December 2019

Sunset Cliffs Deaths and Injuries Dropped Below Average in 2019

December 30, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

The good news from 2019 is that deaths and serious injuries at Sunset Cliffs dropped below the average numbers.

According to our record and report keeping, there were only two deaths – tragic in themselves of course – and only one seriously injured person during 2019 at or below Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach and Point Loma.

The data used in the study the OB Rag has been conducting goes back to 2005 and has found there’s been an average of 5 deaths or serious injuries every year.

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Censored 2019: The Top 5 Most Under-Reported Stories of the Year

December 30, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Annually, Project Censored releases a list of the most under-reported stories of the year. In the past, their endeavor sometimes got pushback from defenders of the corporate media who claimed that their version of “censorship” was too loose or that it implied a corporate conspiracy that doesn’t exist. As I wrote in this space before, both of those criticisms fall flat.


Project Censored’s definition of censorship is a nuanced one:

We define Modern Censorship as the subtle yet constant and sophisticated manipulation of reality in our mass media outlets. On a daily basis, censorship refers to the intentional non-inclusion of a news story – or piece of a news story – based on anything other than a desire to tell the truth.

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Impeachment’s New Fable : ‘The Maestro and The Tuba Man’

December 27, 2019 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor / Times of San Diego / Dec. 26, 2019

‘Tis the season for good tidings and cheer — even in politics.

Time for those bedtime stories, but first, forget the usual classics: Miracle on 34th Street, A Christmas Carol , or even Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, which feels like politics present.

Enter a new Christmas classic—The Maestro and the Tuba Man. Imagine. The symphony orchestra has tuned up.

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Ocean Beach CDC Halts Veterans Plaza Project

December 26, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

The Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation sent out a letter to its supporters informing them that due to a lack of construction funding and the expiration of their permit, they have to halt their Veterans Plaza project, planned near the foot of Newport Ave.

This ends a seven-year effort for a new Veterans Plaza that was supposed to replace the existing memorial at the foot of Newport. In their letter, the OBCDC recaps how they received community input on the design, met City requirements and obtained a permit from the city, and spent $100,000

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The State of the Amazon Puts Planet at ‘Tipping Point’

December 26, 2019 by Source

By Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis / Washington Post / Dec. 20, 2019

Deforestation and other fast-moving changes in the Amazon threaten to turn parts of the rainforest into savanna, devastate wildlife and release billions of tons carbon into the atmosphere, two renowned experts warned Friday.

“The precious Amazon is teetering on the edge of functional destruction and, with it, so are we,” Thomas Lovejoy of George Mason University and Carlos Nobre of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil,

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The Real Lesson of Afghanistan Is that Regime Change Does Not Work

December 26, 2019 by Source

A world in which war is normal and peace is out of reach is no more survivable or sustainable than a world where the atmosphere gets hotter every year.

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies / Nation of Change / December 20, 2019

The trove of U.S. “Lessons Learned” documents on Afghanistan published by the Washington Post portrays, in excruciating detail, the anatomy of a failed policy, scandalously hidden from the public for 18 years. The “Lessons Learned” papers, however, are based on the premise that the U.S. and its allies will keep intervening militarily in other countries, and that they must, therefore, learn the lessons of Afghanistan to avoid making the same mistakes in future military occupations.

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More American Voters Than Ever Now Support Trump’s Conviction and Removal from Office – 55% of Those Polled

December 26, 2019 by Source

A new poll released on Christmas Day shows record-level support among U.S. voters for the ouster of President Donald Trump. Public support for Donald Trump’s removal from office is the highest it has ever been.

The daily tracking poll from Microsoft News published Wednesday, Dec. 25, asked respondents if they “support or oppose the Senate voting to remove President from office?” It found that while 55% of people support and only 40% oppose — a dramatic surge for those backing Trump’s ouster and a record for the poll that has been asking that same question since late September of this year.

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The Many Shades of Red

December 24, 2019 by Staff

All Photographs by Kathy Blavatt

by Kathy Blavatt

In nature, color red is as vital as it’s complementary color green. Red makes the greens pop. What would the Christmas holidays be without the brilliant red poinsettias and berries?

Valentines’ gift of crimson roses is the traditional flower representing love and passion.

