After 6 Years – OB Rag Is at a Crossroads

by on October 28, 2013 · 59 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Politics


This past weekend, the OB Rag celebrated its sixth anniversary – and we had a small party and pot-luck complete with a fire-dancer and player piano (and meats catered by the BBQ House).

Ah, yes, six years of being the online ‘news and views’ for Ocean Beach and beyond. We’ve now been publishing for as long as our name-sake predecessor, the original OB Rag, OB’s alternative community newspaper from the Seventies.

It’s been a great run for the Rag, these last years.

But we’re at a crossroads, because the practicalities of continuing to publish are forcing us to face where we’re at and forcing a sober re-assessment and re-evaluation of just what the Rag is doing.

These past years we tried to provide a platform for OBceans to discuss community issues as well as being a source of progressive opinion on local and national issues,  and providing local news from a progressive perspective.  And we’ve been doing it mostly as volunteers. No one is making any money here. We can pay our bills from ads, T-shirt sales, and straight donations, and we slip literally a few bucks to some of our writers  to cover their costs.

Yet, we’ve been at it, expanding, learning, teaching.

We’ve been behind and illuminating a number of OB issues; we helped save the OB Library from Mayor Sanders’ budget cuts; we were instrumental in preserving the icons of the beach – the  firepits one year; we made OB’s homelessness into a civil rights issue – and caught hell for it;  we’ve been providing notices and reports of the OB Planning Board meetings; we have pushed for a consensus resolution of  the marshmallow fight controversy; with our ‘news from Newport’ reports, we catch everyone up on changes among the merchants on OB’s business streets; and lately we’ve provided a discussion and information post for such things as CVS Pharmacy moving into the former Apple Tree Market.

The Rag has also been a key supporter of the OB Planning Board and its efforts to maintain and improve OB’s blueprint for development, the Precise Plan.  And our archives contain reams of online history from OB in the 1970’s and Eighties.

Plus, our daily and monthly stats on readers remain fairly phenomenal. We routinely have a daily readership of between 1400 and 2000 visitors.

So, since we’ve done all this great stuff, why is the OB Rag now at a crossroads.

Part of the reason is that in June 2012 we started publishing the San Diego Free Press. Many of our writers and bloggers at that time didn’t live in OB – and most of them transferred their talents to the Free Press – and now that online publication has become very successful.

That’s not all of it, by a long shot.

Since we are mainly volunteers and cannot pay our writers, talented people who are looking for work and who write for us – have over the years – found that work and have had to move on.   The Rag has had trouble maintaining a consistent staff developed enough to provide coverage of OB’s issues, meetings and happenings on a regular basis.

OB Merchants Do Not Support the OB Rag

Not only that, despite all of our coverage of the comings and goings of merchants on Newport and Voltaire, of supporting a ‘buy local’ attitude, of educating villagers on the various issues that concern and confront the community, the OB Rag is not supported by OB merchants.  What do we mean by that?

We do carry  a number of advertisements in our sidebar. But -, except for a very few – the simple fact is  OB businesses do not support the OB Rag and do not advertise on our online and inexpensive space.  You won’t find many merchants trying to reach our thousands of readers. Even some of those businesspeople who do support our efforts decline to be listed as a supporter. The OB Rag – even though we’ve been around for over half a decade – was not listed in this  year’s “OB Local” directory published by the OBMA.

Events, concerts sponsored by merchants or others – do not care to take out banner ads on the Rag that would get the attention of thousands in just one week.  In contrast, the original newspaper version of the OB Rag had lots of local merchants advertising on its pages, like The Black, People’s Food Co-op, Pete’s Liquor and other commercial businesses.

Despite all the advertising of clean-ups of OB over the years, the trimming of the weeds at the OB Entryway Park, no one steps forward and recognizes that work.  The OBMA and OBTC give out annual awards for people and groups that help the community – but neither of these organizations have reached out and sent props our way.

 The Rag Caught Hell Around Homelessness Issue

Several years ago, the Rag led an effort to raise the issue of homelessness as a civil rights issue. And we caught literal hell for it, and made a bunch of enemies – or at least alienated some friends.  It was the right thing for us – and the churches – to do, as OB had slipped from being a center of progressive consciousness and toleration to becoming a repository of hate.   But the hate that the Rag received in response was enough at times to make grownups cry.

It is true that the Rag has disturbed the tranquility of some who wish to either profit off of OB’s counter-culture reputation or who revel in its nostalgia but without warts.  And perhaps these are reasons for some of the unresponsiveness of some in terms of giving us support.  We don’t know exactly. There’s other publications out there with loads of  local advertising – but no content.

OB Still Has Problems

Ocean Beach still is facing its problems.  They range from high-rents to issues of gentrification, from the taking-over of Newport Ave by bars and alcohol serving establishments to the crumbling of its infrastructure.  And there is no mass grassroots group or movement that can respond to these issues adequately.

The OB Rag – since its inception in 2007 – has been one of the only sources of progressive politics and views – in OB.

But will the Rag be around to deal with these continuing problems and issues? That is unclear.

What Has to Happen?

Because of the lack of local merchants supporting the Rag with advertising, one significant change would be to move towards a subscription base or a system with readers’ sponsorships.  If we had 50 to one hundred individuals or groups that sent us $10 a month, we wouldn’t have to worry about advertising.

