By Doug Porter
A non-profit group has filed suit against the City of San Diego, seeking to block approval of a special-event permit for the 60th Annual World Championship Over-The-Line Tournament (OTL), scheduled for two weekends in July.
FreePB.org, a group that in the past opposed the city’s alcohol ban on beaches, is saying that the permit approval process was illegal and therefore null and void until an environmental review is conducted.
Their opposition to the OTL tournament permit was triggered by the city’s rejection of a permit for a beach event called the Leisure Olympics. FreePB asked for many of the same concessions granted to OTL, including exemptions from San Diego’s beach booze ban that would allow for individuals to bring their own alcohol and purchase alcohol from vendors. They also vowed to impose exactly the same “safeguards” promised by OTL.
The SDPD turned down the permit application, saying it was incompatible with the city’s alcohol management policies, and a subsequent appeal by FreePB was unanimously rejected by a City Council committee in April.
Alcohol has been banned at city beaches and waterfront recreation areas since 2008, when voters approved Proposition D. Residents of San Diego’s beachfront communities actually voted against the ban, which was proposed following extensive press coverage of alcohol fueled disturbances in Pacific Beach.
The OTL tournament has been sponsored by the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club (OMBAC) since 1954. It consists of teams competing in a softball-like competition. In past years the event was a booze-fueled beach party, complete with racy team names, random displays of (mostly female) nudity and an ‘old boy’ mentality.
In more recent years the event has toned down considerably. It’s now a “charitable” event that happens to include racy team names. And it’s got plenty of pull downtown. Despite the fact that no actual permit for the OTL event has been issued, the OMBAC has been advertising it for months now. Organizers predict 50,000 competitors and spectators will flock to Fiesta Island.
Supporters of FreePB contend that this toned down atmosphere and insider permit approval process is the result of a deal made between OTL organizers and the political powers (City Councilman Kevin Faulconer is often mentioned) that were pushing for the beach booze ban. They contend that in return for not organizing opposition to Proposition D (the group initially fought the measure when it was at the signature gathering stage), a loophole allowing the tournament was created.
Followers of this theory argue that the political power wielded by OMBAC backers would have been sufficient to defeat the booze ban.
Supporters of the OTL tournament claim that the FreePB folks were involved with the infamous floatopia events, wherein hundreds of (mostly) young people defied the 2008 beach booze ban by partying on rafts and other floatables. These events ceased after the City Council passed additional legislation banning them in 2010.
Of course, OTL supporters have also called FreePB organizers “communists” and “the drunks that caused the alcohol ban” along with being “part of the Facebook crowd”.
FreePB founder (now retired) Nick Sacco described the situation in a comment at UT-San Diego:
To expose this corruption in the city, FreePB.org created an event that was EXACTLY THE SAME AS OTL, but has been denied at every front because of apparent “lacks of safeguards, etc.” that the City continues to refer to. I’ve seen it repeatedly in the video transcripts of these City Council meetings. When everyone asks how OTL happens without the same safeguards in place, nobody with the City can answer honestly. Because they realize that OTL is receiving special privileges based on their closed-door meetings during the alcohol ban fight. Please don’t say it’s because of 50 years of tradition. That’s a fallacy. Laws are laws. If you make restrictive laws, make them right and fair.
FreePB appears to be asking that everyone who requests a special event permit be scrutinized fairly and equally, and that nobody get special privileges for complicity in City corruption. This is the USA, not Mexico or Russia. Blame the City of San Diego for trying to secretly establish a double standard and hoping that nobody would notice. Don’t blame FreePB for asking for fair treatment. They wanted to hold another awesome event just like OTL for everyone to enjoy. If the City could be honest about their treatment of OTL, there would be nothing to worry about.
Double standards? Closed door meetings? City of San Diego? Sound familiar?
How Much Do Republican Hate ObamaCare?
Aside from the constant barrage of misinformation and the 37 votes in the House of Representatives to repeal or defund the Affordable Care Act, the Party of “No” has even more cards to play.
