News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma on 420, 2021

by on April 20, 2021 · 7 comments

in Ocean Beach

420 Day, 2010. At the cliffs.

Happy 420!

Cannabis aficionados celebrate today as a near-holiday – today being April 20, 420. And doubtlessly, there will be plenty of parties today at 4:20 pm around OB and Pot Loma. And remember, California had the nation’s first ballot initiative attempting to legalize cannabis (Proposition 19) in 1972 (it failed), and then was the first state to legalize medical cannabis with the passage of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Proposition 215). Then, of course, in November 2016, California voters approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) to legalize the recreational use of cannabis.

Don’t forget, though, it was our County DA, Bonnie Dumanis, who used taxpayer monies to take the issue all the way to the California Supreme Court in a failed effort to get the law overturned. Yet, sadly, the war against marijuana continues. Un-certified cannabis dispensaries are still raided by sheriffs right here in San Diego County; costs to establish a certified one are nearly prohibitive; local governments still make regulations so restrictive as to make the process costly, time-consuming, and discouraging. Our “liberal” California legislature still has not set up a banking system for the billion dollar industry, forcing all transactions to be in cash – fostering a dangerous atmosphere for dispensaries. And not until marijuana is de-listed as a Schedule 1 narcotic, will federal laws come up to speed. But hope remains eternal.

So, where did the code or number “420” as a pot signal come from. Chris Conrad, curator of the Oaksterdam Cannabis Museum in Oakland, California, says 420 started as a secret code among a group of friends at San Rafael High School in the early 1970s (one part of the story is that they called themselves “the Waldos”). They would often meet at 4:20 p.m. to get high. Their code gradually spread — possibly via Grateful Dead followers — across California and beyond. It’s even the number of a California Senate bill that established the state’s medial marijuana program. Happy 420.

International Hostel on Udall Sold

A former international hostel on Udall Street in Point Loma was sold recently for $1,300,000. The 2-story building at 3970 Udall was built in 1954, and its lot size is 4,825 square feet.

Attention all local readers: Indie Bookstore Day is Saturday, April 24! Local Bookstores

  • La Playa Books – Point Loma. Specializing in used and rare books, La Playa Books opened its doors in 2016. The Point Loma shop, which also carries new titles, is run by a family who has called San Diego home since 1886. 619-226-2601 ; 1026 Rosecrans St., San Diego, California 92106
  • Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore – Point Loma. Since the ‘90s, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore has carried a large selection of titles in the fantasy, science fiction, mystery and horror genres, for both young adults and older readers. 619-539-7137 ; 3555 Rosecrans St., Suite 107, San Diego, California 92110; Pacific
  • Run for Cover Bookstore – Ocean Beach. Although no longer a storefront, owner Marianne Reiner has established a virtual bookstore. The easiest way to order books from the business is to go to their web page and make an inquiry by clicking on the Book Request tab. 619-228-9497

OB Clean-up Sunday April 25

On April 30, there will be an OB cleanup, sponsored by FIST Combat. Over $600 in gift cards from local OB businesses to be handed out for volunteers for FIST Combat’s #OBCleanUp 2-4pm Sun 4/25. Meet at their warehouse training gym at 4861 Newport Ave 92107 (enter in the alley!)

Point Loma Retiree Scammed Out of Life Savings

A Point Loma grandmother shared her story after she was scammed out of her life savings during a two-day nightmare. It’s on video – go here. Barbara Read, 71, got the call last Wednesday morning. The cellphone caller ID read “Federal Reserve.” A man identifying himself as a federal reserve officer told the disabled retiree her identity had been stolen and used in a crime spree. “They knew quite a bit about me,” said Read. ”Someone had been laundering money and counterfeiting money to Colombia, and drug trafficking.” Read was transferred to a supposed sheriff’s deputy, who confirmed she was facing charges, under surveillance, and should stay on the phone with them.

“They just scared me so much with … people were watching me. My phone was tapped. They were going to arrest me and throw me in jail,” said Read. But the man claiming to be with the Federal Reserve said he wanted to help her, and wanted to protect her assets from the identity thief until the investigation wrapped up. “Scared me so much that I thought, ‘Gosh, I guess they’re really trying to protect me,’” said Read. In the next two days, the retired nurse and widow went back and forth six times between her banks and Bitcoin ATMs, withdrawing $38,300 — every penny of life savings — and depositing it into a Bitcoin account she believed was a Federal Reserve holding account. She also charged $2,000 in gift cards, reading the codes to the men on the phone. When they abruptly hung up, she knew she’d been scammed.