Or we could become more of a weekly journal or blog, and not carry daily news or researched views.

Or perhaps we could form a community advisory board and have direct and immediate feedback and monitoring of local issues and news.

These are some of the ideas that we will be considering these next couple of weeks.  We are of course always looking for music and film reviews, poetry, photography and other written contributions in the meantime.

This is also a chance for OBceans to give us an earful and express what you think the OB Rag ought to do or become.

There is a principle here … if you appreciate and expect the OB Rag to continue to provide coverage and insight on events and local issues, you will need to step up and help us do that.

Or if you think it’s time for us to move on and for a new generation of online opinion makers to merge into the open, let us know that too.

If you don’t like what we do, then plainly don’t do anything.

The OB Rag is definitely at a crossroads as something has to change.  OB is also at a crossroads and will have to decide if it still wants the OB Rag to publish.


{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori Wood October 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Whoa, you make some very valid points. I don’t own a business anymore but, I can tell you small community papers are the way to go if you want “bang” for your buck. As far as content, stories like “The Spaceman of OB” must be told. A legacy to be protected. There is something very real about OB and the RAG is trying to keep it that way. So, though I should have said it sooner, thank you OB RAG, for being there…..I pledge my support.


Frank Gormlie October 28, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Lori – thank you – we’ll be in touch.


Richard October 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I would hate to lose the Rag. I can’t believe the local merchants don’t/won’t support you.
Surely they see the value in the community of folks who read it. C’mon Pizza Port and others, step up to the plate and support something truly local. Thanks Bernies Bikes.


Frank Gormlie October 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Thank you Richard. Some times, small businesses shy away from anything controversial. Some maybe view the Rag as controversial, but I’ll tell you, the original OB Rag of the 1970’s was much more ‘controversial’.


Anna Daniels October 28, 2013 at 2:25 pm

This past Saturday, contributor Judi Curry hosted a Six Year Celebration for the OBRag. A small group of Ragsters and Freepers spent a lively evening talking politics (of course) and eating ( it was Judi’s house so of course there was wonderful food) and even partaking of a fire eating performance by Judi’s granddaughter Molly. Judi fired up the player piano at Frank Gormlie’s urging, and soon we were singing old (really odd) songs that few of us knew the words to and rolling in laughter. Two of the OBrag’s newest contributors- Stephanie and Matt and his wife Lauren–stopped by to introduce themselves and chat.
There was a handful of old timers who had started with the OBRag and transitioned to its “online media partner,” the San Diego Free Press.
There was a great deal of history and possibility in the room. It appears that the OBRag is poised at that intersection of history and possibility. It is no less important for being at that intersection.
Thanks to Judi Curry, Frank Gormlie and Patty Jones for providing us with an opportunity to celebrate. That is important too.


Frank Gormlie October 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm

OB needs to know that you Anna Daniels – and your hubby Rich Kacmar – have been stalwart supporters of the OB Rag since 2007. Anna and Rich live in City Heights – but there is a mysterious and wondrous connection between OB and City Heights.


Seadancer October 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm

I am an OBcean of the heart. I live in Virginia but come to OB a couple times a year and the OB Rag is a valued, integral part of my OB connection. The Rag in my inbox gives me a moment back in OB every time. I have donated to the Rag and would subscribe if that format evolves [but probably not for $10 a month, I admit]. This article feels full of many currents and undercurrents. I was puzzled and sad to learn that the OB business community does not support the Rag, which would seem so natural. I would hope some alliances could be renewed or repaired. I wish you all well as you try to find the alignments and resolutions within yourselves as to what you want to and can do. Please do apprise us of your journey and decisions.


Frank Gormlie October 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Seadancer, your words are great to read. We will be contacting you. Thanks


Jefferson Jay October 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I support what you do and I am offering you my help. I am a community-meister and I love OB. Contact me if you want it.


nostalgic October 28, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Frank, make it easier to make donations. If we don’t have Paypal, or if we don’t want a T-Shirt, your readers are out of luck. What if somebody wanted to send a check? I don’t see that you are a non-profit – if not, you should probably disclose that donations are not tax deductible. Or maybe you are. Maybe the OBMA or the Town Council are not on the same wave length, but your numbers tell you that many people are. WE want the OBRag to stay! But you need to tell us how to help.


Frank Gormlie November 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

nostalgic – Thanks, yes, we’re working on a donation thing on our homepage.


Goatskull October 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm

I’m pretty surprised also about the lack of support from local businesses. Then again, just because a business operates in OB doesn’t necessarily mean they support the views of The Rag and like you said they may be afraid of the controversy.


Miguel G October 29, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Or maybe businesses are trying their best to stay ahead of the competition and remain in business.

Many business view progressive agenda items like additional taxes and regulation as hurting them. Let’s face it, the OB Rag does not always promote a business friendly environment. It’s hard to expect a business to support any publication that paints entrepreneurs/capitalist in an unfavorable light. Yeah, there are those who will patronize a business that adopts progressive items, but over time that support drys up and the business closes (i.e. The Linkery in North Park).

The best chance to keep the OB Rag alive is through individual support as witnessed above and below. They just have to continue that support two or three years when the need to support the OB Rag fades with time.


