The San Diego Free Press was started in June 2012, in association with the OB Rag, to bring San Diego news and commentary from a distinctively progressive and grassroots perspective to the greater San Diego and outlying areas. Our mission is to provide a forum for those views, just as we’ve done at the OB Rag, but on a larger scale.
The Wikipedia entry for the original San Diego Free Press:
The San Diego Free Press was an underground newspaper founded by philosophy students of Herbert Marcuse at the University of California, San Diego in November 1968, and published under that title biweekly until December 1969, when it became the weekly Street Journal starting with its 29th issue. The paper’s contents were a mix of radical politics, alternative lifestyles, and the counterculture, reflecting in part Marcuse’s Frankfurt School Marxist/Freudian ideas of cultural transformation.
Founders of the Free Press included Lowell Bergman, later an investigative reporter for 60 Minutes. Members of the staff commune, called The People’s Commune, included John Lawrence, Richard Blackburn (“Black Dick”), Herman Rumper, and Larry Gottlieb. The Policy Coordinator, who wrote most of the editorials, was Jan Diepersloot, a graduate student in linguistics. The staff lived communally in a 3-story brick house in Hillcrest, and also had a dilapidated rural retreat in Ramona, where marijuana was sometimes grown
Both the Free Press and its successor the Street Journal were subjected to arrests by local police, and harassment and spying by the FBI. Break-ins, vandalism, and the fire-bombing of a car owned by the commune were allegedly carried out by paramilitary vigilantes calling themselves the Secret Army Organization (SAO). Police and members of the military Shore Patrol entered the commune and the paper’s offices without a warrant, in search of deserters. Street vendors were arrested and the paper’s editorial offices were broken into and robbed; in a break-in on Christmas Day 1969, a $4000 typesetting machine was thoroughly wrecked. Subsequent issues were printed from typewritten copy. Several weeks later a fund-raising cocktail party to raise funds for the Street Journal was raided by police, who arrested Diepersloot for selling alcohol without a license
The paper made powerful enemies in San Diego by running a series of investigative exposés, largely based on rumor, on the corruption of San Diego’s richest and most powerful, including tycoon C. Arnholdt Smith, publisher James S. Copley, and race track owner John Alessio. The paper’s close ties to the Movement for a Democratic Military (MDM) was a source of friction with local military bases. It became impossible for the paper to find a willing printer in San Diego and the staff had to go out of town, to Los Angeles or farther afield, to find printers. Financial shortfalls took their toll, and the Street Journal finally published its last issue toward the end of 1970.
The modern-day San Diego Free Press is governed by an editorial board consisting of Brent Beltrán, Anna Daniels, Frank Gormlie, Patty Jones, Rich Kačmar, Annie Lane and Doug Porter. We do this because we believe.
If you are a progressively-oriented activist or research organization and want your information to appear here, try writing something up (please don’t make it sound like a press release). We do not have reporters in a traditional sense to dispatch to cover events or editors who can be pitched on stories.
About once a week we get comments/emails taking us to task for not being “objective.” You would think that the “Progressive Views” part of our logo might be a clue. But some people just don’t get it.
We’re not objective, whatever that is. We don’t believe that it is even possible to write about anything without referencing one’s values and worldview. We do, however, try to be honest.