Organizing

A Battle Over Increasing the Minimum Wage in San Diego

August 19, 2014 by Doug Porter
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Don’t Sign It! Don’t Sign the Petition to Overturn San Diegos’ Minimum Wage – see below

Editor: The following is Doug Porter’s article posted today on DailyKos about the fight over our city’s minimum wage law. Much of it is a repeat of material Doug has used in his Daily Column at our sister online media partner, San Diego Free Press. (“douigbob” is Porter’s online handle at that site.)

by dougbob /DailyKos / Aug 19, 2014

A City Council veto override on Monday has set the scene for a showdown between local and national business interests vs. a labor-community coalition over San Diego’s Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance.

Following months of public hearings and invitations (mostly declined) for local businesses to hammer out a compromise, the city council passed an ordinance providing access to five earned sick days and setting a local minimum wage increasing to $11.50 over three years.

This action makes San Diego the largest city in the nation to raise the minimum wage.

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Latest Plan to Privatize Post Office Hits Unexpected Obstacle

August 18, 2014 by Source
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By David Morris / On the Commons / Nation of Change

Labor solidarity is stopping the U.S. Postal Service’s pursuit of a fully privatized post office. Could this be a game-changing obstacle?

The United States Postal Service (USPS) management just ran into a possible game-changing obstacle to its shameful pursuit of a fully privatized post office: labor solidarity.

Here’s the background. For a decade the USPS has been aggressively shrinking, consolidating, and outsourcing the nation’s postal system. In July 2011 management upped the ante by announcing the rapid closure of 3600 local post offices, a step toward the eventual closing of as many as 15,000, half of all post offices in the nation.

A groundswell of opposition erupted. Citizens in hundreds of towns mobilized to save a treasured institution that plays a key and sometimes defining role in their communities. In December 2011, after Congress appeared ready to impose a six-month moratorium on closures USPS management voluntarily adopted a freeze of the same length.

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From San Diego, LA, to New York City – Americans Demand End to Police Shootings of Unarmed Black Men In Solidarity With Ferguson

August 15, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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From San Diego to Los Angeles and across the nation to New York City, Americans of all colors rallied and held vigils on Thursday, August 14th, in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri, in their struggle against local police who shot and killed a young Black man, Michael Brown.

The common issue and demand that are uniting Americans is a call to end police shootings of unarmed Black men.

In the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego, more than a hundred people gathered to show solidarity with the people of Ferguson and with the family of Michael Brown. Organizer Kim Moore yelled out:

“Put our hands up, don’t shoot!”

This refrain has become a rallying call for those in Ferguson and in San Diego and elsewhere. Reportedly, Brown, the teenager killed by police, had his hands up before being gunned down.

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San Diego’s Minimum Wage Battle Heats Up With Arrival of Sleaze of Political Consultant Hired to Defeat Ordinance

August 15, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Editor: Doug Porter over at our online partner, San Diego Free Press, has hit the nail on the ol’ proverbial head with today’s column on the battle heating up over San Diego’s minimum wage ordinance.

The anti-minimum wage forces, boosted by Mayor Faulconer’s veto of the ordinance last week, plan on running a petition to overturn the anticipated City Council over-ride of Faulconer’s veto.

Today, Porter focuses on the political consultant hired to run the petition drive, and gives needed context and background to the whole battle – which is being fought nation-wide.

By Doug Porter

I’ve been saying it for months now–the minimum wage battle in San Diego will bring out the Really Big Lies and the Really Bad Guys. Today we’ll give you a little taste of what they’re saying and what they really believe.

On Monday City Council President Todd Gloria has called for a special session of the City Council to override Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a minimum wage increase and paid sick days for San Diego workers.

Gloria is quoted in this morning’s UT, saying, “The City Council should stand up for the 38 percent of San Diegans who are counting on this raise to help them better make ends meet, and I hope they will override the mayor’s veto”

On Tuesday, The “San Diego Small Business Coalition,” created by big businesses, will roll out a small army of signature gatherers armed with a spiel designed to fool voters into thinking they’re signing a reasonable petition.

