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February 2016 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter


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

Valentine's Event Calendar Page 22

The state of San Diego

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Downtown leaders weigh in on Faulconer’s annual address By Hutton Marshall

increasingly more expensive places in the nation — and state — to live is indisputable. In an August 2015 report from the California Housing Partnership Corp. (CHPC), a San Diego renter household needs to earn more than three times the state minimum wage in order to afford average asking rents. The report showed that inflation-adjusted median rents in San Diego County increased 25 percent from 2000 to 2013, while inflation-

On Jan. 14, Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave his second State of the City address at the Balboa Theatre in Downtown San Diego. Downtown leaders praised the Republican mayor’s middle-of-the-road policy proposals and glowing portrayal of San Diego’s private sector growth. Faulconer, who is seeking re-election for the first time since winning San Diego’s highest office in a 2014 special election after Bob Filner’s departure, looked back on San Diego’s civic accomplishments and proposed several new policy initiatives in his 50-minute address. Recent successes praised by Faulconer included the city’s ambitious climate change mitigation plan, continued negotiations to keep the Chargers in San Diego, and better response times for historically underserved sectors of San Diego. With a tone similar to his previous address in 2015, Faulconer ultimately provided a very favorable view of the state of San Diego. “The foundation of our city is strong,” Faulconer said. “And ladies and gentlemen, the state of our city is strong.” Where Faulconer diverged from last year’s address, however, was in the speech’s forward-looking policy initiatives, which were markedly bolder and more numerous than last year’s address given 10 months after Faulconer’s inauguration. Such policies included strengthening ties with Tijuana, merging public school education with San Diego’s private science-driven economy and forging ahead with a robust infrastructure spending plan. Faulconer even declared that San Diego researchers would succeed in their long search for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. His keystone policy announcements, however, were his ambitious plan to expand the city’s park system and the “Housing Our Heroes” initiative, which aims to house 1,000 homeless veterans currently on the streets of San Diego. Regarding San Diego’s parks, Faulconer promised to create a new master plan for the city’s park system, open new green spaces in Mid-City, Mission Valley, Mira Mesa and Serra Mesa, and, most consequently, Faulconer promised the groundbreaking of 50 new or

see Housing, pg 13

see SOTC, pg 18

Counting the homeless ➤➤ FEATURE

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A long line of tents provide inadequate shelter for Downtown’s homeless (Photo by María José Durán); (inset) “tiny shelters” may soon change that (Courtesy Lisa Kogan)

The tiny shelters that can Group developing temporary haven for homeless people

Junior roller girls ➤➤ GASLAMP

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By María José Durán For the first time in 16 years, Michael Clark owned four walls and a roof over his head. His tiny shelter had a little window and a door that locked. For Clark — a home-

less man in his 40s who is also known as Redd — the 32-square-foot construction felt just like home. “I could smell the wood, it was fresh wood,” he said. The shelter was settled Downtown on the sidewalk of 16th Street, in front of a church. The Bishop had given Redd permission to place it there. On the third night that Redd slept in his tiny home, he was awoken by a policeman knocking on his door. The

see Shelters, pg 15

Affordable housing Community leaders grapple with the issues Standing the test of time ➤➤ THEATER

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Irish eyes are not smiling

Index Opinion…...............……6 Politics.....................7 Food & Drink Blotter ....16 Puzzles...................18 Fashion Files...............20 Calendar.............…22

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San Diego Community News Network

By Dave Schwab Though it’s no longer an “emergency” the City Council reaffirms every month, the lack of affordable housing throughout San Diego remains a serious problem community leaders continue to grapple with. “We’re no longer declaring once a month that there’s an affordable housing emergency, because we realized doing that was symbolic and wasn’t really accomplishing anything,” said District 3 Councilman Todd Gloria. “The council and the city are very much committed to [resolving] this issue. We have some big things planned for addressing this this calendar year, though there is a substantial amount of work to be done.” “Affordable housing is a problem, and it’s been a problem for years and we’ve seen it coming,” said Vicki Granowitz, chair of the North Park Planning Committee. “That’s why we’ve supported all the affordable proj-

Cedar Gateway Apartments are affordable housing units Downtown (Courtesy of ects that have come to us.” Granowitz said North Park community planners have tried to alleviate the housing shortfall by approving more “affordable and workforce housing.” “We traditionally think of affordable housing as low-income housing, but that doesn’t consider lower market rate-housing, which is harder to get now because rents with the new [high-rise] buildings that are going in are much higher than we’d prefer,” Granowitz said. That San Diego is one of the


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


‘We all count’ Citizens gather before dawn to survey the homeless Downtown By Joseph Ciolino Volunteers from across San Diego County gathered Downtown at Golden Hall hours before sunrise on Jan. 29, to take part in the 2016 WeAllCount homeless census in an attempt to receive more federal funding to aid the homeless. The event saw more than 17,000 volunteers participate in the count and was organized by both the Regional Task Force on the Homeless Homeless (RTFH) and the Downtown San Diego Partnership (DSDP). “What we do today really does matter,” said Kris Michell, CEO of DSDP. “San Diego is fourth in the nation for having homeless folks on the streets, yet our federal funding is 23rd.” The census was fully funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this year in order to seek out and better understand the homeless veterans in the county. RTFH is a nonprofit organization that visualizes putting an end to homelessness in San Diego County, and it supports 45 different agencies and 250 programs in doing so. According to the RTFH website, their mission is “to provide data and trusted analysis that empowers the entire community to identify, implement and support efforts to prevent and alleviate homelessness.” The entirety of the 2016 WeAllCount extends an entire week and takes place in three different phases: a sheltered count, which includes homeless individuals residing in shelters and transitional housing; an unsheltered count, the actual identification of the homeless on the streets, in vehicles, and in hand-built structures; and an in-depth personal survey. The focus of the WeAllCount Downtown census involved a personal survey solely based on people living unsheltered on the streets, in doorways, or in vehicles. Couch surfers, hotel inhabitants and the like were not to be counted as homeless for this particular process. Among those present for the early morning census on Jan. 29 was Councilmember Todd Gloria, who spoke to volunteers before they set out into the dark to conduct surveys. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins was also present and participated in conducting surveys. Over the past few years, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has not been responsive to the City Council’s call to look at the federal funding formula currently being provided for the city’s attempts on aiding the homeless. Gloria commended Rep. Scott Peters for his efforts in Washington, D.C., to have the formula — that has been deemed by Gloria and his colleagues to be unfair — re-examined this year. “Our census is so big, yet our dollars are so small,” Gloria said to those gathered to take part in the survey. “Your presence here this morning is going to make sure that we make the strongest case possible for changing that formula to match more to the needs, so we can help more of the San Diegans living on the streets and in our canyons outdoors.” Gloria expressed sincere grati-

(above) A group of volunteers prepares to document and interview Downtown’s homeless on Jan. 28; a volunteer fills out a questionnaire (Photos by Joe Ciolino) tude to the many volunteers that had gathered at such an early hour and received survey bags that contained hygiene packs, a map, $10 Subway gift cards, a flashlight and clipboard with the survey questionnaire attached to it. Homeless individuals were offered a Subway card to participate in the surveys, and received the card no matter how far they got into the survey. If they made it halfway through the survey they still received the card. “It’s not about a haircut guys,” Gloria said. “It’s about getting folks in the door, getting their information, getting them registered and then connecting with them to get them into housing. That’s how we end homelessness.” Cities across the nation are declaring an end to homelessness, according to Gloria, and cities such as Phoenix, Salt Lake City and the state of Virginia have already made considerable efforts to reduce the homeless population in their respective areas. An accelerated training brief was provided to all volunteers before they began canvassing the neighborhoods that went over the questions on the survey, which were developed by HUD and the VA. Preliminary survey questions included whether the person they were interviewing had been on the street the night before, or the morning of, and whether they had already been surveyed. After the training was completed, volunteers were asked to form two-person teams, to include one person who was experienced and had done the homeless count before. Each person was equipped with two surveys each, and when they completed both surveys, they would return them to Golden Hall. Additional questions included asking the actual date the individual had originally become homeless and how many times they have been homeless. Those surveyed could have spent a few nights in a hotel or in jail, and seven days “sheltered” is considered a “break in homelessness,” which is important to help identify the chronically homeless. Other questions involved alcohol and drug use, whether or not they are veterans, and if they have any physical disabilities. Once complete, RTFH will take the data gathered Downtown, add it to other census data from

around the county, analyze it and create demographic information to be provided to local and federal authorities. For more information about WeAllCount, to get involved, or learn more about the organization managing the census, visit —Joseph Ciolino is an editorial intern for SDCNN and a senior in the journalism program at San Diego State.v

