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December 2016 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Columbia • Core/Civic • Cortez Hill • East Village • Gaslamp/Horton Plaza • Little Italy • Marina

Holiday Guide Page 20

Transforming Balboa Park






Logo Design






Reawakening the pros and cons of the Plaza de Panama project By Dave Schwab

Fruit wines come to town

➤➤ NEWS P. 4

The final chapter Ron Ford, a personal tailor and the owner of Ron Stuart Men’s Clothing, has decided to retire and close his shop on West A Street after 35 years. (Photo by SDCNN)

The holidays kick-off in Balboa Park


Holidays Italian style

➤➤ DINING P. 17

Longtime Downtown-based men's clothing retailer calls it quits

Mom-and-pop clothing stores with in-house tailors — the retail category Ron Stuart falls within — are an endangered species. As Ford notes, online shopping has proven a formidable force. Mass-market retailers, which typically order their wares in large volume, have also posed a By Dave Fidlin challenge in more recent years. But one of the store’s greatest challenges, Ford said, As he looks back at a milestone year in business, is an overall shift in men’s fashion in the past three and veteran retailer Ron Ford said he cannot help but wax a half decades. This is especially true in the profesnostalgic. sional working world, where cultural norms have called Ford’s sense of reflection is serving a dual purpose as he enters the bustling holiday season. His store, Ron for trading in suits, ties and blazers for jeans and polo shirts. Stuart, a longtime staple in Downtown San Diego, cel“When we opened up here, every professional workebrated its 35th year in business in this city in 2016. But ing man wore a suit and tie,” Ford said. “But today, the this year also is marking the shop’s swan song. casual trend is getting stronger and stronger.” Located at 225 W. A St., Ron Stuart represents an In the early 1980s, Ford said business within his increasingly rare glimpse into the types of shops and services that once permeated the marketplace from one city to the next. see Ron Stuart, pg 9

Parade of Lights expands and delights This year’s theme will tip a hat to San Diego Zoo’s birthday By Gina McGalliard

Du-par's - best pancakes ever

Index Opinion…...............……6 Politics........................7 Food & Drink Blotter ......15 Puzzles.....................18 Calendar................…22 Fashion Files...................22

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Although we may not get a snowy “white Christmas” here in sunny San Diego, we do have our own coastal-themed holiday tradition: the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, a procession of more than 80 decorated boats. The parade, now in its 45th year and primarily sponsored by the Port of San Diego’s Tidelands Activation Program, will have the theme, “It Began with a Roar — San Diego Zoo Celebrates 100 Years.” “We thought it was very important to incorporate the 100th anniversary of the Zoo since it’s such an iconic location in San Diego and has had such an impact on San Diego,” said Katie Schaa, public relations representative for the parade. “Everybody on our committee are animal lovers, especially me,” added Joni Geis, who is in charge of sponsorships and donations and has worked with the parade for 15 years. “It’s a challenge for the boaters, and we really respect and appreciate everything that they do to go through this,” Geis said. “They do it two nights a year; they create their boat to come up with something — some of them are so artistic. Some of

"Best of Power, 32-feet and under"

(Photo by Marv Sloben)

them are so creative.” “The boaters I can tell you are very excited about [the theme],” said parade chairman, Larry Baumann. “I’ve seen glimpses of some of the ideas people have and I suspect that there’s going to be a lot of giraffes, because sailboat masts lend themselves to being a giraffe neck.” The parade route will also be

longer this year, commencing as usual in Shelter Island before sailing past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero and Seaport Village, then traveling past the newly refurbished pier at Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan before circling back and ending at the Ferry Landing in Coronado.

see Parade of Lights, pg 21

While the recent resurrection of the Balboa Park Plaza de Panama project has revived hopes of creating a more pedestrian-friendly public park space, it has also reawakening much of the same opposition that derailed the proposal initially. On Nov. 14, the City Council approved the $79 million, longstalled Balboa Park Plaza de Panama project, which would remove traffic from the historic heart of Balboa Park, while creating 6.3 acres of parkland, gardens and pedestrian-friendly plazas. Proponents hope Plaza de Panama construction can begin next spring and be done in time to celebrate Balboa Park’s 150th anniversary in 2018. The original goal had been to complete it by 2015, the 100th anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition. “In terms of project scope, it has not changed,” said Katherine Johnston, the city’s director of infrastructure and budget policy. “The design is almost the same, with some minor updates to ensure compliance with all existing regulations.” Bruce Coons, head of the preservationist organization, Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO), which sued to block the project back in 2012, agreed the project hasn’t changed much, despite the increase in costs. “It is the same as the previous project except for some storm water controls,” Coons said. “I also think they added mechanical ventilation to the garage.” Originally championed by a committee led by Qualcomm founder and philanthropist Irwin Jacobs, the Plaza de Panama project was proposed to solve Balboa Park’s chronic traffic and parking woes. The project’s centerpiece was a bypass off the Cabrillo Bridge with motorists turning right onto the Centennial Bridge leading to a road through the Alcazar Garden parking lot culminating below new walkways to an 800-space, paid-parking, park-topped garage south of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Those changes would make it possible to end traffic and parking in the Plaza de Panama in front of the San Diego Museum of Art, the Plaza de California in front of the San Diego Museum of Man, the west Prado, and the Esplanade that leads to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. “We successfully fought and won [against the development] in 2013 and then the Plaza de Panama Committee — not the city — filed an appeal,” said Ala-

see Plaza de Panama, pg 5


San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


How to Sell High: Avoid these Mistakes When Selling Your Downtown Condo

California Fruit Wine Co. has taken over the former Vinavanti tasting room in Hillcrest. (Courtesy Brian Haghighi)

Fruit wine comes to San Diego By John Gregory The California Fruit Wine Co. has opened its tasting room at the corner of University Avenue and Herbert Street in Hillcrest. Started by the Haghighi brothers in 2009, California Fruit Wine Co. had lacked a tasting room ever since co-founders Alan and Brian had moved their production facility from Vista to Carlsbad two years ago. Since their headquarters was in a mostly industrial area, the brothers began looking for a tasting room space in a location more to their liking, with a focus on an urban environment. The search was not easy as the brothers found potential landlords a bit difficult to deal with and other businesses were sometimes chosen for a location the wine company had sought. At last, the California Fruit Wine Co. worked out a deal with their friends at Vinavanti Urban Winery to take over its tasting room at the University Avenue location. Now that they have found a more urban location, they hope customers will stop in to sample their wines made from a variety of fruits. Pineapple, mango, pomegranate, cranberry and pumpkin spice are among the wines currently featured in the tasting room. “We invite beverage enthusiasts of all types to come out and taste the fruit wines and experience a world beyond just red and white,” Brian said. Customers may sip the wines on the premises and also purchase bottles of their favorites to take home. Beyond a selection of fruit wines and sangrias, the tasting room also carries guest wines from other wineries, as well as a selection of beers for those who are not wine drinkers. Guests may also sample from the menu of flatbreads, tapas and appetizer-style food available from the kitchen. A basic brunch is offered each Sunday featuring waffles, fruit and homemade syrup. The room’s seating includes several bar-height communal tables with seating for up to 10 customers. More private tables are available with seating for one or two.

Various flavors of fruit — available in dry, sweet, dry sparkling and sweet sparkling — will be rotated throughout the year. (Courtesy California Fruit Wine Co.) “We’ve added color and warmth to the space,” Brian said. “The focal point for us is our novel and changing list of fruit wines.” The company rotates fruit used in its wine production throughout the year. These include blackberry, blueberry, strawberry and raspberry, for example. The company finds itself in a never-ending effort to establish fruit wine as a top wine to be taken seriously and respected. One of the company’s goals is “to convey the high quality of the category,” Alan explained. “Fruit wine is an awesome category because you can make it all year long,” he said. “These are the highest quality of products on the planet,” he added. “This category should be perceived as what it is.” The tasting room also features a small batch production system capable of producing 300 gallons of wine on-site. Wine produced through the small batch system is then placed in kegs so that it can be served on tap. Not only are these small batch wines served at the University Avenue location, they are also sold to bars and restaurants.

Each of the flavors is prepared in four iterations to suit most tastes, Alan said. Blueberry wine, for example, will be available in dry blueberry, sweet blueberry, dry sparkling blueberry and sweet sparkling blueberry. The effort to promote the quality and increase the popularity of fruit wines is gaining momentum and The California Wine Co. has some sizeable retail customers. Whole Foods Market is the biggest retail customer so far, purchasing approximately 40,000 bottles during the past year. HEB Grocery Company, LP, with 350 stores in Texas and northeast Mexico, is another retail customer. Tasting hours are from 3-10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays; 3-11 p.m. Fridays; noon-11 p.m. Saturdays; and 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sundays. The tasting room is not open Mondays and Tuesdays. The California Fruit Wine Co. is located at 1477 University Ave., in Hillcrest. For more information, visit californiafruitwine. com. —John Gregory is an assistant editor at SDCNN. Reach him at

San Diego - When you decide to sell your home, setting your asking price is one of the most important decisions you will ever make. Depending on how a buyer is made aware of your home, price is often the first thing he or she sees, and many homes are discarded by prospective buyers as not being in the appropriate price range before they’re even given a chance of showing. Your asking price is often your home’s “first impression”, and if you want to realize the most money you can for your home, it’s imperative that you make a good first impression. This is not as easy as it sounds, and pricing strategy should not be taken lightly. Pricing too high can be as costly to a home seller as pricing too low. Taking a look at what homes in your neighborhood have sold for is only a small part of the process, and on its own is not nearly enough to help you make the best decision. A recently study, which compiles 10 years of industry research, has resulted in a new special report entitled “Home Sellers: How to Get the Price You Want (and Need)”. This report will help you understand pricing strategy from three different angles. When taken together, this information will help you price your home to not only sell, but sell for the price you want. Order your free report today! To hear a brief recorded message about how to order your FREE copy of this report call toll-free 1-800-728-8254 and enter 1300. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get your free special report NOW to learn how to price your home to your maximum financial advantage. This report is courtesy of Reef Point Real Estate. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copyright©2016