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Bad Day at Blackfish Rock – SeaWorld Now Says Its Losing Visitors and Money

August 14, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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SeaWorld Shares Drop 30%

It was a bad day yesterday, Wednesday, August 13, for SeaWorld, as company execs admitted for the very first time that the aquatic theme parks are losing visitors and money due to the film “Blackfish” – the movie about SeaWorld mistreating orcas. Almost immediately SeaWorld shares dropped 30%.

Up to now, SeaWorld – which has 11 theme parks across the country – has denied that its earnings and numbers of customers have declined due to “Blackfish”.

Yet they had to admit the losses in the company’s financial results for the second quarter of 2014. The losses are due to a drop in people coming to their “destination-parks” – like SeaWorld San Diego. With audiences in decline and sales of everything from tickets and products affected, the company reported:

Attendance of 6.6 million, a 0.3% increase versus the second quarter of 2013” – plus

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Bill Walton and Irwin Jacobs Urge San Diegans NOT to Sign Petitions to Overturn Minimum Wage Ordinance

August 14, 2014 by Source
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Decline to Sign

Following is the Press Release from Raise Up San Diego, distributed at at 8am press conference this morning:
Basketball great Bill Walton appeared with hard working San Diegans and local business, community and political leaders on Thursday to kick-off a campaign to urge city voters not to sign petitions seeking a referendum on the city’s new minimum wage and earned sick leave ordinance.

“We stand for a San Diego in which hard-working people aren’t locked in poverty and in which they can earn a few days off a year for when they get sick or need to care for an ill child or other loved one,” Walton said. “We know the vast majority of San Diegans feel the same way, and we urge them to say no to the signature gatherers.”

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Jane Gawronski: “We can preserve our community if we maintain conformance to current code.”

August 13, 2014 by Source
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Editor: This is the final speech we are publishing given by Ocean Beach planners at the historic City Council hearing on the OB Community Plan on July 29th – this is by Jane Gawronski, former Chair of the Planning Board and current Board member.

By Jane Gawrsonski

My name is Jane Gawronski and my husband and I live on Coronado Avenue in Ocean Beach. You might remember me from when I tried to become one of you when there was a vacancy in District 2.

We moved to Ocean Beach in 1974, jobs took us out of OB in the 80s and we were very happy to be able to return to OB in 1998. I am a member of the Ocean Beach Historical Board, past chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board, a board member of the Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation and a volunteer for the Ocean Beach MainStreet Association.

We own 6 properties in Ocean Beach which have 16 rental cottages with 5 of the cottages over 100 years old. We want the original language to stay in the OB Community Plan to protect the ambiance and attractiveness of OB. This language is what the OB Community, the City Staff, and the City Attorney agreed to.

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San Diego Protesters in Mission Beach to Urge California Coastal Commission to Halt Offshore Fracking – Wed., Aug 13

August 12, 2014 by Source
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Hazmat-suit wearing San Diego protesters to highlight dangers of dumping fracking chemicals into the ocean

From San Diego 350:

As the California Coastal Commission meets in San Diego, hazmat suit-wearing protesters with SanDiego350 and the Center for Biological Diversity will urge commissioners to halt fracking to protect the state’s precious oceans, wildlife, and beaches.

Protesters want the Coastal Commission to stop oil companies from fracking offshore wells and dumping dangerous fracking chemicals directly into California’s ocean. Offshore fracking involves blasting water and industrial chemicals into the sea-floor at pressures high enough to crack geologic formations and release oil and gas.

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Logan Heights Restaurant Owner Faces Hate for Supporting Refugee Children

August 8, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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“They’re not gonna make me not live. There not gonna make me stop what I’m doing. If anything they’re making my resolve harder and firmer.” – Mark Lane

By Brent E. Beltrán / San Diego Free Press

Last week I found out there’s a restaurant owner in Logan Heights who has been facing death threats from the people that have been hating on the refugee children from Central America. Mark Lane, owner of Poppa’s Fresh Fish, has received numerous phone calls and social media messages calling for his death and that of his family after calling for a boycott of Murrieta, Hate City USA, and for taking in a refugee family from Guatemala.

