February 2021

OB Gets Its First Fried Chicken on Newport Since Zeke’s

February 26, 2021 by Source

By Savvy Sammy

I love fried chicken and when I heard OB was going to get a fried chicken place right on Newport, my jaw dropped and my mouth watered at the same time. Oh my god!

OB hasn’t had good fried chicken on the avenue since Zeke’s closed – and that was a long time ago (where Bravos is now at the corner of Newport and Bacon). Zeke’s had a take-out window right there on Bacon. …

Maybe it’s about to change. Martin Robles and Bruno Elias are opening – or already have opened – ChickenHeadz – a fried chicken place right where Livingston’s used to be, 5026 Newport. Both used to work at Hodad’s (Elias for 17 years, Robles 10), so they know Newport, OB and restaurants well.

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Recall Campbell Campaign Kicks Off Saturday, Feb.27

February 26, 2021 by Source

By Geoff Page

The campaign to recall District 2 council member Jennifer Campbell is in full swing. Signature gathering to call for the special election to remove Campbell kicks off Saturday, February 27, at Ski Beach in Mission Bay. This is at the intersection of Ingraham Street and Vacation Road, the island on Mission Bay that Ingraham crosses.

The event kicks off at 10:00 a.m. and runs to 2:00. There will be some short speeches but the reason for the gathering is to get started. Organizers are asking folks to bring, masks, gloves, sanitizer, and sunscreen.

“Agenda: 1. Gather 2. Rally with speakers 3. Go get some signatures!”

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Morena Community Fights City Plan With Lawsuit

February 25, 2021 by Source

By Joni Halpern / Special to the OB Rag / Feb. 25, 2021

CEQA: The Last Guardian of the Communtiy

Two visions of the future have collided in a lawsuit set for trial April 9, 2021, challenging the Morena Corridor Specific Plan (MCSP). [The Morena area is just east of I-5 and just north of I-8 at the mouth of Mission Valley.]

Morena United, an informal association of residents and business owners in areas that will be affected by the MCSP, believe city officials have ignored their concerns about the harm the plan will cause.

They believe the City has aligned itself with development interests looking only to maximize profits through sales and rents to high-income residents, while producing only a minimal amount of affordable housing. Even that amount of affordable housing, they say, will be to exclude lower-income households, while at the same time failing to provide for those with middle income.

The MCSP map looks like a gerrymandered voting district, taking in chunks of land that were once part of two other community plans.

One section, for example, bordered roughly by I-5 on the west, Friars Road on the south, Tecolote Road on the north, and a strip along Morena Boulevard on the east, once was covered solely by the Linda Vista Community Plan, which called for additional housing in the center of Linda Vista, not on the periphery, as specified in the MCSP. That Linda Vista Community Plan envisioned growth, but with thousands fewer dwellings than proposed in the MCSP, which now overrides the Linda Vista plan.

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Peninsula Planning Board Supports Critique of City’s Park Plan and OB’s Changes to STVR Proposal

February 25, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The very next day after the Midway Pacific Highway Planning Group looked inward, the Peninsula Community Planning Board, looked outward and supported two positions on parks and STVRs intended to benefit the entire city of San Diego. The PCPB should be commended for both of these actions it took at its regular monthly meeting, Thursday, February 21st at 6:00.

The recorded meeting can be seen at the PCPB’s You Tube site titled the “Peninsula Community Planning Board” here. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdZqz44Fjy4NrbIbkw6d-EQ

Ocean Beach Planning Board Short Term Vacation Rental letter

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‘Day of Absence,’ a Drama I Can’t Wait to See

February 25, 2021 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I just had
one of the nicest experiences
of my lifetime
via a dramatic piece,
“Day of Absence,”
a Douglas Turner Ward
of a play
on Zoom,
each actor
at their own place
in a room
facing a Mac
or a PC,
scrolling scripts
on a split screen
against a green screen,

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Recall Campbell Proponents Add Their Voices

February 24, 2021 by Source

Here are two Op-Ed pieces that ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday, Feb. 23, on the subject of recalling Jen Campbell.

