San Diego Finally Grants Ocean Beach Independence – New Changes Greet the Community

by on April 1, 2012 · 22 comments

in Culture, Economy, Education, Environment, Health, Homelessness, Labor, Ocean Beach, Popular, San Diego, Satire

An ever-present demand of Ocean Beach residents since the mid-1970s has been to be granted “independence” by the City of San Diego.  OB tenants, property owners, and businesspeople have been clamoring for the village to be its own city for all these years.

Well, it finally happened behind closed doors on Friday.  City officials met and decided once and for all that the sea-side community of about one mile square with roughly 15,000 residents should be its own municipality.  The announcement was met with cheers from the Planning Board to the Mainstreet Association, from southern OB where the breakers beat at the cliffs to the northern climes where musicians, ex-hippies, bikers mix it up with students, elderly, sailors and working class families.

Members of three community panels rushed into emergency meetings to determine what should be done, now that Ocean Beach no longer has the City and its lean budget and conservative mayor to deal with.

The effects of independence have been immediately felt.  Especially along Santa Monica Avenue.

For starters, the OB Recreation Center staff announced that the facility would be open 24-7, around the clock and everyday.  The night time hours would make the Center available for all OB’s night owls and late-night partiers trying to sober up; one of the meeting rooms has been converted to a computer lab – again, open around the clock.  The lab has already been filled up with two dozen computers – donated by the Mainstreet Association.

This was happening when the principal and PTA of OB Elementary announced that the school would be now open at night for adult education.  Classes in computers, car-repair, beer-brewing, hemp-growing, wind and solar power, and how-to-fight-back against foreclosing bank classes will be offered, along with sensitivity training for former police officers, social workers, landlords, and corporate managers  – as well as the standard fare to enable people to achieve their GEDs.

The gigantic asphalt parking lot inside the gates of the school will be turned into a community garden – with organic instructors at the ready – for community residents to supplement their dinner tables with fresh vegetables.  School-aged children will also be available for consultations by the community gardeners.

Across Sunset Cliffs Boulevard from the refurbished school is the OB Library.  Its hours also have been extended by staff – and now will offer round-the-clock access to books, magazines, community meeting space, and of course, more computers.  And plans for its expansion – on the books since the early years of this century – have been dusted off, and a local OB construction contractor has been hired to do the improvements.

The Federal Post Office down the street from the library will remain a post office, however, space has been opened up in order to house a full array of government services, such as foreclosure assistance, federal health care services, job-employment help, legal help, and counseling.

A block away at the corner of Newport Avenue and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard – the ARCO station once stood.  The BP (British Petroleum) station had to go under due to the extraordinary pay-out that the parent mega-corporation had to make to all the victims of the Gulf oil spill.  In its place, a station still stands – called The People’s Pumps, but now run by a consortium of local OBceans who have altered what is being pumped into vehicles. One pump, for instance, only offers used-cooking oil collected from local restaurants.  Another pump is loaded with hemp oil – found to be a wonderful and efficient fuel.

The original ARCO had to be closed after it put up signs that gas was $5 a gallon and was subsequently taken over by irate motorists who demanded relief and evolutionary progress away from petroleum products.

Down Newport Avenue, other changes were evident.  Business after business were constructing wind-power and solar-powered capacitors on their roofs (the small wind turbines had bird-friendly screens). These projects were generating a lot of employment for locals, and so there was much activity along the main commercial street. Not to mention all the business generated by those now working on the alternative energy projects – some of whom were formerly homeless, drug addicts and alcoholics.

The Mainstreet Association has also declared that one block of Newport would be permanently cleared of cars and would be a pedestrian-only area. By time of this report, it had not been determined which block this would be. But the new pedestrian area would also be able to hold a permanent farmer’s market on that block.  One of the differences implemented was that Newport businesses could also set up stalls and tables from their stores.

Meanwhile, activity was seen at the former Strand building.  All the tourist-oriented ware was being removed, while engineers and construction workers busied themselves. It appears that a collection of new owners had decided to bring back the old Strand movie house – but in a new form.  The old seats would be replaced with pillow-filled lounges and group-seating arrangements, with plenty of Indie films on the agenda.  Musical groups could also perform from the new theater stage being built.

Across the street and down the block, another two-story building was undergoing changes.  That ugly, orange-stucco structure – which was to be a fancy Italian restaurant with views of the ocean – never got off the ground.  In its place, the Mainstreet Association and the OB Town Council had plans; they have decided to buy out the owner and install a round-the-clock homeless shelter, complete with showers, beds, storage facilities, and meeting rooms.  The top floor is being reserved for the new VFW chapter digs.

