A Small But Powerful Voice Turns 50

September 18, 2020 by Source

Editordude: The following post by Scott Stephens of Liquid Blue was written for another publication but we decided to publish it as well. He’s very kind. There is a brief bio of Scott at the end.

by Scott Stephens

A legendary local publication has turned 50 this week. The OB People’s Rag was first published on September 17, 1970. OB stands for Ocean Beach, the small, rugged beachfront community which is part of the city proper of San Diego. The “Rag” represented the rebel spirit that OB became known for and led the charge on several progressive social fronts.

OB is different. Many original ’60s hippies still reside here. There is no McDonald’s and very few large corporate retailers. It was in OB that a local food co-op was started (with many of the OB Rag staff involved), which would later evolve into California’s second health food store, Ocean Beach People’s Organic Food Market in 1972.

You won’t find any high-rise hotels or apartments here either. Newport Avenue, the town’s main street, is the very antithesis of Rodeo Drive.

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Trump Lied. 200,000 Americans Died.

September 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

It is true. It is not hyperbole. It is not partisan over-reach. President Trump lied about Covid-19 and now nearly 200,000 of our fellow Americans have died.

Sure, there were a handful of deaths and cases by early February when Trump told The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, “This is deadly stuff,” and “You just breathe the air,” the president explained, “and that’s how it’s passed.”

This is not like the other 20,000 plus falsehoods that Trump has uttered since taking up residence in the White House. These lies about the virus were fatal.

  • On February 24, Trump tweeted to the world, “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA.”
  • On February 27, he said, “It’s going to disappear. One day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.”
  • On March 10, he said, “And we’re prepared, and we’re doing a great job with it. And it will go away. Just stay calm. It will go away.”

So, why did Trump say all this? Why did he lie? Why didn’t he fulfill his duty to protect American citizens?

On March 19, Trump told Woodward, ”I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down, because I don’t want to create a panic.”

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A Dozen UC San Diego Doctors Tell County to Slow Down Reopenings

September 2, 2020 by Staff

In a letter to San Diego County officials, a dozen University of California San Diego doctors urged them to slow down the reopenings of businesses and facilities out of concern of potential spikes in coronavirus cases.

“If you have a situation where 8 or 10 or 12 percent of a population is infected and you get together with 10 people, there’s a good chance one of them is going to get infected,” said Dr. Robert Schooley, who was among the dozen of doctors who penned the letter.

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Each Day of the Pandemic Brings a New Dilemma

September 2, 2020 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

Covid-19 is affecting many people in many ways. Listing them all would still leave out some, because none of us are aware of everything others are going through to get through each day.

We are all aware of unemployment; no health care; deaths; inability to pay bills, etc.

Most of us are aware of the depression and boredom facing people today.

Most of us are aware of the dilemma of sending our children to school or NOT sending our children to school.

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Should San Diego County Health Officials Tell the Public Where COVID-19 ‘Hot-Spots’ Are?

August 27, 2020 by Staff

There’s a debate going on in San Diego County on whether local health officials should be telling the public where COVID-19 hot-spots are. The editorial board of the San Diego Union-Tribune believes “the county is making a big mistake.”

Its decision to refuse to disclose specifically where outbreaks have occurred — instead offering generic descriptions of, say, a local business or a local restaurant — denies residents basic health-risk information that can shape their decision-making. Los Angeles County’s practice of specific disclosure allows residents to see patterns. On Thursday, for example, three of the county’s four outbreaks were in a single small city (Commerce).

County officials say that nondisclosure is a best-practices public health tactic that encourages businesses to provide information about outbreaks,

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Free Health Care Returns to Ocean Beach – on Wed., Sept.2

August 26, 2020 by Staff

Here is some good news. Free health care is returning to Ocean Beach and will be available for the uninsured at two clinics beginning Wednesday, September 2.

The group, Southern California Care Community, is reopening their free medical clinics in OB. One will be the OB1 Clinic at the First Baptist Church on Santa Monica and the other will be the ECC Clinic at the Episcopal Church Center on Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

A whole of medical services will be provided, including adult and pediatric care, chronic disease management, prescription assistance and laboratory services. Each clinic will be open one to two days each weekday to serve unsheltered persons as well as individuals who do not qualify for health insurance.