Campbell Puts Special Interests Before Voters

By Wendy D. Gelernter

City Council President Jennifer Campbell has lost the trust of her constituents by ignoring their input, breaking campaign promises and siding with powerful special interests and corporations against the needs of her voters. This is why a diverse coalition of San Diegans this month announced a movement to recall Campbell from office.

As a small business owner and 34-year resident of Pacific Beach, I donated to and campaigned for Campbell when she ran for council. But I soon grew alarmed at her lack of responsiveness to community voices.

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Well, So Much for the Democratic Majority on the San Diego City Council – 8 to 1 Vote for Campbell’s STVR Plan

February 24, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Well, so much for the Democratic majority on the City Council.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Feb. 23, after hours of “public” testimony, the Council voted 8 to 1 to approve Jen Campbell’s proposal on short-term vacation rentals. Councilmember Joe LaCava – representing District 1, the other coastal district – was the dissenting vote. The other Democrats voted along with the Republican to endorse the ordinance – which will need a second vote in October before becoming law in 2022. The ordinance will return to council for updates on the lottery and prioritization related to licensing.

LaCava proposed four amendments which would have been much stricter than the version which passed. None were accepted. He was concerned with equity in the ordinance and how to hold rental platforms accountable. According to the Beacon, said LaCava:

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On the Path to Recovery – Part 2

February 24, 2021 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

During the past month when in the throes of Covid, I have been overwhelmed by the responses I have received from my friends, relatives, neighbors, strangers, etc.

I received over 100 get well wishes; I even received over 75 “Happy Birthday” wishes.

People that I do not know have sent me cards; a neighbor that I still don’t know sent me a long note telling me that he would be glad to anything for me that needed to be done during this time. (He sent me his address so that when I am finally able to go out I can see where he lives with his family.)

Al Nashashibi from Faurouz left me a huge of amount of his restaurants’ “Lemon Grass” soup by my front door;

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San Diego Unified: Teachers and Staff to Return Week of April 5, Students the Following Week

February 23, 2021 by Source

After nearly a year of campus closures and at-home learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, the San Diego Unified School District on Tuesday announced its target date to reopen its campuses.

San Diego Unified school board member Richard Barrera told NBC 7 that staff members are slated to return to campuses the week of April 5, with students at all grade levels returning the following week, dependent upon whether the county had returned to the red tier and vaccines being fully available to staffers.

The county will begin making COVID-19 vaccines available to school employees March 1.

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OB Town Council Meeting – Live Facebook – Wednesday, Feb.24 – The Kate Session Commitment

February 23, 2021 by Staff

Join the Ocean Beach Town Council this Wednesday, Feb. 24, at 7pm for a public meeting. It will be live on Facebook.

They will swear in their new board members and receive an update from State Assemblymember Chris Ward.

There will also be a presentation on the Kate Sessions Commitment

The Kate Sessions Commitment is a grass-roots effort to engage community on public and private lands to pledge to plant 100 trees in San Diego County in honor of Kate Sessions–each year and in each community. It’s an effort to reduce greenhouse emissions and increase our urban tree canopy coverage.

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OBceans Asked to Take Part in Survey on OB Library’s Future

February 23, 2021 by Source

Your input can help craft the OB Library’s future! Click the link below to take the survey, and let the San Diego Public Library Commission know:

1. What do you need from the Library?
2. How can the Library better serve OBceans?
3. What services, technologies, and programs would help you?

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Peninsula Community Planning Board Election – March 2021

February 23, 2021 by Source

From the PCPB / Feb. 23, 2021

As with all other officially recognized community planning groups throughout the City of San Diego, the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) from holding its annual election in March 2020.

