By Colleen Cochran

A few weeks ago, despite the fact that many Santee citizens and citizens throughout San Diego County cried out in opposition to development in Santee’s pristine Fanita Hills, four Santee City Council members voted to approve an obscenely large testament to urban sprawl, a development called Fanita Ranch.

Those city council members, whose elections have been heavily funded by developer HomeFed, used a series of deceptive maneuvers in order to preclude citizens from having a say in whether Fanita Ranch would be built. Only Santee City Councilman Stephen Houlahan voted against Fanita Ranch, and he is the only council member who never accepts developer dollars.

Santee citizens did not take the council decision lying down. While HomeFed Vice President Jeff O’Connor and the four council members Rob McNelis, Laura Koval, Ronn Hall, and Mayor John Minto were gloating over their win, a band of Santee citizens dedicated to the well-being of their city were calculating how to turn the tables. They devised a referendum petition that would overturn the council’s decision and would instead grant citizens’ final approval authority over whether Fanita Ranch can be built.

Van Collinsworth, Director of Preserve Wild Santee.org, was the mastermind behind the referendum petition. For nearly three decades, he has been crafting strategies to thwart developer reign and enable Santee citizens to maintain control over their own city. It was through his leadership that citizens were able to fight and defeat two other large development plans formerly slated to be built in Santee’s Fanita Hills.

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By Roy McMakin

My husband and I were fortunate to able to put down roots in Bankers Hill when we returned to San Diego 8 years ago. The charms of the neighborhood are clear, but a key reason we have felt so comfortable is that the community clearly wasn’t locked in time.

While I personally mourn the absence of the Irving Gill masterpieces that were lost for growth, I also celebrate the enthusiasm with which the current residents accepted progress. During my time here the Bankers Hill community supported new luxury condo mid rises, affordable housing, new SROs, bike lanes, traffic calming/ slowing improvements and more. Essentially Bankers Hill said yes to all things in their front and back yards.

My education on what YIMBY means (Yes In My Back Yard) and YIMBY-ism is came when the community exercised their codified right to have input into the design of a luxury high rise rental on 6th Avenue. Our then Councilmember Todd Gloria had set the stage (as he was leaving his council role) for this lesson by doing a last minute community-input-less switcheroo on the Community Plan Update, which had been many years in the works. His unilateral changes included replacing the 150 foot height limit with an arcane provision in his substitute plan that he assured us was basically maintaining the height limit.

What the community didn’t realize was that Gloria and his successor, Chris Ward, knew that YIMBYs of San Diego (started by a developer lobbyist) would be there to provide an alternative ersatz community to provide cover for approving whatever the developer wanted to build.

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by Ernie McCray

Being a bit squeamish in this pandemic I hadn’t seen my family in a while but I saw some of them the other day in a neighborhood park.

Maria, my beautiful sidekick, and I were the first to arrive. And I had no idea when my offspring would appear as we are “see you when I get there” kind of folks.

So, I stretched my long self out in my beach chair and just scoped the scene, chuckling at a few squirrels playing “Stop and Go,” watching as children ran to and fro and I smiled and waved a “Hello” at a couple of passersby I know.

And then I looked up and saw Nyla, one of my twin daughters, coming towards me and shortly afterwards Tawny, the other half of the duo, drives up with her children, Lyric and Marley, and her sister’s little girl, Indigo.

Then my youngest son, Carlos, came and we were all good to go and I don’t know if I’ve ever felt, in my life, more sheer joy than what I felt in my moments with them that day, not to mention we were there basically on time – so there was no lost time.

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Thank you Friends of the OB Library

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Here are the OB Rag 2020 Election recommendations. Basically, we took Doug Porter’s recommendations – which we generally agree with – but reversed three of his recommendations. We recommend a “No” on Measure E which would erase the 30 foot height limit in the Midway District. We recommend Barbara Bry for Mayor and in the toss-up for City Attorney for San Diego, we recommend incumbent Mara Elliott. But thanks to Doug, who did a lot of research work, most of the other candidates and proposals we agree with are also outlined below.

