Hey Everybody! Let’s All Email Emily Murphy of General Services Admin and Tell Her to Do Her Job

November 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Walter Shaub (former head of Office of Government Ethics) has recommended that people contact Emily Murphy of General Services Administration and ask her to ascertain the election.

It is her responsibility, and the longer she delays, the more the COVID response will be hampered.

Her email address is Emily.murphy@gsa.gov . I hope that an effort of massive public outcry will make a difference.

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News Briefs for Ocean Beach and Point Loma During the Pandemic Holidays

November 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Sports Arena redeveloper delinquent on $190 million loan

A unit of the Toronto investment behemoth that bankrolled the demise of San Diego’s Midway area height limit in the form of this month’s successful Measure E is falling short on mortgage payments to retire a multi-million-dollar debt.

A subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management is more than 60 days delinquent on a $190 million in so-called Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities secured by the White Marsh Mall in Baltimore, Maryland, according to TheRealDeal.com.

Rents have been plunging at the shopping center, the biggest in Baltimore, in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic and the loss of Sears, an anchor tenant, the report says. Amazon is now using the Sears parking lot for its delivery vehicles. For rest, go to Matt Potter’s article at San Diego Reader.

Did you miss this gem from Matt Potter? “Toronto real estate giant is funder behind killing height limit”

OB Holidays Will Be Different This Year

With Thanksgiving nearly upon us and Yuletide not far behind, Ocean Beach is ramping up for its year-end charity fundraisers, Christmas parade, community brew, and other holiday highlights. Like everything else with COVID, things will be handled a little differently this year. Though fear not, the “crooked” Christmas tree will be firmly planted in the oceanfront sand. And people can still buy and decorate ornaments, especially Ocean Beach MainStreet Association’s annual themed ornaments, to decorate that tilted tree.

There will be a parade. Though social distancing will require parade floats to be stationary in the Dog Beach parking lot. Families can drive through the lot to check them out, like a drive-through light show. Don’t fret, Crooked Tree Holiday Ale will also be available at OB Brewery and some will be canned as well. And of course, the community’s food and toy drive will transpire as usual in 2020.

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Faulconer and Republicans Pile On Over Gov. Newsom’s Screw-Up But Should Look to the White House for the Real Problem

November 19, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has emerged as Gov. Newsom’s chief critic and was the first one out of the gate to come down on Newsom’s screw-up of attending an indoor party with people from more than three households. Faulconer tweeted:

“His kids can learn in person. But yours can’t. He can celebrate birthday parties. But you can’t. He can dine on a $350 meal at one California’s fanciest restaurants during the worst recession in generations. But you definitely can’t. Can you believe this? I can’t.”

Faulconer’s tweet came out the same day as the news of Gavin’s party. This means he’s taking the gov on and has added fuel to the speculations that he is running for the office next time around.

Others have joined in on the pile-on – including many Republicans – some have even called on Newsom to resign; the editorial boards of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee have also come out with scathing criticism of the governor, and rightly so, as it was a mighty, screw-up – soaked in hypocrisy. But, the mightier hypocrisy is with Faulconer and the Republicans

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Local Democrats Support Monica Montgomery Steppe for City Council President

November 18, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

During Meeting, No One Spoke in Favor of Jen Campbell

The San Diego County Democratic Party leadership met on Tuesday, November 17, and endorsed Councilwoman Monica Montgomery Steppe for San Diego city council president.

At the beginning of the electronically-held meeting of the Central Committee, chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy asked for public comments and 32 people expressed support for Montgomery Steppe (who was recently married). Three people believed the party should stay neutral on the issue – and importantly for District 2 residents – no one spoke in favor of Councilwoman Jen Campbell – who was a no-show.

The final vote was 42 to 11 in favor of the resolution supporting Montgomery Steppe.

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SDG&E Tries to Bully San Diego – Refuses to Negotiate Extension of Franchise Agreement

November 13, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

SDG&E is throwing its weight around and trying to bully San Diego. And in particular, it’s trying to bully Georgette Gomez, president of the city council.

In a letter sent to city officials Thursday, SDG&E – who has had a 100-year monopoly on our electricity and gas – said it would refuse to consider an extension to the franchise agreement for one year – something city officials are asking for in order to allow the new city council to have a say in all of it. The new city council – with 5 new members – is sworn in on December 10.

SDG&E senior vice president and general counsel Diana Day stated in the letter:

“We do not believe that a one-year extension is in the best interest of the City or San Diego electric and gas consumers.”

Setting aside the audaciousness of that statement,

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Jen Campbell Does Not Deserve to Be San Diego City Council President

November 12, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

For the first time – probably ever – there is an ongoing public battle over who will be the next Council President of the San Diego City Council. Councilwomen Jen Campbell and Monica Montgomery Steppe – both Democrats elected in 2018 – have publicly declared their desire to become the next Council president.

