Free Speech Rights, Free Speech Zones, Interactions with Police, Resources and MORE

By the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties

peaceful protestThe right to join with fellow citizens in protest or peaceful assembly is critical to a functioning democracy.

But it is also unfortunately true that governments and police can violate this right—through the use of mass arrests, illegal use of force, criminalization of protest, and other means intended to thwart free public expression.

Standing up for your right to protest can be challenging, especially when demonstrations are met with confusion, excessive force, or violence. But knowing your rights is the most powerful tool you have against the stifling of your voice.

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Trump free speech zones map from the San Diego U-T

Editor: In an important update, San Diego Police have backed off their earlier threats of arresting any demonstrator outside the so-called “free speech zones”, and now say people can demonstrate outside of the designated zones, but they must follow laws and cannot block traffic.

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The day has come.

Donald Trump is rallying in San Diego at the Convention Center at 2 p.m. (doors open at 11 a.m.). The San Diego Free Press – the OB Rag’s associates – will be live blogging today’s events. We’ll be pulling pictures and updates from people on the front lines who use the hashtag #NeverTrumpSD or you can send them directly to contact@sandiegofreepres.org.

Here’s what you need to know right now, plus a list of anti-Trump protests throughout the day:

Two “Free Speech Zones” have been set up per the San Diego Police Department.

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OB Froude New Design project red

If the Planning Commission does not listen to the voice of the Peninsula Planning Board or the Ocean Beach Planning Board, then what is the purpose of having community groups speak on behalf of the communities they represent.”
John Ambert, Chair of OB Planning Board

On Thursday, May 26th, residents along Froude Street in northeast OB received bad news. The San Diego Planning Commission had approved the controversial project where 2 two large homes with 2 stories and underground garages is planned for 2 small lots. A single-family residence is currently on the lots.

Part of the problem, as we have reported, is that the property is just a few yards from the formal Ocean Beach planning district line – and if it had been in OB, it would not have met the more restrictive requirements that the OB Community Plan. But it was in the Peninsula Community Planning Board’s jurisdiction. Yet, the Peninsula planners voted 9 to 1 against the project and some of them called it “sore thumb” because of its relatively large size and flashy, more modern architecture.

And the OB Planning Board didn’t have a say at all.

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Post image for Modular Living on Abbott and Voltaire – Photo Essay

Editor: Our good friend, John Story, was happening by the commotion at Abbott and Voltaire on Wednesday and was surprised to see what was coming down. Literally – the 2 story units at that corner are modular and can be installed relatively very quickly.

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Post image for Stairs to Beach at Bermuda Avenue Have Collapsed

By South OB Girl

The stairs to the beach at Bermuda Avenue have collapsed. Bermuda Avenue is in south Ocean Beach, and the stairs normally lead to a wonderful pocket beach – that has seen a lot of erosion over the last 40 years and loss of sand.

Repairs are expected to take at least 1 to 2 years.

COME INSIDE FOR MORE PHOTOS

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The Very Latest on San Diego’s “Crazy Anti-Trump Day” on Friday

May 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Trump Love Trumps H8 Lt Brigd -sm

Here is the very, very latest in what’s happening on San Diego’s “Crazy Anti-Trump Day”, Friday May 27th.

More groups have announced they are mobilizing their members to protest Trump’s appearance in downtown. They include the LGBT community, San Diego Human Rights organizations and our very own Light Brigade – which is shining on tonight, Thursday.

The seven-or so networks that have been organizing their protest continue to mobilize, and are showing signs of cooperating with one another.

Police to Set Up Unconstitutional “Free Speech Zones”

In the meantime, San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman has come out with very restrictive – and even un-Constitutional – rules for demonstrations in front of the Convention Center, including threats to anti-Trump (and pro-Trump) protesters.

In today’s San Diego U-T, Chief described her contingency plans, where “effective crowd control is crucial to maintaining order.” While Zimmerman stated:

“We do recognize the First Amendment rights of all individuals of people who protest peacefully. I am going to emphasize peacefully,”

she stated that her department –

is creating two “free speech zones” across Harbor Drive from the convention center.

Both are on the grassy strip between Harbor Drive and San Diego Trolley tracks, with the anti-Trump area to the southeast and pro-Trump zone to the northwest, separated by Fifth Avenue. Large portions of both zones have fences and barriers on both sides.

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Reader Rant: ‘Tell the City to Reject Design’ of Controversial Froude Project

May 26, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB Froude New Design project parry

 

Editor: The following “Reader Rant” was submitted to the OB Rag as a comment to the controversial Froude project – being heard by the San Diego Planning Commission today, May 26.

