‘We’re Watching You’ – Surveillance Cameras to Be Installed On OB Pier and Around Mission Bay

by on March 22, 2010 · 57 comments

in Civil Rights, Ocean Beach, Popular, San Diego


Model of surveillance camera. The City is worried that people will shoot at this model, so they are looking to place some kind of protective cover over the cameras. The cameras will have a 360 degree vision with a capacity of 300 yards, night vision, and be operating 24/7.

City Government Enters Official Bid Process for Public Surveillance System In Beach Areas – Including OB Pier

Winston Smith, you’d better touch those toes. And don’t bend your knees to do it either, because Big Brother’s watching, and if you cheat, he’s gonna know. [Editor: in case you are not familiar with the novel, Winston Smith is the main character in George Orwell’s “1984.”]

It may be a couple decades late, but 1984 has finally arrived – government surveillance cameras are soon to be installed in a handful of locations along the San Diego coast, kicking off a program that seems destined for expansion into a spectrum that could one day encompass every public space in America (and whatever private spaces aren’t protected by a heat-shielding drawn curtain). It might soon be time to bust out those tin-foil-lined hats.

Pier camera 03

One possible view of the surveillance camera if placed near the gate of the OB Pier. This and all remaining photos by PSD.

One of this site’s founders, Frank Gormlie, reported almost a year ago on a plan formulated by the city to install a handful of cameras to remotely monitor our beaches (see his original article ).

Back then, the story line as espoused by the folks in the know that we generally call San Diego city staffers was that these cameras were going to be installed in order to monitor for potential water polluters and as an aid to lifeguards, who would apparently henceforth monitor for distraught swimmers via remote video monitoring stations rather than from shacks on the beach, as the budget for staff was at the time being reduced by Mayor Sanders and the City Council. How they intended to dive into the water to save a swimmer in danger from an undisclosed remote location is still unclear to me.

Pier camera 04

300 yards is quite a distance. The Ocean Spray apartments are much closer than that.

But, as it turns out, the cameras aren’t really being installed for the benefit of the lifeguards, it’s just that the city is pulling money for their installation from the budget of the “Fire-Rescue Department, Lifeguard Division.”

The actual operators are going to be non-department-specific city employees, most likely following the marching orders of the SDPD, Department of Homeland Security, and FBI. At least that’s my take after reading the 97 page “Request for Proposal” document soliciting bids for the installation of these cameras, available for your insomnia-curing pleasure and further education here and summarized with my own cynical slant for the duration of this commentary.

First off, the nuts and bolts…

1. The city wants to install, for starters, up to 16 cameras, in their words “to monitor vessel, vehicle, and pedestrian traffic in and around Mission Bay and the Mission Bay Channel entrance.”

2. The initial proposed sites for these cameras are as follows (note only one proposed in OB at present):

  • Ocean Beach Pier
  • Mission Point, North.
  • Hospitality Point
  • Lifeguard Headquarters, parking lot
  • Lifeguard Headquarters, operations yard and dock
  • Dana Landing Boat Launch
  • Vacation Island, South-West corner
  • Ski Beach Boat Launch
  • Ski Beach, North-East
  • South Shores Boat Launch
  • Entrance to Fiesta Island
  • De Anza Boat Launch
  • Crown Point Shores
  • Santa Clara Place, East side of the South parking lot
  • Riviera Shores, South
  • De Anza Mobile Home Park, South.

3. These cameras will have 360 degree rotation, be able to zoom in on an object up to 300 yards (that’s 3 football fields) away “with quality that is acceptable to court and evidence standards.”

The cameras shall be designed with night vision and infrared to shoot 24/7, they will store video for at least 7 days, they shall be designed to withstand extreme weather conditions including rain and snow (yes, the contract writer specified snowproof cameras must be provided), and all equipment must be enshrouded in a bullet-resistant dome.

4. Though the title of the document and subsequent assertions state that the Lifeguard Division is seeking the contract, Section E(4) of the contract states:

“The network of cameras shall be utilized for law enforcement purposes by local, state, and federal agencies.”

5. The cameras will be controlled from a remote location via internet protocol, with individual users having view-only or camera control access according to their assigned login. Digital video recorder (DVR) devices will also be present at each site, backing up all internet-transmitted data for 7 days.

