Here’s to the Folks Who Demanded the Impossible and Brought Us the $15 an Hour Minimum Wage: The Labor Movement

April 11, 2016 by Jim Miller

Marching Inside Wendy's just one year ago... (SEIU Photo)

By Jim Miller

Time to give credit where credit is due. It was not the noblesse oblige of individual politicians or the Democratic Party that brought us the $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, it was the labor movement.

Surely, the governors of New York and California and their fellow Democrats in those statehouses deserve credit for listening to the cry for economic justice and having the good sense to do the right thing, but the historic victory of the Fight for $15 that we have just celebrated would never have come to pass without the bold vision and prolonged struggle of working people standing together and demanding what many called impossible.

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Protest Ted Cruz Monday at 4PM in Mission Valley

April 11, 2016 by Staff

Ted Cruz Poster

By Matthew Rice / Veterans Democratic Club of San Diego

The strongest right we as Americans have is our freedom of speech. On Monday 11 April 2016 at 4pm, we plan to use that speech to PROTEST TED CRUZ in San Diego! He is speaking from 6-8pm at:

Town and Country Resort
500 Hotel Circle North
San Diego, CA 92108

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Housed to Homeless in San Diego: Could It Happen to You?

April 11, 2016 by Anna Daniels

By Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

homeless make devilQuick— imagine a homeless person.

Did you conjure up the image of an utterly ordinary looking seventy year old white woman attending classes at SDSU? or a neatly dressed young Latino waiting at a bus stop? or a pregnant African American woman passing by your house? or a neighborhood kid who disappears and reappears and seems disconnected, rootless?

We don’t hear much about these men and women, young and old, who are homeless. Instead, we read about the uptrodden who have to deal with homeless people crapping on the sidewalk in front of their expensive condos downtown or the bad optics and shabby aesthetics of the tents and battered pieces of cardboard where the homeless visibly bed down every night, also downtown.

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Wild Parrot Community Forum in OB – Monday, April 11th

April 11, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Wild Parrot Community Forum in OB – Monday, April 11th

SoCal Parrot is hosting a community forum for the Ocean Beach area regarding local wild parrots and the recent killings of those parrots. The forum will be in the Community Room of the OB Rec Center, Monday, April 11th from 6 to 8 pm. The OB Rec Center is located at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

SoCal Parrot will give a 30 to 45 minute presentation, followed by an open question and answer session. Also being presented will be an outline of ways that everyone member of the public can help deter those unnecessary acts of animal cruelty in the future.

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OB Planning Board: Harris and Saldana Blast Faulconer, Ambert Re-elected as Chair, and Del Mar Project Approved

April 7, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Planning Board: Harris and Saldana Blast Faulconer, Ambert Re-elected as Chair, and Del Mar Project Approved

A lot going on at last night’s OB Planning Board meeting. As nearly two dozen people crowded into the Community Meeting room at the OB Rec Center, they were witnesses to a type of mini-mayoral candidate debate, when candidates Ed Harris and Lori Saldana addressed the meeting.

Also, the Board certified its March election and there was a change of chairs, as several planners left the group, a newly-elected member was seated, and the Board selected their officers for the next year. John Ambert will sit as chair for another term and Blake Herrschaft will continue as vice-chair.

And then finally, the Board reviewed the proposed project for 4620 Del Mar Avenue and voted to recommend its approval.

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Ballot Box Basics for San Diegans: What You Need to Know About the 2016 California Primary

April 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

vote smart buttonMassive Voter Turnout Expected

By Doug Porter

California’s June elections are looking to be like the OK Corral of presidential primary contests this year. With Senators Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders both besting their party’s frontrunners by 13 points in Tuesday’s Wisconsin voting, the Golden State’s large lode of delegates is rapidly gaining in significance.

Better than 600,000 Californians have registered to vote online or updated their information in the last three months, says California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.

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The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, San Diego Chapter

April 7, 2016 by Source

By Barbara Zaragoza / San Diego Free Press

Sister Kali Vagilistic X.P.Aladocious & Guard Inya

They’re witty. They’re irreverent. They have names such as Sister Hungry Bitch and Sister Hysterectoria. The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, San Diego Chapter seek “to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt.”

They’ve been called drag queens. They’ve been called a sorority of gay men. As a matter of fact, to be a Sister is a calling and their focus is on helping community members who have been marginalized or ignored.

The Sisters have a rich history that dates back to the days when AIDS ravaged the gay male population and few people—if any—wanted to serve their needs. Since then, the Sisters have grown into many chapters nationally and internationally. Their work encompasses improv street theater, charitable activities and a general call to serve others.

