Target Blues

by on August 31, 2017 · 1 comment

in Ocean Beach

The Wood family stood across from their Wood’s Shoe Service on Newport Avenue that was a fixture in the community for decades. Also popular were Market Basket, and Robert and Anna Sakellarion’s Newport Candy & Magazine Shop from 1942 to 1955. (Courtesy of Kathy Blavatt)

By Kathy Blavatt

Sometimes timing in life can be ironic. Like on August 29, 2017 after doing an all-nighter to submit my complete book materials on deadline. I had been working this book called Ocean Beach Where Water and Land Meet, a historical photo book for Arcadia Publishing since January. It is a follow-up book from Ocean Beach, which I co-authored 2014.

Why did I find irony in the timing of this book? Because on Wednesday, the following day after deadline, I was working out some book tweaks and revisions with my editor and dealing with two photos that didn’t fit into Arcadia’s new format. These two photos were extras on the pages. They added a little extra visual description to go along with the text.

“Lights Off at The Strand” photo by Lynn Vanderpot Generations of moviegoers saw film classics, serials, cult classics, surf movies, and the Rocky Horror Midnight Movie. The lights went out on the Strand marquee in 1998. Local business owners and a theatre group tried to buy the theater, but obstacles stood in the way. It became a tourist chain store. (Photo Courtesy of Vanderpot)

Here’s where the irony comes in. The subjects of the photographs were of “OB Rag” and the “Beardsley Funeral Home”. As I was working out how to solve my photo dilemma I looked at my clock and it was 5:30 PM! I was missing the Target protest! Earlier in the day I had been on the OB RAG reading about Target signing the contract. My gut wrenched when I read this. The Target’s spoke person at two community forums said, “They hadn’t yet signed!”

That’s why the OB RAG book photo seemed like a sign. The “funeral home” photo felt like a possible symbol of the stamp of death on O.B. I needed some air. As I went outside, I saw the news helicopter, metaphorical vultures, circling between the “Newport Avenue Antique Mall” and the beach where the Target protestors were. To be fair the news team did a good job on the news piece.

Why was this hitting me so hard? Could it be I had just written about decades of battles that O.B. had won and lost? Maybe having reflective thoughts about my chapter on the wonderful Mom and Pop Shops and their owners who contributed so much to our community? Was it maybe the Ocean Beach Library photos and its 100 year history, combined with the library finally being funded to expand into the next door building? It disturbed me wondering if the library would have to fight to keep their parking from Target customers. Or maybe it was looking at the sad “Lights Off at The Strand” photo by Lynn Vanderpot, and the Energy Center’s cute blue schoolhouse photo before it was demolished and turned into rectangular nondescript houses.

Photos can be stronger than words. But words I have been hearing a lot also seem to break my heart, like “Done deal”, “More is in the works”, “Conflict of interest”, “Say goodbye to the local businesses”, “The powers that be don’t care about O.B.” or the classic “It is all about the money!”

Then there is Ocean Beach Elementary School that a few years back fought off closing. Now they will have to fight off extra Sunset Cliffs Blvd. and Newport Ave. traffic and loss of parking due to Target.

Ignoring the human face of the antique booth renters saddens me. This subject was just brushed over.

There are people, myself included, that have an entrepreneurial spirit, that like to be self employed, and have there own businesses. 100 of these people are losing part or all of their livelihoods to be replaced by 40 to 50 part-time Target employees.

Back to O.B.s history….. The community STOPPED a yacht basin and high-rises from destroying our beachfront! A huge housing project that would taken out the parking lots by Apple Tree was stopped! O.B. helped save and establish Collier Park! Recently, Hugo’s (formally Ranchos) reopened with employees owning it.

Our community is worth saving! History has shown us that. Our O.B. Community Plan stresses cultivating small, locally owned businesses. This is the wrong place and the wrong building for Target!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Frank Gormlie August 31, 2017 at 8:39 pm

Kathy’s piece has been updated; check it out.


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