San Diego Downtown News | February 2016



San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


Rolling warriors Modern-day roller derby is here to stay By Dave Schwab It’s like a band of sisters. That’s how 11-year-old Nicki “Bubblegum Brawl” Davis described her team, the San Diego Juvenile Dollinquents, who squared off against Beach Cities Shark Bites in a tracked junior league roller derby match Jan. 20, held at the “Dollhouse,” a 24,000-square-foot training facility in the East Village neighborhood of Downtown San Diego. The Juvenile Dollinquents are the all-stars of the San Diego Derby Dolls junior program, consisting of girls 7-17 years old. They played on a twin bill that evening with the San Diego Derby Dolls’ B-Level adult team, Sparks, ages 18-48, who took on the Beach Cities Sea Gals. The matches are all part of the “new” roller derby which, in San Diego at least, is youth-focused. Isabelle Ringer, general manager of the San Diego Derby Dolls, said the old school derby days of hair pulling and catfights staged by female competitors are long gone. “About 12 years ago, there was a resurgence that most of us refer to as modern roller derby,” Ringer explained. “It’s an entirely different set of rules. And you’ll find an entirely different age range of people playing.” The latest incarnation of roller derby is “a lot more like hockey, pretty intense, with a lot of physical play and a lot of contact,” noted Ringer. “There are pretty specific rules about the blocking, what part of your body you can use.” What hasn’t changed about roller derby through the years, however, is its excitement level, and almost mesmerizing ability to engage an audience. “You’ll still see pretty crazy stuff and you’ll see that out of both the juniors and the adults,” Ringer said. Tom Griffen, who refereed the junior league match, agreed the sport has evolved over time. “The difference is it’s all real now,” Griffen said of the changes. “When before, it was all made for TV. They were great athletes back then. So that’s the same. But it’s all real now.” Asked if his job was difficult, Griffen agreed. “You get people yelling at you,” he said. “But other than that … it’s a lot of rules. I learn something new every day.” “Ric-A-Shea” Conley, 14, said she she’s involved in junior roller derby because “it’s such an empowering league.” “It empowers women, makes you stronger,” she said. “Everyone builds

Junior Derby Doll, “Bubblegum” (Photo by Dave Schwab)

each other up. I love it so much. And, I made a whole new family. It’s my second home.” Conley said the sport is helping her grow up. “I’m so much more mature now and I’m able to have adult conversations,” she said. “Everything about it just encourages me to be who I am today.” Two adult Derby Dolls, Selenium Falcon and Killer Groove — who is captain of the Sparks adult team — said they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but at a roller derby match once a month when their teams play. “It’s a really interesting sport, an alternative,” said Groove. “It allows people, who aren’t normally into sports, an outlet.” One of those outlets involves selecting a derby moniker. “We’re real-life women, wives, mothers, all these things associated with our real names,” Groove said. “Giving us derby names gives us the ability to switch into more of our war-

rior roles.” Falcon agreed that roller derby is the sport for her. “I personally never owned a pair of skates in my childhood,” she said. “I saw my first derby match about six years ago and I chose to be a part of it and went out and bought a pair of skates. It is the most fun I’ve ever had. It’s the most mentally challenging game I’ve ever played.” Falcon said roller derby takes strategizing “to a whole new level.” “You’re constantly calculating every little thing that you’re doing — and changing up the plan at a second’s notice,” she said. Kelly “Clocks’ Em” Coffey handles promotions for the Derby Dolls. A single mom who works full-time in public relations, Coffey got involved in the sport about a year ago because she “wanted to do something different.” She’s now happy to volunteer her time helping the Derby Dolls out with their networking and social media. “We have a website, Twitter,

The Juvenile Dollinquents in action at their Downtown banked track (Photo by Dave Schwab)

San Diego Downtown News | February 2016 Instagram and Facebook pages,” Coffey said noting it isn’t such a bad responsibility. “The Derby Dolls are pretty much an icon in San Diego,” she said. “There are other leagues. But we’re the only one with a banked track. So it’s a lot more fun for spectators to come watch, as opposed to watching it on a flat surface. It’s more exciting when we get out there.” February kicks off the new sea-


son for the Derby Dolls. To learn more about this exciting local, live, banked-track roller derby group and buy tickets, visit or email them at info@ Follow them on Twitter and Instagram @ derbydolls, and —Contact Dave Schwab can be reached at


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


San Diego's craft beer scene is being targeted By Cody Thompson

Guest Editorials

Winter storms: Be prepared By Councilmember Todd Gloria After a few showers that were forecast to be far worse, San Diego finally saw in January what El Niño can bring: strong and prolonged rains, winds and floods. As a region known for its nice weather, San Diego got a wake-up call from those major storms. Before any more hit, take the time and make the effort to prepare.

Before a storm:

Protect your property from flooding with sandbags. Unfilled sandbags (limit 10) are available at local fire stations for free. Please note: Sand may not be removed from local beaches to fill the bags. Call 619-235-1000 or submit an online form at to report blocked storm drains. When trash and debris clog the storm drains, rainwater and run-off have no place to go, and flash floods can occur. Prior to the initial El Niño storm earlier this year, city staff cleaned out flood channels and storm drains, which prevented damage from being worse in many locations. Sign up for Alert San Diego at to receive notifications of weather warnings and other dangerous conditions.

• •

During and after a storm:

Be mindful that 9-1-1 should only be called for an emergency. The city’s first responders are especially busy during such difficult storm conditions, so be mindful about where you report your concerns.  Extreme flooding and fallen trees blocking roadways should be reported to the city’s emergency dispatch center, 619-527-7500.  Gas emergencies and downed electrical lines should be reported to SDG&E at 800-411-7343. If your property is in a flood zone, have critical items (medications, etc.) ready before a storm hits and leave early if flooding is forecast. If you cannot see the pavement because of pooling water on a road, do not attempt to drive through it.  Stay updated on road closures and flooded areas by following 2-1-1 San Diego on social media, or call 2-1-1 for non-emergency storm assistance options.

• • • • •

For more tips on storm preparation, please visit Please don’t hesitate to ask me for assistance as we prepare for additional storms and deal with the cleanup and aftermath. —Todd Gloria is the City Councilmember for District Three. Reach him at, or 619-236-6633.v

Poll of the Month Last Poll Results:

This Month’s Question:

With the end of the football season upon us, what's your current take on the Chargers?

Bob Filner has recently resurfaced in the news. Would you support a Filner comeback?