6. The contract for the cameras will also include the design and setup of an office somewhere on city property for monitoring equipment, training for up to 20 city employees on camera operation, a detailed proposal for system upgrades and expansion, and at least 3 years of maintenance and support (renewable for 2 more years at the city’s option).

7. Funding for these cameras is coming to the Lifeguard division through the Urban Area Security Initiative, a bill drafted in the wake of 9/11 by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and intended to drive money for anti-terrorism measures to areas where the perceived threat of attacks was highest.

Some Odds and Ends

If you’ve never really read a city contract proposal, let me tell you right now that they’re filled with contradictory provisions and absurd requirements. While I understand the need to be thorough and to ensure proposals meet the guidelines of what’s being proposed, 97 (ninety-seven) pages seems to border a bit on the ludicrous.

So does a requirement stating that the selected contractor provide an auto insurance endorsement covering every city employee and elected official prior to starting work, in case one of them borrows a company truck (page 32). There’s also a provision that states the contractor, and not the city, shall bear the cost of defending any lawsuits brought should the city fail to honor a California Public Records Act request for camera footage (page 73).

There are at least three pages dedicated to the billing process the vendor will have to follow. The city also encourages the contractor to offer a ‘prompt payment discount’ to the city if bills are paid within 20 days of coming due (page 21).

The contractor will have to research whether what the city’s requesting is even legal within the scope of its own laws and building codes. If any aspect of the camera installation is prohibited by the city, the contractor has to submit a written evaluation of the law, including suggestions for how the city should go about amending the law to allow the installation to happen (page 35).


While Frank and some others like sdnews.com, a collective of community newspapers including the Peninsula Beacon were raising awareness about the camera proposal as far back as a year ago, the formal bid request process began on March 5. A gathering of interested contractors was held on Tuesday the 16th, and the open period for comments and questions ended last Thursday, the 18th. All proposals are due by the 30th, and the city is expected to green-light one of them within 90 days.

Dave’s Biased and Left-leaning Commentary

I hate the idea of these things. The big-government mantra (on both the red and blue sides) is that if you’re not doing anything wrong, you shouldn’t mind being watched. That other people who would do something wrong will now be scared out of doing it, because they’re being watched. The more we know about you, the better we can protect you from yourselves.

I just think this is a perfect example of slippery slope theory: once they can get away with the red light cameras, they try these, once these work they install more of them, eventually every public space and a lot of supposedly private ones are in someone’s sites. For proof look no further than the recently-implemented airport screening devices at Lindbergh airport, or even Google maps – I was pretty shocked to find out I could zoom in close enough to read my neighbor’s license plate in the parking lot and see in my front bedroom window pretty clearly using their street view feature to check out my apartment.

I hate that the city isn’t being straightforward with its residents about the true purpose of the cameras. When they first went public with the idea, it was in the wake of contaminants being dumped into Mission Bay. These cameras, we were told, would’ve caught whoever was responsible. It was simultaneously announced that the city was laying off two lifeguards due to budget cuts, and that water quality testing and monitoring was going to be cut by about 70% in and around the bay.

I’ll remind you here that although the original contract is going to be funded by an anti-terrorism grant, since the Lifeguard division is going to own the system, its ongoing maintenance is probably going to be their responsibility. The Lifeguard division that can’t even afford all of its lifeguards.

On the lifeguard subject, what good are these cameras going to be for lifeguards? Someone can watch a kid drowning from a remote location, but wouldn’t you rather have that person watching from a lifeguard tower where they can paddle out and drag the swimmer ashore?

I understand there’s some implied forfeiture of privacy expectations when out in public, but what about when you’re in the privacy of your own home? With a 300 yard zoom and night vision capabilities, it’s quite possible, depending on where on the pier the camera is located, that it could peek through windows of people living around the end of Niagra, or in the Silver Spray apartment building.

In European cities like London that have been blanketed with similar systems for years, there have already been some controversies involving pretty girls, open curtains, and camera operators that haven’t always focused on watching the streets.