Usually, the race for a position that controls the Council’s agenda and is in charge of committee appointments is under the radar, behind the scenes. As the Voice of San Diego recounts, “That process has broken wide open now, and interest groups are lined up behind the two visions.”

On December 10, the five newly-elected council members will be inaugurated and their first order of business is choosing a president.

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OB Rag Writers on Their Fears about Trump’s Attempts at a Coup

November 12, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Concerns and fears of what the lame duck autocrat Trump will do next as he and most Republican leaders refuse to acknowledge Joe Biden’s election victory engulf voters who upheld democracy on Tuesday, November 3. Fears of some kind of coup and transition stalling tactics by Trump and his sycophants are on the minds of many Biden voters.

So, I queried OB Rag writers and columnists on their thoughts about all of this – and they’re not pretty. Their worse fears paint a dark future for our country.

Judi Curry is afraid that Biden won’t have all the information he needs for a smooth transition, but worse, that Trump’s refusal to accept defeat could lead to a”civil war” because “all those Trump supporters will use all the guns and ammunition they have purchased just for this moment.” Judi fears that “Trump won’t leave peacefully and dire methods will have to be used to get him out,” while COVID continues to increase because of Trump’s refusal to listen to medical personnel. Writer Joni Halpern believes, “The President is mentally ill and has no ability to engage in reasoned or principled decision-making.”

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Former San Diego County KKK Leader Tom Metzger Dies

November 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Notorious KKK leader and former longtime Fallbrook resident Tom Metzger died last week, according to a post on his White Aryan Resistance website.

Metzger, who was 82, died Nov. 4 in the Riverside County city of Hemet, according to the post, which said he is survived by his partner, Mary Arnold, as well as six children, nine grandchildren and a great-grandchild. His cause of death was not released. A member of the Ku Klux Klan since the 1970s, he later left the KKK and founded the White Aryan Resistance group,

Metzger lived in Fallbrook for more than 40 years,

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OB’s Mariner’s Cove Set for Redevelopment

November 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

OB Dist 3 MarnCov 01

It looks like Mariner’s Cove – that complex of 500 two-story apartments along West Point Boulevard – will get a “redo” with the addition of 272 more units. The large-scale apartment redevelopment project will be presented to the Ocean Beach Planning Board at its early December meeting. The complex’s 31 acres is actually part of the District 3 OB Planning Area.

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It’s Official – San Diego County Moves Into Purple Tier

November 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Sadly and grimly, the state’s update Tuesday has pushed San Diego County into the Purple Tier – the most restrictive tier in California’s color-coded system of coronavirus-related tiers.

California updated its coronavirus Blueprint for a Safer Economy website just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 10 and moved the county into Tier 1, also known as the Purple Tier.

San Diego County has been suffering rising cases of COVID-19 as demonstrated in the region’s adjusted case rate, which was 8.9 for the week leading up and including Halloween. If any county goes above the 7.0 threshold for two consecutive weeks, it is moved into the most restrictive tier, which became San Diego County’s reality on Tuesday.

Tier 1 means there is a “widespread” risk of contracting COVID-19, according to California Public Health officials. Tier 1 mandates the following:

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City Council Okays Part of Faulconer’s ‘Complete Communities’ Plan – Rejects Parks Section Due to Unanswered Questions

November 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

On Monday, Nov. 9, the San Diego City Council voted to approve the housing section of Mayor Faulconer’s “Complete Communities” plan but rejected the section on parks because there were just too many unanswered questions.

In a 7 to 2 vote, with Vivian Moreno and Mark Kersey dissenting, the council approved the housing section which would give incentives to developers to build more housing units if they agree to boost transit options near a project or if they add amenities like parks or promenades nearby.

Councilwoman Vivian Moreno supported all the proposals but wanted any decisions on the plans to wait until the new city council,

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Council President Gomez Pushes Decision on Electric and Gas Franchise to the Next City Council

November 10, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego City Councilmember Georgette Gomez – fresh off her defeat to Sara Jacobs for the 53rd Congressional District – is still Council President and on Monday, Gomez sent out a memo about the city’s electric and gas franchise that pleased many.

She announced that she will not place the franchise agreement on the council docket, which, significantly means the current council will not have a final decision on any agreement. The incoming council – with five new members – will rightly make the decision on the lucrative deal. The San Diego Union-Tribune quoted Gomez:

“Granting these franchises is a momentous decision for the City Council that should not be rushed, especially when a new Council and a new Mayor are about to be inaugurated. Unfortunately, the ambitious timeline and process initially presented to the Council and the public was not followed and, at this juncture, this is the most appropriate path forward.”

