Brouhaha at Ocean Beach Town Council, President Asked to Resign, at least One Member Resigned in Protest

August 3, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

There is a serious brouhaha going on with the Ocean Beach Town Council these days. For unknown reasons, Mark Winkie, the president and a board member for 5 years, was asked to resign on July 6.

At least one other board member has resigned in protest. And former board members and others in the community are demanding that the current board explain why Winkie was asked to resign or offer an apology, or both. There’s also allegations the board did not follow its own by-laws.

On the OBTC facebook page, the board stated it “will consider a response and the community can expect that from us in the coming days” as it relates to issues raised by Susan Winkie, Mark’s spouse, in a public comment. Here is Susan Winkie’s public comment:

Statement Regarding the Resignation of Mark Winkie, President, OBTC

Ocean Beach Town Council
July 27, 2021

On July 6th Mark Winkie received a letter from this board and was asked to resign as President of the Town Council. The membership of the Town Council deserves to know the way this situation was handled and have it become part of the public record.

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San Diego Is About to Sell Off Our Public Spaces for Outdoor Dining

July 28, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

It’s not being touted as a “sell-off”, but that’s really what it is. The City of San Diego is preparing to sell the public spaces, the sidewalks and parking spaces that restaurants used during the pandemic – to those businesses. It’s called a “fee” but it’s more like a sale or lease.

The city is moving in the direction of making the parking spaces and sidewalks taken over by restaurants during the last 15 months or so “permanent.”

Let’s call it for what it is. The privatization of public space, of the “commons.”

City officials announced Monday a new program to “make permanent the emergency outdoor dining permits the city issued to restaurants across the city shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began,” as the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

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The Way We Were – Ocean Beach in the Spring of 2020 – A Photo Gallery

July 23, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Here is a jog down ol’ memory lane, from the Spring of 2020. A photo gallery to remind us all of the way we were. (Most recent up front.)
Posted June 2, 2020

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Sports Arena Area to Be Declared ‘Surplus Land’ August 3 to Allow Affordable Housing in New Redevelopment

July 20, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On August 3, the City of San Diego will declare the Sports Arena area as surplus land to comply with the state’s Surplus Land Act. This will set off a new, legal process of opening up the bidding for the redevelopment of the 48-acre site.

And for the first time, there is a very real chance the process will require the construction of affordable housing at the Arena tract. Neither Faulconer’s initiative nor Measure E which passed last November required affordable housing to be included.

Declaring the Sports Arena area as surplus land, the first step

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Bridge Housing Corp. Selected by City Council to Build in Controversial Famosa Canyon

July 19, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, July 13, the San Diego City Council authorized the San Diego Housing Commission to build up to 78 affordable housing units on the 5-acre parcel in Famosa Canyon. The council entered into an agreement with Bridge Housing Corporation to design housing units at the southeast corner of Famosa and Nimitz boulevards.

The decision appears to resolve the controversies over the site, one of the last open spaces in Point Loma and used by kids on bikes for generations. Many in the community have fought this development for years, at the grassroots level and at the local planning board level. But it appears to no avail.

Opponents of the development have been characterized as “NIMBYs” and even “racist” by its advocates,

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‘Circulate San Diego’ Shows Its True Pro-Developer Colors By Supporting Navy’s Densest Development Proposal for Old Town

July 16, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The gloves are off! The group “Circulate San Diego” has dropped its environmentally-friendly facade and has now unfurled its full pro-developer colors. It has done this with the group’s recent endorsement of the most dense development proposed by the Navy for NAVWAR or the Old Town area.

Circulate San Diego has come out in public support for the Navy’s preferred Alternate 4. As Jim Perry, Barbara McDonald, and Mary Koto wrote in a recent OB Rag post:

Alternative 4 is the Navy and City’s Preferred Alternative. The existing NAVWAR buildings will be replaced with up to 109 new buildings. There will be up to 35 high rise buildings with a 350 foot maximum (about 32 stories).

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Deadline for San Diego Outdoor Eating Areas to Get Up to Code Extended to August 2

July 14, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Restaurants in Ocean Beach and across busy sections of San Diego have been given a reprieve by the city of San Diego. The city has extended its deadline to bring outdoor dining areas up to code. The previous deadline was Tuesday, July 13 and business owners would have been liable for a daily fine of $10,000 if their “parklets” for outdoor dining were not scaled back.