By Milladro

I am a third generation OB/ PL resident.

My great grand father, on my mothers side, arrived in San Diego during WW1 while serving in the US Navy. He purchased a modest home in the 1940’s where two subsequent generations have raised families.

That home has had its ocean views blocked by not one–but two boxy, out of proportion architectural designs.

These kind of developments really get under my skin.

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A Chicano Response to Donald Trump

May 26, 2016 by Source

“Pa Pendejo No Se Estudia!”

By Herman Baca

Herman Baca 1977Many persons have asked me what my political opinion is of presumptive Republican (the white) Party Presidential candidate Donald Trump.

My response is the old Mexican saying, “Pa’ pendejo no se estudia’!” For Trump’s Republican voters & supporters, Winston Churchill’s quote; “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

However the real opinion is what does the Chicano/Mexicano/Latino community say of Donald Trump? In casual conversations with every day people their response is one of personal anger, fury & hatred for Trump. Some of the comments expressed to me are: “Es un pendijo, idiota, pinche gringo, where’s El Chapo when you need him, kiss my brown a#s, and a graffiti wall off I-5 in Logan Heights declaring… F%&K Trump!”

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‘Love Trumps Hate’ Rally Outside Trump Speech at San Diego Convention Center

May 26, 2016 by Source

love trumps hate

“Tear Down the Walls!” Noon rally sponsored by the ‘Love trumps Hate Solidarity Network’

By Martin Eder / Activist San Diego

The Friday May 27 rally outside the Trump speech will be part of a mobilization of several thousand. This noon-time rally at 5th and Harbor Drive, across from the San Diego Convention Center will focus on the theme “Tear Down Walls Between Peoples: Unity/Unidad and Solidarity”.

The Love trumps Hate Solidarity Network is committed to a non-violent rally. We are not coming to yell or engage Trump’s supporters. Our focus is on Trump’s incendiary words and actions.

In the call to action the Solidarity Network states “Come participate in democracy in action, 1st amendment in action”. Our rally is a visible response to a real threat.

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Planning Commission to Hear Appeal of City’s Approval of Controversial Project on Froude Street – May 26th

May 23, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Planning Commission to Hear Appeal of City’s Approval of Controversial Project on Froude Street – May 26th

This Thursday, May 26th, the San Diego Planning Commission will hear an appeal of the City’s decision to approve a controversial project slated for the 2200 block of Froude Street in Ocean Beach.

The project – two multistory residences – has outraged neighbors enough that they have supported the effort to appeal the decision by the City’s Development Services to okay it. The project includes:

“the demolition of an existing single-family structure and the construction of two new 1, 814 square-foot homes each over a 1,073 square-foot basement/two car garage on two legal lots.”

This is at 2257 Froude Street between Voltaire and Greene.

Here’s why there’s controversy – besides the bulk, style, etc of the project itself – :

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School Board Approves New Stadium Lights and Library at Pt Loma High

May 25, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for School Board Approves New Stadium Lights and Library at Pt Loma High

Tuesday night, May 24th, the school board voted to approve bright lights and other improvements to Point Loma High School which include a new library, despite opposition from some local residents.

In an unanimous vote, the San Diego Unified School District Board moved forward on the improvements,which include:

  • 7 new poles with speakers mounted at the top;
  • Four 70 foot light poles around the field;
  • four 20-foot light poles in the grandstands;
  • a new classroom building
  • a new library
  • upgrades to existing campus structures.
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ACLU Report: Alarming Cases of Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuse by California Police Departments

May 25, 2016 by Source

Policy Brief Exposes Loophole that Police Use to Profit from Innocent, Vulnerable Californians

By ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties

aclu twitter logoThe American Civil Liberties Union of California released a policy brief on Thursday, May 19, Civil Asset Forfeiture: Profiting from California’s Most Vulnerable, examining civil asset forfeiture abuse by California law enforcement agencies, a practice that greatly impacts communities of color and low-income Californians.

Under federal asset forfeiture laws, the government can legally and permanently forfeit a person’s property and money without charging the person with a crime, or seeking a conviction.

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Peering into the Heart of Darkness: Why I Oppose Mayor Faulconer’s FY’17 Budget

May 25, 2016 by Anna Daniels

homeless w signBy Anna Daniels / San Diego Free Press

The following is the public testimony that I provided at the May 16 budget hearing before the San Diego city council.

Good Evening. My name is Anna Daniels and I am a resident of City Heights. I have attended close to a decade of budget hearings, always as an advocate for our library system.

