December 2012

We’re in the Process of Moving the OB Rag to a New Server!

December 31, 2012 by Patty Jones
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Just a heads up…

We have been sharing resources with our sister site, the San Diego Free Press and it’s time for us each to have our own place, our own space, so we can both continue to grow.

There may be a period of time when our site appears to be down. Rest assured it will be temporary but could last anywhere from a few hours to a full day. Word needs to spread across the globe about what our new address is.

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FBI, Homeland Security and Local Police Coordinated the Crackdown of the Occupy Movement with Big Banks

December 30, 2012 by Source
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By Naomi Wolf / Guardian UK / December 29 , 2012

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy:
totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police.

The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves -was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

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OBceans Want More Lights and Safer Streets

December 28, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Residents and denizens of Ocean Beach want more street lights and safer streets – in terms of infrastructure improvements for the community.

The OB Rag ran a weekly poll from December 17th to the 25th and asked readers the following, with an invitation to add their own response, which some did:

What infrastructure improvements does Ocean Beach need most?

Three out of four respondents answered that they want safer and paved streets, and more street lights. 64% replied that they want to see “more lights, safer streets”, and 11% answered that they want the City to “Re-pave streets & add more street lights. It’s too dark and unsafe at night”. This is a total of 75%.

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OB Doesn’t Have Problems with Wireless Cell Sites at the Masonic Lodge and at Local Churches

December 28, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Issue of Wireless Sites on Masonic Lodge Before Planning Board on January 2nd

Unlike some other communities, Ocean Beach apparently doesn’t have any problems with wireless phone companies installing their cell sites on the Masonic Temple … as well as on local churches around the neighborhood.

The issue of the cell towers or antennae on the Mason’s building went before the Project Review Committee earlier this month on December 19th, and it was basically a non-issue, it seems, not controversial at all – as the Review Committee’s chair, Landry Watson, told the OB Rag. The sub-committee did recommended approval for the permit renewal.

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The Public Realm: the Importance of Public Spaces in Our Neighborhoods

December 28, 2012 by Source
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By Michael Stepner / SDMetro

The end of November marked the beginning of construction of a new public plaza in Downtown San Diego. On Nov. 29, demolition of the Robinsons–May department store began. The building, only 27 years old, is to be replaced by a 1.3-acre addition to our historic Horton Plaza.

This and other recent examples point to our recent re-understanding of parks, plazas and open spaces as critical components of our urban environment. The San Diego Union editorialized: “Park improvement is among the most important undertakings now before the city. It should have the cordial co-operation of all.”

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House Fire on Seaside Street Claims a Dozen Pet Birds in Ocean Beach

December 27, 2012 by Staff

Woman and Dogs Rescued

A house fire on the 2300 block of Seaside Street in northeast Ocean Beach has claimed the lives of at least a dozen pet birds.

Early Thursday, Dec. 27, around 3:30 a.m. a fire broke out in the living-room of the residence near Larkspur Street. When firefighters arrived, they found the 46 year old resident suffering from smoke inhalation; she was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

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Ocean Beach Antique Shop Owner’s Wounded Nephew Gets Visit from President Obama for being “Hero”.

December 27, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Teresa Mallory’s nephew Quinn Rogan receives surprise visit after saving lives in Afghanistan

The owner of an antique store in Ocean Beach has her nephew’s photo propped up in her consignment shop on Newport Avenue. The picture has her nephew, Quinn Rogan – wounded in Afghanistan when he blocked suicide bombers from attacking his base – along with the President – who made him a surprise visit recently at Walter Reed Army hospital.

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Seattle Police Department releases humorous Guide on how to get stoned, after pot legalization initiative passes.

December 27, 2012 by Frank Gormlie

Witty and silly, it covers all the bases.

by Kristen Gwynne / AlterNet

Last week, the Seattle Police Department quietly released the hilarious how-to, Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use In Seattle. Witty and silly, it covers all the bases, from driving stoned to drug tests for jobs and whether police themselves can get high. It begins:

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A Christmas Wish: The Gift of Compassion

December 27, 2012 by Jack Hamlin
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It is Christmas, 2012, and I sit in the sunlight of the early morning and welcome the day. For many years I have been alone on Christmas morning; my children, parents, sister and I celebrate Christmas on its eve. My children spend the day with her mother and later in the day, my parents, sister and I have dinner at my cousin’s home. As a result, the gift I receive Christmas morning is time. Time to sit and reflect, time to meditate, time to just be.

As a Catholic Christian of the Franciscan brand, and a student of Buddhism and the Tao, I spend much of my time thinking about the concept of compassion; what it means and how to let flow from me and perhaps by example, to others. I know in my imperfection, I fall short on many occasions, but I try.

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Reader Rant: ‘I used to be homeless in OB. Now I vacation here.’

December 26, 2012 by Source
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Former Homeless Man Thanks OB for Teaching Him Love and Patience

Editor: The following post was originally published as a Letter on December 22nd. We thought it was so poignant, that we decided to post it as an article and “Reader Rant”.

My name is Mic D. I was homeless in OB from about 1989 to 1991. I “lived” near dog beach at a fire pit for about a year, and then in a dugout in Robb Field for another year. It was a most difficult time of life for me.