68% Let them go 21% Keep them and rebuild in Mission Valley 11% Keep them and build a stadium Downtown


To cast your vote, visit

News broke recently that 10 Barrel Brewing, one of the more recent purchases by the powers that be over at Anheuser Busch/InBev, sent an application to the city of San Diego requesting to take over an existing building in the neighborhood of East Village. The acquisition and expansion of this building in this Downtown neighborhood would, of course, be used to open a 10 Barrel Brewing tasting room and brewpub. With report after report showcasing the poor business practices by InBev to try and stomp out and remove local, independently owned beer, this can easily be seen as yet another attempt to deceive and confuse the beerdrinking public. Of course, San Diego’s vast and thriving beer scene has found itself with a target on its back. (Click here to read Civic San Diego’s Notice of Future Decision: AB/InBev is a company widely known for deceptive and highly questionable choices regarding its approach to taking over their corner of the “craft beer” marketplace. They use these deceptive practices to lie to the beer-drinking consumer about what is truly “craft” while using their beer acquisitions to hide behind a false sense of “local.” By confusing beer drinkers, they think they can stake a claim in the local beer community — OUR beer community. By allowing 10 Barrel to set up shop in our city, it will open the door for “Big Beer” to actively attempt to steer the beer-buying public into believing that they are a part of our tight-knit and proud beer community. Something of which they cannot, and will never, be a member. We can’t allow them to move into our neighborhood and masquerade as something, which they can no longer be — an independent brewery. I have heard it so many times — “If it’s good beer, then it doesn’t matter.” But it does matter, and in my opinion, in a big way. 10 Barrel moving into our city is not being done as a way to better our already strong beer community, it is an attempt to take away from it. By pretending to be a cool, new, local business, they look to take income from the locally owned breweries and brewpubs in San Diego who have fought since day one to succeed in this market. Think about a small, locally owned coffee shop that thrives on the commitment of a community intent on supporting a privately owned business, only to have a Starbuck’s move in right next-door. Possibly poor example, but it works for my point. Which is that AB/ InBev is the Starbuck’s of the beer world, and 10 Barrel is nothing more than another storefront for their entire mega-corporation looking to squash any and all competition. That is why this matters. The competition it looks to squash happens to be owned and operated by your friends, family, or even colleagues. In fact, the location in question happens to be right down the road from Monkey Paw Pub and Brewery, which will be its direct competition and target in the East Village. San Diego is proud of its beer community, and the people who make it happen to work hard to produce both locally made and owned products of the highest standard. Furthermore, San Diego beer has solidified itself as one of the best beer communities in the entire country. Our world-class breweries are owned and operated by a diverse group of individuals. Allowing a tasting room into our neighborhood whose parent company uses blatant sexist practices to try and strong-arm our local breweries out of their way to sell their product is a disgusting attempt to belittle the strong women in our city who work incredibly hard to make our local beer community what it has become. Our San Diego Beer Community has been built on pride, hard work, diversity and a strong collaborative spirit; qualities not shared by AB and InBev. These are qualities that AB/InBev wish to rip to absolute shreds, tearing apart the tightly wound fabric in which our beer community has been built. We can’t let that happen in San Diego. It has never been more important than it is right now to support local, Independent Beer. (#IndieBeer) It is nauseating to keep having to discuss moves like this, and hopefully if the San Diego beer community stands strongly together, stories like these will be nothing more than a hiccup in our quest for Indie Beer domination. So, where do you stand? Contact James Alexander, assistant planner of CivicSD, at or call him at 619533-7171 by Feb. 11 to make your views known. —Cody Thompson is a local beer aficionado and blogger who runs and pens a monthly beer-centric column in San Diego Uptown News. You can reach him at

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EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jeff Clemetson, x119 Ken Williams, x102 CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Toni G. Atkins Charlene Baldridge Diana Cavagnaro Joseph Ciolino Andy Cohen David Dixon Maria Jose Duran Anne Eichmann Christopher Gomez Ann Jarmusch Jeff Josenhans Hutton Marshall Johnny McDonald Kris Michell Kai Oliver-Kurtin Jake Romero Frank Sabatini Jr. Taylor Schulte Lucy Warren Joan Wocik COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 EDITORIAL INTERNS Joseph Ciolino Tori Hahn PRODUCTION ARTIST Suzanne Dzialo, x111

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Todd Kammer, x115 ART DIRECTOR Vincent Meehan (619) 961-1961 SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Andrew Bagley 619-961-1956 Sloan Gomez, x104 Lisa Hamel, x107 True Flores (619) 454-0115 SENIOR INTERN Jacob Rosenfarb ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 WEB DESIGNER Kim Espinoza PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951

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 2015. All rights reserved.

Congressional Watch Andy Cohen Welcome to the latest installment of the San Diego Congressional Watch! The new year off started rather strongly for Scott Peters (D-52), who, as reported by the San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN), was invited along with 14 other members of Congress to the White House by President Obama last month. The group previewed and discussed — with the president and Attorney General Loretta Lynch — a series of executive actions on guns that Obama subsequently introduced. The invitation came after Peters took to the floor of Congress over the course of several days to condemn Congress’ lack of action on gun safety in the wake of a myriad of mass shootings, all taking place after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shootings on Dec. 14, 2012, where 20 elementary school children and six adults were killed by a lone, deranged gunman. “I wanted to remind people that we need to take action on this,” Peters said in an interview with SDCNN. “The president did everything he could to enforce existing laws, but it’s still going to leave a hole that Congress has to address.” Obama’s executive actions, were predictably, roundly criticized by Republicans. Before the measures were even released, House Speaker Paul Ryan released a statement excoriating the president for attempting to act where Congress would not. “While we don’t yet know the details of the plan, the president is at minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will,” Ryan said in a statement. “This is a dangerous level of executive overreach and the country will not stand for it.” “It takes a lot of onions to criticize the president for strengthening existing laws,” Peters responded, noting that his Republican colleagues have long insisted that enforcement of existing laws was the only remedy necessary for reducing the unprecedented rash of gun violence in recent years. “Enforcement of existing laws is exactly what President Obama is trying to do. Ninety-percent of Americans think expanding background checks is a reasonable thing to do.” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-49) is convinced that FBI Director James Comey is chomping at the bit to indict former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, along with her longtime aide Huma Abedin, for conducting State Department business via a private email server during Clinton’s tenure. “I think the FBI director would like to indict both Hillary and Huma as we speak,” Issa told the Washington Examiner. “I think he’s in a position where he’s being forced to triple-time make a case of what would otherwise be, what they call, a slam dunk.” Clinton stepped down as Secretary of State in 2012, after serving during the first of Barack Obama’s two terms in office. Numerous Congressional investigations into potential violations of law have turned up empty. And while the State Department has determined that Clinton’s emails did contain a handful of items with classified information, none of that information had been declared classified until well after the fact, in some cases years after the fact. Clinton turned her email server over to the FBI in August, and the Bureau continues to investigate, but to this point has announced no findings of wrongdoing on Clinton’s or Abedin’s part. It should be noted that Issa has made such accusations before, most notably in relation to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya, where in

his role as chair of the House Oversight committee Issa insisted there was evidence of criminal wrongdoing on Clinton’s part that led to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. After years of handwringing, no such evidence was ever found. Meanwhile, Duncan Hunter (R-50), in a fit of hyperbole, has determined that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is a “bigger threat to the Marine Corps than ISIS.” In December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered all military combat positions be opened to women. The Marine Corps has insisted on maintaining some infantry positions for men only, while the other branches of the military have been working diligently to comply. The Marines had conducted a study that found that integrated units underperformed in comparison to their all-male counterparts, but that study was rejected as flawed. “Evidently, to the White House, the findings within reports and surveys are subjects of convenience,” Hunter wrote in an op-ed published on Fox News. “They only matter when they conform to the broader agenda, otherwise they’re meaningless. The dismissal of the Marine Corps and the special operations community in the gender integration process is proof of that fact.” Hunter, among others, made similar arguments in response to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” insisting that allowing gay members of the military to serve openly would destroy unit cohesion and undermine the military’s effectiveness. Our armed forces seem to have survived that sea change quite nicely, despite the dire predictions of Armageddon that preceded the end of that policy. In a petulant response to the president’s final State of the Union address, Hunter told the Washington Times that Obama was “naïve” on foreign policy and that he has contributed to the “complete and utter chaos in the world.” “He doesn’t understand the world,” Hunter said. “He simply doesn’t understand the world, even after being president for seven years. He’s naïve and almost childish in his world views. He lives in a house of mirrors where reality does not intrude in any way whatsoever in his world. There’s no reality in Obama’s world. None.” But then again, Barack Obama wasn’t the one who insisted the U.S. should use tactical nuclear weapons in a preemptive military strike against Iran. It’s almost as if the war in Iraq had nothing whatsoever to do with the current circumstances in the Middle East. Almost. —Andy Cohen is a local freelance writer. Reach him at ac76@