San Diego Downtown News | December 2016

December Nights are best in Balboa Park By Alex Owens Although the chances of having a white Christmas in Balboa Park are fairly slim, there’s perhaps no place in San Diego where the Christmas spirit is as prevalent. While the park will have Christmas and holiday-themed events going on all through the month, the peak of these events is December Nights, the city’s biggest annual event and the largest holiday event on the West Coast. This year’s December Nights takes place Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3, and the event is expected to attract 325,000 people. Many attend because the museums are free, others do so for the international food offerings (the bratwurst is always popular), while others come to enjoy the performances of Christmas music. There are some new offerings to that festive blend that excite Tomas Herrera-Mishler, the CEO of the Balboa Park Conservancy. “This year, we are having an artisan marketplace near the Timken,” he said. “It will feature handcrafted items by local artists. We wanted to celebrate local makers.” Another project new to December Nights is the Fab Trailers Photo Booth, a whimsically decorated vintage trailer with a gleeful Southern California winter holiday as the backdrop and a professional photographer behind

the camera. It’s a great and fun way to take the family holiday Christmas photo. There will also be photo options with at least seven — if you count Einstein at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and the Grinch near the Old Globe — Santa Clauses, including one by the zoo and one at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. “It’s hard to top having a photo with the Grinch,” HerreraMishler said, laughing. Herrera-Mishler is also excited about a new event to be held the last week of the year: A food truck festival that runs Dec. 27-30. “It’s just like the one we do in summer,” he said. Each day between 4 and 8 p.m., food trucks, featuring all types of cuisine, will set up at the Plaza de Panama. In addition, the following acts will be performing: John Roberts Trio on Dec. 27; Save the Starlight Band on Dec. 28; Leonard Patton Danny Green Quartet on Dec. 29; and Jarabe Mexicano on Dec. 30. There is plenty of other things going on between December Nights at the beginning of the month and the Food Truck Festival at the end. The popular seasonal favorite “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” plays at the Old Globe through Dec. 26. The show stays the same but each year, there are always new bits added to make

(above) Santa Claus (Bill Swank) has been a fixture at December Nights for decades, talking to eager children about their holiday wishes (Courtesy Balboa Park December Nights); (left) the Sun Harbor Elves entertain at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, one of dozens of singing and dancing groups who will perform in Balboa Park during the twonight affair. (Photo by Isaiah Leggett)

repeat visits enjoyable. The San Diego Zoo will be celebrating “Jungle Bells” and be open late until 8 p.m. starting Dec. 9 through Jan. 2. Some of the festivities include special animal demonstrations and holidaythemed musical performances. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the zoo, and the

San Diego History Center has an exhibit dedicated to Balboa Park’s world famous attraction, which runs through May. There are many other events around the park that are fitting for the holiday season. ● The Centro Cultural de la Raza features an exhibit called Expressions of Spirituality

San Diego Unified School District Connected to Fast, Reliable Network Ninety two San Diego Unified School District schools now have access to a 175-gigabit network as part of an agreement with Cox Business. As part of the agreement, Cox Business built out 54 miles of fiber in San Diego. A total of 189 schools in the district are now connected to a fast, reliable Ethernet network through Cox Business that will enable all types of digital learning, not only inside the classroom, but also distance learning between schools and organizations outside of the district.

largest fiber project the company has undertaken for a single customer in San Diego to date.

“San Diego Unified students already have access to some of the best technology in education today, but as anyone who has ever left their cell phone service area knows, the best technology is only as good as the Internet service that connects you to the world,” said Cindy Marten, superintendent of San Diego Unified School District. “Thanks to this partnership with Cox Business, our students will have access to enterprise class WiFi service, allowing them to collaborate with their teachers and peers in amazing new ways.”

Serving more than 130,000 students, from pre-school through grade 12, San Diego Unified School District is the second largest district in California, with a diverse student population representing more than 15 ethnic groups and more than 60 languages and dialects.

The network that Cox Business has built for the district is the

“The network that we’ve designed for the school district is unique in its construction, the large number of sites being connected, and the high bandwidth capacity that is being delivered,” said Larry Coval, Vice President of Cox Business in San Diego. “We’ve built a network that has the bandwidth to serve the district’s needs for its teachers and students now and in the future.”

Cox Business is the commercial division of Cox Communications that serves business customers of all sizes, school districts, medical facilities, hotels, local government and the military. For more information on Cox Business, visit

through Jan. 17. ● The RH Fleet Science Center has a new film, “Extreme Weather” and a Lego-themed exhibit entitled The Art of the Brick through Jan. 29. ● The Mingei Museum has an ongoing exhibit of dolls and toys. ● Spanish Village hosts a variety of artists, artisans and photographers featuring all sorts of unique items. Last but not least, the Friends of Balboa Park will be sponsoring their annual holiday poinsettia celebration and month-long display at the Botanical Building. Launching on Dec. 8 from 3–5 p.m., the dozens of poinsettias on display are individually gifted each year during the holiday season by local residents in honor of a friend or loved one. To find out how you can dedicate a poinsettia plant for $25, contact leslie@ For more information about December Nights, visit tinyurl. com/7mwbxnb and to learn more about other museums and displays, visit —Alex Owens is a San Diegobased freelance writer. He can be reached at alexowenssd@gmail. com.v

Sudoku & Crossword puzzle answers from page 18


San Diego Downtown News | December 2016



PLAZA DE PANAMA na Coons, also of SOHO. “SOHO cross-appealed, but sadly, [the committee] prevailed in appeals court. Then on Jan. 8, 2016, Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor decided against awarding $96,000 in legal fees to the Plaza de Panama Committee.” She said that Dr. Jacobs is currently appealing that ruling. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer hailed the renewed Plaza de Panama project as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform San Diego’s crown jewel for the next century.” “This public-private partnership will reclaim the heart of Balboa Park for pedestrians and return the Plaza de Panama to its original grandeur,” Faulconer said. “With the support from the City Council and great civic leaders like Dr. Irwin Jacobs, the grand restoration of Balboa Park can finally begin.” But not everyone, including SOHO, are happy that the Plaza de Panama project is back. “If ever the commercial development of the park goes forward complete with freeway off-ramp; a giant ditch with 42-inch-tall safety railings and massive, concrete retaining walls; dangerously narrow, sunken S-curve roadway; and paid-parking structure — the cherished entry [across the Cabrillo Bridge] will not only be forever lost, it will become a garish, concrete-and-asphalt nightmare that permanently scars Alcazar Garden, Palm Canyon, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, and the historic core,” Bruce Coons said. Coons estimated more than $300 million is needed just for crucial park repairs. “Yet, instead of addressing the park’s urgent needs, a plan to spend more on building unnecessary and destructive new roads and buildings that require additional maintenance and expense is the city’s focus,” he said. “This is irresponsible fiscal policy and does not make any sense.” Plaza de Panama Project plans also include: • A completely car-free Plaza de Panama with major aesthetic improvements, including reflecting pools and more pedestrian amenities. • A three-level underground parking garage behind the Speckels Organ Pavilion with a 2.2-acre rooftop park and 797 paid-parking spaces. Thousands of parking spaces in the park — the vast majority — will remain free. • Improved parking with an increase of more than 30 percent in the number of parking spaces of accessible parking spaces in the core of the park, including in the parking structure and a reconfigured Alcazar parking lot. “This is a major park renovation that will permanently create 6 acres of parkland,” Johnston said. “It’s really a grand restoration of the park.” Bruce Coons challenged the city’s projections for what Plaza de Panama’s redo will accomplish. “When they brag the project brings 6.2 acres of new parkland, they conveniently forget to deduct for their roadways

The original entrance to Balboa Park via Cabrillo Bridge (inset) may soon be closed off and traffic rerouted onto a sweeping new cement exit to the right (artist’s rendering above), which would eventually lead drivers to a paid parking garage behind Spreckels Organ Pavilion. (Images courtesy SOHO) and the huge Plaza de Panama, which was already returned to pedestrian use two years ago,” he said. “Or recognize the zoo’s new parking facility reduces the need for new parking structures, or that ADA access will be severely impacted. Nor is the new lawn they depict above their partially subterranean garage truly two new acres of parkland, as it will be significantly reduced with four new buildings and service shafts. “Unquestionably, this ill-conceived paving and paidparking project will destroy the historic character, scale, and natural landscapes of one of the most majestic urban parks in America,” Coons concluded. “Thirty other environmental

community groups and organizations including six neighborhood planning groups also have opposed this boondoggle.” Johnston said the redevelopment project’s estimated total cost is now $79 million, revised upward from the 2012 cost estimate of $45 million, reflecting updated state development regulations, the applicability of prevailing wage and a less-competitive bidding market. “The city’s portion of the project will be capped at $45 million,” Johnston said, adding the remainder will be paid from “lease revenues through parking revenue in Balboa” and other monies, including private donations. SOHO has drafted a legal

response to the city regarding Plaza de Panama and recently launched a legal defense fund campaign to fight the revived project. To read their legal response, visit gt6pnzz. To review SOHO’s legal campaign funding page, visit

For more information about how Balboa Park currently looks and how this project hopes to change it, visit h9b3l46. — Dave Schwab can be reached at dschwabie@journalist. com.v


Do you know where to recycle paint? There are more than 785 PaintCare locations in California where households and businesses can take any brand of old paint, stain and varnish all year-round. (It’s free.) One of our new locations is in San Diego:

Dunn-Edwards 2011 El Cajon Boulevard (619) 222-0591 All PaintCare sites accept up to 5 gallons per visit (some take more). Please call ahead to confirm business hours and ask if they can accept the type and amount of paint you would like to recycle. Sites do not accept: aerosols (spray paint) or leaking, unlabeled and empty containers.



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San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


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ART DIRECTOR Todd Kammer (619) 961-1961

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jeff Clemetson, x119 Ken Williams, x102

SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958

ASSISTANT EDITOR John Gregory, x118

Guest Editorial

Select a charity, not a scam By Paul Downey Giving to a charity each year is easy for most of us. We find ourselves drawn to a cause, a particular group, a mission, and well, we just plain want to help those who may be less fortunate than ourselves. When you have a personal tie to an organization, giving your hard-earned dollars is simple. However, what happens when you don’t have a charity in mind or you are new to donating financially? Often during this time of year, con artists take advantage of the generosity of San Diegans and take the hard-earned money for themselves, rather than for reputable and legitimate nonprofit organizations that serve the most vulnerable in our community. Here are seven quick tips to help you chose a legitimate organization and avoid being scammed: Only give to a charity you know. Do your research! Research an organization before you donate. There are a variety of online resources that provide free access to comprehensive reports about nonprofit organizations. Start with a visit to California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts (, the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance (, Guidestar (guidestar. com) and Charity Navigator ( Plus, go to the organization’s website and really get a good understanding of what the charity does and who benefits from your donation. Ask questions. Real charities are able to tell you how they use their donations and what portion of your contribution will go directly to the group they are trying to help. Ideally, 85 cents of every dollar raised should go directly to programs and services of the charitable organization, with the minimal amount remaining to underwrite administrative salaries and operational expenses. Also, ask them for a 990 tax form. If they cannot give you this information, don’t give them your money. Do not send to a P.O. Box. Make sure the organization has an actual street address, where you can go and see the charity in action at anytime.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Toni G. Atkins Charlene Baldridge Diana Cavagnaro Andy Cohen Dave Fidlin Christopher Gomez Gina McGalliard Alex Owens Frank Sabatini Jr. Taylor Schulte Dave Schwab Sandee Whilhoit Ann Wilson Joan Wojcik COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118

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OPINIONS/LETTERS: San Diego Downtown News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email either to and include your phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff. SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS: Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email. DISTRIBUTION: San Diego Downtown News is distributed free on the first Friday of every month. COPYRIGHT 2016. All rights reserved.