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Barnstorming for Bernie From OB

April 6, 2016 by Frank Gormlie


Monday night, April 4th, a large crowd crammed into the theater space at the OB Playhouse on Newport. They weren’t there for a stage production or music event, but were all there for Bernie Sanders. It was “barnstorming” for Bernie in OB.

All told, I counted more than 120 human beings assembled on couches, along the back walls and on the rugs laid out on the floor, all for a workshop on the Sanders campaign. It was an event for the west wing of the campaign’s local electoral efforts on Sanders’ behalf, that included OB, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach.

A woman named Jessica addressed the crowd from the stage a bit past 7pm, and the noise in the space quieted down. She thanked Stu for allowing the campaign to take over his theater.

It became clear that the show was being run by women, as Jessica and several other women spoke to the crowd and presented the program for the night in front of the very enthusiastic crowd. Those gathered were mostly younger people but there were some middle-aged and even older folks crowding in.

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The New Liberty Station Public Market – Our Widder Curry Takes Her First Look

April 6, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for The New Liberty Station Public Market – Our Widder Curry Takes Her First Look

Liberty Public Market
Liberty Station
2820 Historic Decatur Rd.
San Diego, CA 92106

As a recognized “foodie” I have anxiously awaited the opening of the Liberty Public Market. The one thing I miss most about living in the Bay Area is the “Berkeley Bowl” – a converted bowling alley turned into a multitude of food shops. From all I had heard, this new venture was a cross between the Bowl and the Seattle “Pike Place Market.” Even at my age I have not yet learned not to expect too much.

My friend Irene and I decided to take a look at this new venture on a Friday morning during the first week it was opened. Parking was relatively easy – but we noted it was packed when we left shortly after noon. We also found that most of “stores” did not open until 11:00am. But that suited our purpose, because we were just “lookie-loos” this first time around. Unfortunately, it might just be my “last time around.”

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RIP Joe Marillo, San Diego’s Godfather of Jazz

April 6, 2016 by John Lawrence

joe marillo 1By John Lawrence

Joe Marillo passed away Saturday, March 26. Born in Niagara Falls, NY, 83 years ago, he moved to San Diego in 1974 from Las Vegas where he had played in show bands for 10 years. He started out playing saxophone in Atlantic City, NJ while swinging from a trapeze.

He was dedicated to bringing straight-ahead, mainstream jazz to San Diego for almost 50 years both with his virtuoso playing and his skills as a presenter and impresario. He received the San Diego Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.

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UPDATED: Activist Calendar for April 2016

April 5, 2016 by Staff

Hands AcossSandPic

This April Calendar Has Been Updated to Include Some Upcoming OB Events
April Events

Events in Ocean Beach

* April 11th Monday – Forum on Wild Parrots and Recent Killings; hosted by SoCal Parrot – at the OB Rec Center, 6 to 8 pm;
* April 14th Thursday 7 p.m. Film night “This Changes Everything” Free of charge; OB Green Center
* April 15th Friday 7:30 pm Local-Earth’s Film night ” How to Change the World” Lazy Hummingbird, 4876 Santa Monica Ave.
* Apr. 21st Thursday – The Carlson & Higgins OB Scandals – 7 pm at P.L. United Methodist Church, 1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd., O.B. presented by the OB Historical Society;
* April 23rd Saturday 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Ocean Beach Green Center’s 27th Anniversary Celebration
* April 27th – Wednesday, 7pm – the Ocean Beach Town Council holds its monthly public meeting;
* April 30th Saturday “Ocean Beach Hippies” – a Discussion, 2 – 3pm; Local political muckraker and gadfly Frank Gormlie talks about hippie life in Ocean Beach through the years. It’s free so come join the fun at the Ocean Beach Library, 4801 Santa Monica.


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Mayoral Candidate Ed Harris, Election Results, New Officers, Development on Del Mar – All at OB Planning Board – Wed., April 6th

April 5, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Mayoral Candidate Ed Harris, Election Results, New Officers, Development on Del Mar – All at OB Planning Board – Wed., April 6th

The OB Planning Board – which meets this Wednesday, April 6th – has a full agenda. The Board meeting begins at 6pm and is held in the Community Meeting room of the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Mayoral candidate Ed Harris will be making a presentation of his platform before the Board and community members who attend.

The Board will also finalize its annual election results and seat new members. Officers will then be elected by the new Board to the new term, which lasts for one year.

The other big item on the Board’s agenda is a permit to construct a second unit, interior remodel and addition to the first unit at 4620 Del Mar Avenue.