POLITICS Notes from Toni Speaker of the Assembly Toni G. Atkins

Claim your EITC! Notes from Last month, the Assembly passed HR 33, a resolution that I co-authored with Assemblymember Mark Stone proclaiming Jan. 22 to be California Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day. That day, I held an event at the Jacobs Center in Valencia Park aimed at promoting the state’s new Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). I want everyone who’s eligible for this benefit to claim it on their tax return. It’s extra money for the lowest-income workers and their families. I can tell you from my own experience growing up poor in Virginia how much every little bit helps when it comes to putting better meals on the dinner table and new shoes on the kids’ feet. I’d like to acknowledge a few of the people who participated in the kick-off on Jan. 22; Dr. Shirley Weber (who moved the EITC through the budget process last year), and entrepreneur and investor Joe Sanberg, who has generously funded the outreach campaign CalEITC4me. Also speaking were Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation; Doug Moore, executive director of the UDW Homecare Providers Union; and Laura Tancredi-Baese, CEO of Home Start, one of several San Diego agencies where local residents can obtain free tax assistance through the VITA program. We also want to thank everyone who attended the kick-off. The federal Earned Income Tax Credit is widely recognized as one of the most effective ways to fight poverty. But too many people who are eligible for the benefit — which can add up to thousands of dollars every year — don’t file for it, not only depriving themselves and their families of money they are entitled to, but also depriving local communities of an economic boost. Now, many low-income Californians have a second benefit that they can claim, and so we have yet another reason to spread the word and make sure people know how easy it is to get these helpful credits.

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San Diego Downtown News | February 2016 The state credit will help roughly 1.5 million low-income working Californians and pump $380 million into local economies throughout the state. Families can get up to roughly $2,600, depending on their number of children and level of income, lifting tens of thousands of people out of poverty. But for that to happen, people have to know about it. That’s where Joe Sanberg is helping. CalEITC4me is a public-private partnership that is funding a statewide outreach campaign and hosting a website, CalEITCforme. org, that provides all the information people need to find out if they qualify for the state and/or federal EITC, and how to claim them. The state’s economy is rebounding from the recession, but the recovery hasn’t reached all Californians. Wages are still lagging. But the state’s budget is strong, so in addition to paying down debt, saving more money for a rainy day, and bolstering education, the Legislature is continuing to strengthen the social safety net for those who are struggling. The state EITC is the cornerstone of those efforts, and an effective way to invest in people. Please help me spread the word. Editor’s Note: See our full report on the Cal EITC in our next issue. Around the district: Taxpayers also should be aware that the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program is available throughout San Diego. Generally, those with incomes less than $54,000 qualify. To make an appointment, please call 2-1-1 for the site nearest to you … Human trafficking is modern-day slavery — and unfortunately, the FBI has identified San Diego as one of the cities with the highest intensity of incidents. That’s why I’m proud to have introduced two bills to give law enforcement more tools in the fight to rescue these victims, some of whom are trafficked for sex. The first bill would establish a pilot housing program for young victims so they can be safe from their captors and have access to the appropriate services to recover. The second would establish a statewide task force made up of


law enforcement officials, courts and social service providers to determine best practices to detect and prevent this crime. —Toni G. Atkins is the Speaker of the California State Assembly. For more information, visit her website, or follow her on Twitter, @toniatkins.v


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


The Manila Café Gaslamp Landmarks Jake Romero The building currently occupying the address at 515 Fifth Ave., Downtown, was once home to the Manila Café and the Owl Hotel. Over the years, it has housed many businesses, including the Mandarin Café (1931 to 1933), a restaurant operated by Stanley Ming (1935 to 1938), and the Kid Jerome Billiard Hall (1940 to 1943). This structure has a unique architectural style within the district. At first glance, the architecture appears to draw inspiration from Asian influences, but upon further inspection, other details come to attention. The roof utilizes common red adobe tiles of the type used on Spanish-styled roofs. However, rather than rounding into the typi-

Manila Café (1930), is located at 515 Fifth Ave. Builder: Julius Verrast (Courtesy GQHF) cal Espadana (bell gabled) design, the roof displays the convex taper of an Asian roof, complete with spiral decorative attachments of concrete construction on both corners of the building. A small porch separates the first and second floors and runs across the front of the building supported

by three concrete brackets and two additional concrete spiral columns. Decorative window treatments with horizontal rows of 1-foot square panes run along the upper story. In 2014, this building received a new tenant and modifications to the exterior were made. However, the upper story, with its distinctive

roof, remains intact. —Jake Romero is the director of operations of the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation, located at 410 Island Ave., Downtown, in the historic Davis-Horton House. For more information visit


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


Gaslamp restaurants stand the test of time By Kai Oliver-Kurtin With so many new restaurants opening Downtown, we’ve seen several eateries cycle through within a matter of months — opening and then promptly closing their doors before most people have a chance to dine there. Rest in peace: Acme Southern Kitchen, Comun Kitchen & Tavern, Encore Champagne Bar & Dining Room, Table No. 10 and The Counter, among others. To see how others have stood the test of time in this high-rent district, we talked to a few restaurants that have managed to maintain success for decades. Blue Point Coastal Cuisine opened on the bustling corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street in 1995. With a consistent seafoodfocused menu, the restaurant has changed its offerings drastically over the years. Their previous chef was Filipino and brought a PanAsian flair to the menu, but the new French chef Samuel Geffroy brings more classic cooking techniques to the kitchen. “We’re able to evolve enough to stay current with certain trends, but we’re really timeless,” said Charles Schmidt, the general manager. “Our dining room is completely timeless as such — we remodel ourselves after that 1920s supper club style seen in New York and San Francisco — the big plush booths with dark leather, dark wood and brass. “It’s beautiful now, and will be beautiful forever,” he said. Schmidt noted that the restaurant draws from two distinct sets of clientele, including the Downtown locals and tourists staying Downtown

(left) Dobson’s has been around since 1984 (Courtesy Dobson’s); the Grant Grill is full of history (Courtesy US Grant Hotel) for events at the Convention Center. Being part of the reputable Cohn Restaurant Group also provides an advantage. The Cohns own six restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter that all support one another. “We can pull from each other’s ideas and utilize that depth of knowledge,” Schmidt said. “Unlike the standalone restaurants that don’t have that buddy system to fall back on.” Dobson’s Bar & Restaurant has been a mainstay on Broadway Circle in front of Horton Plaza since 1984. With a French-inspired menu, Dobson’s is known as the go-to spot for a power lunch among the city’s lawyers, politicians and other executives. When the restaurant was sold in 2014, Dobson’s was remodeled with new tables, booths, carpeting, bathrooms and decor, and a few

healthier menu options were added to the menu. “We have adapted to the times,” said Marcos Luciano, a co-owner. “We’ve added vegetarian and vegan options, but Chef Martin San Roman continues to make many of our original favorites including our mussel bisque en croute and duck a l’orange.” If you’re looking for a rowdy place to watch the game Downtown, Dobson’s isn’t the venue to do it. “Except for special events, we do not have a television in our bar,” Luciano said. “Rather, Dobson’s is a place where people come to talk and socialize after a long day’s work.” The restaurant has benefitted from its location inside the Spreckels Theatre Building and its close proximity to the San Diego Civic Theatre, Balboa Theatre and Lyceum Theatre.