A city spokesperson said in a statement on Temporary Outdoor Business Operation (TOBO) structures:

“In an effort to work with our clients and give businesses more time to meet the guidelines and enforcement of TOBO structures, the City has decided to begin enforcement on Monday, Aug. 2.

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State Budget Includes $8.4 Million for Ocean Beach Pier ‘Renovation’

July 12, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The California state budget signed recently by Gov. Gavin Newsom includes $8.4 million to the city of San Diego for the Ocean Beach Pier “renovation.”

Lawmakers are still ironing out details, but according to the Voice of San Diego – which made a list of what San Diego is set to get out of the budget so far – OB’s Pier will get some of that share.

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News From Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Early July, 2021

July 2, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

No Fireworks Off OB Pier This Year
Unfortunately there will not be fireworks off the Ocean Beach Pier in 2021.
Mike James: “Back to the Future: A Proposal to Replace the OB Pier Fireworks Festival With A Light and Water Show”

“Morning After” Clean-Up Sponsored by SurfRider

OB Town Council Asked to Support Mission Bay Parking Lot for Homeless People Living in Vehicles

Population Shifts Could Affect Council Districts

Murder Charges Dropped Against OB Man, Manslaughter Added

And much more – come inside!

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The Oregon Coast – Escape From the Heat

June 30, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

OBceans and other Southern Californians must have breathed a sigh of relief in not being engulfed by the record-breaking heatwave that hit the Northwest this past weekend. I happened to be in Oregon visiting family and was able to experience it all.

It was 109 in the small town I was in, southwest from Portland. For three days. After spending two days mostly indoors, on the third day of the heat, we bundled everybody into two cars and headed for the Oregon coast.

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Sunset Cliffs Shooting Victim’s Family Wants Answers

June 30, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Akili Cobbs was fatally shot Sunday night, June 27, in a parking lot at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park. Now his family wants answers.

Multiple gun shots and someone yelling for help brought police to the scene close to the 4500 block of Ladera Steret around 11:30. Cobbs was found in a car in the parking lot often used by surfers and park visitors, below Point Loma Nazarene University.

Now there’s a memorial for the 33-year old victim.

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‘I’m Off to Portland – See Ya in 6 Days’

June 24, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The OB Rag will have very limited postings over the next 6 days, as I’m off to the Portland area to visit my daughter and her family.

Leaving behind a rain storm and heading into 90+ heat is quite a turnaround for San Diego and Portland.

Comments will continue to be open –

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OB Vibe Is This Weekend, and Volunteers Are Needed – for Sat., June 26

June 23, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

OB Vibe is this weekend, and the people putting it on need volunteers!

OB Vibe will be in lieu of the traditional Ocean Beach Street Fair and will be held on June 26th from 10am – 6pm.

The OB Mainstreet Association and the OB Town Council need lots of volunteers for various areas, such as, but not limited to:

  • Vendor Check-in
  • OBMA Information Booth & Merchandise
  • Canvas Painting Class Coordinators
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State Says San Diego Broke Law in How Sports Arena Redevelopment Was Proposed, Orders Redo

June 18, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Wednesday, June 16, the State of California formally notified the City of San Diego that the proposed redevelopment of the Sports Arena was not legal and that the city ran afoul of the Surplus Land Act in how it proposed the redevelopment.

The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) informed San Diego’s Director of Real Estate Assets, Penny Maus, that the redevelopment plan for the Midway District area did not comply with the the Surplus Land Act. The Act was amended by the state legislature in 2019 to make any excess government-owned land available for affordable housing.

The city is now forced to begin the process over again, or face fines in the millions. This means that the deal the city made with Brookfield Properties to lead the redevelopment is null and void.

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Troubled OB Man Taken Into Custody After He Banged on Fire Station Windows, Attacked Palm Tree – Then Firefighters Put Out Fire at His House on Ebers

June 17, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Karen Kucher from the U-T reported on a weird scene in Ocean Beach Thursday morning on Voltaire Street.

A troubled man awoke the firefighters at OB’s fire station by banging on their windows and yelling around 6:15 am. Kucher reported the man tried to break into the station. He also attacked a palm tree, yelled obscenities and was taken into custody by police charged with felony vandalism.