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Responding to Greta in a Different Way

December 24, 2019 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish girl, travels across the Atlantic Ocean to Lower Manhattan, in a sailboat, to save our world from the deadly forces of climate change.

For such a risk-taking endeavor she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and named Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year.”

And our president, instead of offering her a High-Five, gets up at five and tweets that this wonderful girl is ridiculous and angry and needs to go to a good old-fashioned movie with a friend and “Chill.”

Say what?

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Three Literary Stocking Gifts for Year Three of the Trump Era: Reading for Dark Times

December 23, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

If you just can’t bring yourself to give up on the sordid consumer frenzy and go all in for a Buy Nothing Christmas , then perhaps getting your loved ones a few good books (from local bookstores) to help them navigate our dark times is the next best thing.

Here are three notable political books of 2019 that flew further under the radar than they should have:

Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America
by Christopher Leonard.

Building on the excellent work done by Jane Mayer in Dark Money and Nancy MacLean in Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, Christopher Leonard outlines seven years of research into how the Kochtopus was born and grew into a nightmare for American democracy.

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A Christmas Gift to Those Who Struggle With Low Income

December 23, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Picture it. Decorations everywhere. A beautiful tree twinkling in the background. A bright and cheerful tablecloth. Sparkling silverware. Shiny plates. Candlelight winking off crystal. And best of all, a table groaning with your favorite holiday foods and all the trimmings.

Oh, wait. That’s someone else’s Christmas. The one America is preparing for low-income people is different.

For people of inadequate means, we have a gift that keeps on giving. It is a gift that will take them far and help them realize the American Dream they have desired for so long. The American People writ large generously give them this gift so they can finally rise from the ranks of inadequacy and join those of us gathered around a Christmas table like the one described above.

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All of San Diego’s Congressional Reps Voted to Impeach – Except Hunter, Who Is Barred from Voting

December 20, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

The four members of San Diego County’s Democratic Congressional delegation all voted for impeachment on that historical date when the vote was taken: Wednesday, Dec. 18. Reps. Susan Davis, Mike Levin, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas, all Democrats, voted to impeach Trump on both articles — abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The lone Republican, Duncan Hunter, was barred from voting due to his recent guilty plea to federal corruption charges.

When Rep. Susan Davis got up before the microphone, she was fairly brief and abrupt (actually sounding like she had laryngitis), and said:

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San Diego City Council Bans Scooters on Boardwalks from Mission Beach to La Jolla, Not Ocean Beach

December 20, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

In a close vote last Monday, December 16, the San Diego City Council voted to ban scooters and other motorized devices along the boardwalks from Mission Beach to La Jolla. The ban does not include Ocean Beach. It could be argued OB doesn’t really have a “boardwalk” or the one it has is very short.

At any rate, Councilwoman Barbara Bry has been pushing for a ban – and she got four other votes on Monday: Jen Campbell of District 2 – who reportedly strongly supported the proposal – , Monica Montgomery, Vivian Moreno and Mark Kersey. And Council President Georgette Gómez, Chris Ward, Chris Cate and Scott Sherman voted in opposition.

Bry is, of course, running for Mayor; Gomez is running for Susan Davis’ 53rd Congressional seat,

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News and Notices from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Mid-December 2019

December 19, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

King Tide in Ocean Beach, Saturday, December 22, 2018. Photo by Albert C Elliott, ACE.

OBcean Tracy Dezenzo Appointed to Arts & Culture Commission for District 2

Tracy Dezenzo, who is on the OB Planning Board and is its secretary, was just appointed by the Mayor and Council to the San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture to represent District 2.

Point Loma House Gets Hit for Third Time in 15 Years

A driver suspected of being under the influence struck two parked vehicles, a fence and a tree before coming to a stop just feet from the front of a Point Loma home.

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Jen Campbell’s Chronicles – ‘Ocean Beach Edition’

December 19, 2019 by Source

By Dr. Jen Campbell

Hello neighbors!

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was standing on stage at Golden Hall, being sworn in to be the next city councilmember for District 2.