But, under guidelines recently promulgated by the City of San Diego and procedures approved by the Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) at its meeting on February 18, 2021, PCPB will be holding an election this March to fill a total of eleven vacancies.

These eleven Board positions to be filled comprise over two-thirds of the Board’s fifteen positions. Board terms are typically three (3) years in length. Because the 2020 election was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the 2021 election will include several positions with shorter terms. Of the eleven PCPB positions to be filled, five will be for three-year terms, five will be for two-year terms and one will fill a current vacancy for the balance of a one-year term.

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‘New’ Owners of OB Hardware Moving On – Looking for Local Buyer for Oldest Business in Ocean Beach

February 23, 2021 by Staff

The relatively new owners of OB Hardware – which has to be the oldest businesses in Ocean Beach – are moving on and are looking for local buyers to take the storefront over.

Michael DeEmidio and his business partner Michael Grimes bought OB Hardware from Carl and Carolyn Weidetz in 2018. The Weidetzs owned the century-old Ocean Beach Paint and Hardware at 4871 Newport Avenue for half that time. The business – which has become OB’s most iconic, locally-owned storefront – opened in 1919, and has carried tools, gardening, plumbing and electrical supplies as well as paints ever since.

DeEmidio told the Beacon:

“After a lot of heavy-hearted consideration, my wife and I have decided to move out of California to be closer to family. ”

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New Numbers Shed Light on Potential Impact of Campbell’s Vacation Rental Proposal

February 23, 2021 by Source

By Lisa Halverstadt / Voice of San Diego / Feb. 22, 2021

As City Council President Jen Campbell and stakeholders on both sides of the vacation rental saga prepare to debate yet another regulation proposal, they’re grappling with an inconvenient truth: No one knows exactly how many vacation rentals there are in the city. Campbell has predicted her plan could slash the number of whole-home rentals in the city by at least two-thirds.

But new data obtained separately by Voice of San Diego and the city’s Office of the Independent Budget Analyst suggests Campbell’s proposal may not reduce the number of whole-home vacation rentals as much as she predicts.

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What Campbell’s Runaway Short Term Rental Train Will Do

February 22, 2021 by Source

By Kevin Hastings

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb 23rd, councilmember Jen Campbell will seek to legalize all the Short Term Vacation Rentals (STVRs) in your neighborhood, and leave room for even more. Her proposal has been endorsed by Airbnb and VRBO, but none of the neighborhood community groups.

Campbell’s policy was developed behind closed doors by VRBO and a hotel worker’s union and successfully dodged public input and scrutiny. It would create a 4-tier licensing system covering everything to full-time STVRs without host on site (Tier 3 & 4), to the uncontroversial part-time rentals and room shares (Tier 1 & 2).

It would limit licenses for the full-time whole-home STRs to approximately 6,500 city-wide. Campbell has peddled this as a “78% reduction in STRs” that will “return 7,000 units to long term housing”. She does this despite providing no analysis of the existing number and types of STRs. A cursory study of the existing STR situation, and a previous study commissioned by the city both show her claims to be false.

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February 22, 1974 – The Day Ocean Beach Lost Its Innocence

February 22, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

February 22, 1974 was the day Ocean Beach lost its innocence. It was the day a man – recently released from prison – who was associated with the then network of OB radicals, tried to commit what we today call “suicide by cop.”

Peter Mahone walked up to a San Diego Police officer sitting in his patrol car in the OB Pier parking lot – and pulled out a gun and shot him. Mahone then calmly walked back to his little shack on Abbott and waited for the fusillade. And it came with a vengeance. Police surrounded Peter’s little hole in the wall and poured lead into it.

Miraculously, no one died that day. The officer shot in the parking lot survived – as did Peter Mahone.

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Good Samaritan Surfer Saves Sunset Cliffs Jumper

February 22, 2021 by Staff

On Saturday, Feb. 20, an unidentified man in this 20s jumped into the waters off Sunset Cliffs about 5 pm. He started having trouble getting out of the water and someone called 911.