“I just feel like I’m at rock bottom,” said a tearful Read. Read, who lives on a fixed income, is now facing an uncertain future. “I just felt terrible. So defeated. I have no savings. Nothing … I like helping people, like my granddaughter and my church. That’s what hurts the most: not being to help others out,” said Read. Read is sharing her story to help others avoid the pain she’s feeling. “I just don’t feel like I would get caught in something like that, and I definitely did,” said Read. Read did file a police report, but her family told ABC 10News the Bitcoin deposits, which used something called blockchain technology, are untraceable. A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help read with expenses.

Point Loma High Scholarships Available

Point Loma High School Senior Scholarships are now open. Click here for details. The application will take some time to complete, and some scholarships need additional information like letters of recommendation and community service logs. The deadline for the application and additional materials is Friday, April 23 at 5 p.m. Questions? Contact Mr. Compagnone at Be sure to check out the PLHS Scholarships Page for the most up-to-date list of student scholarships including scholarships for military children with April 30 as the deadline.

2 Seriously Injured on Nimitz

A 17-year-old girl driving on a provisional license slammed her SUV into a bridge abutment and flipped the vehicle Sunday night after a teen passenger grabbed the steering wheel as she was driving, startling her, police said. The driver and passenger suffered serious injuries and were hospitalized. The solo vehicle accident happened around 11:10 p.m. on Nimitz Boulevard near Voltaire Street in the Point Loma Heights area. The front-seat passenger, an 18-year-old man, grabbed the wheel of the 1999 Ford Explorer and moved it back and forth as the SUV was heading north in the left lane. The move startled the driver and she turned the steering wheel hard to the right, causing the SUV to cross into the right lane and collide with a bridge abutment under Voltaire Street. After hitting the abutment, the vehicle flipped, ejecting the front seat passenger before the SUV came to rest on its roof.

The driver — who had three passengers in the SUV — was driving on a provisional license, said police Officer Scott Lockwood. A provisional license for minors restricts their driving for 12 months, specifying they not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. or transport passengers under the age of 20 unless accompanied by a parent, guardian or a licensed driver who is 25 years old or older. The driver and her front-seat passenger were taken to a hospital for treatment of broken bones, which were not believed to be life-threatening. Two other passengers ran off before police and paramedics arrived, he said. San Diego Union-Tribune

Repairs at Bermuda Stairs

The City Council on April 7 approved long-sought-after repairs to the Bermuda stairs in Ocean Beach. The Bermuda staircase/seawall, which provides the only access to the pocket beach below, was damaged during winter storms in 2015-16. Subsequently, City staff closed the stairwell due to tidal action that eroded the lower stairway foundation causing the lower stairs to collapse. The community was told then by the City that staff was working through the design and environmental process, and that a request had been made for construction funding for the Bermuda repair project from the Regional Park Improvement Fund.

No Criminal Charges Against Officer Who Shot Ashli Babbitt

No criminal charges will be pursued against a U.S. Capitol police officer who shot and killed 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, who lived in Ocean Beach at the time, during the January insurrection at the U.S. Capitol building. This was after an investigation conducted by the DOJ and Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division into the Jan. 6 shooting. The investigation included a review of video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer who fired the shot and others, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting and autopsy results.
“Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution,” according to a DOJ statement, which noted that Babbitt’s family was informed of the decision.

Video footage from the Jan. 6 raid showed Babbitt, a 14-year Air Force veteran, was shot by a Capitol police officer while climbing through the busted-out window of a door to the Speaker’s Lobby. Officers barricaded the doorway with furniture to stop the crowd from entering the Speaker’s Lobby and the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. According to the Department of Justice, the investigation looked into whether the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable.

“Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber,” according to the DOJ statement. “Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter.”

Babbitt was one of five people who died during the insurrection, including a police officer. The day before chaos descended on the Capitol, Babbitt retweeted a video from the page Right Side Broadcasting Network of a rally in Freedom Plaza supporting former President Donald Trump, which made mention of “big protests” happening the next day. Her final Twitter post, made Jan. 6, said, “Nothing will stop us … they can try and try and try but the storm is here and it is descending upon DC in less than 24 hours … dark to light!” Patch

Mayor Gloria Signs New Short-Term Rental Law

Mayor Todd Gloria on April 14 signed legislation to regulate short-term vacation rentals in San Diego. The Short-Term Residential Occupancy (STRO) ordinance limits whole-home, short-term vacation rentals to 1% of the city’s overall housing stock, except for in Mission Beach where 30% of homes can be rented. It also requires property owners to obtain a license for vacation rentals and limits them to one rental property within the city of San Diego. Hosting platforms will be required to collect the license number in order to list a property within the city of San Diego, according to the city.

