Items that are historically significant in some way. They may be recent history or ancient history, pertinent to local history or something on a grander scale…

Under the Gun in Ireland: A Report From the North – August, 1983

March 17, 2018 by Michael Steinberg

Editordude: In honor of St Patrick’s Day, we publish the following piece just sent to us by Michael Steinberg, who went to Ireland a number of times during the 1980s. Michael is the writer of our monthly “No Nukes” column, is a former OBcean and currently lives in San Francisco. “Under the Gun” is about the first time he went there in 1983. At the time he was living in Ocean Beach was working at OB Peoples; he wrote the piece upon his return. He made other tours in 1985 while still living and working in OB, then 2 more times, in 1988 and 1990 while living in North Carolina. Michael had moved to North Carolina to help open and maintain an organic food store. This is the first time this historical essay has been published. Happy Paddy’s Day!

By Michael Steinberg

In the name of God and of dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland,
through us, summons her children and her flag, and strikes for her freedom.

Easter Rising Proclamation, 1916

In 1983, I was among a contingent of 82 Americans, including 7 San Diegans, who went on a fact finding tour of Northern Ireland.

What we found there was a vicious colonialism that rules through murder, lies and a concerted attempt at total social control. And a native people who exist under this everyday terror and resist it with extraordinary courage and grace.

I arrive a few days before the tour begins to explore the southern Republic a bit. I first visit the city of Limerick at the mouth of the River Shannon on the west coast. It was from here that my great-grandfather Cornelius Donahue emigrated sometime in the mid 19th century.

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The Struggle for Black Sitcoms : Black History Month

February 22, 2018 by Annie Lane

By Annie Lane

In the early 20th Century, African Americans were primarily featured in stereotypical and unflattering roles, such as comic clowns or in black minstrelsy — shows performed primarily by whites which mocked and demeaned black people as inferior. The first all-black sitcom to appear on television in the 1950s, Amos ‘n’ Andy, is demonstrative of this racist trend, and was taken off the air after roughly 70 episodes due to protests by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other groups.

It would be 20 years before black sitcoms would officially take root in American television.

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Burning the Christmas Greens

December 27, 2017 by Jim Miller

[Editor: Here are sites for San Diego’s Christmas Tree Re-cycling Program.]

In William Carlos Williams’s famous poem “Burning the Christmas Greens” he notes how at “the thick of the dark moment” in “winter’s midnight” we turn to the trees because “green is a solace” that we use to “fill our need.” Thus the “living green” along with “paper Christmas bells covered with tinfoil and fastened by red ribbons” seem “gentle and good to us.”

But then when their time is past we feel the relief as we clear our rooms and assign the greens to the fireplace and “in the jagged flames green to red, instant and alive.” And we stand “breathless to be witnesses as if we stood ourselves refreshed among the shining fauna of that fire.”

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What Does the LA Times Know that We Don’t Know? – ‘1984’ Listed As ‘Non-Fiction’

November 29, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Every Sunday, the Los Angeles Times prints the lists of the bestselling books for that week. There’s the hardbacks and there’s the paperbacks – and they’re both divided into Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Well, Sunday, November 26th, like all Sundays, the Times printed the bestsellers. But way down in the paperbacks section was a subtle change – which tells us the LA Times knows something we don’t. Just what is it?

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On JFK’s Assassination Anniversary – the 3 Big Lies Continue

November 22, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Today, November 22nd, is the 54th anniversary of the assassination of President John F Kennedy.

And for weeks now, the government has been releasing large batches of long-secret JFK assassination records – but it’s been mainly hype as the documents lack any substantive content and “at least two-thirds of the never-seen JFK files that were supposed to be released — some 2,538 records — remain secret”, states a report from AlterNet.

Here are the 3 Big Lies repeated by Matthews:

  1. The Warren Commission was right.
  2. Lee Harvey Oswald shot Kennedy.
  3. And Oswald did it alone.

Just the opposite is actually true.