Ask for a tour. Or, even better, just show up unannounced. A reputable charity would be delighted to give you a tour on the spot. There should be no hard sell. Organizations don’t need money “today.” If they cannot give you an answer for what the donation is to be used for then walk away. Leverage your contribution. Often times, reputable organizations will have donors who will match your contribution during their fundraising campaigns. The commitment by donors to their preferred organization shows credibility. For example, right now at Serving Seniors, thanks to a generous long-time donor, financial donations made during our Hidden Hungry campaign will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. There are many fine charities in San

Diego doing great that are worthy of your support. By following the tips above, you will sleep soundly knowing that your time and dollars are being spent well. As president/CEO of Serving Seniors, I would like to thank all of you who have graciously supported us in 2016. We appreciate your kindness and generosity, and have been able to accomplish so much this year with your help. For those of you who haven’t made a gift yet, please “kick our tires,” and connect with us to see what we are all about. —Paul Downey is the president and CEO of Serving Seniors, a nonprofit agency dedicated to keeping San Diego seniors healthy and independent. Learn more at


San Diego reps go unchanged Congressional Watch Andy Cohen The 2016 presidential election has now come and gone, and while many are still in shock and disbelief about the stunning upset in the main event, the local congressional races brought few surprises. As expected, San Diego’s representation in Congress will most likely remain unchanged. I say “most likely” because one of the five local races has not yet been settled with absolute certainty. Let’s start with the races that are settled. Duncan Hunter (R-50), despite the campaign finance scandals that have plagued him for most of the past year, handily won re-election, defeating Democrat Patrick Malloy 64 percent to 36 percent. No surprise. The 50th District hasn’t been remotely competitive in decades. In the 51st Congressional District — the battle of the Juans — Juan Vargas (D-51) boat-raced Republican Juan Hidalgo, Jr. 72 percent to 28 percent. Again, no surprise, as the 51st (or at least the equivalent thereof — remember, redistricting occurs every 10 years) has been solidly democratic, dating back at least to Vargas’ predecessor, Bob Filner, and his 20 years in Congress. The 53rd Congressional District was yet another ho-hum affair, with Susan Davis (D-53) swamping Republican James Veltmeyer, a doctor from La Mesa, 67 percent to 33 percent. Scott Peters (D-52) was able to breathe relatively easy this time around, particularly in comparison to his two previous congressional races. In 2012, Peters narrowly defeated Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray, a race that took several weeks for a winner to be declared. In 2014, Peters fended off former San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, who had widespread name recognition and who had in fact taken the district during his 2012 San Diego mayoral race against Bob Filner. The 52nd is considered a swing district, roughly evenly divided between Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters, making the 2014 election another squeaker for Peters. This time, however, Peters won by comfortable margin, 57 percent to 43 percent, over Republican challenger Denise Gitsham. Normally, Gitsham would have been a formidable opponent in the highly moderate district, but as election cycles come and go, Peters seems to become more and more well liked, and thus more entrenched as a member of Congress. But I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Denise Gitsham. If the four races above lacked for drama, one race ensured that local political junkies didn’t lack for intrigue. Whereas the 52nd District is typically one of the tightest races in the country, this time it was Darrell Issa (R-49) who

Rep. Susan Davis, D-53 2700 Adams Ave. #102 San Diego, CA 92116 Local: 619-280-5353 Washington: 202-225-2040 Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-50 1611 N. Magnolia Ave. #310 El Cajon, CA 92019 619-448-5201 202-225-5672 Rep. Darrell Issa, R-49 1800 Thibodo Road #310 Vista, CA 92081 760-599-5000 202-225-3906 Rep. Scott Peters, D-52 4350 Executive Dr. #105 San Diego, CA 92122 858-455-5550 202-225-0508 Rep. Juan Vargas, D-51 333 F St. #A Chula Vista, CA 91910 619-422-5963 202-225-8045

was forced to sweat it out while every last ballot was counted. Two weeks after the election, with just a handful of mail-in and provisional ballots still to be counted, the Associated Press finally called the race in favor of Issa over Democratic challenger and first time candidate, retired Marine Corps Col. Doug Applegate. Pre-election polls indicated that it would be a tight race and for the first time since being elected to Congress in 2000, Issa’s re-election was in doubt. As previously chronicled in this space, Issa has never defeated his general election opponents by less than 10 points. Then came the June 2016 primary, where Issa bested Applegate by a much smaller margin, less than six percentage points. Things only got more tense for Issa in the general election, but he was finally declared the winner with just 50.4 percent of the vote to Applegate’s 49.6 percent. In one of the more fascinating results of this election cycle, Applegate won the much larger, northern San Diego County portion of the district, 53 percent to 47 percent; however, Issa was rescued by the area of the district that covers a small portion of Orange County, by a 60-40 margin. The AP declared Issa the winner Nov. 28, with a lead of just over 2,300 votes out of more than 306,000 votes cast. The question now is how will Issa react to this near-defeat experience? Issa has long been known for his attack-dog mentality and his penchant for levying unsubstantiated accusations of malfeasance at the Obama administration. That reputation could be turning the tide against him within the district. What was once a safe Republican seat might become America’s next great swing district.

In other news … Rep. Peters and Rep. Davis, both members of the House Armed Services Committee, condemned recent efforts by the Department of Defense to reclaim bonuses offered to California National Guard recruits over a decade ago. The bonuses and student loan payments, many tallying $15,000 or more, were offered by recruiters in order to reach recruiting targets and bolster troop levels. However, 9,700 soldiers from California received the incentives and it turns out that a significant number of those bonuses were offered and paid out fraudulently. “I am deeply concerned and troubled by the clawback of bonuses from our National Guard members,” Davis said in a statement. “As ranking member of the military personnel subcommittee, I will look into all available options to help these service members and their families. They should not have to pay the price for mistakes made by others over a decade ago and we owe it to them to address this.” Defense Secretary Ash Carter subsequently suspended the collection efforts, stating that the Pentagon will create a streamlined process that “ensures the fair and equitable treatment of our service members” and a rapid resolution. “Ultimately, we will provide for a process that puts as little burden as possible on any soldier who received an improper payment through no fault of his or her own,” Carter said. “I applaud [the] decision from Secretary of Defense Ash Carter to cease the collection of unauthorized bonus payments,” Peters said in his statement. “While a congressional fix may be needed, I urge Secretary Carter to use his existing authorities and resources to repay veterans and their families who have been wronged.” Rep. Vargas’ bill to evaluate the possibility of adding Chicano Park to the rolls of National Historic Landmarks will likely be considered by Congress in the near future. Chicano Park is located beneath the Coronado Bridge in the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego. Its murals, sculptures and landscaping have already landed it on the list of National Historic Places due to its role in San Diego’s Chicano civil rights movement. —Andy Cohen is a local freelance writer. Reach him at ac76@

San Diego Downtown News | December 2016

Looking back with a heartfelt thank you Notes from Toni Speaker Emeritus Toni G. Atkins Wow. What an incredible six years this has been. When I was elected to the state Assembly in 2010, I had aspirations to represent the constituents of my district in San Diego the best way I knew how, and to help create more affordable housing, alleviate poverty, expand LGBT rights, and advocate for women, both in the doctor’s office and in the workplace. While I have been comfortable in leadership roles, having helped guide San Diego as acting mayor during a difficult and tumultuous time, I had no idea I would later be elected Speaker of the Assembly. After all, no San Diegan had ever served as Speaker before. But after just two years in the Assembly, in 2012 Speaker John Pérez named me Majority Leader of the Democratic caucus and less than two years after that, my colleagues elected me to succeed Speaker Pérez as the leader of the Assembly. For Speaker Pérez and my colleagues to have shown that level of faith in my abilities was truly an honor. I can’t thank them enough for their trust and respect, as well as their hard work and collaboration. And now my time in the Assembly is over, and thanks to the voters of the 39th Senate District, which overlaps to a large degree with my 78th Assembly District, I begin my first fouryear Senate term on Dec. 5. When I arrived in Sacramento, California was in trouble. The “great recession” had decimated our state budget. In my first year, we faced a $26-billion deficit that would be solved only by a patchwork of painful program cuts, borrowing, and creative budget maneuvers. However, within four years, with hard work and great team-

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work between Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature, with the help of California’s voters, we were able to turn the state around. In 2014, again with help from the voters, we created, and began depositing money into a rainyday fund that will help protect California’s vital programs from the next economic downturn. We also started to restore funding to those programs that had been slashed amid the recession. We reinvested in public schools to better prepare our children for a brighter future and expanded child care and preschool so that parents could devote their days to their jobs and provide for their families. We reinvested in colleges and universities and stopped tuition increases for California students to broaden opportunities for young residents and improve our overall economic outlook. We created California’s first state-level Earned Income Tax Credit to augment the federal EITC — a proven anti-poverty tool. We also strengthened our business climate with widespread tax credits for job creation, plus targeted tax credits for the film and television and aerospace industries. We responded to the effects of the prolonged drought with a comprehensive, $7.5-billion water bond, to ensure a system of clean and reliable water and we bolstered our commitment to fighting climate change with stronger and expanded measures to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. I was particularly proud to represent California in Paris at the international climate summit a year ago; it illustrated for me how important a global leader our state has become in protecting our planet. We funded new affordable housing for low-income families, and again with help from voters, created a program to provide safe, permanent housing for struggling military veterans. We strengthened our commitment to full equality for members of the LGBT community. We expanded family leave and strengthened our equal-pay law. We continued to protect a woman’s reproductive rights. And we set the path to raise our minimum wage to $15 an hour to help lift individuals and families out of poverty. Put it all together and the picture that emerges is a hopeful one. Our goal is a life for all Californians where people can raise their families in clean, safe communities; where small businesses can thrive and help grow our economy; where our children enjoy good schools and access to high-quality, affordable higher education; where everyone has access to affordable healthcare; where everyone is treated with dignity and equality no matter who they are, where they come from, or whom they love; where our children’s grandchildren can expect to live in a clean environment. I want to thank all of my constituents for their support during these past six years. This truly is a team effort, and I can’t do it without you. From the bottom of my heart — thank you. —Toni G. Atkins is the outgoing Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly and taking over as the California State Senator representing the 39th District. Follow her on Twitter, @toniatkins.v