Dallas M. October 28, 2013 at 5:09 pm

I’ve come and gone from OB several times over. After spending many years in the commercial death trap called Las Vegas, I’ve returned to my home. The Rag has been my connection to OB since 2009 when I first discovered it. I lived down the block on Voltaire and would pass it daily as I rode the city bus to work each day. I do enjoy that you bring unfiltered and relevant local news. Which is why I keep coming back.

One thing that I learned while conducting business in Las Vegas (did I mention that I’m self-employed and a small business owner?) is that while the culture of the city is progressive in their roots, it’s not an easy sell. There are many people trying to “clean up” Sin City and wash away everything that made it what it is today. The image they’re trying to portray is completely opposite of what the place really is.

I think that OB (as is your publication) is going through an identity crisis. We want so hard to be self-sustaining and to revel in our originality but in the grand scheme of things, these small businesses rely on larger entities that don’t care about the culture of our special place. So instead, they silently support idealists and publications like the OB Rag but don’t necessarily want to openly acknowledge that support for fear of violating the business supporters and potential customer base.

Take for example, our beloved OB Noodle House. There’s no denying that this place is a local favorite spot. It represents everything that is OB. Laid back atmosphere, good food, good place to be social, and a shining example of the best that the “American Dream” offers. Well, not too long ago the Food Network and celebrity foodie, Guy Fieri comes in and gives the place tons of air time. While they focused primarily on the food (for good reason) and they talked about the laid-back “quintessential San Diego” vibe. Nowhere did you see the Noodle House’s mantras like: It’s Pho-20 or any of the dubious references to cannabis culture.

Why would the show do this? Why would the show not only not mention it, but completely avoid some of the restaurant’s critical culture marks? Because it’s controversial. Some uptight housewife in middle America’s Bible Belt would see it and cause an uproar over the display of some server wearing the likeness of Bob Marley smoking a rolled cigarette and the words: It’s always time for a good bowl.

This is sad but true and is probably an insight why small businesses locally don’t openly support the Rag. Not that they don’t believe in the principles or forward thinking that the subject contains but more that as much as a separate piece of the world we like to think Ocean Beach, 92107 is… it simply isn’t anymore. Please note that I’m saying this view is right or wrong. I’m just pointing out some perspective.

As for suggestions for improvement, perhaps the blog idea might work or general forum subscription with special content forums for subscribers. The Facebook integration works nicely. Shutting down completely, though. Well, I feel it would definitely leave a much needed void.

Thanks for your years of service to the community and as my own business develops, I will gladly set aside some of my advertising budget to place on your site.


Goatskull October 29, 2013 at 5:39 pm

“Some uptight housewife in middle America’s Bible Belt would see it and cause an uproar over the display of some server wearing the likeness of Bob Marley smoking a rolled cigarette and the words: It’s always time for a good bowl.”

Maybe so maybe not. If that very same house wife were to cluelessly visit The Noodle House or anywhere else in OB for that matter she would soon figure out she’s out of her element and would still end up in an uproar. And for every one person like her there are plenty of others who would probably love to visit OB in just knowing it would drive people like her away.


Dallas M. October 29, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Have you seen the line at the Noodle House on a Saturday? Hard to believe that these are all OBecians? I was entertaining out-of-town guests and wanted to show them the place but it was far too busy. Don’t get me wrong, I completely agree with you and it’s places like this why I always seem to find myself back here and why I’m constantly trying to explain to my friends who aren’t from here why I love it so. That being said, never underestimate the power of ignorant people. It’s exactly this why I’ve witnessed businesses be crushed by something as simple as an infectious bad review on Yelp. I’ve experienced it first-hand with one of my business ventures. It took one upset online customer (a customer whom I had never even met) to shut me down and have to redirect my efforts. In these rough economic times, I don’t think that many businesses want to risk losing even on customer. Is it right? I’m not one to say. All I know is that this is the reality in the world we live in and I only say this to bring a little bit of perspective in where the Rag is not getting. I fully support the Rag and would gladly donate $10 for a subscription (and budgeting in advertising dollars very soon).


Goatskull October 30, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Perhaps. Yes I’ve seen the lines at the Noodle House and it kind of makes my point. There are several reasons. First and foremost is the quality of the food and service. Next is the fact that it’s the only place in all of SD (that I know of anyway) that serves quality Vietnamese cuisine AND has a large selection of craft brews, most of which are local all under one roof. It’s a very unique concept and one that obviously works. The sort of counter culture vibe is just icing on the cake and again I think the very fact that it would drive away a Bible belt housewife adds to the appeal for others. I understand what you are saying about a single bad Yelp review but something like that can go both ways. I could write a bad Yelp review for a typical PB bar with umpteen TV screens and full of brotastic douche bags and lame dance music, but that very bad review that I write may be draw others in who like that shit. Or I could give a bad review of a place in University Heights or Golden Hill that’s always packed complaining there’s too many hipsters, but those are hipster neighborhoods so what would one expect? Again that religious house wife would probably still end up writing a bad reviews for probably just about any place on OB, if not just slam the whole neighborhood altogether. But yet OB is always packed on weekends. It only proves that one person’s paradise is another person’s crap hole. I’m not a business owner so it’s not for me to say what is and what isn’t but there are no places anywhere that don’t have their complainers. I’m not sure what kind of business you ran or owned but look around at any successful restaurants and look at their Yelp reviews. The overall average will be 4 to 4 1/2 to five yet there will still be a few negative reviews, some of which are pretty vicious, yet the place is still doing well. Hell. I know a lot of places that are packed every night and have only a 3 ½ average.
As to getting these places to support the Rag I guess there’s no easy answer. It’s one thing to like the funky counter culture vibe of the neighborhood but another to fully 100% to support or even agree with the politics behind it.


