By Debra Kahn and Carla Marinucci / Politico / March 30, 2020

State leaders and doctors are cautiously optimistic that the Bay Area’s early moves to lock down residents two weeks ago have prevented surges of coronavirus patients from overwhelming the region’s health care capacity thus far.

Six Bay Area counties were first in the country to adopt aggressive tactics with an enforceable March 16 order requiring residents to stay at home. Gov. Gavin Newsom quickly followed with a statewide order three days later restricting the state’s 40 million residents from all but essential activities.

After 14 days — the outermost period at which symptoms are believed to emerge post-infection — doctors at area hospitals are now reporting fewer cases than they expected to see at this point, and officials credit the lockdown with stemming the tide of patients they feared would flood into emergency rooms.

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By Jeoffrey B. Gordon, MD, MPH / March 24, 2020

We know of only two crucially important rounds remaining in the game of human existence on earth. This round – THE CORONA PANDEMIC -has been more like a rapid play, rough and tumble, basketball game. During pre-game warm up drills, most everyone felt strong and invincible.

Like past pandemics, the corona virus burst on the scene suddenly, but not quite unexpectedly, to start the round. Nonetheless, as we entered the early minutes of the first period we have already lost the game. Asian countries, forewarned by past challenges such as SARS, had plans, staff, capacity.

China, stunned by a sudden surge and massive morbidity and mortality, was able to rapidly, scientifically identify the germ down to its DNA underwear and take comprehensive public health and medical care actions and in a powerful “Hail Mary” effort sacrificed its economy to shut down the threat in merely two months.

Singapore and Taiwan, close by in the circle of danger, activated a playbook of well thought out, previously planned, well manned and scientifically based public health programs with sophisticated leadership curtailing the epidemic on their court.

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Editordude: The folks at this nifty website, American Marijuana, have come up with a study on how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed – if at all – marijuana use by American consumers. Written by Dwight K. Blake, it’s based on data from a study of 990 American pot consumers. There’s lots of great graphs and pie-charts on the original site, so we recommend you check those out, as we’ve only included one graph below.

By Dwight K. Blake / American Marijuana / March 30, 2020

As of March 24, 2020, the coronavirus disease had swept through over 195 countries with over 260,000 confirmed cases worldwide. This caused a panic that led people to stock up on foods, toiletries, and other basic needs.

But how did it affect marijuana consumers? Let’s take a look at the survey presented below.

Compared with Marijuana, Which One Is More Important Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic?

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by Ernie McCray

To ease my mind in my isolation from humankind, I’ve been basking in memories of better times in my life and I don’t recall ever having more fun than I had at the San Diego Fringe Festival in 2014 – narrating “On the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme” as a brilliant company of tap dancers, the California Rhythm Project, brought my words to life as they danced to my vocalizing and, in-between some lines, tapped to music, then back to my poetry, in an urban streetscape setting, kicking it off with:

There’s a corner
unlike any other corner
you could ever
conceive in your mind.
The Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme.
And it’s just that, rhythm and rhyme,
big time,
cuz, when your feet
step on the concrete
on the Corner of Rhythm and Rhyme,

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By Colleen O’Connor / Times of San Diego

Amid this pandemic, an historic event yet to be named by historians, San Diego faces a pivotal election for Mayor.

San Diego is confronting a massive budget deficit, a pension shortfall, a countywide pandemic, a statewide shutdown, a local economy in free fall, and a yearning for clear direction.

Sheltering in place, working from home—for those lucky enough to still have a job—and fearing the unknown makes the next Mayor’s task all the more critical.

The city budget is projected to face a $109 million funding shortfall for the fiscal year ending June 30. The new $2 trillion federal coronavirus bailout has penciled in massive amounts of money for municipalities and non-profits. All this means a lot of pressure on City Hall.

How can a Mayor translate that in an easy, understandable and manageable fashion for everyone? Not just for the rich or savvy, but for all San Diegans?

This is not an unreasonable question to ask of the two contenders seeking to be our next Mayor.

And here are other must-ask and must-answer questions for Todd Gloria and, most likely, Barbara Bry.