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Bravo! San Diego County Gets Off the Watch List

August 19, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

A college professor once remarked, “You can put a police officer on every corner and still not stop crime. It is up to the majority to abide by the rules.”

True with San Diego’s behavior during the Covid-19 pandemic. And the majority of locals have performed admirably.

There may be trouble with the OB drum circle crowds, or the kids at Cleator Park, but the police are now enforcing the 10 o’clock curfew, moving clusters along, and trying to quell the Sunset Cliff’s human waves.

Trouble also remains with the Mission Beach board-walkers and the Pacific Beach college-age, overstuffed house parties.

True there are too many “my rights,” non-mask wearers, everywhere, but most are making an effort— sometimes comically. Some use their highly visible masks to support their double chin, while still looking dutiful. Others wave their empty doggie bags and twirl masks in hand, but fail to comply with basic civic goodness.

Still, look on the bright side. We are off the “BAD” list.

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Groups of Kids and Parents at Cleator Park in Point Loma Without Masks or Distancing

August 18, 2020 by Staff

Sadly, it’s not just wild, irresponsible crowds at OB’s drum circle on Wednesday nights. Breakdowns in employing the standard COVID-19 health advisories happen outside OB and on the playing fields of Point Loma.

On Sunday morning, August 16, kids, parents and adults at Bill Cleator Park / Field played sports and hung out in groups without masks (the vast majority) and no proper physical-distancing. Despite the park posting that gatherings are not allowed.

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Going Back to School in the Midst of a Global Pandemic:  Fear, Loathing, and ‘Virtual’ Learning

August 17, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

It’s hard to imagine a worse way to start a school year, from top to bottom. As with his dreams of a glorious economic “reopening,” President Trump’s authoritarian fantasy of forcing the nation’s return to school has backfired in a big way, with polls everywhere showing a majority of parents and students unhappy with the idea of being bullied into the classroom whether that be in K-12 or higher education.

Also, it turns out, that many local school districts have refused to play along, listening to public health experts rather than the go-back-to-work-and-die crowd. In places where schools have reopened, we were immediately greeted with outbreaks of COVID-19.

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4 of the 5 Businesses With Most Health Order Complaints Are at the Beach

August 14, 2020 by Staff

ABC 10News reviewed data from 211 and the more than 9,400 complaints about violations of the public health order, and found the five businesses with the most complaints. And four of the five are at the beach. And the County has only taken action against two of them, in the form of cease and desist or shutdown orders. The complaints were received from April 3 through July 29.

The businesses included 3 gyms, a restaurant, and a juice shop.

Here they are:

OB -Midway: Self Made Training Facility (4030 Sports Arena Boulevard)

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Drum Circle and Crowds Continued Wednesday Night Until Broken Up by Police at 10 PM

August 13, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

It was happening again Wednesday night, the 12th of August. The drum circle and crowds once again gathered and partied until roughly 10 pm when San Diego Police broke it all up. No one was cited by police for violating the County health ordinance.

Until 10 however, San Diego Police officers were not involved in dealing with the crowds. When this reporter visited the scene last night at 9 pm, there were an estimated 300 people in the grassy area, with over one hundred directly involved in the drum circle and dancing. I counted 3 police vehicles in the immediate vicinity and only 3 officers; 3 more police vehicles were spotted within a few blocks of the area.

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After Fence Is Torn Down, Officials Pledge ‘Enforcement’ of Health Rules at Wednesday Drum Circle

August 11, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

At a press conference on the grass at the foot of Newport Avenue today, government officials pledged County health rules will be enforced at the Wednesday drum circle. Dr. Joel Day, Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response and Recovery, told the crowd of some 50 people that he would personally be on the grass Wednesday along with the “team” of city and county personnel to ensure that crowds don’t gather after the OB Farmers Market.

Before the press conference began, at least one man ripped up the stakes holding the orange net fencing in place and pulled the entire thing down. It had just been installed hours earlier by a City Park and Rec crew. The crew reappeared after the conference and piled it all into a truck. None of the workers would answer this reporter’s questions about why they weren’t putting it back up or why they were hauling it away. The guy pulling it down was reportedly a traveler from out of town.