San Diego Downtown News |December 2016


Holiday drives Feeding San Diego Holiday Campaign

From silver screen to sundaes Gaslamp Landmarks Sandee Whilhoit Prior to 1904, the property between 643 and 651 Fifth Avenue was nothing more than a series of small wooden buildings housing a shoemaker, a jeweler, and a cigar and cigarette merchant. In 1904, George J. Chambers, father of famed Olympic swimmer Florence Chambers, purchased the property from L.G. Pratt for the unlikely sum of $10. Mr. Chambers, who at the time ran a second-hand furniture store on Sixth Avenue, decided not to develop his new property until 1912. On March 23, 1912, the San Diego Union reported that excavation had begun for the first fireproof theater building on the Chambers lot, on the east side of Fifth Street, opposite City Hall. The structure, to be built by A. E. Chaffey, would be a one-story concrete building that seated 800 patrons, and the first to comply with the new building ordinance. It would have a passage on either side and in the rear as a means of protection in the event of fire. Two exits would be located at the stage end of the auditorium, opening to the outside passageway. One year later, a building permit was granted for a one-story, steel-reinforced concrete theater with a projected cost of $6,000. Unfortunately, only two years after construction, the two side passages were converted into a restaurant and a shoeshine establishment. Although Chambers owned the land, the Casino Amusement Company owned the building. Hence, the building was named the Casino Theater. In 1931, the property was acquired by Vincent and Concetta Russo, who had been running the theater since 1921. The Russo family continued to operate the business through 1956. In his book, “Rabbit on a Bumpy Road,” Gaslamp pioneer Tom Hom reminisces about the

The Feeding San Diego (FSD) Holiday Campaign is underway to bring meals to the less fortunate. FSD asks the public to help in one of three ways: ● Make a monetary donation online at FSD states that each dollar donated will provide four meals. ● Companies are encouraged to organize a food drive and ask employees to collect a variety of nutritional foods to donate to FSD. For more information call 858-452-3663 or visit bit. ly/2gtPQoF. ● FSD seeks volunteers during the holiday season. The organization relies on volunteers to sort products at its distribution center and help distribute the food to its distribution partners and clients. Volunteers may participate in an open house celebration to experience the various tasks available at the distribution center. The open house will be held Dec. 3, 9–11 a.m. at 9455 Waples St., Suite 135. Those attending are asked to bring healthy, nonperishable food donations, such as wheat pasta, beans, low sodium canned vegetables and fruit. Individuals or groups may sign up online at FSD is a nonprofit hunger relief organization dedicated to distributing healthy food with dignity to those in poverty, while helping to inform the public about the issues of food insecurity, nutrition and poverty. Learn more at

Food Bank Holiday Food Drive (above) The Casino Theatre was located at 643 Fifth Ave. for more than six decades, but has been home to Ghirardelli’s Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop since the 1980s; (left) an old newspaper advertisement (Courtesy GQHF)

times he treated himself and a friend to a show at the Casino. In the 1930s, one could pay a dime for entry, which would ensure the patron two or three main features, a serial chapter of the “Lone Ranger” — or another hero of the times — a comedy short featuring “The Three Stooges,” and a cartoon. The entire matinee lasted about four hours. So for a complete afternoon of entertainment, a quarter paid for two admissions, with a nickel left over for a hot dog to share! Not a bad deal! In the years that followed, the

building continued as a theater, though after the Russos, there were a series of proprietors. In addition, as the area below G Street deteriorated, the clientele also changed, X-rated movie houses became the norm and the Casino Theater followed suit. In the 1970s, enter Mr. Tom Hom again, who along with his wife Dorothy, began a widespread restoration of the Gaslamp area to its original splendor. As the restoration continued, it became quite obvious that old movie houses had outlived their purposes and could not compete with the multiplex theaters now opening. Developers began looking for other viable tenants. The building underwent an extensive restoration, during which the

marquee had to be replaced with an accurate, but slightly larger replica of the original. The Casino re-opened as the very popular Ghirardelli Ice Cream Parlor and Chocolate Shop, which offers a tasty welcome and a complimentary piece of their famous chocolate to all who enter. To learn more about the fascinating history of New Town, San Diego’s Downtown, visit the Gaslamp Museum and take one of the walking tours, Thursdays at 1 p.m. and Saturdays at 11 a.m. Visit —Sandee Wilhoit is the historian for the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. She can be reached at

The San Diego Food Bank’s Holiday Food drive is underway throughout San Diego County. Vons shoppers can purchase a prefilled bag of groceries for $7 and place the bag in the Food Bank’s big red food drive donation barrels at the front of the store. There are also other ways to help with the annual Holiday Food Drive. Anyone may also make a monetary donation online at Clubs, businesses or other organizations may host a virtual food drive online as well. For more information and for online links to help organize a virtual food drive for the Food bank, visit The San Diego Food Bank sorts donated food at its warehouse, then distributes the items to low-income families and individuals at 183 distribution

see Holiday Drives, pg 13


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


RON STUART Downtown storefront had been so strong that he employed numerous tailors. Today, Ford does most of the work himself, though a few part-time employees — including tailor Joe LaFata, a 22-year veteran — have stayed on as well. Although business is a fraction of what it once was, Ford said he still has a regular stream of customers and about half of that clientele works in the legal profession. “I think this is a good time to end it,” said Ford, 76. “The prices [on garments] have been going up, and running a mom-and-pop type of store has been getting more and more challenging.” Ron Stuart’s roots actually predate San Diego. The shop’s name is a nod to Ford and his former business partner, Stuart Schlesinger. The two incorporated their business in 1974 and created a storefront in Los Angeles before Ford went solo in his entrepreneurial endeavors. For more than a decade, Ford operated Ron Stuart stores in San Diego and Los Angeles. He decided to leave the Los Angeles market after the rioting that took place in 1992 and focus his attention solely on San Diego. Ford, who attended college in the Midwest at Southern Illinois University, majored in marketing and said he aspired to work as a clothier at a young age. His foray into the industry began in the early 1960s when he worked for Bullock’s, a now-de-

Once his Ron Stuart Men’s Clothing store closes, Ford will continue to provide personal tailor service to several of his larger accounts from his home. (Photo by SDCNN) funct department store chain that once blanketed the Los Angeles area. Ford later worked on the wholesale side of men’s clothing for about a decade before launching Ron Stuart. Ron Stuart’s San Diego store has been located Downtown throughout its 35-year existence, though it has occupied three locations. The first, at the Scripps Building at C Street and Sixth Avenue, was birthed as a small operation as Ford and a few investors sought to rehab the

building in the early 1980s. Eventually, Ford moved his store to C Street and Fifth Avenue before eventually settling at the current location within the Centre City Building on West A Street for the past dozen years. “Although we moved around, we’ve always operated within the same five blocks,” Ford said. “It always made sense to have the store right here, in Downtown.” Ford said he plans to keep the doors open at Ron Stuart through at least the end of the year as

he sells through his remaining merchandise, though he said the store could continue operations into January. “We’ll see how things go in December,” he said. “I might wind up selling some of the unsold merchandise to friends and other retailers I know.” In addition to his small parttime staff, Ford has brought in a Denver-based sales consultant, Richard Cobb, to help wind down operations. Cobb has expertise in helping to close small, indepen-


dent retailers, such as Ron Stuart. Though quick to point out that he is not a liquidator, Cobb — who is technically retired, periodically comes out of retirement to work with professionals such as Ford — said he has been impressed with Ford’s store operation and is honored to help see the store through its final chapter. “I’ve been in the business for 50 years,” Cobb said. “I enjoy working with smaller, independent stores.” Though Ford is soon closing up his shop, his work in men’s clothing is not finished. He said he will continue supplying red blazers to football bowl officials and green blazers to members of the fraternal organization Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. “I’ve been working with them for many years, and that’s something I can do out of my house,” Ford said. Post-retirement, Ford said he plans to enjoy traveling, one of his favorite pastimes, and hold onto the many good memories he has collected throughout his tenure as a local businessman. “There are a lot of nice people in San Diego,” he said. “I’ve met some really incredible people doing this.” For updated information on Ron Stuart’s closing sale, visit or call 619-232-8850. —Dave Fidlin is a freelance journalist with a special affinity for San Diego and its people. Contact him at dave.fidlin@thinkpost. net.v


San Diego Downtown News | December 2016

(above) A 25-foot poinsettia tree towers over Piazza Basilone in Little Italy; (right) snow may once again be in the forecast this year during the annual tree lighting Dec. 3. (Courtesy Olive PR Solutions)

Two holiday trees are better than one Little Italy News Christopher Gomez As the holiday season approaches, the city sidewalks of Little Italy will be lighting up with holiday cheer for the 18th an-

nual Little Italy Tree Lighting and Christmas Village on Saturday, Dec. 3, presented by the Little Italy Association, H.G. Fenton Company and Sysco. This year’s event will be extra special, because for the first time, Little Italy will be closing down India Street for two holiday tree lighting ceremonies. The neigh-

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borhood will have its traditional 25-foot tower of over 1,100 gorgeous poinsettias in the middle of Piazza Basilone and will welcome a new permanent tree to the neighborhood — a brand new 25-foot Cedrus Deodara tree — in front of what will become the new heart of Little Italy in the summer of 2017, Piazza della Famiglia.

All San Diegans are invited to come to the neighborhood on Dec. 3, to launch the holiday season. In addition to the tree lightings, attendees can expect to experience the Christmas Village with over 50 seasonal vendors, festive décor, live music and entertainment on two stages, holiday treats, Santa, carriage rides and more family-fun

activities! Santa Claus himself will kick off the event starting at 4 p.m., meeting and greeting everyone in attendance. Santa will be taking photos with all the neighborhood kids — and kids at heart — until 6:30 p.m. at “Santa’s Living

see Holiday, pg 11


San Diego Downtown News | December 2016



HOLIDAY Room,” located on the corner of India and West Fir streets. Next to Santa’s Living Room, kids can explore fun arts and crafts, along with Washington Elementary STEAM Magnet School and ArtReach. Select Little Italy Mercato vendors and other seasonal vendors will also be selling perfect stocking stuffers and holiday goodies on India Street between West Cedar and West Grape streets. Attendees will have the opportunity to holiday shop and find local gifts for their loved ones. Live holiday music and entertainment will also be going on throughout the event. The tree lighting ceremonies will start at 5:30 p.m. on West Fir and India streets. Little Italy’s holiday tradition is the perfect way to bring the Christmas magic to San Diego and there’s word on the street that there may even be some snow in the forecast at this holiday event! So, grab some hot cocoa, your friends and family and come out to celebrate together! For more information about Little Italy’s Tree Lighting and Christmas Village, visit or follow the neighborhood on Instagram and Twitter at @LittleItalySD and at —Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager since 2000. Reach him at chris@

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2016

Green thumbs thrive in East Village By Joan Wojcik Many of us suburbanites moved into a metropolitan environment to escape the weekly mowing of the grass and pruning of the fruit trees in our suburban yards. But as the years have gone by, there is an urge to again feel the soil between our fingers and to grow produce from our gardens that doesn’t exist in an urban setting. There is, however, a place Downtown where you can reexperience your desire to have a backyard garden; it’s called SMARTS Farm. SMARTS Farm has been located in East Village for more than three years and has been very successful in bringing urban gardening to Downtown at its original location on the corner of 15th and F streets. Residents rent garden boxes to grow flowers, tomatoes, fruit trees, vegetables, and other produce. Unfortunately, it also occupied a lot that is part of the master plans for Makers Quarter and because Makers Quarter will be developing the SMARTS Farm lot within the next year, Downtown’s only urban garden had to find a new home.