It’s been a busy year and a whirlwind experience of listening, learning, and working to be the best representative for our beach and bay communities. I appreciate all your feedback as we work together to make places like Ocean Beach better than ever before. With that said, I’d like to point to a few accomplishments I hope OBecians will be proud of:

Funding for the OB Library Expansion – For years, the need to expand the Ocean Beach Library has been clear. That’s why, at my very first opportunity as a councilmember, I fought to include $500,000 in the city budget

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U.S. Supreme Court Lets Stand Ruling Protecting Homeless People

December 19, 2019 by Source

The US Supreme Court on Monday, Dec. 16, upheld protections for people who sleep or camp outdoors, after refusing to hear a case over whether cities could criminalize homelessness.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case leaves in place an appeals court ruling that says the Constitution does not allow cities to prosecute people for sleeping or camping outside unless the city provides shelter for every single unhoused person in their jurisdiction.

The legal decision comes as soaring rents and deepening economic inequality have led homelessness rates to soar in some U.S. cities.[Including San Diego which has the fourth largest population of people who are homeless in the country.]

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The People’s House Impeaches the 45th President

December 19, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

In only the third time in US history, the House of Representatives – the People’s House – impeached a president, this time the 45th president, Mr. Donald Trump. In a historic vote, the House impeached Trump on two counts, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Articles now go to the Senate for a trial.

Article one, abuse of power, was passed by 230 to 197

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California Waters Are Acidifying Twice as Fast as Global Oceans

December 17, 2019 by Source

By Rosanna Xia / LA Times / Dec. 16, 2019

Waters off the California coast are acidifying twice as fast as the global average, scientists found, threatening major fisheries and sounding the alarm that the ocean can absorb only so much more of the world’s carbon emissions.

A new study led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also made an unexpected connection between acidification and a climate cycle known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — the same shifting forces that other scientists say have a played a big role in the higher and faster rates of sea level rise hitting California in recent years.

El Niño and La Niña cycles, researchers found, also add stress to these extreme changes in the ocean’s chemistry.

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OB Town Council’s Food & Toy Drive Reaches 100 Local Families and Seniors

December 17, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

The Ocean Beach Town Council did it again. All month they’ve collected food and toys for their annual Food & Toy drive, and most of last week, OBTC board members and volunteers organized the boxes, the packages, the gifts.

And on Saturday, Dec. 15the, more volunteers arrived to help deliver the food, toys and gifts to over 100 local families and seniors. It all happened at the OB Masonic Center.

Here are pics from the week (from OBTC facebook) including the many volunteers:

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OB Planners to Have Update on Bermuda Stairs – Wed., Dec. 18

December 17, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

The OB Planning Board’s Project Review Committee has two projects to review and will have an update on the Bermuda Beach Access Stair. Development projects that require public review first come before this committee, and then are forwarded to the full board usually with a recommendation. The committee meets Wednesday night, December 18 at 6 pm in the Ocean Beach Recreation Center at 4726 Santa Monica Ave.

Bermuda Beach Access Stair

It’s a public infrastructure project by the city to (finally) replace the existing beach access stairway with frames and wooden treads. The project will also demolish the existing stairway and broken concrete panels.

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Thoughts of My Generation Brought to Light by a Cartoon About a Quarterback

December 17, 2019 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

A high school classmate of mine likes to share his MAGA influenced leanings on my Facebook timeline.

Like the other day he sent me a meme with Colin Kaepernick saying “I’m kneeling to protest injustice against Black men in America!”

In the moment I read that I couldn’t help but glow inside, so grateful for this new generation of freedom fighters.

Then, a cartoon character, Charlie Brown, says “That’s odd. You joined Islam, a religion that still owns black slaves, and you don’t protest against that.”

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Russia to Offer Trump Asylum If Things Go Badly for Him

December 16, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

If things go badly for Trump, Russia is getting ready to offer him asylum – much like they did to the former president of Ukraine when he was forced to flee to Russia in 2014 after the Ukrainian people threw him out. Okay, it was meant mockingly, but one never knows.

Over at the Daily Beast, reporter Julia Davis offered an in-depth look at various instances of Russian state TV’s reporting on Trump, in a post entitled, “Russia’s State TV Calls Trump Their ‘Agent’”. Davis reported on how Russian state TV does not even pretend anymore as they openly call Trump their ‘agent’ — and joke about offering him asylum

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Mayor Mayor on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

December 16, 2019 by Source

By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner / Dec. 13, 2019

I know what you’re thinking: we’ve got plenty of time to make up our minds about who to choose to be San Diego’s next mayor. No rush, right? Wrong!

