A Proposal to Form an Ocean Beach Task Force On the Problem of the July 4th Marshmallow Wars

by on August 16, 2013 · 19 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego

This is a proposal to form some type of task force or coalition of Ocean Beach organizations to deal with the problem of the out of control July 4th marshmallow wars.

This proposal is based on several premises:

  • The historic tradition has gone out of control, is getting worse each year – as evidenced by this year’s mess and melee.  The current state of affairs, as most OBceans would agree, is unacceptable.
  • It must change – and it must change over the coming year, as it will not be going away, and next year – unless dealt with – will be worse than this year.
  • The marshmallow war tradition is a uniquely Ocean Beach problem. The community, the village, OBceans – must deal with it ourselves.  It cannot be left up to politicians.
  • We cannot allow the marshmallow wars to become a police issue or problem.  This would be a waste of their time, resources, and a drain on taxpayer dollars.  Plus, by simply leaving it to the cops to  handle the issue would create an even greater problem.


That community groups, organizations, and associations of the Ocean Beach area form a Task Force open to all and any local residents and business owners in order to come to a community consensus on how to handle future marshmallow fights on July 4th.

It is suggested that the following groups join and make up this coalition:

  • OB Town Council
  • Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association
  • OB Planning Board
  • OB Woman’s Club
  • Association of OB restaurants
  • The Green Store
  • OB Rag
  • SurfRider – OB Chapter
  • the Kiwanis
  • the Masonic Center

IT is further proposed, that the Ocean Beach Town Council become the lead organization in this Task Force in order to call it together.

It is proposed that this Task Force come together over the next year and work out a  compromise solution to the problem of the July 4th marshmallow fight, and that the Task Force enlist the assistance of San Diego press and media, radio and television stations to advertise this community solution in order to educate the wider San Diego community on what the village of Ocean Beach has decided to do about this OB problem.



{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

gailpowell August 16, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I’m in…as a “concerned citizen.” Could you add that category to the above group please?

“Coalition of concerned residents and locals.”


Frank Gormlie August 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Of course! Naturally!


BB August 18, 2013 at 7:22 am

And the march to get rid of one more of our freedoms is on foot. How about just asking anyone that wants to partake in the fun to pay a small fee within an enclosed, yet relatively large area. This is as embarrassing as responsible grown adults that pay taxes not being allowed to have a beer on the beach. What’s next, a ban on no shirts outside of a 2 block beach area? How about a ban on smoking in public, or a ban on drinking on Sunday? I thought California stood for freedom a d living your life when I moved from NYC, but it’s all the same game, control over freedom.


Jon August 18, 2013 at 8:35 am

You’re right. Everyone should have the freedom to litter. Tyranny…


BB August 18, 2013 at 9:29 am

The cost of entry would pay for cleanup.. More like capitalism.


Jon August 18, 2013 at 10:00 am

Great. You’re in charge. I hope you make a tidy profit cleaning up after other people’s freedoms.


Tyler August 19, 2013 at 8:53 am

Straw man much?


Gary Gilmore August 19, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Whoa BB, no one is talking about taking away peoples freedoms. What’s being discussed is how do we have a good ‘ol marshmallow fight & not trash the neighborhood.


Frank Gormlie August 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm

BB – Please see the OB Rag recommendations for the future. You are jumping into a developed discussion that has been going on for more than a month now. Do some research on this blog. You’ll find that one of our suggestions is to control it, contain it, etc.

Talk about freedoms – I guess you’ve been gone a while. You can no longer drink alcohol on the beach, you can’t smoke on the beach, and the State of Calif is one of the worst states in issuing federal food stamps.


Doug Card August 18, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Marshmallows or sexual harassment?
As an old Obecian transplanted to Oregon I’m wondering at the seeming lack of chatter by Progressives about the case of SD’s egocentric sexist mayor. Is sexism no longer an issue in OB/SD, or does Filner draw a pass as a Democrat/Progressive? Shall we blame his troubles on “the media?”
Remembering that our first OB Planning Board in 1976 had a couple of strong women leaders in Dolores Frank and Mary Ann Zounes I’d have expected a higher level of concern among OB/SD activists. Or maybe I’m just too old and too far away to understand.
And remembering the recent disasters of other recent SD mayors, including our “Old Friend” Maureen O’connor, I’m wondering why this beautiful city can’t have a mayor it can be proud of.