Dallas M. October 31, 2013 at 11:06 am

Totally, Goatskull. I do get it and I’ve seen gentrification rip up many a community. The flaw I see with that, from a business standpoint, it’s better to have them come in and find out on their own rather than be turned away before they make the trip. That Bible thumping housewife may actually have a wild streak (I’ve seen this numerous times over in Vegas) but she isn’t going to openly admit it. She sees Guy Fieri’s show and says, “That place looks awesome! I’ve always wanted to see a quintessential beach town.” But she won’t necessarily be open to, “The place looks like a haven for stoners, hippies, and surfers.” The area is definitely grey in these statements but the impact is severe.


Debbie October 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm

How about a month of on-line fund raising to gather funds to run for the following year. People could do paypal or send a check and if the level of support it not reach the target, funds could be returned and the rag would cease. Support from merchants or advertisers could continue to be collected throughout the year and put to use the following year.

For each $30 donation one receives ticket for a drawings at the end of the month from donations made by local merchants or residents ???? (a piece of art from a local resident, dinner certificates from an OB restaurants, car wash, dog wash, etc. etc.)

Just some thoughts


obracer October 28, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Count me in for $ 10 month.
Forming a community advisory group is a GREAT idea also.
The OB Rag has done more to keep locals informed than the town council.
Well worth $ 10 month for those that can afford it , but it should stay free for those that can’t.


Alana Coons October 28, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Count Bruce & I in to help contribute! I can truly empathize, I cannot tell you how it feels at times when SOHO is not supported by the very businesses or homeowners who gain the most from our work. But it is just the way it is, and just as we cannot stop the important work we do, it is the same with you, we just have to make sure the important voices and stories of the OB Rag continues to be heard and told!


Derek October 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Like Seadancer, I am an out of state OBcean, presently presiding in Detroit to be exact. I too enjoy the updates from my former community which help to somewhat keep me in touch. I would be willing to support the fine efforts to help the OB Rag continue. I have seldom seen another independent news outlet be so good at getting the info out there! We need a similar Rag in other communities nationwide!


John October 28, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Business needs to wise up. Local media is their ace in the hole when bureaucracy threatens. Without it, they too often go belly up without a sound and no one knows what happened to them.


Ken November 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

…which is as good place as any to ask what has been done to sell ad space.


John Stump October 28, 2013 at 8:13 pm

I have always been fond of the independence of the OB Rag. Maybe it was in part nostalgia for places like the Black, tie dye and young women in jeans with needle point flowers.

Times and the world have change. The UT is crashing on the shoals of hard times. My neighborhood no longer has a print voice. Perhaps its the times or a natural cycle Even Poor Richard’s paper publishes no more.

I think the next journalist wave will bring together a local social network technology uniting facebook, evite, linkup, pininterest and others. Regardless of the future, Thank you for real accomplishments and your advocacy for a better place for the human beings .

All the best
John Stump City Heights


unWasheDWalmartThong October 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Ya need ta gitcher self some televangelists to give yall some tips on fund raisin’. Git some sequined shirts & big hats & tell people in OB they are gittin’ attacked & everyone is in it t’gether. Put some “us agin them” stuff in yer speech & put up a big fund raisin’ tent on the grass by the pier. ‘n damnitfrank, gitcher self a pompadour! You have to have a pompadour to raise money & raise awareness. Gitcher nails done. Get a white suit. White suits & pompadours always bring in cash. White suits, pompadours, halleluyahs & a little fear–that’s the recipe. And GIRLS! Ya oughta have an OB Rag wet t-shirt contest! Or put on a motorcycle show on Newport & git all the old & creaky business owners to help out w/ judging the best of show, best custom, cleanest, etc. Help out w/ an antique car show to help bring in the big bucks. Someone organized a car show at Liberty Station earlier this year. OB could do it. The Rag could sponsor it & the whole community could enjoy it.
Hell, um gittin’ tickled here, & I’m thinkin’ of combing my hair into a pompadour & going over to Goodwill to buy a white suit! EEEEhaaa.


Debbie October 28, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Another thought….how about a restaurant night once a month where the restaurant agrees to donate a % of the receipts to the rag? A way to support if they wish not to outwardly advertise :-)


Miriam October 29, 2013 at 3:14 am

You could probably bring that much in with events. You could also apply for grants. Or sell products online. Debbie’s restaurant idea is also an easy fundraising idea, or ask community members to host a coffee klatch for the OB Rag.