If the purpose of this surveillance system is law enforcement, whether it’s for DHS to look out to sea for boats that might be smuggling drugs or immigrants, for SDPD to keep an eye on the drug dealers down at the base of the pier, to capture video of drunks stumbling from bars to the parking lot, or anything else, I think the city should be straightforward about that. And the money shouldn’t be coming from Fire (under which the Lifeguard division is classified), since they seem to quite obviously be secondary users, if they’re even going to use the things at all. Right now, it just seems to me like a backdoor way for an ex-cop mayor to sneak funding to the police.

I didn’t see anything mentioned regarding a public comment period or public notice regarding the project, either in the proposal request itself or on any of the snippets I came across during a limited web search. The article linked from sdnews above, however, seems to treat the issue as if it’s a done deal, and that was published a year ago.

Could it really be that these arrangements slipped under all of our noses unnoticed? Or is this the kind of thing that the government doesn’t ask its citizens if they want before foisting it upon them? I’m more of a broad spectrum kind of guy who doesn’t know much about the minutiae of these things, so if anyone wants to expand in the comment section, I’d love to hear.

Where will the OB Pier Camera be installed?

The first 4 are looking back to land from around the gate, where I think the likely camera location is – the illustrative point is that a very clear view could be provided into the interior of a lot of residential units. The next 2 are from farther down the pier out past the restaurant. I focused on the entrance to Mission Bay, because if the camera was out there the only purpose I could see would be for it to monitor boat traffic in and out of the channel (which is quite possible, given that all the other cameras involved in the project seem to have a Mission Bay theme). The last three are looking up and down the pier from around the cafe, which I guesstimate to be about 300 yards out. If the camera were to be mounted there, it could monitor the whole pier, but not much land-based activity.

{ 57 comments… read them below or add one }

George March 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I suppose it’s possible that boat traffic is the main target, seeing as we’ve had a number of local cases involving smugglers using boats off our shores. If that’s the reason for the camera at OB, I would think the outside end of the pier would be the only appropriate place for it. Those other possibilities in your photos would not make any sense, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a camera eventually appeared near the gate for surveillance of the entrance to the pier and probably the area surrounding the foot of Newport as well. And I agree, the funding for this looks very fishy.


annagrace March 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm

The Homeland Security Department has become both a sacred cow and a cash cow. We should be very, very concerned on both counts. Our tax dollars will continue to be shoveled into this department because it is so easy to sow fear and anger on the subject of “terrorism.” The ongoing intrusion of the department into the privacy of citizens cuts against our most basic democratic principles. Private contractors, who manufacture and install these expensive pieces of equipment have everything to gain by taking many of the technologies used in wars ( the sound cannon, brought out during a town hall meeting for example) and pitching those technologies to municipalities. Fear is big business. Invest your tax dollars.

PSD- it would be interesting to get a follow up on who exactly gets the contract, with some information about the contractor. Thanks for the article.


Nate Hipple March 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm

What good are cameras if something happens? If there’s a swimmer is in distress, I hope there’s a lifeguard nearby. If somebody’s purse gets snatched, the camera’s not gonna chase the thief. Spend the money on people!


Cat310 March 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Excellent. See all, know all.


Wireless Mike March 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

If the camera were located at the gate on the pier, a 300 yard range would allow it to see as far as the parking lot by the lifeguard station, and up Niagara past Bacon St. Looking out the pier, the camera could only see a little more than halfway to the restaurant. That means the camera would not be very useful for monitoring boat traffic, but it could spy on anyone on the beach, the wall or walkways anywhere from the old salt water pool up to the lifeguard station.

And why would federal agencies be concerned with watching over swimmers and surfers?


Larry OB March 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Look at the OB Pier in Google maps (sat mode), zoom in on the roof, and you will see a large pentagram. Privacy just ain’t what it used to be. How about infrared capable cameras? Then the lifeguards could finally tell just exactly who was pissing in their wetsuit….a crime that has gone unpunished for far too long. And you fisherman on the pier that like to overhead cast…your days are numbered. The Knights Templar will be watching.


obfuzz March 22, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I hate cameras too. Stop!! Or I’ll video tape you!! People just go do illegal things where the cameras don’t tape. I hate red light cameras too. But it does take away complaints that our enforcement is unfair or targeted towards certain people… because everyone gets a ticket for it.


Sarah March 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Well, hell at our house we ought to be able to leave our doors and windows open and never be afraid of being burgled, since the camera can see pretty much right into our home.



