Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

July 24, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Womans Democratic LogoBy Eva Posner & Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

Relationships and money trails tell us who wields the power in our community.

It is hard to imagine, that in the 5th largest county in the United States, only a handful of people have any real influence on the day to day decisions that effect the lives of over 3 million people. But it’s true. And a lack of voter participation isn’t helping.

In both the February 2014 election to replace Bob Filner as Mayor of San Diego and in the June primary voter turnout was abysmally low. Overall voting turnout in the County in June was an anemic 27.2%, but many precincts registered in the single digits.

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More Bare Facts About San Diego Government: How We Got From There to Here

July 23, 2014 by Source

By Norma Damashek / NumberRunner

BoomOrBust-LargeAround this time last year San Diego’s former mayor Bob Filner was forced out of office. As it happens, he was the first bona fide “strong mayor” our city has yet seen.

We voters had no choice but to wield our black markers once again and fill in the ballot bubble to select a new mayor. The winner this time around was Mr. White Bread personified, Kevin Faulconer.

San Diego’s lead newspaper, the U-T, summed up the occasion in a neat sentence: “At least the day brought us one step further from our time of scandal and farce.”

The UT likes to play coy. They know perfectly well that scandal and farce are what make our city tick.

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Friends of OB Library On a Roll – Raised Nearly $1,000 Last Week

July 21, 2014 by Staff

The OB Friends of the Library are certainly on a roll! The all-volunteer group raised nearly $1,000 last week – including a $500 grant from the OB Town Council.

The Friends made $428 at their book sale last Saturday. This amount will be used to purchase books, materials, and equipment for our library.

The big news of last week was that the group will receive a $500 grant from the Ocean Beach Town Council to purchase a metal bench for the front of the library. The grant will be awarded at the next meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council on Wednesday, July 23, at 7:00 pm. at the Masonic Lodge facility, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

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The World We’ve Constructed Is Far Beyond George Orwell’s Worst Nightmare

July 18, 2014 by Source

georgeorwell1984Orwell’s chilling vision of the future in ’1984′ is happening today in the form of media manipulation and unnecessary wars.

By John Pilger / AlterNet

The other night, I saw George Orwell’s 1984 performed on the London stage. Although crying out for a contemporary interpretation, Orwell’s warning about the future was presented as a period piece: remote, unthreatening, almost reassuring. It was as if Edward Snowden had revealed nothing, Big Brother was not now a digital eavesdropper and Orwell himself had never said, “To be corrupted by totalitarianism, one does not have to live in a totalitarian country.”

Acclaimed by critics, the skilful production was a measure of our cultural and political times. When the lights came up, people were already on their way out. They seemed unmoved, or perhaps other distractions beckoned. “What a mindfuck,” said the young woman, lighting up her phone.

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Lady Parts Justice Launches in 50 States

July 17, 2014 by Source

National movement using humor and outrage to remove bodily autonomy-hating local politicians from office

it's_a_man's_world_unless_women_voteBy ladypartsjustice

Lady Parts Justice is the first not safe for work, rapid response reproductive rights messaging hub that uses comedy, culture and digital media to get people off their asses and reclaim their rights.

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The Story of How Community Planning Came to Be in Ocean Beach – How Ocean Beach Was “Saved”

July 16, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Part 1
By Frank Gormlie

I have a story, and it’s a story about urban planning in Ocean Beach during the mid-1970′s – and how community planning came to be here in OB. It is a story about how a crisis of over-development encrusted the village of OB – and then it’s a story about how OBceans responded to that crisis – a crisis that affected much of coastal of San Diego and of the rest of the Southern California.

It’s a story how the small village blocked a plan that would have literally paved the way for the community to be redeveloped into a San Diego version of Miami Beach.

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July 15 Is the Deadline for Comments to FCC on Net Neutrality

July 15, 2014 by Source

FCC tweet
Breaking news: Because of an overwhelming response from progressives fighting to protect an open and free Internet, the FCC just extended the deadline for public comments until this Friday, July 18.