“Dobson’s is often completely booked before and after theater shows,” Luciano said. Located inside The US Grant on Broadway between Third and Fourth avenues, Grant Grill has been a San Diego institution since 1951. Over the last 65 years, the restaurant’s offerings have evolved to match dining trends, leaving only the turtle soup as an original menu item. Since the use of green sea turtles on menus was eventually banned, a mock turtle soup was created years later with insight from the original chef who put the soup on the menu. “Dishes that wouldn’t sell 30 years ago are now staples on many menus throughout the city,” said Mark Kropczynski, the executive chef. “Thirty years ago, every plate at Grant Grill would have been built

on featuring a protein, starch and vegetable component, but now there is so much opportunity for chefs to be more creative. “For today’s diners, we have found that sometimes the more obscure an item, the better it will sell,” he said. Having constant patronage from hotel guests has been a valuable asset to the Grant Grill, but the drawback is that the restaurant’s entrance is not visible from the street. But much like Dobson’s, their proximity to several nearby theaters also helps with business. Grant Grill’s history, too, was built on providing a power lunch to professionals working nearby. According to Michael Trimble, executive director of the Gaslamp Quarter Association, a good reputation and a strong local following add to the success of these and other restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter. “You have to stay relevant to what is happening in the marketplace to have longevity,” Trimble said. According to Trimble, the Gaslamp Quarter is a very desirable place to own and operate a restaurant since it’s the gateway into Downtown San Diego. “We host over 8 million visitors a year and continue to be the neighborhood that people will always talk about and remember,” he said. For more information and a full list of restaurants, visit —Kai Oliver-Kurtin is a local freelance writer. She enjoys covering events, restaurant news, culture and entertainment. Contact her at kai.


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016

(l – r) Andrew Bernal and Chris Ward are running for Todd Gloria’s seat. The duo spoke at a forum recently for the Little Italy Resident’s Group. (Twitter/Facebook)

District 3 candidates fire up Little Italy By Anne Eichman On Thursday evening, Jan. 28, the Little Italy Residents Association (LIRA) hosted a forum with Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward at the Fire House Museum, located at 1572 Columbia St. These dynamic young men are campaigning to fill Todd Gloria’s seat on the San Diego City Council as our District 3 representative. This is no small feat in light of the demands that come with the job and

the tireless commitment they must have to the communities they serve. For 90 minutes, Ward and Bernal fielded a long list of questions from an approximately 48-person strong audience, with LIRA President Anne Eichman, acting as moderator. The two candidates covered everything from mending potholes to police retention, ending homelessness to increasing sales taxes and many more in between. It was a lively and amicable

exchange, with each man offering his perspective and analysis of the issues at hand. At the end of the evening, the audience left the Fire House Museum better informed and with a clearer picture of the choice at hand: Which man is the most qualified to represent us? —Anne MacMillan Eichman is president of the Little Italy Resident’s Association (LIRA). You can reach her at


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


Valentine’s Day weekend in Little Italy Little Italy News Christopher Gomez Come out to Little Italy this Valentine’s Day weekend to celebrate love, laughter and joy with your significant other, friends or family. The Little Italy neighborhood has got you covered with all the essentials you need this Valentine’s Day weekend with some of the finest restaurants, boutiques and stunning bay views in town —there’s an abundance of things to do! Here are some top things to do in San Diego’s Little Italy on Valentine’s Day weekend. Shop and prep: Stroll through Little Italy to find your valentine the perfect gift for him/her or get beautified for the weekend. The neighborhood offers an array of boutique clothing stores for the gents or ladies in your life like Vocabulary, Azzura Capri, Stroll, Little Apple, and other shops. After you shop for yourself and your lover, stop by and get pampered at spots like Salotto Blowdry Lounge & Hair Salon or 18/8 Fine Men’s Salon. Discover the romantic dining scene (even if it’s with a bear): Rooftop bars, sunset dinner views, intimate dining options and even a memorable pop-up dining experience prepared by Cow by Bear — an anonymous chef who dresses up and hosts a four-course dinner menu with wine pairings in the neighborhood —Little Italy has it all. Choose from Kettner Exchange, Buon Appetito, Davanti Enoteca, Civico 1845, Juniper & Ivy, and other hot spots that are guaranteed to satisfy your taste buds. Explore the neighborhood: Little Italy just launched its brand new Little Italy San Diego App that features multiple audio-guided tours, and it’s the perfect way to explore the scenic streets — which are lit up in red this time of year — and learn about the history of the neighborhood with your sweetie by your side as you wait for your table or reservations. Perfect nightcap: Grab a drink with your significant other at the Glassdoor, Sorrento, Ballast Point or countless other bar spots to wrap up the evening. Maybe even stroll over to Adelman Fine Art Gallery to see a special photo exhibition by San Diego award-winning photographer, David Leaser. If you happen to be in the neighborhood on Saturday, Feb. 13, take your date to the Music Box for a drink and some live music. Little Italy Association’s final touch: On Saturday of Valentine’s Day, the Little Italy Association will be providing live music at Piazza Basilone from 6 – 9 p.m. Also, on Saturday and Sunday evenings, the Little Italy community-wide valet will be discounting their service to $5 during operating hours (no overnight valet parking). To find out more information on where to wine, dine and treat your special someone with a memorable and romantic evening, please visit To stay connected with us during the month of love, check out what’s going on in our neighborhood by following us on Instagram and Twitter @LittleItalySD and Facebook/San Diego Little Italy. —Christopher Gomez has been Little Italy’s district manager since 2000. Reach him at

Little Italy will be hopping with romantic things for couples to do this Valentine’s Day weekend (Courtesy LIA)


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016

They also feature free WiFi. In the middle of the room is a small bar area serving craft beers as well as domestic and foreign wines. The kitchen is a large open concept, which allows patrons to watch the food preparations. The menu at Caffe Primo offers breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner to serve the growing number of residents in the neighboring apartment complexes. The cuisine is eclectic with an emphasis on typical Italian cuisine such as indiEast Village vidual pizzas, pastas, and panini, News but they also serve rice bowls, Joan Wojcik hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, and standard breakfast fare, which is served all day. With the increase in apartments Caffe Primo is noted for its houseand condominiums in East Village, roasted coffees — which have received there is also a rise in demand for several recognitions — Europeanneighborhood eateries. Caffe Primo, which means “coffee style atmosphere, and famous gelato first,” is the newest such eatery in the and sorbetto, which are not yet on the menu at the San Diego location. Caffe neighborhood. Located at 1330 Market St. on the Primo joins the other new eateries that have recently opened in East Vilground level of the 13th and Market lage; Bottega Americano, Stella Public apartment complex, the modest café opened approximately five months ago. House, and Halcyon Coffee Bar. Welcome Caffe Primo to East Though Caffe Primo is relatively Village! unknown to most San Diegians, it To learn more, visit iloveprimo. has a long history in Los Angeles, first com, or call Johnny, the manager at opening in 2004 as a small gelateria. 619-798-3488. The small café’s gelato and coffee became extremely popular with the Social announcement: Hollywood crowd, with Oprah, Bruce Willis, Kevin Costner, Jodie Foster, Ms. Kimberly Morris, 12th Daniel Craig, Renee Zellweger, and grade math teacher at e3 Civic Tim McGraw joining the long list of ce- High School, located in the Downlebrities who have visited Caffe Primo. town Central Library, is asking Before opening its latest store East Village residents to complete in San Diego, its other locations a student-created survey for a class included West Hollywood on Sun- project asking residents’ opinion set, Downtown on La Flower, and regarding life in East Village. To one in Anaheim, with additional participate in the survey, visit stores planned. As you walk into the East Village Caffe Primo, you will find the décor —Joan Wojcik is the president has an industrial feel with concrete of the East Village Residents Group. floors, high loft-style ceilings, and Contact her at eastvillageresidentswood and metal tables and chairs, Learn more which lends a feel of casual dining. about the EVRG at evrgsd.orgv

