Ocean Beach

Thumbnail image for A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

A Proud Day of Activism for Labor, Refugee and Environmental Advocates

by Doug Porter 07.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Tuesday, July 22 was a remarkable day for San Diego. Starting with an early morning prayer vigil at San Diego City Hall in support of a higher minimum wage and ending with hundreds of Escondido residents calling for a humanitarian response to the border refugee crisis, people stood up for causes they believed in.

At noontime a broad spectrum of supporters of organized labor rallied in Mission Valley, vowing to support workers for Food-4-Less should they go on strike. And in the afternoon environmental activists testified before the city council, urging Mayor Kevin Faulconer to move ahead with a review process needed to consider an ordinance curtailing the use of plastic shopping bags.

People chose to make a stand on issues that were important to them. They faced off against institutional and political hostility, along with a corporate media all-too-willing to give a platform to those willing to spew ridicule (the UT’s Greenhut) and venomous language (Escondido’s nativists). They stood up and said “we’re not going to take it any more” (UFCW’s Kasparian). They testified that now is the time to protect the environment (representatives of Coastkeeper, Surfrider and the Sierra Club).

It was a great day to be an American. It was a great day to be an activist.

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Thumbnail image for The Story of How Community Planning Came to O.B.

The Story of How Community Planning Came to O.B.

by Frank Gormlie 07.18.2014 Activism

Staff: This is the second part of a 2-part series published this week. The series is loosely based on a talk by Frank Gormlie at the February 21, 2013 OB Historical Society monthly meeting. Here is Part 1

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The Twists and Turns of the Community Plan for OB

By Frank Gormlie

Last we left off was the Spring of 1972, when the City Planning Department canceled or postponed all its meetings or workshops on the Pen. Inc sponsored Precise Plan. This was due to the establishment of a substantial opposition to the plan, which was in the form of a damning survey of resident attitudes toward development, high-rise and density increases, and a petition calling for a building moratorium signed by thousands.

So, in the spring and summer months of 1972, the crisis was over – at least temporarily as Ocean Beach had awoken, and its residents had successfully halted the threatened onslaught of massive development.

There appeared to be a lull … for about 6 or 7 months.

City Steps Up Drive to Have Planning Commission Approve Precise Plan

The lull didn’t last. In early 1973, the city began making noises about getting the same old Precise Plan before the San Diego Planning Commission for its approval.

This once again caused activists to mobilize, and about 20 people – from OB Ecology Action, the OB Rag and Save OB Committee – met in mid February to plan an organizing meeting. Its goal: to once and for all put together a planning committee for Ocean Beach.

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Thumbnail image for The Story of How Community Planning Came to Be in Ocean Beach – How Ocean Beach Was “Saved”

The Story of How Community Planning Came to Be in Ocean Beach – How Ocean Beach Was “Saved”

by Frank Gormlie 07.17.2014 Activism

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

I have a story, and it’s a story about urban planning in Ocean Beach during the mid-1970′s – and how community planning came to be here in OB. It is a story about how a crisis of over-development encrusted the village of OB – and then it’s a story about how OBceans responded to that crisis -  a crisis that affected much of coastal of San Diego and of the rest of the Southern California.

It is a great and wonderful story about how a small village rebelled against a top-down blueprint for OB, a blueprint that would have benefited the elite who drew it up. It’s a story how the small village blocked a plan that would have literally paved the way for the community to be redeveloped into a San Diego version of Miami Beach.

It’s the story of  how Ocean Beach saved itself, and how the small, seaside community led the way within the great city of San Diego and in the great state of California in actually forming the very first neighborhood planning committee that was democratically-elected.

And finally, it is a story about how the successes of grassroots activists in Ocean Beach revolutionized urban planning for the citizens and residents of not only Ocean Beach, but throughout San Diego and the state.

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Thumbnail image for OB Rag Looking for July 4th Monitors  and OBservers

OB Rag Looking for July 4th Monitors and OBservers

by Frank Gormlie 07.03.2014 Media

Will the Marshmallow Ban Hold?
Will Homeless Advocates Be Arrested?

