44th Anniversary of Collier Park Riot Spurs Comparisons
The hour was getting late at the meeting of the Ocean Beach Town Council Board of Directors. It was January 21st in the year 1971 – 44 years ago. The hour was getting late but the meeting was lively as the topic was hot.
The subject was whether the City of San Diego would sell off to developers a large portion of land in northeast Ocean Beach called “Collier West” – so named because it was the western section of a much larger piece of property donated to the public by David C Collier – the “Father of Ocean Beach”.
A older male member of the Board was getting agitated – he started to shake as he half stood up to speak. It was Ray Perine, a slightly balding middle-aged and well-known grassroots activist. Not a radical by any means, Ray cleared his throat.
“If any apartments are built in Collier West, by god,” he said, “the town will rise up and get rid of them!”
Other Board members were somewhat shocked by his tone – while others smiled and applauded. OB Rag reporters were present and recorded what happened and what was said.
There was clearly widespread opposition among local residents and property owners to any sale of the land for apartments and Perine was expressing this commonly-share sentiment among locals. But Perine wasn’t anticipating exactly what happened, for the town, the village of Ocean Beach did rise up – just 5 weeks later.
On March 28th – in the middle of a campaign to “Save Collier Park” by local Ocean Beach environmentalists, other grassroots activists and members of the OB Rag staff – the anti-Vietnam War movement rolled into town and staged a large teach-in and demonstration down at the beach in OB.
It was 1971 – the early Seventies – and the War that had torn the country apart over the last half dozen years was still raging – it wouldn’t end for another 4 years in 1975.
Read the full article...