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Coastal Commission Agrees With FIDO and Cancels Proposed Changes for Fiesta Island Off-Leash Area

June 17, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Thursday, June 10, the California Coastal Commission agreed with the dog-owners’ group, FIDO, and cancelled proposed changes to what’s called San Diego’s largest dog park, the off-leash area on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay.

Staff at the Coastal Commission had apparently attempted to revive a proposal for what they termed broader public access and have the 90-acre off-leash waterfront area opened up. Staff argued that the state’s Coastal Act encouraged opening waterfront areas to as many people and activities as possible.

Yet, the proposal ran smack tab into the lobbying power of the 16,000-member Fiesta Island Dog Owners (FIDO)

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Going to Atlanta – See Ya in 5 Days

June 9, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Editordude is leaving for Atlanta for a family wedding on Thursday and will not be returning until Monday, June 14. “Enjoy the heat while I’m gone,” he says.

There will be very little postings in the interim.

However, comments will remain open and moderated.

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What Progressives Are Saying About This Dangerous Moment in American History – As The Insurrection Continues

June 3, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Many progressive pundits, politicians, civil rights advocates and observers are calling this moment America finds itself in, a very dangerous one.

For instance, Robert Reich says:

The greatest danger to American democracy right now is not coming from Russia, China, or North Korea. It is coming from the Republican Party. … American democracy is at an inflection point.

Then there is this statement from over 100 scholars who express their deep concern regarding the assault on democracy:

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Recall Campbell Campaign Closes Down

June 2, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, the OB Rag was sent an email by the Recall Campbell campaign announcing that the effort did not reach their goal of 14,000 signatures, “not enough to force the recall of Jennifer Campbell.”

Campaign organizers stated they did garner over 10,000 signatures, however. In their statement, the campaign said:

The pandemic combined with competing signature-gathering efforts for other political races and Jennifer Campbell’s low name recognition proved to be an insurmountable challenge.

They were up against “an establishment candidate backed by deep-pocketed special interests ….” and up against the editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The effects of the pandemic cannot be overstated.

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Complaints Raised About Police Take-Over of Ocean Beach Parking Lot on Memorial Day Weekend

June 1, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

There was a twitter storm over the Memorial Day weekend about the massive show of force by San Diego police in Ocean Beach and their take-over of the Pier parking lot.

Reporter and OBcean Alain Stephens sent out a number of tweets calling the police take-over of the area “inappropriate”, “abnormal”, a display of what’s wrong with modern policing, and that the whole scene did not honor Memorial Day but tarnished it. Stephens, who is African-American, also criticized the police show of force and take-over as part of a historical trend to restrict access to beaches by people of color.

Not everyone agreed with him

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Sempra Greased the Skids for Gloria and Council Democrats to Approve SDG&E Franchise Agreement

May 27, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

On Tuesday, a “super-majority” of members of the San Diego City Council voted to approve Mayor Gloria’s proposed franchise agreement with SDG&E.

Councilmembers Jennifer Campbell, Stephen Whitburn, Chris Cate, Raul Campillo, Marni von Wilpert and Sean Elo-Rivera voted in favor while Joe LaCava, Vivian Moreno and Monica Montgomery’ Steppe voted no. Campbell, Whitburn, Campillo and von Wilpert are Democrats and Cate is the lone Republican on the Council.

Curious as to whether SDG&E or its parent company, Sempra, gave campaign contributions to any of these Democrats, I dug around some. Didn’t have to go far. Matt Potter over at the San Diego Reader answered most of my questions in his December 21, 2020 piece, entitled, “Sempra’s last-minute money fueled anti-Bry hit campaign,” with a sub-head of “Tortured trail of Democrats’ campaign cash leads to SDG&E’s back door”.

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Today, San Diego City Council Takes on Gloria’s Potential 20-Year Franchise Agreement With SDG&E

May 25, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

Today, the San Diego City Council considers Mayor Gloria’s potential 20-year franchise agreement with SDG&E. This potential does not sit well with a whole lot of San Diegans.

Specifically, opponents of the deal are not at all happy with a provision that allows SDG&E to recover some of the payments the utility is proposing to make if the deal does not run its full term.

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Ocean Beach Town Council Hosting ‘Town Hall’ on Future of OB Pier – Wed., May 26

May 24, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The OBTC will be hosting a “Make Your Voice Heard: Town Hall to Decide the Future of Ocean Beach Pier” at their next public meeting on May 26th to discuss the City’s long-term plans for our Ocean Beach Pier.