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

Your online, local website is looking for a few good observers who have cameras for July 4th.  That’s right, the OB Rag wants to sign up a handful of volunteers who will assist us in monitoring what happens in Ocean Beach on Friday, July 4th.

There’s a bunch of stuff to observe – and we’re not talking about the surf or the fireworks.

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Thumbnail image for Reactions to Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision Range From Real Disappointment to Really Dumb

Reactions to Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision Range From Real Disappointment to Really Dumb

by Doug Porter 07.01.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The Supreme Court saved its most controversial decisions for last for this session, announcing twin 5-4 votes yesterday in cases limiting public sector unions and extending the concept of corporations as persons to include the right to opt out of contraceptive coverage based on the religious beliefs of the owners.

While the rulings were narrower than they could have been, they triggered reactions filled with hyperbole and misinformation. For purposes of today’s column, we’ll take a look at responses to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the ruling holding closely held corporations (90% of all companies) are “persons” as defined by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.

Make no mistake about it, the creeping person-hood of corporations combined with a ruling favorable to the theocracy set is serious business. But the headlines at places like the Huffington Post were beyond the pale.

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BREAKING NEWS: City Council Hearing on OB Community Plan to Be Postponed

by Frank Gormlie 06.28.2014 Activism

At the 11th Hour, Coastal Commission Makes 43 Recommended Changes to OB Plan

The San Diego City Council Hearing on the OB Community Plan scheduled for Monday, June 30th, will be postponed to as yet an unknown date.

Councilman Ed Harris’ office was notified by the Mayor’s Office late on Friday afternoon that due to a brand new, 11th hour submission of 43 recommended “modifications” to the Plan by the staff of the California Coastal Commission, the Mayor will be seeking a continuance – or postponement – of the hearing slated for 2pm. It needs to be postponed in order to allow City staff sufficient time to evaluate the recommendations and make a response. …

COME INSIDE FOR THE MEMO …

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Thumbnail image for Personal Statement from Frank Gormlie on Having His Email Hacked

Personal Statement from Frank Gormlie on Having His Email Hacked

by Frank Gormlie 06.22.2014 Culture

Some of OB Rag Email Contacts Stolen – As He Calls for His Former Contacts to Email Him

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

Yes, it is true, and at first, I sort of laughed it off, as I went ahead and changed my password to the email account that was hacked on Thursday, June 19.

But then I realized all 2300 of my email contacts were gone ! – stolen by the hacker. Hundreds of  those were my OB Rag email accounts. (It was my personal yahoo email account that was hacked – not the OB Rag gmail account.)

This is a real blow – as it’s through emails that I contact OBceans, planning and town council leaders, other activists, other journalists. And now I have none. I have no way of contacting the hundreds of people on my “OB Alert” list for example.

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Thumbnail image for Councilman Harris’ Office Abruptly Cancels Meeting With OB Planners Supposedly “On Advice” of City Attorney’s Office – Which City Attorney Denies Giving

Councilman Harris’ Office Abruptly Cancels Meeting With OB Planners Supposedly “On Advice” of City Attorney’s Office – Which City Attorney Denies Giving

by Frank Gormlie 06.19.2014 Activism

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

Councilman Ed Harris’ office  abruptly cancelled a meeting that had been scheduled with OB planners to discuss the OB Community Plan. The meeting had been set for Thursday, June 19th.

While the Plan goes before the full City Council on June 30th, OB planners had expected to be able to have a sit-down with the Councilman of OB before the hearing in order to explain in detail why the Community Plan is a good deal.

Harris had earlier met with the leader of the opposition to the Plan, property investor and owner, David Stebbins.

The two members of the committee responsible for the Plan Update and who have been working with City staff and who were expecting to meet with Harris, Gioivanni Ingolia and Peter Ruscitti, both were notified by Harris’ staff on Tuesday, June 17 about the cancellation. Ingolia is the Co-chair of the Update Committee  and Ruscitti is the current Chair of the Planning Board.

The reason for the cancellation? It’s unclear.