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Fukushima + 5: the Disaster Continues – Nuclear Shutdown News for March 2016

April 5, 2016 by Michael Steinberg
Thumbnail image for Fukushima + 5: the Disaster Continues – Nuclear Shutdown News for March 2016

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear industry, in the US and beyond, and highlights the efforts of those who are working to create a nuclear free future. Here is this month’s issue.

Fukushima + 5: The Disaster Continues

On March 9, two days before the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Wall Street Journal ran this story, “Japanese Court Orders Shutdown of Nuclear Reactors.”

The paper reported that the court “issued an injunction to shut down two of the four reactors recently restarted” by Kansai Electric Co. because the utility failed to prove to the court’s satisfaction that it could operate operate those nukes safely.

Driving the process, the Journal reported, were organized and outspoken community members “worried about a repeat of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.”

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San Diego is Led Around by the Nose

April 5, 2016 by Source

pigs on paradeBy Norma Damashek / San Diego Free Press

How about taking a break from our city’s inane preoccupation with a behemoth sports palace for the San Diego Chargers?

And let’s give ourselves a break from the fiasco called a “Convadium,” a zany proposal to link a convention center annex to a new football stadium just down the street from our 18-acre ballpark. Talk about blocking pedestrian access! Talk about walling off the heart of downtown!
What self-respecting city in the USA would fall for such a ludicrous proposal?

So let’s NOT to take a break from simple questions like: Why are we even thinking about cramming a mammoth new football stadium into our modestly-proportioned, pedestrian-starved downtown streets? What rational person would want to do such a dumb thing to our city? Are we nuts, or what?

And while we’re at it, how about taking a clean break from convoluted (fraudulent?) financing schemes involving hotel taxes and bonds and subsidies and giveaways that inevitably come back to bite San Diego taxpayers and residents?

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Feeling the Bern When it Comes to Changing the Status Quo

April 5, 2016 by Ernie McCray

25892298742_8fbb240165By Ernie McCray

Over a week ago I tortured my 77-year-old muscles and bones standing for the better part of 4 hours at the San Diego Convention Center, “Feeling the Bern.”

But Bernie made me forget my discomfort and lifted my spirit high when he said “The status quo just isn’t working for us”: something I’ve felt all my life considering the long row my people have had to hoe to get a break in the USA.

I’ve been up against the status quo, in one of its many forms, starting when I was in kindergarten, wanting to jump out of my skin, as we five-year-olds stood singing “I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” over and over again, like we were Irish tenors, until we got it right. At some point I yelled, in my budding rebel voice to Sister Mary Benedict (forgetting, in the moment, that my knuckles would pay for such an outburst big time): …

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Reader Rant: ‘Now It’s Encroachment into Public Space by the Lifeguards.’

April 4, 2016 by Source


Reader Rant by Former Member of the OB Planning Board:

It’s very ironic that as the OB Rag has been writing about restaurants taking over public space on Newport Avenue, one of our public institutions – the lifeguards – now is taking over public access space.

The pictures attached show the lifeguard station in the process of installing a fence surrounding their parking lot. This fence will also block a public sidewalk that is extremely heavily used to access the beach directly across from the curbcut on Abbott (I myself use it – or used it – multiple times every day). As far as I know they’ve done this without any public notice or input.

6-8 years ago, I believe, the Lifeguards and the City of San Diego, presented a plan for a new lifeguard station. That plan had a big wall around the entire property and concerns were raised by OB planners then about restricting access to the beach as well as creating a compound look at the focal point of our community.


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Restaurant Review – Seaside Pho & Grill in Point Loma

April 4, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review –  Seaside Pho & Grill in Point Loma

Seaside Pho & Grill
1005 Rosecrans St., #101
San Diego, CA 92106

I have lived in San Diego a long time. Except for a few months when my husband and I lived in Chula Vista while looking for a permanent place, over 45 of those years have been in the Pt. Loma/Ocean Beach area. I have watched restaurants come and go; some quickly; some stay for a while.

“Seaside Pho & Grill” has located in a spot that has had two other restaurants there over the years. The first restaurant that I was aware of was “La Playa.” It was one of the first reviews I ever did and that was in 2010. Unfortunately it closed a year or so later. The next restaurant to open in that spot was “Gabardine” in 2012, and it closed its doors in 2014. Both restaurants had wonderful food and Brian Malarkey is an experienced restaurateur. Yet, it was not successful.

Now comes “Seaside Pho & Grill.” It is owned by a married couple – Thuy Nguyen and Waco Williams. The majority of recipes on the menu are family recipes from Thuy. (She was not there when my Japanese student Hitomi and I ate there recently, but Waco was and we had a delightful time talking to him after our meal.) Waco told us that the “Garlic Butter Wings” was an original recipe from Thuy’s grandfather!

