By Ernie McCray

I had the honor of spending a day with a room full of progressive School Board Members from around San Diego County.

I wasn’t so sure, at first, as the subject was: Budgets.

Whenever I got my budget sheets at my schools, it might as well have been expressed in hieroglyphics – I just can’t relate to language like “Total Available Funds minus Total Outgo.” Gives me vertigo.

I was there, though, to kick things off. And in doing that I shared three poems and one went like this:

Our schools now,
at this stage
of a rapidly aging New Century,
are about to introduce
our kids
to the realm of Ethnic Studies.
Sure does
make sense to me

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MJcaliflagBy Phillip Smith / AlterNet

On June 14, more than 200 people gathered at the Sebastopol Grange for a fundraiser and organizing meeting of local pot growers, the Sonoma County Growers Association.

They were being mentored by their northern neighbors from Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity counties, the Emerald Growers Association, which already has lobbyists in Sacramento and is in the middle of the effort to legalize weed in California next year.

The Emerald Triangle is the largest marijuana growing area in the country’s largest marijuana producing state.

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Post image for People Watching at the OB Street Fair – a Photo Gallery

Here is Albert C Elliott’s black & white photo gallery on people watching at the Ocean Beach Street Fair 2015.


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Post image for How to Measure the 30 Foot Height Limit in Ocean Beach and Point Loma

By Geoff Page

There continues to be confusion as to how to measure a building so that it conforms to the 30-foot height limit. I thought I had a pretty good idea of how this was calculated but learned some things had changed.

I also learned that the Development Services Department (DSD) has started using a twisted interpretation that resulted in a building on Avenida de Portugal being 36 feet high.

I would like to explain what I have learned about how height is to be measured. There are three issues.

The first issue is the question of where on a lot the measurement is taken from. The second issue is wording that the City has brought into the measurement language.

The third issue is the worst one, allowing measurement from future structures on a site, not existing conditions.


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Post image for Nuclear Shutdown News – June 2015: Balloon Shuts Down Troubled Indian Point Plant

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the continuing decline of the US nuclear industry, and the efforts of those who are working to bring about a nuclear free future. As US nukes increasingly approach or surpass their 40 year lives, they are becoming more qnd more dangerous and outdated. They need to be shut down and replaced with renewable energy sources—now!

1. Balloon Shuts Down Indian Point Plant

On June 16 the New York state The Journal News reported, “a balloon tangled in electrical wires led to a sequence of events resulting in the shutdown of the Indian Point nuclear plant,” which is located 35 miles up the Hudson River from New York City.

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Summer Chronicles #2: That Music You Are Hearing is the Grateful Dead

June 29, 2015 by Jim Miller

TranslucentBy Jim Miller

Gary Snyder is a courage teacher. His fine new book of poems, This Present Moment, is a meditation on wonder and impermanence. In it, for instance, we learn to value our laptops –

“Because whole worlds of writing can be boldly laid out and then highlighted/and vanish in the flash at ‘delete,’/so it teaches of impermanence and pain.”

And it’s true, the miracle of creation that comes out of “a formless face/which is our Original Face,” but as soon as the words are formed the self who made them is no longer there.

Still there is beauty, and moments of grace are there to be found and cherished in “the morning and night coming together,” the “glacier scrapes across the bedrock,” and “the deep dense woods.” You just need to follow “the shining way of the wild” and “hang in, work it out, watch for the moment.”

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Is Chumming Legal Off the Ocean Beach Pier?

June 26, 2015 by Frank Gormlie

OB pier fishingIs chumming legal or allowed off the Ocean Beach Pier?

Okay, you ask, what’s “chumming”?

There’s a variety of modern slang-type of definitions, but in relation to fishing, it’s when people fishing off the pier or in the ocean cut up large chucks of bait and throw them over the railings or overboard in hopes of attracting large fish – like tuna – or like sharks.