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Thumbnail image for The Community Plan Domino Effect: First Barrio Logan, Now Ocean Beach Challenged

The Community Plan Domino Effect: First Barrio Logan, Now Ocean Beach Challenged

by Doug Porter 06.16.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

More than four decades ago a grass roots movement arose in Ocean Beach in response to development plans that would have destroyed the essential nature of the community. Now the  city planning commission is seeking to override sensible conditions for development included in the latest up date of the Ocean Beach community plan.

At issue is a change in the formula used to determine floor area ratio restrictions. Currently development in OB is regulated in size and scope by a requirement that can limit the size of the building on a lot. The change being insisted upon by downtown will allow development similar to that in place in Mission Beach, where sprawling buildings sit cheek by jowl in a soulless wasteland.

The grand plans drawn up back in the 1960s by the spawn of the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce for high rise hotels, apartment complexes and a yacht harbor may not be possible these days thanks to the 30 foot high limit and environmental concerns. However, the desire to over-develop with little or no regard for the consequences continues to exist.

The current community plan up for consideration was written over a 12 year period by community members and has the support of every community group. There are, however, several landlords with clout who have made their opposition known.

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Thumbnail image for New EPA Power Plant Rules: Here Comes the GOP’s Climate Change Denial Onslaught

New EPA Power Plant Rules: Here Comes the GOP’s Climate Change Denial Onslaught

by Doug Porter 06.02.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Climate change was a major issue in the 2008 elections. Both the Republicans and Democrats made proposals aimed at reducing carbon based emissions.

Here we are six years later and, after watching Congress dither around the topic, President Obama has issued an executive order to significantly cut carbon pollution from power plants. The goals proposed are modest compared to those supported by Presidential candidate John McCain and included in the 2008 GOP platform.

CNN was the only cable network of the big 3 covering the EPA announcement this morning. (Fox News was covering…Benghazi!)

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Thumbnail image for Who Has Energy, a Fresh Perspective, and Fantastic Ideas for San Diego?

Who Has Energy, a Fresh Perspective, and Fantastic Ideas for San Diego?

by Judi Curry 05.10.2014 2014 June Primary

An introduction to Sarah Boot, Candidate District 2 City Council

By Judi Curry

Over the past several months, I have attended many “meet the candidate forums” for those people running for office on June 3rd.  I have been amazed at the quality of one of the candidates running for District 2 City Council seat because she is so aware of the problems facing those of us in this particular district.  And furthermore, she has answers to overcome those problems.

Let’s tackle a few of those problems right now:  For those of us living along the Sunset Cliffs corridor, I have a question for you.  When was the last time you were able to leave your home and go directly to the Highway 8 on-ramp without being detoured around Ocean Beach?  Yesterday it took me over 10 minutes to get to the freeway because of the streets that were blocked off – again – and detour signs were everywhere.

When I came home from my excursion to El Cajon, the detour signs were gone but the roads from Newport to Santa Cruz were so bumpy I thought my car would end up with flat tires.  That, plus the steel plates all over the road only tell me that today will be the same way, and probably for  weeks to come.

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Thumbnail image for Sarah Boot Takes on District 2

Sarah Boot Takes on District 2

by Frank Gormlie 04.16.2014 2014 June Primary

By Frank Gormlie

Sarah Boot and I grabbed a table outside at Nati’s in OB the other day for our interview – but as the sun was playing hide and seek, we later had to move inside. Sun or no sun, Sarah is running for the District 2 City Council seat in the Primary which is coming up on June 3rd.  The mail ballots go out in May.

Before we sat down outside, we met in the foyer of the iconic family cafe on Bacon Street.  We shook hands, then while leading her into one of the dining rooms, I informed Sarah that Nati’s was the oldest Mexican restaurant in the Peninsula.  I pointed to the oil painting hanging prominently on one of walls of Louisa – the famous server who worked at Nati’s for over 50 years – and who I met when I was a teenager when my family came during the Sixties.