(left) The SMARTS Farm iconic red barn; (top) the chicken coop and greenhouse are visible in the rear among garden boxes; (below) various garden boxes for rent to the public. (Photos by Joan Wojcik) On Nov. 21, SMARTS Farm moved to its new location on Broadway between 13th and 14th streets, the future home of the new East Village fire station, but in the interim it will be the setting

for Downtown’s urban garden. “We’re excited for the opportunity to grow within our local community,” said Susan Madden Lankford, SMARTS Farm CEO and founder. “Our new location



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will be able to serve as a hub for neighborhood activation through various events, meetings and evening performances, while we continue to build on SMARTS Farm’s mission — connecting nearby residents, families and underserved youth to gardening practices and academic enrichment programs.” The new site will offer urban gardeners the opportunity to rent a garden box in the size of their choice for a reasonable monthly fee, which will also include soil and water usage. In addition to the community garden center, the site will also include a production farm, a farm stand, and a children’s learning center. And if you don’t have a green thumb, don’t worry — SMARTS Farm will be growing produce to sell to the public at their onsite farm stand, where tomatoes, flowers, lettuce, and even eggs will be available. The farm’s learning center is Madden Lankford’s pride and joy. Children from Father Joe’s, YWCA, Kipp School, UDA and e3 Civic High School will all be

taking part in the youth programs sponsored by SMARTS Farm. The students will be exposed to all aspects of horticulture, including growing healthy organic vegetables, cooperative community gardening and raising poultry. On Dec. 17, SMARTS Farm will have a holiday open house from 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. The event is open to the public and there is a suggested donation of $5 for each participating adult, but children are free. The morning will include DIY wreath making, arts and crafts, education on seed planting, complimentary hot cocoa and bites from the SMARTS Farm pizza oven, and holiday tree decorating. So get out your rusty trowels and old garden gloves and start gardening again. For more information, visit — Joan Wojcik is the president of the East Village Residents Group. Learn more about the EVRG, contact Joan at or visit

San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


HOLIDAY DRIVES sites throughout the county each month. The Food Bank also gives food to 350 other nonprofit organizations that operate feeding programs. For more information visit

YWCA Holiday Gift Drive

YWCA of San Diego County is conducting its annual Holiday Gift Drive now through Dec. 12. This program will benefit those in its residential domestic violence and homelessness programs. New, unwrapped holiday gifts are requested for children, teenagers, women and men. Items can be dropped off at the YWCA administrative building, 1012 C St. by appointment only. Call Darlene Moreno, 619239-0355, ext. 225, or send an email to For more information visit

USO Giving Tree

The Headquarters at Seaport will provide free holiday entertainment each Saturday leading up to Christmas Eve in its outdoor courtyard while USO of San Diego will collect gifts and donations for military families in need as part of the USO Giving Tree program. Suggested donations include board games, gift cards, sports equipment and toys for youngsters and gifts for teenage boys and girls. The Saturday performance schedule at The Headquarters at Seaport includes the Valhalla High School band, Dec. 3, noon–2

p.m.; Third Marine Aircraft Wing Jazz Combo Band, Dec. 3, 3–4 p.m.; Navy Band Southwest’s 32nd Street Brass Band, Dec. 10, noon–1 p.m.; Valhalla High School band returns Dec. 17, noon–4 p.m. The Giving Tree allows deserving military families a chance to select holiday presents for their children and have them wrapped. Families chosen to participate are allowed to pick up presents at the USO San Diego Downtown Center, 303 A Street. For more information visit bit. ly/2gp6GW3.

Make Change Count

The San Diego Downtown Partnership is once again holding its Make Change Count fundraising program to benefit the End Homelessness Campaign. Funds raised through this campaign help pay for hygiene kits, the DSDP Family Reunification Program, items to assist with preparing for job interviews and other efforts to help the homeless. Donations can be made at any of the many “donation stations” located throughout the Downtown area. The stations resemble red parking meters and accept coins and credit cards. To find locations of the donation stations or to make a donation online, visit

St. Paul’s Senior Services Events

St. Paul’s Senior Services is holding a trio of holiday drives and events this month. ● Free Pictures with Santa will be available Dec. 12 from 4–6 p.m. in St. Paul’s Plaza, 1420 E. Palomar St. in Chula

Vista. Parents and grandparents are urged to bring the kids to have photos taken with Santa Claus, enjoy hot cocoa, sweet treats and holiday music. ● St. Paul’s Program of Allinclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) centers are holding a Sundries for Seniors program until Dec. 20. There are 500 senior citizens in the program and this year’s goal is to have a gift bag for each of them. Donations of sundries or small gifts for seniors may be dropped off at two PACE locations between 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The two locations are St. Paul’s PACE Day Center, 111 Elm St. in Downtown San Diego and St. Paul’s PACE Day Center, 630 L St. in Chula Vista. Those wishing to donate online may view a special PACE wish list on Amazon at amzn. to/2fzifx6 and the items will be delivered directly to St. Paul’s Reasner Center in San Diego. For more information visit bit. ly/2gtUKCd. ● St. Paul’s Senior Services also cares about pets waiting for a home as it hosts Santa Paws Blanket and Towel Drive for the Chula Vista Animal Center. St. Paul’s is asking for donations of clean used blankets and towels to be placed in drop off baskets at the Chula Vista Animal Shelter, 1420 East Palomar St., Chula Vista. For more information call 619591-0600. St. Paul’s Senior Services is a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the needs of San Diego’s senior community. For more information visit


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San Diego Downtown News | December 2016

Holiday cheer and gifting Growing Balboa Park Ann Wilson You are invited …

Please join the Friends of Balboa Park on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 3–5 p.m. at the Botanical Building in Balboa Park to celebrate and enjoy the annual Holiday Poinsettia display. The Friends is proud to assist the city’s Park and Recreation Department to adorn the Botanical Building every holiday season. You can dedicate a poinsettia (or more than one) to honor someone you care about, or in memory of loved ones who have passed on. Your donation of $25 for each poinsettia plant will help fill the Botanical Building with these beautiful flowers from the beginning of December through the first week in January. The Friends will acknowledge your gift by placing your name on the Poinsettia Honor Roll, featured inside the Botanical Building during the display, as well as on our website. We will also send a lovely poinsettia card to the person you are honoring, acknowledging your gift on their behalf. You and your honoree are

especially invited to attend the party on Dec. 8. For more information, visit our website or call our office. Need a really special gift? Don’t know what to get that person on your gift list who is hard to buy for, or already has everything? How about a park bench on the west side of the park? This is a great and lasting way to honor a family member or friend or to commemorate a loved one who has passed away. Consider this limited time offer to donate a bench to Balboa Park for the public to enjoy. The benches are made of durable concrete and a small plaque, with wording chosen by the donor, will be affixed to the back of the bench. Benches designated for purchase are located along Sixth Avenue between Laurel and Upas streets. For further details, please contact or call our office.

Happy holidays to all!

The board of directors and the staff of Friends of Balboa Park thank everyone who has participated in our programs this year and donated to Balboa Park through the Friends. We especially thank our wonderful volunteers and our hardwork-


ing collaborators at Park & Rec. The Friends strive hard each and every day to “preserve Balboa Park’s legacy for future generations.” Best wishes to everyone for a prosperous new year. —Ann Wilson is a native San Diegan and has been a board member of the Friends of Balboa Park since 2009. She can be reached through their office at 619-222-2282 or

Hundreds of poinsettias are donated every year and put on display inside the Botanical Building for the Friends of Balboa Park’s annual Holiday Poinsettia Party. (Courtesy Friends of Balboa Park)

San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


Remembering Pearl Harbor:

Honoring the Past and Inspiring the Future As we look forward to the next 100 years of stewardship, how will we interpret the stories and events of the 21st century in our parks? We invite you to join us for this important event. • Tours of the restored military bunker • A flyover by a WWII • Lady Liberty Car Show • Guided Ranger walks

• Presentations by men and women who lived on the home front in San Diego during the war • Ranger programs about what life was like in the United States during the war

Cabrillo National Monument Saturday, December 10, 2016 10:00 AM- 4:00 PM Join us as we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States entrance into World War II.

Meet The Authors & Artists

Meet Cabrillo’s authors & artists in the Visitor Center December 10th & 11th Kim Fahlen & Karen Scanlon: Lighthouses of San Diego

Bill Griswold: Cabrillo National Monument: An Essay in Photographs

Kenneth Glaze: The Illustrated Fort Rosecrans

Join us in the Visitor Center for a meet & greet with the authors & an exhibit from our brilliant Artists in Residence! Cabrillo National Monument is YOUR National Park! After 100 years, it remains to be a safe space to embrace culture, appreciate nature, & express who you are as an individual.

• $10 PER CAR COME VISIT TODAY! • HOLIDAY GIFTS (Free Gift with $40 purchase in December!)


All of this benefiting the Cabrillo National Monument Foundation, Proud stewards since 1956!