If the fisherman or fisherwoman is trying to attract sharks while fishing off the OB Pier – or any pier – when there are surfers and swimmers nearby – that makes it an extremely dangerous activity.

It was suspected that chumming may have been partially responsible for attracting the sharks that attacked children off Oak Island in Southern North Carolina back in mid-June, where two kids each lost a limb. The incidents – 2 miles apart – were followed by calls to regulate chumming off a local pier.

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Supreme Court: Gay Marriage Is Constitutional

June 26, 2015 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Supreme Court: Gay Marriage Is Constitutional

A More Perfect Union: Let’s Just Call it “Marriage” Now

by Doug Porter

The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling Friday morning was a historic victory for gay rights. The majority said the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live.

“They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.

As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage.

Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves.

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Debate Over Rock Church’s Decision to Refrain From Feeding and Clothing the Homeless

June 26, 2015 by Source

WorkingStandDownBy Jeeni Criscenzo / San Diego Free Press

A recent post on the Facebook page for Homeless News San Diego showed a letter from the Rock Church regarding a change in policy for feeding homeless people.

Part of one sentence was highlighted:

refrain from feeding homeless people on the streets, as well as distributing items such as clothing and blankets.

The post indicates there were 107 shares and 206 comments!

I can’t recall ever seeing an issue evoke such passionate responses from so many people with opposing, yet reasonable points of view.

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Chipping Away at “The Black Problem”

June 26, 2015 by Ernie McCray

Angela Y

By Ernie McCray

The madness in Charleston, to me, is so much deja vu because blacks being shot or bombed where they worship and pray is not something that’s new here in the USA.

In no way. These atrocities started, practically, when they shoved us off the ships to pick cotton, way, way back in the day.

And where’s a good place to find a lot of us to slay? Church. Makes sense to a hateful evil-minded KKK kind of person who all of a sudden, out of his madness, just can’t stand to see a Negro alive.

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Four-Unit Muir Apartment in Ocean Beach Sold for $1 Million

June 25, 2015 by Staff
Thumbnail image for Four-Unit Muir Apartment in Ocean Beach Sold for $1 Million

A 4-unit apartment at 4649-4655 Muir Avenue was just sold for $1.06 million.

Built in 1951, the 4 units have between them 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, and stands on a 5,000-squareófoot lot (assessor’s parcel 448-531-04). Presently, they include 2,246 square feet together.

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OB Town Council: Drought Remedies, Mallow-Out Campaign, Caves, Grants, Vendors and Park Rangers

June 25, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council: Drought Remedies, Mallow-Out Campaign, Caves, Grants, Vendors and Park Rangers

The Ocean Beach Town Council juggled a lot of issues last night at its monthly public meeting – drought solutions, its “Mallow-Out” Campaign, the day after July 4th clean-up, the funding of grants …

It was well over half-way through the meeting when the keynote presentations on the drought and solutions were finally made to the crowd of about forty audience members and a dozen Council members.

Drought Remedies: Native Plants, Rainbarrels, Greywater and Diet

One-by-one several presenters laid out remedies that included learning about native plant gardens, which native plants are good to plant, about installing grey-water systems in your home, and how our diets also contribute to the waste of water.

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Getting Into the Spirit of OB Street Fairs – Looking Back at the Street Fair of 2009

June 24, 2015 by Staff
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We’re getting into the swing of things like street fairs and chili cook-offs. In an effort to get into the spirit of this weekend’s OB Street Fair of 2015, we decided to conjure up the spirits of a Street Fair of yesteryear, the 2009 annual OB festival down Newport.

Six years ago, the OB Rag – in conjunction with the OB Mainstreet Association, published a series of articles about different aspects of the yearly tradition, giving extensive coverage to the musicians, the street vendors, the trolley, the chili cook-off, and where all the money came from and went.

Plus some history – was the OB Street Fair of 2009 the 30th as was officially claimed or was it the 28th as one of the founders of the tradition claimed?