After hearing about the death threats and the attempted boycott of his business by hateful bigots I thought I’d contact him and see if he was willing to talk about his situation. He was and he had a lot to say. …

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Is CVS Breaking Promises to OB Before Doors Have Even Opened?

August 5, 2014 by Source
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Union to Flier Community Over CVS’s “Broken Promises” on Wed., August 6th

By Micah Mitrosky

CVS is coming to Ocean Beach. In doing so, they promised OB they would be good community partners. In fact, CVS agreed to a Community Benefits Package that included the following promise:

“CVS will provide 20-30 new highquality jobs to the community including strong training, pay, and benefit packages…CVS has the highest rated job satisfaction in its industry and will contribute these beneficial jobs to the Ocean Beach community by prioritizing qualified candidates from within the community in its hiring process.”

Now, with retrofits underway at their new OB location, CVS is quietly breaking their promise to the OB Community before the doors have even opened.

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Reverberations from Historic City Council Vote on OB Community Plan

August 5, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The reverberations from last week’s historic City Council vote July 29th to approve the OB Community Plan have yet to be felt – other than the celebrations -, either in OB or throughout the City, but the vote will have consequences – good ones – for two or three decades.

Plus the dust hadn’t settled after the unanimous vote, when the question was raised ‘What’s next? What is the next hurdle the Plan must take before it becomes a reality?’

The short answer is that the Plan goes before the California Coastal Commission in October, according to city staff.

Meanwhile, the vote was a clear victory for Ocean Beach but it was also a win for other communities around San Diego. Let’s examine this.

OBviously, with a new community plan, OB will be affected for the next 20 to 30 years. What else does the vote mean? For Ocean Beach, the vote did several things.

First, it vindicated the resistance by the OB Planning Board …

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Mindy Pellissier: “We OBceans are a resilient and tenacious lot.”

August 1, 2014 by Source
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Editor: The OB Rag is publishing the speeches of the various OB planners and other village leaders given at the City Council hearing on the Ocean Beach Community Plan, Tuesday, July 29th. This is by Mindy Pellissier, long-time OB planner, Co-chair of Sub-committee on OB Community Plan Update, plus co-owner of the Dog Beach Dog Wash.

My name is Mindy Pellissier. I am a home owner and business owner — & a proud OBcean for more than 20 years.

I have also been a dedicated participant in the OB Planning process & several community organizations.

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“A Toast to O.B.s Community Plan! ” – a Poem by Kathy Blavatt

August 1, 2014 by Source
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July 29th, 2014… A Toast to O.B.s Community Plan!

By Kathy Blavatt

“A TOAST, A TOAST” …. No I didn’t say “A toke”….
Though in O.B. fashion, each celebrate in their own manner.
Just as early arrivals “to the EVENT” grabbed a beer beforehand.

The “event” to the “unknowing” was just one in the stream of bureaucratic,
sometimes moronic meetings at council.
Yet, this day, on the 29th of July in the year 2014,
a sea breeze of blue blew into council chambers.

Riding in were waves of people….“Real people”, not the usual suits!
Passionate OBeacans in articulate prose…
Speeches splashed with humor and well-researched fact
took center stage and laid fort “their plan”.


(COME INSIDE)

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Gretchen Newsom: “We’re not a special interest group! We are Ocean Beach!”

August 1, 2014 by Source
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By Gretchen Newsom

I am Gretchen Newsom, President of the Ocean Beach Town Council.

Our OB Community Plan is the result of over a decade of extensive community engagement and outreach.

All OB community organizations have collaborated with one another on the Community Plan and ALL OB community groups have united together to endorse the Ocean Beach Community Plan.

We are here before you today to support our Plan and to defend and protect our small- scale community character.

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Peter Ruscitti: ‘OB Community Plan’s Goals to Maintain Small-Scale and Harmony between New and Existing Housing.’

August 1, 2014 by Source
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“…variances for FAR should be discouraged except in true exceptional circumstances.”