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The Holidays are the Hardest

December 26, 2012 by Judi Curry
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Being a widow is difficult if the relationship between the two spouses was a good one. There are times that being a widow is harder than other times. Like now. The Holidays. Being a widow and having 12 grandchildren becomes quite expensive and for the first time in many years I am unable to gift my children as well as their children.

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Burning the Christmas Greens

December 26, 2012 by Jim Miller
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In William Carlos Williams’s famous poem “Burning the Christmas Greens” he notes how at “the thick of the dark moment” in “winter’s midnight” we turn to the trees because “green is a solace” that we use to “fill our need.” Thus the “living green” along with “paper Christmas bells covered with tinfoil and fastened by red ribbons” seem “gentle and good to us.” But then when their time is past we feel the relief as we clear our rooms and assign the greens to the fireplace and “in the jagged flames green to red, instant and alive.” And we stand “breathless to be witnesses as if we stood ourselves refreshed among the shining fauna of that fire.”

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Proposition 8, DoMA and the Supreme Court : “The End of the Beginning” of the Struggle for Marriage Equality

December 21, 2012 by Source

by Mark Gabrish Conlan / Zenger’s Newsmagazine

First, the good news: the United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear the constitutional challenge to Proposition 8, the voter-approved initiative that abruptly stopped California’s four and one-half month experience of marriage equality in November 2008.

Now, the bad news: the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the constitutional challenge to Proposition 8.

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A Look at Drones and Issues of Domestic Surveillance

December 21, 2012 by Source

By Blake Bunch / IVN San Diego / Dec. 20, 2012

The recent spike in domestic surveillance could represent an increase of police force “militarization” to some, an argument which is primarily defended through public safety measures. In San Diego, CA, the County Sheriff Department’s interest in a Scout unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has remained shrouded from public knowledge.

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PUC Denies SDG&E Plan to Charge Ratepayers for 2007 Fire Losses – Losses Caused by SDG&E Equipment

December 21, 2012 by Source

By Miriam Raftery / East County Mag / December 20, 2012

In a unanimous decision, the California Public Uitlities Commission (CPUC) denied SDG&E and Southern Califiornia Gas Company’s proposed plan which had sought to charge ratepayers for its uninsured liability costs for wildfires caused by the utility’s lines, both for future fires and the 2007 firestorms that ravaged San Diego County. (Go inside for link to the formal decision.)

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San Diego’s Independent Water Oversight Committee Says ‘No increase till study completed.’

December 21, 2012 by Source

IROC recommends hold on San Diego water rate increases

It’s true, the oversight committee on San Diego’s water rates recommends no increases in rates either water or sewer until their own study is completed. The committee is currently conducting a cost of service study including a “review of the revenue, expenditures, and sales volume assumptions underlying the study.”

George Janczyn, over at GrokSurf’s San Diego, has conveniently provided us a link to a copy of their report,

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Duke Cunningham released to halfway house in New Orleans

December 21, 2012 by Source

Former Congressman out of prison after 8 years

By Greg Moran / Enron by the Sea

Former Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who has been in federal prison since admitting to taking bribes, has been transferred to a halfway house in New Orleans for the final few months of his prison term.

Cunningham, 71, was transferred from the federal prison in Tucson, Ariz., on Dec. 5, according to Edmond Ross, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

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The Violence Behind the Violence

December 20, 2012 by Source

America cannot truly address gun violence unless it is prepared to address the root causes of gun violence.

by Nadin Abbott / San Diego Free Press

Since the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Connecticut, we have had many discussions on the sources of gun violence in our country. We were all shocked.

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Mission Bay’s Paradise Point Is One of the Winners in Local and State Government Give-Aways to Corporations

December 20, 2012 by Source
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Receipt of Give-Aways by Other firms in San Diego Prove We’re No Exception

By John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

States, counties and cities are in a race to the bottom because they are giving away taxpayer dollars to provide incentives for corporations to locate withing their boundaries. There’s a fierce competition going on and corporations are playing one region off against another.

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Is the Political Tide Turning … for the Oceans and the Environment?

December 20, 2012 by Source
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By David Helvarg / Blue Notes / December 17, 2012

We just had an election in which the public seemed to see the need for larger changes in society. And of course changes of any kind tend to come in waves. Along with the emergence of a new demographic profile of the U.S. electorate we saw people in a number of states voting for Gay marriage equality, legalized use of marijuana and in California, a tax increase to help save public education.

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12 Cool Holiday Traditions that Aren’t About God or Shopping

December 20, 2012 by Source
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Finding it a little tough to feel warm and chirpy about the birth of the baby Jesus?

By Valerie Tarico / AlterNet

After an autumn of Bible-based gay bashing, and Religious Right candidates with “rape Tourette’s,” and End Times aficionados gunning for Armageddon rather than peace in the Middle East, some nontheists may be finding it a little tough to feel warm and chirpy about the birth of the baby Jesus.

