Board selected their officers for the next year. John Ambert will sit as chair for another term and Blake Herrschaft will continue as vice-chair.

And then finally, the Board reviewed the proposed project for 4620 Del Mar Avenue and voted to recommend its approval.

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Barnstorming for Bernie From OB

April 6, 2016 by Frank Gormlie


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

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

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

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

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What San Diego Could Learn from America’s Best and Worst Public Transit Systems

April 1, 2016 by Source

From Portland’s TriMet to Atlanta’s MARTA

By Hutton Marshall /

PortlandTtrimet transit

Not all public transportation systems are created equal. Across the country, there’s a huge gulf between bumper-to-bumper black holes like Los Angeles versus cities like the subway-happy New York City, which boasts 660 miles of rail transit.

Many of the cities we now see as pinnacles of functional transit became that way out of utility. New Yorkers, for example, have come to see their expansive subway system as a way to escape fierce blizzards and even fiercer rush hours.

Today, however, many cities have come to see public transit as an important tool in growing in a sustainable, environmentally conscious manner. The 2015 and 2016 climate change reports increased the importance of efficient transit.

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13,000 San Diegans Show Up for Bernie Sanders

March 23, 2016 by Doug Porter


Si Se Puede! Sanders Wows Young and Diverse Crowd

By Doug Porter

The big news yesterday wasn’t that Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in San Diego. It was the diverse crowd of 13,000 plus people who put their lives on hold for a day to stand up for a better world.

The line to get into the San Diego Convention Center started in the wee hours of the morning. By the time the doors opened at 4pm the line stretched forever. Halls D&E were filled with the first ten thousand or so people in line, and an overflow room was opened. And then a second overflow room was opened.

It is an article of faith among some Sanders supporters that their candidate gets short changed by the media. Today we’ll examine a sampling of local mainstream coverage of yesterday’s events.

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Why Bernie’s Struggle Will Continue

March 22, 2016 by Source

democratic convention fightBy Bob Dorn / San Diego Free Press

What the U.S. needs now is a good old-fashioned platform fight at the Democratic Party Convention, only 4 months distant in this nightmare year.

We need to see just who are these people we’re told are the party’s established leaders. What do they really believe?

A thoroughly open platform discussion would show us what the governors and Congress members believe should happen to Bernie Sanders’ pledge to pay the tuition of the children of the middle class. The party’s establishment at its convention this July ought to have to take a position on the Transpacific Partnership, a trade agreement that was negotiated out of sight by a commission mostly composed of international corporate executives and their sergeants.

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Bernie Sanders Is Coming to San Diego – Tuesday, March 22nd

March 21, 2016 by Staff

Bernie Sanders SD poster


A Future to Believe In Rally with Bernie Sanders

Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Doors open at 5:00pm
(Get there early to assure you are among the 10,000 or so able to get in.)
San Diego Convention Center, Exhibition Halls D & E
111 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego CA

This event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required, but RSVPs are strongly encouraged. Admission is first come, first served.

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San Diego Police and FBI Drove Local Black Panthers Underground

March 15, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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Union-Tribune Finally “Finds” San Diego’s Black Panthers

In a very decent February 28 article about San Diego’s Black Panthers penned by Peter Rowe of the San Diego U-T, some of the city’s turbulent civil rights and Black power movement history from the Sixties and Seventies was uncovered.

First, it’s amazing to some San Diegans, including Rowe, that San Diego even had a Black Panther chapter back in the day. And that’s a credit that the San Diego Union and Tribune themselves can claim, for the coverage of local Panthers and the civil rights movement in general was skewed due to the right-wing – and yes, racist – policies and bias of its owners and editors. Think the Copley family, who ran the city’s only pair of dailies for decades.

But now thanks to Rowe, some of this history has been dusted off and bared for all to read. Much of the article recounts the experiences of one Henry Lee Wallace, now 64 and still in San Diego, but back then, a member of the local Panthers.

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Why Climate Change Action Cannot Succeed Without Social Equity

March 15, 2016 by Source

Social-Equity-graphicBy Murtaza H. Baxamusa / San Diego UrbDeZine

Over 120 cities and counties in California have a climate action plan either completed or in the pipeline. As cities develop these plans and initiatives to address climate change, it is important to emphasize that social equity is integrated within environmental policies.

The vulnerabilities, resilience and sustainability of the human ecosystem are as much determined by diversity and interdependence as its natural counterpart. As Pope Francis said inLaudato Sí, “a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

Sustainability is framed as a three-legged stool consisting of the three ‘E’s: environment, economy and equity. However, the third leg, social and economic equity, is often the weakest.

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Check to See Which Ocean Beach Planning District You’re In – OB Planning Board Election Today – Wed., March 2nd

March 2, 2016 by Staff

OB Plan Area Map good

Hey – Make sure you vote in the annual election to the Ocean Beach Planning Board today Wednesday, March 2nd.

Today – Wednesday, March 2nd – is the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s annual election. It will be held from 4 pm to 7pm at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue. (For details, see OB Planning Board’s website.)

Seven of the 14 seats on the Board will be up for election.

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OB Planning Board Agenda – Wed., March 2nd – Newly Elected Members to Take Seats

March 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie


The March 2nd monthly meeting of the OB Planning Board will be one hour later than usual so members can count the ballots of the annual election to be held that day.

The meeting will begin at 7pm, at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue. The election is from 4pm to 7pm at the OB Rec Center, in the main meeting room. Eligible residents, property owners and business owners are urged to participate in the annual election of Board members. Usually there is one seat from each of the 7 planning districts open for election. The meeting will be held in the same room as the balloting, after ballots are counted.