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Why Don’t Corporations Contribute to Charity Instead of Hitting Up Their Customers?

June 24, 2015 by John Lawrence

petco charity 1By John Lawrence

Do you find it annoying to be hit up for a donation every time you make a purchase? You’re out buying groceries or cat food or mouthwash and you get asked to make a donation to some charity.

“Would you like to contribute a dollar to help homeless dogs?”, the check out person asks.

I’ll tell you what.

Why don’t you reduce my total by $1.00 and contribute that to charity?

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The San Diego-Tijuana Boundary Monuments

June 24, 2015 by Source

Mexican war MapBy Barbara Zaragoza / San Diego Free Press

In 1848, the U.S.-Mexican War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty stipulated that Mexico relinquish 1.2 million square miles of its territory to the United States in return for $15 million. It also assigned a Joint U.S. and Mexican Boundary Commission to determine the exact location of the new boundary line.

The Commission consisted of a large caravan of men, including a commissioner and a surveyor for both sides. The drawing of the boundary line took two years to complete–from 1849 to 1851. The Joint Commission erected 52 boundary monuments with #1 overlooking the Pacific Ocean in what today is Border Field State Park.

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Donna Frye Calls for “Massive River Park” at Qualcom Stadium Site

June 23, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Donna Frye Calls for “Massive River Park” at Qualcom Stadium Site

Donna Frye is trying to upset the apple cart that surrounds all the discussion about the Chargers and the Qualcomm football stadium site. Yesterday – Monday, June 22nd – she called for “a massive river park” at the 166-acre Mission Valley site.

In an Op-Ed piece in Voice of San Diego, Donna Frye – former City Councilwoman for the district that includes Mission Valley – called for something akin to another Balboa Park or Mission Bay Park.

In her piece, Frye dismissed the discussion about whether the Chargers want the current site and all the discussion about commercial and residential development of it, instead declared that it actually is “a big opportunity staring us right in the face – the potential to create a real San Diego River Park.”

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OB Town Council Takes on The Drought – Meets Wed., June 24

June 23, 2015 by Staff
Thumbnail image for OB Town Council Takes on The Drought – Meets Wed., June 24

The Ocean Beach Town Council is taking on The Drought at their next public meeting, this Wednesday, June 24th.

The OBTC wants the village to focus on the drought and does OB respond to it as a community and as a collection of individuals. In their newsletter, the OBTC states:

California’s drought is on everyone’s mind – from ‘drip pinching’ to help your pocket book, to being part of an eco-H2O savvy community, to joining the ‘dirty car club’ – we’ll all trying to do our part. Join us to learn about community and individual solutions to the drought!

They’ve assembled a panel of speakers for the meeting, due to begin at at 7pm at the Masonic Hall, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd – and they include: …

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All Aboard! Get Ready for the Great White Line Skyway

June 23, 2015 by Doug Porter

skyway white lineBy Doug Porter

Last Friday – June 19 – we learned about a proposal moving forward to add a two-mile long aerial tram from Balboa Park to the Bay. County Supervisor Ron Roberts, … found $75,000 i… to fund a “let’s do this!” study. … To nobody’s surprise, SANDAG’s transportation committee loved the idea, directing its staff to start making the “Skyway” operational in 5 years or so.

Since San Diego’s light rail system has color coded routes, it only makes sense to stick with this scheme. So let’s call this newest leg the “White Line.” Because that’s who it will be serving: white people and assorted tourists looking for a cheap thrill.

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Protecting Mauna Kea: This Is a War

June 23, 2015 by Source

defend mauna kea

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

Sitting outside the 10 by 20 foot makeshift tent that has served as my home for the last 34 days on Mauna Kea, I watch the tent poles shudder to the concussion of US Army howitzer cannons firing live shells at their training grounds below. When the wind blows just right, from the south, the rattle of automatic rifle fire reaches the occupation. There’s no denying it: A war rages in Hawai’i.

