About the OB Rag
This Blog was first initiated by Frank Gormlie and Patty Jones in late October 2007 to ply the San Diego scene with news and commentary from a distinctively progressive and grassroots perspective, and to provide a forum for those views. Importantly, we also wanted to provide some kind of web platform for the Ocean Beach community.
A year after we started publishing, we decided to focus more of our attention and energies on OB itself. By October 2009, we were taking advertisements and sponsorships and selling hot-looking T-shirts. Our stats just continued to rise dramatically over the months. March 2010 we had over 26,000 visitors; that June we had 34 visitors short of 40,000, then in October 2010 43,000 visitors. Fast forward to Fall of 2011, and our very best month – October 2011 we had 108,000 visitors. Other milestones: we had our one-millionth page hit in mid-December of 2010, and our two-millionth hit in November 2011.
We have a plethora of writers, bloggers, contributors, photographers, and close supporters who in 2010, included Brittany Bailey, Jon Carr, Kristin Condon, Anna Daniels, Shane Finneran, Gary Gilmore, Rich Kacmar, Steven Kindrick, Sarah Little, Ernie McCray, Brenda McFarlane, Danny Morales, Abby Normal, OB Cindi, Doug Porter, Bill Ray, Dave Rice, Sunshine, Genie Sapienza, Wireless Mike Williams, John Williams, and independent photographer Jim Grant.
At our beginning, we had a number of progressive writers who contributed to our blog, in particular Jon Christensen, Michael Steinberg, and Gregg Robinson. Rick Nadeau, who also blogged with for us from the beginning, passed away in November 2008, after a long bout with cancer. Our good friend and photographer, Jeff Stone, was also one of our main photographer contributors.
In the Fall of 2008, we were joined by Doug Porter, who now writes on a regular basis and who wrote for the original OB Rag back in the seventies, and by Anna Daniels, who is active on city-wide issues. We also have a lively facebook page that Doug Porter coordinates and administers.
When we started this blog, we were disgusted with the state of things: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a bellicose and war-mongering President Bush, a Constitutional crisis, the environmental and global meltdown, as well as local corruption and government incompetence on all levels. We believed then and still believe now that things can and should be a whole lot better.
Things have changed since we first started blogging. We initially supported the candidacy of Barack Obama for President, and we celebrated with champagne and tears the night he was elected. But our eyes are not shut. We remain critical – and hopeful – of our political environment. We have come to deeply understand that progressives need to keep pressure on the White House, no matter who is in it. And it’s important to develop broad coalitions of activists and like-minded people, to not be hampered by some restrictions of our political traditions, and be willing to work across different parties and communities.
We have become very disappointed in what President Obama has achieved and not achieved during his first two years in office. We oppose the continuation of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and Pakistan), and have been disheartened by the so-called “compromises” his administration has made with those who have vowed to destroy the American social networks established over the last century. This president seems to have sacrificed his message of change and hope to the expediencies of Washington, DC. We remain critical – and hopeful.
This website attempts to keep OBcians, other San Diegans, and readers from across the country and from across the oceans informed on issues and changes around us. We try to share all news and reports about the village of Ocean Beach, from other sources, but primarily from our in-house bloggers, and we try to publish news and perspectives about activists and grassroots goings-on within San Diego County. “Views and news of Ocean Beach and beyond.”
When we first started this blog, we felt that we needed “to rebuild a sense of community, not only on the neighborhood level, but also amongst those of a kindred spirit.” We have expanded our circle of friends and readers, as we have a solid base of Ocean Beach readers, a San Diego, national and even international audience.
Our staff and those who have blogged with us has grown and changed. Others who have contributed to the OB Rag over the last three years include: Lane Tobias, Stu Seymour, Mary E. Mann, Nate Hipple, Jim Noble, and Dave Gilbert.
We have nearly 1,400 names on our email news and support list. At our year anniversary – late October 2008 – we had a daily visitor average of over 250. By October 2009 we had a daily visitor count somewhere between 500 to 900. By Spring 2010, we are averaging between 750 and 1,000 visitors a day. By that Fall it was 1,200 to 1,400. 2011 sees our website averaging close to 1500 to 1600 daily.
It’s ever-so clear to us that, as we originally stated at the beginning:
With mainstream media becoming more and more monopolized and centralized, there is a need for information and opinion outside the corporate media monolith. Blogs are helping to fill this role. Like during an earlier day, when underground newspapers filled the void, blogs today enable grassroots journalists and commentators to counter mainstream propaganda.
The First OB Rag
The first OB Rag, actually the OB People’s Rag, was an alternative grassroots newspaper for the Ocean Beach neighborhood of San Diego during the first half of the 1970s, with its first publisher, editor and writer Frank Gormlie. It published from late Summer 1970 to early Fall 1975. The Rag’s volunteer and dedicated activist staff succeeded in fueling the community organizing in Ocean Beach during those years with their underground publication, taking on the establishment while giving voice to the burgeoning counter-culture.
The OB Rag was once described by Art Kunkin, the then-publisher of the LA Free Press – the grandparent of alternative newspapers – as “the best alternative grassroots community newspaper in the country.” [See our page "1st OB Rag" for more complete history of the first OB Rag.]
Plus, many of the original OB Rags are now available for donations. [Go here for those Rags that are available.]
Much later, in the early years of this century, folks associated with the Ocean Beach Grassroots Organization (OBGO) and the Save Ocean Beach Coalition published several editions of a new version of the OB Rag (see below for a sample front cover of this version). There are at least two issues of that version of the OB Rag scanned here in our blog.
So, here we are, with a third version of the OB Rag. Please peruse our posts, comments, and satire and join in. (For information of another San Diego progressive publication put out by some of the same writers of the current OB Rag, see below for “the Pie Shop.”
OB Rag – October 2002, Vol. 7, No. 2
This version of the OB Rag, was published by members of the
OB Grassroots Organization and Coalition to Save OB
“The Whole Damn Pie Shop”
A number of the current writers for this OB Rag published a left-wing magazine in San Diego during the first half of the eighties. Called “the whole damn pie shop” the magazine proudly announced on each front cover:
Our name is from a quote of a Brixton, England demonstrator who when asked in 1981 if he wanted a larger share of the pie, replied, “No, we want the whole damn pie shop!”
Describing itself as an independent left and progressive newsletter, the Pie Shop was initially sponsored by the Borderlands Education Committee – itself a creation of an Ocean Beach political collective. Current and occasional writers for the OB Rag, Frank Gormlie, Rick Nadeau, Michael Steinberg and Gregg Robinson all wrote for the Pie Shop from its inception in 1981 through the end sometime in 1986.
Issue Number 10 has been scanned and added to the site. Click the image to the left to view the whole issue.