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. We can tenderly embrace a loved one, and five minutes later, we can scorch lash out at them in anger. We can repose our deepest secrets in the trust of an admired friend, and tomorrow, we can suspect that friend of the vilest treachery.

We can celebrate our achievements until we destroy them. Like a sculptor who never knows when to put down the carving tools, we are never satisfied.

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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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Mayoral Debate for Beach Communities – Wed., Sept. 18 at Mission Bay High School

September 18, 2019 by Staff

Come one – come all – the Mayoral Debate for the beach and coastal neighborhoods of San Diego. Of course, you’re invited to join your local community organizations, like the OB Town Council and the OB Planning Board, the OB Mainstreet Association, the Point Loma Assoc., Save San Diego Neighborhoods, ReWild Mission Bay, San Diego Lifeguards, Surfrider, Coastkeeper …..

This the time for coastal issues to be debated by Barbara Bry, Todd Gloria and Tasha Williamson at the September 18th Mayoral Debate. That’s a Wednesday and it’s happening at the Mission Bay High School, 2475 Grand Ave.

A full auditorium will send a strong message to the candidates

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An Independent Police Review Board for San Diego: Why People Want It

September 17, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

An argument could be made that an assault on the First Amendment led to drafting of the proposed amendment to the San Diego City Charter that will come before the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Liveable Neighborhoods Committee on September 18, 2019.

A growing number of local individuals and organizations are hoping the Council will move forward to place the charter amendment on the ballot in the near future, allowing city voters to decide whether to establish an independent citizen review commission to investigate complaints of misconduct by San Diego Police Department officers.

Presently, the City’s Community Review Board on Police Practices relies on initial review and investigation of any complaints by the Internal Affairs (IA) Unit of SDPD…

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Consensus in Morena Area: San Diego City Officials Heed Developers Over Residents

September 16, 2019 by Staff

Councilmembers Campell and Bry Voted Against Morena Corridor Plan

By Joni Halpern

For more than three years, the machinery of the City of San Diego has been seeding the public with an idea. The broad skeleton of the idea is that San Diego needs more development to house expected population growth. But land within the City is built out, so city officials contend the only places left to accommodate new growth are in selected portions of existing planning areas.

If the details were as simple as that, the meeting last Wednesday night, Sept. 11, 2019, of about 80 residents of the Morena area – Bay Park, Overlook Heights, and Clairemont probably wouldn’t have been necessary.

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Where Is the Hero In Us?

September 10, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

We have been flinging the word “hero” around these United States for quite some time, mostly using it to refer to anyone in uniform, and once in a while, to civilians who risk their lives to save another. Without denigrating the title bestowed on these worthy persons, it is time to call attention to the missing person in all of us — the American hero.

You might have forgotten this character, for he or she has been buried beneath so much angst, anger, partisanship, and turmoil within each of us that it is speculative whether there is anything at all we can do to resurrect this person.

From the time we were children, we were raised on American heroism. True, much was left out of the story. Not everyone acted as a hero in our history.

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An Homage to ‘Wetbacks’:  Marla’s Story

September 3, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

Today Americans are asked to support government conduct that imperils adults and children who have the temerity to ask for asylum from the raging violence or desperate poverty ravaging them in their home countries.

Our country now wants to broadcast far and wide that we are no longer in the market for the “poor and huddled masses yearning to be free.” We are not interested in their sad stories of abuse, deprivation, or torture. Look us up, however, if you are among the well-educated, well-trained, healthy, affluent, select few who want to take advantage of new opportunities in an American venue.

Americans have been told this change of focus is necessary, because immigrants of a lesser god are sucking us dry, committing serious crimes, and

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During Raucous Meeting Peninsula Planning Board Votes to Oppose Any Development of Famosa Canyon

August 30, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

The Peninsula Community Planning Board took a stand on Wednesday, August 28, as a result of intense community pressure. The PCPB voted to oppose development on what has been referred to as the Famosa Canyon site on the south side of Famosa Blvd. across from Bill Cleator Park.

The vote came at a special meeting called by the PCPB at the Point Loma Library to discuss just one topic, the San Diego Housing Commission plans to build 78 affordable housing units on that piece of open land. Dedicated PCPB volunteers and community members devoted hours of time and effort during the month of August in five subcommittees discussing the site and collecting community input.

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What’s Going On at Ebers and Greene? An Update on the New Project

August 19, 2019 by Staff

Update on 2269 Ebers Street

By Geoff Page

The project that has sat idle on the corner of Greene St. and Ebers St., basically only a framed two-story addition to an existing old home, has restarted construction as recounted in the OB Rag Thursday, Aug. 15.

In order to understand what is happening with the property, the new permitted plans for it were reviewed on Friday, August 16 at the City of San Diego Records Department.

