Covering Ocean Beach and Point Loma in the Time of Trump

by on March 9, 2017 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, History, Media, Ocean Beach, Politics (public domain image)

At the most recent OB Town Council meeting, a friend who is active in Ocean Beach and an OB Rag supporter, took me aside, and said, “You’re killing me with all the national news.” He was complaining that he felt the OB Rag was straying from its focus on local, OB news and material.

I explained to him that we had to do both, be the source of uber news for the village and the Peninsula and provide news and analysis about what’s going on nationally – especially now in the time of Trump.

Ever since we began trying to be the online newspaper for OB and providing a platform for the community, we’ve experienced a tension between covering really local stuff about OB and Point Loma versus both throwing out our news net for wider issues, more city and county related issues – and being a source for progressive views and analysis on national and international news and goings on.

It’s the tension between the coverage of what’s happening on Newport Avenue, for instance, and national news, such as presidential elections.

It’s a good tension and gives us the challenge to find a balance between local Ocean Beach-related newsworthy items and those regional and national issues that we think are important to our readers. This balance occurs on a daily basis here on the OB Rag, Monday through Friday.

Today’s online OB Rag, of course, is an off-shoot of sorts of the original, paper-version of the OB Rag, which was OB’s underground, community newspaper that flourished from 1970 into 1976.

And that version of the OB Rag certainly had that same tension; some of us called it the “localism vs internationalism (or anti-imperialism)” contradiction. At times back in those days, the challenge of finding balance was lost, and there were issues of the old paper-version where it was all news of the anti-Vietnam war movement or the Republican convention of ’72 with hardly any local, OB material. Then there were a few issues where the pages were filled with only local material reflecting that “OB-bubble” we all know so well.

Yet most issues of the old OB Rag found the balance, and the paper could be a leading voice in the fight against the original Ocean Beach Precise Plan, for example, and still provide coverage of important larger issues, like the United Farmworkers’ Lettuce Boycott, or the turmoil in Nixon’s White House, what later became known at the Watergate crisis.

The original OB Rag was never apolitical. Back during the 1970s, its staff was always against the Vietnam war and the repression on African-American communities nation-wide. The newspaper gave voice for alternative lifestyles and to the emerging hippie movement, then to the feminist movement; it supported gay and lesbian rights.

It expressed the views of and news from OB’s network of alternative institutions, such as the OB Food Co-op, the OB Free School, the Childcare Project and the paper provided a platform for the various progressive organizations, like OB Ecology Action Committee, the OB Community Planning Group, the OB Human Rights Committee, Women Against Rape.

Back in the Seventies while the OB community movement flourished, under the shadow of the Vietnam war and Nixon, no one (outside academia or the intelligence community) could have imagined the internet. But here we are today with the online version of the OB Rag – which we’ve been doing now for almost ten years (since October 2007).

The parallels with the seventies are staggering.  Back then OB Rag writers couldn’t write about what was going on in OB while ignoring the war – which ended in 1975 – and denying the scandals and Constitutional crisis that Nixon and his cronies were manufacturing, which only became public in 1972.

This is what we have now. We can’t write about gentrification, public-space encroachments, beach clean-ups and saving Torrey Pines while ignoring Trump’s racism, misogyny and authoritarianism – and now all the Russian connections. We have a new Constitutional crisis, and dangers to our fragile democracy appear every day.

This is why we must continue the balance between local news and national issues – and implore our readers for their patience and understanding and to appreciate the struggle for that balance.

There’s lots of good reasons to read the OB Rag – and our associated San Diego Free Press – which the OB Rag launched 4 years ago. We’ve been called the conscience of OB and we aim to continue the local reporting and the raising of issues of concerns to OBceans.

Yet the Trump regime influences everything and a crisis of this magnitude affects everybody. With the corporate media compromised due to their focus on the bottomline – even while there’s a current explosion of reporters getting off their collective duffs and digging into the burgeoning Trump scandals – the need for an independent and free press is all the more important to the community and country.

So why should our readers refer to the OB Rag about all the national news about Trump and other larger issues? Why shouldn’t our readers simply go to other online sources for that kind of level of info?

Here’s why.

Not only do we offer an needed and alternative viewpoint for OB, San Diego and this region, but what with our siblings at the Free Press, we have the best insightful and progressive writers in the County – all exploring their thoughts on our pages.

Our writers are ahead of the local curve in terms of the Constitutional crisis coverage, as some of us back last year cautioned our readers that candidate Trump could win the election, that there were strong fascist elements about Trump and among his entourage; months ago we warned that potentially a coup-d’etat was in progress as the FBI head intervened into the presidential election; we offer daily and weekly summaries to the scandals – and very importantly, we’ve become the voices of resistance here in OB and San Diego.





{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

L March 9, 2017 at 3:35 pm

All the anti-Trump hysteria really detracts. The OB Rag ought to focus on Ocean Beach, not Washington, D.C.


Marc Snelling March 10, 2017 at 4:59 am

This WH is not normal., and the policies enacted at that level have local consequences. It deserves coverage.


Marc Snelling March 10, 2017 at 5:21 am

How would one explain the recent SD Airport protests without referencing the WH and the orders that led to it?


OBC March 13, 2017 at 11:06 am

I really appreciate WH news at a local level – I have a lot of trouble trusting some of the larger news corps these days (and their infinitely many advertisers who also have their own national audiences to think of). I think it’s appropriate to point out the connections between local events and their causes (even if they come from the WH), I don’t know why that should be left out.

Keep on spreading the word. We need strong, independent voices like the Rag.


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