Gómez also requested Mayor Kevin Faulconer to write up a one-year extension to the existing agreement , held by San Diego Gas & Electric and which ends in two months. SDG&E has had the monopoly for a century. The five new council members will be sworn into office December 10 – along with Mayor-elect Todd Gloria.

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News from Ocean Beach and Point Loma – November 2020

November 9, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Ocean Beach, Point Loma, West Clairemont and the Midway Voted Against Measure E

OB, Point Loma, West Clairemont, and a few other neighborhoods, including the Midway District voted against Measure E. It won overall, 57% to 43%.

It’s Official! Jen Campbell Is Running for City Council President

District 2 Councilmember Jen Campbell is running for President of the San Diego City Council.

Joel Allen Named New Football Coach for Point Loma High

Winstons Closing Temporarily

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Hey Trump – ‘You’re Fired!’

November 7, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Celebrating crowd outside White House, November 7, 2020.

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Measure E Likely to Face Legal Challenge

November 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Measure E – which just passed – will likely be challenged in court.

The measure, if allowed to stand, will eliminate the 30-foot height limit in the Midway District and open the way for massive redevelopment and high rise in the area. As of Thursday night, 57% voted yes and 43% no.

The group, Save Our Access, has filed a civil action against the city which seeks to block the measure from being implemented. The group, in a petition for writ of mandate, challenges the legality of Measure E in a significant claim that the City of San Diego failed to follow the law as required by the California Environmental Quality Act to study its environmental impact before placing the measure on the ballot. Save Our Access vs. City of San Diego is filed with the central division of San Diego County’s Superior Court, and has been on hold pending election results.

Save Our Access founder John McNab said on Wednesday, the group, which led the campaign against Measure E, would likely proceed with the legal action.

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As US Coronavirus Cases Reached a New High, Trump’s Presidency Reached a New Low

November 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

As the US reached a new grim Covid-19 record Thursday –more than 120,000 virus infections in one single day – the Trump presidency reached a new low with Trump’s horrific threats and claims of fraud and a stolen election uttered in the White House briefing room Thursday.

Despite the gains of candidate Joe Biden in the presidential election, Thursday, November 5 will be looked upon as a dark day in American history and a new low for Trump himself.

During his inflammatory and falsehood-filled address from the White House, Trump once again claimed he had won. He asserted “This is a case when they are trying to steal an election, they are trying to rig an election,” Trump said. “If you count the legal votes, I easily win,” he said. “If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.” Trump offered not one scintilla of evidence in his claims of fraud and theft.

He also claimed he “won” the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, citing his substantial early leads in the vote counts there. Untrue.

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Joe Biden Will Be the Next President of the United States

November 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States. California Sen. Kamala Harris, will become the first woman, first African American, and first Indian American to serve as vice president.

With insurmountable leads in Pennsylvania and Georgia, Biden is projected to win enough states to garner the all-important 270 electoral votes. Biden could also very well win Arizona and Nevada, states he does not need to become President.

A record turnout has included postal ballots which continue to skew heavily in Biden’s favor in the remaining undeclared states. He is also making preparations to address the nation tonight, Friday. More American voters voted for Biden than any other American presidential candidate in history. As of this writing, Biden has won 73,796,494 votes (50%) and Trump won 69,938,568 votes (48%), which is 4.7 million vote lead for Biden. Pundits think the total popular vote for Biden could reach 5 million, 6 million or more, and perhaps a 5-point spread.

Although voters did not repudiate Trump and Trumpism on Tuesday enough for Democratic hopes, Biden will still win.

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Agenda for Ocean Beach Planning Board Meeting – Wed., Nov.4

November 4, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Here is the official agenda for the Ocean Beach Planning Board, Wednesday night 6pm, November 4.

Register here.

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It’s Halloween – Time to Vote

October 30, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

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Mayor Faulconer to Add Two More Notches to His Legacy Belt

October 27, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has about six weeks left in his occupation of the mayor’s office. Either Bry or Gloria – both Democrats – will be sworn in on December 10. And Faulconer will leave his stint in city politics, which included being the head executive since he won that special election in February 2014 when Bob Filner resigned. Before that, Faulconer was the councilmember for District 2 – which includes Ocean Beach and most of Point Loma, of course – for 8 years.

Yet, he is too young to retire. And riding on the history that with Kevin as mayor, San Diego was the largest city in America with a Republican mayor, a future political office is not out of the question. In fact, there’s been all kinds of speculations that he was positioning himself to run for California governor. To do that, he needs a legacy –

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OB Rag Online Celebrates 13 Years

October 26, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

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.)

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‘No on E’ Sign Seen on Voltaire in Ocean Beach

October 26, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

This sign was on Voltaire Street in Ocean Beach over the weekend.

