Ocean Beach Has the Best Holiday Parade in San Diego in ‘Miracle on Newport Ave.’

December 5, 2019 by Staff

Holiday Parade – Saturday, December 7 – 5:05 p.m.

For 40 years, our quaint little surfing village of Ocean Beach has hosted one of the best Holiday Parades in SoCal. On Saturday, December 7th, Newport Avenue is lined with colorful OBceans and visitors all eagerly awaiting the commencement of the 39th Annual OB Holiday Parade at 5:05pm. Our 2019 Theme is ‘Miracle On Newport Ave’!

This year, float entries will be judged based on the following categories:

Best Use of Lights
Best OB Spirit
Most Unusual
Best Kids Group
Best Performance
Best Live Music
Best Overall

2019 Holiday Parade Guidelines

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Starting the Holidays with a Bit of History and Food from the Garden

December 5, 2019 by Staff

by Kathy Blavatt

The season changed as cold weather has arrived.

In November, my husband and I attended a Congress of History San Diego and Imperial County board meeting at Barona Indian Reservation. After the meeting was adjourned, we toured the school and the children’s native garden, which included a lovely mural.

After our visit to the native garden, we headed over to the Barona Museum.

The museum showcases Indian utilitarian and fine artwork displays, maps, and historical displays.

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OB Holiday Tree – a Native OBcean – Arrives at Foot of Newport Ave.

December 3, 2019 by Staff

by Bob Edwards

Some say that the Holiday Season starts with the trick or treaters. Others say Thanksgiving dinner is the opening event. For this reporter the holidays really kick off with the arrival of the OB Holiday Tree, an event that happened this Tuesday morning in a finely coordinated process perfected over the years by Town Council volunteers, arborists, crane operators, and SD Police Department officers.

Community members and neighbors gathered at 7 am today to observe the harvesting of the 40 foot tree from a home on Muir Street, a few blocks east of Sunset Cliffs Blvd. Three hours later the tree had been cut down, transferred to the foot of Newport on a flatbed truck, and lowered into the concrete-encased vertical steel pipe that lies dormant beneath the sand for eleven months out of each year.

Grown from a live Christmas tree purchased in 1975 and planted about five years later, the tree was donated by a family with deep OB roots who wish to remain anonymous. In high winds the tree was starting to threaten the family’s home as it swayed back and forth so they kindly decided to donate the star pine to the community.

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Navy Presented Plans for Former SPAWARS Property at Midway Planners’ Meeting

December 3, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The final 2019 meeting of the Midway-Pacific Planning Group was supposed to have been the one on Wednesday, November 20 at the Bay City brewery on Hancock Street. But, the prospect of a special meeting came up when discussion focused on 31 recently recommended Draconian changes to the planning board system.

Possible Future Special Board Meeting on City’s “Improvements” to Community Planning Committees

A special Task Force was assembled by the city to make recommendations for improvements to the planning board system. These recommendations were reviewed by the Ocean Beach Planning Board at their regular monthly meeting November 7, which was detailed in the OB Rag’s November 11 account of the discussion. It did not appear that the Midway group had focused on these 31 recommendations.

When it was pointed out to the Midway group that some of the 31 were very onerous, such as requiring board member to provide private financial information, a definite interest was sparked.

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Peninsula Planners Deny ‘Shoebox’ on Coronado, Ask for Famosa Blvd as Safe Route

December 2, 2019 by Staff

The final meeting of the Peninsula Community Planning Board for 2019 closed out the year like the proverbial lamb, except for a project on Coronado that was denied approval by the Board.

Projects – 2 Approved, 1 Denied

There were three projects before the board, two of which passed easily while one was denied. The denied project was an application to convert a previously approved guest quarters to a companion unit. This was the result of changing laws that have relaxed standards on secondary dwelling units that make companion units more attractive, such as no requirement for parking.

The denied project at 4411 Coronado Ave. was opposed by neighbors. The structure is an eyesore consisting of what looks like a tall shoebox on end.

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The OB James Gang Rides Again into Their Legend and Lore

November 22, 2019 by Staff

By Bob Edwards

“The Legend and Lore of the OB James Gang” was presented at the Ocean Beach Historical Society’s November meeting, Thursday, November 21st, all at Water’s Edge Faith Community on Sunset Cliffs Blvd. The program covered the business and personal histories of the James family whose printing business – The James Gang – and community involvement has had major effects on the Ocean Beach community since the late 70s and early 80s.

It was one of the most humorous and touching presentations yet provided by the OBHS

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Writer’s Rant: The Name ‘Sunset Cliffs Natural Park’ Is Now a Joke

November 19, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

In October of last year, I did some checking on why the Sunset Cliffs Park project was not yet finished. I contacted the city and the emails that follow tell the story. I’m not using the person’s name because there is no reason to cause him any difficulty as some of his responses might. This is a really sorry tale.