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A Bigger, Better Job for Hillary Than President

August 11, 2020 by Source

By Colleen O’Connor

Seriously. The country needs real leadership, not photo ops from a full-time, “acting” President.

The economy is cratering. Businesses are shuttering. Malls are about to be scooped up as Amazon warehouses and millions are looking at evictions and possible homelessness.

And oh, yes, limited or non-existent health insurance.

Plus, COVID-19 is killing us. Over 5 million cases in the U.S. and over 160,000 deaths. Worldwide, the number is 20 million cases and counting, with deaths topping 740,000.

This is a global pandemic that promises to morph into something worse come fall with the flu season. Add the cold of winters driving most of the country indoors with risky ventilation. The virus is not “going away. Things just go away.” Leave “like a miracle.” Or “just disappear.”

We need someone to take charge.

Someone who can call world leaders “at 3 a.m.” and get an answer; be it Germany’s Chancellor Merkel, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Arden (who have corralled the virus), or every other world leader except possibly Russia’s President Putin.

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More Than 97,000 American Children Tested Positive for Covid-19 in Last 2 Weeks of July

August 10, 2020 by Source

By Christina Maxouris / CNN / August 10, 2020

More than 97,000 children in the US tested positive for coronavirus in the last two weeks of July, a new report says.

The report, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, said in those two weeks, there was a 40% increase in child cases across the states and cities that were studied.

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Small Group Burns Masks as ‘Tools of Terror’ in Protest in Mission Bay Park

August 10, 2020 by Source

By Ken Stone / Times of San Diego / August 8, 2020

As if casting out demons, dozens of people tossed pricey KN95 face masks into a fire pit Friday in Mission Bay Park.

The coverings were depicted as “tools of terror” being used to “turn neighbor against neighbor.” They were a “precursor to adult mandatory vaccination” and “getting everybody angry.”

Said one older man, wearing a “MAGA FIGHT CLUB” shirt: “I’m ready to die for this mission” but: “First of all, we need to get Trump re-elected.”

The discarded five-layer masks — fresh from their cellophane packaging — carried their own defiant messages into the Ski Beach flames at an event labeled “Burn Your Mask Bonfire.”

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People From Around the World Watched a Video About COVID-19 in America and Could Not Believe It

August 7, 2020 by Source

See the video about COVID-19 in America that people from around the world watched and could not believe their eyes. Come inside.

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Police Break Up Massive Crowd at Veteran’s Plaza in Ocean Beach

August 6, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Wednesday night, August 5, at about 10 pm, San Diego police broke up the massive crowd that had gathered at Veteran’s Plaza in Ocean Beach. SDPD officers made announcements from their vehicles parked in the Lifeguard Station lot – and the announcements were met with boo’s. It’s not clear what happened afterwards.

Police were responding to complaints from the OB Town Council and residents about the irresponsible, out-of-control huge parties, the noise and trash. Hundreds of people have been gathering on the greens for a drum circle, dancing, unlicensed vendors – without wearing masks or employing social distancing.

CBS8 quoted one drum circle attendee, Phaux, as saying, “The pandemic to me is not realistic.”

Police, Councilwoman Campbell and County Supervisor Fletcher were all notified of the complaints. At the base of the complaints is the inadequate and insufficient response by local government to these gatherings after Wednesday’s OB Farmers Market, which have been going on for weeks.

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Reader Rant: 3 Remedies for the Stupid Wednesday Night Crowds – How to Prevent It From Happening Tonight

August 5, 2020 by Source

By Pissed Off

I used to get a warm feeling seeing the drum circle and people juggling on the village green after the OB Farmers Market on Wednesday nights. It was quite a unique and friendly sight.

But now with the outrageous, irresponsible behavior of the crowds that gather during the Pandemic those nights – no masks, no social distancing – I find them stupid. And they’ll probably gather tonight, Wednesday, after the market and do it all again. Some guy has a DJ playing loud music and it’s a party-party-party.

So, here are three remedies for OBceans to take in dealing with the stupid crowds.

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San Diego County Moves to Enforce COVID-19 Health Orders – But Is It Too Little and Too Late?