Kathleen Blavatt October 29, 2013 at 5:58 am

For about a year I have been throwing out the idea of a Ocean Beach Historical Green Zone (District) going in OB.
It could help you and others financially, promote the good green things happening, show the green history of the area (over 100 years). The resources are already in place. It should be the people that have grown this part of OB into this special place getting together and doing this.
This could help the OB Rag, the Green Store and Businesses on the North end of town. The OB RAG is the natural for choice for promoting this idea. The Woman’s Club with there stag and space would be a great starting place for walking and biking tours tours with green restaurant sampling, events with music/art along the way at the Green Store, Peoples, Jim Bells’, etc. Also include natural and historical sites: Native Park, Tern Nesting, Community Garden, etc.
North Ocean Beach, including the Voltaire Street corridor, is historically the oldest ongoing section of San Diego “Green” businesses, organizations and community spaces. It began in the early 1900’s in Ocean to today where it includes many green establishments, parks and nature preserves.

Collier Park Land Donation
First dedicated to the “children of Ocean Beach” by the turn-of-the-century developer, D.C. Collier Park Land. The land, a large rectangle spanning over the current Nimitz Blvd. was donated in 1909 to San Diego. The entire parcel was divided up in later years. Some parts remains park, a community garden, natural park, open space and ball fields.

Ocean Beach Women’s Club established in 1925
The club planted many of the early trees and shrubs along Ocean Beach streets and currently has a Community Garden outside the clubhouse.

Ocean Beach Peoples Food Co-op
Ocean Beach Peoples Food Co-op, a large eco store, was established in 1971 and is the longest existing food co-op in San Diego. Beginning as an old small wood cottage, they now occupy their third building on Voltaire Street.
The Co-op and its members are nationally recognized advocates in the natural food industry and environmentalism.

Green Store
The Green Store, started by Colleen Dietzel in 1989, quickly developed into much more than a store. It became an environmental, peace, and social justice information resource center to the community. In the early days they battled what are now the norm as far as environmental issues, health food, people and animal rights and the peace movement. Rain Thanks & Greywater and the OB Rag are housed at the Green Store.

Jim Bell
Jim Bell is an environmentalist and author. He has been involved in many issues and events on sustainability and the environment. His Business/Home is located on Voltaire Street.

John Noble & Coastal Sage
Coastal Sage is located across from the Point Loma Library on Voltaire Street. John Noble, is the owner of this business which specializes in herbs, native plants and xeriscape. He has also owned a long time environmental landscaping business in Ocean Beach and helped establish the Ocean Beach Native Garden.

Some of the worlds largest The Torrey Pines grow in Ocean Beach
In 1930, Ocean Beach, on the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue (upward from Sunset Cliffs Blvd.) had no landscaping. Extra Torrey Pine trees from a Great Depression, WPA (Works Progress Administration) project in Point Loma, were planted on both sides of the 4600 block of Saratoga Avenue in O.B..
Adequate watering basins and periodically watering from City Trucks was provide. Now, the pines are fed water from every yard uphill with the street retaining the moisture below ground.
Unfortunately, injury and carelessness, eliminated over half the trees. Now, Torrey Pines are protected by the Municipal Code Section 63.07: Destruction, Injury of Torrey Pines Trees, Prohibited. The few surviving trees raise havoc with sidewalks and streets, but O.B. residents have worked with the city on new safer sidewalk replacement designs that don’t hurt the trees.
Ocean Beach Community Garden (Part of D.C. Collier Park Land originally)
Ocean Beach California Community Garden is where members can enjoy the pleasures of planting, nurturing and harvesting from their own garden plot.

Point Loma Native Garden (Part of D.C. Collier Park Land originally)

Hidden away in a corner of Ocean Beach is the Point Loma Native Plant Garden dedicated to San Diego’s native ecology. It is part of the City of San Diego’s Collier Park West however is is under the umbrella of the San Diego River Park Foundation. ??In the 1980’s, the California Native Plant Society, Point Loma Garden Club and many community members got together and set aside a portion of Collier Park to grow specifically native plants and trees and eventually became known as the Point Loma Native Plant Garden.

Famosa Slough
The Famosa Slough, a 37-acre wetland, historically was part of False Bay and was later called the Mission Bay wetland complex.
The channel portion of the slough extends from West Point Loma Boulevard, northward, to the San Diego River Channel and is the Ocean Beach’s community border. The 25-acre southern portion of the Famosa Slough is in the Point Loma community.
Peace Pies
Peace Pies is a raw vegan restaurant on Voltaire Street.

The O.B. Water Store
This store, which provides fresh clean drinking water, is located at the entrance to Robb Field on West Point Loma Boulevard.

Ocean Beach Historic Cottage Program
The Ocean Beach Historic Cottage Program was started in 2000. It was put in place to help preserve the distinctive style of the Ocean Beach Bungalows by giving them the Mills Act Historical designation. It is available to pre-1925 homes in Ocean Beach.

Robb Field
Public Athletic Fields, sit along the edge of the San Diego River (a bird wetlands preserve) and the nesting home to generations of Ospreys.

Dog Beach and the San Diego River mouth (Flood Control Channel)
The shallows of the San Diego River along Ocean Beach are a home to many seabirds and a stop-over for migrating birds (noted as one of the best birdwatch spots in San One section of Dog Beach has become a nesting area for the lease terns.

