Post image for Peter Ruscitti: ‘OB Community Plan’s Goals to Maintain Small-Scale and Harmony between New and Existing Housing.’

“…variances for FAR should be discouraged except in true exceptional circumstances.”

By Peter Ruscitti

My name is Peter Ruscitti, and I’m the chair of the Ocean Beach Planning Board. I’m also a property owner in OB and a professional planner. I’m going … to address some of the concerns that the Planning Board has faced with our Community Plan— particularly the variance language contained in Recommendation 4.2.9 and elsewhere.

I would like to make clear the intent behind this language and the position of the Planning Board on variances. The Planning Board will always review applications for variances on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they are consistent with the Community Plan— whose goals include maintaining small-scale development, and achieving harmony between new and existing development.

We recognize that special circumstances may exist that could justify a particular variance, and that variances in themselves are not necessarily inconsistent with the Community Plan.

We just want the Community Plan to be clear that variances— particularly for FAR— should be discouraged except in truly exceptional circumstances.

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Post image for Gio Ingolia: The OB Community Plan “Ensures Our Small-Town Feel”

Editor: This is the first of several we hope to publish of the speeches given by OB planners at the July 29th City Council hearing on the OB Community Plan.

By Giovanni Ingolia

My Name is Giovanni Ingolia and I am the Co-Chair of the OB Community Plan update Sub-committee. I have also served 8 years on the OB Planning board and a former Chair.

This plan has been a collaborative effort from a myriad of community group and citizens of Ocean Beach.

Overall the plan meets the needs and desires of the community including but not limited to our transportation desires, historic preservation, and community character.

Unfortunately the Planning Commission has recommended more permissive language to the Community Plan when it comes to our community character as it relates to bulk and scale.

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Post image for OB – the “Haight-Ashbury of San Diego” – Not Eligible for Medical Marijuana Dispensary – But Midway Is

San Diego’s Community Planning Groups Lobbied by Anti-Weed Group

Apparently, according to the new City of San Diego ordinance passed in March that regulates them, OB, the “Haight-Ashbury of San Diego” can’t have a medical marijuana dispensary. But the community of Midway can have a number.

It’s not just Ocean Beach – as the ordinance severely restricts dispensaries in most communities of San Diego. They are only allowed in a limited number of industrial and commercial zones. They also have to be:

  • at least 100 feet away from residential property and
  • at least 1,000 feet from schools,
  • playgrounds,
  • libraries,
  • parks,
  • churches
  • and facilities focused on youth activities.

That excludes OB – the community that most resembles the “hippie capital” of America, the Haight up in San Francisco.

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Post image for Reader Rant: An End To Our Commercial Zones?

By Dave Little

A gated residential community is coming to a commercial zone near you.

This development may or may not be in compliance with the City’s Land Use Code and very likely will not have public notice nor any community review.

Recently the City has allowed development of residential gated communities to take over commercial space with only token commercial areas to satisfy the “mixed use” requirement. The commercial units are entirely outside the gates of the residential area.

More importantly, the City has ignored the commercial off-street parking requirement in the Land Use Code. Not having off-street parking forces commercial parking for customers and clients into the streets.

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Ashford University and University of Phoenix Worst Offenders Targeting Returning Vets

amPhxMagBy John Lawrence / San Diego Free Press

Everyone wants to better themselves, right, by getting a college education. Most of all the Iraq and Afghanistan vets transitioning into civilian life. To that end our politicians in Washington have crafted a GI Bill that allows them to do just that at taxpayer expense.

Problem is most of that money is being gobbled up by for-profit universities like the University of Phoenix and Ashford University which don’t even qualify for state financial aid. These universities attract and recruit students by advertising heavily and “selling” them on the value of one of their degrees.

When many of the students graduate, they can’t get a job based on a degree which potential employers say …

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OB Residential Sales: Abbott Street Triplex Sold to Point Loman

July 31, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for OB Residential Sales: Abbott Street Triplex Sold to Point Loman

It took $827,000 to take an Abbott Street triplex off the market.

The recently renovated 3 unit at 2033-35 Abbott Street was sold to Point Loman Dak Ang Yeng, who lives at 1853 Venice St., San Diego 92106, just up the hill from OB.

Leonard W. Tobey sold the property which is assessor’s parcel 448-101-36.

The construction of the 2-story building in the front, and the unit in the rear of the property was in 1954.

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Who Runs San Diego? – Local Broadcast TV News Operations

July 31, 2014 by Doug Porter

Womans Democratic Logo

Editor: This is the second installment of the Who Runs San Diego? series, a project of the Woman’s Democratic Club. To read last week’s introduction to this series, go here.