By John Loughlin

According to John Oliver, the only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are “featuring Sting.” He went on to explain that Net Neutrality is “actually hugely important.“

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OB Rag and San Diego Free Press Bring Home Four Awards in Society of Professional Journalists Competition

July 14, 2014 by Staff

Writers Frank Gormlie, Doug Porter, Anna Daniels, and John Lawrence Recognized


By Staff

On July 10 the the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) held its annual journalism awards banquet at Bali Hai on Shelter Island. The names of all of the winners of the competition had been released in June. The list included Frank Gormlie, editor of the OB Rag, plus San Diego Free Press editors Doug Porter, Anna Daniels and weekly contributor John Lawrence. First, second and third place winners would be announced at the banquet as well as the Journalist of the Year award.

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District Attorney Dumanis Holds up Three Fingers, Tells Media to Read Between the Lines.

July 9, 2014 by Doug Porter

Three MonkeysBy Doug Porter

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis appeared on KUSI-TV’s morning talk show today to release a copy of her letter of recommendation written for the son of indicted Mexican financier Susumo Azano.

A consortium of media organizations including City News Service, inewsource, KFMB News 8, KNSD/NBC 7, KPBS, KSWB/Fox 5, the San Diego Daily Transcript, San Diego Press Club, Society of Professional Journalists San Diego, U-T San Diego, and Voice of San Diego had made repeated requests for a copy of the document.

At 5pm yesterday a deadline passed for what was essentially a demand letter (the last thing you do before you sue somebody) written by attorney Guylyn Cummins on behalf of the media organizations.

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Manhattan Beach Shark Attack Caught on Video

July 9, 2014 by Source

Here is the video of the July 6 shark attack up at Manhattan Beach.

The following is a summary from post by Jim Hoft / Gateway Pundit / July 7, 2014

A 10 foot long great white shark, hooked by a fisherman and fighting for its life, took a bite on a distance swimmer in the waters off the Manhattan Beach Pier today.

The men in the video on the Manhattan Beach Pier were fishing. Some allege that they were illegally fishing for shark and threw bloody chum in the water knowing it would attract sharks.

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San Diego Media Discovering the Battle Over OB’s Community Plan

July 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

Local Press Playing Catch-Up

Finally, some of San Diego’s mainstream media have discovered the battle over the Ocean Beach Community Plan. The U-T San Diego ran two versions basically of the same article by reported David Garrick on June 28 and 29, quoting Pete Ruscitti, the OB planning chair, and Gretchen Newsom, the head of the OB Town Council. Here is the lede:


OCEAN BEACH — Worried that a new community plan for Ocean Beach could destroy the area’s small-scale charm, more than 2,000 residents have signed petitions this month asking the city to maintain building restrictions that date back four decades.

The residents say loosening the rules would transform their community into Mission Beach or Pacific Beach, where three-story vacation rentals have replaced small cottages and other less intense housing in many areas.

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OB Rag Looking for July 4th Monitors and OBservers

July 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Will the Marshmallow Ban Hold? Will Homeless Advocates Be Arrested?

Your online, local website is looking for a few good observers who have cameras for July 4th. That’s right, the OB Rag wants to sign up a handful of volunteers who will assist us in monitoring what happens in Ocean Beach on Friday, July 4th.

There’s a bunch of stuff to observe – and we’re not talking about the surf or the fireworks.

First, if homeless advocates go ahead as planned and feed homeless people in Saratoga Park at the beach, they may be arrested. The group that does feed homeless on major holidays say they have threatened with being arrested if they proceed with their plans. They’ll be doing this from 11 am to 2 pm.

So, we need observers with cameras and monitors for that potential scene.

And second, of course, is what happens down on the beach at night after the fireworks.

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Facebook Conducted Psych Experiments on 700,000 Un-Witting Users

July 2, 2014 by Source
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Subjects Had Their Feeds Altered to Gauge Effect on Emotion in 2012

By Reed Albergotti / The Wall Street Journal / June 30, 2014

A furor has erupted over news that Facebook, in 2012, conducted a psychological experiment on nearly 700,000 unwitting users. WSJ’s Facebook reporter Reed Albergotti discusses the fallout on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. Photo: Getty

A social-network furor has erupted over news that Facebook Inc., in 2012, conducted a massive psychological experiment on nearly 700,000 unwitting users.