But this year is different. I stand here before you as a person of conscience who has been witnessing first hand a burgeoning and permanent underclass of the dispossessed in City Heights and San Diego.

homeless sign vet one in 4A growing population among us cannot find affordable places to live or jobs that pay a living wage. This is a crisis that we cannot ignore.

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Restaurant Review – “Coasterra” on Harbor Island

May 25, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review –  “Coasterra” on Harbor Island

Restaurant Review – “Coasterra”
880 Harbor Island
San Diego, CA 92101
619-814-1300

A wonderful friend of mine that has been sick for some time is on the road to recovery and suggested that we go celebrate her wellness by going out to lunch to a restaurant that neither of us had ever been to. She suggested “Coasterra” – the “Modern Mexican” restaurant where the Reuben E. Lee used to be “docked”at the eastern tip of Harbor Island. (Except that this restaurant is firmly planted on the ground; it does not sway with the tide!)

When we pulled into the parking lot the view was breathtaking; and when asked if we wanted to eat inside or outside “ . . . in our heated patio” – we opted for outside, in spite of it drizzling and somewhat overcast. We never felt cold, and when the drizzle subsided the sun came out and treated us to a gorgeous sight.

We were immediately served salsa and chips, and the only comment both Mary and I made was that the salsa was tasty – not spicy at all. (I, personally, would have liked a little more “kick.”)

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“Friday Is Going to Be One Crazy Anti-Trump Day in San Diego”

May 24, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for “Friday Is Going to Be One Crazy Anti-Trump Day in San Diego”

NEW UPDATES (as of 5/26/16) – see “The Very Latest ….”

It’s going to be literally one crazy, anti-Trump day in downtown San Diego on Friday, May 27th. So much is going on that it boggles the mind to try to imagine everything.

First, of course, Donal Trump is arriving at the San Diego Convention Center to speak to his throngs around 2pm. And coming out to see and hear him, of course, will be probably thousands of ticket-holders. There will be long lines of them snaking around the Convention Center – which undoubtedly will be off-limits to protesters. Except those protesters in line with tickets.

Second, there will be thousands of protesters coming out to demonstrate against Trump and all that he stands for.

There’s at least six different networks or groups mobilizing their supporters to show Trump that San Diegans will not stand for him. The groups range from Republicans, Democrats, to anarchists, and social justice veterans, to the Union del Barrio and border activists. These groups will all have their own tactics, displaying a diversity of opposition to Trump. And then there’s the janitors – hundreds of them will be demonstrating and marching through downtown.

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“Eleanor’s Story”: A Book and a Stage Production Not to be Missed

May 24, 2016 by Ernie McCray

p_2256_i_6661656By Ernie McCray

I met a woman named Eleanor Ramrath Garner early in April at a nice party at a beautiful Del Mar home with a wonderful view on a warm inviting sunny day.

The gathering had everything I like: delicious food; refreshing drinks; interesting witty people, scholars all, practically, filled with colorful stories to tell and they didn’t mind telling them.

Some of them had written doctoral studies and books and essays for professional publications. Eleanor happened to mention that she was an author. She didn’t say what her book was about but something about her made me want to read it. So I looked for it on Amazon.

And there it was: “Eleanor’s Story, an American Girl in Hitler’s Germany.” I clicked on “See a random page” and a picture appeared of Eleanor’s little brother and sister on Christmas Day in 1945 with the words “This was our best Christmas ever because we had survived the bombings, the Battle of Berlin, and hunger.”

I was sold.

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OB Town Council – Presentations on OB’s Controversial Private Cops and Women’s Self-Defense – Wed., May 25th

May 24, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

OB security patrolThis Wednesday, May 25th, the Ocean Beach Town Council will hold its monthly public meeting at the Masonic Center, located at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd, at 7pm as usual.

Besides the usual reports from the different politicians’ reps, reports from the public agencies that serve OB: fire department, police, lifeguard, elementary school, and library, and after all the Board members give their reports, the Town Council will move into its main agenda item: ‘OB public safety – engagement and empowerment”.

At the top of the public safety element, is a presentation of the OB Mainstreet Association’s “OB Security Program”- the enlistment of private security team patrols of a company called the National Public Safety (NPS). Reportedly, NPS teams “patrol the business districts of OB and work closely with SDPD to get positive results for the entire community.”

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San Diego Becomes Ground Zero in Presidential Contests (For a Few Days, Anyway)

May 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

Via the Sanders campaign

Sanders, Clinton and Trump, Oh My! – Plus Updates on Mayor and City Council Races

By Doug Porter

As May slides into June, enthusiasm about election contests big and small is sweeping San Diego. Hope, an elusive feeling in an era of pessimism, is in the air.