August 5, 2020 by Source

By Gary Warth, Morgan Cook / San Diego Union-Tribune / Aug. 4, 2020

The county is beefing up its enforcement of its health orders to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and is putting more money toward child care and food services to help people struggling during the pandemic.

Under a plan approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the county will spend $1.8 million over the next six months for 22 staff members to respond to businesses violating the public health orders. The move is part of an effort for the county, rather than law enforcement, to take the lead in enforcing its health order.

The violators targeted in the new effort are separate from those considered egregious violators, defined as a willful and sustained disregard of the county health order, posing a significant risk of spreading the virus.

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Enjoying an Old Photo As a Momentary Relief from Reality

August 4, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

Looking through a picture album to distract me from Trump lying and whining as people are dying and as federal troops violate the rights of protestors, one picture, in particular, caught my eye.

It’s a one of me standing on the top step leading to the front door of the first house I ever owned, a house that my daughter, Debbie, owned at the time. It was the summer of 1976 and I was taking a break from helping Debbie with her Lamaze training shortly before Cedric, her first child and my first grandchild, came into the world. Her future husband was out to sea with the U.S. Navy.

I don’t know what was on my mind at that moment in time but it very well could have been what had been on my mind for some time, thoughts of my daughter parenting a child as a teen like I had.

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‘It’s Alright. We’re All Dying’: Summer Chronicles 2020 #7

August 3, 2020 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

“It’s alright. We’re all dying.”

This is the feeling I get while consuming American media and walking the streets of downtown San Diego in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. I said these words to myself the other day as I made my way around a pack of maskless tourists by the harbor, heedlessly ignoring any need to be concerned about their health or that of anyone else’s.

On this particular date, we were experiencing what was a record number of new COVID-19 cases but that was no reason to interfere with vacation nation. We’re all dying, but it’s alright.

That was the refrain in Michael Ventura’s classic 1980s essay, “Report from El Dorado,” where he brilliantly outlined American media’s schizophrenic character. As Ventura puts it:

Media keeps saying, “It’s all right” while being fixated upon the violent, the chaotic, and the terrifying. So the production of media becomes more and more schizoid, with two messages simultaneously being broadcast: “It’s all right. We’re dying. It’s all right. We’re all dying.” The other crucial message — “We’re dying” — runs right alongside “It’s all right.”

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Cardiff Beach Protest Puts Us All at Risk

July 31, 2020 by Source

By Richard Riehl

Twenty years ago, Karen awakened me in the middle of the night to tell me she had a sharp pain in her stomach. When the pain became unbearable I drove her to the hospital. We discovered she was suffering from a twisted and blocked intestine that would need immediate, life saving, surgery.

I had never felt so helpless in the hours I spent in the waiting room, paging aimlessly through magazines, awaiting the results. Thanks to a very skilled surgeon, Karen was out of the hospital in five days. Today, after 130 days confined to our condo, I’m beginning to feel a little like I did that night, except for the mindless paging through magazines. But the feeling of helplessness is there, the spread of the virus giving no evidence of slowing down. The refusal, by the young and healthy, to wear face coverings and practice social distancing on beaches and in bars, is largely responsible.

The latest example of this occurred on Sunday, July 26, with an estimated 1,250 of the young and healthy gathered on Cardiff Beach

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Big Party Breaks Out in Parking Lot of OB With No Masks

July 30, 2020 by Frank Gormlie

Apparently, a big party broke out last night, Wednesday, after the OB Farmers Market, and flowed over into the lifeguard parking lot.

People were partying, dancing, having a good ol time – perhaps after the traditional drum circle stopped – but hey, guess what? No masks, no distancing. No cares.

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Let an Old Man Hip You to Something

July 29, 2020 by Ernie McCray

by Ernie McCray

I’ve always
thought of myself as hip,
up on things,
tuned in, with it, aware.
And then along comes a serious health scare
seemingly out of nowhere
and I’m feeling a bit square,
not so tuned in
and with it
and aware
because when I got word
that we could maybe
bring this deadly disease
to its knees
by wearing masks
and not getting too
close to each other
and washing our hands frequently,

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4 Million Cases of COVID-19 in U.S.; 25,000 in San Diego County

July 24, 2020 by Staff

The United States on Thursday, July 23, 2020 passed the grim milestone of 4 million confirmed coronavirus infections.