The law requiring a license will go into effect on July 1, 2022. giving homeowners time to go through the process to secure a license, which must still be developed. Mayor Gloria said city staff is still working on a plan to distribute licenses and a team to regulate the new regulations. He proposed creating a lottery process for an initial allocation of licenses. The ordinance, which Campbell called a “compromise” between property owners and corporate rental services such as VRBO and Airbnb, has drawn its own controversy — mainly from landlords concerned about the fairness and equitability of the forthcoming lottery system. An amendment was added to prioritize “good actors,” those who have abided by the city’s previous rental laws, when licensing begins later this year.

The legislation also has a good-neighbor policy, in which both hosts and guests could be fined up to $1,000 for violating rental rules. Guests renting a whole home in San Diego will be required to stay for a minimum of two nights. In July of 2019, there were 16,000 units being used for short-term housing, according to a city auditor’s report. Of those, only about 6,600 were paying the required transient occupancy taxes. Officials said the move would cut the number of vacation rentals to about 5,400 a year.

The law signed by Gloria  was introduced by current councilmember Jennifer Campbell of District 2 and passed by the full council in a 8-1 vote on Feb. 23, with District 1 Councilmember Joe Lacava dissenting. A second vote on April 6 solidified its fate. Campbell’s effort here is one of the main reasons constituents in District 2 have mounted a recall campaign against her. NBC7


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi Curry April 20, 2021 at 11:39 am

The other night, while doing a “sing-a-long” with a friend, I pulled out the music book I used to learn how to play the piano so many years ago. The book – “Let Us Have Music for the Piano” was copyrighted in 1940 and cost $1.50! But my friend and I were blown away when we came to the lyrics of “La Cucaracha” – a song written in 1917 and sung forever by everyone. If you were to ask people what the song was about they probably would say “cockroaches” – but if you really look at the lyrics, you might be as surprised as we were: “La cucaracha, la cucaracha, Ya no puede caminar, Por que no tiene, por que le falta, marijuana que fumar. (You probably don’t need a translation but if you do – “The Cockroach, The Cockroach”, can no longer walk ….because it does not have marijuana to smoke…..” It was legal for the Cockroach before the human!


Peter from South O April 20, 2021 at 12:00 pm

That song goes back a LOT farther than 1917 and is generally credited to have originated in Old Spain. The traditional folk song mentions a cucaracha that has lost one of its legs.
The version that you have originated with the (Pancho) Villas revolutionaries and is making fun of José Victoriano Huerta Márquez who was a notorious substance abuser.
I wrote a term paper about this when I was a freshman in high school and ended up in the principal’s office.
Happy 420, everybody!


Frank Gormlie April 20, 2021 at 3:15 pm

420 turned out a good day: Derek Chauvin found guilty on all 3 counts! 2nd degree murder, 3rd degree murder and manslaughter.


Peter from South O April 20, 2021 at 3:42 pm

It’s a good start, but there is MUCH still to be done.


sealintheSelkirks April 26, 2021 at 11:55 am

In celebration of 420 this year I took a small bud from each of the 17 different strains in the airtight glass jars from the last few years of growing a medical garden, and did absolutely nothing the entire day but listen to music and sit on the porch steps reading a book and drinking tea in the way-too-warm-for-this-time-of-year 49’N latitude sunshine. The book? Edward Snowden’s Permanent Record. The smoking helped me finally finish reading it…

Amazingly enough I STILL have my green lettering Yes on 19 and leaf yellow button. I can’t believe I’ve had that thing this long… How many others still have theirs that are reading the RAG? I can’t be the only one!



Frank Gormlie May 4, 2021 at 7:03 am

An Ocean Beach restaurant struggling to hire workers is offering new hires a $200 bonus if they stay for at least two months.

Martin Robles and Bruno Elias opened the takeout only fried-chicken shop called Chickenheadz on Newport Avenue in February after each spent a decade at Hodad’s down the street. The two have been working 12 to 15 hour days and have hired three other employees, but that’s still not enough staffing to remain open past 10 or 11 p.m.


Russell Palmer July 20, 2021 at 12:02 pm

On July 17th there was a clean up in OB too! San Diego Cannabis Farmers Market, and the Originals San Diego hosted a beach cleanup in Ocean Beach, California. This event was created to highlight the importance for cannabis brands to not only engage with the community but to give back and lead by example. 175 volunteers signed up for this event and signed waivers and explored the beaches of Ocean Beach doing good work in the name of Cannabis. Quite a vindicating thing for cannabis to be working in the community, worst problem we are having is if the organizers behind cleanups are doing it properly and protecting those involved as volunteers or brands.


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