San Diego Ballot Measures

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President Tweet and San Marcos Mayor Jones Meet the Virus

October 29, 2020 by Source

By Richard Riehl / October 28, 2020

Donald Trump says his use of social media, countering what he calls fake news, made him president. This morning, as I watched the DOW sink by more than 900 points (so much for his recovering economy), I came upon President Tweet’s latest rant:

Covid, Covid, Covid is the unified chant of the Fake News Lamestream Media. They will talk about nothing else until November 4th, when the election will be (hopefully!) over. Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, and many tests of young people.

Today’s CDC Covid 19 report suggests talk after Election Day will be mostly about what a failure he has been in fighting the spread of the virus. Here are the numbers for the last seven days [from Oct.28]:

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Students’ Experiences With COVID-19 at Point Loma Nazarene

October 29, 2020 by Source

By Katie Morris and Charis Johnston / lomabeat.com / October 26, 2020

Auggie Lam woke up on a Monday morning to an email stating he tested positive for COVID-19.

Lam, a first-year mechanical engineering major, said, “I immediately contacted every person I had been in contact with for the past week.”

Ashley Portillo, a first-year psychology major, awoke to a screenshot of the email confirming Auggie’s positive result at 7:30 a.m on Monday, which Lam had sent in a group chat.

“Auggie is a funny person so I was waiting for the ‘Psych! Gotcha!,’” she said. “[My friends and I] didn’t know how to respond. We just stood there with our phones. He was in all of our rooms; he was around us all the time. I hugged him. We were just in shock.”

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Prop. 17 Will Restore Voting Rights to 50,000 Reformed Californians

October 29, 2020 by Source

By Niki Martinez / Times of San Diego / October 29, 2020

Every second of every day since I completed my prison sentence, I have done everything I can to live my life with purpose, to help others, and to make amends for the mistake I made when I was 17 years old.

I work four jobs, helping other formerly incarcerated individuals overcome obstacles we face related to earning a degree, securing a job, or finding housing. I do this because I know how challenging and discouraging these obstacles can become, but also how important they are to our successful reentry to society. But under California law, many of us can’t rejoin society — not fully.

In the eyes of the state, neither best intentions, nor hard work, nor good deeds can earn me back my full citizenship. That’s because of a 19th century law that’s still part of California’s constitution that bars individuals who’ve completed their prison sentence from voting.

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‘What’s Natural About Sunset Cliffs Natural Park?’

October 28, 2020 by Staff

Originally posted Nov. 19, 2019

By Geoff Page

In October of last year [2018], I did some checking on why the Sunset Cliffs Park project was not yet finished. I contacted the city and the emails that follow tell the story. I’m not using the person’s name because there is no reason to cause him any difficulty as some of his responses might. This is a really sorry tale.

Oct. 16, 2018 – the response I got to my initial inquiry:

The contractor has been waiting for some materials that required a long lead time to obtain. These materials are scheduled to be delivered on site next week.

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Quality of Life Is On the Ballot

October 28, 2020 by Source

By Elizabeth Hansen / La Jolla Light / Oct. 27, 2020

It might not be obvious at first glance, but quality of life is on the ballot in the upcoming election. It doesn’t have its own proposition number, but it’s a key component in several measures and is a factor in the choice of every candidate.

From the perspectives of both supporters and opponents, a vote on Measure E is a quality-of-life decision.

In 1972, San Diegans voted in a 30-foot height limit for the coastal areas. Quality of life, they concluded, meant shorter buildings, ocean views and walking on public beaches.

Now, Measure E asks voters to remove the height limit in the Midway District, an area that stretches from the San Diego River on the north to San Diego Bay on the south and includes the MCRD [Marine Corps Recruit Depot] and the Pechanga Sports Arena. While the measure does not propose any specific development, proponents see it as an opportunity to increase housing density, modernize the 54-year-old sports arena and save the Midway District.

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‘I’ve Reported On Climate Disasters For 38 Years. Here’s What We Need To Do ASAP.’

October 28, 2020 by Source

“You no longer have to travel far to report on a climate disaster, as one will soon come to a neighborhood near you.”

By David Helvarg / HuffingtonPost / October27, 2020

Climate change is now election campaign news as we’re forced to focus on massive wildfires in the West, unprecedented numbers of Atlantic hurricanes, record-high temperatures, plus the impact of a global pandemic and a historic election in which President Donald Trump assures us the climate will soon cool and Joe Biden responds that Trump is a climate arsonist.