Across the street from there in the former Starbucks building – it had closed due to a long-standing boycott by locals – was a new bank – the OB Village Bank, run by locals for locals.  The entire purpose behind this endeavor was to fund local businesses and generate loans so that shops and stores with credit problems could withstand the bad economic times.

In another innovative measure, all banks and corporate franchises will have a special “local-employment” tax; they will be subject to either a special tax designed to improve the community or they will be required to hire local OBceans as their workers.

Down at the Pier parking lot, that old trailer structure had been removed, allowing for additional parking space.  But more changes are being planned for OB at the water’s edge.  The weed-filled and sandy bed of the ancient salt-water pool was being rehabbed with plans for a new covered swimming pool, complete with several jacuzzis, tables, umbrellas, and chairs that would surround it.

From the OB Pier, one could see the brand, spanking new lifeguard station. It had lots of space for the lifeguards, plus a small but well-staffed emergency room – open to all.  And next to the new station was a bank of freshly build public restrooms, with plenty of interior space for bathers to change and dry off.  The parking lot had been repaved with an organic, non-corrosive and weather-proof surface.

With this new independence from the old constraints of a City mired in conservative politics and old-ways of doing things, Ocean Beach has taken on a new face for its future. Not all the changes were material.

For instance, the San Diego Police Department has been barred from operating in the community.  A platoon of all-women trained volunteers has taken its place, based on the premise that it takes women to run a village.  A ‘no-weapons’ rule has also, in fact, been instituted for the community.  All incidents of domestic violence and wrongful evictions will be thoroughly investigated by the new female patrol.

And starting Monday, Ocean Beach will be run by a General Assembly that meets every weekend at the Masonic Hall – which in a spate of neighborliness has turned its building over to the village.  The OB GA is open to all residents, property owners and business-owners, and decisions will be based on a 99% consensus.

All the changes that greet Ocean Beach are the result of locals taking upon themselves the task and challenge of doing it themselves. This renewed community spirit – alive since the 1960s – has rejuvenated residents and shopkeepers alike to believe that Ocean Beach is indeed worthy of their sweat, blood, and tears – and that the collective dream for the quaint seaside village is indeed worthy of the vision that they were enabling.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Acerbus April 1, 2012 at 10:43 am

Well played, OB…


temporarycalifornian April 1, 2012 at 11:40 am

Take a close look at your calendar. Now say today’s date out loud…………..?


John Rippo April 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

In updated news on this story, diplomats from OB have concluded alliances with downtown, Hillcrest, North Park, Kensington and Barrio Logan to overthrow the corrupt regime at City Hall. The Allies For A Sane And Happy SD have surrounded the PD station, taken over local media outlets and turned highway 8 into a one-way road heading east, through which SD’s former political and social parasite class are being driven toward Phoenix. More areas of SD will join the alliance by later today, establishing a second front against boring developers and their tasteless architects in a united effort that will create a new city of the people, for the people and by the people. Hard core east county holdouts in support of the discredited the old regime; El Cajon, Santee, Lakeside and that especially barren chunk of Kearney Mesa—are now being sold to the highest bidder with funds to support better schools, better beaches, better ideas and better planning for all. Stay tuned for updates later today.


Mary April 1, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Us sane folks in Normal Heights respectfully request to join The awesome OB Alliance…


Frank Gormlie April 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm

You’re in!


Frank Gormlie April 1, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Vive the Allies for a Sane and Happy San Diego, John Rippo! We’re down!


judi Curry April 1, 2012 at 2:08 pm

And…it is my furtive hope that Frank Gormlie will be the head of the new GENERAL ASSEMBLY.


OB Mercy April 1, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Yay, love the Strand idea the best! Lol.


Wireless Mike April 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Oh, if only… This is one day that we can dream about what our community could be, if it weren’t for rich Republicans wanting to turn it into a resort for rich Republicans.


Charlie April 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Be careful what you wish for because you may get it with all the unintended consequences.

An all female police force? Get ready for the lawsuit.

Driving people from their homes because you don’t agree with them politically? If someone had done that to the “Progressive” residents what do you think might have happened?

BTW there are more rich Democrats than Republicans so what are you going to do about them? And, they give less of their time and money to charity IE; Obama: less than 1%, Romney: greater than 10%.

Best of Luck though as you are about to get a learning experience that should serve you well in the future! I am truly glad to see this happen as the shoe is about to be on the other foot. lol


Anna Daniels April 2, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Charlie, An “all female police force?” Hasn’t it been more than a couple of hundred years that 9 theoretically straight white men have dispensed justice for all of us? Hell, I’m holding out for an all lesbian, women of color police force. If homogeneity has worked for the supreme court and we the people, why not right here in OB?