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San Diego Case at Center of US Supreme Court Ruling that Bars Police Search of Cellphone Without Warrant

June 25, 2014 by Staff
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A San Diego case is at the middle of a historic ruling today by the U.S. Supreme Court on privacy rights with regards to cell phones.

In unanimous vote, the Court ruled that police officers may not search a cell phone of a criminal suspect without a warrant. Commentators called this “a big, big win for civil libertarians and privacy rights.”

The San Diego case was David Riley’s – and of the 2 cases before the Court – it attracted the most attention by the Justices.

Riley – a college student – had been arrested in 2009 for having an expired vehicle registration and driving with a suspended license. His car was impounded, and police found loaded weapons under the hood. Riley was arrested again.

This time police grabbed his smartphone and downloaded info from it.

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Glenn Greenwald in San Diego: the Leaks of Edward Snowden

June 24, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Journalist Glenn Greenwald came to town last weekend to promote his best selling book based on events surrounding former systems administrator Edward Snowden’s decision to go public with documents concerning intelligence programs run by the National Security Agency. It was a most unusual evening: part lecture, part political rally and part celebrity appearance.

Seven hundred people paid money to attend a book tour event in a theater in this day and age. His publisher set up a table in the lobby and sold hundreds of copies of “No Place to Hide.”

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Frank Gormlie Is NOT in the Ukraine, But Still Needs Money

June 19, 2014 by Staff

Sometime this morning, Thursday, June 19th, Frank Gormlie’s email was hacked. Dozens of his email contacts received that all-too-familiar message these days – ‘help, I’m in London (or wherever) lost my wallet, please send money’. This has happened before to Gormlie – and many others.

The simple remedy is just to change passwords, which Gormlie has done – again.

But an email went out saying Gormlie is stuck in the Ukraine and needs $2 grand plus to get out of his jam.

Here is the actual email – from his account:

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Everyone Invited to Special Meeting Tonight – Monday, June 16th – in Campaign to Support the OB Community Plan

June 16, 2014 by Staff

A 1000 signatures have been collected

A special meeting has been called for tonight, Monday, June 16th, as part of the campaign by OB planners to galvanized the community in support of t he OB Community Plan.

All OB villagers are invited – and especially OBceans who are highly concerned about what is coming down from the San Diego Planning Commission in terms of recommending that the OB Plan be de-clawed.

The meeting is at 6 pm and will be held at Dog Beach Dog Wash, located at 4933 Voltaire Street.

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2014 San Diego Primary: It’s #Ididnotvote By a Landslide

June 4, 2014 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for 2014 San Diego Primary: It’s #Ididnotvote By a Landslide

By Doug Porter

Yesterday San Diego non-voters elected a district attorney personally embroiled in a criminal case, a county clerk supported by anti-gay bigots and a supervisor known for using taxpayer dollars to support religious causes. Call it a resounding victory for apathy and a defeat for advocates of the two tier/jungle primary voting system as a near-record low number (I’m guessing 22%) of voters cast ballots.

Approximately 12% of the city’s registered voters agreed with a corporate campaign almost completely based on lies to overturn a five-year-long community planning process. Incumbents were triumphant everywhere.

The low turnout favored Republicans. For complete local results go here; for statewide results go here. There remain 98,000 votes to be counted as I’m writing this, but past experience tells me little will change.

There will be runoff elections in November for San Diego City Council District 6 between Carol Kim and Chris Cate, the 52nd Congressional District between Carl DeMaio and Scott Peters, along with Mary Salas versus Jerry Rindone vying for the Mayor in Chula Vista. A stealth campaign by teahadist Donna Woodrum for a seat on the San Diego Community College Board failed to unseat Maria Nieto Senour.

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Will Marshmallows Fly in OB on July 4th?

June 4, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Will Marshmallows Fly in OB on July 4th?

It’s exactly one month away from July 4th, and in the past, July 4th has meant another of the infamous OB Marshmallow Wars. But this year many OBceans hope it will be different.

Last year, the OB Town Council approved a resolution calling for no marshmallow wars for this year.