Democrats Senator Bernie Sanders and ex-President Bill Clinton both campaigned in the area. Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is holding a rally at the Convention Center on Friday, prompting promises of protests from activists throughout the region.

Away from the bright lights and big crowds, campaigning for local offices has reached a fevered pitch. Democrats, environmentalists, and organized labor are providing volunteers, who are going door-to-door in City Council contests, backing up direct mail campaigns. Republicans are carpet bombing the city with money for TV ads, slick (and often questionable) mailers and paid canvassers.

The good news from my perspective is that early ballot returns show a high level of interest in the primary from Democratic voters.

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On Dark Patches and Redemption

May 23, 2016 by Jim Miller
Thumbnail image for On Dark Patches and Redemption

By Jim Miller

Despite all our best efforts, things don’t always go the way we would hope. Sometimes we are stunned by the unexpected bad turn and left groping for answers.

Last week in my column about what motivated me to go on the March for California’s Future, I explained how the stories of my students inspired me:

As a community college professor at City College, I am particularly attuned to the painful realities of economic and racial inequality because I see the costs of poverty on a daily basis …

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UPDATED: San Diego Mobilizes Against Trump – Due Here Friday, May 27

May 22, 2016 by Frank Gormlie

Trump Love trumps hate solid netwk fb -edTrump DumpTrump fb -ed

NEW UPDATES (as of 5/26/16) – see “The Very Latest ….”

Trump Union del Barrio fb -edTrump SmashTrump fb -ed

UPDATED: Four San Diego Networks or Groups Planning Protests for May 27th Trump Rally

San Diego is mobilizing against Donald Trump’s appearance later this week, when he stages a rally on Friday at the Convention Center.

At least four networks or groups are organizing protests outside the Trump rally. One of the 3 has also stated its intention of organizing something inside his event. One of the groups is mobilizing protesters from the LA area as well. And, of course, each network has their own facebook page.

The networks include:

The Love Trumps Hate Solidarity Network

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Weekend of Progressive Politics for San Diego

May 20, 2016 by Staff

Here’s a San Diego weekend full of progressive politics – from the March Against Monsanto to all the rallies for Bernie, Hillary, Planned Parenthood and more …(Huge thanks to Doug Porter for his Progressive Weekly Calendar – which much of this was snagged from.)

March Against Monsanto Rally, March, & Festival

Monsanto-protestSaturday, May 21, 10am
Rally & March: Balboa Park Fountain (near Natural History Museum)

Followed by Festival on the lawn between La Cultural de la Raza & World Beat Center. More info: MAMSD.org

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Kamala Harris Wins OB Rag Senate Poll

May 20, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Kamala Harris Wins OB Rag Senate Poll

Kamala Harris, California’s Attorney General, won the OB Rag poll on the US Senate race for the state. In a field of 2 Democrats and 3 Republicans, Harris ran at the top with 49.3% of the vote, with Republican Tom Del Beccaro coming in a far second with 18.8%.

The other Democrat, Loretta Sanchez, received 5.8%, and the other Republicans George Sundheim came in with 2.9% and Ron Unz also had 2.9%.

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Fundraiser for Mel Roark’s Grandson on May 22nd – Ed Harris to Attend –

May 20, 2016 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Fundraiser for Mel Roark’s Grandson on May 22nd – Ed Harris to Attend –

Grandson Braden Victim of Rattlesnake Attack – Family Needs Help

Well-known OB community activist Mel Roark is holding a fundraiser for her grandson, Braden, who was bitten by a rattlesnake on April 12th. The family is facing enormous hospital bills as Braden had to take more than 35 vials of anti-venom and each one cost $2,000.

Ed Harris, the mayoral candidate, will also be on hand to show support to Mel and Braden.

This all takes place on Sunday, May 22nd, from 3 to 6 pm at The Inn at Sunset Cliffs, 1370 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Food, beverages, drawings and entertainment by very local John Tafolla.

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UC San Diego Faculty Call on Regents to Divest UC Funds from Fossil Fuels

May 20, 2016 by Source

Academic Senate votes in support of divestment resolution

UC San Diego Academic Senate

divestUC San Diego’s Academic Senate announced the passage of a resolution calling on the UC Regents to divest the University of California’s investment portfolio of stocks in companies whose primary business concerns the extraction and sale of fossil fuels.

According to its 1868 charter, governance of the University is shared between the Regents and the Academic Senate. The vote by tenure-track faculty and academic leadership took place electronically over a two week period ending May 11.

