Post image for Anti-Fracking Demonstration Held in Ocean Beach

Trying to awaken San Diegans and other Californians to the dangers of fracking – the controversial oil-extraction process, a dozen protesters gathered in Saratoga Park on Saturday, August 1st. They joined protests in more than a dozen cities around California – all aimed at protesting the governor’s support for the hydraulic process.

Sponsored by the California based Courage Campaign, Californians Against Fracking and Rootskeeper, organizers also gathered signatures on a petition to be sent to Gov. Brown.

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Post image for OB Planners Meet Wed., Aug. 5th: Update and Possible Wrinkle on the OB Plan Update and New Planned “Ocean Beach Plaza”

The OB Planning Board meets this Wednesday, August 5th, at 6pm within the community meeting room at the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue.

Several important items top the all-volunteer Board’s agenda, including an update on the OB Community Plan, a possible naming of Saratoga Park, the construction of the new OB Plaza development, and the building of a unit in the 4700 block of Niagara Avenue.

The “Ocean Beach Plaza”

Possibly one of the most important commercial developments to come before the OB Board in recent years, the “Ocean Beach Plaza” is up for review. It represents an application for a Coastal Development Permit to demolish two existing commercial buildings at the former doctors and dentists’ complex at 1929 Cable Street – at Santa Monica – and construct two new mixed-use commercial buildings on the near half acre site. The new buildings – with at least one section a 2-story – will total 10,453 square feet.

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Extreme Weather Watchby John Lawrence

As July drew to a close 8000 firefighters were battling 18 large fires in the state of California. A lot of people are being forced to evacuate their homes. In fact evacuations are becoming a way of life. Triple digit temperatures, bone dry vegetation and gusty winds are spreading fires everywhere.

A fast-spreading wildfire north of San Francisco has torched homes and is threatening more than 450 structures. At least 650 residents have been evacuated from their homes as the blaze raged in hills covered in dense brush and oak trees and dotted with ranch homes. 23 square miles near Lower Lake, south of Clear Lake, have been charred.

A separate fire near the small town of Isleton in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta burned six or seven mobile homes. Residents of 200 homes in the central California community of Cascadel Woods were ordered to evacuate last Thursday.

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The maps of our memories fray like fine gauze

open signBy Jim Miller

We are where we are from. Place, our place or “home,” gives us a sense of rootedness and identity, but it is also transient, always moving and changing as we ride the river of time and space.

Some places are fundamentally grounded in a central idea of what “home” is, of what defines a locality—the people in such places hold fast, perhaps futilely, to some notion of what it means to be there.

Not us though, not here in San Diego where history and tradition outside of empty tourist spectacles are cast off like a snakeskin and our sense of place is transformed by the whims of boosters and marketing schemes, sometimes erasing whole communities in the service of civic marketing.

The political and economic reality of this is a kind of top-down class war where the Disneyfication of select areas of the city, downtown in particular, results in the wholesale dislocation of the poor and homeless and the eradication of the last vestiges of grit.

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elections hands cashThere’s a group called MapLight and they keep accounts of which lobbying organizations are in our government’s face – in Congress and at federal agencies – lobbying. MapLight is a 501(c)3 research organization that tracks money’s influence on politics.

Here’s their most recent report – issued July 30, 2015, on the second quarter lobbying expenses for this year – and check it out – we’re always told by the mainstream media that government officials are pressured by labor as well as by corporate lobbyists – that union money is equal to corporate money during elections. You can see by the following list that is patently untrue – at least for this quarter: …

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Thankful That I Have No Regrets Such as These

July 31, 2015 by Ernie McCray
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by Ernie McCray

The other day I saw a graphic on facebook titled the “Top Five Regrets of the Dying” and they are:

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  • I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Oh, how sad to be burdened in one’s last days with regrets such as these. My heart goes out to anyone who suffers such disappointments. I can see how one might regret that he or she didn’t travel more or go for a doctorate degree or blew some opportunity to hit it rich or the like.

But I can’t imagine living a life not true to oneself, or a life according to someone else’s desires. I mean I’ve gone after all my hopes and dreams, full-out, simply as me. Who else could I be?

I sure couldn’t have been that foot shuffling “Yassuh, Massa” character Jim Crow wanted me to be.

And it had nothing to do with “courage.” It was just me being me.

