Secret Meeting of the “San Diego Free Press” Exposed

by on September 30, 2013 · 3 comments

in Media, Ocean Beach, Politics, San Diego

Editor:  Dear Reader, as you probably know, the OB Rag is part of a “two-blog” strategy to bring progressive online media to Ocean Beach and beyond … including San Diego. We do this with the San Diego Free Press, a daily online journal for the city and county of San Diego.  The Free Press is run by a cabal of editors – of which, we editors at the Rag are part of – and the SDFP holds monthly meetings with its contributors and interested supporters.

Here is a report of the latest monthly meeting of the Free Press by contributor John Anderson:

Notes from the September monthly meeting of SDFP editors and contributors.

San-Diego-FreePress-home-8-6-12By John Anderson

In an attempt to increase the transparency of the conversations at the San Diego Free Press and to encourage a wider variety of voices from across the region we are publishing Inside Freep to let current contributors and readers keep up with items on the agenda for discussion and for future articles. If you have thoughts or comments to add please do so in the comments section. Better yet, join us for our next contributors meeting or send your own article to

The September monthly contributors meeting for the San Diego Free Press took place Wednesday, September 25, 2013, in North Park from 7 to 9 PM in an undisclosed location hereafter known as The Freep Cave. After exchanging greetings and pleasantries fourteen members of the San Diego community sat down to discuss the special election for the mayor and other topics as detailed below. The attendees hailed from across San Diego including the neighborhoods of Barrio Logan, City Heights, Hillcrest, La Jolla, Lemon Grove, Normal Heights, North Park, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, and Point Loma.

First discussed was a potential mayoral debate hosted by local community radio station KNSJ (89.1 FM out of Descanso). KNSJ was created to provide a radio presence for social justice issue. Thus the call letters KNSJ – Network for Social Justice. The debate is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, October 10th, from 6 to 8 PM at the California Western School of Law in Downtown. KNSJ is currently working on securing commitments from the 5 most prominent candidates to attend. Also being sought are panel members from Voice of San Diego, League of Women Voters, La Prensa, San Diego Free Press and CityBeat.

Next the conversation turned to the mayoral election to be held November 19th, less than two months away. For essentially the rest of the evening this was the topic at hand, ranging across a wide variety of topics. The major theme was a discussion of the questions that should be asked to candidates, whether in debates, interviews, or candidate questionnaires. Below are a sampling of questions posited by the group.

  • What kind of role would you play in SANDAG? What specific policies would you promote?
  • How do you fund infrastructure?
  • What role do you see for CivicSD going forward?
  • Would you support citizen representation on the MTS board?
  • Where do you stand on the Barrio Logan plan update?
  • Do you intend to continue the free bus pass program for students implemented during Mayor Filner’s time in office?
  • Would you support an underground transit option from El Cajon (the city) to Downtown San Diego?
  • How do you measure success of transit systems? (Farebox receipts, ridership numbers, etc.)
  • Have you ridden the #7 bus?
  • How often per week do you walk, bike, take transit, or carpool to work?
  • What is your plan for Balboa Park and Plaza de Panama?
  • What is the official stand of the City of San Diego on rising sea levels? What is your plan for the Climate Action Plan previously started?
  • Are you in favor of revising the Municipal Code to allow for the ‘Jacobs Plan’ parking and road realignment in Balboa Park?
  • What do you know about city bond debt limit?
  • Would you be in favor of creating a public bank to fund projects in San Diego?

Comments from discussion

  • Who are the people running – look at their voting records (if they have held elected office)
  • Don’t forget the northern parts of the city (San Pasqual area for example). Often forgotten due to geographic distance but still part of city and greatly affected by decisions at City Hall
  • Human trafficking in San Diego area is up 600% in 5 years
  • Abandoned animals are an issue, specifically in Emerald Hills, City Heights, and San Ysidro, how to deal with the cost and impact of this problem
  • Jack in the Box issue was as clear cut as it gets that the community (and codes, laws) were ignored. Community plans and codes don’t matter if they’re simply ignored when convenient by power players.

The group agreed to a plan to send a set of 6 questions to all of the candidates (all 11 currently qualified and running, not just the 5 ‘major’ candidates). During the discussion it was generally agreed that prioritizing topics and then selecting questions from there would be the best strategy. Potential topics include:

  • Neighborhoods
  • Transit / SANDAG
  • Economy / Jobs
  • Finances of City / Debt
  • Environmental / Climate Change
  • Crime & Safety
  • Balboa Park
  • Homelessness

The editorial board will be taking the above suggestions and whittling down the list to 6 topic areas and related questions that cover a broad swatch of community interests. If you have input on specific questions or topic areas that should be addressed (or want to voice your thoughts on any of the above) please speak up in the comments section below.

Sister publication (and mother publication of sorts, it’s complicated) OB Rag is celebrating its 6th birthday with an invite-only soiree in Ocean Beach in late October. Secret handshake also required for entrance and entry in door prize drawing.

Friend and contributor Jon Christensen passed away on August 28th. He wrote on occasion for both the OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press, writing under his initials, JEC. We remember Jon with a moment of silence and will miss his energetic presence and writings in the future.

If you would like to write for the San Diego Free Press please drop a line to This is an all volunteer community but all are welcome. If you’re interested but want to learn more please come join our next monthly meeting, we’d love to meet you!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Rose Davis October 1, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I would like to be involved with writing for the Free Press. When and where is the next meeting?


Doug Porter October 2, 2013 at 7:55 am

If you would like to write for the San Diego Free Press please drop a line to This is an all volunteer community but all are welcome. If you’re interested but want to learn more please come join our next monthly meeting, we’d love to meet you!


Rose Davis October 2, 2013 at 11:24 am

Where is this secret meeting?


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