OB Rag Online Celebrates 13 Years

by on October 26, 2020 · 6 comments

in Media, Ocean Beach

Today, October 26, 2020 is the OB Rag’s 13th year as an online platform or “blog.”

It was early October in the year 2007 – George Bush was still president and the war in Iraq was in its 4th year. I lived in a small cottage on the 4600 block of Long Branch with Patty Jones.

It was a time when TV anchors and pundits parroted the Bush administration’s lies and newspapers – especially the Union-Tribune – were no better. The truth, it seemed, had no outlet, both nationally – and locally – and the media only presented the corporate narrative. Progressive ideas were being stymied -there was just one liberal news caster on TV at the time, for example.

So, we decided to publish our own news and information platform, named after OB’s “underground” newspaper that flourished in the first half of the 1970s. (Whose 50th anniversary we just celebrated in September.)

We wanted “to rebuild a sense of community, not only on the neighborhood level, but also among those of a kindred spirit.” Importantly, we also wanted to provide a web platform for the Ocean Beach – and then the Point Loma – communities.

Then the fires began – October 19th through the 27th or so. It was the Witch Creek Fire that devastated good parts of the County. Far from the flames, we could only watch on TV with some frustration at government’s response.

And during that week of the fires, we launched the OB Rag on October 26 – 27. There was no champagne or fireworks but it was still exciting.

Many don’t realize this image was hand-drawn by Patty Jones on her Toshiba Portege laptop.

We told our readers at the beginning:

With mainstream media becoming more and more monopolized and centralized, there is a need for information and opinion outside the corporate media monolith. Blogs are helping to fill this role. Like during an earlier day, when underground newspapers filled the void, blogs today enable grassroots journalists and commentators to counter mainstream propaganda.

Thirteen years later the OB Rag continues to provide a web platform for OB residents and merchants, and covers local OB and Point Loma news, issues and events, meetings of community groups, with a special focus on local development and planning, restaurant reviews, and news from the merchants of the business districts.

And over the years, we were joined by so many great people and writers, like Doug Porter and Anna Daniels, Mary Mann, Jon Carr and Lane Tobias – it’s a long list actually. Needless to say, the Rag staff and host of columnists have evolved. Today, we have writers like Ernie McCray, Colleen O’Connor, Jim Miller, Judi Curry, Kathy Blavatt, Tom Ultican, and regular reporters like Geoff Page and Bob Edwards.

Here are some of our milestones:

  • In November of 2008 the OB Rag along with the OB Historical Society, OB Friends of the Library, People’s Food, led a long but successful campaign to save the OB Library – threatened by city budget cuts;
  • The OB Rag made national (even international) news in 2009 for our successful campaign to save OB’s firepits and our efforts to make local homelessness a human rights issue;
  • In June 2012 OB Rag staff launched a new online journal for all of San Diego – the San Diego Free Press. .
  • Spring of 2013, we opened up a small office within the Green Store on the 4800 block of Voltaire Street.

We’re also proud of being a force for maintaining the 30-foot height limit and for working to keep the communities safe from the ravages of gentrification, over-development and short-term vacation rentals. We’ve tried to be a stabilizing voice of reason during the Pandemic and the Trump era.

While we’re tooting our horn, see here for more.


The OB Rag has had a plethora of writers, bloggers, contributors, photographers, and close supporters over the years which we haven’t mention – and they included :

  • Jon Christensen “JEC”,
  • Bob Dorn,
  • Jim Grant,
  • Meredith Houlton,
  • Brenda McFarlane,
  • Rick Nadeau,
  • Dave Rice,
  • Gregg Robinson,
  • Michael Steinberg,
  • Jeff Stone,
  • Brett Warnke
  • Matt Wood

Others who penned or typed an article or two or took photos for us include:

  • Brittany Bailey,
  • Mercy Baron,
  • Kristin Condon,
  • Colleen Dietzel,
  • Stephanie Denton,
  • Chris Dotson,
  • Dave Gilbert,
  • Gary Gilmore,
  • Nate Hipple,
  • Barbara Houlton
  • Rich Kacmar,
  • Steven Kindrick,
  • Kip Kruger,
  • Sarah Little,
  • Danny Morales,
  • Jim Noble,
  • Abby Normal,
  • OB Cindi,
  • Bill Ray,
  • Genie Sapienza,
  • Stu Seymour,
  • Sunshine,
  • Wireless Mike Williams,
  • John Williams.

So, thanks Ocean Beach for keeping us along for these past years. We plan to be around for quite some time.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter from South O October 26, 2020 at 1:50 pm

How eerie that the “unlucky 13” turns out to be 2020 (the year that seemed like a decade).


Geoff Page October 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm

The Rag has performed, and is performing, an invaluable community service. If I could pick one thing, it would be that it provides a forum for in-depth, detailed articles not limited by space or strict editorial policies, as is true of print or video media. And the pieces that appear, either don’t appear in mainstream media, or they provide the flesh and blood for the mere skeletons provided by TV news. I think Frank and Patty have good reason to be very proud of themselves for their work to give us The OB Rag.


Laura Dennison October 26, 2020 at 7:40 pm

OB Rag! You are such an important part of our community. We feel so lucky to live in a neighborhood with an elementary school, a library, a MainStreet Association and and active OB Town Council. And the OB Rag ties us all together. Thanks so much!!


Doug Blackwood October 26, 2020 at 8:34 pm

Aloha Frank, and all contributors!

Been in OB since 68, and have fond memories of the “OB Rag” being there for all of OB.
“Right on with your right on: baby”-Tomcat
I believe you wer e also active in stopping the Stub jetty. sewage outfall, and the boardwalk!
Keep up the excellent work!


Frank Gormlie October 27, 2020 at 10:46 am

Doug Blackwood – thanks dude for your donation! Sure remember Tom Cat at People’s bar. The OB Rag started publishing Sept 1970, about a month or so after the Jetty debacle. The OB newspaper that was involved in stopping the boardwalk was “the OBciean.” Personally, I worked against the sewage outfall but at the time, there was no Rag. But thanks for thinking of us.


retired botanist October 27, 2020 at 4:14 am

Where’s the like button?! :-) Rag on!!


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