By Peter Ruscitti

My name is Peter Ruscitti, and I’m the chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board. I’m also a property owner in OB and a professional planner. I’m going … to address some of the concerns that the Planning Board has faced with our Community Plan— particularly the variance language contained in Recommendation 4.2.9 and elsewhere.

I would like to make clear the intent behind this language and the position of the Planning Board on variances. The Planning Board will always review applications for variances on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they are consistent with the Community Plan— whose goals include maintaining small-scale development, and achieving harmony between new and existing development.

We recognize that special circumstances may exist that could justify a particular variance, and that variances in themselves are not necessarily inconsistent with the Community Plan.

We just want the Community Plan to be clear that variances— particularly for FAR— should be discouraged except in truly exceptional circumstances.

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Gio Ingolia: The OB Community Plan “Ensures Our Small-Town Feel”

July 31, 2014 by Source
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Editor: This is the first of several we hope to publish of the speeches given by OB planners at the July 29th City Council hearing on the OB Community Plan.

By Giovanni Ingolia

My Name is Giovanni Ingolia and I am the Co-Chair of the OB Community Plan update Sub-committee. I have also served 8 years on the OB Planning board and a former Chair.

This plan has been a collaborative effort from a myriad of community group and citizens of Ocean Beach.

Overall the plan meets the needs and desires of the community including but not limited to our transportation desires, historic preservation, and community character.

Unfortunately the Planning Commission has recommended more permissive language to the Community Plan when it comes to our community character as it relates to bulk and scale.

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City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

July 30, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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With a 9 to zip vote, the San Diego City Council approved the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update, yesterday, the 29th of July and in the middle of the afternoon. Immediately, the 150 plus OBceans jumped to their feet with whoops of delight and sustained applause that went on for minutes.

It was an emotional day for OB, with the Council vote culminating a very long process of updating the community’s urban design blueprint, a blueprint that will significantly affect OB for the next 20 to 30 years.

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Semi-Breaking News: Mayor Faulconer Endorses Current OB Community Plan – Rejects Planning Commission’s Recommendations

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

In a “semi-breaking” news flash, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has come out and publicly endorsed the current OB Community Plan – the Plan that is being supported by every group in the community and thousands of its residents.

The U-T reported today – July 22 – that “Faulconer er said through a spokesman this week that he prefers reverting back to the previous version of the plan, which strongly discourages city officials from allowing exceptions to the community’s strict density limits.”

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Momentum Continues as OB Readies for City Council Showdown on July 29th

July 21, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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The momentum in support for the Ocean Beach Community Plan continues as the showdown at the City Council hearing nears. The OB Plan is scheduled to be before the Council on Tuesday, July 29th.

It’s estimated that activists now have close to 3,500 signatures on the petitions, with at least 60% from OB or the 92107 zip code, with the remainders being residents of the city of San Diego.

This is the last full week that OBceans can sign the Petition in support of the Community Plan – and it will be available for signing during Wednesday’s Farmers Market, as well as in certain businesses. Organizers have close to 3500 signatures at this point.

This is what’s going on:

Meeting tonight – Monday, July 21 – of Sub-committee on Draft Plan, 6pm, at Dog Beach Dog Wash, located at 4933 Voltaire Street. ….

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After the Minimum Wage Win: the Battle Continues

July 21, 2014 by Jim Miller

Closeup of business people standingBy Jim Miller

San Diego’s progressive community got a well deserved shout-out last week in the national media with The Nation praising the good work of our city’s “expanding progressive base.”

More specifically, the article noted that the local movement to raise the minimum wage was comprised of many of the same folks who formed the community-labor alliance behind the David Alvarez mayoral campaign:

That coalition, Raise Up San Diego, includes the Center for Policy Initiatives as well as labor unions, immigrant rights groups and service providers.

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The Story of How Community Planning Came to O.B.

July 17, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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Staff: This is the second part of a 2-part series published this week. The series is loosely based on a talk by Frank Gormlie at the February 21, 2013 OB Historical Society monthly meeting. Here is Part 1

______________

The Twists and Turns of the Community Plan for OB

By Frank Gormlie

Last we left off was the Spring of 1972, when the City Planning Department canceled or postponed all its meetings or workshops on the Pen. Inc sponsored Precise Plan. This was due to the establishment of a substantial opposition to the plan, which was in the form of a damning survey of resident attitudes toward development, high-rise and density increases, and a petition calling for a building moratorium signed by thousands.

