San Diego Free Press announces its demise

San Diego Free Press leaders (L-R): Frank Gormlie, Patty Jones, Doug Porter, Annie Lane, Brent Beltrán, Anna Daniels, and Rich Kacmar/Courtesy
Let it be known that Frank Gormlie, Patty Jones, Doug Porter, Annie Lane, Brent Beltrán, Anna Daniels, and Rich Kacmar did something necessary and beautiful together for 6 1/2 years. Together, we advanced the cause of journalism by advancing the cause of justice. It has been a helluva ride. “Sometimes a great notion…”

We — the people who’ve overseen this incredible platform called the San Diego Free Press — have decided it’s time to move on. Dec. 14, 2018, will be our last day of posting.

We would like to say thank you to everyone who subscribed to, commented on, and shared our articles over the years — and to those who showed your support more quietly simply by visiting our site. We saw your presence in the stats, and we couldn’t be more grateful.

In fact, we’re going out on a high note. We’ve just had our best two months ever in terms of readership. We have funds in the bank, and — most importantly — all of us on the Editorial Board remain good friends.

Initially, we’d planned on taking a break after the 2016 election, never imagining the Electoral College would elect a racist and a con man to the highest office in the land. Instead, we kicked things into higher gear, knowing we needed to be a leading voice of the local resistance.  We’ve seen changes in the political and media landscape since then and after two years at full speed, we feel it’s time to take that much needed rest.

For now, we’ll just say we’re suspending operations. We are open to ideas on how to continue the San Diego Free Press — an SDFP 2.0 of sorts — though we are not sure what that looks like just now.

We did not come to this decision lightly. Those of us who volunteered innumerable hours to making San Diego Free Press happen seven days a week since June 4, 2012, have loved the time we spent on this rare and wonderful enterprise, and the hundreds of connections we’ve made with fellow resisters near and far. We have been changed for the better because of this experience. We will carry these positive memories with us as we take up new challenges moving forward, and we hope you will, too.

Please do not stop sending submissions for publication! We will continue to welcome all article types — written, video, poetry, photography — through Wednesday, Dec. 12.

Our body of work — nearly 9,000 articles — will remain accessible online. This site is a rich resource of activist history collected over the past six and a half years, and we’d like to find a permanent home for it. We currently have enough to get us through December 2019.

We hope you will continue to contribute to the site. Additional funds will enable us to maintain the site for a longer period and participate in the annual Society for Professional Journalists San Diego awards in 2019 — at which our talented and thought-provoking contributors and editors have won awards each year.

Our mothership, a.k.a. the OB Rag, will continue to publish. Many of the SDFP’s regular contributors will continue to be seen there. We are fiercely proud of the work we did here to speak truth to power. Every day brought new learning experiences and insights. We are grateful to all of you.


The San Diego Free Press Editorial Board: Anna Daniels, Rich Kačmar, Doug Porter, Annie Lane, Brent Beltrán, Frank Gormlie, and Patty Jones


Saying goodbye to a friend who gave me a helping hand

By Ernie McCray

You know that feeling you get when a dear friend all of a sudden says something like “Well, we’re moving to Seattle next month,” and a kind of sadness sets in? Nothing devastatingly grievous or crippling, but you feel a little empty inside, knowing that your pal is no longer just down the street or across town, but gone.

That was me when I got the word that the San Diego Free Press was coming to an end, because I see them as a friend, a beloved friend; because who, but a dear friend, would allow you to write about a little of everything, anytime you wanted to, and any way you wanted to, be it poetry or prose.

I can’t adequately express what a lift in my spirit the gift of having a place to vent so freely has meant to me. What can one say about being appreciated so openly and unconditionally?

And fortunately for me the friends in my life have mostly been like the SDFP, always willing to offer me a hand, fully understanding that all I’m basically trying to do in life is live that life as happily and as fruitfully and lovingly as I can, wishing the same for my fellow man/woman.

Writing is my favorite way of going about that.

And through my words on the San Diego Free Press I’ve shared my aging process, writing about my birthdays in the 70s leading up to my 80th year, just to let people know what it’s like, for at least one person, to grow old in age still, as I once wrote, “grooving after all these years.” Still enjoying the ride, a ride that’s supposed to be enjoyed, going as high as I can during the exhilarating ups, when life is mighty fine, and grabbing hold of the debilitating downs until you can finally wrestle it to the ground — and I’ve laid all that down on SDFP — for anyone who cared to take a peek.

Through SDFP, people have gotten to know what the arts have meant to me as a human being and as an educator who believes that the arts should be at the core of any learning environment. Because it’s through the arts that people expose who they are, and the more a teacher knows about who a student is the more likely they are to meet her or his unique learning needs.

The website’s progressive slant has allowed me to weigh in on the Hillary Clintons and Bernie Sanders of the world and look in on a deplorable gangsta president named Trump, a man who’s head is apparently up his rump.

I’ve gotten to give voice to my wish that we, as a society, would study war no more …

I got to report on how a relentlessly heavy rain drenched a Gay Pride Parade, but didn’t dampen the spirit of love the marching in the streets always brings …

At a time when so many prominent blacks are being attacked by our very government, in fact, I was able to look at it from a Black Lives Matter point-of-view …

And I slipped in some of my travels, near and far: driving up Highway 1; exploring the wonders of Alaska and Zihuatanejo and Cuernavaca and Tepoztlan in Mexico; Madrid; Barcelona; Gay Paree; Brussels; Frankfort Germany; Amsterdam; a recent trip to Atlanta, Georgia, the only state to which I had never been until then …

Each of those experiences served as proof of how human beings have more in common than they’re willing to admit …

I thank the San Diego Free Press (and also the OB Rag), volunteers all, for including me in their venture of spreading news and progressive views San Diegans can use, standing firmly for what I’ve wanted most in life: freedom and justice for all.

I will forever be grateful that our paths crossed in life, that we reached out and found each other and gave each other a helping hand in our quest to create something worthwhile out of this world we’ve got at hand.

I bid them goodbye, but they will never be far from my deepest thoughts and my fondest memories. I’ve never had a better friend.

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