Formerly in the Ocean Beach “Green Zone”

Rebel Bakery
The Rebel Bakery, on Voltaire Street was all volunteer bakers, making healthy bread with the proceeds going to rebel causes.

Zen Bakery
The Zen Bakery, on Voltaire Street, made healthy baked goods, one account include Trader Joe’s.

Mika’s Park
In park dedicated in memory of Mika. An Ocean Beach woman that died in her twenties, who had owned the Strudel Factory. A lot that sat empty on for years, on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. and Voltaire Street, was transformed by residents bringing and planting their plants into a garden. The park was bull-dozed and fenced off by World Oil who had bought the property.

Now is the time to do this!


Byron Wear November 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I think your idea is excellent.
It is great to see the good work you are doing with the OB Historical Society. When I served on the City Council we were able to underground the utilities on Voltaire, West Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs Blvd. We also planted the shade trees and established diagonal parking to encourage a walkable area and small businesses. The historical connections of the healthy foods, the green movement along with parks, and historical markers, etc. would be wonderful. The site of Wonderland and the community fight to stop the jetty…When we completed the environmental work for the acquisition of the old Anthonys Pizza and billboard for the new entryway our dig revealed mussel shells at the intersection of Sunset Cliffs Blvd and West Point Loma Blvd. as the site of an original Kumeyai (sp) village. Plenty of interesting sites to educate the community and greater San Diego. All the best. Byron Wear


Frank Gormlie November 5, 2013 at 9:07 am

Kathy B – this is a great list! We’ll use it in full for everyone to see.


Rachel October 29, 2013 at 7:26 am

Growing up and living in NY, fate seemed to always be drawing me to California in subtle ways. However, it was always SF, LA or some other coastal area. I never gave a thought to San Diego (“that city down by Mexico”) until my therapist suggested it. She felt it was a good fit to my laid back personality when everyone around me seems so wound up and in such a hurry for nothing.

When I began reading about San Diego, I immediately fell in love with this neighborhood called Ocean Beach. While such great anticipation and expectations often lead to even bigger disappointment, I was not let down the first time I visited. I realized this was the place I was meant to be. I’m currently working very hard to move there and the OBRag has been my connection to Ocean Beach and San Diego before I even stepped off the first plane. I don’t feel so far away when I can actually read about things happening in the community.

Thank you Frank and everyone else for your hard work, I will support the OBRag in any way I can.

And from reading the Rag, I know I made a good decision to leave San Diego the morning of the Marshmallow wars~ ;)


Dan Shay October 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm

My thoughts are that media has two main sources of income – 1) advertising and 2) donations. While Sirius and XM charge monthly fees I do not think it would work for an on-line news source. If CNN or the UT or any other website tried to charge a monthly fee it would not work. The New York Times is free on-line. I think the UT has an option to pay for more content on-line, but most people just use the free section. Time magazine charges for the paper magazine, but has free content on-line – like most magazines and newspapers. If the local OB businesses are not willing to pay for advertising I think that leaves donations. KPBS would be a good example of that, although I believe they receive grants too. There are some rich hippies in OB. There are numerous million dollar properties in OB and Point Loma. If the Rag could obtain a couple generous sponsors it could be enough.


kenloc October 29, 2013 at 1:49 pm

If you want advertisers,you need to do it like the big boys do. Get salespeople with experience and pay them commission on ads sold. Businesses don’t just call the UT or other publications wanting to place ads.Those ads are all sold by salesmen and saleswomen who pound the pavement and are relentless in their pursuit.
Advertising and marketing sales is not something everyone can do.Get yourself a seasoned pro and watch the rate of sold ad space increase.Guaranteed.


Frank Gormlie October 31, 2013 at 10:34 am

Kenloc – Yup, I pounded the pavement, up and down Newport, Voltaire, for many hours and on many occasions. And did sell a few ads. Yet, the bulk of merchants it seems have to have the physical ad in hand and are not warm to ads on the internet.

Plus we do provide very hefty commissions.

At least two businesses refused to take out ads because of their fear of what people at the Black would think. One of them – a bar/ restaurant – was just about to take out a banner ad, when they changed their mind.


RB October 30, 2013 at 1:21 pm

So the Black should run adds on the site that spent six months vilifying their business?
You might try reporting rather than having every article being a left leaning editorial.


Frank Gormlie October 31, 2013 at 10:31 am

Just for the record, the Black never supported us with an ad before our campaign against the use of stickers to vilify homeless people – which the Black sold.


TRUTH October 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Screw the Black. They made more $$$$ that week putting out hate then they did their entire miserable existence.

And to those that shop there- a young, idealistic, Christian missionary type asked me, no TOLD ME, about the name. THE BLACK. Hmmmmm. As opposed to THE WHITE?



nostalgic October 30, 2013 at 5:41 pm

for everyone who loves the Rag, let’s follow the instructions:

Write a check to OB Rag
Mail to: OB Rag, PO Box 7012, Ocean Beach, CA 92167.