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The South-End of Ocean Beach : OB Planning District 7

March 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB District 7 PL Ave

As we complete our romping review of Ocean Beach’s planning districts, we round out our visit with District 7 – the South End of OB.

This has been our efforts at a public service as the OB Planning Board is holding its annual election on Tuesday, March 2nd, between 4 and 7pm at the OB Recreation Center, 4826 Santa Monica Avenue.

Here’s District 7

Here in south OB, the ubiquitous airplanes are off in the distance, as are the other attributes of living in a highly packed urban beach area, the noise, the traffic, the parking problems, the congestion, the tourists and other visitors. One can almost feel part of a different neighborhood than the raucous community to the north, the loud OB.

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What OB Planning District Did You Live In? Get Ready to Vote March 2nd

March 1, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for What OB Planning District Did You Live In?  Get Ready to Vote March 2nd

What OB Planning Area District do you live in? You’ll need to know in order to vote in the annual election to the Ocean Beach Planning Board coming up on Wednesday, March 2nd. This 14-member board reviews, approves and monitors development in OB as it adheres to the newly updated and approved OB Community Plan as the blueprint for the community.

OB Plan Area Map goodIn looking to heighten interest within the Village of OB for the election and the Planning Board itself, the OB Rag will be posting descriptions and a brief analysis of each of the seven planning districts over the course of the next 5 business days. Many of them are updated and edited versions of what we published 2 years ago.

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The Hills of Ocean Beach : Planning District 6

March 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Dist 6 viewtop

As we move south across the map of OB in our continuing series about the different planning districts within the Ocean Beach Planning Area – we come to District 6 – “The Hills of OB“.

The review of this district is part of the OB Rag’s public education service to build support and knowledge of the upcoming OB Planning Board annual election on March 2nd, 2016.

District 6 of the Ocean Beach Community Planning Area

Stretching from the lowlands of Cable Street going east, District 6 immediately begins to climb up the hill – the hill of Point Loma – which is very steep at times, hence “Niagara Avenue” – and reaches the “peak” of OB at the intersection of Coronado Avenue and Froude Street. This is the highest point in “official” Ocean Beach – the geographical area of the community of OB that is recognized by the City of San Diego.

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The Hub of Ocean Beach: Planning District 4

February 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Plan Bd Dist 4 mapEditor: As we continue in our series looking at the different districts within the Ocean Beach Planning Area, today we settle in District 4 – the Hub of OB. See their website for details.

District 4 – The Center of the Village – the Hub of OB

It’s easy to see why District 4 is indeed the center and hub of the community of Ocean Beach. Just look at a map and you’ll see that the business district and the main beach are both in this district.

Downtown OB – the 3 commercial blocks of Newport Avenue and the adjacent side streets – is certainly the center of the community, no matter how you measure it. Traffic, pedestrians, events, happenings, music, food – and of course drink – it all – or most of it anyhow – happens right there.

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Ocean Beach Growing Wary Over Private Encroachments into Public Space

February 23, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
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From Restaurants to the Beach, Private Interests Are Taking More Public Grounds

The recent uproar among OBceans over the intrusions into public sidewalks by two Ocean Beach restaurants illustrates a broader and growing wariness by the public of the larger issue of encroachment by private interests into public space.

Just several weeks ago, the 2 OB restaurants, The Joint and the yet-to-open OB Brewery – both on Newport Avenue – have installed permanent fixtures outside their establishments that seriously curtail pedestrian traffic and block the public accesss to the public sidewalk immediately in front of the restaurants.

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What A New Supreme Court Means for Unions, Education Funding, and the Future of California

February 22, 2016 by Jim Miller

Photo by tedeytan

By Jim Miller

With the death of Antonin Scalia on February 13th, public sector unions in America were given a reprieve from what was sure to be a bad ruling in the Friedrichs v CTA case before the Supreme Court.

As Michael Hiltzik explained in the Los Angeles Times:

The target of the Friedrichs lawsuit, and several others just like it, is the “agency” or “fair share” fee. Under the law and according to a 1977 Supreme Court decision known as the Abood case, unionized public employees can be assessed nonmember fees to cover solely the cost of negotiations and contract enforcement, without being compelled to join the union and support its political activities by paying full union dues. That’s the arrangement in California.

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Centennial of the Great Flood of 1916 and the Rainmaker – Thurs. Feb. 18th

February 18, 2016 by Source

San Diego flood 1916 oldtown

Thursday, February 18, 7 pm, Ocean Beach Historical Society Presents:

“Centennial of the Devastating 1916 Flood and the Rainmaker” at St. Peter’s by the Sea Lutheran Church 1371 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, Ocean Beach;

In words and pictures this presentation will re-visit the famed Rainmaker Flood and look at the strange story of an itinerant sewing machine salesman-turned rainmaker, who claimed the historic rainfall as “an act of Hatfield.” Rick Crawford is the supervisor of Special Collections at the San Diego Public Library and former archives director at the San Diego Historical Society.

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California’s Crab and Salmon Fisheries Threatened By Historic Crisis

February 18, 2016 by Source

By Dan Bacher /

Photo by Dan BacherLegislators, members of commercial fishing families, fishing group representatives and Brown administration officials testified about the dire situation that the salmon and crab fishery is in at a recent forum at the State Capitol on February 11th.

It was during the 43rd Annual Zeke Grader Fisheries Forum of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture held in Sacramento.

“This forum works, but the fishermen are not,” said Senator Mike McGuire, Chair of the Committee, in his opening comments. “The salmon and crab fisheries are threatened by a historic crisis. We’re facing a fishery disaster that will impact many families.”

“We’ve gone from abundance to scarcity. The crab fishing fleet is sitting at the docks right now,” said McGuire.

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