The rapid spread of the virus this summer is striking, taking just 15 days to go from 3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases to 4 million. By comparison, the increase from 1 million cases to 2 million spanned 45 days from April 28 to June 11, and the leap to 3 million then took 27 days.

Nearly every public health metric suggests America is losing the fight against the virus.

  • Positivity rates have reached alarming levels in numerous states,
  • hospitalizations are soaring, and
  • more than 1,100 new coronavirus deaths were reported across the United States on Wednesday, July 22, marking the first time since May 29 that the daily count exceeded that number.
  • The rolling seven day average of Infections has doubled in less than a month, reaching more than 66,000 new cases per day Wednesday. The U.S. death toll now exceeds 141,000.
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Why Is COVID-19 Hitting Some North County Cities Harder than Others?

July 23, 2020 by Source

By Richard Riehl

San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency issues daily reports on the number of Coronavirus cases in each city. Here are the counts for North County, as of July 21, indicating the rate of cases per 100,000 residents.

  • Carlsbad: 349
  • Encinitas: 374
  • Oceanside: 448
  • San Marcos: 513
  • Vista: 595
  • Escondido: 645

I searched North County city websites, looking for clues to explain the differences in cities in the rate of infection. Would it be caused by the quality of city leadership, the demographics of the city residents, or both?

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Reopening Schools: Issues and Evidence

July 22, 2020 by Source

By Thomas Ultican / Tultican / July 21, 2020

The President of the United States and his Secretary of Education have demanded schools open with in-person classes five days a week. Many parents are not confident their children will be safe and significant numbers of teachers are profoundly frightened. How does the rhetoric square with credible scientific evidence concerning the Covid-19 pandemic?

President Trump has tweeted,

“In Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and many other countries, SCHOOLS ARE OPEN WITH NO PROBLEMS. The Dems think it would be bad for them politically if U.S. schools open before the November Election, but is important for the children & families. May cut off funding if not open!”

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California Getting Ready to Overtake New York in the Most COVID-19 Cases

July 21, 2020 by Source

By Sara Sidner and Jason Kravarik / CNN / July 21, 2020

Nearly 12,000 New Cases in One Day

California looks set to surpass New York as the state with the most cases within days, according to numbers from Johns Hopkins University. It has recently been reporting about 9,000 new cases each day for a total of 397,870 on Monday.

New York, meanwhile, has been adding a little more than 700 cases a day in the last week. Its total number of cases Monday was about 404,000.

It was the first state to impose a stay-at-home order on March 19. Less than two months later, on May 8, the numbers had fallen enough that the state started the first phase of reopening.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom told his citizens,” You have bent the curve.” But then Memorial Day came around.

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Young Adults Now Make Up Largest Number of COVID-19 Cases in California

July 17, 2020 by Staff

Young adults between the ages of 18 through 34 now make up 44% of positive COVID-19 cases in California. The figure is up from 29% compared to one month ago. The age group represents the largest share of COVID-19 cases in the state.

In San Diego County, the age group 20 through 39 makes up nearly 45% of positive cases.

The new data is based on numbers provided by the California Department of Public Health. The marked increase in positive cases in these age groups coincide with the reopening of many businesses, including bars and restaurants in the state and San Diego.

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The Widder Curry: ‘Opening the Schools During the Pandemic Is Absolutely Insane and Is Child Abuse’

July 15, 2020 by Judi Curry

As a former educator – Teacher, Principal, Inservice Director, Assistant Professor, Deputy Director, etc., I cannot understand all the controversy about opening or not opening the schools during this pandemic.

I also cannot understand why the schools have to be opened in August – one of the hottest months of the year. I remember when school didn’t start until after Labor Day, and why it was changed is a mystery to me. If I had my druthers, I would suggest that school end June 30th, and not begin again until October 1st. The reason for that is also some of the reason that I think opening up the schools in a few weeks is ludicrous.

Number one is that when it is hot students do not learn as well.

Granted that some schools are air conditioned; but an equal number are not.

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