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In an historic first, the Ocean Beach Planning Board will meet this Wednesday via Zoom, which means they’ll have a virtual meeting over the internet. And anyone who wishes can observe and participate – see the information about how to be included either on the official agenda, posted below, or just before the agenda. But this is a first – created by the COVID-19 crisis (and unless the Board has practiced this method, it could be a tad bumpy – but fun! Check it out!)

The meeting will begin at 6 pm Wednesday, April 1 (… and no, this is not an April First joke). Usually the Board meets in the community room at the OB Rec Center.

Most of the agenda has to with the Board’s recent election, appointments to the Board and the election of the new Executive Board. The volunteer panel of community planners will certify the March election results, consider appointing veteran Jane Gawronski to the vacant District 2 seat, and likewise, the same with Derek Dudek who is seeking appointment to the vacant District 1 seat. Finally, the Board will elect their Executive Board, which includes the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.

Info on How to Connect to the Meeting Via Zoom

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Hiding from the Virus: Living the New Normal

March 30, 2020 by Source

By Richard Riehl / Riehl World / March 30, 2020

It’s Day 16 of our lockdown in the Château Lake San Marcos retirement community. None of our 140 residents have been diagnosed with COVID 19.

Yesterday, according to Public Health Services, there were 519 cases and seven deaths reported in San Diego County, including 4 cases in San Marcos, 20 in Carlsbad, 18 in Encinitas, 11 in Oceanside, 9 in Escondido, and 10 in Vista.

We pass our time cocooning with the same daily schedule we had before the virus got here.

Awakening at 5 am, we watch the morning news, beginning with BBC America, since our son lives in London with his wife and our 13-year-old granddaughter. Thanks to our weekly Skype video calls, we stay connected with them during their own lockdown.

BBC America has also become our favorite channel to maintain our mental health. Yesterday morning we watched the weekly meeting of the House of Commons, called Questions to the Prime Minister, when Boris Johnson was called upon by members of Parliament to answer questions about his government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Barrio Logan’s Small Businesses Struggle During Coronavirus Fallout – Chicano Park Day Cancelled

March 30, 2020 by Source

By Roberto ‘Rob’ Camacho

As more and more states across the country increasingly issue stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic (officially known as COVID-19), it is an understatement to say that the virus has fundamentally turned all of our lives upside down.

With the federal government declaring a national state of emergency on March 13th in response to the ongoing outbreak inside the U.S. and California Governor Gavin Newsom issuing a statewide stay-at-home a week later on March 19th the outbreak has resulted in the closure of schools, businesses, and numerous social services as both state and federal officials across the country race to contain the outbreak and mitigate the rate of infection.

Locally, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has also declared a State of Emergency in the city in response to the ongoing pandemic. Prohibiting all public and private gatherings of fifty or more people, and strongly discouraging all nonessential gatherings of any size in effort to contain the spread of the virus.

While no region in San Diego, let alone the country, has been untouched by the outbreak and subsequent public shutdowns, few communities are likely to be as directly affected as San Diego’s neighborhood of Barrio Logan; one of the most colorful and historic Chicano communities in all the country and home to historic Chicano Park.

Abound with vibrant culture and rich history, in recent years the neighborhood has come to embody the creative and artistic epicenter of San Diego. With an assortment of galleries, studios, boutique shops; as well as restaurants and breweries throughout the neighborhood.

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Ocean Beach ACE and Mindy Make It Back After Being Stuck in Ecuador

March 30, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The last time my cousin Albert Elliott – known as “Ace” – was in the local news was when his surf shack burnt down. That was last August. Now – he and his spouse Mindy are back in the news as they are the “San Diego Couple home after being stuck in Ecuador.”

Every winter the two head down to Ecuador to do some surfing and hang out for about 3 months. This year – the year of COVID-19 – it was different.

Channel 10 got the story:

A San Diego couple was stuck in Ecuador after the country canceled all travel due to the Coronavirus. After several days of travel, the couple is finally back in their home.

A few days ago, Albert “Ace” Elliott was not sure if he and his wife Mindy would ever make it back to their Ocean Beach home.

“Without any warning at all, we hear that Ecuador has closed down the country,” Elliott said. “No bus travel, no plane travel.”