Then and only then will the future be assured. I am doing this, maybe not because I love it, but because I don’t want it to go away.


judi curry October 31, 2013 at 10:12 am

Several years ago when I first began writing for the OB Rag, I had never heard of the paper. I lived in Berkeley prior to coming to San Diego and the move was a very traumatic thing for me. I once had a flat tire on Highway 5, and my car had a “Pat Brown for Governor” sticker on my car. (Yes, I’ve been in San Diego over 45 years!) I waited on that Freeway for almost 6 hours before anyone stopped and offered me help. (No cell phones then!). I mourned the loss of progressive beliefs; I searched for answers to questions that also came up short of satisfaction when it pertained to political issues. When told that San Diego was so right wing they were going to try and outlaw “left hand turns” because it was subversive it was an easy thing to believe. Well…almost.

Finding the Rag was a godsend, not just from a journalist point of view, but from the standpoint that there were others in San Diego that were not happy with the status quo and were willing to put themselves on the line for what they believed in. The word “target” comes to mind. Yet the Rag has evolved to the extent that when I wear my OBRag shirt and go into town people stop and ask me about it; how they can access it; etc. I was floored when I was at Lucy’s on Voltaire and a woman stopped me and asked me if I was “the widder curry.” I was standing in line at the Post Office wearing my shirt when another woman asked me if I was Judi Curry. Said she really enjoyed my articles, and started her mornings off with a cup of coffee and the OBRag. She said when she discovered with a push of the button at the top she could switch over to the San Diego Free Press her mornings were complete.

It grieves me that we do not have more support from the merchants of Ocean Beach. What are they afraid of? Large full page ads are placed in throw-away papers; large ads are placed in publications that only publish when they feel like it, and those papers don’t represent OB in the way the Rag does. We encourage our readers to think before acting; to become aware of what is going on in our own community. Drive down Santa Monica Ave. and see the new condo’s being built. We tried to alert the community about what is going on there and on West Point Loma Ave., and it made people more aware. And we were thanked for the articles. But that was the extent of the support.

It might interest some of you to know that the Rag does not pay its contributors. I have written over 50 restaurant reviews; over 100 articles, but have NEVER received a dime for what is printed. Oh, I take that back. My editor-dude asked me to review a certain restaurant and he paid me $20 to do it. That was the only time I received monies from the Rag. None of us write for money. We write because we want our community to know what is happening, not just in OB, but all over San Diego County. We write because we want our readers to think; to become aware; to be informed.

So…buy a shirt – I have 5; send in a donation – I’ve done that too, albeit a small one – support us. I’d hate to see newbies coming into the area and feel the same pangs I felt when I arrived here. Help us inform; help us be viable members of the community. I, for one, will thank you profusely; as will the other contributors to the Rag. And, if you have a bent for writing, join us. We are flexible enough to hear other progressives thoughts and desires.

Tell those merchants in OB that you would sure like to see their ads in our paper. It won’t hurt – and might even help!

We, at the Rag, appreciate you and everything you believe in. Have a safe and happy Halloween! and every day thereafter. Judi


Dallas M. October 31, 2013 at 10:56 am

Such an awesome story, Judi. Thank you so much for sharing. I have to admit that I’m often a recluse and in most recent years have spent more time away from OB than in it due to work/economy/et cetera. Even while I was gone the Rag has been my connection to OB through the years.

I’ve noticed that in the responses here that we’ve been diagnosing the problem but not necessarily solving it. The key factors being that the OB Rag needs to generate a nominal amount of income to continue and we need to gather the support of fellow OBecian merchants to make this happen.

I’ve been racking my brain on this and I think I’ve come up with two solutions that may help: – This is a donation based website where certain monetary goals are set in a particular frame of time. Donations can either be anonymous or public. I’ve seen many short film projects, books self-published, and other creative ventures succeed via this outlet alone.

Appeal to potential advertisers with content that affects them directly. We all know that politics and current affairs deeply affect all but when your primary content is this, it can be a bit off-putting (as you can see). I’m not at all suggesting that you eliminate this content but rather include some more lighthearted pieces as well. Create the interest in the business itself. Perhaps with every paid ad, include a review of the establishment. If they are new to the area, why did they choose OB? If they’ve been here awhile, what is the secret to their success. This is great publicity for the merchants as well in addition to the ad-space that is more permanent.

Again, these suggestions are merely constructive criticisms.


judi curry October 31, 2013 at 12:58 pm

Thanks, Dallas. I noticed that the editor-dude – Frank – is also reading what everyone has written. I am sure he will take at a look at your suggestions and put them in his computer. Thanks for being a reader of the Rag. Judi


unWasheDWalmartThong October 31, 2013 at 10:28 am

What in Sam Hill is the Power Grid Down Drill excercise? November 13th & 14th the feds & other major players are planning the Grid Ex II, Grid Security Exercise. Canada, Mexico, & the U.S. & hundreds of Feds, FBI & the like are planning this excercise. What exactly are they doing? Here is something to gitcher teeth into. Check out & for info.
Bring a big fat story into OB, a big fat story that impacts everyone, and I mean
Ciao baby


Frank Gormlie October 31, 2013 at 10:35 am

Hey unWashed – haven’t heard from you in a while. Carefully reread the post.


unWasheDWalmartThong November 1, 2013 at 5:58 pm

Yea, I ran out of brain cells & I had a cough & cold, & I also have to work a lot of hours, & that makes my wit diminish.
I disliked those stickers The Black sold.
Back to work for me; my boss is breathing down my nape.
I was thinking about the Grid thang, that if you gotcher teeth onto something important, more people would read the Rag, more traffic to the Rag, more influence from the Rag.
I’ll support you guys anytime. I have a hammock I bought in Medellin in ’85, can you use it?


