Ocean Beach in 1969: “Hippies Move To Ease Tension in Ocean Beach”

by on November 13, 2015 · 6 comments

in Culture, Environment, History, Media, OB Time Machine, Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics, San Diego

OB Longbranch riot LaborDay68

Labor Day 1968, Long Branch Ave.

From the OB Time Machine – a look back to 1969

Editor: The following incredible article about hippies in OB moving to ease tension between them and the San Diego police is a genuine solid chapter out of OB’s recent history. It was printed – without a byline – in the San Diego Free Press in March of 1969. We reprint it unedited except for formatting. The former SD Free Press was the forerunner to today’s online version and our associates.

San Diego Free Press – March 1969

Hippies Move To Ease Tension in Ocean Beach

(no byline)

Relations between Ocean Beach Hippies and the San Diego Police Dept. continue to deteriorate according to Ocean Beach residents.

Police patrolmen have apparently shifted their tactics from Field Interrogation type harassment to outright threats and intimidation. Officer McLean told a gathering of youths in front of the In-Between on Newport Ave –

“I’ve been watching you guys … milling around … We’re just watching, for we’re not gonna give you a ticket, but we’re gonna take you to jail. All we’re looking for is the sacrificial lamb. Any of you guys want to step forward and be first?”

Reactions of the hippies to this hardened police attitude have ranged from anger to desperation and resignation. Many feel that the police are actively trying to make any modus vivendi impossible, and that their real purpose is to drive the hippies out of town, despite token measures of the police public relations department to ‘open up ways of communication.’

The general feeling is that a mass confrontation between police and hippies is inevitable if the police continue on their present course, and rumors are that it could take place during Easter vacation.

Such a confrontation would be disastrous in its effects, according to many hippies. Said one of them at a meeting at the In-Between at which the problem was discussed:

“We’re just beginning to establish a certain amount of communication and understanding with local church groups and businessmen, and a thing like this would turn the community entirely against us, thus playing right into the hands of the police.”

The situation thus defined, a course of action was decided upon. First the Hinky-Dinky Report, a newsleaflet published by and for Ocean Beach youths, is to be distributed more widely to inform all hippies of the situation and invite them to join in the effort to rally the community to their cause.

Second, it was agreed upon that the hippies are to take the initiative and attempt to gain community support by proving to the more orthodox residents that hippies, also, care about the community in which they live. Tactically, it was decided that the best way to do this was to counter the prevalent impression of hippies as being dirty, etc. by cleaning the streets of Ocean Beach.

This is scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 16, beginning at 10 AM with the Newport Ave area from Bacon to Abbott streets. Brooms and food will be provided, and the 0. B. Drum Company is expected to be there. Coordinator for the Street Sweep is Andy McKinney, who may be contacted at the In-Between.

Third, and last, plans are now being made to try to prevent the feared confrontation between police and hippies during Easter by rechanneling the energies brought by the people into a more constructive and peaceful meeting, where grievances are rapped about and solutions sought.

Transcribed by John Lawrence

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

claudia jack November 15, 2015 at 7:55 pm

Hippie’s Rocked>> I loved being a Hippie Chick !!!! cj

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie November 15, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Claudia, did you know I used to work at the Inbetween 1973-74.

Reply

Polla December 31, 2015 at 6:28 pm

I love these old articles, please keep them coming!

Reply

Sheryl April 26, 2016 at 7:57 pm

This picture does not show hippies. The majority of the people in the photo are surfers.

Reply

Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie April 27, 2016 at 9:39 am

Sheryl, no photo accompanied the original article from the late Sixties, so we used a photo we had from Labor Day 1968. Most of the people in the photo are just local OB and PL kids. Many were proto-hippies, some were surfers, all young.

Reply

Tony February 17, 2017 at 9:30 pm

I remember that day. I just finished practice and I was walking down Abbot St to the pier parking lot, when I saw the people . What can I say “Right On ” OB.

Reply

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