Two thousand nine was a growth year for the OB Rag blog. We added a whole bunch of new voices, posted more often about more things, and still managed to keep a good eye on what was going on in our community. Our readership grew by leaps and bounds and our unique brand of citizen journalism gained significant local and national recognition. We had our hits and flops, made a lot of new friends and a few enemies along the way.
Frank Gormlie and I have been talking back and forth over the past few days, trying to figure out how best to recap the year. We tried collectively writing about all our coverage and it quickly got unwieldy. So here’s my stab at writing about the impressions that reside in my memories of the last twelve months.
I’ve boiled these impressions down to ten topics that graced the pages of the OB Rag during 2009. I’ve limited the topics to those that came from our writers and our commenters, as opposed to issues and stories that we shared with our readership that originated from outside the Rag.
This is NOT intended to be a “Top Ten” list: these are my impressions and they are presented here in no particular order. I’ve included a short paragraph summarizing our coverage on each topic, followed by the relevant story links. We have a lot to be proud of here at the OB Rag, and the thing that I’m most proud of is the engagement we have with our readership.
The City threatened to close the OB Library as 2008 was winding down in the face of massive budget deficits. There were demonstrations, petitions, hearings and promises of civil disobedience. And then… the Mayor heard the rumblings and, voila!, the closings went away. Now, as another budget crises looms, there are plans in the works for deep cuts in the library’s staffing and hours.
A visit to the weekly Farmers Market in OB leads to the discovery of what some feared was a plot to end the market. The merchant behind the campaign about the Farmers Market responded to those fears in an interview. OB Main Street responded to many of the concerns raised about the Farmers Market. A lot of passion emerged in our comments. And then, later in the year, another merchant decided that he, too, was unhappy with the market.
Lane Tobias revealed that San Diego holds the dubious record of being last in the country for food stamp availability & tells us how to get them:
- Help get California’s“Wacky” USDA food stamps waiver denied and improve access to healthy food for all
The closing of a local crafts store, Rock Paper Scissors, left many vendors angry amid accusations that its owner had ripped them off.
It all started out as a hot tip from a reader that local merchants were upset about Pepsi’s Nutrisoda tagging the sidewalks in the commercial district with so-called “guerrilla marketing”. Nutrisoda apologized and said “drinks on us”; OB’s merchants said “thanks, but no thanks”. And then we started talking about all the other tagging that was going on around the community. One thing led to another and OBceans mobilized to scrub and paint the shoreline walkways. Oh, and we picked up a bunch of trash, too.
A significant part of OB life is the many celebrations that take place in our community. The Kite Festival, the Street Fair and Chili Cook Off, the July 4th Fireworks, Oktoberfest, the Howl-O-Ween Parade, and the Christmas Parade are all events that bring out the creative, amusing and merrymaking aspects of zip code 92107.
This year the Rag elected to give blanket coverage of the OB Street Fair & Chili Cook-Off: our people wrote a grand total of eighteen posts, before, after and during the event. We actually won an award from the OB Mainstreet Association for coverage of this event even though we said mostly nice things:
- Let’s Get This Party Started! OB Rag Coverage of the 30th Annual Street Fair Starts Today by Doug Porter
- Making “Waves” OBcean-style by Dave Gilbert
- Some Like It Hot – Getting Ready for the OB Chili Cook Off by Doug Porter
- Ride the Trolley to the OB Street Fair by Anna Daniels
- Vendorland at the Fair – Street Level by Lane Tobias
- Trolley Tales – OB Street Fair 2009 by Anna Daniels
- ‘We all had a great time’ – musically speaking – at the OB Street Fair by Dave Gilbert
- OB Street Fair: Da Bomb – Photos
- Free Speech in the Streets at the OB Fair by Anna Daniels
- Street Fair: OB sure knows how to party by Mary E Mann
- The Lot of the Street Fair Vendor in OB Enchanted Land by Frank Gormlie
- A Hot (Chili) Time in OB – The Winners! by Wireless Mike
- It Isn’t News When Mostly Good Things Happen at the OB Street Fair by Doug Porter
- OB Street Fair: SHOW ME THE MONEY!! by Gary Gilmore
- Show Me the Money – Part II – Where Did the Street Fair Money Go? by Gary Gilmore
- More Photos! OB Street Fair 2009
- The First Ocean Beach Street Fair by Mike James
The OB Kite Festival celebrates its 50th year with lots of aerial doings.
OB’s 4th of July and the traditional Marshmallow Fight were their usual greatness but left a bad taste in some people’s mouth.
- Polls show most want to keep OB’s Marshmallow Fight – but many want some kind of controls placed on the event
Hoopers & Burners Busted, Fight Back and Win
OB is a community rich in burners, known as such because a number of them perform at the annual Burning Man festival in Nevada, as the San Diego Fire Conclave. Dog beach, after dark, has served as a practice spot for these serious and involved burners for the past 2-3 years. These burners and hoopers (dancers with flaming hula hoops, essentially) practiced without incident until the SDPD decided there was a problem.
The Battle for Healthcare Reform
It ain’t over till it’s over. This story isn’t over by any means, but when all is said and done it will go down in history as a struggle that will define this year for decades to come. Locally there were confrontations between progressives and the so-called teabaggers that centered on town hall meeting held by our Congressional delegation.
- Why we went to a health care reform town hall meeting in sizzling Spring Valley with Rep Susan Davis
- Reflections on August 29th Town Hall Meeting: Right-Wingers Reenact Presidential Election and Lose Again!
Hizzoner the Mayor of San Diego seems bound and determined to make the citizenry pay as he shops for shiny new toys to play with.
Thank you all, and Happy New Year!
Frank Gormlie and Patty Jones contributed to the posting of this article.