I’ve been reporting on the seemingly apocalyptic becoming the new abnormal for some time now.

It was during an interview with Roger Revelle for a San Diego magazine profile in 1982 that he acquainted me with the greenhouse effect caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

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Rally for Neighborhoods – ‘No on E’ at Sports Arena Front Entrance – Thurs., Oct.29, 3:30 PM

October 28, 2020 by Source

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Mayor Faulconer to Add Two More Notches to His Legacy Belt

October 27, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has about six weeks left in his occupation of the mayor’s office. Either Bry or Gloria – both Democrats – will be sworn in on December 10. And Faulconer will leave his stint in city politics, which included being the head executive since he won that special election in February 2014 when Bob Filner resigned. Before that, Faulconer was the councilmember for District 2 – which includes Ocean Beach and most of Point Loma, of course – for 8 years.

Yet, he is too young to retire. And riding on the history that with Kevin as mayor, San Diego was the largest city in America with a Republican mayor, a future political office is not out of the question. In fact, there’s been all kinds of speculations that he was positioning himself to run for California governor. To do that, he needs a legacy –

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OB Resister Sisters Ask You to Vote Because 225,000 Americans Can’t

October 27, 2020 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Resister Sisters are at it again, a week before the big election. This banner appeared over the east-bound Interstate 8 in Mission Valley.

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OB Rag Online Celebrates 13 Years

October 26, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Today, October 26, 2020 is the OB Rag’s 13th year as an online platform or “blog.”

It was early October in the year 2007 – George Bush was still president and the war in Iraq was in its 4th year. I lived in a small cottage on the 4600 block of Long Branch with Patty Jones.

It was a time when TV anchors and pundits parroted the Bush administration’s lies and newspapers – especially the Union-Tribune – were no better. The truth, it seemed, had no outlet, both nationally – and locally – and the media only presented the corporate narrative. Progressive ideas were being stymied -there was just one liberal news caster on TV at the time, for example.

So, we decided to publish our own news and information platform, named after OB’s “underground” newspaper that flourished in the first half of the 1970s. (Whose 50th anniversary we just celebrated in September.)

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OB Town Council Facebook Live Meeting Wed., Oct. 28: Two Projects With Direct Impact on Our Coast

October 26, 2020 by Staff

Please join the Ocean Beach Town Council on Facebook Live, Wednesday October 28rd at 7:00 pm for their Monthly Public Meeting.

At this month’s meeting, the OBTC is hosting presentations on two upcoming environmental projects that will directly impact our coastal community:

Park Ranger Araceli Dominguez will present on the OB Estuary Enhancement Project.

Matt O’Malley, Executive Director for SD Coastkeeper will present on the recently announced large scale aquaculture project and the potential impacts it could bring to our coastline.

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Bicycles Are Ruining Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

October 26, 2020 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

Recently, as some of you might remember, I wrote an article about the influx of rats that have inundated Sunset Cliffs and our neighborhood in South OB.

In that article I mentioned the amount of trash that is being generated by people having parties on Sunset Cliffs; food trucks parked in the parking lot selling food to passersby; walkers, joggers, runners, and bicycle riders that finish their snack – or their picnic – and just walk away from the trash that they have generated.

A situation has a new concern for me and others in the Sunset Cliffs area, that I have not mentioned, primarily because it happened after the article appeared.

A few days ago as I was driving south on Sunset Cliffs towards my home, when in the lane going north there had to be at least 100+ people riding their bikes.

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‘No on E’ Sign Seen on Voltaire in Ocean Beach

October 26, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

This sign was on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach over the weekend.

Photo by Kathy Blavatt

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Is Trump Burning Down the House On His Way Out?

October 26, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

What a week.

It started with a lackluster debate; then the President walking out of a 60- Minutes’ interview; continued with Trump, suggesting anew, that he might not accept a peaceful transfer of power.

Next came the late-breaking Axios report that, if Trump is re-elected, “he’ll move to immediately fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and also expects to replace CIA Director Gina Haspel and Defense Secretary Mark Esper.”

Then there is COVID-19. Friday’s news; over 83,000 new confirmed cases across the country, topping the U.S.’s previous single-day record of 75,687 in June.

These record-breaking counts keep mounting as does the public backlash.