The Cabrillo National Monument Foundation 619-222-4747 |

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San Diego Downtown News | December 2016

The tradition of bottle service has taken a novel twist at The Nolen, the rooftop bar perched on the 14th floor of Marriott’s Courtyard San Diego Gaslamp/Convention Center hotel. Instead of the usual liquor bottles and mixers brought to your group, guests can now opt for craft cocktails served tableside in self-dispensing barrels that serve up to 16 people. The barrel options currently include a gin-based Dutchman Italiano; the rye whiskey and mezcal Fire in the Rye; and a rum with pine liqueur concoction named Christmas in Nicaragua. The cocktails start at $250 per liter. 453 Sixth Ave., 619-796-6536,

Mark Kropczynski grabbed top honors at San Diego’s largest wine and food festival. (Photo by Denise Jones)

A popular beer hall in the Gaslamp Quarter now serves affordable lunch bowls, sliders and sandwiches (Courtesy Quad AleHouse) Quad AleHouse in the Gaslamp Quarter has introduced a lunch menu tailored to professionals on the go. Located above Gaslamp Tavern, the beer-centric establishment now offers such items as seasonal hummus served with veggies and pita bread; a barbecue chicken salad bowl with baby greens; twin ahi sliders with soy aioli; and an applewood-smoked pork belly sandwich. The new, midday dishes are priced at $11.50 or less. 868 Fifth Ave., 619-239-3339,

Boozy barrels at The Nolen (Courtesy MediumRaw Arts)

Chef Mark Kropczynski of Grant Grill won “Chef of the Fest” at this year’s annual San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival held in late November. Vying for the top honor with numerous other local chefs, Kropczynski wooed the judges with grilled lamb loin accompanied by roasted, baby root vegetables, pumpkin seed oil and fig vincotto. His win resulted in a shared purse of more than $50,000 in cash and prizes dispersed to winners of other categories. 326 Broadway, 619-744-2077, More than 20 bars, restaurants and retailers are taking part in the third annual “Toast of the Gaslamp” from 1–6 p.m., Dec. 10, to help holiday shoppers refuel with drink and food samples. Participates within the several-block area include Lotus Thai Cuisine, The Field Irish Pub, Whiskey Girl, Bandar, 1919, Bubbles Boutique, San Diego Trading Company, and more. Tickets are $25 if purchased in advance through, or $30 the day of event at the will call booth in front of Rustic Root, located at 535 Fifth Ave.

Salsa Under the Stars





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A new tasting room at the Knotty Barrel (Photo by Tim Otto)

December 16 6 pm – 9 pm

789 West Harbor Drive, San Diego CA 92101 Salsa ad v3.indd 1

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Expansions to the Knotty Barrel in East Village are complete. The main dining is now double in size and features shuffleboard, darts, Giant Jenga and other games. A 2,300-square-foot dogfriendly patio and outdoor bar were added in the back, in addition to a 10-tap tasting room and brewing facility that went into the adjoining space previously occupied by Valentine’s Mexican Restaurant. 844 Market St., 619269-7156, —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at fsabatini@san.


Anything, anytime at Du-par’s Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. Whether you’re hankering for beef stew at daybreak, or a threeegg Denver omelet for supper, Du-Par’s Restaurant & Bakery in the Gaslamp Quarter obliges. The iconic 24/7 restaurant, which launched in 1938 as a food stall at the Los Angeles Farmers Market, introduced its round-theclock comfort fare and housemade pies to San Diego several years ago, taking initial residence in an unremarkable structure on Sports Arena Boulevard. But “Biff” Naylor, the restaurateur who purchased the company in 2004 and oversees six other locations throughout Southern California and Las Vegas, saw a better fit Downtown. So he shortly afterward moved the operation into the space that formerly housed Red Pearl Kitchen. The new spot is spacious and feels exceedingly more inviting with its burgundy diamond-tufted Naugahyde booths, antique hurricane lamps, and plush carpeting milled in London. A full bar occupies the front of the house and a display case stocked with fresh pies and pastries hardly goes unnoticed when first walking in. “We went for a timeless Americana design instead of a retro look,” said Naylor’s son, Anthony, who runs the place as general

manager. He added that since the re-opening in August, lines snake out the door on Friday and Saturday nights with club goers who have become keen to savoring an array of dishes uncommonly found in the wee hours. Welsh rarebit or gourmet meatloaf at 2 a.m.? Why not? Banana splits flaunting house-made ice cream? No problem. The pancakes are perhaps the hottest sellers during any time of the day. Touted (rightfully so) by Esquire Magazine as being “the best in the country,” they derive their girth and fluffiness from whisked egg whites that get folded into the batter at the end. What sends them over the moon, however,

is the accompanying hot, clarified butter that seeps sinfully into every pore. They’re sold in stacks of three or five, though either quantity will require the help of your tablemates to finish. In this most recent visit, my companion insisted on the chicken pot pie, another recipe at Du-Par’s that has supposedly remained untouched for 78 years. Beneath its thin, buttery crust was a traditional pond of chicken gravy strewn sparingly with peas, carrots, celery, potatoes, and modest-size pieces of breast meat. What set it apart from standard Betty Crocker versions, however, was the tinge of citrus arising from the chicken, which we confirmed is marinated in lemon and garlic. We loved every bite. Thick slices of fresh, roasted turkey teamed up with flat-grilled let bacon, avocado, let-

San Diego Downtown News | December 2016 tuce and tomato in a triple-decker club sandwich using house-made white bread. Right down to the pineapple-kissed coleslaw served alongside, the dish sent me back to the days of eating at departmentstore lunch counters back East when I was a kid. Impressed by the tenderness of Du-Par’s corned beef in a Reuben sandwich at the previous location, we placed our bets on the corned beef hash and won. It’s ground in-house with a little olive oil to bind it, and shaped into a sizable, meaty disk containing little or no potatoes compared to most. The crispy hash browns on the plate provided the necessary starch, while the two eggs on top were cooked over-medium, exactly as requested. Du-Par’s still offers “beat-theclock” dinner specials. Get there between 4 and 6 p.m. any day of the week and you pay according to the time

(clockwise from left) Du-Par’s legendary pancakes with clarified butter; corned beef hash with eggs and potatoes; triple-decker club with bacon, turkey and avocado (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)



Restaurant & Bakery 440 J St. (Gaslamp Quarter)

619-255-8775 | Prices: Breakfast dishes, $9.25 to $25.95; soups, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and entrees, $5.50 to $29.95; “beat the clock specials,” $4 to $6 you arrive when ordering from a select list of entrees. If you saunter just seconds after 4 p.m., for example, a plate of spaghetti and meatballs or grilled Atlantic salmon with creamed spinach and roasted potatoes will cost an easy $4.01. The main menu doesn’t tell you this, but a promotional flip card on your table spells it all out. Other regular offerings include a traditional Waldorf salad; grilled beef liver with bacon and caramelized onions; fish and chips; crab cakes; various burgers; braised tri-tip; and more. Pies are sold whole or by the slice. And the choices abound with flavors such as green apple, gooseberry, raspberry, chocolate meringue, southern pecan, lemon cream, and other varieties that you’ll be hard-pressed to find in grocery store bakeries. Du-Par’s is open seven days a week daily, including Christmas Day and all other holidays. —Frank Sabatini Jr. is the author of “Secret San Diego” (ECW Press), and began his local writing career more than two decades ago as a staffer for the former San Diego Tribune. You can reach him at



San Diego Downtown News | December 2016

Whole Life Insurance: Or why you don’t need a car with a built-in dishwasher Financial News Taylor Schulte Before I tell you about whole life insurance, imagine for a moment that you’re going shopping for a new dishwasher. A salesman approaches you and tells you about a fantastic new product: the dishwashing car. The dishwashing car is a car with a built-in dishwasher. Just think of the possibilities: You can do your dishes while driving your car. Now, because this product is so groundbreaking, there are a few catches. This dishwashing car is very expensive (at least compared to buying a car and a dishwasher separately). The maintenance and repairs on this new technology is also very expensive. And lastly, it doesn’t drive very well for a car. Oh and it also doesn’t clean dishes very well for a dishwasher. But, think of the upside: You can do your dishes while driving your car! If you think a dishwashing car is a terrible idea, don’t fret. Most people would find the idea of a dishwashing car ridiculous. Why? Because there is absolutely no reason to combine a dishwasher and a car. You’re much better off buying the two separately. In the world of finance, there is something quite similar to the dishwashing car: it’s called permanent life insurance. You get permanent life insurance when you combine life insurance and investing into one product.


Case study

In today’s post, we’re doing a case study on permanent life insurance. There are many, many types of permanent life insurance, including: whole life, universal life, variable life and variable universal life. “What happens when you buy a permanent life insurance policy instead of simply purchasing your investments and life insurance separately?” There are two strategies being compared in our case study. The first is to purchase a permanent life policy. For this study, I will use data from a “San Diego” Life Insurance Company’s universal life policy. (Remember, universal life is a type of permanent life insurance.) Now, there is no so such company called San Diego Life Insurance. In our litigious society, I can’t name the real life insurance company, but I’ll let you think about which company I could be referencing. Hint: They sell life insurance and are named after a big city. Our second strategy is to buy term life insurance and invest the difference (also known as BTID). This is our benchmark strategy. Here, we’ll be buying a regular (inexpensive) term life insurance policy. Term life is simply a life insurance policy. It works just like your homeowners or auto insurance policy. If there is an incident covered by the insurance policy (i.e. a death), the insurance policy pays out.

Running the numbers

Our budget for either strategy is the same: $12,000 per year. We’re spending the same amount of money in each case to either



buy the “San Diego” universal life policy, or buy inexpensive term life insurance and then invest the rest of the money (BTID). However, the 20-year difference in a universal life vs. BTID strategy is over $380,000. Why the startling difference? Consider that in the first year of this universal life policy, there is no cash (surrender) value. Why? Because that money goes to pay for the salesperson’s commissions; insurance company fees and a cap on benefits further limit the final value of the universal life insurance policy.


For certain high net worth or high-income individuals (who have already maxed out every tax-advantaged savings option), a permanent life policy might be the way to go. However, for most people, the case study above shows that it makes more sense to purchase your investments and your life insurance separately. Given the data, it is not surprising that many fee-only financial planners advocate for buying a term life policy, and then investing separately. So the next time a salesperson offers you a life insurance policy that allows you to save money at the same time — make them a counteroffer — see if you can interest them in a dishwashing car. To see the original version of this article, visit hmsx3bm. —Taylor Schulte, CFP, is the CEO of Define Financial and the founder of StayWealthySanDiego. com and is passionate about helping people make smart decisions with their money. He can be reached at 619-577-4002 or



Cabrillo National Monument will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entrance into World War II during a special event scheduled from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The national park in Point Loma will host “Remembering Pearl Harbor: Honoring the Past and Inspiring the Future,” featuring tours of the restored military bunker, a flyover by a WWII aircraft, and a Lady Liberty Car Show. Park rangers will lead guided walks and present programs detailing what life was like in the U.S. during the war. Men and women who lived on the home front in San Diego during the war will talk about their experiences. Additionally, the park’s Visitor Center will host “Meet the Authors & Artists” gatherings on Dec. 10–11 at various times both days. Meet and greet Kim Fahlen and Karen Scanlon, authors of “Lighthouses of San Diego,” along with authors Kenneth Glaze (“The Illustrated Fort Rosecrans”) and Bill Griswold (“Cabrillo National Monument: An Essay in Photographs”). After 100 years, Cabrillo National Monument is gearing up for its next century of operation. Admission to the park is $10 per car. Visitors can tour the Old Point Loma Lighthouse or explore the tidepools from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. For more information, visit or call 619-222-4747.