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September 16th: Mexican Independence Day

September 16, 2017 by Staff

Grito de dolores graphicEditor: It’s important for people living north of the US-Mexico border to know and understand important events and dates for people living south of the border.

And today, September 16th, is one of those days, as it’s Mexico’s Independence Day, a celebration of the anniversary of the beginning of the war against imperial Spain. It’s equivalent to July 4th on this side of the border.

by Fleur De Lys

September 16th is that time of year when all Mexicans from around the world are celebrating Mexican Independence Day. On September 1810 Mexico began a 10-year war for independence with Spain and since the country gained its independence, things came a long way but violence is still too high. … The traditional shout-out in Mexico for Mexican Independence Day is “Viva Mexico!” After the 1910 revolution that toppled dictator Porfirio Diaz, Mexicans were free to live in their own country, to have their own government and be able to shout out loud (or gritar) “Viva Mexico!”

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‘America First:’ The Value of Knowing Where We’ve Been

August 10, 2017 by Source

By Bob Dorn / San Diego Free Press

Tough subjects seem always to end up with Greek or Latin roots. Alienation, bulimia, catastrophe, depression … just go through the alphabet and you’ll find them.

In our fragile democracies, maybe we assign concepts like these, wrestled over by so many psychoanalysts, social and clinical psychologists, political scientists, sociologists, historians, writers for large daily newspapers — even some politicians — that they’ve become contorted and distorted to the point that they are merely suggestive, symbolic, abstracted from the particular.

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The Worst Nuclear Meltdown in U.S. History – And You’ve Never Heard of It!

August 1, 2017 by Michael Steinberg

Santa Susanna Lab in Ventura County Suffered Meltdown 58 Years Ago

By Michael Steinberg / Black Rain Press

The worst meltdown in our history? And we’ve never heard of it?

That’s Right. Wikipedia characterizes the meltdown as “the worst in US history” and asserts “the radioactive releases are thought to be much more than at Three Mile Island in 1979.”

And where? Less than 30 miles from downtown Los Angeles and less than 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

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Today Is the 45th Anniversary of the Watergate Break-In

June 17, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Today – June 17th, 2017 – is indeed the 45th anniversary of the infamous Watergate break-in.

It was the night of June 17, 1972, that 5 so-called “burglars” were caught red-handed inside the National Democratic Party Headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, DC.

But as it turned out, not only did the burglars have CIA and anti-Castro Cuban connections – they also – and most importantly – were being paid out of a slush fund from the Committee to Re-Elect President Nixon, which was managed by the highest officials inside the White House.

The burglary of the Democratic Party’s HQ was just the tip of the iceberg – but it was that tip that eventually led to Nixon’s resignation on August 8th, 1974.

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A Freeway Runs Through It: How City Heights and Barrio Logan Fought Local Political Machines to Save Their Neighborhoods

April 25, 2017 by Anna Daniels

chicano park parque chcano

Editor: The following is a retelling of how the San Diego communities of Barrio Logan and City Heights fought CalTrans and the local political machine to save their neighborhoods. (Originally published April 24, 2013.)

Resistance, Vision and Community

By Anna Daniels

During the month of April, San Diego Free Press has been providing extensive coverage of Barrio Logan. Much of that coverage has focused upon Chicano Park–its history, its national historical designation and its deep spiritual and community connections.

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Present at the Creation: Walter Cronkite and the ‘Environment Story’

April 21, 2017 by Source

By Ron Bonn/ SanDiego350

You could say I was present at the creation.

Looking back in our lives, we rarely know exactly when something started. But regular television news coverage of man-made climate change, with all it implies, started on New Year’s Day, 1970.

The staff of “The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite”: producers, writers, technicians; a couple dozen of us in all, were sitting around the newsroom waiting for something to happen—because nothing happens on New Year’s Day—when the man himself stormed in. “Goddamn it,” he said to us, “we’ve got to do something about this environment story.”