Frank Gormlie March 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Thanks PSD for covering this, and wading through the loooong RFP. This is an important issue for all of us, not just those who live around the pier. This is a giant step towards Big Brother. Combine these cameras with the Police tower that was used at Floatopia last weekend, and you certainly have what civil libertarians would call the mask of a police state. But oh – no, not us.


annagrace March 22, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Did Homeland Security pay for the nifty Police Tower??? Wonder how much it cost…


Ali March 22, 2010 at 6:18 pm

I looked at the Google sat picture of the pier restaurant – it’s actually a pentacle, not a pentagram.


George March 22, 2010 at 11:46 pm
PSD March 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

George – you could indeed be right that surveillance of boats is the focus of the camera. Given that, at the end of the pier focusing on the entrance to the Mission Bay channel would be the optimal spot for it. But from Google maps it looks like the tip of the pier is at least 500 yards away, or 200 yards outside the range of this camera. 300 yards is a lot of people-scanning capability, but it doesn’t do much for watching something as vast as the ocean. That’s why I believe the pier entrance, where the foot of Newport and the most populated area of the pier would be the likely watch spot. And yeah, what really chaps me about the project is that it seems to be a strictly law-enforcement expenditure wrapped in Fire/Lifeguard funding.

Anna – I agree the whole concept of the DHS is a scary one, especially as it cooperates with local law enforcement agencies and militarizes the management of ordinary citizens. And I’m sure that either I or someone else will follow up on this in a few months when the contract is awarded and the work order goes public, if not sooner.

Mike – yeah, a little simple measuring of maps would’ve told me it’s about 500 yards to the restaurant from the pier gate. Which means a camera placed there wouldn’t have much value for boat-watching…but it also illustrates how 300 yards isn’t really all that far, so even if you could see 300 yards off the edge of the pier, what would the point be?


doug porter March 22, 2010 at 8:27 pm

as was pointed out in the article, the $$$ for this system is coming from the Department of Homeland Security. So the citizens of Ocean Beach should sleep a little better knowing that if the Taliban decides to invade by sea, those cameras will be there to catch them.


Dave Sparling March 22, 2010 at 10:16 pm

I have always wondered which one is the real pervert, the guy doing stuff in the public restroom room or the undercover cop hiding in the restroom room trying to catch a pervert. We must accept the fact that we live in a crazy security intense world. We can never again be protected from those who want to protect us.


BillRayDrums March 23, 2010 at 12:27 am

I’ll make sure to moon them every AM. :D


UpRising March 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm

LMAO I wuz thinkin a bunch of us should all line up n down the pier & moon the camz


Molly March 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm

Okay everybody – take a deep breath! The cameras are a travesty upon our rights, and we must stop them from being installed (although I agree mooning them would be fun) – okay, stop them before all we can do is moon them. Okay, read 1984 if you haven’t lately. No more cameras, no more police towers, no more Big Brother. Either we draw the line against BB here or allow him to take more and more control of all the public space and increasingly the private space.


Sarah March 23, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Spray paint


PSD March 23, 2010 at 9:21 pm

I was kinda thinking these things might be built to be bulletproof, but how do you make them black-rattle-can proof?


Abby March 24, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Hmm, give the taggers something productive to do?


Gary Ghirardi March 23, 2010 at 5:42 am

….the emergence of a $100 billion market for security goods and services…..There are an estimated 4.25 million CCTV cameras installed in the UK…….Missile market to grow to $100 billion by 2015; missiles for air defense to account for large share…….Russia, which this year sealed Chinese oil contracts valued at $100 billion, is now negotiating an agreement that would make China OAO Gazprom’s biggest customer for natural gas…….Raytheon, EADS, Lockheed Martin, Thales, QinetiQ, General Dynamics, SAAB, RBS and GE………..wake up and see your future


Abby March 23, 2010 at 7:27 am

I think we should get together to put on shows for the cameras!


Gary Ghirardi March 23, 2010 at 9:02 am

That is a great idea and could be a new venue for political protest. But not for those watching the cameras….. On London’s Surveillance Cameras

A recent report has concluded that the London’s surveillance cameras have solved one crime per thousand cameras per year.

David Davis MP, the former shadow home secretary, said: “It should provoke a long overdue rethink on where the crime prevention budget is being spent.”