When lifeguards arrived at the scene, they saw that a good Samaritan surfer had pushed his surfboard over to the man who jumped to keep him afloat.

The water craft team pulled the man from the water and got him to pocket beach, known as, No Surf Beach. Lifeguards said the man had an extremely low body temperature and needed to be evaluated quickly.

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OB Town Council Welcomes New Board Members

February 22, 2021 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Town Council welcomes it newly elected Board members.

Incumbents who were re-elected include:

  • Corey Dylan Bruins
  • Trudy Levenson
  • Sir Isaac Darby
  • Stephanie Wilcox Kane
  • Scott Grace, and
  • Stacie Woehrle

Brand new Board members include:

  • Gary Gartner and
  • Aaron Null
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Make Your Voice Heard During City Council Hearing on Campbell’s Plan for Short-Term Vacation Rentals – Tues., Feb.23

February 22, 2021 by Staff

Campbell’s Catastrophic Plan Threatens Our Housing Stock

Join other San Diegans in making your voice heard during the upcoming hearing by the San Diego City Council on Jen Campbell’s catastrophic plan for short-term rentals.

Campbell’s plan is a threat to the housing stock of San Diego, particularly to the city’s coastal neighborhoods – where the massive numbers of STVRs are the highest.

Other groups, like Save San Diego Neighborhoods, say it is a “multibillion dollar theft of San Diego housing, by legalizing short term vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods Citywide! This ill-conceived proposed ordinance is another Campbell giveaway to big business, special interests and their lobbyists – at our expensive.”

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Midway Planners Continue Isolationist Stance -Reject Support for Critique of City Parks Plan and for OB’s Recommendations to Short-Term Vacation Rentalss

February 22, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The Midway-Pacific Highway Planning Group has changed ever since the successful ballot measure last November to remove the thirty-foot height limit within their boundaries. Two positions the group took at its regular monthly meeting Wednesday, February 17, were decidedly isolationist. It appears that Midway, now that they got the one thing they wanted, looks at everything only in relation to themselves.

As related in the report of the January meeting, an all-volunteer group of professionals called PARC, made a presentation. It was a detailed review of the city’s Master Plan, specifically the Parks portion, and a list of recommendations they believe are critical. In January, the Midway group voted to table the item until February because there was so much information to absorb.

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Love Among the Ruins: ‘The Road Ahead’ and ‘Nomadland’

February 22, 2021 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Unable to travel? Unhappy about sheltering in place? Depressed about our blue planet’s future; aging; or just in a funk about the enormity of change and loss.

Fret not. There is a remedy close at hand. In fact, two of them; both contenders for big acting awards; directing awards; foreign film and storytelling awards.

Think about it. A dreadful 2020 year producing two marvelous films (both based on books) with two great, older actresses.

The stories confront generational and cultural sufferings without sentimentality and hardly any make-up.

The first, The Life Ahead, starring 86-year-old, Sophia Loren, (where she plays the lead as Madame Rosa) has already won the San Diego Film Critics Society “Best International Film” award, and the Capri Hollywood International Film Festival nod for Best Actress.

Oscar nominations and award decisions are still pending; delayed due to the pandemic.

At age 86, Sophia Loren has already collected five Golden Globes, 10 Donatellos, one BAFTA, one Grammy, two Oscars, not to mention multiple lifetime achievement awards.

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Blaming the Wind for the Mess in Texas Is Painfully Absurd

February 19, 2021 by Source

By Bill McKibben / Reader Supported News – The New Yorker / February 18, 2021

Sometimes, all you need is a map. In the wake of this week’s power failures in Texas, which have left millions without heat in subfreezing conditions, right-wing politicians and news networks decided that the emergency was down to “frozen wind turbines,” a phrase that has now been repeated ad infinitum on all the various ganglia that make up the conservative “information” network.