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The Changing Tides of Ocean Beach – Electric Chair Gets a Make-Over

March 30, 2020 by Staff

The Electric Chair on Newport Ave gets a make-over. … And now, it’s gone.

Thanks to Steve O from Kilowatt to keep us up to date. Here’s what it used to look like:

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In the Midst of this Disastrous Failure of Public Policy – ‘There Should Be Shame’

March 30, 2020 by Jim Miller

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is Right

By Jim Miller

Last week in the lead up to the passage of the massive stimulus bill by Congress, I argued that “Whichever package emerges today from the Congress will not be nearly enough to help the majority of Americans weather this crisis.

Trump’s hesitance to use the tools of government to take more effective collective action is a predictable product of thirty years of rightwing ideological assault against not just ‘big government,’ but the government period.” Instead of band aids, I noted, “the only effective answer is massive government action and spending on things that will help protect the health of Americans and save them economically in a bottom up fashion.”

Of course, what we got from Congress was bailouts and band aids,

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San Diego Union Calls for Action in Support of Grocery, Pharmacy and Other Healthcare and Retail Workers

March 27, 2020 by Source

UFCW Local 135 demands that their essential members be designated as emergency frontline personnel in the state of California

Working long hours and exposed to large volumes of customers and patients, essential retail store workers, and pharmacy and other healthcare professionals are unsung heroes on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, leadership from the state, county, and cities in San Diego, must do everything in their power to support and protect them.

UFCW Local 135 calls on the state of California to designate their essential members as emergency frontline personnel. This must include, at a minimum:

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3 San Diego Lifeguards Test Positive for COVID-19 But City Ends Quarantine

March 27, 2020 by Source

By Edward Harris

Three San Diego Lifeguards have tested positive for COVID-19.

Up until March 26th, employees for the San Diego Lifeguard Service and San Diego Fire Dept. were quarantined if they were showing symptoms or if they had been exposed to someone who had tested positive.

The City of San Diego and Fire Chief Colin Stowell have made a unilateral decision to end this practice.

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Latest San Diego News on COVID-19 Crisis

March 27, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Editordude: Realizing that many OBceans and San Diegans do not have access to up-to-date news from San Diego, below is an effort to keep abreast of city and county news relating to the COVID-19 crisis. (Most of this is right from the SD Union-Tribune with some editing for brevity and clarity.)

  • A third San Diego County resident has died of COVID-19, an 87-year-old woman;
  • a new cluster of infected people has been identified at an assisted-living community in Rancho San Diego; four employees of La Vida Real, a senior living community had tested positive for the disease; this cluster is the fifth in the county, including a cluster of five people who tested positive at the Veterans Affairs office in Mission Valley, which was confirmed Wednesday.
  • the county had reported 341 cases of infected residents, an increase of 64 in one day, announced Thursday.
  • Three San Diego Lifeguards have tested positive; ”
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OB Walkabout: The Plague Year

March 26, 2020 by Staff

by Joaquin Antique

In years past, the OB Rag‘s Walkabout series has tried to provide humorous and enlightening photo essays that capture the beauty and weirdness of Ocean Beach. On occasion it’s even been successful.

During the past week this reporter has walked the mean streets of Ocean Beach in search of elusive necessities such as hand sanitizer, rice, and prescription meds. In the process, a few photos have been taken that show some of our town’s varied responses to this horrible situation that has impacted every aspect of life in our community.

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Living Through a Real Nightmare Everyday

March 26, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Had a fright
in my sleep
the other night,
dreaming one of those dreams
where you’re
fighting for your life
but you can’t move
or scream
and suddenly you
spring to
an up position in your bed,
saying to yourself,
in relief,
“Oh, thank goodness
that was a dream.”

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Widder Curry Raves: The Angels Among Us

March 26, 2020 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

In this very contemptuous time that we are living in, where many people are in violent disagreement with their neighbors, it is so refreshing to know that those disagreements can be put aside and “neighbor helping neighbor” shines through the clouds.

There are many people struggling right now to make ends meet; to put food on the table; to purchase prescription drugs, etc. Many of those people are “Senior Citizens” – referred to by that horrible word, “elderly” in today’s society. Being a “senior” does not make us elderly, but that is another story.