Buon appetito at Caffe Primo


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


Metro Villa Apartments are affordable housing in City Heights. (Courtesy of FROM PAGE 1

HOUSING adjusted median renter household income declined 4 percent. That report also concluded San Diego County needs 142,564 additional affordable rental homes to meet the needs of its extremely low income (ELI) and very low-income (VLI) renters. “The vast majority of San Diego County’s low-income renters spend more than 50 percent of income on rent, leaving little left for food, transportation and health care,” said the CHPC report, which also determined that, when housing and other costs of living are factored in, San Diego County’s poverty rate rises from 14.5 percent to 21.7 percent: about one in five people. Overcrowding for low-income renters in San Diego County is also 50 percent above the national average, contributing significantly to poor health and academic achievement among low-income children. Plus, reductions in federal and state funds, including elimination of redevelopment funding, have reduced San Diego County’s affordable housing funding by over $139 million since 2008, a 67 percent reduction. “What I’m hearing from my constituents is that they feel squeezed,” Gloria said about today’s real-life situation for lower-income renters. “They are dealing with stagnant wages and that, coupled with rising energy, water, food and housing costs, is a lot for them to absorb.” Gloria added many Mid-City residents, who used to get a rent break because their housing was 40-plus years old, are benefiting no longer because housing construction has lagged behind. “Landlords are now able to ask for top-dollar rents in the market, even in buildings that are older and have been considered less desirable,” Gloria said. In Kensington and Talmadge, community planners strongly support the theory of the City of Villages, wherein denser housing is concentrated along easily accessible bus, trolley, train and bicycling corridors. “They [planners] certainly view it [Villages] as an improvement over the older development model,” said David Moty, chair of

the Kensington-Talmadge Planning Group. But Moty acknowledged that housing density and affordability remain “touchy” subjects. “What makes dense, affordable housing an issue is the lack of supportive public infrastructure,” he said. “For years the city has plead poverty for why infrastructure couldn’t be built. But even when other government agencies have stepped up to pay, the city has turned away infrastructure from our communities.” Moty said he and some others “have lost all confidence in the city’s ability to build what we really need to solve our problems versus spending our infrastructure money on what’s easy for them to push through the system. Why grow your community by a quarter or a third, when the only improvements you’ll ever see are a bunch of corner sidewalk ramps?” he asked. Granowitz noted one way North Park planners are encouraging development of more affordable housing is to encourage developers to “put their affordable units in their projects, rather than pay in-lieu fees. We believe that spreads out the affordable units through the newer developments.” North Park also “solidly supports” the City of Villages concept embraced by the city, Granowitz said. “The plan is to put your density in your major transportation corridors,” she said. “We want our higher densities on Park and El Cajon boulevards, where there is better Rapid Bus and other transit. If you want to increase pedestrian and bike uses, and get people out of cars, you need to have pockets of high-density.” Gloria said part of what needs to be done to address housing shortfalls is to lay the groundwork for setting — and accomplishing — the goal of creating more affordable units through the community plan update process. “Right now we’re involved in updating community plans in both North Park and Golden Hill,” Gloria said. “What those community plans do when they’re updated is to create a general consensus of what the communities want done in their neighborhoods.” Uptown planners are also updating the community plan for Bankers Hill, Park West, Hillcrest,

Mission Hills, Medical District, Middletown and the western half of University Heights. The eastern half of University Heights is part of the North Park planning group, with Park Boulevard being the dividing line. Updated community plans give authorities a new blueprint to work from when planning for things, including needed upgrades to affordable housing. Gloria noted a lot of current Mid-City redevelopment is occurring within mixed-use developments, with retail on the ground floor and housing above, in multi-story projects like those being built along El Cajon Boulevard. In December 2015, the City Council’s Smart Growth and Land Use Committee (SGLUC) unanimously voted to have staff study and report back on a series of proposals designed to alleviate San Diego’s lack of affordable housing. The San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) presented SGLUC with 11 ideas that would require government action at the local, state and federal levels, to address the need for more affordable housing. The suggestions generally involve lowering costs for developers, because government red tape often makes it more expensive to build affordable housing projects, according to building industry leaders. Among the commission’s proposals: • Setting annual goals for producing affordable housing • Providing incentives for developers to make at least 20 percent of their housing units affordable • Lowering parking requirements • Reducing requirements for ground-floor commercial space, which raises project costs • Shortening the time it takes to process permits and entitle properties • Supporting efforts to reform the California Environmental Quality Act City staff was directed by SGLUC to come back soon with proposed ordinances, resolutions and lobbying efforts to help implement SDHC’s proposals. “This is a crisis,” Gloria concluded about affordable housing. “We [the city] are looking to do whatever we can to try and help.” — Dave Schwab can be reached at


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016

Padres expand their outreach with Mexico er regular season game in Mexico. One potential site would be Mexico The San Diego Padres might City again in 2017 for the opening best be described as Major League of a new stadium. Baseball’s ambassadors to Mexico. A great influence in the Padres In past years they have made “across the border” activity comes many visits and coming up on from Mexican businessman and March 26-27 they’ll renew that part-Padres owner Alfredo Harp role when they face the Houston Helú. He also owns the highly Astros in a pair of spring training successful minor league team, the games at Fray Nano Stadium in Mexico City Red Devils. Mexico City. The Red Devils, or Diablos The two-game series was orga- Rojos del Mexico, of the Mexinized by Major League Baseball can Baseball League, are highly (MLB), the MLB Players Associaregarded in the country. They have tion, and the mayor of Mexico City, won 15 Mexican League championDr. Miguel Mancera. ships, the most of any professional This marks the first MLB club in any sport in Mexico. appearance in Mexico City since “The strategy with Mexico 2004. is evolving, but we’re going to “We’re very excited to be in have one,” said Padres presiMexico City and bring our game to dent and CEO Mike Dee. “This Mexican fans,” said Padres Genis an example and a chance to eral Manager A.J. Preller. “Playing work with Mr. Harp, one of our in Mexico isn’t a foreign concept owners, to bring this together. for either team.” There’s more to come. The Padres have made seven “We’re working on a lot of difspring training trips to Mexico and ferent ideas and plans but this is a played regular season games in significant step,” Dee said. Monterrey against the New York “It is our hope that we can Mets in 1998 and Colorado Rockies continue to present our game and in 1999. its bright young stars to the fans of They have played exhibition our southern neighbor for years to games in Mexico City in 1972 and come,” added MLB Chief Operat1981, Tijuana in 1982, and Culiaing Officer Tony Petitti. can in 1997 and 2001. “As the host of the 2016 AllThis is the Astros first trip Star Game and a long-standing to Mexico since previous games supporter of baseball in Mexico, in Mexico City — a two-game the San Diego Padres are uniquely series against the Miami Marpositioned to promote baseball lins in 2004. around the world,” said Chris Fray Nano Stadium has a Park, MLB senior vice president. 4,500-seat capacity but will unAccording to Donald Muller of dergo a temporary expansion to the MLB office, Arizona has been accommodate roughly 8,000 fans the only team to maintain a schedfor the Padres – Houston series ule of Mexico games since 2008 in March. against the Chicago White Sox The Padres hope to play anoth- and Rockies in Hermosillo.