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Much Ado About Money – County Supervisors on the Primary Ballot

May 20, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Much Ado About Money – County Supervisors on the Primary Ballot

By Doug Porter

Back in 2010, San Diego became the seventh county in California to impose term limits on its Board of Supervisors. Voters approved of the idea by better than a two to one margin. Unions, which typically oppose term limits, actually funded the effort.

This electoral groundswell happened for a reason, namely the billions in funding flowing through (and overly generous reserges in) county coffers. The ability of just five elected officials to shape the county’s priorities in big and small ways amounted to a ticket to lifetime tenure in part because supervisors also draw their own district lines.

There are two contests for County Supervisor appearing on 2016 primary ballots in San Diego. They only appear on ballots for voters living in the districts involved. (First District Supervisor Greg Cox – who represents Ocean Beach and Point Loma – is unopposed and therefore, won’t be on the ballot)

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Ocean Beach Airbnb Listings Rose 64% Since Last Year

May 19, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach Airbnb Listings Rose 64% Since Last Year

New data from Airbnb shows that their short term vacation rentals listings in Ocean Beach have risen 64% since last year. This equates to 230 units, according to an article from Voice of San Diego.

The Voice article by Ashley McGlone, relies on new information from Airbnb analytics company Beyond Pricing, and says that “the number of Airbnb listings is rising in nearly every neighborhood across San Diego,”yet, “Ocean Beach and La Jolla saw the greatest gains.” (While OB had a rate of 64%, La Jolla rose to 58 percent with 404 rentals.)

And once again, Ocean Beach joined 5 other neighborhoods this year as well as last year in being the locations of almost half of all San Diego’s Airbnb listings. The other neighborhoods: Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, La Jolla, North Park and East Village.

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Progressive San Diego Voter Guide for June 2016 Primary

May 19, 2016 by Doug Porter

imageBy Doug Porter

Over the past few months the San Diego Free Press and the OB Rag have reported on the candidates and causes central to the June 2016 primary elections.

We have combined our research and analyses with information from public sources to create a progressive voter guide for electoral contests appearing on ballots in the San Diego region.

This guide includes links to candidate websites, symbols indicating endorsements and a short overview of contests, along with links to our reporting.

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Reader Rant: SDG&E Closes Section of OB Bike Path Without Public Notice Just Before “Bike to Work Day”

May 19, 2016 by Source
Thumbnail image for Reader Rant: SDG&E Closes Section of OB Bike Path Without Public Notice Just Before “Bike to Work Day”

OB Commuters on Bike Path Will Have to Take Lengthy Detour

By Tom Roebuck

Bike to Work Day is Friday, May 20th and has been heavily promoted by SANDAG.

But OB cyclists attempting to commute to work on Friday via the Ocean Beach bike path will encounter a chain-link fence just east of the W. Mission Bay Drive bridge.

With no public notice or input, SDG&E has completely closed the OB bike path between W. Mission Bay Drive and Pacific Highway until at least May 27.

The runway-flat stretch of blacktop on the south side of the San Diego River provides easy access from OB to Old Town, downtown San Diego and Mission Valley, and the closure will force cyclists, joggers, walkers and other users of the path onto busy surface streets for a lengthy detour.

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Annual “OB EXPOSED!” on May 20th – May 19th Is the Deadline to Submit Photos

May 19, 2016 by Staff

OB Exposed 2016 grafic

Don’t be left out – ya gotta attend the annual “OB EXPOSED”- an event sponsored by the Ocean Beach Historical Society – and it’s this Friday night, May 20th.

Entitled Photographic Impressions of Ocean Beach and Point Loma, the highly-attended shindig is in the Masonic Center at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard in OB. There’s always great refreshments provided, as well as an opportunity to view old photos of OB.

And by the way, today – Thursday, May 19th – is the deadline to submit photos – and they can be submitted at the OB Business Center at 4876 Santa Monica Avenue no later than 5pm.

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The Pot Wars 2016: The End to Marijuana Prohibition in California Is Near

May 18, 2016 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for The Pot Wars 2016: The End to Marijuana Prohibition in California Is Near

The war on marijuana continues even at mid-point of 2016 – the year that California voters will end the marijuana prohibition in the state. While California voters get set to vote to legalize the recreational use of pot, there are good signs and bad signs around the state as the Pot Wars continue.

Right now, a majority of Californians favor legalization.

The folks who have been organizing the more successful of the legalize recreational marijuana initiatives have gathered more than 600,000 signatures, far exceeding the 350,000 needed. It’s a certainty that the Adult Use of Marijuana Act will be on California’s November ballot. This is the initiative that has support from California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and billionaire Facebook co-founder Sean Parker. And many marijuana policy reform groups also support it.

So, what does it do?

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