A group of “restaurateurs”, bakers, interested people have started an organization entitled, “Stayhomesd.com” – a “grocery assistance program for the elderly.” (Damn!). Their aim is specifically for those residents that are 65 and older, but if there are others with compromised situations something may be able to be worked out for them.

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‘Die for the DOW’

March 25, 2020 by Staff

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News for Ocean Beach and Point Loma Residents During the Time of Coronavirus

March 25, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

*** County Supervisors Okay Moratorium on Residential, Commercial Evictions
*** Prospective Jurors Dismissed Thru May 22
*** San Diego Schools: Online Classes and Grading
*** 500 San Diego Area Restaurants Offer Take-Out
*** Order Foods From Local Farms
*** Homeless Advocates and Public Health Experts Warn San Diego About Policies Against People Living in Vehicles
*** California Fishing Industry Hard Hit by Coronavirus
*** UCSD Begins Testing of Experimental Drug to Fight Coronavirus
*** San Diego Company to Build More Ventilators
*** Want a Good Laugh? Hotels Now Live-Streaming So We Can Pretend We’re On Vacation
*** ‘Now’s not the time’: Joshua Tree National Park closed to campers and cars, but crowds keep coming

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Pressure on Ocean Beach and SoCal Surfers to Stop Surfing During Coronavirus Shut-Down

March 25, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

There’s a lot of pressure on OB and SoCal surfers right now to stop surfing during this coronavirus shut-down. As local cases and deaths mount, government has had to respond to the ignoring of pleas from the Governor on down to the mayor to get off the beach. The front page of the San Diego Union-Tribune for today, Wednesday, March 25, showed SDPD officers stopping a surfer from going down the stairs at Sunset Cliffs. The City of San Diego was forced to shut beach and coastal parking lots because many didn’t take the warning seriously at the beach and in the ocean.

One of the largest surf websites, Surfline, issued this statement:

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Are We Engaging in Social Change? 

March 23, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

This COVID-19 thing
is so far beyond
anything I’ve ever seen,
disease-wise,
and I’ve
been around a
health scare or two,
born to a mother
who, because she
had lost a lung to TB,
raised me
to practically seek cover
when someone coughs
or happens to sneeze,
to not, for goodness sake,
ever eat off somebody’s plate
or take a sip of their soda or shake…

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Enter the Disaster Capitalists

March 23, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

We’ve seen this before: crisis as opportunity. Whether it be the ways the right-wing and corporate America took advantage of 9/11 to shape economic policy and the political landscape in their favor, the shameless opportunism in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, or the host of other ways that American society has been transformed for the worse by the power elite over the last few decades.

Here we go again.

As Naomi Klein commented last week :

Look, we know this script. In 2008, the last time we had a global financial meltdown, the same kinds of bad ideas for no-strings-attached corporate bailouts carried the day, and regular people around the world paid the price. And even that was entirely predictable.

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Park and Beach Parking Lots Closed by San Diego

March 23, 2020 by Source

By Phil Diehl and David Hernandez / San Diego Union-Tribune / March 22, 2020

In response to crowds seen in public across San Diego over the weekend, the city on Sunday closed parking lots at city parks and beaches in an effort to discourage gatherings and encourage social distancing under a statewide stay-at-home order.

“Public health officials are clear that gatherings of any size can lead to the spread of COVID-19, which is why they continue to be prohibited everywhere, including at beaches and parks,” San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell said. “Local and state rules limiting groups have been in effect for days, so this should not be a surprise to anyone.”

Lifeguard Division Chief James Gartland said people can still walk, run or ride a bike, so long as they abide by social distancing rules, which call on people to stay 6 feet away from others.

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Reader Rant: Keep San Diego’s Parks Open – They’re Essential

March 20, 2020 by Source

By La Mesa Reader

This morning, with my bicycle in the back, I drove up to my favorite place to bike to take a much needed break from being cooped up inside during this Coronavirus Shut-Down. As I approached the gate to Lake Murray, immediately I could see the gate was closed and a small sign announced something I’m sure about having to close the park as it wasn’t essential.