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The Peninsula Beacon Got It Wrong About Ocean Beach Con-Men Carlson and Higgins

April 6, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

Over the years the OB Rag and the Peninsula Beacon have shared a friendly rivalry over coverage of the Ocean Beach and Point Loma areas. Even though we may make fun, we certainly appreciate their consistent and widespread reporting of these neighborhoods.

So, when we point out something that the Beacon got wrong, they know not to take it personally and take it in stride as part of the journalist’s world.

Such is the case, then, when recently Beacon editor Thomas Melville got it wrong about the early Ocean Beach pioneer developers Billy Carlson and Albert Higgins.

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How Republican Candidate Ronald Reagan Colluded with a Foreign Government to Manipulate the 1980 Presidential Election

April 5, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for How Republican Candidate Ronald Reagan Colluded with a Foreign Government to Manipulate the 1980 Presidential Election

The Story of the “October Surprise”and How the Republican Candidate Got Away with It

With all the scandals bursting around Trump and the White House these days, with FBI and Congressional investigations into possible crimes committed by the President’s men, many pundits and commentators are making obvious comparisons with Richard Nixon’s Watergate Scandal.

Yet, besides Watergate, there’s another very striking historical parallel in our not-to-distance past, and it’s another comparison that it would be good for us to review as well. If we turn the clock back thirty-six or so years, we would find another time and another American Presidential election, an election in which the Republican candidate colluded with a foreign government to manipulate the results of that election to defeat the Democratic candidate.

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Original OB Rag Gets a Plug in San Diego U-T Travel Article on Ocean Beach

March 30, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

The San Diego U-T just gave the forerunner of the online OB Rag, the OB People’s Rag, a plug in a travel log-type piece on Ocean Beach in the Business section, entitled “Ocean Beach: the neighborhood the ’60s never forgot, where parrots fly free“. The piece is currently in the online version of the newspaper only, and is due out in paper on April 10th.

Along with “landmarks” and “things to do” in OB, is a section “Did you know?” where the original Rag – and current one – are mentioned, along with the 1966 World Surfing Championship and the FX drama “Terriers” history of OB.

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Trump’s Climate Change Legacy: “The Coast is Toast”

March 30, 2017 by Doug Porter

Climate Change

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Southern Californians got some bad news this week with the release of a report from the U.S. Geological Survey saying two-thirds of beaches from Santa Barbara to San Diego could be completely eroded back to sea cliffs or coastal infrastructure by 2100.

Reporting by Joshua Emerson Smith in the Union-Tribune details this grim scenario and explains how scientists reached these conclusions::

The findings are the result of a new computer modeling program called the Coastal Storm Modeling System. The numerical modeling incorporates predicted sea-level rise as well as anticipated shifts in storm patterns as a result of climate change.

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Will SoccerCity Fill a Void in Mission Valley?

March 29, 2017 by Doug Porter


By Doug Porter

Surprise, surprise, surprise! Those friendly folks collecting signatures for the billion dollar SoccerCity development to replace Qualcomm Stadium are being–how shall we put it?–less than honest.

Tuesday’s Union-Tribune includes a story involving an informal survey of 25 signature gathering locations around San Diego. Petition bearers are reportedly being paid $5 per signature and are making promises with little connection to what is actually contained in the document they are pushing.

The hope is that the San Diego City Council, with visions of $2.8 billion in economic benefits dancing in their heads, will vote to enact the ‘citizen’s ordinance’ without the need for an actual ballot measure.

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Collier Park in Ocean Beach – The Incredible Shrinking Park

March 28, 2017 by Source

(Originally p0sted Dec 6, 2010 as part of a series, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to OB”)

By Citizen Cane

The Incredible Shrinking Park can still be observed in Ocean Beach at the intersection of Green and Soto Streets. It’s officially known as Collier Park, and consists of approximately 6.7 dedicated acres if you include the Point Loma Native Plant Reserve. That might sound large, but it’s barely a fraction of the original size of the park before it began shrinking.