By Doug Porter/ Woman’s Democratic Club

The sameness of the content can become overwhelming.

It’s happy, rappy and don’t-be-crappy whenever possible. Drama is reserved for ledes that bleed, i.e., crime and confrontations. Nuance is too difficult to jam into 30 seconds. It’s a formula, differing mostly in graphics, presentation and the personalities of the persons reading the script.

It’s by-and-large an echo chamber. There’s a long standing tradition of prioritizing content based on what appears in print media. In San Diego that means “Papa Doug” Manchester and his Mission Valley minions have a disproportionate influence when it comes to political reporting.

Welcome to the world of commercial broadcast news in San Diego.

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City Council Unanimously Approves OB Community Plan

July 30, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
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With a 9 to zip vote, the San Diego City Council approved the Ocean Beach Community Plan Update, yesterday, the 29th of July and in the middle of the afternoon. Immediately, the 150 plus OBceans jumped to their feet with whoops of delight and sustained applause that went on for minutes.

It was an emotional day for OB, with the Council vote culminating a very long process of updating the community’s urban design blueprint, a blueprint that will significantly affect OB for the next 20 to 30 years.

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A Saturday Well Spent at Comic-Con

July 29, 2014 by Source

ComicCon 2014 courtBy Court Allen

Saturdays have a special meaning for me. I’m not alone in this, to be sure. Saturdays are a universal holiday; a weekly respite.

My personal feelings about Saturdays are related to childhood. After a long week of school and the tribulations of growing up, Saturday was the prize – a day of freedom, adventure, parties, special events, or the ultimate possibility – a day spent exploring my imagination. Remember Saturday morning cartoons (better than the rest of the week’s cartoons), or Creature Feature in the afternoon (coolest. thing. ever.)?

Saturdays are the best day of the week, and how you choose to spend them is the real stuff of life. In fact, a few years back I attended a funeral service for a man whose primary tenet in life was to make the most of time away from work. He was famous among friends and family for his belief that there were only so many Saturdays in an average human life, so they must be spent well. A sentiment with which I agree.

I spent this past Saturday at Comic-Con. It was the ultimate Saturday, …

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Ocean Beach: All Out to the City Council Hearing Today – July 29th

July 29, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach: All Out to the City Council Hearing Today – July 29th

4,000 Signatures Collected in Support of OB Plan

This is the day that Ocean Beach has been waiting for – for months, and for some, they’ve been waiting for years for this day. This is the day that the San Diego City Council does a final review for approval of the OB Community Plan – recently updated.

The Council takes up the OB plan at 2 pm. Every OBcean who can is urged to attend the hearing to show support for the Plan – and everyone who attends is asked to wear blue. (Blue OB “attitude” T-shirts are available at Dog Beach Dog Wash for $10 – 4933 Voltaire.)

Over a 100 OB supporters are expected to gather – as 40 were present last month just for a continuance. Already 85 have signed up on the online facebook page.

The City Council meets at City Hall, 202 “C” Street in downtown San Diego, 92101, on the 12th floor in Council Chambers. OB

Organizers are, in addition, asking OBceans to attend a 1:30 pm “rally” downstairs at City Hall on the bottom floor outside.

Plus, organizers expect to submit approximately 4,000 signatures in support of the Ocean Beach Community Plan –

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Lori Saldana’s North Pacific Dispatches: an Alaskan Cruise, Sans Cocktails

July 29, 2014 by Source

Alaska 1By Lori Saldaña

Background: Two weeks ago I got a call from a friend who has captained merchant and research ships around the globe for many years. We’ve known each other’s family for decades, and have done some local sailing off San Diego.

He recently retired from Scripps in La Jolla, and now coordinates research vessels out of Moss Landing, near Monterrey. He called to ask: have you ever been to Dutch Harbor Alaska? What he really meant was: want to volunteer on a research cruise?

So… that’s where I will be for the next two weeks: aboard the R/V Point Sur, helping collect ocean water samples from the Bering Sea off Alaska and northern Pacific, as we cruise back to California.

I left San Diego late Saturday night (July 26), spent a few hours in Seattle before a 6 am flight, and just finished breakfast in the Anchorage airport (surprisingly tasty, in Silver Gulch Brewing & Bottling cafe: “America’s most Northern Brewery.”) Interesting decor.