The editorial board of the Wall Street Journal, which has managed to be wrong about energy and climate for more than four decades, put it like this:

“Gas and power prices have spiked across the central U.S. while Texas regulators ordered rolling blackouts Monday as an Arctic blast has frozen wind turbines.”

Governor Greg Abbott took time out from failing to deal with the emergency that had imperiled many in his state to tell Fox News that “this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.”

Not to be outdone, on Tuesday afternoon, Representative Dan Crenshaw, a Republican who represents Texas’s second congressional district, including parts of Houston, tweeted that “this is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source.”

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Campbell Responds to Recall: ‘Elites’ and ‘Extremists’ Are Behind Campaign

February 18, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Jen Campbell, currently siting in the District 2 chair of the City Council, has officially responded to the recall campaign organized by her constituents.

She said the recall campaign is being driven by “elites” and “extremists,” and is reckless, divisive, expensive and a distraction during the pandemic.

Campbell’s official response stated:

“This unnecessary recall election will cost taxpayers $2 million that should go to emergency COVID-19 response instead. Reject this reckless recall.”

According to the San Diego U-T: “The $2 million figure is what the county Registrar of Voters estimates as the cost for a special election, which would likely take place in late November or early December.”

Campbell’s statement attacked recall proponents, labeling them, “elites and extremists who expect our elected officials to work toward their interests, instead of building consensus to move all of San Diego forward.”

Her response focuses on her medical experience and how that is helping the city fight COVID-19. The statement describes her as a “board-certified medical physician with the unique experience we need now to protect public health, defeat the virus and get life back to normal.” The U-T commented that the statement did not mention that she is retired.

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Unlicensed Vendors and Crowded Drum Circle Still Go Unchecked

February 18, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

It’s all happening again – or we should say – it all is still going on. Unlicensed or unpermitted vendors and a crowded, loud drum circle are all still going on unchecked at Ocean Beach’s Veteran Plaza on Wednesdays during Farmers Market Day.

Last summer, politicians, health workers and police attempted to stop the drum circle gatherings – or appeared to – after pressure from the OB Town Council and neighbors. But, their efforts have washed away like a sand castle during high tide.

The vendors are back, the crowds are back – with many not wearing masks.

Corey Bruins, with the OB Town Council, tried to bring it to the attention of the city – once again – and was interviewed Wednesday by CBS8.

Bruins was quoted as saying:

“It’s unregulated, we’re in the midst of a pandemic. There are crowds. … We have a thriving beach community down the street that’s regulated by our Main Street association and just here in front of the beach we have a park that is not regulated and not being checked….”

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Meet the First Woman Mayor of Tijuana – San Diego Mayor Gloria Just Did

February 18, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria just met the “new” mayor of Tijuana – Karla Ruiz MacFarland. She is the city of 2 million’s first woman mayor.

The two mayors met Tuesday, Feb. 16, virtually, and they both pledged to strengthen the cross-border relationship between the two cities, including safety measures for the pandemic. In a news release, Gloria said:

“Our relationship with Tijuana is about much more than trade or economics –- it’s about people. Our cities are inextricably linked, and it’s more important than ever for the leadership of our two cities to work together during these times.”

He will work with the new Tijuana mayor to “ensure the health, safety, and sustainability of our megaregion and stand united on issues of immigration, commerce, and cross-border pollution.”

In a press release by Gloria’s office, the two mayors called out the significance of the meeting, as both mayors represent firsts: the first person of color and LGBT elected mayor of San Diego and the first female mayor in Tijuana.

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Trump Incited Mob — After Lifetime of Hobnobbing with Mobsters

February 18, 2021 by Source

By Don Bauder / Times of San Diego / Feb. 18, 2021

A mob incited by then-President Trump invaded the Capitol. Everybody knows about that mob.