Travel back in time with the aid of the Fall 1957 Thomas Brothers Map, and you can see the park was bounded by Soto, Green, Valeta, and almost to Wolcott (about two blocks from the present day Stumps Market.)

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What’s Happening on the Mean Streets of Ocean Beach

March 17, 2017 by Frank Gormlie
Thumbnail image for What’s Happening on the Mean Streets of Ocean Beach

It’s not easy being a small businesperson, shopkeeper, store or office owner on the commercial streets of Ocean Beach. Rents are high in this popular, sunny, beach outpost from the rest of the world.

The commercial streets, Newport Avenue, Voltaire Street and Point Loma Avenue are tough for the unwary business enterpriser who takes a gamble opening up any kind of establishment on them. That’s why small businesses are always coming and going, and why empty storefronts remain vacant for months.

The commercial streets of OB are some mean streets and here’s what’s happening on them in mid-March 2017.

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The Man Who Skipped Breakfast and Found a World of Love

March 17, 2017 by Ernie McCray


(Thinking Black History Beyond February)

By Ernie McCray

Charlie Chatman woke up one morning saying to himself, as he had for so many mornings, for eternities: “Lord, give me the strength to put up with these damn peckerwoods one more day.”

The only thing he cared about in his godforsaken life, on a Hawkinsville, Georgia sharecropping plantation, was breakfast, whatever it happened to be, cornbread and scraps of pork, a potato or two, a cup of milk (maybe) – or some stolen boiled corn that the pigs were fed.

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Why Restore Kellogg Beach? A Look at Its Inheritance and Legacy

March 16, 2017 by Source

By Michael Winn

A real estate speculator has proposed to replace a single family home on Kellogg Street in La Playa with a concrete sea wall and 9 condominiums, where there is now a beach.

How can the community assess this proposed development without consensus about the fate of this beach? Colloquially called, Kellogg Beach it’s actually the last remaining part of the beach for which this community was originally named, La Playa, perhaps, in the 17th century.

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Reader Rant: “We Need a Point Loma Town Council”

March 15, 2017 by Source

By Michael Winn

We need to elect a Point Loma Town Council that appropriately reflects demographics on the Peninsula, and charge it with promulgating a vision to preserve and restore quality of life on the Peninsula.

The Emerson project and San Diego airport (SAN) flight path expansions show us what we should expect from traditional back-door politics and ad hoc citizen protests.

Kellogg Beach shows us that unless we organize better, this will continue to plague our community because we must organize unpaid labor for each new proposal, while developers can budget it.

Our Peninsula Community Planning Board carries little political weight, has no authority and is limited in scope.

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Wisteria Garden Party – Sunday, Mar. 19th

March 14, 2017 by Source

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Local San Diego Democrats Have a Woman Problem

March 13, 2017 by Source

I am afraid. And I am not the only one.

By Anonymous Is a Woman / San Diego Free Press

A handful of Democratic women saw each other at the ADEM elections for the first time since the holidays. For some, it’s the first time they had come out for an event since the election. For others, this was their third event that weekend.

After a few minutes of small talk and “Holy-crap-the-world-is-ending” Trump commentary, the conversation becomes a bit more hushed when one of the women asked, “So what do you think about this Mickey Kasparian situation?”

Voices automatically lower.

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San Diego Lifeguards Want to Leave the Fire Department Because of New Dispatching Procedures

March 10, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

San Diego City lifeguards and their union are seriously considering getting out from under the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

The lifeguard union leader claims that recent changes in dispatching procedures initiated by the new fire chief, Brian Fennessy, now route all water-related 911 calls to the fire department instead of directly to lifeguards- who have historically made all water rescues.

This is leading to longer response times and a waste of resources, says Sgt Ed Harris of the lifeguard union.