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Education Is on the Ballot in San Diego this November 3rd

October 26, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

What can you do to help education in a time of crisis? Well, as I’ve written here in a couple of other columns, the most important thing is to vote Yes on Proposition 15, which would bring in $12 billion a year statewide and around $700 million to our region.

Given the lack of any new revenue from the state and federal levels, our schools and colleges are about to get hammered by budget cuts and years of austerity if we continue to do nothing. And that, in turn, will be bad for the economy and the social fabric of our communities.

Proposition 15 is the only game in town in terms of answers at this point. In my columns, I’ve noted that Prop 15 would leave homeowners untouched and (corporate talking points aside) it only affects commercial properties valued over $3 million. But far more important than the anti-15 campaign’s diversionary argument is the devastation that awaits our educational institutions if Proposition 15 fails.

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The Hubris of Jen Campbell

October 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Hubris

Hubris describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence, often in combination with (or synonymous with) arrogance.

Jen Campbell’s hubris is showing. The District 2 councilmember is suffering, it appears, from extreme or foolish pride and dangerous overconfidence. Her constituents have now learned that Campbell wants to be considered for City Council president. I wonder how many of them laughed out loud or said something else that’s unprintable when they heard this.

Jen Campbell for council president?

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Regional Water Board Vote Forces City to Consider ReWild Wetland Restoration Plan for Northeast Mission Bay

October 23, 2020 by Source

Unanimous Vote by Regional Water Quality Control Board in Support of Proposal for “Wildest” Plan from ReWild Coalition; No Guarantee City Will Choose It

In a unanimous vote following two hours of public testimony, the state Regional Water Quality Control Board for the San Diego region voted 6-0 October 14 in support of a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) that will enable the ReWild Mission Bay “Wildest” plan for wetland restoration in northeast Mission Bay to be considered at the same level as the city’s own plan.

Today’s decision marks the culmination of a two-year effort by the ReWild Coalition since the ReWild Mission Bay Wetlands Restoration Feasibility Study was released to the public in Sept. 2018.

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October 23 – a Bittersweet Day for the Widder Curry

October 23, 2020 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

Before I get into this more fully, I would like to thank all of you that gave me advice, gave me books, cited professionals as to whether or not I should attend my grandson’s wedding today. I truly appreciate all of the comments that were made – both negative and positive!

The day is now upon me and the decision to attend – or not attend – has been agonizing. I have 18 grandchildren (including a few “greats” in that number.) I am very close to all of them and talk to them frequently. Landon, the groom, is a twin and I attended his brother’s wedding just two years ago. Landon’s “best friend” – Tiffany, whom he will marry today, has been like a member of our family for at least 5 years, when the two of them began dating. I attended her graduation when she received her Master’s Degree, and I count her in as one of the aforementioned 18.

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Environmental Groups Sue to Block Fanita Ranch Project in Santee

October 23, 2020 by Source

From Times of San Diego / October 22, 2020

Four conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against Santee and its city council for approving a 2,600-acre housing development in an area the groups say is prone to wildfires and home to several threatened and endangered species.

The council approved the Fanita Ranch project late last month with a 4-1 vote. The project would include 2,949 homes, more than 1,600 acres of open space, a 30-acre organic farm, and a town center with restaurants, shopping, offices, an elementary school and fire station, according to HomeFed Fanita Rancho LLC, the development group behind the project. According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday by the Center for Biological Diversity, Preserve Wild Santee, Endangered Habitats League and California Chaparral Institute,

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The Sports Arena Redevelopment Proposal Mess

October 23, 2020 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The City of San Diego told the public that it received four proposals for redevelopment of the Sports Arena properties. They said two of the four proposals were rejected as “non-responsive” leaving only two choices.

To begin with, that the city only received four proposals was an indication of a problem. This is a billion-dollar redevelopment project. This should have attracted more than four proposers. When results like this are seen, it can mean several things, but suffice to say, the Request For Proposals (RFP) may have been badly crafted, or worse, intentionally crafted to discourage proposers. The result was that the citizens of this city were only offered two choices, when the RFP probably should have been redone.

These kinds of proposals are expensive to put together and the process is also expensive.

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Donna Frye: ‘Measure E Deserves a No Vote’

October 22, 2020 by Staff

Donna Frye came out today opposed to Measure E, the San Diego ballot proposition that would destroy the 30-foot height limit in the Midway area.