Let’s get the timing straight. The primary election is coming up sooner than you think—the date is March 3, 2020. Then the top two winners will face off in the November 3 general election.

Now, let’s get the candidates straight. The frontrunners for mayor are Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria — both are Democrats. Civic activist Tasha Williamson is also in the running– for some voters she represents a protest statement. There’s also Republican candidate Scott Sherman— he’s the disgruntled candidate who voices cynical disgust for city government

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Impeach Trump Rally in San Diego Turns Out Hundreds

December 16, 2019 by Staff

An impeach Trump rally was held in San Diego, Sunday, December 15, in front of the San Diego County Admin Building off Harbor Drive. Reportedly, at least 400 San Diegans joined in the event – to send a message to Congress and the Senate.

The rally was part of the nationwide “Nobody Is Above the Law” protests.

This national mobilization is part of a massive, grassroots effort to ensure Congress holds Donald Trump accountable for using military aid to pressure Ukraine to interfere in our 2020 elections.

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OB Pier Re-Opens After Damaged Railing Fixed

December 16, 2019 by Source

The Ocean Beach Pier re-opened Sunday, Dec. 15, after it was closed for over two days due to high surf and damage to the pier. San Diego Lifeguards reported that a 20-foot section of railing midway on the pier was damaged by the pounding surf that prompted the closure starting Friday morning.

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It’s Not Time to Vote for the Rich or their Apologists, It’s Time to Tax Them

December 16, 2019 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

There’s been a wave of pushback of late against progressive calls for big structural change. Corporate media pundits and neoliberal Democrats alike have been raising the alarm that America is not ready for bold policy when it comes to economics, healthcare, the environment, or anything else.

At the heart of much of this is the contention that it’s all too expensive and the Republicans will scare suburbanites into voting for Trump with cries of socialism and high taxes. Whatever we do, the argument goes, we need to beat back Warren and Sanders so Mayor Pete, Joe Biden, or maybe even Michael Bloomberg can come in and save the day with a healthy dose of “centrism.”

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Welcome to the New Rehab of the North Chapel at Liberty Station

December 13, 2019 by Source

The old North Chapel at Liberty Station – the focus of much controversy over the last couple of years – will be newly rehabbed and will be revived into “a community gathering space” by its landlord, it was just announced.

The plans to revive North Chapel by 828 Venue Management Company received “federal review and approval by the California State Office of Historic Preservation and the National Park Service,” a press announcement states. Here’s more of a press statement:

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Reader Rant: ‘Okay, Boomer’ and the Dilution of Grit

December 13, 2019 by Source

By Rick Boyd

I see, “Okay Boomer.” written in social media as a sarcastic dismissal of anyone older than 20 – remarking about anything that bares an air of responsibility, or sense, or even in a shockingly revolutionary form of actual disagreement.

But “okay boomer” is the least of the concern. Words, now banned by the same generation for being insensitive or not politically correct are now flung freely at those of us who would dare express that opposing thought.

Threats come just as quickly but are as empty as their users abilities to back them up. To these social justice warriors who act as our jury and judge. Who scoff and roll their eyes at our words and actions then use the full weight of their followers to shame us for “bullying”, “racism”, or whatever other inappropriate definition chosen as a trigger word they can use to quickly label and dismiss the rest of us.

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San Diego to End All Facial Recognition Programs

December 13, 2019 by Source

Editordude: A group called the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF, just announced that due to their efforts, San Diego will cease all face recognition programs being used by more than thirty agencies in San Diego County.

In an article posted December 11 by Dave Maass – who used to write for Voice of San Diego – the face recognition system will be suspended on January 1, 2020. Maass called the programs “one of the largest, longest running, and most controversial face recognition programs operated by local law enforcement in the United States.” This is so important, we have to run the full article:

By Dave Maass / Electronic Frontier Foundation

We just stopped one of the largest, longest running, and most controversial face recognition programs operated by local law enforcement in the United States.

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Water Quality Advisory Still in Effect at Dog Beach in Ocean Beach

December 13, 2019 by Frank Gormlie

There is still a water quality advisory for Dog Beach in Ocean Beach – according to the County’s Department of Environmental Health – due to high bacterial levels. Humans and dogs are advised to avoid any water contact at Dog Beach.

The advisory covers the San Diego River Outlet to 300 yards south. It’s been in effect actually since November 26, 2019.

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