The Town Council was driven to take this position after hearing so many complaints from locals about the growing craziness of the yearly event begun in 1985 that has increasingly spread and caused more and more damage to public and private property. Many OBceans were outraged by the aftermath of last years July 4th celebration and the horrendous mess that greeted the Village citizenry the morning after. This has been an ongoing problem and issue for OB>

But the Town Council’s resolution was not a consensus of the community. We ran a poll on the OB Rag last August, and not half wanted to ban the event. Another poll found a little over half supported the OBTC’s ban. Others from the community had other ideas or didn’t think it would work, etc. In fact, the OB Rag made a suggestion last year to corral the event and allow it to become a celebrated but controlled fun-fight.

We inquired of the OB Town Council recently and its President Gretchen Newsom of just where the group is on preventing the marshmallow wars to occur.

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Ernest Dronenburg is a Terrible Choice for County Assessor/Clerk/Recorder

May 30, 2014 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

Functionaries like County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg are important assets for the big money types that typically dominate local governments. Their behind the scenes efforts mean that policies get interpreted and enforced (or not) in a manner ensuring that “business as usual” remains Business As Usual.

That’s the reason why Dronenburg was among the earliest (along with Bonnie Dumanis) to get an editorial blessing from UT-San Diego. And they had to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the truth to find a reason to support him. Or, as one astute commenter noted, perhaps they just penned the editorial based on a campaign press release.

Let’s face reality here; the position of “County Assessor/Clerk/Recorder” is usually not likely to be of concern to most voters.

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Many Thanks, Maya

May 29, 2014 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for Many Thanks, Maya

by Ernie McCray

I miss you, Maya,
but you will forever reside
in the breezes of
the breaths of fresh air
you gifted us with
when you were here,
ever so lovely and dear,
so wise beyond any years,
captivating us with your smile
and your wit
and your humor, all the while,
teaching us the ways of “We,”
you, him, her, them, me -
all of humanity.

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New Report Exposes Government Spy Network Employed Against Occupy Movement

May 27, 2014 by Source
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by Michael Steinberg / blackrainpress –

A report released just recently detailed a government spy network that was employed to monitor the Occupy movement “hour-to-hour” during 2011.

The Washington DC- based Partnership for Justice Fund just released an investigative report, “The Hidden Role of Fusion Centers in the Nationwide Spying Operations against the Occupy Movement and Peaceful Protest in America.” It took two years to carry out this investigation. Its principal authors are PFJF members Maria Verheyden-Hilliard and Carl Messineo.

Fusion Centers, funded by hundred of millions of dollars from the Department of Homeland Security, sprung up across the nation after the 911 attacks. Their mission was ostensibly to fight terrorism. But ten years later they made fighting the Occupy Movement their Number 1 priority.

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San Diego City Works Press Calls for Submissions for Its Anthology – “Sunshine/Noir II” – Writings from San Diego and Tijuana

May 27, 2014 by Jim Miller

SDCWPBy Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press is soon approaching its 10-year anniversary. SDCWP is run by a 100% non-profit collective and is the only small literary press in San Diego that focuses primarily on the publication of local writers with an emphasis on our region that moves beyond the postcard version of our reality.

In an era where commercial forces and hegemonic instrumentality are drowning out what remains of literary culture, we have persisted against the odds. We invite all interested parties to be a part of our beautifully useless endeavor.

To celebrate our anniversary, we are putting together a second edition of our first anthology, Sunshine/Noir II. All local writers are encouraged to submit work for consideration.

See the relevant details inside:

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SeaWorld Sucks!

May 26, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Sucks!

Someone altered this freeway sign on Sunday, May 25, 2014. It has been verified that it is a real alteration, not simply a photo shop product.

Watch this video. … COME INSIDE

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Orca Profiles in Captivity: No. 10 of the San Diego 10

May 20, 2014 by Source
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(Ten in a series)

By Cara Wilson-Granat

This is the tenth and final article in a series of ten in which we have met all of the San Diego 10 orcas and heard from advocates who continue to be one of the voices of these imprisoned voiceless, never stopping until the whole world listens.

