It Takes a Village to Keep a Village

by on August 1, 2016 · 4 comments

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

OBTC Meet 72716 LibBanYour Ocean Beach Village Needs You – Get Involved

If it takes a village to raise a child, then certainly, it takes a village to make and keep a village.

It takes the residents and citizens of a village to keep a village going, to keep it maintained, to ensure the community institutions and organizations are active and alive.

Ocean Beach – the village – is no different.

Our seaside community needs its community groups that help keep Ocean Beach the way it is … and those very groups need the citizens, the residents and local businesses to help bring in new ideas, new energy and new blood to them.

It is one of the responsibilities of citizenship – to be a good citizen, and being a good citizen means getting involved in your community, your village.

As OB struggles against forces that challenge its very soul, such as the debilitating consequences of too many short term vacation rentals, against the pressures for gentrification, against the trends that could turn the village into another Mission Beach – with its ghost neighborhoods – or another Pacific Beach – with its “party town” atmosphere, the village groups and institutions on the front lines need help.

Ocean Beach has plenty of volunteers who turn out for the monthly and seasonal beach clean-ups – but OB needs more than that to keep the village going.  It needs the grassroots organizations to be maintained. And here are a whole bunch of very important ones:

The Friends of the Ocean Beach Library

The Friends of the Ocean Beach Library – as they prepare for the centennial celebration of the OB branch library and host periodic book sales on the lawn in front of one of the oldest branches in the city – and the last to receive air conditioning – remain a small group of dedicated die-hards who are also responsible for maintaining the grassroots pressure for the library’s expansion and eventual replacement.

But they need immediate help – not in the form of book donations – but in the form of new volunteers, and younger volunteers. In this digital age, the Friends are keeping us in touch with one of the clearest forms of community service – the free service of lending books. Our public library is one of the most valuable community institutions around the village. If you can join these folks, contact Matt Beatty, the head librarian.

The Ocean Beach Planning Board

One of the most important of the village’s institutions is the OB Planning Board. Created in 1976 as the very first community planning body in the entire City of San Diego, it is still going strong as the advisory committee for the City regarding land use, land developments and public facilities.

Here’s what the OBPB states as its purpose:

The all-volunteer Ocean Beach Planning Board is recognized by the City of San Diego as the primary advisory group for land use and land development issues in the Ocean Beach community. … the Planning Board was formed by the San Diego City Council to make recommendations to the City Council, Planning Commission, City staff, and other agencies on land use matters relating to the Ocean Beach Community Plan Area.

The Planning Board evaluates and makes recommendations on proposed development projects and permit applications as part of the City’s discretionary review process. It also advises the City on … the Land Development Code, the General Plan, relevant community plans, and … with advice on other matters of concern to the Ocean Beach community whenever relevant.

OB is divided into 7 planning districts, and each district has 2 elected representatives on the Board. Currently, the Board has 3 vacancies, one each in Districts 2, 5 and 7. (See the Planning Map for your district.) Even though most of the vacant seats are filled during the annual election in March, the Board can still make appointments to empty seats during other parts of the year. (See the OBPB website for Board member requirements)

The OB Historical Society

The OBHS preserves O.B.’s history through the Sea Scrolls newsletter, its enormous archives, it monthly programs and public events. OBHS Archive volunteers research, collect, preserve, and make available to OBceans and the public information, artifacts, art and memorabilia related to the history of Ocean Beach. The wonderful and entertaining – yet informative – programs they present are free but residents and friends are encouraged to become members. (The group is a 501(c)(3) Non-profit Organization, so donations may be tax deductible.)

The Ocean Beach Town Council

Of course, the OB Town Council is the most substantial grassroots institution around. It sponsors so much for the village – many times in conjunction with other groups, like the OB Mainstreet Association – especially the annual Holiday Parade, the Pancake Breakfast –  the list goes on. Here’s the Mission Statement from their website:

The object and purpose of the Ocean Beach Town Council is to express the will and represent the welfare of the community of Ocean Beach by:

  • Providing a forum for the discussion of community issues.
  • Communicating the views and needs of the community to the appropriate agencies.
  • Taking the appropriate action on the community issues.
  • Promoting the general betterment and beautification of Ocean Beach and the welfare of its residents.
  • Fostering cooperative efforts among all community organizations and residents for their mutual benefit.

The OBTC has a 15-member Board and holds monthly public meetings. The meetings are like the only genuine monthly town hall meeting in the village – where public servants and political reps give reports, and where village issues are discussed. As a private organization, it has nearly 200 dues-paying members, a hefty bank account that lets them do all the great and generous things for the community (it just awarded $10,000 to local groups and entities that serve the community), and demands much from their board members.

And by the way, the Board currently has a vacancy and is looking for candidates for that empty seat, is holding its annual election within the next month or so – and is also looking for volunteers as candidates for the full terms.

The OB Graffiti Task Force

One of the newest grassroots groups in Ocean Beach these days is the OB Graffiti Task Force, which has taken on the responsibility and messy chore of keeping graffiti off our public spaces, especially around and along the Cliffs. It has a facebook page with over 230 members – is looking for volunteers – and was just awarded $1,000 by the OB Town Council for paint and supplies.

The OB Rag

And yes, there’s the OB Rag, the online newspaper for Ocean Beach and Point Loma. We usually publish Monday – Friday, have a mostly OB and San Diego readership of 1,000 to 2,000 readers a day, have a facebook page, and are always looking for writers, bloggers, artists and photographers – and others who wish to contribute somehow – and we even sometimes can pay (a small amount) writers for assigned articles. Get in contact with us via our email:

There are other groups and networks not mentioned … and if you think something needs a shout-out, do it in the comments.

Your village needs you – and you need your village. Get involved.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Beverley August 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm

Frank – Thanks for this piece. It is so true or, to use words from the past, “right on”!
It’s because of such sentiments that O B is still what it is, even though it faces threats on several fronts.
Everyone who does volunteer here deserves a little pat on the back. And as for everyone else, perhaps there is a spot for them as well.
Maybe you could write an article or articles about volunteering for this or that local association and what that would mean for the individual considering their time.


Beverley August 1, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Oops! You already did!
I forgot to scroll down.
Must be sun stroke (>:


OB Joe August 1, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Don’t forget the OB Green Store on Voltaire.


Susan Peinado August 2, 2016 at 2:14 pm

And don’t forget the OB Peoples’ Food Co-op, a treasure.


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