Oct. 16, 2018 – the response I got to my initial inquiry:

The contractor has been waiting for some materials that required a long lead time to obtain. These materials are scheduled to be delivered on site next week. The contractor intends to resume working full time on site starting this Friday or at the latest on Monday October 22nd.

Planting will begin the first week in November and will be done in two phases. Planting will likely continue through January, weather permitting.

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Ocean Beach Planners Parry Attacks from ‘Reformers’, Bicycling ‘Radicals’, and Code ‘Revisionists’

November 11, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

It was an unusually long Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting Wednesday, November 6, at three hours, but there was a lot to talk about. The political attack on the planning boards was one of two major issues that involved some lengthy discussion.

Community Planning Group “Reform”?

There is a document posted on the OBPB website, attached to the November Agenda, titled “Taskforce on Community Planning Group Reform Draft Findings & Recommendations.”

In a nut shell, this document contains a list of 31 reforms the Task Force believes are necessary for the planning board system. The Task Force is a group of people representing planning groups, small businesses, a Planning Commission member, a Development Services Department employee, someone from Mass Transit, a member of an Environment/ Climate Change advocacy organization, and an infill developer. The document states:

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‘Rent Your Driveway’ Latest Attempt to Cash In on Vacation Rental Craze in Ocean Beach

October 30, 2019 by Staff

Now there’s a new effort to cash in on the vacation rental craze in Ocean Beach.

Rent your driveway.Yup.

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Friends of Ocean Beach Library Want Your Feedback on New Design

October 29, 2019 by Staff

The Friends of the Ocean Beach Library want you! Or more accurately, they want your feedback and input on the new design for the expansion of the library.

So, check out the (really) rough-draft floor plan. What would you change, add or subtract?

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‘Getting to Know My San Diego State Senator’ and How to Know Other Politicians

October 29, 2019 by Staff

By Richard Riehl

My 38th district State Senator, Brian Jones, emailed me yesterday. The subject line, “Will I see you?”made me wonder where I had met him, on what occasion, and where and when he hoped to see me again.

But the senator’s salutation: “Dear Friends,” suggested his fondness for me only began with his discovery of my name on a list of his district’s registered voters.

My new friend’s form letter alerted me to his legislative open house next month. “Hundreds of local elected officials and community leaders have already RSVP’d,” he gushed. “Believe me, the Open House will be the place to be in East County this fall!”

Well, it won’t be the place for me.

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Scary Food from My Ocean Beach Garden

October 29, 2019 by Staff

By Kathy Blavatt

Halloween seemed the right time to try my scary orange fruit from my Tomato Tree that I started from a seed years ago from Ecuador.

I had eaten the tart fruit raw. I tried some salsa type sauces – not very spicy – in Ecuador made with the fruit, but I wanted to make a main dish from the exotic fruit.

So, I did what most people do these days and jumped on the internet and googled Tomato Tree Fruit. Most of the suggestions of what to do with the fruit included adding sugar and making it sweet or making a curry dish. I opted for the curry.

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Peninsula Planning Board Not Happy With Development Plans for San Diego Airport

October 23, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The San Diego airport has plans for a great deal of new development and the Peninsula Community Planning Board is not at all pleased with what is being proposed – judging by the comments at the regular monthly meeting Thursday October 17 at the Point Loma Library.

The PCPB’s Airport subcommittee reviewed the new Draft Environmental Impact Report in detail and composed a strong letter with comments that the board voted almost unanimously to support. The lone vote against the letter came from board member Don Sevrens who did not explain his opposition.

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Midway Planners Give Thumbs-Down on Scooter Moratorium

October 22, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The highlight of the regular monthly meeting of the Midway Pacific Community Planning Group meeting, Wednesday, October 16 was a proposed six month moratorium on the electric scooters that have inundated our communities. This was a citizen lead proposal offered by a fellow named Bill Zent.

The proposal that Zent is looking to gain support for would require cessation of the scooter business for six months that would include removing the scooters from the streets and storing them while the companies and the city work out agreements and rules are set.

Zent’s handout stated that this was to support Council member Barbara Bry’s call for a moratorium, which Bry did call for this summer.

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Dear Ohio: The Fight to Say We Are Good

October 17, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

There were moments of hope on October 15, as I watched the youthful audience respond to the Democratic Presidential Candidate debate. One word spoken often by almost all the candidates was “fight.” “I will fight for you.” “I will fight the billionaires.” “I will fight for the American people.” “I will fight the corporations.”

Why must we be so embattled?

I remembered the answer when I connected with a memory that had been plaguing me all that day. October 15 was the birthday of Aida Reyes, who would have been 68 if she had outlived a vicious cancer. Her body may have left us, but her spirit remains. She was a person who always knew why we must fight and why we can never stop.