By Johnny McDonald

Following the announcement of the games with the Astros, Dee and Tom Seidler, Padres’ senior vice president of community and military affairs, were in Tijuana to announce the organization’s expanded outreach efforts in the Baja region. They include the cross-border MLB All-Star Community Legacy project to focus on refurbishing Tijuana’s Boys and Girls Club facility; and a multiyear extension with the Padres’ Spanish radio partner Uniradio; which will continue to broadcast all regular-season Padres games in Spanish throughout San Diego and Baja. The games will be heard live on XEMO. “The announcements are a continuation of the Padres’ renewed commitment to fans in Tijuana and throughout northern Baja California,” Dee said. “I’ve always mentioned that the San Diego Padres are also Tijuana’s team,” said Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazarán. “And expanding what the Boys and Girls Club does is great news for us.” In an effort to make it easier for fans south of the border to visit Petco Park, the Padres will expand its international bus program. Mexican fans can purchase a package that includes a game ticket and bus transportation from Tijuana to Petco Park. For more information, visit —After an award winning, 38-year sports-writing career with the San Diego Union and authoring three books, Johnny McDonald now considers writing a hobby. You can reach him at johnny23@ FROM PAGE 1

SHELTERS officer had come to arrest him and the mobile cabin was impounded. Later that day, Lisa Kogan, a teacher and volunteer that helps homeless people in San Diego, bailed him out. No charges have been filed against him, but the tiny shelter is still sitting in a police station. “I think about it every day,” Redd said. “I miss it.” Kogan had built the tiny shelter and donated it to Redd. “I felt responsible for him getting arrested,” Kogan said. “But since then a lot of good things have come out of that.” A group of citizens, currently under no specific organization or name, plan to create a small village of tiny shelters like the one Redd owned for three nights. Long-time activist Jeeni Criscenzo became interested when she read the story of Redd and Kogan in the newspaper. “We agreed to get together and then it ended up that we had 10 people at my house,” Criscenzo said. “The energy was so exciting when we started talking about it.” The group’s goal is to stop talking and take action to alleviate the San Diego homeless crisis. Nearly 40 volunteers signed up on Jan. 26 to start working on the project. The commissions of logistics, construction, fundraising, legal, and public relations are taking the first steps towards building a village of tiny temporary shelters in Downtown. The group’s plan includes 10 tiny cabins of 60 to 80 square feet, plumbing for a community bathroom and a garden. Their calculations show that each shelter will cost around $2,000. The first obstacle that the volunteers found was where to place the village of tiny houses. A homeless man pointed out to Kogan that a lot at 17th Street and Imperial Avenue had already been used with the owner’s permission by a community of homeless people sheltered in tents. “They tried to keep it very organized, pretty safe, but they had a problem with people coming on to [the property] that weren’t people that should be there,” Criscenzo said. After that, the police threatened to fine the owner of the lot if the settlement continued, and the community had to leave. “That’s because [the owner] didn’t know that the property was in a zone pre-approved for building emergency shelters,” Criscenzo said. California law requires cities to determine spaces where emergency shelters can be built without a permit. A housing element regulation approved by the city of San Diego in 2006 designates the lot at 17th Street and Imperial Avenue as a zone where shelters are allowed year-round. However, the municipal code contradicts the city’s Housing Element by requiring a Conditional Use Permit to build emergency shelters in the area.

San Diego Downtown News | February 2016 15 NEWS / TOWN VOICES Glimpsing into Downtown is changing Downtown’s future

Downtown Partnership News

Kris Michell

(above) Lisa Kogan’s tiny shelter idea may get off the ground; (below) Redd had a tiny shelter Kogan provided him impounded by police (Photos by María José Durán) Katherin Rhodes, a civil engineer and volunteer for the tiny shelters, maintains that despite the municipal code, the shelters could be legally built on the Downtown lot. The group is now in negotiations with the property’s owner, who is willing to let them use it. “All we need is for Mayor [Kevin] Faulconer to say ‘yes’ to it, but I don’t know if he understands that he can just say ‘yes’ to it,” Rhodes said. The city’s approach to the unsheltered homeless issue, which has spiked dramatically in the last year, is shifting toward a permanent housing solution. “I’m grateful for the compassion of those who promote the tiny home concept, but would prefer they support proven solutions to ending homelessness, like Housing First,” Councilmember Todd Gloria said via email. Housing First is an alternative to transitional housing for homeless people that moves them from the streets into their own apartments, providing services like job placement after they are settled. Criscenzo believes that there is no political will to help end homelessness. “They just want them to go away,” the activist said. “If you can get them immediately into permanent shelter, God bless you. Show me how that works, but we don’t have the housing. So we are calling [the tiny shelter village] a ‘meantime’ solution.” The elderly and women with children will be a top priority for this transitional housing, and while the tiny shelter residents will be made

aware that the housing is temporary, Criscenzo emphasized that the occupants need to feel like they aren’t going to be pushed out. “People would be encouraged that this is a stopping point, this is not forever,” Criscenzo said. “So we would have to bring services to help people. Anything from getting your benefits, to parental training, to getting your credit straightened out, and substance abuse problems.” For the group of volunteers, their biggest problems will be selecting the occupants and controlling the urge for other homeless people to get into the space. Last year’s homeless count found 8,742 homeless people in the city of San Diego, 4,156 of them unsheltered. The blocks around the lot where the tiny shelters are proposed to be built feature other shelters, like Father Joe’s, and day centers for homeless people. On a simple walk around the area, more than 30 tents used as makeshift shelters can be counted. “It’s going to be heartbreaking, but we have to show that we can control this,” Criscenzo said. The group hopes to create a model that can be replicated in different parts of the city. To volunteer for the tiny shelter community, send an email to Donations can also be made through the nonprofit Amikas, specifying “Tiny Shelters” on the subject line, at —María José Durán is a freelance writer from San Diego. She can be reached at emyein@hotmail. com.v

The American city is in the midst of a rebirth. Across the nation, we’re seeing a reversal of the trend that started 60 years ago, in which the middle class moved away from urban centers, along with much of the commerce that serves them. From the millennial generation to the aging baby boomers, Americans are once again embracing city living and all it offers — vibrant, walkable neighborhoods close to work, restaurants, shopping, and cultural events. San Diego serves as a perfect example of the flight from the suburbs back to the urban core as the place to live and work. But while we knew, anecdotally, that San Diegans were choosing to live or locate their businesses Downtown in increasing numbers, we wanted to know exactly who our revitalized city center was attracting — and why. That’s the reason the Downtown Partnership partnered with UC San Diego’s Center for Research on the Regional Economy last year, to gather data to build a profile of Downtown’s residents and workers. The study is the first major effort to capture Downtown’s changing demographics and captures key insights on the economic and social factors driving the urban population. Based on the evidence from the first of two phases of the study, it’s clear that Downtown offers the lifestyle amenities and aroundthe-clock environment that millennials and baby boomers desire in their personal and professional lives. Here is a glimpse of what we can expect for Downtown San Diego between now and 2050.

Downtown is a regional center for population growth From 2012 to 2050, the residential population in Downtown will more than double, growing by nearly 30,000 residents. Downtown will grow by 91 percent between 2012 and 2050, while the region will only grow 29 percent by 2050. That means that Downtown will account for roughly 3 percent of the region’s growth by 2050, even though it only accounts for less than four of the 4,526 square miles in the entire region.


Downtown is currently dominated by men, who account for 59 percent of the population, but women are expected to outnumber their male counterparts within 10 years. Nearly half of Downtown’s population consists of millennials between the ages of 18 to 34. More than half of Downtown residents are Caucasian, while about 20 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino. The fastest-growing ethnic groups in Downtown are of mixed-race ethnicity or Asian and the study predicts those who identify with two or more races will grow by 125 percent between 2001 and 2024.

Downtown is highly educated and affluent

Downtown residents are highly educated; close to one-third have earned a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution, and roughly one-fifth have earned a graduate, medical or law degree. More than half have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to just 35 percent countywide. Downtown residents have a higher average annual salary than the rest of the county as well, which isn’t entirely surprising, considering the high concentration of business, management and tech innovation careers concentrated here. Downtown residents earn an average annual income of $74,000 compared to $59,000 countywide.

Downtown is a mecca for innovation and economic growth

In addition to being a mecca for well-educated people, Downtown is also hub for innovation and economic growth. Between 2020 and 2035, jobs in Downtown are projected to grow by roughly 50 percent, which signifies that Downtown’s role as the region’s economy booster is only expected to grow. Because of its large concentration of technology startups — more than 100 to date — Downtown was named the No. 1 startup cluster in the county in 2014.

