Poll: Bare Majority of Locals Support Ocean Beach Town Council’s Ban of July 4th Marshmallow Fight

by on October 9, 2013 · 9 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Ocean Beach

In the most recent poll at the OB Rag, a bare majority of local residents support the OB Town Council’s “ban” of the July 4th marshmallow wars.  But nearly a third of locals said they disagreed with the move.  Clearly this poll reflects a lack of community consensus on the marshmallow issue.

At their monthly public meeting on September 25th, the Board of the Town Council voted unanimously to “end” the marshmallow mess. (Here is the full text of the resolution.)  The OB Rag criticized this action as overly-unilateral and called for the creation of a village task force and more of a consensus on the annual event – which everyone agrees is out of control.

Of the respondents who indicated they live either in OB or Point Loma, only 52% of the overall total of 120 respondents said they agreed with the Town Council.  And even that support was lukewarm as one out of eight who agreed with the Council also said “there could be problems ahead.”  46% of the total respondents who also said they live in the Peninsula “absolutely” agreed with the move to ban the infamous tradition – that everyone agrees is a mess.

Those who agree with the OBTC chose the option that said, “I’m glad somebody is stepping forward to deal with this out-of-control mess.”

Of those locals who did not indicate agreement with the OBTC, their reasons were varied.

Fifteen percent (15%) want to keep it but control it. They agreed with the option “… this is not the course to take. We can keep the tradition and bring it under control.”

A full 8% chose the option that making the issue solely a police issue was not an answer.  They agreed with “… forcing this issue onto the police is not the answer; it’s wasteful and dangerous.” Another 6% said the Town Council doesn’t have the authority by itself to ban the marshmallow fight.  Two percent said they disagreed with the Council but didn’t know what the answer was.  A final 1% urged development of a community consensus on the issue.

Nearly one out of ten respondents – 9% – thought the effort to simply announce a ban was “crazy”. They chose the option that read: “You’re crazy if you think the OBTC or police can simply control this thing by announcing a ban.” (This choice did not ask for residency, however.)

Non-resident respondents were also split – 4% saying they agreed with the Town Council, and over 3% saying they disagreed.

Of the over-all totals, 55.7% agreed with the OBTC and 44.2% disagreed. Including just residents of the Peninsula, the split was 51.7% vs 39.2%.

There are obvious problems with this poll. There is no way to control or monitor who participates as a respondent, nor is there a way to verify a respondent’s indicated residency.  Plus, not everyone in OB reads the OB Rag and not every reader participates in our polls. These are clear weaknesses of any poll that we offer.

Yet, despite the impurities of its process, the poll does demonstrate that the issue of OB’s July 4th Marshmallow Wars has not been settled, that clearly there is no consensus on the matter. And this is a problem.

Again, to reiterate, the Town Council has great reasons to be very concerned – every complaint about the marshmallow issue they issued in their resolution is correct.  We just simply disagree with their process and their conclusion.


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

obracer October 9, 2013 at 11:52 am

Who cares what the O.B.T.C. decides ?
The president of the town council also speaks for the O.B.M.A. at planning board meetings, one hand washes the other.
You can have the entire police department in O.B. on July 4th, marshmallows will fly regardless.

This pay for play group does not represent the majority of O.B. residents.


Obey OB October 9, 2013 at 1:06 pm


You crazy kids get off our lawn!


Mike October 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Obracer – OB Town Council is formed through a democratic election. If you don’t like who is on the board, then vote otherwise. I believe the only “Pay” you would have to put up in order to “Play” would be the $20 a year membership fee. Roughly the cost of a one gram of weed, which the majority of OB residents can afford. There is no weight behind your statement.

*This message brought to you by someone who has NO connection to the OBMA, Town Council, or Planning Board.


obracer October 9, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I know how the council if formed. I also know who sits on the council.
I would not pay 1 cent to the town council, donate to the YMCA or Obrag it goes farther.
A gram of weed is $ 20 ? wholly shit ! I’m in the wrong business !


Bearded OBcean October 9, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Seems to me your polling could also be read as follows: 46% fully support the ban by the OBTC vs 17% that don’t support. That’s a pretty wide disparity. Just because people don’t think having police handle the situation does not indicate opposition to the ban; Just as respondents believing there could be problems does not indicate “lukewarm” support, but rather an understanding that OB is filled with drunks whose only interest is their own.


Frank Gormlie October 9, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Or we could have written it, “Near Majority Disagree With OBTC …”. The poll offered numerous choices – only 2 of which stated support for the OBTC ban. The others represented over 44% – not your 17%.


Bearded OBcean October 10, 2013 at 9:54 am

Maybe, but that’s not how you worded your article. Just because people might not think the ban will work doesn’t mean they are opposed to it based upon your wording. Above, the only two percentages that outrightly declare objection are: Fifteen percent (15%) want to keep it but control it. They agreed with the option “… this is not the course to take. We can keep the tradition and bring it under control.” and Two percent said they disagreed with the Council but didn’t know what the answer was.


Frank Gormlie October 10, 2013 at 10:29 am

Read in the poll results what you wish. But the point is … there is no community consensus and the OBTC did not attempt to develop one. Could be a lost opportunity.


Tyler October 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm

They probably didn’t attempt to because there will NEVER be a consensus formed on this issue. Considering no other option in the poll came close to the 46% who agreed with the OBTC unequivocally, I’d say that’s as good as a consensus as you will get.


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