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Ocean Beach Newport News – Christmas 2012

December 19, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Lots going on this Christmas season on ol’ Newport Avenue, the main street of the Ocean Beach village. We do an occasional newsy review of the comings and goings among the shops, stores, and merchants on the avenue, so here then, is our latest Newport News from Tuesday, December 18th.

Christmas Tree Lights Need A-Fixin’

Mike Colpo, a volunteer with the OB Town Council, and chief OB Christmas Tree decorator, was having troubles with the lights on Tuesday.

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OB Planning Board Review Committee Agenda for Wed., Dec. 19th

December 18, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Police Trailer Application for Permanent Placement in OB Pier Parking Lot on Agenda

Here is the official agenda for the Ocean Beach Planning Board’s Project Review Committee, for Wednesday, December 19th.

On the agenda are two important items, the Sprint Wireless antennae upgrade and renewal at the Masonic Lodge at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, and the application for a coastal permit to allow the San Diego police trailer to permanently remain in the OB Pier Parking lot.

Both issues have been contentious ones in the past.

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What ever happened to OB Rag blogger Anna Daniels?

December 18, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Did you ever wonder what ever happened to OB Rag blogger Anna Daniels? Anna had been writing for us since early 2009, and as a feminist and San Diego civic activist for years, she has graced our publication with her thoughts and razor sharp insights on the workings (or non-workings) of local government, especially libraries and infrastructure.

Well, Anna moved over to the San Diego Free Press …

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Where Have All the Heroes Gone?

December 18, 2012 by Judi Curry
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In a discussion I had with a friend the other day, we got to talking about the “heroes” of our time.

We had so many people to look up to that 15 minutes after starting naming those wonderful people we were still naming names. In our early teens – yes, we were “teens” once – a long time ago – our hero’s came from a variety of resources – and perhaps the first ones came from an unlikely source – the comic books, the radio stations, etc.

Who can forget “Tom Mix”? or “Jack Armstrong”? Even the “Superman” we idolized as doing only good was different that the Superman of today. The Betty, Veronica, and Archie’s of yesterday.

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OB Rag Readers Favor Raising Taxes on Most Wealthy Americans

December 18, 2012 by Staff

The OB Rag just ran a poll this past week that asked the question:

Should Congress raise taxes on the most wealthy 2% of Americans to avoid deep cuts in programs from Social Security to Defense?

The answer was overwhelming: 77% of our readers who responded said “Yes”.

Only 19% said “no”. 4% were unsure.

The poll ran from December 11 to the 18th; there were 74 responses.

In contrast, the East County Magazine had the same poll – although for a longer period of time – and the results from their readership were slightly different

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Commentaries on and Responses to the Connecticut School Shootings

December 18, 2012 by Source

Editor: The media, both corporate and progressive, has been awash with commentaries on and responses to the Connecticut school shootings. Here are a few more – originally posted in San Diego Free Press.

Crazy People with Guns Kill People

By Frances O’Neill Zimmerman

Time for newly-re-elected President Obama and the lame Congress of the United States to enact an assault weapons ban and to provide safeguards against easy access to guns and ammo. The old assault weapons law was allowed to expire a couple of years ago, thanks to craven legislators succumbing to pressure from the National Rifle Association.

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Remembering San Diego’s Own Tragic Shooting – the McDonald’s Massacre of July 1984

December 18, 2012 by Source
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The Connecticut shootings force into our collective minds the day of the tragedy of the McDonalds Massacre of July 18, 1984.

Then-San Diego newscaster Monica Zech, was in a news channel helicopter that day of the massacre, and she was the first reporter to break the story. Later, as the El Cajon Fire Public Information Officer, Zech wrote the following personal thoughts of her observations from that horrific day. (Originally posted at OB Rag on June 2, 2008 – see the entire post here.)

San Ysidro McDonald Massacre-A Birdseye View

by Monica Zech, 2004

My thoughts: Remembering and reporting on the San Ysidro McDonald Massacre, where 21 people died, 19 were injured – 7/18/84.

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We Can Do Better Than Singing Kumbaya and Waiting for America to ‘Come Together’

December 18, 2012 by Doug Porter

From San Diego Free Press – Dec. 17, 2012

Enough of all this talk. We live in the ‘World’s Greatest Country’ and ‘America’s Finest City’ and the best we as citizens can do is, according to our local daily newspaper’s editorial board:

(#1) ** …resist the temptation to see what took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as an indictment of America.

What took place in Connecticut is an indictment of weak willed politicians, afraid to stand up to a gun lobby. Our country would be even greater and our city would be even finer without them. If the NRA wants to make gun control an issue, fine.

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What OB Needs for Christmas: New Library, New Lifeguard Station, and New Public Restrooms

December 17, 2012 by Frank Gormlie
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Our new Mayor Bob Filner has pledged to focus more on the neighborhoods of San Diego and less on the power brokers who hide out in the corridors of City Hall. And new City Council President Todd Gloria also has promised to make infrastructure “sexy”.

So, in order to assist Mayor Filner and Councilman Gloria in helping to decide what infrastructure is needed in Ocean Beach, we thought we’d provide a list for Santa.

Here’s what Ocean Beach needs for Christmas (for starters):

1. New Library

Back in 2003 Ocean Beach was promised a new library – …

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