A confluence of events is merging here in Ocean Beach this week that in themselves display a healthy village, a social stage active with its many players: on Tuesday night – August 24th – there is the second in a series of community forums on OB homelessness at the local Baptist Church.
And then on Wednesday night -the 25th – there is the OB Town Council meeting and its annual Candidates Forum up at the Masonic Center.
With these two important neighborhood meetings conjoined closely in time, we have a strong indication here of a an active – hence healthy – social and political life underwriting this coastal village. A village thrives when its citizenry, merchants, and professionals come together – even it’s just to discuss issues.
The village needs its citizens to be a “true” village, and the citizens need the village to be “true” citizens. To be a true citizen, one needs to be active in the village, active in its social and political life. Active means more than being a consumer or a bystander. And without that citizen involvement, the village would shrivel up.
What all this means, for citizens of Ocean Beach – is that it is truly a good time to get involved in your community.
Tuesday, Aug. 24th: Community Forum II on Homelessness – First Baptist Church at 7:00 pm
It will be held at the First Baptist Church of Ocean Beach, located at 4790 Santa Monica Avenue. Both the first forum and this one were organized and sponsored by OB’s Inter-Faith community; nearly 200 people participated and the organizers issued a report of that forum. (See OB Rag articles on that forum here, here, and here.) The report has been made public – which we post in both a pdf format here: download file, and in an edited version .
Wednesday, Aug. 25th: OB Town Council Candidates Forum – Masonic Center
The Town Council’s regular meeting begins at 7pm – at the Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. At some point during the agenda, a Candidates Forum will be held. There are 7 open seats and there are 8 candidates – 6 of whom are incumbents. All the candidates are expected to be there and open to some level of questioning, and the meeting itself is open to the public. Only members of the Town Council in good standing (fees paid) however are able to participate in the annual vote. The candidates’ statements can be found here.
Why Is It Important for Citizens to Be Active in the Village of Ocean Beach
OB has a history and reputation of being a healthy village where its citizens and merchants are active and participate in its social and political life. But as in all areas of life, people move on, burn out, or become overwhelmed. And they need to welcome with open arms people willing to take on the responsibilities, challenges, and tasks of keeping the village healthy, people with fresh energy.
One community meeting coming up is on homeless and homelessness, as obviously OB is beset with this national issue and reality.
But there are other issues that face the community besides the quandaries of the houseless. In a general sense, there is always the issue of gentrification. (Here are examples in OB.)
Just briefly, and being metaphorical, OB is being pulled in two different directions – we’re being pulled into being another Pacific Beach, another PB where there are more bars and alcohol-serving restaurants that cater to a young, partying crowd than nearly any other type of business, overwhelming the locals, and dominating the commercial district.
Plus OB is being pulled into being another Mission Beach – a community where there is no community there; a community once thriving and alive, but over time becoming a mere repository of beach and bay weekly rentals, vacation rentals, time shares and empty mansions – too expensive to lease in this economy. A nearly dead community. A once village now shriveled up.
OB citizens need to be involved so that OB doesn’t turn into either PB or Mission Beach.
There are other problems and issues in this bleak days: social service cut-backs, higher commercial rents, depressed commercial areas, the dirt from jet fuel ( Ed Decker’s “cracked black pepper“), and more. OB needs its citizens to face these issues. OB needs its citizens to be active.
Not only does a village thrive when there is activity at the grassroots, but so does a democracy.