Charlie April 2, 2012 at 10:39 pm

What ever happened to diversity that so many on the left complain about? So what you want is a homogenous police dept so long as they are people that you agree with? lol About what I expected.

BTW Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed as the first Female Supreme Court Judge by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. So for the last 31 years this has not been true. Thanks President Reagan for seeing the necessity of a female point of view.


Frank Gormlie April 3, 2012 at 7:59 am



Charlie April 3, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Aah Frank you haven’t changed over the years. I was there during the jetty days. The day when we all had to stop further construction of the Jetty as it would have killed the surf in OB. Most of your readers weren’t even alive then. lol Though that was a long time ago not much seems to have changed there.

You still get a lot of lame ideas there, most with good intentions but not really workable or legal. An all female Police Force, you have to be kidding. Not workable and certainly not legal. You know the word discrimination?

You have a lot of good ideas there as well but they will have to be paid for at some point. Who is going to pay for this? Are your readers all willing to accept new taxes for this or do they think someone else should pay. I would bet on the latter.

If these are your best ideas then I expect that your new town will be spending an awful lot on attorneys fees. Not to mention that when you go thru your budget process I think that you can expect mayhem, a lot of hard feelings, and distrust for whomever is in charge. You maybe? You will not be able to administer your city by popular vote on all issues. Hard decisions will have to be made and that takes a leader(s) willing to decide what is best and then take the flak. Though your heart may be in the right place you will make enemies. That is the nature of the beast my friend.

I really do wish you luck and even more wisdom.


OB law(yer) April 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

Not bad work at all Frank, satire that it might be, your April FOOLs prank has clearly brought out the fools in all of us — but more in others as you can see.

More interesting than some of the changes you suggest in the article are the conservo-trolls that it brings out in response. Those dinosaurs never give up. They are like the two old guys in the balcony of the Muppet show.

Bump on the comment about more lawyers being needed @Charlie above…like’n that sir…yes sir. Too bad no like buttons on this blog.

But when the lawyers come, they will be fighting for people’s rights — not to defend the status quo. Don’t worry Mr. Antique, we won’t exclude you kind sir from our list of people we need to protect and help. You clearly enjoy your right to expression — exercised here — even though in your world I’m sure you wouldn’t enjoy listening to those diverse folks you falsely defend above.

Don’t confuse human compassion and progress with socialism my shallow minded tongue wagger. You (and me) are probably only a few strokes of bad luck away from needing that homeless shelter that Frank proposes…and if it were here, and in that event, I wouldn’t mind sharing it with you until we got back on our feet.

It isn’t so far fetched a plan. OB to incorporate…..pull away from this bohemoth of ineptitude we call the City of San Diego – A sham organized by the affluent to maintain only one thing….the status quo that got them their status in the first place.

One last thing to add to your list Frank, an adult eduction center for the people who are sense of humour impaired…. Sorry Charlie….I guess you don’t get it.


Frank Gormlie April 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

OB Law(yer) – Funny, dude. Thanks. By the way, there was a movement for a genuine OB independence back in the mid-1970s. We had a committee and everything. We were very interested in what was happening up in Venice, California, as they were also sponsoring a bread-away campaign from LA. In the end, of course, neither effort had much success – their’s more than ours. With such a huge renter base, OB didn’t have the tax base necessary to shore up an independence drive.


OB law(yer) April 4, 2012 at 9:58 am

Frank — It is only hard because they WANT it to be hard. Seemingly impossible….as Mr. Optimism up there puts it…lawyer, taxes and bums – oh my!!! Typical Republo-Bot sentiment – “it can’t be done, you are an idiot Frank, you are a socialist, a communist, and ist-a-ist”.

I’m not calling for full succession here…that WOULD be largely impossible. But why NOT pull one thing at a time from the list of paltry and pathetic services they provide and just show them that we ARE capable of it. Come please….picking up trash, building bathrooms at the beach, putting NASA bright landing lights on a concrete bench with shells shoved in it — These are all seemingly straight forward tasks that the City screws up on a daily basis by overcharging us taxes and underdelivering services. Quite simply….I don’t truly believe that anyone who would “shop” at the business of the City when they are constantly disappointed by the results (maybe Chuckie up there…he is obviously not educated enough to care though – I’m guessing he has had a life of disappointment).

That would scare the pants off the technocrats down at the Chamber (aka City Hall).

Maybe something simple…. Put it to the readers…I’m sure they could come up with something that we can accomplish ourselves as a community. Maybe I’m wrong…maybe we are already doing so many things without the annoyance of bozo-crats from City Hall and I don’t know it. Somebody prove me wrong!