Once outside, we ordered some lunch – Sarah’s a partial vegetarian – she does eat fish and cheese – and we settled in for a back-and-forth discussion over the next hour or so.  And it was a discussion, for she’s good at listening and I had a whole mental cabinet full of OB and Peninsula history and issues to share with her.  I also threw her questions, and I’ve integrated her responses into my story.

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Thumbnail image for The OB Hippie House Dedicates a Peace Pole

The OB Hippie House Dedicates a Peace Pole

by Judi Curry 12.23.2013 Culture

On December 21, 2013 at 9:11am, the Time & Day of the Winter Solstice

By Judi Curry

To call this beautiful remodeled house on the south side of Ocean Beach a “hippie house”  truly does it an injustice. The new owner – Scott – has put a great deal of money into the house to make it liveable, and the fact that it is not the “normal” Pt. Loma residence is incidental.  But….it is gaining fame, even though Scott and his significant other Layla, have just recently moved in.

First of all the views are spectacular.  The scenery changes from minute to minute. What were high waves an hour ago are small little ripples now; the pelicans fly over going both north and south. The surfers are not there today – waiting the 72 hours after the rain – before dotting the scenery with their black wetsuits and multicolored surfboards.  So why were we there this morning, braving the cold and wind, standing outside looking at a pole set in concrete , albeit in a beautiful design?

Today, at the beginning of the winter solstice, Scott was dedicating one of his two Peace Poles in an informal ceremony. How familiar are you with “Peace Poles”?  They symbolize the oneness of humanity and the common wish for a world at peace.

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Thumbnail image for Support Local Artists, Artisans and Small Businesses, Buy Independent for the Holidays

Support Local Artists, Artisans and Small Businesses, Buy Independent for the Holidays

by Brent E. Beltrán 12.04.2013 Arts

By Brent E. Beltrán

The holidays are upon us and the time for gift giving is here. Instead of shopping at the malls and giving your hard earned cash to a corporation why not purchase items from local artists and artisans?

Here is a short list of holiday art bazaars and small businesses that deserve to be patronized this holiday season.

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Thumbnail image for OB Bamboo Bicyclist Lives to Inspire “Earth-Friendly Lifestyles”

OB Bamboo Bicyclist Lives to Inspire “Earth-Friendly Lifestyles”

by Source 11.21.2013 Activism

Activist to Give Away Free Seeds

By Rob Greenfield

This spring I left my comfortable beachside home in sleepy Ocean Beach to wake America up. On April 16th I hopped into a van with a stranger from a Craigslist.com rideshare board, stopped in Santa Cruz to pick up a bamboo bike, and arrived in San Francisco a with a few days to prepare for a 4,700 mile bike ride across the USA.

The journey, coined Off the Grid Across America, was designed to inspire Americans to start living a more earth-friendly lifestyle for themselves, their community, and the earth.

To lead by example I followed a set of rigorous ground rules:

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Thumbnail image for Kevin Faulconer and the Republicans Really Don’t Want Liberal Voters to Vote for Nathan Fletcher

Kevin Faulconer and the Republicans Really Don’t Want Liberal Voters to Vote for Nathan Fletcher

by Frank Gormlie 10.23.2013 Business

By Frank Gormlie/OB Rag

It’s very clear – Kevin Faulconer really doesn’t want you – the liberal voter at the beach – to vote for Nathan Fletcher.  Faulconer, of course, is OB’s current City Councilperson and sole Republican candidate for mayor of all San Diego.  And of course, Nathan Fletcher is one of his Democratic opponents.

Two recent, slick campaign fliers have recently hit the beach area and tell the story.

One of them shouts out that “Nathan Fletcher is a trusted conservative.” as a quote from liberal nemesis, Karl Rove.  Natch, there’s also a nice color photo next to the quote showing Fletcher and Rove standing together – and Karl has a huge smile.

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Thumbnail image for The War on Pensions: Workers Lose, Wall Street Wins

The War on Pensions: Workers Lose, Wall Street Wins

by Doug Porter 09.27.2013 Business

By Doug Porter

Three recent news stories and one older account tell the tale of what’s really going on behind the current public sector pension “crisis” in the United States.

