The Challenge in Keeping Ocean Beach, ‘O.B.’

by on October 5, 2017 · 10 comments

in Ocean Beach

“No Target in OB” protesters gather at the foot of Newport, 10/4/17. All photos by Brett Warnke.

Keep OB, OB?

By Brett Warnke

A small but fervent protest of about twenty to twenty-five members of “No Target in OB” showed up to obtain signatures and raise awareness for a Community Forum directed at halting Target from entering Ocean Beach. One speaker declared:

“We want to preserve our local beach town. Target is not wanted here.  We stand strong against it and other mega-corporations!”

Target, a Minneapolis-based company whose stock prices are down 16 percent this year, has been heavily criticized for compromising millions of customers data and recently paid $18.5 million to states in a settlement.

A “No Target” spokesperson announced that the group had collected 778 signatures which will be sent to Target’s home office with a letter voicing opposition against the new store.

But when the 778 signatures were announced one passerby remarked, “Is that it?”

The small number of people turning out for the protest reflects the challenges facing Ocean Beach:  A low-wage but reliably rent-paying organization hopes to open a store as retailers are closing stores nationwide to cut store costs and compete with the Amazon-ification of the economy that is impacting private-retail, the country’s largest employer.

The drastic changes to the U.S. economy over the last forty years are applying vast and constant pressure to OB through the forked tongue of short-term vacation rentals and an influx of high-rent paying corporations.

“No Target’s” negative name and standpat chant “Keep OB…OB” reflects the difficulty facing the progressive community in the face of mega-corporate market forces in the new high-rent, low-wage economy.

OB is caught between the fires:  What is the vision for OB in the changing neoliberal economy?  Can OB organize more cooperatives and somehow collect funds and purchase publicly-owned buildings on Newport Avenue?  Could the community collectively purchase empty stores or strategic buildings and blow new life through investment that would maintain the identity of the community, or will it continue reacting to the large market-forces piecemeal through isolated protests?

Is “No Target” a progressive NIMBY group or is it the beginning of a larger pushback against the market-forces that will, if local people do not organize, inevitably and massively change the face of Ocean Beach?

Target has released information that it would raise its minimum hourly wage to $11 next month and then to $15 an hour by the end of 2020.  Meanwhile, rents continue to rise in OB and the ability of local organizations to fight back will take more people and stronger organization.

October 11 Public Forum on Target

Speakers encouraged those interested in “encouraging local business and engaging in a discussion on the importance of supporting, and the obstacles of maintaining, a local Main Street with a strong local economy” to attend a public meeting on October 11 at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center at 4726 Santa Monica Avenue from 6-30-8:30.  Also, check out the No Target in OB’s website.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Val October 5, 2017 at 10:48 am

I thought it was a done deal and they signed a lease? No?


rick callejon October 5, 2017 at 11:13 am

I asked Scott, one of the owners of the Antique Center, if it was a done deal. His answer, “It’s never a done deal.”


Dita October 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

What’s in the way of the antique center staying? It’s a good neighbor, brings tourists and their money from all around, and is a great alternative to the myriad tasting rooms that have sprouted up? Can you tell us, Scott?
As for corporate pressures, one thing that would help push back – which city government would probably spurn – is rent control for both businesses and home renters. Might help also if the city would enforce the laws ALREADY on the books banning the airbnb -ing of our little town.


gregg sullivan October 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Maybe the rental income from the Antique Center isn’t enough to pencil out for what the asking price is. The value of a commercial building is based be on the net rental income and/or the potential net rental income. That’s why I think they want Target there because I’m sure the rental income is much higher. Plus it would be a secure tenant. This will make the property more marketable for potential buyers.

The owner wants to retire. He needs cash this is how he gets it.


Kimmy October 5, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Last public statement from Target, that I know of, indicated they had the right to reconsider and were taking feedback from the Community. #notargetinob


aj October 5, 2017 at 5:37 pm

its funny you think you will stop a TARGET from being in OB. You think everyone ever in every community where there is a target was happy about it. Im sure they are more than used to opposition. TARGET is going in, find another hobby NIMBYSSS


Dude October 5, 2017 at 9:08 pm

If the contract is executed, it’s a done deal.


Debbie October 6, 2017 at 6:04 am

Did any of the vendors renting space move out yet or get their notice to vacate?


RB October 6, 2017 at 8:26 am

Even the lefties in Berkeley have and mini Target.


Deb October 6, 2017 at 9:46 am

Hmm…..what’s worse Target or the Bars which are attracting this to OB? Sad when you have to make that kind of choice


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