But what about the other mob that has been nurtured, cuddled, stroked by Trump? By whatever name — Mafia, organized crime, gangsters — this mob has gotten very little media attention, particularly in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

Let’s call the first Mob 1 and the second Mob 2.

As noted last September, I have followed Trump’s Mob 2 since the 1980s. But in this essay, I will rely on works of three great investigative journalists: David Cay Johnston, an expert on Trump’s fraudulent finances; the late Wayne Barrett, who for decades reported on Trump and other New York crooks, and Dan E. Moldea, the reporter who exposed the cozy relationship between professional sports team owners and organized crime.

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‘There’s Been Worse Times – Can You Imagine Living in Europe During the 1300s?’

February 18, 2021 by Source

Straight Up With a Twist

By Edwin Decker

Hi Ed, I was all set to have a small (and safe) birthday gathering in my back yard with a handful of close friends. But the day before my birthday, the riot at the capital happened and two of my friends backed out . . . One of them said she couldn’t justify going to a party while, as she put it, “[T]he country is on fire.” The other one said that the riot was the last straw, on top of rising COVID-19 and mounting police brutality incidents . . . She even insinuated that I should have cancelled outright. I didn’t, but do you think she was right?

Julene H.M.

Dear Julene, I can’t help but wonder if people like this are real and if so, why they didn’t just slit their own wrists in the womb. Ok, sure, 2020 has been a festering canker on the anus of humanity, but what does 2020 expect us to do, crawl in a cave and watch stalactites grow? If you think like that you’ll always find a reason to avoid living in the moment.

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Memories of the Closures and Damage of the Ocean Beach Pier

February 17, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Pier overflow 12-28-09-sm

With all the discussion about the current state of the Ocean Beach Pier, we thought about all the times over the past 12 years the pier has been forced to close and damaged. Here, then, is a memory tour of many of those moments, and a reminder of how much we all love the OB Pier. (The text and photos are from posts at the OB Rag.)

OB Pier – Monday, December 28, 2009. Photo by Jim Grant.

December 28, 2009 – The big news around downtown OB today was the big waves, number one – which forced the OB Pier to be closed by lifeguards. With large swells arriving up and down the Southern Cal coast, and with a National Weather Service high surf advisory in effect until 10 p.m. on Monday, local lifeguards had to close the pier, while a few top-notch surfers braved the waves – which could have been as high as 8 feet.

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Are You Interested in Being a Part of Your Ocean Beach Community Governance? OB Planning Board Election and Candidate Forms.

February 17, 2021 by Source


The OB Planning Board is holding elections on March 3, 2021. If you’ve attended a Planning Board meeting within the LAST 12 months, are at least 18, and live, own property or own a business within the OB Planning Area, the Planning Board invites you to submit an application to be a WRITE-IN candidate. Please submit your application by March 2, 2021.


3 Ways to Vote in 2021

By mail: Print and mail your voter registration form and ballot to Ocean Beach Planning Board, 4876 Santa Monica Ave. #133, San Diego, CA 92107. Must be in our mail box by 4 pm, March 3, 2021 to be counted.

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Is This the End of the Ocean Beach Pier?

February 16, 2021 by Staff

By Geoff Page

A recent puff piece in the local weekly newspaper about the Ocean Beach Pier can serve as an illustration of the differences between what readers get in The OB Rag what readers see in the other local paper. What people need to read about are things that matter. The pier doesn’t need a puff piece, it may need an obituary.

The Beacon article asked why “the fuss over a few washed-out railings?” The answer lies later in the piece after a brief bit of history. That history included a colossal mistake and a truly idiotic location chosen for the pier.

First, the railing comment. The article quoted the general contractor that built the pier as saying:

“Those railings are doing exactly what they were meant to do — wash away in high seas, lessening resistance of water hitting the pier,” says the general contractor who built the pier (he prefers we not mention his name for privacy’s sake). “Rails can be easily replaced, though at an expected cost to the city.”

That the contractor did not want his name used is a really mystery.

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