To make a long story short: there are good pension systems and bad pension systems.  Some are broke and need to be fixed. Some aren’t. But all public sector pension plans are under attack as part of the conservative goal of reducing government and the greed of Wall Street hedge fund managers seeking to get their hands on a huge pot of money.

Frying Pan News published an account this week about a group of pension policy advocates here in California working on a until now secret ballot initiative that would cut State and local government employees off at the knees, retirement wise.

At Salon.com we learn about the for Enron executive whose been working hard to craft the argument that defined pension benefit programs need to be scrapped no matter what shape they’re in.

At Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi takes a sharp tongued look at the profits being made by corporate ‘management’ of pension plans.

Inside: Pigs Fly Over Ocean Beach

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Thumbnail image for 23 Candidates Running for San Diego Mayor (and Counting) As Councilman David Alvarez Declares His Candidacy

23 Candidates Running for San Diego Mayor (and Counting) As Councilman David Alvarez Declares His Candidacy

by Doug Porter 09.06.2013 Activism

By Doug Porter

A mayoral contest best characterized thus far by the quantity of candidates took a turn towards being much more interesting yesterday as Democratic City Councilman David Alvarez entered the race.

Should he end up in the winner’s circle come February (which is when a final runoff will decide the victor), Alvarez will be the first mayor of Mexican descent since the city emerged from being ruled by trustees (bankruptcy) back in 1887.

This is no small thing in a city with a growing Hispanic (28.8%) population.  It wasn’t so long ago that brown-skinned people were prohibited from buying homes in many San Diego neighborhoods.

Alvarez is also popular with many on San Diego’s Labor Council, whose participation in get out the vote efforts in recent elections has boosted turnout in less affluent neighborhoods.  His electoral base is mostly south of Interstate 8, which changes the dynamics of an election many thought would be decided by mostly white, older voting blocs in other areas of the city.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write: Education

Readers Write: Education

by Source 06.22.2013 Culture

By Tom Hunter

I’m an old hippy, who would have been a member of UCSD’s class of 69 if I’d stayed around for another year.  I had two great teachers in four years – Herbert Marcuse and David Fate Norton. I had three brilliant roommates and I was at the first march on La Jolla when that bastion of liberality first realized they had been traduced.

La Jolla has never recovered.  Even the birds do little but shit on the place.

I was a C student, although I was in four different departments in four different years.  Physics, Biology,  Philosophy and finally Art.  I was very young for my age and I worked 20 plus hours a week at the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (my office building is currently trying to do a header off the cliff above Scripps).

I may be somewhat tainted in my memories, but I’m fairly sure I got a well rounded education – for nearly fucking free.  Cut to UCSD of today.

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Thumbnail image for Helping Homeless People Die Indoors

Helping Homeless People Die Indoors

by Christine Schanes 05.29.2013 Culture

By Christine Schanes

There is one certainty in life – we are all going to die. How and where we die are the only issues.

Will we die quickly or have a lingering death? We don’t know. However, most of us housed people are pretty sure we will die indoors in some health facility or in our own home. In fact, some of us buy insurance so that we are assured of the particular standard of care and facility we prefer in our last days.

However, what about unsheltered homeless people? They live outside and very likely will die outside.

How do I know this? Because over the past several years I have been involved in the end of life care for three homeless friends. I’ve written about Bobby Ojala who passed in late August 2012 and Susan Hunt who died twelve days later in early September. But, Karen Lee Creeden was the first homeless person I helped die indoors.

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Thumbnail image for The Best Bicycle Ride Around Mission Bay

The Best Bicycle Ride Around Mission Bay

by Frank Gormlie 04.25.2013 Culture

A Tour of the Best Bicycle Route Around San Diego’s Aquatic Playland

By Frank Gormlie

This started out as a chronicle – complete with a photo journal – of the best bicycle ride around Mission Bay. I had planned to post nearly one hundred photos with complete descriptions and commentary – but due to a glitch in our programs, I was having too many problems to present all the pics. So, I temporarily shelved that idea and gravitated to a briefer version, this one. (As you peruse the photos, be sure to click on them for larger versions to view.)