Photo by Kathy Blavatt

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The Hubris of Jen Campbell

October 23, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Hubris

Hubris describes a personality quality of extreme or foolish pride or dangerous overconfidence, often in combination with (or synonymous with) arrogance.

Jen Campbell’s hubris is showing. The District 2 councilmember is suffering, it appears, from extreme or foolish pride and dangerous overconfidence. Her constituents have now learned that Campbell wants to be considered for City Council president. I wonder how many of them laughed out loud or said something else that’s unprintable when they heard this.

Jen Campbell for council president?

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Bry and Gloria on Sports Arena Development and Measure E

October 19, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Mayoral candidates Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria were interviewed via email by the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board, and their responses were published in today’s U-T, Monday, Oct. 19.

Here are Bry’s and Gloria’s responses to the question about the Sports Arena redevelopment and Measure E.

The question asked of both candidates was this:

Q: Will —and how will—you accept and evaluate Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s proposal to redevelop the sports arena site?

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Ocean Beach News – Mid-October 2020

October 16, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

“Citizens Patrol” Formed to Control Homeless in Ocean Beach

A so-called “Citizens Patrol” has been formed in Ocean Beach to ostensibly control the homeless, who they contend are out of control. They say it’s worse than ever. …They did not deny they were vigilantes.

House Fire on Niagara

California research institute files application for yellowtail tuna fish farm

Positive COVID Cases Grow at Point Loma Nazarene

Bassist Benjamin Wanicur Revives San Diego’s Underground at Robb Field – With Masks, of Course

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Granny Flats Unhinged

October 14, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, granny flats in San Diego became unhinged. They will no longer require any parking – none, zilch, nada, nunca.

Up to now, granny flats – or “accessory dwelling units” as San Diego calls them – were required to have one parking space per unit. Unless it is smaller than 500 square feet, in a historical area, within a residential parking district, or the granny flat is near a transit line or ride-sharing station.

The San Diego City Council Tuesday unanimously approved the new rules as part of a package of reforms to boost housing construction. Another new regulation allows property owners to construct extra – or “bonus” – granny flats if they agree to rent restrictions on at least one of them. For granny flats within a half-mile of an existing or planned transit line, the number of bonus units is unlimited. For granny flats not near transit lines, a maximum of one bonus unit is allowed.

Granny flats are popular these days. Over the last couple of years, many have been approved, for instance, by the Ocean Beach Planning Board.

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OB Public Service Announcement: Drop Off Your Ballot at the OB Library Lawn

October 13, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Thank you Friends of the OB Library

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OB’s Apple Tree Market Making Way for Krisp

October 12, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

The saga of OB’s Apple Tree Market has entered a new chapter. After more than 3 decades in Ocean Beach, it will be replaced with Krisp Beverages + Natural Foods.

Owner Saad Hirmez and his family turned over its operations to Krisp managment in mid-August and the new owners are slowly making changes. They plan to rebrand the 9,800 square foot building in the upcoming months. The new owners include Sadeer Mikhail, Evans Salem and Omar Mikhail, and the OB location will be their third for Krisp, which currently has stores in Golden Hill and San Diego’s East Village.

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Planning Commission Sends Campbell’s Short-Term Rental Proposal Back to Staff for Details

October 9, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

After more than a 3 hour hearing on Jen Campbell’s proposal for short-term vacation rentals, the San Diego Planning Commission Thursday, Oct. 8, decided to send it back to city staff to address mostly technical issues of how the regulations would be administered and enforced. Another hearing date before the Commission has been set for Thursday, Dec. 3.

But from the comments of the Commissioners, once tweaked, they very well could approve the proposal that Campbell engineered with the billionaire-dollar rental platform, Expedia, along with Unite HERE Local 30, the union that represents hotel workers.

The proposal could very well be approved despite the criticism from community groups in the coastal areas of District 2 – Jen Campbell’s district – that they were not genuinely consulted.

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What Was Going On in Ocean Beach 10 Years Ago – October 2010?

October 8, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

jim grant sunset 10-9-10

What was going on in Ocean Beach a decade ago, in October 2010? There was a lot of focus on the upcoming November election and on Halloween. Here is a sampling of local things, people, photos, events and other news of note from October 2010. (Note: some of the first links are 10 years old, so be forewarned.)

OB Bus Routes Detoured Due to Digging Ditches

OB lifeguard part of team honored for dangerous rescue

On Wednesday, October 13, four lifeguards were awarded the Medal of Valor for a dangerous rescue off Mission Bay last November 4th. The San Diego U-T reported: Another honoree, Sgt. Jon Vipond, had reported early to the Ocean Beach station .

Sports Arena bought by San Pasqual Tribe & renamed “Valley View Casino Center”

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