Jon August 18, 2013 at 5:42 pm

I hear ya. Although we still have to deal with these hyper-local issues. Littering & chaos a la marshmallow fight is something that also needs our attention.

As far as Bob’s concerned, the damage is done. He’s gotta go. It’s a national disgrace now. 80% of our population can’t agree on what goes in a California burrito, but 80% want him out. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/18/bob-filner-resign-poll_n_3776070.html

If it were a conservative republican going through this, progressives would want his head on a stake. It’s absurd that we wouldn’t do the same just because of an allegiance to some civic philosophy.


Frank Gormlie August 19, 2013 at 9:54 am

Doug – It’s somewhat more complicated than that. In fact, a supportive coalition is holding a press conference today at noon (Monday Aug 19). In fact many of the activists that you mention were at the organizing meeting calling for due process.


Frank Gormlie August 19, 2013 at 3:40 pm

What lack of “chatter”? Have you researched the issue here and at our other blogsite, the San Diego Free Press – lots of chatter.


jim grant August 18, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I guess I am a little slow. Is the marshmallow war ( the mayhem as we know it on Newport ave) a legal activity or not?
If it is a legal anybody who tries to stop it or contain or govern it is a fool and is urinating up a rope.
If the ” war” is breaking some civil law or code or ordinance why has the San Diego Police Department allowed it?

For the SDPD to say we will do what ever the community dictates or directs us to do is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard in my life.
jim grant.


obracer August 19, 2013 at 11:36 am

S.D.P.D meant to say ” we will do whatever the O.B.M.A. wants us to do ”
Of course it’s illegal , it’s littering.
It’s also illegal to place a 40′ office trailer in the middle of beach parking lot without permits, UNLESS you give the police a key , then it’s not totally illegal , just a little bit.
S.D.P.D has a monthly favor to repay the OBMA, it’s done in various ways, it’s been documented over the years.
What other event organizer in San Diego is allowed to destroy public areas during special events then walk away saying ” we have nothing to do with the mess “.
Apparently for a $ 600 per month ” gift ” to police , you get quite a bit in Ocean Beach. What can a resident get for $ 50 per month ?


Gary Gilmore August 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

If the mess is to be alleviated we’re going to have to stick to the issue. Casting blame or recounting amusing anecdotes of the marshmallow melee is not a remedy. What wold be productive would be to focus on how to best contain / control the festivities. I believe it can be done.


Obecian August 20, 2013 at 5:29 pm

As much as I like the idea of containing the event to an area on the beach, it doesn’t seem practical in my mind. The first and most significant obstacle is getting someone (or a group) to accept responsibility for organizing the event which opens them up to liability issues. The second obstacle is containing it. The third is cleaning it ALL up. Its been over a month and the sticky fallout is still visible around OB. If a group like the OBMA or OBTC wants to step up and organize it, work with the police to keep it from spreading, and clean it all up then maybe it could continue. The best ideas I have heard in the entire debate was to have OBMA stop organizing the fireworks and plan daytime activities that are less likely to erupt into a riot that leaves the neighborhood trashed.


Tom G August 25, 2013 at 12:59 pm

The bottom line is that, here it is August 25th, a full month and a half later, and that gunk is still on the Veterans Memorial. So, there’s still time for you marshmallow hurlers, where ever you are, to come down and clean it up. Can’t do it this year? Well, maybe that’s why people are trying to figure out a way to make sure it won’t happen again.


kawikid September 8, 2013 at 3:59 pm

I do not mind cleaning up the mess. This only happens once a year and it is a free event, that needs to stay free. Yes there is marshmallows for a week on the concrete but I’m willing to deal with it. We should not be worrying about a marshmallow fight when there are other more significant problems in OB. Focusing on the homeless problem with a practical and efficient solution is what we should be focusing on.


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