This week’s Advocate is Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego.

Prisoner #10: Makani

Age: 15 months old

Born on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2013, Makani made his debut in Shamu Stadium, SeaWorld San Diego. Guided by his momma and big sister, the baby swam immediately to the surface just seconds after he was born to take his first breath. Makani, (his name means “Wind” in Hawaiian) was the fourth calf born to mother …

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Reader Rave: “Good Neighbors in OB Act in the Face of a Bad Purpose”

May 20, 2014 by Source
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A Conclusion to “Good Neighborhood/Bad Neighbors”

Editor: In March we published a Reader Rant entitled “What to Do With Bad Neighbors in a Good Neighborhood?” by an anonymous local resident. That resident – Daniel Bille – has since made himself known publicly – and here is his story.

By Daniel Bille / Special to the OB Rag

It was the first Thursday night in May and our lives returned to normal. For months, we had grown a sense of foreboding and dread every night when the sun went down but especially when Thursdays arrived.

For reasons we can only guess, Thursday was the night the renters next door preferred to get drunk early and fight each other or, worse, keep us awake all night with their noise.

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Lessons from Wildfires of Yore – the Perennial Blame Game: Who Started the Fires?

May 18, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: This article was published by the OB Rag right after the 2007 fires in San Diego County – and today, it has an eerie ring of familiarity. It was part of a series we ran about wildfires. We stated then:

Blaming arsonists for Southern California wildfires has always been a great game for politicians and the mainstream media.

By Frank Gormlie/ Nov. 11, 2007

Before the Wildfires of October 2007 were through burning, the blame game had begun. TV news crews speculated on the causes during those first few days when it seemed the whole world was on fire. Early on, immigrants were the cause, then definitely arsonists, then the homeless, then it was little boys playing with matches. There were so many fires … in the space of just a few days, that there just had to be some kind of conspiracy out there, lighting these fires!

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SeaWorld News: Park Plans for the Middle East while Attendance and Revenues Fall

May 16, 2014 by Staff
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Company Refuses to Acknowledge Impact of Anti-Captivity Campaigns for Orcas

U-T San Diego writer Lori Weisberg ran a very interesting story on Wed., May 14 filled with news from SeaWorld – one of the U-T’s favorite anchors for San Diego tourism. While not mentioning boss Papa Doug Manchester’s enthusiasm for tourists to have reasons to fill his hotels, Weisberg wastes no time in getting to the real news from the company that owns 11 sea-theme parks across the country. Attendance was down the first quarter of this year by a whooping 13%.  Weisberg reported:

“the company’s quarterly earnings report … revealed, as expected, that attendance at SeaWorld’s 11 theme parks dropped 13 percent, to a little more than 3 million visitors, …”

This bad news for the company is accompanied by the concurrent news that revenues were also down by 11%.

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News Around OB and the Peninsula – Mid May 2014

May 13, 2014 by Staff
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Tar Balls on Beaches Are From Natural Seepage

Beach walkers are seeing gooey black tar bars on the sand, and there is some concern that they’re from fracking or oil spills and are harming the ocean. …
Demo Against Gov. Brown on Fracking in San Diego

If you are concerned about fracking in California, Governor Brown is touring San Diego, today,Tuesday the 13th of May. ………. Come inside for details …

OB Kids Grand Prize Winners in Essay Contest Sponsored by City Library

Ocean Beach residents Clayton Halbert, 10th grade La Jolla High, and Chase Thomas, 4th grade Ocean Beach Elementary, were two of the 13 …


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Clear Channel Responds to Political Pressure, Quashes Billboard Ads for Judicial Candidate

May 12, 2014 by Doug Porter

carla posterBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Four Billboards paid for by former prosecutor Carla Keehn in support of her candidacy for San Diego County Superior Court Seat 20 were summarily removed on Friday by the Clear Channel Outdoor corporation just two days after being erected.

The candidate says the company “received pressure to take the billboards down and they would not tell me from whom the pressure came.” This action is consistent with earlierassertions made by Keehn about surreptitious efforts by incumbent Judge Lisa Schall and/or her supporters to deny or withdraw endorsements for the challenger.

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