He added: “CCTV leads to massive expense and minimum effectiveness.

“It creates a huge intrusion on privacy, yet provides little or no improvement in security.


Earlier this year separate research commissioned by the Home Office suggested that the cameras had done virtually nothing to cut crime, but were most effective in preventing vehicle crimes in car parks.

A report by a House of Lords committee also said that £500 million was spent on new cameras in the 10 years to 2006, money which could have been spent on street lighting or neighbourhood crime prevention initiatives.

A large proportion of the cash has been In London, where an estimated £200 million so far has been spent on the cameras. This suggests that each crime has cost £20,000 to detect.

I haven’t seen the report, but I know it’s hard to figure out when a crime has been “solved” by a surveillance camera. To me, the crime has to have been unsolvable without the cameras. Repeatedly I see pro-camera lobbyists pointing to the surveillance-camera images that identified the 7/7 London Transport bombers, but it is obvious that they would have been identified even without the cameras.

And it would really help my understanding of that £20,000 figure (I assume it is calculated from £200 million for the cameras times 1 in 1000 cameras used to solve a crime per year divided by ten years) if I knew what sorts of crimes the cameras “solved.” If the £200 million solved 10,000 murders, it might very well be a good security trade-off. But my guess is that most of the crimes were of a much lower level.

Cameras are largely security theater:

A Home Office spokeswoman said CCTVs “help communities feel safer”.


Gary Ghirardi March 23, 2010 at 9:07 am

An excellent article came out recently on the security and surveillance trends worldwide in Canada’s Global Research web site, called: Beyond Orwell: The Electronic Police State, 2010 . Within the article is a link to a report (PDF) that lists the rate of declining freedom from this type of government abuse worldwide and the map and findings are revealing:




jettyboy March 23, 2010 at 9:25 am

In case you don’t know there is already a camera installed that the police and anyone can use to watch the seawall and beach.
It’s on the roof of the hotel on the corner.



Frank Gormlie March 23, 2010 at 11:28 am

Sure, the OBMA runs it. I don’t think the quality is all that good.


PSD March 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm

While it’s certainly not up to snuff as far as these new ones are concerned, it’s not all that bad. I just turned it on for a minute and watched what appeared to be someone buying an eighth next to the big rock…


Ernie McCray March 23, 2010 at 10:19 am

Man, all of a sudden I feel like now when I’m in OB instead of wearing my shorts and beat up running shoes I’m going to have to “dress for success” so I can look sharp in front of the cameras and have somebody in Homeland Security go: “Wow, look, that is one good looking 71 year old African American. Call your friend over at Ebony Magazine.”
Oh, it’s all so ridiculous.


steve billinghurst March 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Every kind of illegal drug is available at the Ocean Beach sea wall.


Larry OB March 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm

The tower at the original Ocean Beach lifeguard/police station had windows looking in all four directions. See photo:



Frank Gormlie March 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm

The police station flooded one year, long, long ago, I think in the thirties. I recall the event being on my OB History Calendar of 1975.


steve billinghurst March 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I’ll bite. I wonder what made them do that. Larry?


Larry OB March 24, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Well I certainly don’t think it was so they could invade anyones privacy. The jobs of the police and lifeguards have always been intertwined. So the tower that looks in four directions doesn’t surprise me too much. There might have been a rowdy dance hall across the street back then. The fact that station is closer to Newport Avenue than the center of Ocean Beach, shows that the focus was on law enforcement not lifeguarding. Personally I’d rather have lifeguards that don’t have to be police.


UpRising March 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm

I didn’t realize STONERS, Skaters, Fisherman, photographers & Beer drinkers were Such a threat to OUR Nation’s security LMAO!!!

It’s like I ALWAYZ tell my friends “we the people” NEVER get a say or VOTE on stuff that REALLY matters … Stuff like this, that involves our right to PRIVACY!!! …

******************* BRING BACK THE FIRE RINGS !!! **********************


Frank Gormlie March 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm

The fire rings are NOT gone yet! We have to save them!


steve billinghurst March 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Anyway, the lifeguard/police station TODAY is a lifeguard station and a little portable police station. In the lifeguard station Men’s room I found a leather belt. My five-year old son has to go in there. I took the belt out to the lifeguards, young, smiling, males, shirtless. I wrapped it around my upper arm and held it tight with my teeth. “See that?” I said through my clenched teeth. I released the pressure and tossed the belt in their trash can in front of them. “That’s what they use that for.” He said, “We are not for it.” I tell you this: if I did some spot checks in those rest rooms, under the rim or whatever, I know that I am going to find some works very soon.

