It’s the OB Rag’s 8th Birthday!

by on October 28, 2015 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Politics, San Diego

OB Rag homepage 10-28-15It’s birthday number 8 for the online OB Rag.

Yup, we started this internet gig eight years ago – during the huge late October 2007 firestorm, and have continued to this day, surviving the ups and downs – and actually thriving in our corner of San Diego as part of the alternative media for this town.

A home page view in September 2009

Patty Jones and I  first initiated the online version of OB’s counter-culture icon of the 1970’s – the OB People’s Rag – with the original intent –

“to ply the San Diego scene with news and commentary from a distinctively progressive and grassroots perspective, and to also provide a forum for those views.”

Importantly, we also wanted to provide some kind of web platform for the Ocean Beach community in our efforts to be an online newspaper for the village and surrounding neighborhoods.  Besides providing a news site for OB, we also wanted to be a resource for San Diego’s peace movement – as the Iraq War was still going on back then in 2007 and 2008.

By today, this online version of the OB Rag has been up and running longer than the newspaper version of the 1970s.

In the Fall of 2008, we were joined by Doug Porter, who now writes on a regular basis for San Diego Free Press, and who wrote for the original OB Rag back in the seventies, and by Anna Daniels, who is active on city-wide issues on the SDFP and writes about her own neighborhood of City Heights.

When we started this online endeavor (it’s really much more than a “blog”), we were disgusted with the state of things: the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a bellicose and war-mongering President Bush, a Constitutional crisis, the environmental and global meltdown, as well as local corruption and government incompetence on all levels. We believed then and still believe now that things can and should be a whole lot better.

Things have obviously changed since we first started. From Bush to Obama – and now the opening of the 2016 campaign, we try to remain critical – and hopeful – of our political environment. We have come to deeply understand that progressives need to keep pressure on City Hall, local government, and of course the White House, no matter who is in it. And it’s important to develop broad coalitions of activists and like-minded people, on the village, city and regional levels – and to not be hampered by some restrictions of our political traditions, and be willing to work across different parties and communities.

When we first started this thing, we felt that we needed “to rebuild a sense of community, not only on the neighborhood level, but also amongst those of a kindred spirit.”  Since then, we have expanded our circle of friends, readers, and supporters as we have a solid base of Ocean Beach readers, a San Diego, national and even international audience.  And – the OB Rag was awarded the “Community Partner” distinction by the OB Town Council Fall of 2014.

It’s ever-so clear to us that, as we originally stated at the beginning:

With mainstream media becoming more and more monopolized and centralized, there is a need for information and opinion outside the corporate media monolith. Blogs are helping to fill this role. Like during an earlier day, when underground newspapers filled the void, blogs today enable grassroots journalists and commentators to counter mainstream propaganda.

At times the OB Rag is fashioned from the ol’ laptop.

Some brief history about the OB Rag website:

At our one year anniversary – late October 2008 – we had a daily “visitor” or reader average of over 250. Around that time, we decided to focus more of our attention and energies on OB itself.  By October 2009 we had a daily visitor count somewhere between 500 to 900. And we started taking advertisements and sponsorships and selling hot-looking T-shirts. Our stats just continued to rise dramatically over the months.

In March 2010 we are averaging between 750 and 1,000 visitors a day, with over 26,000 visitors that month.  June 2010 – we were just short of 40,000 for the month. In the Fall of 2011, and our very best month – October 2011 we had 108,000 visitors – this was during the Occupy Wall Street movement. Today, we have a daily readership of 1500 to 2000.

Significantly, the OB Rag staff began publishing a new online journal for all of San Diego – the San Diego Free Press. It jumped out in June 2012. Many of the people who were then writing for the Rag didn’t live in OB and were eager to begin writing about their own neighborhoods or about San Diego more in general. Now the daily readership of the San Diego Free Press surpasses that of the OB Rag.

Page 1

The original OB Rag from Mid-March 1972. (Keep clicking on  image until you can actually read it.

During in the Spring of 2013, we opened up a small office within the Green Store on the 4800 block of Voltaire Street, which we still maintain.  Also, in the fall of 2013, we were joined by Matthew Wood who became our “in-house” writer.