In a recent Op-Ed piece in the OB Rag, Harris wrote:

“We cannot afford to have the Fire Department divert our trainers, personnel and budget. … Teaching Fire Fighters how to swim and perform river rescue is not acceptable.”

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How San Diego’s Downtown Housing Supply Boom Is Making Rent Less Affordable

March 10, 2017 by Source

By Murtaza Baxamusa / UrbDeZine

Having invested a billion and a half dollars of public funds in downtown redevelopment, it is worth asking if it helped or hindered in solving the affordable housing crisis that San Diego faces.

From the catalytic start of downtown’s boom with the construction of the ballpark to the unceremonious demise of tax increment financing under Governor Brown, there has been a lot of change.

Census data shows that from 2000 to 2015, downtown’s housing stock doubled. About half of downtown’s current stock of 25 thousand housing units has been built during this time frame. About 5 thousand renter-occupied housing units were added to the stock. Of the total housing stock almost 18 percent (over 4 thousand units) are vacant, compared to 9 percent vacancy back in 2000. This indicates a greater share of investor-owned units or second homes that are not occupied.

In terms of affordability, downtown is at a tipping point.

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Progressive Calendar for San Diego Activists, March 10 – 21, 2017

March 10, 2017 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

Progressive ActivistWow. Here’s another calendar packed full of events for local activists. I’ve made some cosmetic changes this week, including icons to make events more recognizable.

So what will you do? Check out this week’s Progressive Calendar listings below. Following those listings are upcoming events of national importance, along with opportunities for organizational involvement and a few reading suggestions.

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Covering Ocean Beach and Point Loma in the Time of Trump

March 9, 2017 by Frank Gormlie

At the most recent OB Town Council meeting, a friend who is active in Ocean Beach and an OB Rag supporter, took me aside, and said, “You’re killing me with all the national news.” He was complaining that he felt the OB Rag was straying from its focus on local, OB news and material.

I explained to him that we had to do both, be the source of uber news for the village and the Peninsula and provide news and analysis about what’s going on nationally – especially now in the time of Trump.

Ever since we began trying to be the online newspaper for OB and providing a platform for the community, we’ve experienced a tension between covering really local stuff about OB and Point Loma versus both throwing out our news net for wider issues, more city and county related issues – and being a source for progressive views and analysis on national and international news and goings on.

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Planned Parenthood Says No to Trump – Women’s Right to Choose is “Non-Negotiable”

March 9, 2017 by Source

Trumpcare effectively destroys access to affordable women’s healthcare services

By Lauren McCauley / Common Dreams

Women’s healthcare providers are readying for a fight. Refusing to back down from its commitment to women’s choice, Planned Parenthood is now at risk of losing nearly 40 percent of its funding—and is calling for a massive mobilization to resist the attack on women’s health.

Ahead of the official release of House Republicans’ the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Monday evening—which guts funding for any healthcare organization that “provides for abortions”—Planned Parenthood reportedly rejected an offer from the White House to stop terminating pregnancies in exchange for the group to continue receiving federal funds for other essential services.

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Cities and States Prefer Public Banks To Wall Street

March 9, 2017 by John Lawrence

Public Banking

Profits Can Stay In State, Provide Local Funding

By John Lawrence

Alarmed by the corruption and greed of Wall Street, many US cities and states are studying the feasibility of establishing public banks. Public banks are owned by cities, states or other jurisdictions and serve to keep funds local instead of being deposited on Wall Street. The funds are then used to support local economic activities like small business loans and student loans.

Washington state has already cut its ties with Wells Fargo because they funded …

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OB Rag Stands in Solidarity with A Day Without a Woman

March 8, 2017 by Staff

By OB Rag Editors

Can you imagine a day without a woman?

We join with our fellow editors at San Diego Free Press, in the strike for women on International Women’s Day 2017, and will remain “dark” for the day.

Many of the staff and contributors of the OB Rag are women. 50% of the volunteer SDFP editorial board and 50% of SDFP volunteer contributors are women.

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