Now I know Lake Murray isn’t in Ocean Beach or Point Loma and I know I don’t live out at the coast. But I read the OBRag almost daily and thought its readers might be interested in these thoughts. I’m sure there’s plenty of parks in OB and Point Loma.

Finding the gate closed and locked kind of pissed me off – I need my exercise as an older person – and I have to mightily disagree with the notion and government policy of closing parks during the shut-down.

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First Day of Spring 2020 in Ocean Beach

March 19, 2020 by Staff

It’s the very first day of Spring 2020 in Ocean Beach.

One would never know it. Empty streets. Plenty of parking on Newport. Shops closed. No one on the beach under “blue” skies. The Pier Parking lot looking nearly empty.

This is our new reality.

Luckily for us, some OB Ragsters ventured out to record what they saw – and didn’t see.

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Bry’s Lead Expands to 444 Votes Over Sherman for Second Slot in Vote for San Diego Mayor

March 19, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

By David Garrick / San Diego Union-Tribune / March 19, 2020

Barbara Bry widened her lead over Scott Sherman on Wednesday, March 18 for the second slot In a November runoff for San Diego mayor.

Bry’s lead Increased from 169 votes to 444 votes when the county Registrar of Voters added more late-arriving ballots to the candidate totals. Bry seems likely to keep the second slot, based on how the ballots have trended since the primary. The candidate who secures the second slot In the runoff will face Assembly-man Todd Gloria, who took to 444 votes over Sherman. Sherman are both on the City Council.

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The People Who Created the Peace Sign and Donated It to the Community of Ocean Beach Hope It Stays

March 19, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Now that we know the OB hostel will close and probably be sold to another investor, the question of the future of the iconic “OB Peace Sign” that has sat on the roof for years is front and center.

The Peace Sign – created by the OB Peace Rockers – was first installed atop the fabulous rock off Sunset Cliffs known as ‘Bird Shit Rock’, and then after its mysterious disappearance, it wound up being donated to the community of Ocean Beach and the folks at the then-OB International Hostel agreed to place it on their building. When the business was sold to USA Hostels, the new owners agreed to keep it.

And since it was given as a gift to Ocean Beach, the original creators hope it can stay atop the old building despite an ownership change.

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UC San Diego Researchers Working on Fast Test for Coronavirus

March 19, 2020 by Source

Researchers at UC San Diego are evaluating a new diagnostic testing system designed by an Orange County company that holds promise for identifying the novel coronavirus in as little as 45 minutes and typically within one hour.

Initial tests by Irvine-based Fluxergy using a synthetic COVID-19 virus suggest this system has the potential to dramatically reduce the time it takes to get results and deliver those results directly at the patient bedside. Such a test, if validated by physician-scientists at UCSD, would potentially eliminate the need to send patient samples to centralized labs, significantly speeding up the time it takes to get results.

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Elizabeth Sullivan’s Husband Found Guilty of Murdering Her and Dumping Her Body in Bay Off Point Loma

March 19, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Elizabeth Sullivan, a Point Loma Navy wife and mother of two girls, went missing in October of 20, 2014. Sullivan and her husband Matthew had been having marital problems. And he is the one who contacted police and filed a missing persons report.

Yet there was always something hinky about Matthew Sulllivan’s stories about her and her disappearance. The OB Rag took up the coverage of her missing, recovery and what transpired later to ensure her case wasn’t forgotten.

Over two years later, the search for her came to a tragic end when her body was found in San Diego Bay waters off the 2600 block of Farragut Road in October 2016 and she was finally identified on December 7 of that year.

At that point, police re-opened their investigation and began focusing on Matthew. And finally, on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018,

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The Vicious Attack on Sweetwater Union High School District

March 19, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican

Chula Vista, California

Superintendent Karen Janney and the school board at Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) have a target on their backs. In September 2018, new Chief Financial Officer, Jenny Salkeld, announced there was a $20 million dollar hole in the submitted 2018-2019 school year budget.

Salkeld had discovered a long smoldering budget irregularity. Janney immediately reported the budget issue to the County Office of Education and informed the bargaining units with whom she was negotiating about the new uncertainties. Since then, journalists looking for readers and politicians looking for opportunities have robustly slimed the district and its leaders.

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