So, in the spring and summer months of 1972, the crisis was over – at least temporarily as Ocean Beach had awoken, and its residents had successfully halted the threatened onslaught of massive development.

There appeared to be a lull … for about 6 or 7 months.

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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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San Diego Becomes Largest US City to Pass Minimum Wage Hike and Earned Sick Days Policy

July 15, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

Supporters of a hike in local minimum wages left nothing to chance yesterday as a city council decision on a proposal by Todd Gloria neared. Over 400 hundred people showed up at city hall for a 6pm hearing, filling the council chambers and two overflow rooms. Many wore pink signs indicating their support.

Email and social media reminders abounded during the day, including a mid-day Raise Up San Diego-led “Twitterstorm.” More than 100 people testified before the council. Highlights included former basketball star Bill Walton …

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What Kind of City Is San Diego? It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

July 14, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

raise min wageThe San Diego City Council will consider today whether to pass an ordinance or put forth a ballot measure to increase the city’s minimum wage and provide earned sick days for local workers.

Since the last time I wrote on this subject in late April, the original proposal of raising the minimum wage to the local Self-Sufficiency Standard of $13.09 with five earned sick days has been significantly lowered in order to address the concerns of opponents.

The current proposal keeps the initial five earned sick days but now only raises the minimum wage to $9.75 in 2015 …

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Anger and Compassion Shown at Point Loma Library Meeting on Homeless Issues (Without the Homeless)

July 11, 2014 by Staff
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In what was billed as Councilman Ed Harris‘ “Homeless Issues Meeting”, at the Point Loma library last night, July 10, at a standing-room only crowd, angry OB and Pt Loma residents and a few businesspeople met up with folks who serve the homeless. And apparently, there were no homeless people present.

The meeting generated different accounts (the OB Rag did not have a reporter present).

OB Jess reported the following:

When I went to the forum on the homeless last night I wasn’t sure what I was getting into,

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Minimum Wage Increase, Earned Sick Days Proposal Set for Full City Council Hearing July 14th

July 9, 2014 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

The full San Diego City Council is set to hear arguments over proposals increasing the minimum wage and allowing for up to five earned sick days. The measure being considered is Council President Todd Gloria’s attempt at comprise from an earlier proposal.

The specifics of the current plan are:

  • $9.75 Jan 2015
  • $10.50 Jan 2016
  • $11.50 Jan 2017
  • Indexed to inflation after Jan 2019
  • 5 Earned Sick days
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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:

O.B. RESIDENTS FIGHT SOFTER BUILDING RULES

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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America Has a Koch Problem

July 8, 2014 by Judi Curry

Move-on sponsored movie “Koch Brothers Exposed: 2014 Edition” shown in households all over the nation.

By Judi Curry

Bill from the Swamp CrittersSenator Bernie Sanders sent out an email telling Move-on members that “ . . . our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like Charles and David Koch. For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back, and we must do it now in advance of November’s elections.”

I had heard of the Koch brothers for months; I was somewhat aware of the dastardly deeds they were doing throughout our country, and decided to attend the showing of this documentary at “The Hippie House” recently with approximately twenty of our Pt. Loma/Ocean Beach neighbors.

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Group Threatened With Arrest If They Feed Homeless at Saratoga Park on July 4th

July 3, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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UPDATE: No arrests made as volunteers served dozens of homeless and other needy people this morning at Saratoga Park in OB.

A group that feeds homeless people on every holiday at an Ocean Beach park has been threatened with arrest by police if they go ahead feed the homeless on July 4th.

The group – Second Chances – is a non-profit that works with local churches and homeless advocates. They feed homeless people in OB every Saturday at the Episcopal Church on Sunset Cliffs and Brighton. And on major holidays the also feed homeless folks at Saratoga Park down at the beach. The last holiday they did this was on Memorial Day this year – without hassles.

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