A Call for OBceans and Point Lomans to Support “the Conscience of OB”

by on February 3, 2016 · 13 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Media, Ocean Beach

Ben Franklin pressMichael Turko of the well-known “Turko Files” once said that the OB Rag “is the conscience of OB.”

We are humbled by his compliment. And we also think that if you – dear reader – peruse the following list of gains and achievements for Ocean Beach that the OB Rag was instrumental in making happen, then you, too, would agree with Turko.

And if you do agree with Turko, then we appeal to you to support our efforts to maintain an online newspaper for Ocean Beach and the Peninsula.

Consider these:

Saving the OB Library. The OB Rag was instrumental in helping save the OB Library from closing its doors when it was on Mayor Sanders’ butcher block. We joined with the OB Historical Society and the Friends of the OB Library and held several rallies.  Mayor Sanders commented that it was the folks in OB who rallied around their library that convinced him to take all libraries off that cutting board.

More recently, we have supported the Friends of the Library in their seasonal book sales and their petition calling for improvements and the expansion that the City promised OB over a decade ago. Plus we had the idea of installing a bench in front of the Library, which was achieved in 2015.

Saving OB’s Fire Rings. When faced with more budget cuts, the City considered removing all of OB’s fire rings.  The OB Rag singlehandedly led a campaign to save them, and began finding “sponsors” for each one. We finally convinced then-Councilmember Kevin Faulconer and Mayor Sanders to come up with funding for the beach icons.

Kept watch over the OB Entryway Project / Park. It was actually after one of our posts on an update to the Entryway Park that Michael Turko called the OB Rag “the conscience of OB.” We also joined with our friends from the OB Green Center and cleaned up the park which had become totally neglected by the city one weekend.

Saved a Torrey Pine on Longbranch. The Rag led an effort to save a Torrey Pine on the 4600 block of Longbranch Avenue, after the City had marked it for lumber because it was perceived as leaning.  Along with a local tree activist, who hired an expert and paid for a trim, we were able to save the mighty tree from being cut down. We have also highlighted the plight of other Torrey Pines – a protected species – and their history in OB and Point Loma.

Lobbied for clean public restrooms.  We have been very strident in our criticism of some of OB’s restrooms – particularly those at the Lifeguard Station. And we also have applauded the new “comfort station” recently installed on the beach at the foot of Brighton. (There’s also OB Rag quotes on the ceiling.)

Pushed for Public Infrastructure and facilities. Along with expanding the Library, and getting new restrooms, we have also pushed for a new lifeguard station (with the possible option of having an adjoining police sub-station), street lights/lamps, real bike paths, improvements to Collier Park, more murals, and a new recreation center.

Publish news and updates of the commercial districts – with our “Newport News” and such. Periodically, the Rag publishes news from the local commercial areas of OB, particularly from Newport Avenue, and include the comings-and-goings of small businesses within the village, and the progress of new ones.  We also provide inexpensive advertising for small, local businesses in the area.

Restaurant and business reviews. Thanks to Judi Curry and a few others, we have published a rack of restaurant reviews over the last few years.

Campaigned for more humane treatment of homeless people – led pushback against dehumanizing sticker, and tried to get OBceans to see homelessness as a civil rights issue. Continued to cover homelessness and the series of community forums held to grapple with its issues.

Highlighted attacks against women in OB at night. There was a series of sexual attacks against women, particularly at night, which we covered to highlight the dangers at night and the need for better street lights.

OB Rag greatly aided in the campaign to have the OB Community Plan Update passed. It did this by providing up-to-date coverage     of the campaign by OBceans to have first, the City Council, and then the Coastal Commission, pass the Community Plan, and to aid in the petition drive that gained 4,000 signatures.

We also have spotlighted each of the different planning districts of OB, the history of the making the Planning Board some 40 years ago, and have encouraged OBceans to get involved in the Board itself.

Reports of local planning committees. There are 3 local planning committees from the Peninsula whose meetings the Rag reports upon, particularly the OB one, but also the Peninsula planning group and occasionally the Midway District one. Most mainstream press ignore these local meetings and groups.

Chronicled the turn-over of apartments and large complexes in OB. We have been following the unprecedented sell-off and buying up apartment complexes throughout Ocean Beach, and trying to watch how many speculators exploit the village whereas a few actually try to become part of it.