PS….right now….. @Charlie is furiously writing a response that he is researching via wikipedia but is tearing his hair out b/c he can’t figure out the little addition problem at the bottom of the post….ha ha…:)


ClubStyle_DJ April 3, 2012 at 8:13 am

Congratulation OB!
I would like to offer DJ services to any CELEBRATION(s) at a significant discount.
When I moved here from Cleveland, having never set foot in San Diego, I landed in OB and never felt so comfortable in any place I’ve ever lived. Like warm slippers, with the beach & ocean as my backyard… I proudly concider OB my re-birth place, and I will soon make it my official business headquarters.
ClubStyle & Wedding Style DJ Entertainment… Like having a friend DJ your party… Only Better!


ClubStyle_DJ April 3, 2012 at 9:01 am

awwwwww Damn… thought the foxnews one was it… shoulda know…


ClubStyle_DJ April 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

Ashton Kutcher got nothin on you guys….
Now parties are FULL PRICE!


Charlie April 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm

OB Law

I don’t take attacks on my personal integrity lightly and I do tend to strike back harshly. Therefore, I guess my first response to you was a little too strong (for which I apologize to the staff of the Rag) as they didn’t print it so I will try again.

Your comment “even though in your world I’m sure you wouldn’t enjoy listening to those diverse folks you falsely defend above.” is unwarranted and false. As 85% of my extended family is either Asian or Hispanic it is patently wrong. I come from a very diverse family most of whom share my political beliefs.

Your other comment “Don’t confuse human compassion and progress with socialism my shallow minded tongue wagger.” Trust me I don’t nor do I confuse it as being the sole product of Progressives. In the end we all want the same thing we only disagree on how to get there.

Now with that out of the way:

I think that OB becoming it’s own entity would be a good thing. OB was before and obviously is now a unique community which I would like to see preserved. It would hopefully teach some of the younger people there that running a town is not easy. In the end hard decisions must be made and they are not always popular. You cannot run a town by popular vote. The funds must be there to pay the police, trash collectors, etc. It takes leaders who can make hard decisions and OB would be a great training ground for future leaders. You have a lot of brilliant young minds there who will in time see the leftist hyperbole for what it is or not. It is great and wonderful to care but like doctors your first responsibility is to do no harm. The government with it’s constant intrusions into our lives is harming us all. On this I hope that we can agree?

Last but not least. I am glad to see that we share the difficulty with these higher math problems, could we maybe just have to identify a primary color (just primary colors now as I will have to be able to spell it ok)? lol

Once again, my apologies to the staff of the rag. I was a combat soldier and I still work with former soldiers and we can be a little rough around the edges when we feel we have been wrongly attacked.


OB law(yer) April 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

@Charlie — Oh dear…. “attacks on your integrity”? Maybe you read some other post, I don’t even think that Rush Limbaugh would consider me challenging your political positions as a question on your integrity. Sir… I think the word you are looking for is either character or beliefs or political opinion… not integrity. Nevertheless… I’m sure your integrity is intact just fine.

yes… I’m almost 100% certain that your extended family is diverse and yada yada yada…. Really I don’t care. That doesn’t further or validate your personal opinion or my statement about your presumed stance on social issues. But your comments on women, homeless, etc in your earlier posts certainly does — loud and clear!

no…. “In the end we all want the same thing we only disagree on how to get there” No sir…..we don’t both want the same things. So don’t try to fool anyone into thinking you are a moderate. When you make this comment….”The government with it’s constant intrusions into our lives is harming us all” — you aren’t representing a moderate point of view at all. If you think you are…you are confused. Go back to wikipedia…search for REPUBLICAN’T….

And blaming your lack of apparent hidden or none posted class on being a “combat” soldier…well….that’s just downright ridiculous – but thanks for the apology. Apology accepted. What….you think that because you purport to have been in “the s**t” that you have the right to be rude? I got news for you, you don’t need to have combat credentials to be allowed to be rude, that is protected by the constitution — the one you purport to have supported and defended sir….but you just can’t do it around here – Patty and Frank run a clean operation and don’t really tolerate a bunch of playground bullying.

Sorry Charlie….we don’t want the same things and we won’t agree on how to run this country no matter how long we sit around the old campfire. Your approach and the candidates you support are flawed…but you should keep it up in the hopes to rally some support this year in your futile attempt to get things returned to that sham of concept of trickle down economy and protecting the rich from taxes in hopes that somehow YOUR life will get better by doing it. Let me get to the punchline: We tried that method…it didn’t work.

But it will give you something to do when you aren’t showing your arse by blogging here. Like I said above…Integrity…sure, that’s intact — understanding of politics…well, not so much.

Good day. De oppresso liber.


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