Here is an overall description of the new project:

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Ocean Beach Historians Host the San Diego City Guard Band at PLNU

August 19, 2019 by Staff

by Bob Edwards

On Saturday, August 17, the Ocean Beach Historical Society presented a live sunset concert featuring the San Diego City Guard Band at the Greek Amphitheater at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Over 200 people attended the evening concert and enjoyed 90 minutes of historic and patriotic music performed by the 32 piece ensemble.

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Why Are We Shouting at the Other Side?

August 13, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

I have often heard over the past two years that the reason we are so polarized in this country is that we are not listening to the other side. We simply brand each other as one thing or another, and shout across the distance. Even when we get together with family or friends, we focus on harmless topics, lest we end up throwing cake at each other, the way our Commander-in-Chief did when he was a little tyke attending birthday parties that were not for him.

There is even a popular theory going about that if we were just civil long enough to hear the other side, we would alter our position in light of truth told by those who disagree with us. I am a great believer in civility, in respecting the dignity of others. But it is a natural law of the human eardrum, as immutable as any law of physics, that an unwelcome truth, regardless of how soft the whisper, is always heard as a shout. And this is the source of our acrimony today.

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Ocean Beach Planning Board Opposes City’s Plan to Spend $1.1 Million on Dog Beach Sidewalk

August 12, 2019 by Staff

By Geoff Page

One point one million dollars to rebuild the sidewalk at Dog Beach that allows the disabled to access the sand. Because of a lawsuit. That was the agenda item that got the most attention from everyone at the Ocean Beach Community Planning Board’s regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, August 7. The topic was, to put it mildly, controversial.

Representatives from the city gave a brief presentation of the project and explained why it was happening. Apparently, the city lost an Americans with Disability Act, or ADA, lawsuit about the existing ADA-compliant sidewalk at Dog Beach. The result of the lawsuit was that the current facility has to be redone at a total cost of $1.1 million. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the city explained that the construction costs would be about $400k, the remaining amount was for “soft” costs. Soft costs are for consultants to design the facility and the city to manage the project. To build a sidewalk. It was like attending the theater of the absurd.

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Dear Ohio: Ask About the Rabbiteye’s Future

August 8, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Ohio is deemed one of the nation’s bellwether states, so we Californians need to give them some advice about the upcoming 2020 elections.

Dear Ohio,

I’m guessing that you, like most of us in California, have not given much thought to asking our presidential candidates about blueberries. Certainly you have not contemplated asking them about the red-state species known as the rabbiteye blueberry, which grows from central Florida to eastern North Carolina and from Eastern Texas to Southern Arkansas.

The humble rabbiteye blueberry is a hearty plant apparently unattractive to major pests. Depending upon care and environment, just one rabbiteye blueberry bush can produce about 15 pounds of blueberries in a single season. And darned good blueberries at that, filled with flavor and anti-oxidants, the latter a favorite ingredient of the “live-forever” patrons of high-end supermarkets.

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The Rise of Patriotism

August 7, 2019 by Staff

By Joni Halpern

Dear Ohio,

Patriotism is big among American politicians. They wear patriotic clothing of red, white and blue. They spout patriotism in their rhetoric. They mouth the words of patriotic songs. They wear lapel pins referring to God and country. They eat patriotism with their hot dogs and french fries.

But what is a patriot?

Is he or she a loyalist? A nationalist? A flag-waver? A chauvinist?

I will go out on a limb here and offer my humble definition of “patriot.” In the United States of America, the oldest representative democracy in the world, a “patriot” is a person who lives the values of our constitution, no matter the cost.

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Jim Bell Passes

August 6, 2019 by Staff

Long-time OBcean and the community’s resident-ecologist, Jim Bell, has passed.

Friends say he passed away peacefully Friday, August 2 at his home. Jim Bell has left the planet.

Here’s a statement from our friends at the OB Green Center:

In the last year we have periodically talked about our friend and mentor, Jim Bell, who graciously provided a new home for the Ocean Beach Green Center. Jim peacefully passed away this morning

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OB Planning Board to Consider Traffic Calming Measures on Newport and West Point Loma

August 5, 2019 by Staff

The Ocean Beach Planning Board meets this Wednesday, August 7, at the OB Recreation Center, 4726 Santa Monica Avenue, at 6pm sharp.

On the volunteer panel’s plate this week is a number of traffic-calming proposals, and minor public infrastructure and Dog Beach improvements.

Here are the action items for the agenda – briefly:

  • Dog Beach Ramp accessibility improvement;
  • Bacon and Newport traffic calming proposal to place temporary diverts at intersection;
  • Pier Safety – install removable bollards at base of the Pier to block unauthorized vehicles;
  • West Point Loma Traffic Calming – study on roundabouts at Cable Street and Abbott along West Point Loma Ave.
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