Track local developments. The Rag tracks the developments of large developments in the OB and Midway areas.

Pushed City to deal with dangerous cave at Sunset Cliffs. More recently, inspired by local residents, we investigated the dangerous conditions of the cave-like structure at the foot of Pescadero, and was part of the pressure to get the city to deal with it.

Provide polls on community issues. When an issue pops up around the community, we usually run a weekly poll on it and at least get a sense from our readers where people stand on it. For example, the new owners of the Newport Avenue hostel were considering repainting the “floral” exterior. We did an instant poll on it, and the response was overwhelmingly against any covering up of the paint job. This convinced the new owners to look elsewhere for improvements.

Source of modern OB history. The Rag is a resource of modern Ocean Beach history – from the 1960s at least.

Platform for discussion of community issues.  With our online system, we have provided an invaluable platform for the discussion and debate of community issues and of different perspectives.  With our broader readership, we can do this at a wider level than any one facebook page can.

Provide links to OB and other groups and facebook pages.

In order to continue many of these efforts to keep residents and former residents informed, the OB Rag needs help.

We do have costs. We have rent to pay the OB Green Store – which we also support. We have utility bills, server bills, payments for our statcounter, social media costs, money for a graphics program, gas to get around, and then there’s the small stipends we pay some of our writers.

So, we are looking for readers to send us a green bill or two every month. Right now we have about a dozen supporters who through PayPal send us automatic payments anywhere between $5 and $20 every month. We really need another dozen, dear reader, to keep from having not to pay our writers and our rent. (The PayPal link is up the banner at our home page.)

Recently, we had to change servers and we did a brief one week fundraising campaign to cover the costs.  We raised $600 – which was wonderful. We covered the server and then some. But that was a while ago, and in order to keep up our intensity, we need a whole bunch of readers to sign up for monthly donations.

Yet, it’s not just monetary support we’re asking you for.

It would be great if you made comments to our articles – which helps to get the debate going and draws readership traffic. Also provide us with reviews of your favorite – or not-so-favorite eatery or bar and grill; and send us your observations, your reports, your obsessions, your poetry, your short stories, your photos, drawings, your rants or raves.

And send us ideas for polls of your local neighbors.

Help us continue this great tradition of having an alternative press for our community. Support the OB Rag. Become a monthly contributor.

We believe we’re the modern day Ben Franklins with our press – afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted.

ben franklin press 2


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Jack Hammer February 3, 2016 at 2:12 pm


You are essential to our community! Thank you for all that you do, have done, and will continue to do!

Thanks for taking charge and making a stand!!!!


Jerry Sweeney February 4, 2016 at 5:54 am

In Rome it is said that if the Coliseum falls so will Rome.
The OB Rag is the Coliseum of Ocean Beach.


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2016 at 10:21 am

Last night (Wed) we received donations of $60. Thanks so much.


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2016 at 11:09 am

A new $20 donation this morning.


Anon February 4, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Less like conscience. More like a choice between the Id or the Super-ego.


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2016 at 3:17 pm

$25 was just sent our way via PayPal – gracias mi amigo


ken keegan February 4, 2016 at 6:23 pm

hello, Frank and OB Rag folks. You have my permission to use the CVS mural image in any form to raise funds. keep the faith! a loyal Obcean forever, Ken Keegan


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2016 at 9:25 pm

2 more separate donations have arrived, one for $20, the other for $50. Thanks GM of Albequerque, and thanks SS of Longbranch.


Nancy Witt February 5, 2016 at 10:03 am

Thanks for providing this paper, Frank. I’ve been here since ’71 and won’t leave til no breath left.
I commend you for putting your time and effort into this paper.
You got my money.
We love OB!


Frank Gormlie February 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm

Thanks so much Nancy; Nancy just began a monthly sustainer


Frank Gormlie February 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm

We have 3 new monthly contributors – we need 9 more!


Frank Gormlie February 5, 2016 at 12:37 pm

We even received $2 from a guy in India.


Denine February 5, 2016 at 12:57 pm

As a resident of OB I rely heavily on the OB Rag to keep abreast of important issues. Thank you for all your hard work! I wish my work-a-day world allowed me more time to be more involved… less than two years before I can retire, then watch out!


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