It is a condition of the human species that we are a combination of opposites, even within ourselves.

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Sustained Outrage…With a Smile: ‘Life and Times of Molly Ivins’ Playing in Hillcrest

October 14, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

“Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins,” is playing up in Hillcrest. If you’ve got 93 minutes to spare this week, I’d spend every one of them at this fine movie. It’s a funny biopic about a writer who walked with Civil Rights marchers, warned us about both George Bushes, and could drink the notoriously pickled Texas legislature right out of the bar.

You’ve probably heard of Molly Ivins (1944-2007). Occasionally, you’ll find her books Who Let The Dogs In or Bushwhacked or Shrub flung out on the Bargain Bin shelves. Grab them. Buy them all. Open them when the empty suits on the left say “we can’t because it’s costly” or when the idiots on the right say “we won’t because they’re brown.”

Molly was raised in a Texas house with a pool, born to a right-wing oil man who was shocked she allowed black friends to the house (and the pool). Her mother was wonderfully lazy and would watch TV, talk on the phone, and personified the suburban wife Molly never wanted to be.

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Ocean Beach Has a New In-Residence Mystery Writer: G.M. Ford

October 11, 2019 by Staff

By Bob Edwards

A resident of Ocean Beach since 2017, mystery writer G.M. Ford seems to have settled in to the OB lifestyle. With over twenty books published, the author’s latest novel Heavy On The Dead (reviewed in the OB Rag this past July) in set mostly in OB.

Ford participates in a local writers group that regularly meets at Te Mana on Voltaire. He reads the OB Rag and social media webpages such as the Social OB Facebook page. Perhaps most importantly, he has thrown himself into one of the most pressing controversies our community faces in the 21st Century: Where does one go to get the best fish taco in Ocean Beach?

I joined Gerry Ford at one of his favorite watering holes and taco purveyors, South Beach Bar and Grill on Newport Avenue, where we talked about various topics including his move to OB, his writing process, and the American publishing industry in the digital age.

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A Town In Need of a Public Library

October 10, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

There is a little town about 772 miles from the southern border of Ohio. The people there have been poisoned, and I am writing to warn that the poison has spread. You must take precautions. It can be fatal.

In Clinton, Arkansas, a rural community of about 2,500, in which almost one-fourth of the residents live below the poverty line, the majority of voters have become blind to the economic, social, civic, or spiritual sense of spending taxpayer money on endeavors that help their fellow human beings.

The people of Clinton don’t want a public library. It’s a waste of money. They don’t want government services even for the very poor.

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OBceans Volunteering at Tijuana Orphanages, Migrant Centers

October 9, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

San Diego is a refugee city.

Yet, in an age of fears and in a time of increased dislocation, millions of people are on the move. Spurred by bad policies, corruption, inequality, gangsterism, war and climate change migrants find themselves jammed in ad hoc centers and refugee camps in developing cities like Tijuana with few resources.

Many migrants have been blocked from entry and wait in an impoverished limbo, uncertain what will come.

The Sharda Yoga Center is working to fuse yoga and art education for people caught in this horrifying vortex. It’s founder, Nora Munoz, believes making art and yoga available to all children regardless of class or socio-economic status is a goal worth achieving.

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Ocean Beach’s ‘Outlaw’ Pot Dealer Detained On Newport Ave

October 8, 2019 by Staff

by Joaquin Antique

Locals and visitors alike watched as San Diego police plainclothes officers apparently arrested a man who had set up a “mini-dispensary” at the foot of Newport Street yesterday, October 7. The marijuana products the man was selling were confiscated and bagged up and the vendor was placed in an SDPD vehicle.

For several weeks one or more individuals have erected a card table, sun shelter, and display case next to the OB Pier parking lot and have been selling pre-rolled ganja and cannabis edibles.

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Luisa Moreno: A Proud San Diego Troublemaker

October 4, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

In a 1991 article John Celardo writes, “Luisa Moreno sensed the local uneasiness created by [World War II], particularly in San Diego. Housing was in short supply, rations became a nuisance, transportation became a problem, and racial conflicts in the Navy and around San Diego became more intense.”

Luisa Moreno was born and died in Guatemala but spent the 1940s and 1950s as one of San Diego’s tireless and brave local labor organizers. She challenged the bogus tranquility of our quiet little paradise in the sun. She understood the divisions and attempted to forge friendships across the city but, like most greats, she had all the right enemies.

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OBceans Attend Elizabeth Warren Rally at San Diego’s Waterfront Park

October 4, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke on October 3 on a cool night as the sunset sank beyond Waterfront Park. The setting and format were quintessentially Warren: tidy, organized, and a bit nerdy. Warren was introduced by a veteran and woman whose parents were deported after living in the country since 1986.