If you’ve ever wanted to volunteer as a docent, the Maritime Museum — located along the North Embarcadero at 1492 N. Harbor Drive — is offering opportunities. As one of the top ranked maritime museums in the world, the Maritime Museum of San Diego has a worldwide reputation for excellence when it comes to restoring, maintaining and operating historic vessels, including the Star of India, the world’s oldest active ship. Docent training classes will start in January and volunteers will learn maritime history from around the world, with a focus on the 16th century through the 21st century, through artifacts and vessels in the museum’s collection. The 13-week training will be held on the upper deck of the Berkeley ferryboat. Classes begin Jan. 9, from 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m., and will continue for 13 consecutive Mondays thereafter. For more information contact Nancy Matthews, docent coordinator, at 619-341-6669 or nancy. More info about the museum can be found at


SUDOKU PUZZLE ANSWERS ON P. 4 Fill in the blank cells using numbers 1 to 9. Each number can appear only once in each row, column and 3x3 block. Use logic and process elimination to solve the puzzle.

San Diego Downtown News | December 2016



San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


Cygnet Theatre The Old Town Theatre 4040 Twiggs St. 92110 619-337-1525 |

“A Christmas Carol” Nov. 22–Dec. 24, 2016 Founded in 2003, Cygnet Theatre is a leading regional company and one of San Diego’s cultural icons. Each year, Cygnet Theatre creates an eclectic mix of six or seven mainstage productions, from classics to Broadwaystyle musicals. On stage and off, Cygnet Theatre is dedicated to bringing the best performances to San Diego. In the spirit of the holidays, Cygnet Theatre is proud to present “A Christmas Carol,” with shows at the Old Town Theatre from Nov. 22–Dec. 24. This season welcomes the return of the holiday classic adapted from Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of hope and redemption. This re-imagined, fully-staged production features original new music, creative stagecraft and puppetry, and live sound effects. Step into a Victorian Christmas card for a unique storytelling experience that is sure to delight the entire family! For more information and tickets, please visit z24ppls.

NTC Foundation 619-573-9304 2825 Dewey Road Suite 207 92106 Arts District Liberty Station is the place to skate, create and celebrate this holiday season. Revel in a wide range of activities, celebrations, shopping, dining and skating that will ensure festive holidays for all. Enjoy holiday craft making classes, see live performances or shop for holiday gifts with a creative twist. Fantasy on Ice, benefiting Rady Children’s Hospital, returns Nov. 17–Jan. 8, with the addition of rink-side vendors at a Winter Village Marketplace. A new temporary light art installation adds a creative spin on holiday décor. Starting on Nov. 30, marvel at the 90-foot Norfolk Pine as it transforms into a Holiday Wishing Tree. Our free Friday Night Liberty art walk continues on Dec. 2 and the annual Holiday Block

Party is on Dec. 10. To end the season, the annual free day of dance at Dorthea Laub Dance Place takes place on Dec. 26 helps kick off the 10th anniversary of Arts District Liberty Station. #SaluteTheSeason

San Diego Musical Theatre at Horton Grand Theatre 444 Fourth Ave. 92101 760-295-7541 The Old Globe Theatre 1363 Old Globe Way 92101 619-234-5623 |

Dr. Seuss’“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Nov. 5–Dec. 26, 2016 The Old Globe Theatre has been home to the most acclaimed national artists, designers, directors and playwrights in the theater industry. More than 20 productions produced at The Old Globe have gone on to play Broadway and Off-Broadway, garnering 13 Tony Awards and numerous nominations. In 1984 The Old Globe was the recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater for its contribution to the development of the art form. These awards bring world attention not only to The Old Globe but also to San Diego’s rich cultural landscape. Located in Balboa Park off of El Prado, between the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Man, The Old Globe is proud to present its annual family musical, “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” with shows between Nov. 5 and Dec. 26, the show is described as a wonderful, whimsical musical based upon the classic Dr. Seuss book. Back at The Old Globe for its 19th incredible year, this family favorite features the songs “This Time of Year,” “Santa for a Day” and “Fah Who Doraze,” the delightful carol from the popular animated version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” Celebrate the holidays as the Old Globe Theatre is once again transformed into the snow-covered Whoville, right down to the

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San Diego Musical Theatre at Spreckels Theatre 121 Broadway #600 92101 619-235-9500 |

“White Christmas” Nov. 25–Dec. 4, 2016

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“Miracle on 34th Street” Dec. 1–24, 2016 San Diego Musical Theatre (SDMT), founded by Erin and Gary Lewis on Sept. 26, 2006, is a professional, nonprofit, musical theater organization that produces Broadway musicals. With its mission statement, “To passionately produce and provide professional musical theater that ignites the human spirit,” the SDMT is proud to present two shows this upcoming holiday season. At the Spreckels Theatre, between Nov. 25 and Dec. 4, the classic holiday movie “White Christmas” will be brought to life on stage. Based on the beloved, timeless film, this heartwarming musical adaptation features seventeen Irving Berlin songs. Army veterans Bob Wallace and Phil Davis have a successful songand-dance act after World War II. With romance in mind, the two follow a duo of beautiful singing sisters en route to their Christmas show at a Vermont lodge, which just happens to be owned by Bob and Phil’s former commander. The dazzling score features well known standards, including “Blue Skies,” “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep is the Ocean?” and the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.” It promises a merry and bright theatrical experience for the whole family! For more information and tickets, please visit

At the Horton Grand Theatre, from Dec. 1–24, “Miracle on 34th Street” will bring a heartwarming holiday classic to San Diego, retold in the tradition of a live 1940s era radio broadcast. When a department store Santa claims he’s the real Kris Kringle, his case gets taken all the way to the Supreme Court. Watch the miracle unfold when the belief of a little girl makes all the difference in this iconic story. Adapted from the 1947 Lux Radio Hour Broadcast and staged with live Foley effects and a score of holiday carols, “Miracle on 34th Street” is a beloved musical that will melt even the most cynical of hearts. For more information and tickets, please visit


PARADE OF LIGHTS “For the first time, we’ve decided to go further down and then bring the parade around so that it crosses the bay and heads to Coronado,” Geis said. “So we’re trying to bring that community in and make them feel more a part of the parade, because they’ve got a great park down there, Chicano Park. The area is a very artistic area — it’s just such a neat place.” Any boat owner — whether that is of a small motorboat, yacht, or sailboat — can participate in the parade for a $50 entry fee. About 90 percent of participants are recreational boat owners, Geis said. The event typically draws approximately 100,000 spectators, who will have the opportunity to learn more about the participating boats if they watch the parade near one of the two announcer’s areas: the Coronado Ferry Landing and the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero. Organizers said the parade has the added bonus of being a boon to waterfront businesses. “The two Sunday nights this year, the 11th and the 18th, would be very soft nights for businesses on the bay if it weren’t for the parade,” Baumann said, adding that it was the boating community’s gift to San Diego. Parade judges, not necessarily boaters themselves, will consist of a diverse cross-section of the local community, with representatives from the San Diego Police Department, San Diego Zoo Global, United Airlines and the military. “We try to keep the judging very diverse, so that there’s lots of people from different backgrounds,” Schaa said. On Jan. 10, an awards banquet will be held at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, one of two restaurants on the bay owned by Baumann. Two dinner tickets to the banquet are included with the parade entry fee. This year’s raffle-determined grand prize is a Star Clippers cruise for two, and Schaa described their vessels as “gorgeous, gigantic, old-school sailboats.” Participants must be in both nights of the parade to qualify for awards. The Best in Theme prize, decided by judges, will be a seven-night UnCruise Adventures vacation, to either Costa Rica and Panama, or Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Geis also noted that Star Clippers has been a sponsor for five years. Other prizes are also up for grabs. “We try to get enough prizes that everybody walks away with something,” Geis said. “The awards dinner has become so popular, we now have about 300 people that attend. So it’s a really wonderful evening.” The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights will be held on two consecutive Sunday nights, Dec. 11 and 18, starting in Shelter Island at 5 p.m. The parade lasts approximately two hours. For more information, visit —Gina McGalliard is a local freelance writer. Contact her at or follow her blog, ginamcgalliard. com/mcgalliardmatters.v

San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


‘Carol’ - Cygnet’s warm-hearted gem Theater Review Charlene Baldridge

“A Christmas Carol”

Adapted by Sean Murray Score by Billy Thompson Based on the story by Charles Dickens Through Dec. 24 Cygnet Theatre 4040 Twiggs St. Old Town State Park For schedule and tickets visit

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost-Story of Christmas” originally began as a novella published in 1843, and then, almost immediately, it was adapted for the theater. The uplifting story recounts the redemption of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge through the Christmas Eve visitations of his decidedly dead partner, Jacob Marley, and three Ghosts of Christmas — Past, Present and Yet to Come. Cygnet Theatre Artistic Director Sean Murray goes back a long way with “A Christmas Carol,” initially through his youthful association with San Diego Repertory Theatre as an actor. For many years the Rep presented the play annually, and indeed Murray directed it there when he returned from college at North Carolina School of the arts (BFA, 2000). Murray and his life and business partner Bill Schmidt founded Cygnet Theatre in 2002 and moved it to Old Town, where Murray created his own adaptation of “Carol” in 2012. Coming in at a sleek two hours, the play is now seen with music by Billy Thompson, choreography by Katie Whalley Banville, set design by Andrew Hull, costume design by Jeanne Reith (based on original designs by Shirley Pierson), lighting design by Kyle Montgomery (based 619-337-1525

on original design by R. Craig Wolf), wig and makeup design by Peter Herman, and sound design by Matt Lescault-Wood. Music director Patrick Marion accompanies a versatile company of actors and three breath-taking, lifelike puppets created by Michael McKeon, Lynne Jennings and Rachel Hengst. The current cadre of singer/actors — who sing carols of the season as well as original music by Thompson — are Maggie Carney, Charles Evans, Jr., Melissa Fernandes, Melinda Gilb, David McBean, and Patrick McBride, all of whom play multiple roles. Tom Stephenson portrays Scrooge brilliantly, never out of touch with what made Scrooge Scrooge. The work is set in Elizabethan London on Christmas Eve. Physically and vocally imposing, McBean presents the series

“CRITIC’S CHOICE” -- San San Diego Diego Union-Tribune, Union-Tribune, 2015 2015

(l to r) David McBean as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Tom Stephenson as Ebenezer Scrooge in Cygnet Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” now playing at Old Town Theatre (Photo by Ken Jacques) of ghosts, not so gently leading Scrooge through a life increasingly devoted to amassing wealth. One of the play’s most poignant moments takes Scrooge back to the day when his fiancée broke off their engagement, accusing him of having replaced her with an all-consuming new mistress named money. The grown-up Scrooge’s cry to his youthful self, “Call her back! Call her back, you idiot!” says it all. Now way beyond love and meaningful engagement with others, Scrooge is forced by the ghosts to look upon his present, unsustainable existence, devoid of humanity and generosity. “I cannot afford to make idle people merry” he says to women soliciting funds for the poor. Equally

ugly are his relationships with his employee, Bob Cratchit, father of the crippled Tiny Tim, and with his own nephew, Fred. The company achieves harmonic blend despite the complexity of Thompson’s score. In an especially joyous pre-show warm up, all but Stephenson sing favorite carols culminating with audience participation in “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” preparing the audience for what is to come. What arrives is indeed a warm-hearted gem of the season. — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at


“A matchless holiday favorite. As witty, sweetly charming, and rewarding as ever!” The San Diego Union-Tribune

19 th Sm Year!ash

Hurry! Some performances already sold out! Limited engagement through December 26!