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Bottles, Cans and Spoons …

July 31, 2015 by Source
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Not Talking About Drinking and Drugs

By Kathy Blavatt

Ocean Beach residents have always had a creative way of recycling their items into utilitarian objects or whimsical art. In the 1960’s through the 1980’s a lot of reused relics were commonplace in the homes and yards of O.B.

Bottles of all kinds were the number one choice of reusable items.

One of the most seen items in yards were “bottles-filled–with-water” to keep the dogs from pooping on the grass.

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OB’s “Pizza Port” Helps Place San Diego on the Pizza Map

July 30, 2015 by Staff
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San Diego Is Number 8 on TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Pizza Cities

OB’s own Pizza Port helped push San Diego onto the nation’s pizza map. According to a list just issued by TripAdvisor called the “Top 10 U.S. Pizza Cities”, San Diego came in number 8 due to three must-try pizzerias in the city – and Pizza Port on Cable Street was one of the three.

The other 2 from San Diego were BASIC Urban Kitchen + Bar in East Village, Buona Forchetta in South Park

The other top ten cities on the list released Wednesday, July 29, included …

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BASE Jumper From OB Dies in Brazil Accident

July 30, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Fernando Goncalves Is 5th BASE Jumper to Die in Last 6 Weeks

A BASE jumper from Ocean Beach has died in a recent accident in Brazil. OBcean Fernando Goncalves was a professional wingsuit pilot but was killed while diving off Pedra da Gavea, a 2,769-foot granite dome mountain in Brazil.

The day before his death, Goncalves, 36, posted a video of a dive on his Facebook page off Pedra da Gavea. That was Thursday of last week – a week ago – and then on that Friday, he was killed making a similar jump, using a wingsuit and parachute.

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As Medicare Turns 50, It’s Time to Grow the Program

July 30, 2015 by Doug Porter
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By Doug Porter

On July 30, 1965 President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation creating the Medicare program. After more than five decades of failed attempts dating back to President Theodore Roosevelt, at least some Americans were eligible for coverage under a federal health insurance program.

Today more than 54 million people are covered by Medicare. It’s far from perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than the alternatives being proposed by the GOP. In fact, many of the problems facing medicare can be addressed by e x p a n d i n g the program, an idea gaining currency nationally.

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There is No ‘Free Money’ for Stadium Study

July 30, 2015 by Source

By Joe Flynn / San Diego Free Press

money lobbyBack to basics. All money in the city’s funds, coffers, treasure chests, you pick the title, is taxpayer money. In the effort to fund the Stadium Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the unanticipated refund from the state is being treated as “free” money.

Perhaps the term “refund” got lost in the shuffle; a refund usually implies that the money you paid or over paid, is being refunded, i.e., given back. It comes back to the city with the same restrictions that it had when it was paid. It may not be earmarked for a particular use, but that only implies that it goes back into the general fund.

So a $2 million unexpected refund comes back to the city treasurer, and like any other funds owned by the city, it requires a decision by the Mayor and Council to spend it – period. This is not complicated.

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Abuse of Amber Alert in San Diego?

July 29, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Late Monday night I had turned on the Jon Stewart Daily Show to watch, but by midnight I was dozing and had leaned all the way over on the couch.

Suddenly, I could tell that the TV image changed – and a sharp and loud buzzer sound went off – 3 or 4 times. It was so loud, it rousted me -something awful was about to happen – it must be some kind of emergency – my mind raced. Are missiles coming? I wondered … but no, that image quickly faded – then I imagined hearing the roar of flood waters cascading down the mountains after some dam had broke, but no, maybe it was an eminent earthquake warning.

My heart start beating faster, my anxiety level shot way up. WTF? What on earth is going on?

By now I had bolted upright and was starring at the white image that blared from the screen, filling the darkened livingroom. I could read something about an alert – then “Amber Alert” by the County Sheriffs … and then more text as the image changed. There had been a child abduction out of Oceanside. Suspect was feared to be in San Diego County, armed, and a description of his vehicle was given.

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Nuclear Shutdown News – July 2015

July 29, 2015 by Michael Steinberg
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Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and all of the US nuclear industry, and spotlights those who are working for a nuke free future.

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

In this issue of Nuclear Shutdown News we continue our summer travels in pursuit of no nukes stories… Of course we’d love to be in Greece, checking out the unfolding “Brother can you spare a few billion drachmas” melodrama. But Greece doesn’t have any nuclear reactors to shut down, or nuclear weapons to dismantle.