I have had some people tell me that they know people who would kick my ass for talking like this. Naw. People in OB assault people and can’t remember why the next day. It ain’t like they have something resembling a reason. And I am sure that if they give it some thought, they will decide in favor of taking another hit rather than to skate out on the thin ice of a daring daylight assault.

And you, PSD, here is your last line:
“If the camera were to be mounted there, it could monitor the whole pier, but not much land-based activity.”
That’s what you left ringing in the reader’s ears (oh, so that explains Larry OB’s comment that the tower once looked in four directions).
Well, I for one don’t think it’s important. I think it’s important to call drug-dealing by its rightful name, not “land-based activities.” This is OB. There are no exceptions to the scouring out of the lawless open-air drug markets but right there. Kicks just keep gettin’ harder to find.

You got a keyboard, PSD. In the future, I suggest you use it to describe the situation, not to leave it to the reader’s imagination.


Ernie McCray March 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Speaking of leaving something to the reader’s imagination let me see if I got this right. You picked up a belt from the crapper in the lifeguard station’s bathroom and clenched it in your teeth? Was that not wise or is that, to quote the Temptations: “Just my imagination running away with me…”


steve billinghurst March 23, 2010 at 5:24 pm

I exaggerated. I took a little literary license, to pass the image of …to make a point. Do you think I just wanted to sink a point—jk.

No, seriously, the OB area is the last anachronism of a bygone time of rampant drug use, largely quelled. You will thank me later. It is not something I cotton to, that I appreciate. You in OB should stand up for legalization against the drug war and the runaway police state and imprisonment and stop playing the game by the government’s rules. Just using these lost souls as some sort of tourist attraction is hardly setting an example of democratic ideals.

While you are at it, you should not have a peace symbol on your banner at the OB Rag. You are conflicted that your decadent way of life seems to require that you support the wars in order to supply the gasoline to drive your SUVs to the war protest! You are confused.


mehdi March 23, 2010 at 4:48 pm

its funny how theyre proposing to set up all these surveillance cameras which require funds, while theyre gonna remove the firepits. stupid.


1984 March 23, 2010 at 5:03 pm

omg are you fcking kidding me!?!? … what can we do about it …. what are our options to stop this .. instead of going over and over about how dcked up it all is … give us some options to weasel out of it … the privacy issues aside, how much will it cost our crooked city and government say over the next 5 years? and if it is forced upon us will they offer us to have public cameras that will watch the people watching us … I just dont get it, the overwhelming, damning evidence about how in all directions this sucks ..


1984 March 23, 2010 at 5:22 pm

we should be able to atleast be able to look at what they are looking at, if they are doing nothing wrong, then they have nothing to hide right?? haha omfg this is soooo stupid … horray for everyone that is over 60 and supports all this crap, that where i feel the real problem is … OLD PEOPLE can be talked into anything, over and over and over again … we get pissed when some internet scam talks them into giving money, but its all good when the government talks them into allowing them to scam all of us.
bring back 81 and kick all of these bleeding hearted yuppies out of OB and take the cops, the parking police and the lifeguard ticket books with you .. lifeguards that can give tickets .. so stupid haha


1984 March 23, 2010 at 5:25 pm

just another scam to make money


1984 March 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm

what do you think the total bill will be for removing all of the firepits to include man hours please : )


1984 March 23, 2010 at 5:30 pm

wow steve … I dont want you to leave so fast now … I’m so confused lol
“You in OB should stand up for legalization against the drug war and the runaway police state and imprisonment and stop playing the game by the government’s rules.”

how should we do this steve?


steve billinghurst March 23, 2010 at 6:01 pm

To answer how that is done, please recognize that the most powerful army in history, the United States Army, suffered defeat against a largely peasant army, but it lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the people, mainly by treating them as insignificant.