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Go Padres! “Vivas to Those Who Have Failed!”

April 4, 2016 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

in the standsToday is opening day and with it, if history is our guide, what is most likely another season of futility is born. Having grown up a Padres fan, this is par for the course as the Pads have only gone to the postseason five times and have a meager .463 winning percentage over the life of the franchise.

They are, in short, losers.

So why go? Why will I be sitting in the stands this afternoon as the Padres take on the Dodgers hoping against hope that the outcome will be different?

Sports psychologists inform me that my addiction to losing baseball might have some rough consequences. As Larry Stone reports in “The Psychology of Being a Sports Fan,” researchers have found that When your team loses, it’s like you lose a part of yourself, because your identity is so merged with the identity of the team and the fan community . . . Sports in the U.S. makes such a difference in people’s lives, a loss can be distressing.”

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San Diego’s Old Central Library: Public Benefit or Profit Center?

April 4, 2016 by Source

Former San Diego Central Library

A not-so-common idea for a building that belongs to us

By Jeeni Criscenzo

For three years, 150,000 square feet of space in downtown, belonging to the citizens of San Diego, has stood vacant. Each night, for these past three years, impoverished human beings have spread their cardboard beds on the brass inlays of the terrazzo at the entrance of the old Central Library on E Street.

But any suggestion that this place could provide shelter for homeless people is dead on arrival, so I won’t be wasting words on that idea. But I do think we need to come up with a fair and just use of this building that retains the spirit of its original reason for being built. After all, it belongs to us, if we are willing to fight for it and put a little imagination into its transformation.

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April Fool’s News from Ocean Bleach and Pot Loma

April 1, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

big surf day 11-3-10 jg 03-sm

* Parrot Shooter Apprehended After Pellet Gun Misfires
* Homeless Hold “People’s Court” and Dish-out Sentences to Thief and Ear Slashers
* FAA Re-Routes Airplane Take-off Routes Over La Jolla and Coronado
* City Crews Decide Torrey Pines Are Not in Danger of Falling – Plan to Plant New Torries

* Decline in Deaths and Injuries at Sunset Cliffs
* Two Breweries on Newport Close – Bookstore and Dispensary to Open
* Homeless Contract With OB Merchants to Clean Sidewalks and Streets

* Travel Blog Downgrades Ocean Beach
* Huge Turn-out at OB Planning Board Election – Inspirational Slate Elected
* Tourists Unite and Clean Beaches and Parks


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First Look at San Diego’s June 2016 Primary Ballot

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for First Look at San Diego’s June 2016 Primary Ballot

By Doug Porter

The 2016 primary season is officially upon us. Today I’m presenting a quick review of what San Diego City voters can expect to see on June 7 (Or earlier if voting by mail). This is just the first of what will be many columns and articles over the next two months. And, yes, we’ll be talking about other contests throughout the region.

After months of hand-wringing in the pundit class, we now have two viable challengers to incumbent Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Odd-numbered city council districts are up for grabs, and three of those will choosing somebody new to represent residents.

There are ballot measures A thru I, most of which are updates to the City Charter. Just about the time your eyes will want to glaze over from all the legalese coming from Measure G, there will be two significant choices to follow. Stay Awake. These are important decisions.

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What San Diego Could Learn from America’s Best and Worst Public Transit Systems

April 1, 2016 by Source

From Portland’s TriMet to Atlanta’s MARTA

By Hutton Marshall /

PortlandTtrimet transit

Not all public transportation systems are created equal. Across the country, there’s a huge gulf between bumper-to-bumper black holes like Los Angeles versus cities like the subway-happy New York City, which boasts 660 miles of rail transit.

Many of the cities we now see as pinnacles of functional transit became that way out of utility. New Yorkers, for example, have come to see their expansive subway system as a way to escape fierce blizzards and even fiercer rush hours.

Today, however, many cities have come to see public transit as an important tool in growing in a sustainable, environmentally conscious manner. The 2015 and 2016 climate change reports increased the importance of efficient transit.

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Assault on Public Employee Unions Fizzles at the Supreme Court

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Gets Split Decision

By Doug Porter

Friedrichs-v.-California-Teachers-AssociationRebecca Friedrichs, the elementary school teacher honored with a ‘Torch of Freedom Award’ at the San Diego County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner last weekend, won’t be celebrating this weekend.