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What You Can Do Besides Being an OB Vigilante

October 3, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

John Brady, a local advocate who has experienced homelessness in his own past, is the Director of Advocacy for the Voices of Our City Choir. He’s on the YIGBY task force focused on faith-based properties to build affordable and low-income housing for people in need.

He doesn’t take my own adversarial approach to local anti-homeless vigilante groups, but he says he supports people who want to keep their communities safe. He also doesn’t know much about the anti-homeless groups quoted in a recent mediocre, poorly written profile by Channel 8’s Abbie Alford.

However, Brady does see a need for informed interdictions regarding unsheltered people.

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Shame on you, Channel 8: An OB Media Criticism of Journalistic Mediocrity

October 3, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

In a sloppy, half-baked under-sourced brief, Channel 8’s Abbie Alford became San Diego’s publicist for the worst quarter of Ocean Beach, a vigilante group of homeless-haters.

Characterizing the group in her story as “fed up with troublemaking homeless,” Ms. Alford’s first paragraph claims the so-called “community group” puts “troublemakers on notice.” She includes a bland statement from Jen Campbell’s office and a series of tactics and quotes by the group as well as a smiling picture of them.

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City’s Absurdities Confront Ocean Beach Planning Board

October 3, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

We live in a highly regulated world that often borders on the absurd. There was a great example of this Wednesday at the regular monthly Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting held at the OB Rec Center.

The city of San Diego was there seeking the board’s approval because the city needs a Coastal Development Permit. By itself, that is not unusual but why they needed it was. Some time ago, at least a year ago or maybe two, the city performed an emergency repair on a section of sidewalk. The sidewalk is on the north side of the big, dilapidated apartment building just south of the OB Pier.

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Dear Ohio: Maybe It’s Time for a Little Etta James

September 30, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

A few days ago, I was sitting at the breakfast table with my husband, each of us reading a newspaper, downing the bitter tales of our democracy with sips of sweetened coffee. I never read the paper anymore without whispering “Oh my god,” or “Jesus Christ,” and sometimes “WTF?”

That day, I waded through the front page of grief. First, there was the story about whole families flooded out of their homes by tropical storms, losing every material thing they possessed except the clothes on their backs.

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Relay Graduate School: a Slick ‘MarketWorld’ Education Fraud

September 24, 2019 by Staff

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / September 18, 2019

Relay Graduate School of Education is a private stand alone graduate school created and led by people with meager academic credentials. Founded by leaders from the charter school industry, it is lavishly financed by billionaires.

Contending that traditional university based teacher education has failed; Relay prescribes deregulation and market competition. Relay does not offer “coursework in areas typical of teacher education programs—courses such as school and society, philosophy of education, and teaching in democracy ….” Rather, Relay trains students almost exclusively in strict classroom management techniques.

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With Airport Changes, Point Loma and Ocean Beach Will Continue to ‘Carry the Burden of Noise and Pollution’

September 24, 2019 by Staff

Proposed San Diego Airport Changes Draw Criticism at Peninsula Planners

By Geoff Page

It was a presentation by the San Diego airport of its plan for future development that garnered the most interest at the Peninsula Community Planning Board meeting on Thursday, September 19. Some community members in attendance were not pleased by what they heard.

Dennis Probst, vice president of development, provided the airport’s briefing. He began by providing some background information designed to explain why the planned work needs to take place. Probst explained that 14 million passengers came though the airport in 1998. The figure increased to 24 million in 2018.

Terminal One replacement is the centerpiece of the plans. But, terminal replacement is not all the airport is planning.

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Reader Rant: ‘The Good, Bad and Ugly of Ocean Beach’ – Here’s the ‘Ugly’

September 23, 2019 by Staff

By Brett Warnke

THE UGLY: As much as I adore Ocean Beach, I think the old bitch is finished. Maybe I’m a doom freak, a pessimist or just don’t know my neighborhood. But I think the divisions and contradictions are just too great.

In a way, it’s the same song as the rest of the country: People want cheap junk from Target but they want local business. They want a hip edge-y vibrant community with no drugs or transients. They want the golden shore without the glare.

Deep down, the local property owners want the place to be as placid as Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

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Report on the Mayoral ‘Debate’ for San Diego’s Coast

September 23, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

There was a mayoral “debate” on Wednesday, September 18 at Mission Bay High School. The word debate is in quotations because, although these candidate events are called debates, no actual debating takes place. It’s time to call these events what they are, question and answer sessions where the actual questions are often ignored.

Barbara Bry, Todd Gloria, and Tasha Williamson are all running for mayor and they responded to questions posed by moderators for two hours while a packed auditorium listened and applauded. The choice for mayor comes down to Gloria, a man who has lived the life of a politician, Bry, a private citizen most of her life until her successful run for city council, and Williamson, a political novice but an experienced, passionate community activist coming from the outside.

Gloria was clearly the most polished of the three.

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