That was Vietnam, but it wasn’t everyone who beat them, it was mutiny among their own troops. Now, those who busy sucking up drugs are not the front-line activists who will ultimately end the drug war if they just smoke enough. If you aren’t in a position to lay the war at their doorstep, don’t expect a lot of consumption to give you the qualifications.

It no longer becomes cost-effective to continue the prohibition.

How does it do that? Well, let’s take a look at Vietnam: the grunts were low-level and were tasked with making enemy contact. They turned around and assassinated their immediate superiors. Some say that a message as simple as placing a grenade pin on the officer’s bunk would do the trick.

I don’t say that, because I knew some pretty desperate cutthroats in San Diego in the ‘Seventies, and I was told that a man on the toilet was vulnerable, and that makes sense. It is not a duel, it is a phantom fragging. Or if you prefer, Anonymous did it.

But the main thing about it is that it is mayhem, it is going postal, it is running amok. It is as if nature decided. I won’t back down. I hearsay that history is not always by the hand of man. It can be told in epidemics, earthquakes, hurricanes and things of this nature.

Don’t expect them to declare drugs legal, just allow them their self-respect to keep the laws on the books but them not to have the will to enforce them any longer. Maybe their prisons are in riots, who knows?

And who is the opposition? They are incapable of being imitated. They personally think that they are the United States in the flesh.


Robert Burns March 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm

“Next Off”…. the pants. Let’s give’m a New Moon they won’t forget!


Cat310 March 23, 2010 at 9:58 pm

When it’s hocus pocus, you’re in focus, it’s your lucky day, SMILE! You’re on Candid Camera!


Nate Hipple March 25, 2010 at 2:24 pm

OB becomes a 24 hour reality show? Lame.


Gary Gilmore March 29, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Alert the Fire Spinners! They could get some really good exposure! I’d like to see what Homeland Security would make of them.


acutenecrotizingfasciitus March 30, 2010 at 9:36 pm

The fascists will install the cams. Preventing the installation should be the tactic because there would be a long court battle after they appear, and the battle would be expensive. The SDPD may use some type of “emergency” to expedite the installation, sort of the like right wing tactics documented in Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine.” It will not matter how insignificant the occurrence will be; it will be just enough to inflate the importance; then the cams will be installed. Those police towers should be abolished also. It’s so nice to have a rolling gun tower towed into one’s neighborhood. During the parades & street faires, we will have to tell our children, “That’s a cop tower and those are cop cams; smile & wave, honey, smile & wave.” Perhaps we all should start wearing deringers strapped to our ankles, right above our flip-flops.
Stop them now. Stop them now.


dave rice November 6, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Update, thanks to T.E. Bach reporting from last week’s OBTC meeting – the cameras are going to be used to monitor boat traffic in and out of Mission Bay…



Frank Gormlie November 8, 2010 at 8:50 am

Heck, Dave – this is the same camera that you reported on earlier this year at the OB Rag – so now we’re not to worry? Why is it 360 degree capable then? So, we tell our friends who live right next to the pier not to worry now?


dave rice November 8, 2010 at 11:25 am

I don’t know that I’d go that far…just that it sounds like, if the report is true, the camera will likely be placed at the far north tip of the pier, and per the zoom specifications, I don’t think it would be able to see the shore too clearly from that distance…


Frank Gormlie November 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

300 yards is what you reported the camera could zoom to. Now we need to figure out how long the pier is.


Frank Gormlie November 8, 2010 at 11:47 am

Ocean Beach Pier, the longest pier on the West Coast at 1971 feet, just under 1/3 mile long, has long been the anchor to this fun-loving region of San Diego that enjoys its own logo and identity as an authentic, funky beach town. It’s been around since 1888 but the pier has existed in several locations and resurrections to the current rendition which came about in 1966.


micaela shafer porte June 7, 2012 at 9:12 am

if you, or your loved ones, have ever been saved from a potential aggression by surveillance cameras or a 911 call, even to the extent of noisy helicopters hovering overhead, and polices cars screaming into the neighborhood, then you have some small sympathy for the idea behind installing these cameras….. but i’m not too worried about them because they probably won’t work very well or very long… our corrosive sea salt air has a way with things mechanical and electronical around here….
i just wish the city would realize this and not waste the money and time, and not litter the coast with more cement foundations and metal contraptions …..
i call upon paintball practitioners to take care of the outsides of the bullet-proof shields….


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