1. Germany

Not so in Germany, one of Greece’s major predators, uh, creditors, that is.

The Associated Press reported on June 28, “Germany’s oldest remaining nuclear reactor to shut down.”

The AP stated that the Grafenrheinfel nuclear plant in Bavaria “would be taken offline as scheduled authorities and operator E.ON said.”

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Pope Francis: “We’ve Turned the Earth into a Pile of Filth”

July 29, 2015 by John Lawrence

pope francisBy John Lawrence

Add Pope Francis to the world’s leaders who are calling for immediate action to combat climate change.

In the Pope’s own words the earth has become a pezzo di merda, a piece of you know what. He has also described unbridled capitalism as the “dung of the devil.”

Popes are not often given to scatological imagery to describe the predominant American economic system.

However, the Pope’s words are very important because he wields enormous moral authority. Would that the leading moral authorities from the world’s other major religions had the gumption to stand up and add their voices in the fight against climate change.

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Poll: 3 Out of 4 Say Hold Design Contest for New OB Planning Board Logo

July 28, 2015 by Staff
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The OB Rag ran a poll on whether locals wanted the Ocean Beach Planning Board to hold a design contest, after the current Board changed the one that has been in use for 3 to 4 decades. The change came about at the request of the guy who designed the original OB seagull decal, Bob Sorben.

Nearly three out of every 4 respondents voted to have the design contest. 73% of those who took the poll answered ‘yes’ to the survey question:

The OB Planning Board recently changed their logo without public input. As an OBcean how do you feel about holding a design contest for a new image?

Eleven per cent said ‘no’. 14% replied that they lived in OB and didn’t care. A 1% said they lived outside OB and didn’t care.

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Lies and More Lies: Planned Parenthood as the New ACORN

July 28, 2015 by Doug Porter

planned-parenthood-scandal-leadBy Doug Porter

The Republicans appear to have settled on their wedge issue for 2016. You know, the thing that drives fear and/or disgust in a certain class of voters so they’ll ignore all those pesky economic policies they’re likely to get screwed by.

In 2008 a loosely organized entity named ACORN fit the bill. Manufactured imagery of brown people doing something wrong was perfect for an election where the leading candidate was a person of color. Most people still don’t realize the charges brought against the community organizing group turned out to have been false.

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The Party of Death is Dying

July 28, 2015 by Source

dead_gopBy Bob Dorn / San Diego Free Press

For years now the Republican Party has been the party of death. Now it may itself be dying. More about that later. For now, some numbers.

In 2014, 1,100 of 1359 executions performed by the states were the work of “Republican-dominated states,” according to Republicanviews.org on Oct. 26 of that year. Just more than 508 of those executions were in Texas, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, which did the report.

Last May, the Quinnipiac poll taken on attitudes toward the war in Iraq, asked the question, “Do you think going to war with Iraq in 2003 was the right thing to do or the wrong thing?” Overall, 59% of Americans responded that it was wrong and 32% said it was right. Among the Republicans those numbers were more than reversed; 62% of them said it was right to go there and kill, while only 28% said it was wrong.

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Pride and a Whole Lot of Rain

July 28, 2015 by Ernie McCray

Pride in the Rain

By Ernie McCray

I will forever remember “The San Diego Pride Parade of 2015,” not just because of it’s history, but for the rain. And I’m talking some serious rain. I mean Mother Nature just flat out let it all hang out.

And there I was, along with hundreds of other waterlogged folks in every kind of colorful regalia known to man, standing and walking and practically treading in that downfall for a good three hours or so. Soaked to the skin and bones!

When my group got the go ahead to march in the puddles and streams and through a “mini-lake” just around the corner, a man said over a microphone “It’s raining on our parade and we’re loving it.”

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Ocean Beach’s Newport News

July 27, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Comings and Goings on OB’s Main Street

Several new restaurants on Newport Avenue are set to open while a couple of others are still works in progress.

BBQ House Expansion to Open Publicly

David of the BBQ House family, told me that the new expansion will open to the public this Wednesday, July 29th. Then they’ll figure out, he said, when the ‘grand opening’ will be. This has been a long haul for the family and its employees (and customers) as it’s taken 2 years to get this far.

The day I was there – Friday the 24th – the place looked full – but they were all servers and bartenders in training. The expansion includes a new kitchen, a new bar and new eating areas both in and outside.