They will be inviting our Local, State and Federal representatives to attend and the Town Hall format will allow participants / viewers to weigh-in directly with questions and concerns on this important topic.

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Gloria Wants to Take the City for a Ride on the SDG&E Train

May 21, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

In San Diego’s continuing saga over who gets to be the franchise holder for the city’s electric and gas utilities, it is staggeringly clear now that Mayor Todd Gloria really wants SDG&E to stay. Gloria is pushing the city to get on board the SDG&E train for a ride.

He and City Attorney Mara Elliott have concluded “multiple rounds” of negotiations with SDG&E, formed a tentative agreement, and he is beginning to talk with the councilmembers about a new contract. Gloria claims his new deal is “certainly an improvement over the existing franchise agreement….” That’s not saying much.

Nothing is for certain. Gloria needs a “super-majority” of votes from the Council, six of the nine members.

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About Those Outdoor Restaurant Structures …

May 18, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The OB Rag first raised the issue back in March: “Are Ocean Beach Restaurants Ready to Give Back Our Public Spaces?”

We wondered whether OB eateries were ready to give back all that public space taken during the pandemic in order to keep their doors open. We simply raised the question. …

A good number of readers’ comments suggested shutting down Newport Avenue permanently to auto traffic and allow the outdoor structures to continue. But shutting down Newport

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News From Ocean Beach and Point Loma – Mid-May 2021

May 17, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

The Future of Beach Bonfires

Celebrate the OB Vibe – Virtual 5K

Celebrating the OB Vibe with an OB 5K Virtual Race.

Festa to Be Celebrated in Point Loma

Panga Boat Stuck In Point Loma Surfline – 23 Rescued Monday, May 17

15 Rock Church Employees Test Positive for COVID

Pedestrians Not Faring Well in Point Loma: 1 Killed, 1 Injured

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The Elusive New Lifeguard Station for Ocean Beach

May 13, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

By Frank Gormlie

What ever happened to the promised new lifeguard station for Ocean Beach? This question is so untimely, it appears, as OB residents and merchants grapple with the concept of the millions needed to repair or replace the beloved OB Pier. And as our mayor says the city’s coffers are so empty, he’s cutting hours and staff at the city’s libraries.

This is so untimely. And like the elusive rare butterfly, the new OB lifeguard station flutters around in the ether, unable to land and become a chrysalis where it can develop into a beautiful, new being.

Yet, the question needs to be asked. Here, then, is a brief look at this recent history of promises, pledges and concerns.

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Environmental and Other Groups Push Council to Bar SDG&E From Bidding on New Utility Franchise Due to Breach of its Current Agreement

May 10, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

A coalition of sorts of a group of environmental and nonprofit groups want the San Diego City Council to bar SDG&E from bidding on any new utility franchise agreements. In a letter addressed to all Council members sent last week, the group is pushing the Council to hold a hearing to discuss whether the utility giant can be debarred from bidding.

The letter asks the Council to hold a Debarment Proceedings Against SDG&E as soon as possible. Items are placed on the Council docket by the council president, Jen Campbell, who has not committed at this point in doing so.

The groups state that since SDG&E has been in material breach of its current franchise agreement with the City, it cannot by law bid on any new agreements.

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County Supervisors Repeal Ban on San Diego Tribal Land Expansions

May 6, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

On Wednesday, May 5, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to repeal policies that basically stopped any expansion by Native American tribal governments.

Federal policy requires Native People’s tribal governments to secure land they own for their reservations under a fee-to-trust process. In turn, tribes are allowed to build housing and energy projects on the land and also access natural resources. But in March 1994, the San Diego Board of Supervisors approved a policy

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Remembering May 4, 1970 Half a Century Later

May 4, 2021 by Frank Gormlie

May 4, 1970 for at least an entire generation of Americans will always be associated with the shootings of unarmed students by National Guardsmen on the campus of Kent State Ohio. Four students were killed – two having nothing to do with the protests, one was an ROTC cadet – and eleven were wounded – they will be remembered as a stain upon US history for eternity.

At the time, it shocked the nation – and visibly and viscerally divided the country, already fractured from more than a decade of the African-American movement for civil rights and a handful of years of the ever -increasing militancy of the anti-Vietnam war movement centered on college and university campuses. A deep cultural divide had also developed in America

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