[On Tuesday, March 29th], in a single-sentence order, the Supreme Court announced that the judgment of a lower court rejecting an effort to defund public sector unions “is affirmed by an equally divided court.”. A four-decade-old opinion protecting public sector unions will live to see another day.

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Financial Parasites Have Become Neo-Feudal Landlords

March 31, 2016 by John Lawrence

feudalism chartBy John Lawrence

Classical economics divided income into two types: earned and unearned. Earned income came from productive labor combined with capital investment. Unearned income was considered parasitical and consisted of rent, interest and dividends.

It was not considered as adding to GDP but as subtracting from it. It was money made by manipulating money much as feudal landlords made their money in what has been called a rentier economy.

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Wee Lives Matter

March 31, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

(Written for the closing of the Social Justice Conference at City College)

Group of four small children sitting in a group on the floor

“Black Lives Matter”
is heard
from a chorus of voices
in a protest in the street.
“All Lives Matter”
someone screams
from a car rolling by
on the street,
in denial
that Black Lives Matter
wouldn’t have come to be
if All Lives Matter
had ever been a reality
in this country
at any time
or any place.

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The Language of Pinyon-Juniper Trees

March 31, 2016 by Source

Juniper bush with berries

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

After two months of struggling to write anything coherent about pinyon-juniper forests, I was on the verge of giving up.

Members of the group I am campaigning with to stop pinyon-juniper deforestation began brainstorming about applying for grants to support the campaign. Many of the grants they discovered required us to demonstrate that pinyon-juniper deforestation harmed wildlife populations, poisoned water supplies, or had a tangible effect on human populations.

Thinking that I could support our grant application process with an essay, I sat down many times to write about the countless beings that call pinyon-juniper forests home. But, I never wrote anything worth reading.

It took me a long time to figure out why.

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Latest Parrot Deaths Bring Total to 9 Found Dead Since Feb. 19

March 31, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

parrot Conyer sdr

Mainstream Media Miss Total in Numbers Game of Deaths

The two dead parrots found Easter Sunday at a church in Point Loma bring the total of dead parrots found in the OB and Point Loma area since February 19th to 9. The 2 on Sunday, March 27th, were found at the All Souls’ Episcopal Church on Catalina Boulevard. A parrot expert stated that it’s rare to see two dead parrots in the same area – so human causes are highly suspected.

Somebody continues to kill these local parrots, some of which are endangered species, and so far, authorities have not publicly stated that they have any suspects.

In the meantime, our local mainstream media are seemingly avoiding publicizing the true total number of parrots that have been found dead since mid-February.

We perused the local media reporting of this OB and Point deaths of the latest deaths, two near-threatened red-masked conures, and found that the most useful articles were …

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OB Rag Staff On “Staycation” – Be Back Soon

March 29, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

hammock palm

The OB Rag staff is on a “staycation” – we can’t afford a real vacation – so we’re hanging out in town, enjoying local restaurants, bars, bird-sightings, walks around Famosa Slough, bike rides.

IN the meantime … we’re reposting old articles with interesting subjects. Such as the 45th anniversary of the infamous Collier Park Riot of March 28, 1971.

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City to OB Town Council: No Money and No Plans to Prevent Future Flooding

March 24, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for City to OB Town Council: No Money and No Plans to Prevent Future Flooding

Poor Bill Harris!. He was the guy from the City of San Diego who had to attend the OB Town Council’s meeting last night – March 23rd – and tell the board that their pleas for help to stem future flooding are falling on deaf ears.

Not exactly ‘deaf ears’ – as the city is listening, but Harris, as supervisor of the city’s information services, is the face that has to stare down community members in their demands that the city do something about problems with the infrastructure.

So poor Bill Harris was the one who had to confront all those faces of the town council and tell them / us that there is no money and there are no plans to deter or stem future flooding in Ocean Beach. It would take a massive capital improvement project, Harris said, and there aren’t any funds for that. So, no project, no plans, no funds.

The solution from the city …

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Joe Wilder: Gentleman of Jazz

March 24, 2016 by John Lawrence

The San Diego Jazz Society Presented Joe Wilder and Marshall Royal

By John Lawrence

Joe WilderJoe Wilder was not only a magnificent trumpet player but a gentleman according to all who knew him. I had the privilege of presenting him and saxophonist Marshal Royal along with a local rhythm section composed of Mike Wofford, Bob Magnusson and Roy McCurdy at the Lyceum Theatre in 1990 under the auspices of the San Diego Jazz Society.

A CD was made of the performance which, unfortunately, is out of print. Joe helped to break down racial barriers on Broadway, radio, television and in classical music.

Wilder’s sense of propriety was legendary.

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