In today’s Letters to the Editor in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Frye called it “just plain wrong” to promote the idea that the Midway area can only be “successful” if the height limit is rescinded.

Frye- former councilwoman for San Diego and the “woman who should have been mayor,” also took the measure to task for not including any public benefit nor requiring any affordable housing.

Plus the “half-baked measure” was placed on the ballot “with no environmental review,” she wrote, and added, “The public has a right to know the impacts associated with the new height limit before, not after, giving their approval.” Frye hit on a number of facilities surrounding the myths about Measure E:

Measure E does not require affordable housing.

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Many San Diego County Pandemic Victims Go Uncounted

October 22, 2020 by Source

by Jill Castellano and Mary Plummer / inewsource / October 21, 2020

A 22-year-old died of an apparent overdose on his birthday after getting furloughed.

An 81-year-old with a chronic health condition couldn’t go to the gym and lost her life five months later.

A farmworker in a family of undocumented immigrants contracted COVID-19, but — too scared to share his personal information — was never tested. None of them are captured in the county’s official list of coronavirus deaths, but their families say all of them died because of the pandemic.

A review of state and county public health data finds many more people have died as a result of the pandemic than the San Diego County public health office has acknowledged publicly.

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Feeling Warm and Sunny

October 22, 2020 by Ernie McCray

Feeling Warm and Sunny

by Ernie McCray

It’s such a warm
and sunny feeling
to sense
human progress
in the air
like the other day
in a Zoom meeting
with a few athletes
at the U of A
about inclusion,
human beings being
valued for who they are,
me sharing
how, in my day,
there was little to no interest
in social
or political change,
how we athletes, in the main,
just played our games.

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Internal Police Review Says Officers Justified in Using Force in Arrest of Black Woman in Ocean Beach Last May

October 21, 2020 by Source

Do you recall the May 1 rough arrest of a Black woman walking her dog at the water’s edge in Ocean Beach?

An internal police investigation just determined that officers were justified in using force during her arrest. Not everyone agrees with this result and it actually gives more cause to vote for Measure B which would establish a real police-oversight board. We raised the issue five and a half months ago in our report:

The arrest and rough treatment Friday, May 1, of an African-American woman for walking her dog at Ocean Beach without a leash raises troubling questions.

A video taken of the incident shows a Black woman in a white bathing suit being taken into custody by several San Diego police officers, accompanied by a couple of lifeguard on the shores of Ocean Beach. She apparently had been noticed by lifeguards walking her dog without a leash.

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Measure B Gives San Diego Voters Chance to Finally Beef Up Police Oversight

October 21, 2020 by Source

By Claire Trageser / KPBS News / October 21, 2020

San Diego voters will have the opportunity in the November election to create more robust community oversight on the actions of police officers.

Activists wanted a stronger community review board for the police department back in 2016, but settled for Measure G, which made smaller changes.

Then they tried again in 2018, but the City Council did not act quickly enough to put the measure on the ballot.

Now, in 2020, Measure B is asking voters to create a Commission on Police Practices, which would have members appointed by the City Council, its own staff, an independent attorney and the power to subpoena and conduct investigations into police officer misconduct.

The commission would also review complaints against officers and investigate in-custody deaths, shootings by police and other allegations of misconduct. Finally, it would make recommendations on police officer discipline and police policies.

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Viva La Resistance: For Fighting vs. ‘Done Deals’ in San Diego

October 21, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

How many times have you heard, “Don’t bother. The fix is in. It’s a done deal?”

Don’t fight City Hall. You can’t win. You don’t have the votes. It’s a done deal.

No longer true.

Look at the big win just achieved by those who fought against the Port’s land grab in Point Loma?

Portrayed by the “insiders” as just some rich people wanting to save two docks, when in reality it was hundreds of locals resisting a cement promenade (to replace the dirt path) that would stretch from Kellogg’s beach, wrap around the Yacht Club, down Shelter Island; all the way to the Friendship Bell and Harbor Police office.

All this to provide 1,600 new hotel rooms on the already crowded Shelter Island. After more than 3,000 comments and massive local resistance, the Port changed the “done deal.” The Port will no longer allow additional hotel rooms on Shelter Island.

A major victory for the resistance.

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