The tour I now present around Mission Bay is a great one and it is a ride that has been honed by me and a few riding friends over the last three decades – since the early Eighties.

It is a ride along a route that has a minimum of traffic and street exposure, and it is a route that is practically 13 miles round trip from the Ocean Beach Skateboard Park in Robb Field.

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Thumbnail image for The State of District 2

The State of District 2

by Source 04.12.2013 Government

Councilman Faulconer says things are looking good here in San Diego

By Mic Porte

Wednesday April 10, 2013, Paradise Point Resort - Sounds like the name of the sequel of a sci-fi film, but it was actually a fantasy island dream moment with our San Diego district 2 elected official, Councilmember Kevin Faulconer, and his team, at beautiful Paradise Point Resort in the middle of beautiful Mission Bay in beautiful San Diego, on a beautiful evening and with all the beautiful people around, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

And according to Councilmember Faulconer, things are looking pretty beautiful around here, and with a little more bi-partisan effort on the part of the city council and everybody else in San Diego and the great state of California, and regional funding, we might even be able to finally get the crumbling oldest part of the seawall in front of Belmont Park repaired in time for the rising ocean levels, and balance the city budget too, and get back to pursuing happiness, something we do great here in San Diego.

Boys and girls, are we lucky? Yes, thank you.

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Thumbnail image for North Park to Ocean Beach by Bike – The Best Route

North Park to Ocean Beach by Bike – The Best Route

by John P. Anderson 03.29.2013 Culture

I’ve only lived in North Park for a couple of months but have been working on finding the best route to get from here to Ocean Beach, my favorite San Diego beach, since I moved in.  The biggest issue is finding a good route from the mesa that North Park is on down into Mission Valley.  Once in Mission Valley the very solid path along the San Diego River takes you comfortably and quickly directly west to the Pacific Ocean.

I’ve tried various routes into Mission Valley – Texas Street in North Park, Fairmount Avenue between Kensington and City Heights, Bachman Place in Hillcrest – but found them all lacking.  Fairmount is very, very intense (read: dangerous) on a bike and Texas only slightly less so.  Bachman Place is a much better alternative although it is a meandering windy road down the hill, not bad for cruising down but quite a long haul back up.  Recently I was informed of a path through Old Town and it is my favorite by far.  After a couple of practice runs I took this trip “in earnest” this week.

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Thumbnail image for Tunnels Under San Diego’s 30 Foot Height Limit in the Coastal Zone  – Part 2

Tunnels Under San Diego’s 30 Foot Height Limit in the Coastal Zone – Part 2

by Frank Gormlie 02.19.2013 Activism

At the risk of encouraging the critics of the height limit by continuing the discussion of the effects and value of the 1972 citizens’ initiative, this is meant then to demonstrate to those same critics the tunnels that have already been dug in and around and under the 30 foot standard, as well as informing the fairly new generations of citizenry and those uninitiated observers of San Diego development.

Height limit MB monsterIn Part One, I discussed how some of these tunnels have been dug underneath the height limit on San Diego’s coastal areas over the decades, outlining several serious breaches of the seemingly sacrosanct restrictions on building heights. Feeling that the ongoing online discussion on the issue with Voice of San Diego (see part 1) wasn’t complete without some kind of acknowledgement of how tunnels have already been dug under the 30 foot limit.

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Thumbnail image for Grassroots Democracy Takes Patience at the Ocean Beach Planning Board

Grassroots Democracy Takes Patience at the Ocean Beach Planning Board

by Frank Gormlie 01.07.2013 Activism

The meeting room at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center was quickly filling up last Wednesday night, the 2nd of January, as the monthly meeting of the Board was about to begin. No “OB-time” here, as the Chair, Jane Gawronski, gaveled the meeting to order right at 6:00 pm. In the audience was a “who’s-who” of the community’s merchant establishment and friends, and it included the heads of the OB Town Council; the merchants’ group, the Mainstreet Association; the local non-profit OB Community Development Corporation.

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