It’s a war on native peoples, a war on women, a war on the land, a war on life itself. The war did not start in Hawai’i. …

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News Around Ocean Beach – Late June 2015

June 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for News Around Ocean Beach – Late June 2015

Cheswick Bartender Memorial “Ride Out” for Shay Whitman Shay Whitman, a bartender at Cheswicks on Newport, was killed in an accident on June 4th,

BBQ House Expansion The expansion of OB’s BBQ House is really picking up pace.

OB Hookah Lounge Now Wants to Serve Food and Drink The hookah lounge at 4851 Newport Ave,

Voltaire Brewery Progress There has been progress on the brewery slated to open on Voltaire Street.

Sunset Plaza Towers Over Intersection It’s now clear just how large the building at the corner of Sunset Cliffs and Voltaire will be.

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“Ocean Beach Plaza” Planned for Cable and Santa Monica

June 22, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for “Ocean Beach Plaza” Planned for Cable and Santa Monica

Demolition of Former Medical Buildings and Construction of Mixed-Use Commercial Buildings Planned

The owner of the large lot at the southeast corner of Cable and Santa Monica – whose buildings have for decades housed medical and dental offices – has applied for a permit to demolish the buildings and construct something he’s calling “Ocean Beach Plaza“.

The new planned project for the site – owned by well-known OB property-owner John Small – is for two commercial and mixed-used buildings, including a section with 2 stories, totaling 10,453 square feet. The lot is .45 acres and currently has a large parking lot in the rear of the building with alley access off Cable and street access off Santa Monica.

All the medical and dental offices have been emptied at this point, with only the dry cleaning business right on the alley still going. The property is addressed 1929 Cable Street and this is the address for the permit to demolish and build anew.

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Summer Chronicles #1: The Day After Father’s Day

June 22, 2015 by Jim Miller

sad-fathers-dayBy Jim Miller

In the summer of 1967, the great Brazilian writer, Clarice Lispector, began a seven year stint as a writer for Jornal de Brasil [The Brazilian News ] not as a reporter but as a writer of “chronicles,”a genre peculiar to Brazil.

As Giovanni Pontiero puts it in the preface to Selected Chrônicas, a chronicle:

“allows poets and writers to address a wider readership on a vast range of topics and themes. The general tone is one of greater freedom and intimacy than one finds in comparable articles or columns in the European or U.S. Press.”

What Lispector left us with is an eccentric collection of “aphorisms, diary entries, reminiscences, travel notes, interviews, serialized stories, essays, loosely defined as chronicles.”

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Ronald McDonald’s Unhappy Meals

June 22, 2015 by Source

Ronald McDonald photo

By Jill Richardson / OtherWords

McDonald’s is floundering.

There’s no other way to say it. The global fast food chain has experienced declining U.S. sales for well over a year now. But why?

I’d love to gloat that Americans have finally caught on that the Golden Arches peddles terrible food, but that might not be the case.

Theories for the slump abound.

Some believe the menu is too confusing, slowing down service. Others say that consumers are drifting toward fast-casual chains like Chipotle and Panera, even if their food costs more.

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Don’t We All Have the Right to be Left Alone?

June 22, 2015 by Ernie McCray

Respect Human RightsBy Ernie McCray

Someone on Facebook posted, regarding the recent “pool party” event in McKinney, Texas: “If you don’t like the interaction you’re having with the police, just trying obeying the law.”

A comment was made saying that what happened could have been avoided if the girls had just acted responsibly and obeyed the laws.

I couldn’t help but think “There are pool party laws?” But, as to “obeying the laws,” I’m down with that. I’m just opposed to somebody, who is hired to uphold the law, slamming those who don’t obey the law to the ground or kicking them in the face or choking them or executing them in the streets.