John November 3, 2013 at 9:35 pm

What is the “Power Grid Down Drill”?
Glad you brought that to our attention, hope to see the Rag do a piece on that for public interest, reminding people to prepare. (though you can only do so much for SHTF)
It appears what it is is the government actually trying to do their job well for a change.
And something for all the conspiracy theorists to talk about. As the government, mindful of the “devil finds work with idle hands” truism, doesn’t want them to be bored, this is two birds with one stone.


hOBie October 31, 2013 at 11:48 am

I’m surprised at the surprise folks have that OB businesses are not chomping at the bit to have their ad on the Rag. Look at it this way: what’s in it for them?

Is Ms. Curry going to start writing favorable reviews for restaurants that are otherwise lousy? We would hope not. Count the restaurants out. Especially when a restaurant biz owner like the Cohen’s decides to add to their presence in OB by putting a ton of $$ into that property on Newport, only to hear cries of “gentrification!” from the Rag and/or it’s reader (poster) -ship.

And you’re right Frank re: the “Homeless Issue.” I’m not an OB Biz owner, but if I were, I could certainly tell you that I would not show a whole lot of empathy for panhandlers right outside my door. If the solution to that is simply, “then leave OB!” then you can count the non-restaurant biz owners out too.

Most people here aren’t going to like it, but your best bet may be the bars. Let them run specials on the site. There’s a reason there are so many bars in OB: the demand is there. And no, those bars aren’t being packed solely by non-OBecians. The bars can hang signage promoting coupons on the Rag, thus driving readership to the Rag.

All of that said, I enjoy and value the Rag as a (not the) source of local content and perspective. As such, I view it much more in a KPBS or Jazz 88.3 light – which is to say donation driven. I have no idea what kind of operating budget you would want or need, but I, like many who have posted above, would be happy to make an online donation. Hope to see you around 6 years from now.


Goatskull October 31, 2013 at 12:52 pm

“Especially when a restaurant biz owner like the Cohen’s decides to add to their presence in OB by putting a ton of $$ into that property on Newport, only to hear cries of “gentrification!” from the Rag and/or it’s reader (poster) -ship.”

Actually Judi have a very favorable review for Bo-beau.


Goatskull October 31, 2013 at 12:53 pm

I mean gave, not have.


nancy October 31, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I’m in for a straight donation to the p.o. box, as definitely keep up with the RAG even if it’s only once a wk. I can check in but read all that I’ve missed.
It’s been a wonderful source of OB news that I don’t see anywhere else; it’s my “local” news source. I read the original back in the 70’s and was very happy to see it reappear 6 yrs. ago. I’ve been amazed at the quality of the writing that continues to this day.
THANKS to all you regular writers and to Frank for starting it.


Frank Gormlie November 15, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Thank you Nancy.


John November 2, 2013 at 10:05 am

If it were me and I wanted to grow the business…. I’d get a poor man’s printing operation to put out a provocative abbreviated print version of the rag- it could be just 2 pieces of paper folded in half, which makes just 8 pages- of the hardest hitting local articles- selected not by criteria of being progressive but relevant to the big local issues. Give them away at the usual places, the articles would be teasers with two intentions: Establishing to advertisers that there is a bit of substance to the publication…. and draw people who pick it up to go to the website and become engaged on local issues. (even just to argue with you) The two are not distinct but associated, advertisers would see that live breathing bodies who are potential customers do actually go to the website.
This would also be a form of self affirming “getting back to your roots” that may be the cure for the blues that initiated this piece.

About that arguing thing, the guy who wrote the first wiki code had something to say about that:

“The best way to get the right answer on the Internet is not to ask a question, it’s to post the wrong answer.”
-Cunningham’s Law


John Stump November 2, 2013 at 12:06 pm

What is the legal and tax status of this publication? Non profit under irs?


Frank Gormlie November 5, 2013 at 9:09 am

No, appears to costs $$ to do the paperwork for a non-profit.


Goatskull November 2, 2013 at 5:18 pm

As the saying goes, check’s in the mail. I can’t commit to an ongoing non stop thing due to my own issues with life but a donation is on the way.


unWasheDWalmartThong November 3, 2013 at 8:52 am



want2surf November 4, 2013 at 7:34 am

I also would ante up the donation to keep it going!


Ken November 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

It just occurred to me (and the resources might not exist), but I see that there may be (for lack of a better phrase to come to mind) structural issues in the site itself.

Wordpress does an adequate job at managing blog content, but I suspect that it is leaves a lot desired when managing all content: articles, ads, logging in to comment…what have you.


micaela porte November 5, 2013 at 8:51 am

truthsayers are scary… and Frank, you could take on an army single-handedly (probably argue’em into retreat) You are a giant of the local press, and always have been… the OB RAG, and media partner, San Diego Free Press has upped the level of quality journalism in this town recently with your uber-local approach and your open forum for all, read by thinking people all over the world (who want to move here!)
with continued support,
from one “uppity woman”


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