NOV 22 DEC 24




Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Book and Lyrics by Timothy Mason Music by Mel Marvin Directed by James Vasquez Original Production Conceived and Directed by Jack O’Brien

Generously sponsored by Audrey S. Geisel (619) 23-GLOBE! (234-5623) J. Bernard Calloway. Photo by Jim Cox. Dr. Seuss Properties TM & (c) 1957 and 2016 Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. All Rights Reserved.


San Diego Downtown News | December 2016


DOWNTOWN CALENDAR FEATURED EVENTS BALBOA PARK DECEMBER NIGHTS FRIDAY, DEC. 2 AND SATURDAY, DEC. 3 The city of San Diego and the Balboa Park Conservancy co-produce this annual tradition with two free nights of festivities at Balboa Park. For the 39th year, the community is invited to partake in fun, food and attractions throughout the park. December Nights will be held from 3–11 p.m. on Friday and noon–11 p.m. on Saturday with complimentary admission to Balboa Park museums from 5–9 p.m. Live entertainment throughout the event will include musical and dance presentations by San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree and more. Visit decembernights for more info.





ENTERTAINMENT SATURDAYS IN DECEMBER Every Saturday through Christmas Eve, the Headquarters at Seaport (789 W. Harbor Drive, Marina District) will present free holiday entertainment in their outdoor courtyard area while USO of San Diego collects donations and gifts under the Giving Tree to support military families in need. Performances will include: • Dec. 3: Valhalla High School band from noon–2 p.m. • Dec. 3: 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Jazz Combo band comprised of Marines, sailors and civilians from 3–4 p.m. • Dec. 10: Navy Band Southwest’s 32nd Street Brass band from noon–1 p.m. • Dec. 17: Valhalla High School band from noon–4 p.m. Visit and for more information.

SOUTH PARK WINTER WALKABOUT SATURDAY, DEC. 3 South Park Business Group presents this quarterly festival to support brick-and-mortar businesses in the area. The free event will feature complimentary treats, live entertainment and special offers at various businesses. This time of year, visitors can also enjoy Luminaria – South Park’s season of lights when the streets are lined with sparkling trees through New Year’s Day. The Walkabout highlights the business district from Kalmia and 30th streets on the north end to Beech and 30th streets on the south end. An info booth will be set up in the parking lot of California Liquor on Juniper and 30th streets. There will also be a free trolley making stops every 15 minutes at four spots around South Park. The event will take place from 6–10 p.m. Get details at


THE WATERFRONT BAR 5 & GRILL ANNIVERSARY PARTY AND HOLIDAY FUNDRAISER MONDAY, DEC. 5 The Waterfront (2044 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy) will host its anniversary party from 6 a.m.–10 p.m. with $1 sliders and $1 Coors Lights for those that donate $10 to the Marine Corps Christmas Fund. The fund helps military families enjoy a festive Christmas dinner. Donations will be taken at the door and in past years The Waterfront has raised thousands of dollars for a good cause. Visit for more information. HOLIDAY BAZAAR AND OPEN HOUSE THURSDAY, DEC. 8 Sparks Gallery (530 Sixth Ave., Downtown) will host this free event featuring jewelry and small works crafted by local artists. During the event from


5–9 p.m., there will be holiday treats and beverages served; a live painting demonstration by Alexander Arshansky; a kids craft corner and more. Visit bit. ly/2gSupRL for more info. POINSETTIA DEDICATION CELEBRATION THURSDAY, DEC. 8 Friends of Balboa Park is organizing poinsettia dedications at the Balboa Park Botanical Building in partnership with the city of San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department The $25 purchase is a tax deductible gift and the flowers will be on display through early January. This celebration will be held for Friends of Balboa Park members, poinsettia donors and their recipients from 3–5 p.m. at the Botanical Building (1549 El Prado). RSVP to events@ by Monday, Dec. 5 and donate a poinsettia at


EAST VILLAGE HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING AND QUARTYARD’S HOLIDAY MARKET THURSDAY, DEC. 8 AND FRIDAY, DEC. 9 Quartyard (1102 Market St., East Village) will host a two-day holiday market from 5-10 p.m. featuring craft vendors, holiday cocktails, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Plus there will be a bike valet hosted by East Village Association on Dec. 8 as well as a tree lighting ceremony to kick off the free two-day event. Proceeds benefit the East Village Landmark Sign project. Visit for more details.



CHRISTMAS EVE AND DAY DINING CRUISES SATURDAY, DEC. 24 AND SUNDAY, DEC. 25 Hornblower Cruises and Events is hosting brunch and dinner dining cruises on Christmas Eve and Day. Attendees will be greeted by holiday carolers when boarding and a traditional holiday buffet will be served while the yacht sails around San Diego Bay. The brunch cruises will feature free-flowing Champagne and sparkling cider. Boarding will start at 11 a.m. and the cruise will be from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Prices start at $64.95. The Christmas Eve dinner cruise boards at 4:30 p.m. and sails from 5–7:30 p.m. Prices starts at $92.95. The Christmas Day dinner cruise boards at 3:30 p.m. and sails from 4–6:30 p.m. Prices start at $92.95. Visit to book your cruise.

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CHRISTMAS EVE DINNER, CHRISTMAS DAY BRUNCH AND CHRISTMAS DAY DINNER SATURDAY, DEC. 24 AND SUNDAY, DEC. 25 Hornblower Cruises and Events’ on-land venue, The Abbey (2825 Fifth Ave.) will host several holiday meals over Christmas weekend. The venue was originally constructed as an Episcopal church in 1910 and is San Diego’s only remaining Classic Revival structure. Attendees will enjoy a seasonal buffet with desserts, Christmas carolers, holiday music and more. Prices start at $49 for adults with discounts available for seniors, military and children. Visit to make reservations.v

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NINTH ANNUAL GASLAMP HOLIDAY PET PARADE AND EXPO SUNDAY, DEC. 11 Sponsored by the Union-Tribune, this holiday event for pet owners and their furry family members will return to the Gaslamp Quarter from 1–5 p.m. The parade starts (at 3 p.m.) and ends at MLK Promenade Park (Fourth Avenue and K Street). Entry for the parade is $15 per pet in advance and $20 on the day of the event. There will be nine costume categories with prizes for pets, owners and families. Check-in and registration will start at 12:30 p.m. The coinciding pet expo will feature more than 25 pet-related vendors at Hilton Gaslamp Park (401 K St.). Visit for more information and to register your pet.


Rachel Hunt in her Wild Dove SD boutique located on Market Street, Downtown (Photo by Diana Cavagnaro)

Fashion Files Diana Cavagnaro New East Village boutique

Wild Dove SD is a new contemporary boutique in East Village. Owner Rachel Hunt saw a void in neighborhood boutiques and thought this would be a perfect time to open one. Hunt has a bachelor’s in fashion merchandising from Illinois State. After graduating, she worked in retail for 10 years with companies such as BCBG and 7 For All Mankind; equipped with all this experience she decided to open her shop in this destination city. Hunt wants her customers to have an effortless style with a multifunctional and casual-chic look. The target market is 20 to 65 years olds and she wants to focus on sustainable clothing that is all made in the U.S. One of her core sustainable brands is Amour Vert, made in San Francisco. Another is Gentle Fawn, which is a brand with an edge that tends to be more bohemian. The clothing in the store is trendy but not so trendy that it will not last a long time. Hunt also has accessories in the boutique with local designers such as Luna Norte from La Mesa, Craft and Foster candles and JaxKelly candles, which is a gemstone- and crystal-inspired brand. Each one of these soy candles has a crystal inside. Another brand is Killem With Chic, with its trendy T-shirts with slogans such as “I don’t give a Chic.” This brand was recently featured during Fashion Week San Diego and Wild Dove SD complimented the line for a knockout look on the runway. Hunt said her goal is to service the local community. Every neighborhood needs a great boutique and she wants to be that one shop. I asked Hunt what was in the future for this trendy boutique. “I will start an expansion in the spring so the store will be 1,500-1,600 square feet,” she said. “We will have more fitting rooms and I will be adding lingerie and shoes to the merchandise.” For a great shopping experience, stop by Wild Dove SD at 740 Market St.

Fashion and technology

The Visions Art Museum presented Fashion and Technology Nov. 12 in Liberty Station. The guests mixed and mingled with wine and hors d’oeuvres while fashion students and professors from San Diego Mesa College

Killem with Chic T-shirt and Wild Dove SD on the runway at Fashion Week San Diego. (Photo by Diana Cavagnaro) brought the runway alive with their designs for one exciting evening. These garments literally lit up the runway with LED lights and fiber optics. The audience was awestruck by all the new innovations and amazing creativity. The fashion show was narrated and curated by Susan Lazear, professor of fashion at Mesa College. Visions Art Museum is a nonprofit organization that’s goal is to create an international community with the appreciation of quilts, textiles and fiber as fine art. For a list of their upcoming lectures, workshops, or exhibitions, visit visionsartmuseum. org. For more information on the Fashion program at San Diego Mesa College, visit

Upcoming events

Dec. 11 | Gaslamp Pet Parade — The San Diego Union Tribune Gaslamp Holiday Pet Parade, presented by VCA Market Street Animal Hospital will be held at the MLK Promenade Park in the Gaslamp Quarter. This is your chance for owners and pets to don their favorite costume and join this fun day, which includes a pet expo. The event benefits San Diego Humane Society and the San Diego Police Foundation with the K9 Unit. For more information, visit Jan. 8 | Winter Bridal Bazaar — Kicking off 2017 is the Winter Bridal Bazaar, with fashion shows presented by Gretchen Productions at the San Diego Convention Center. Three shows presented throughout the day. For more info, call 760-334-5500. —Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at DianaCavagnaro. com.v

San Diego Downtown News | December 2016



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Š2016 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties (BHHSCP) is a member of the franchise system of BHH Affiliates LLC. BHH Affiliates LLC and BHHSCP do not guarantee accuracy of all data including measurements, conditions, and features of property. Information is obtained from various sources and will not be verified by broker or MLS.

An Independently owned and operated franchisee of BHHS Affiliates, LLC. Data from Sandicor as of 11/30/2016

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