Not Much Progress at Apple Tree Market

The new Apple Tree Market on Newport has yet to open and by all looks and appearances, nothing much has progressed since our last visit.

New “OB Brewery”: 50% of Interior Completed

The new brewery – also years in progress – is much closer to fruition.

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OBTC: Toni Atkins, Marty Block and Community Grant Awards

July 27, 2015 by Source
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Report of OB Town Council Meeting July 22, 2015

By John Loughlin / Special to the OB Rag

The Ocean Beach Town Council monthly meeting was packed full of goodies with the presentation of community awards and reports from the Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins and State Senator Marty Block, plus the regular array of reports from law enforcement, firefighters, lifeguards and others.

Amid the long list of topics covered on Wednesday night, July 22, were surprise announcements about a feature of the OB Library – air conditioning is coming! – and the theme for the Holiday Parade.

The meeting started with the presentation of a certificate to two young community core volunteers, Soren and Kobi Oldenburg who went above and beyond the call of duty clearing armloads of marshmallows after the 4th of July OB Fireworks.

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Summer Chronicles #6: Lost in the Woods

July 27, 2015 by Jim Miller

redwood1a

By Jim Miller

Every year I make an effort to find my way to the deep woods. Living in California, we are lucky to have access to some of the world’s precious dwindling areas of real wilderness, including the last vestiges of old growth redwoods.

There, if you are intrepid enough to get out of your car and go a few miles past the first markers, you can still lose yourself in the ancient forest. Take a difficult trail and, after a while, you just might find yourself alone with the tall trees, banana slugs, birdsong, and bear scat.

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22-Unit Santa Monica Apartment in Ocean Beach Sells for 2nd Time in Less Than 2 Years

July 24, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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A large apartment complex in the 5000 block of Santa Monica Avenue in Ocean Beach has sold for $7.5 million. This is the second time “Playa”, the 22-unit apartment at 5041-5043 Santa Monica Avenue, has been sold in less than 2 years.

The complex, built in 1957, sits on a one-third-acre lot (assessor’s parcel 448-092-07 and 08) and consists of 14 one-bedroom units and eight two-bedroom units, totaling 14,978 rentable square feet. It has a courtyard, 22 off-street parking spaces and an on-site laundry facility.

The sale also represents one of the largest in terms of units in recent years – and joins a trend we have been watching of late – the sale of apartment complexes in northwest OB – this sale is the 5th this year alone. (We think the trend is “unprecedented”.)

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Reader Rant: “We Should All Take Notice of What Is Truly Going On in Mission Valley”

July 24, 2015 by Source
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By Carole Thompson

The river in Mission Valley exists even though few San Diegans have really looked at it.

I served on the Mission Valley Community Council for more than five-years and sat through many discussions on the river and Mission Valley as a concerned San Diegan.

More people should take notice of what is going on in Mission Valley before we wind up with a situation much like New Orleans, because the valley is at or below sea level.

In a time with so much attention given to drought why are those in charge so tempted to mess with one of our water sources? Although, much of it is underground the San Diego River is more than 60 miles long and part of the water table. The water table is part of the cycle of water.

Most people in San Diego are aware of the flooding in Mission Valley, but they do not know why the river floods here.

It floods in Mission Valley because they have taken an aquifer and tried to manipulate it by paving over it, tucking it under roads, and small passages on its way to the ocean.

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Earth’s Most Famous Climate Scientist Issues Bombshell Sea Level Warning

July 24, 2015 by Source
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New Study Concludes More Rapid Rise in Sea Level – at Least 10 Feet in 50 Years

By Eric Holthaus /Slate / July 20, 2015

In what may prove to be a turning point for political action on climate change, a breathtaking new study casts extreme doubt about the near-term stability of global sea levels.

The study—written by James Hansen, NASA’s former lead climate scientist, and 16 co-authors, many of whom are considered among the top in their fields—concludes that glaciers in Greenland and Antarctica will melt 10 times faster than previous consensus estimates, resulting in sea level rise of at least 10 feet in as little as 50 years.

The study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, brings new importance to a feedback loop in the ocean near Antarctica that results in cooler freshwater from melting glaciers forcing warmer, saltier water underneath the ice sheets, speeding up the melting rate.