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Ocean Beach Mobilizes for City Council Show-Down on Tuesday, July 29th

July 28, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach Mobilizes for City Council Show-Down on Tuesday, July 29th

You can tell something is happening in Ocean Beach by the number of emails fluttering around OB’s cyberspace.

For instance, the OB Town Council is sending out their email announcements calling on members of their group and supporters of their “Respect OB” campaign to attend tomorrow’s City Council hearing on the Community Plan.

The OBTC says:

Do you love Ocean Beach? Do you want to protect our small-scale character? Do you want to prevent bulky over-development?

Then heed this call to action!

Step 1: Sign the online petition to protect the small-scale character of Ocean Beach

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Lessons for a New Gilded Age: Labor Studies Courses at City College

July 28, 2014 by Source

history-labor-unionsBy Kelly Mayhew

There’s been a lot of discussion of economic inequality recently in wake of Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

As many economists have observed, American workers are more educated and more productive than ever and are driving record profits for corporations while they’re seeing their wages stagnate or decline as the wealth accumulated by the top 1% of earners has skyrocketed. Robert Reich has been on a crusade to emphasize the historic importance of our current economic inequality crisis, and people like Paul Krugman have noted that we are living in “a new gilded age.”

Here in San Diego we are in the midst of seeing this writ large as the battle to raise the minimum wage rages on with a community-labor alliance advocating for the rights of low-wage workers while the city’s economic elite push back hard.

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Timeline and History behind the Che Cafe dispute at UCSD

July 25, 2014 by Source

Historical Timeline and Parties Course of Dealing

By Che Cafe Collective

A. Inception to 2008

The Ché Café Collective began approximately 34 years ago, on or about May 1, 1980. Since that time, the Ché Facility, 1000 Scholars Drive South, has been leased continuously by Plaintiff from Defendant, the Regents of the University of California. It has been and currently is used to operate a café, library, and a music-and-theater programming space, and to host other student organizations and events.

As one of the original buildings of Camp Matthews, the Ché Facility was originally used by the University of California, San Diego (“University”) as a diner and cafe in the 1960’s, called “The Coffee Hut.” It is known as the original student center. When there was an attempt to turn it into a faculty club, students argued that since student fees had paid for the building and its maintenance for many years, students should rightly take possession and operate it from that time forward.

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OB Town Council: ‘Happiness is within your reach when you live in Ocean Beach’

July 25, 2014 by Source
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council: ‘Happiness is within your reach when you live in Ocean Beach’

By Lois Lane

Everybody was happy. The determined OB Town Council had formulated a plan that routed the forces of anarchy at the marshmallow wars on the Fourth of July. It was also awards night, where 10 lucky and deserving recipients got grants from the Town Council for their projects.

The Town Council meeting on July 23 began with congratulations all the way around for the success of their “Mallow Out” campaign. The doom-sayers who predicted riots were proved to be wrong. Reported later by the Surfrider Foundation, the trash pickup the next day was dramatically reduced from 1802 pounds of trash in 2013 to 621 this year, not all of it marshmallows, of course.

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Who Runs San Diego? Introduction to a Series

July 24, 2014 by Source

Womans Democratic LogoBy Eva Posner & Linda Perine / Democratic Woman’s Club

Relationships and money trails tell us who wields the power in our community.

It is hard to imagine, that in the 5th largest county in the United States, only a handful of people have any real influence on the day to day decisions that effect the lives of over 3 million people. But it’s true. And a lack of voter participation isn’t helping.

In both the February 2014 election to replace Bob Filner as Mayor of San Diego and in the June primary voter turnout was abysmally low. Overall voting turnout in the County in June was an anemic 27.2%, but many precincts registered in the single digits.

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OB Property Owner Who Swore If Granted Variances He Would Live in House – Now Advertises It as “Vacation Rental” for $2500 to $3600 per Week

July 24, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Property Owner Who Swore If Granted Variances He Would Live in House – Now Advertises It as “Vacation Rental” for $2500 to $3600 per Week

Back in 2011, a property owner on West Point Loma Avenue who while pleading for variances to build his 3-story McMansion, swore both to the OB Planning Board and to the Coastal Commission that if the variances were granted, he would live in the house as his home.

Alvin Cox swore it. So, he was granted the variances, and he built his mansion.

And now, Alvin Cox rents it out as a “vacation rental” for between $2,450 to $3,675 a week ($350 – $525 a day).

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SeaWorld Demonstration at Ski Beach – Saturday, July 26

July 24, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Demonstration at Ski Beach – Saturday, July 26

Launch of Corky 2 Freedom Journey

Organizers want help to display the historic Corky Freedom Banner within view of SeaWorld San Diego, where she is the longest-captive orca, to Launch the Corky 2 Freedom Journey, a renewal of the Corky Freedom bus tour up the West Coast with Corky’s Freedom banner in 1999.