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Water Quality Report Card: Dog Beach Gets an “F” and OB Pier Gets an “A+”

June 19, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Water Quality Report Card: Dog Beach Gets an “F” and OB Pier Gets an “A+”

Drought Helps Water Quality at San Diego and Other California Beaches

The group, Heal the Bay, just released their annual report card on water quality. They assign a letter grade to beaches and coastal areas up and down the West Coast in three categories, the dry season from April to October, dry periods from November through March, and during wet weather.

Perhaps paradoxically, it appears the drought actually is helping water quality and the vast majority of San Diego County beaches reached A or B’s.

But not Dog Beach.

The San Diego River outlet at Dog Beach was one of the locations that received F grades — during wet weather. This is not that surprising, is it?

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Lessons to Be Learned from The Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed at San Diego Natural History Museum

June 19, 2015 by Source

mayan imageBy Jeeni Criscenzo /
San Diego Free Press

I spent a recent Sunday afternoon exploring the new exhibit at the San Diego Natural History Museum, Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed.

Being somewhat of an aficionado of Maya studies, due to the considerable research I did while writing the novel, Place of Mirrors , I had tacked the announcement for this event to my calendar with great anticipation. I wasn’t disappointed! This exhibit was thorough, interesting and respectful of the Maya culture, both past and present.

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Olympia WA Police Shoot Two Un-Armed Black Men

June 18, 2015 by Source
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Another Police Shooting of African-Americans!It Can Happen Anywhere in the United States Including Olympia, WA. It Did Happen Here!

by Peter Bohmer / June 4, 2015

At 1:15 A.M. early Thursday, May 21st, 2015 on the westside of Olympia, Washington, white police officer, Ryan Donald, shot two young Black unarmed brothers, Andre Thompson, aged 24, and Bryson Chaplin, aged 21.

These two Olympia residents were initially in serious condition at nearby hospitals in Tacoma and Seattle. Andre Thompson was released from the hospital five day after being shot but has broken ribs and internal injuries. As of June 4th, Bryson Chaplin is still hospitalized and paralyzed from the waist down with a bullet lodged in his spine.

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Take Part in OB Rag Poll: What kind of device do you use to view the OB Rag?

June 18, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for Take Part in OB Rag Poll: What kind of device do you use to view the OB Rag?

We’re running a poll to see what kind of device our readers use most when they view the OB Rag.

Is it a personal computer or some kind of a mobile device?

We ran a poll last week on the exact same question, but began wondering whether some of our friends who read on certain mobile devices could access or even see the poll.

So, please – help us out and take part in this. Come on in ….

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OB Planners Reject Out-of-Compliance Condo Project Slated for Abbott and Muir

June 18, 2015 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for OB Planners Reject Out-of-Compliance Condo Project Slated for Abbott and Muir

Condo Project Failed to Meet OB’s FAR; 2 Other Projects Approved

The OB Project Review Committee, as a sub-committee of the full Planning Board, previews any construction projects that come before the official volunteer group, and it usually decides to either make a recommendation for approval or denial of the project.

And at last night’s meeting of the Project Review Committee, it unanimously rejected a proposed project slated for the large empty lot at the southwest corner at Abbott and Muir. By a vote of 8 to 0, the sub-committee voted to recommend denial of the project for the full Board, which next meets on July 1.

The sub-committee did vote to recommend approval for 2 other projects on their agenda, one on the 4900 block of Cape May and the other on the 5000 block of Santa Monica.

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A Small Restoration Is a Big Deal in Mission Bay

June 18, 2015 by Source
Thumbnail image for A Small Restoration Is a Big Deal in Mission Bay

By Robert Little

There is a lot of action at the corner of Pacific Beach Drive and Crown Point Drive in Pacific Beach these days. The visible construction of grading for a small restoration project behind the marsh fence started in May of this year but the preparations started more than two years ago and the covering of the bare sandy soil will take at least six months to complete. The work is restricted to the portion of the marsh owned by the University of California and managed by UCSD.

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