Republican Congressmen are hoping to take advantage of the uncertainty caused by implementation of ObamaCare’s biggest provisions as they take effect over the next seven months.
From The Hill:
People regularly call their representatives for help with Medicare, Social Security and other government programs. Yet, Republicans believe healthcare reform spells doom for the federal budget, private businesses and the U.S. healthcare system. They’re also enormously frustrated that the law has persevered through two elections and a Supreme Court challenge and believe a botched implementation could help build momentum for the repeal movement.
Some Republicans indicated to The Hill they will not assist constituents in navigating the law and obtaining benefits. Others said they would tell people to call the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Given that we come from Kansas, it’s much easier to say, ‘Call your former governor,'” said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R), referring to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“You say, ‘She’s the one. She’s responsible. She was your governor, elected twice, and now you reelected the president, but he picked her.'” Huelskamp said.
“We know how to forward a phone call,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).
And, despite polling showing that Hispanics are among the biggest supporters of healthcare reform, anti-immigration reform minded Republicans are hoping to play the Brown ObamaScare card.
From the Washington Post:
After spending years unsuccessfully trying to overturn “Obamacare,” Republicans are now attempting to use President Obama’s landmark health-care reform law to derail his top second-term initiative — a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration system.
Conservatives in both chambers of Congress are insisting on measures that would expand the denial of public health benefits to the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants beyond limits set in a comprehensive reform bill pending in the Senate.
“Pervasive Market Failures in Private Health Care Markets”
The New York Times published an account this weekend from noted economist Robert H Frank, who went to Sweden looking for the downsides on governmental intervention in healthcare. He found that even his fellow economists (who tend to be a skeptical lot) were happy with the deal they have.
The United States spends more than $8,000 a person per year on health care, well more than twice what Sweden spends. Yet health outcomes are far better in Sweden along virtually every dimension. Its infant mortality rate, for example, was recently less than half that of the United States. And males aged 15 to 60 are almost twice as likely to die in any given year in the United States than in Sweden…
…Congressional critics must abandon their futile efforts to repeal Obamacare and focus instead on improving it. Their core premise — that greater government involvement in health care provision spells disaster — lacks support in the wealth of evidence from around the world that bears on it.
The truth appears closer to the reverse: Because of pervasive market failures in private health care markets, this may be the sector that benefits most from collective action.
The Adult in the Room
I got real chuckle out of the Los Angeles Times coverage of Friday’s legislative approval of Gov. Brown’s budget. The article talked about support from the Republican side of the aisle for Brown, using words like “restrained’ and (gasp) “conservative”. Now that the GOP hasn’t much choice when it comes to legislative matters, having been reduced to marginal status by voters after years of obstructionism, it would seem to make sense that Republicans would try to make the best of the hand that has been dealt them.
But, noooo. From the LA Times article:
Blogger Jon Fleischman, a former executive director of the California Republican Party, is incensed by even a syllable of GOP praise for Brown. Such approval undercuts the party’s ability to challenge Brown in the 2014 election or recapture enough legislative seats to end the Democrats’ supermajorities in the state Senate and Assembly, he said.
“If the public sees Jerry Brown as the adult in the room, why do they need Republicans?” Fleischman said. “It’s single-party rule right now…. Republicans need to claw back.”
Keep up the good work, Jon.
Why the US Should Think Twice About Arming Syrian Rebels
Good News Followup
Reader Genie Zucchini (hey, I can’t make this stuff up) stopped by Baron’s supermarket on Point Loma yesterday and ran into Ian Rey, the longtime Sprouts Farmers Market employee who said he was fired after 14 years last month for mistakenly taking a coworker’s jacket.
Customers at the Sprouts Market picketed the store in support of Ray, a special needs child who overcame his disabilities and has lived independently for the past two decades.
Rey is happily employed by Baron’s and says life is great now.
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltrán, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
On This Day: 1885 – The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City aboard the French ship Isere. 1913 – U.S. Marines set sail from San Diego to protect American interests in Mexico. 1963 – The U.S. Supreme Court banned the required reading of the Lord’s prayer and Bible in public schools.
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