Christine Caruso, a kindergarten teacher from Seattle, has secured the huge banner handcrafted of panels contributed worldwide for the original Corky’s Journey for display along this 2014 Corky 2 Freedom Journey.

The banner will be displayed on the large grassy area between Ingraham Street and Ski Beach Boat Launch, just north of the Entrance to SeaWorld on Vacation Isle, NOT South Shores Boat Launch as originally planned, from 8am to 6pm.

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Dead Man Found at the Beach in OB

July 24, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

UPDATE: Police have confirmed a deceased man was found at the beach. There was nothing suspicious, no evidence of foul play, and the case has been referred to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

The name of the deceased: Bobbie James Stinnett.
_______
Was a man found dead the other day at the beach in OB? Police have confirmed it.

There was nothing in the news about it.

CAUTION: Inside photo of deceased.

On or about the 15th of this month, a man was found stretched out on the sand near the seawall at the end of Newport Avenue next to the Pier Parking lot appearing not to have any life in him. A wheel chair is near by.

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Going to San Diego Comic-Con? Put On Your Mask for the Surveillance Camera Network

July 23, 2014 by Source

SDPD Camera NetworkBy Dave Maass / Electronic Frontier Foundation

In the TV series Person of Interest, two government artificial intelligence programs—one gone rogue—can access virtually every surveillance camera across New York City, including privately operated ones in places like parking garages, hotels, and apartment complexes. The creators of the show try to stay one step ahead of modern technology. So the question is: do cities really create a network of interconnected private and public security cameras?

Yes, they do. If you’re going to San Diego Comic-Con (and the Person of Interest team is), you’ll want to pull on your Batman mask or slather on the Sith paint if you’re passing any of the marked locations on this new map. You might very be under surveillance as part of the San Diego Police Department’s “Operation Secure San Diego.”

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Dude, is it legal yet?

July 23, 2014 by Marc Snelling
Thumbnail image for Dude, is it legal yet?

By Marc Snelling

Dude, is it legal yet?

People have been saying this since the seventies. Speaking to activists from this era, it seems many felt that legalization of marijuana in the US was imminent in the early seventies. But other than Alaska in 1975 (re-criminalized in 1991) the seventies did not see legalization of marijuana come to pass.

The activists of the seventies (Baby Boomers) have now been joined by the next generation – the children of the seventies (Gen X). With these two generations working together public support for legal marijuana is now over 50% and is on the rise. Victories in the battle to change US laws continue as both generations of activists work towards change.

Today the answer to ‘Dude, is it legal yet?’ is becoming ‘Yes!’ for more and more people as Washington and Colorado have moved to legalization, nine states have decriminalized and twenty-three have introduced medical marijuana legislation.

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More Bare Facts About San Diego Government: How We Got From There to Here

July 23, 2014 by Source

By Norma Damashek / NumberRunner

BoomOrBust-LargeAround this time last year San Diego’s former mayor Bob Filner was forced out of office. As it happens, he was the first bona fide “strong mayor” our city has yet seen.

We voters had no choice but to wield our black markers once again and fill in the ballot bubble to select a new mayor. The winner this time around was Mr. White Bread personified, Kevin Faulconer.

San Diego’s lead newspaper, the U-T, summed up the occasion in a neat sentence: “At least the day brought us one step further from our time of scandal and farce.”

The UT likes to play coy. They know perfectly well that scandal and farce are what make our city tick.

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Semi-Breaking News: Mayor Faulconer Endorses Current OB Community Plan – Rejects Planning Commission’s Recommendations

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

In a “semi-breaking” news flash, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has come out and publicly endorsed the current OB Community Plan – the Plan that is being supported by every group in the community and thousands of its residents.

The U-T reported today – July 22 – that “Faulconer er said through a spokesman this week that he prefers reverting back to the previous version of the plan, which strongly discourages city officials from allowing exceptions to the community’s strict density limits.”

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The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbuse in 1988

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for The Shooting Down of Malaysian Airliner Reminds Us When the U.S. Shot Down an Iranian Airbuse in 1988

Navy Ship Responsible From San Diego

The shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, July 17th – allegedly by separatists fighting the Kiev government – killing all 295 people on board, has shocked the world, and has intensified the demands for sanctions on those responsible.