Over the years, we’ve had a plethora of writers, bloggers, contributors, photographers, and close supporters – some of whom continue to write, take photos and contribute.  They include :

Brittany Bailey, Mercy Baron, Jon Carr, Jon Christensen “JEC”, Kristin Condon, Judi Curry, Anna Daniels, Stephanie Denton, Colleen Dietzel, Chris Dotson, Dave Gilbert, Gary Gilmore, South OB Girl, Jim Grant, Nate Hipple, Rich Kacmar, Steven Kindrick, Kip Kruger, Lois Lane, Sarah Little, Mary E. Mann, Ernie McCray, Brenda McFarlane, Danny Morales, Rick Nadeau, Jim Noble, Abby Normal, OB Cindi, Doug Porter, Terry Ratner, Bill Ray, Terry Reif, Dave Rice, Gregg Robinson, Genie Sapienza, Stu Seymour, Michael Steinberg, Jeff Stone, Sunshine, Lane Tobias, Wireless Mike Williams, John Williams.

Unfortunately, not who started with us are still here: Rick Nadeau passed in 2008 and Jon Christensen in 2013.

Plaque on building at corner of Newport Avenue and Bacon Street, commemorating the past. The original OB Rag had its office upstairs, circa 1974. (Click on image.)


{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

South OB Girl October 28, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Happy Birthday!!!!!


Christo October 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm

Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you

Well, it’s time to celebrate your birthday, it happens every year
We’ll eat a lot of broccoli and drink a lot of beer
You should be good and happy that there’s something you can eat
A million people every day are starving in the street

Your daddy’s in the gutter with the wretched and the poor
Your mama’s in the kitchen with a can of Cycle Four
There’s garbage in the water
There’s poison in the sky
I guess it won’t be long before we’re all gonna die

Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you

Well, what’s the matter little friend, you think this party is the pits
Enjoy it while you can, we’ll soon be blown to bits
The monkeys in the pentagon are gonna cook our goose
Their finger’s on the button, all they need it an excuse

It doesn’t take a military genius to see
We’ll all be crispy critters after World War III
There’s nowhere you can run to, nowhere you can hide
When they drop the big one, we all get fried

(Come on boys and girls, sing along, ok?)

Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
wow! (background screaming, sound effect)

Well there’s a punk in the alley and he’s looking for a fight
There’s an Arab on the corner buying everything in sight
There’s a mother in the ghetto with another mouth to feed
Seems that everywhere you look today there’s misery and greed

I guess you know the Earth is gonna crash into the sun
But that’s no reason why we shouldn’t have a little fun
So if you think it’s scary, if it’s more than you can take
Just blow out the candles and have a piece of cake

Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you

Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday
Happy birthday to you

(Happy Birthday!)

And a pinch to grow an inch!

– Weird Al Yankovic


Mary Tolena October 28, 2015 at 2:14 pm

Congratulations, Frank and Patty! I appreciate the important role you and the OB Rag play in making OB OB.


Doug Blackwood October 28, 2015 at 6:49 pm


Hey now, you keep us informed,
rag on
we are glad you are here,
to keep our village by the sea.

sea ob sea ob; let it be!


patty jones October 28, 2015 at 7:07 pm

it’s been quite a ride, baby. here’s to many more.


JET October 28, 2015 at 8:44 pm

Happy birthday! And thank you all for making the world a better place!


Geoff Page October 29, 2015 at 1:14 pm

You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime. Happy Birthday to the OB Rag, let’s have some more.


Frank Gormlie October 29, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Forgot to mention, the OB Rag lead the dust-up to keep OB’s fire-rings – twice. Also, the Rag organized a coalition of community groups to keep the OB Library’s doors open back when Mayor Sanders wanted to close them. The Rag also was instrumental in saving a large Torrey Pine in the 4600 block of Long Branch.


Geoff Page October 29, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Yes, I can attest that the Rag played a big role in helping preserve that tree. It is still standing and still leaning in the same position as it was back then. That is an admirable legacy, one that should outlive us all if the City can be kept away.


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