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PETA Opposes SeaWorld Orca Habitat Expansion at Coastal Commission

July 24, 2015 by Source
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by James Sullivan/ Science Recorder / July 24, 2015

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has asked that the California Coastal Commission reject SeaWorld San Diego’s efforts to expand its killer whale tanks.

The project is estimated at $100 million, to be completed in 2018, but has yet to received endorsement from the Coastal Commission.

“This item has been postponed because of all the information submitted,” said commissioner Alex Llerandi.

“The coastal staff is taking the time to ensure all potential issues and viewpoints are considered in any final recommendations.”

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Numbers Game at San Diego Anti-ALEC Protests

July 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Looks Like San Diego Union Tribune Is Up to its Old Tricks In Downplaying Dissent

A hell of a lot of people came out to protest ALEC’s convention yesterday in downtown San Diego. Local demonstrators had their numbers bolstered by bus-loads of union members from Los Angeles.

There were the labor locals, the environmentalists, the Democrats, the progressives and social activists – and many people energized to protest ALEC because they’ve been educated in just what it is and what it does.

There were a lot of demonstrators. Just how many is a good question. And now we’re in a numbers game in trying to determine just how many people were protesting against the right-wing lobby and legislative powerhouse – with all its corporate sponsors.

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San Diego’s Two Borders Can Be Challenging

July 23, 2015 by Source
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By David Helvarg /Blue Frontier / July 16, 2015

I lived for a decade in San Diego and reported on its two borders, the Pacific and Mexico. I recently returned to spend a few days in my old haunts including Ocean Beach, La Jolla and the border.

I visited with Margaret Leinen, director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at its meandering cliffside campus in La Jolla. She told me of many new initiatives taking place there including a soon-to-be-created center for climate impacts and adaptation, a center to look at more traditional hazards such as earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis, ongoing work with creating ocean observation systems and a center on the ocean and human health that will go beyond our traditional focus on seafood safety and harmful algal blooms – or even bio-prospecting for the next cancer cure.

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What’s the Future of Short Term Rentals ? Panel Discussion – Sunday, July 26

July 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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From Pt Loma – OB Dems / July 21, 2015

Earlier this month the Democratic Woman’s Club hosted a great presentation by (and discussion with) Sarah Saez (United Taxi Workers of San Diego) on Making a Living Wage in the 1099 Economy. The focus was on taxi drivers, the rise of Uber and Lyft, and the move to contracted (1099) labor.

The ability to use internet services for alternative transportation, delivery services and accommodation may (at least in the short-term) be great for (some) consumers, but the longer term effects are likely to only benefit the corporations who rise to dominate each space. We only have to look at the $40 billion valuation given to Uber, by a salivating Wall Street, who sees in it the future of cash generation and wage control.

The short-term vacation rental market poses many similar challenges and has made strange bedfellows of San Diego hoteliers and progressives.

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It’s Time to Give “Gitmo” Back to the Cubans

July 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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By Frank Gormlie

It’s time that the U.S. give “Gitmo” – or the Guantanamo Bay prison – back to the Cubans.

It’s time to end a shameful period of our history and close down the military prison on the coastal edge of another sovereign country. It’s time that we hand Guantanamo Bay in Cuba – which we’ve held for over a hundred years – since 1903 – back to its rightful owners.

Today the population at Guantanamo is 116, a definite drop from the 242 detainees who were imprisoned when President Obama first took office. It still costs a reported $2.7 million per prisoner to house a Gitmo detainee. And over the last 13 years, the bill to keep open the place that Amnesty International called the “Gulag of our times”has been $4.7 billion.

There is no longer any reason to retain this chamber of horrors that tortured and abused people in our name, and which begot a human rights disaster.

Consider this: 751 people have been detained at Guantanamo since 2002, when the Bush administration opened it. Of those, 602 were released without charges, and of the remaining 149, seven had formal charges and only six have been actually tried on their charges.

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Poll: Should the OB Planning Board Hold a Design Contest for a New Logo?

July 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
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Recently, the OB Planning Board changed the logo that the Board has used for nearly 4 decades. They did this without much fanfare due to the request by Bob Sorben, the originator of the iconic OB seagull image, as the Board’s logo looked very similar.

Sorben had copyrighted his image. His request for the planners to change their logo had been made a couple of years ago in a phone conversation with someone from the then-Board.

So, a few of the current Board members took the initiative and designed a new logo for the planning committee. The new image began appearing on agendas and other Board documents.

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