But if no sanctions materialize, it wouldn’t be the first time a civilian plane carrying hundreds of passengers was shot down by combatants – with nothing happening to those responsible.

In fact, a lot of the general elements are the same. But the incident that I am reminded about is the day – back in early July 1988, when two US military missiles fired from U.S. Navy ship Vincennes hit Iran Air Flight 655, killing all 290 passengers and crew members on board.

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Special Meeting of OB Planning Board – Wed., July 23

July 22, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Special Meeting of OB Planning Board – Wed., July 23

There will be a Special Meeting of the Ocean Beach Planning Board this Wednesday, July 23rd. The meeting is called to have the Board formally take up the issue of the recommendations made by the staff of the California Coastal Commission to the OB Community Plan, being considered by the City Council on July 29th. … As per usual, the Board meets at the OB Rec Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue at 6pm sharp.

Reps from the Update committee and city planning staff will present the Board with the Coastal Commission’s proposed revisions, staff response, and how the update committee views them.

Also on deck is a proposed residential project at 2143 Bacon Street. The owner has requested that the Board give him feedback to his proposal.

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News and Goings On Around OB and the Peninsula

July 22, 2014 by Staff
Thumbnail image for News and Goings On Around OB and the Peninsula

* Mariscos Wagon Returns to OB From the looks of it, the Mariscos Wagon truck has returned to OB, and was seen in the parking lot of ….

* Disturbing Story About Locals Vandalizing Visitors’ Cars Local writer Dave Rice published a disturbing story recently …

* OB Town Council to Award $6,000 in Grants – Meets Wednesday July 23

* Ed Decker Warns SeaWorld: Stop exploding fireworks over the animals

* Point Loma Democrats Sponsor “Rockin’ the Boat: The Women Activists Who Made it Happen”- July 24th

* Mercy Baron Introduces San Diego to Steampunk

* “Sound of Music” at Presbyterian Church in Point Loma

* OB Town Council Looking for a Few Good Candidates

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Creating a Better World with Children in Mind

July 22, 2014 by Ernie McCray

child

(Inspired by the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme)

By Ernie McCray

I just spent a week doing a show at the San Diego International Fringe Festival called “On the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme” with some of the most fabulous tap dancers anyone could ever find. This spoken word/dance piece was dedicated to the creation of a reality that

“appears to the mind to be of a gentler
more caring and loving kind…”

It was written in honor of children no matter where they reside on the planet. It entertains the idea of creating a world for them that is

“without arms,
worthy of their beauty
and their charm.”

The poem speaks to a society dancing On the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme

“to the beat of a song,
a love song.”

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California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers

July 22, 2014 by Source

contaminatedwater[1]By Abrahm Lustgarten / ProPublica

California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state’s drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there.

The state’s Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources.” The orders were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells.

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9 Marijuana Policies from Around the World that Are Way Ahead of the U.S.

July 22, 2014 by Source

mjworldThe U.S. is far behind when it comes to drug laws that actually make sense.

By April M. Short / AlterNet

Some Americans, stuck in the Nixon-era “war on drugs” mentality, are panicking about the “unknown dangers” and “potential risks” of loosening marijuana policy in the U.S. Those people have failed to look outside of the U.S. bubble and see that many nations have already implemented health-based, sensible marijuana laws and practices with overwhelming success.

In the U.S. today, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana (New York just this month) and two (Colorado and Washington) have legalized pot for recreational use (although it’s worth noting that in many states medical marijuana laws are severely restricted). The majority of American medical doctors think medical marijuana should be legal and the majority of American voters think it should be legal and regulated like alcohol. However, it remains safe to say the U.S. is not at the global forefront of progressive, sensible marijuana policy.

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Momentum Continues as OB Readies for City Council Showdown on July 29th

July 21, 2014 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Momentum Continues as OB Readies for City Council Showdown on July 29th

The momentum in support for the Ocean Beach Community Plan continues as the showdown at the City Council hearing nears. The OB Plan is scheduled to be before the Council on Tuesday, July 29th.

It’s estimated that activists now have close to 3,500 signatures on the petitions, with at least 60% from OB or the 92107 zip code, with the remainders being residents of the city of San Diego.

This is the last full week that OBceans can sign the Petition in support of the Community Plan – and it will be available for signing during Wednesday’s Farmers Market, as well as in certain businesses. Organizers have close to 3500 signatures at this point.

This is what’s going on:

Meeting tonight – Monday, July 21 – of Sub-committee on Draft Plan, 6pm, at Dog Beach Dog Wash, located at 4933 Voltaire Street. ….

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