Downtown is a center for the arts and work-life balance

A magnet for culture and creativity, Downtown is home to 13 arts and culture organizations, 29 active art galleries and seven neighborhood planning and architectural organizations. Downtown is also a walker’s paradise, with almost 19 percent of the population walking to work. We also have 20 parks, 16 neighborhood green spaces for community engagement, 10 monthly farmers markets and more than 220 happy hours. —Kris Michell is the president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit, member-based organization that serves as the leading advocate for the revitalization and economic health of Downtown. To learn more about the Downtown Partnership, visit


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


Little Italy’s hotspot for Latin American cuisine, Sirena Gourmet Latin Seafood, has temporarily closed its doors for a re-branding that includes a new name, Sirena Cocina Latina. The restaurant is expected to reopen within the first week of February with a brighter color palette, new design features, and a full liquor license. In addition, Chef Jaime Chavez has revised the menu with “accessible” dishes stamped with Chilean, Peruvian and Mexican influences. 1901 Columbia St., 619-564-8970. As of February, Seasons 52 in The Headquarters at Seaport has begun serving Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., with a menu featuring brick-oven brioche French toast, baked eggs in sweet pepper sauce, eggs Benedict, and smoked salmon flatbread. The brunch is available so far only at this location within San Diego County. 789 W. Harbor Drive, 619-702-0052.

Turducken beyond the holidays at Jsix (Courtesy the Nth Element) Chef Christian Graves of Jsix has introduced a few mid-winter dishes that include a standout three-bird turducken, an ambitious dish seen normally around Thanksgiving in select kitchens and butcher shops. Think turkey stuffed with chicken and duck, and served with red-eye gravy and black-eyed peas. The dish sells for $27. Other newcomers to the dinner menu are smoked apple-cured trout salad, burrata cheese puffs, and meatball-stuffed quail. 616 J St., 619-531-8744.

The Westgate Hotel and Old Harbor Distillery have teamed up to present the San Diego Masters’ Cocktail Challenge at 6:30 p.m., March 5, in the hotel’s Versailles Ballroom. Nearly 10 mixologists are taking part, including Irving Gonzalez of The Westgate, Eric Johnson of Juniper & Ivy, Christian Siglin of Bracero, and more. The competition will spotlight Old Harbor’s new cold-pressed coffee liqueur named Ampersand, which was formulated in conjunction with Coffee & Tea Collective. Tickets are $56 per person, which includes two cocktails and appetizers. Or for those wishing to sample from each competitor, the cost is $96 per person. 1055 Second Ave., 619-557-3655.

A carne asada meal at the new Pipirins (Courtesy Cook + Schmid) A fast-casual restaurant specializing in carne asada opened Jan. 21 in Downtown. Touted as an authentic Guadalajaran eatery, Pipirins gives customers a taste of the seasoned beef seared over open flames rather than on a flat grill for achieving what its native Guadalajara owners describe as “campfire flavor.” Everything is cooked to order, including other meat dishes such as chicken and strip loin asado. 531 Broadway, Suite B, 619-795-6960. Unlike so many other designated food and drink “holidays” that go largely unnoticed, a number of restaurant and bar owners throughout San Diego are rising to the occasion for National Margarita Day, which this year falls on Feb. 22. The cocktail’s genesis remains disputed. Some say it traces back to a Tijuana bar in the late 1930s; others claim Dallas socialite Margarita Sames invented the drink at her vacation home in Acapulco a decade later. Whatever the case, a few Downtown establishments are paying tribute in the weeks ahead. At Don Chido in the Gaslamp Quarter, the drink is receiving a South American twist with the use of Kaapa Pisco Rum instead of customary tequila. At the nearby Commons Bar, jalapenos, fresh lime, and cilantro are among the ingredients comprising the “skinny scorpion” margaritas. And over at Sally’s Seafood on the Water at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, expect to see tropical margaritas constructed with mango puree, gold tequila, Cointreau, and house-made margarita mix. Revered for its Tuscan-style cuisine, Acqua Al 2 in the Gaslamp Quarter has closed its doors after operating in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter since 2000. The restaurant, headed by Chef Martin Gonzalez, became the sister operation to the original namesake establishment in Florence, where Gonzalez spent time training. Word has it that he will return to his roots in Mexican food with a possible new venture yet to be announced. 322 Fifth Ave. —Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


Persian perfection Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. It wasn’t the first time my appetite was cued from watching CNN’s “Parts Unknown,” a culinary travel series hosted by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. The show has sent me running in the past to the nearest kitchens serving Thai dumplings, Brazilian meat skewers, and more recently, to some of the most tastefully prepared Persian food San Diego has to offer — at Bandar in the Gaslamp Quarter. Just as Bourdain spotlighted while 845 Fourth Ave. eating his way through Tehran, the gently (Gaslamp Quarter) spiced meals at Bandar are served in generous portions and feature everything from 619-238-0101 gorgeous lamb dishes and mouthwatering shish kabobs to exotic stews and saffronkissed basmati rice that’s so featherlike, a Lunch specials: $14 to $31 gentle breeze can nudge it off your plate. (includes salad). Dinner: soups, Bandar, which translates to “port,” also salads and starters, $6 to $12; reflects the heartfelt hospitality Bourdain encountered in Iranian households and entrees, $18 to $36 restaurants. Here, the staff is equally eager to feed you the specialties of chef-owner Behrooz Farahani, an Iranian who emigrated to the U.S. in 1988 as an architect harboring a desire to cook for people. Visit for lunch, and a shareable complimentary salad dressed simply in lemon juice and olive oil arrives to your table ahead of the entrees. Speckled with feta cheese, the appeal doubles when rolling some of the salad into a piece of house-made lavash bread always included with lunch or dinner. The endearingly soft-spoken Farahani opened Bandar in 1996 a few doors down, before eventually moving to his current location, which shows off two dining rooms he designed with a good deal of finesse for presenting his native cuisine. The main room is loungy with overhead lights artistically encircled by tiny metal chains. A wavy ceiling further back cascades gracefully over the bar. In the adjoining dining area, named The Olive Room after its color scheme, Persian appointments mix gracefully with a wall of accolades earned over the years from Zagat and various media. Not surprising, Bandar’s “world famous chicken” entrée is cited in nearly every review. Farahani weaves boneless, skinless breast strips into sizable balls and then marinates them overnight in onions, olive oil, fresh lemon juice, saffron, and a little salt and pepper. They’re charbroiled upon order, and what you get are eight orangetinted orbs of juicy chicken more elegantly flavored and prettier on the eyes than any (top to bottom) Dolmeh (stuffed grape leaves); Bandar’s “world white poultry meat you’ll find anywhere. famous chicken”; Persian baklava; French-cut lamb chops; and The marinated French-cut lamb chops the house salad (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.) my companion chose wowed us as well.


Served also with a heap of basmati rice and a succulent grilled tomato, all four chops required only a lazy push of the knife for extracting the earthy, seared flesh from the bones. Both proteins appear in a number of other dishes such as Iran’s popular pomegranate-walnut stew (fesenjan) made with chicken or lamb shank; the albalu polo featuring chicken over black cherry rice; and the baghala polo, which is lamb in light tomato sauce with dill and lima beans that I recall savoring at the old address. Filet mignon occupies a section of the menu in the form of kabobs or as a full steak. Although when the beef is ground and shaped into strips (koobideh), the price becomes considerably cheaper for an authentic taste of Persian-style beef that’s similar to Lebanese kafta, but better under Farahani’s knack for seasoning meats with such poetic soul. Given the large entrée portions, prepare to take food home if dabbling in appetizers or saving room at the end for dessert. That said, Persian food is lighter and healthier than most, so don’t rule out certain first courses like the shallot dip (must-o mosier), which exposes us to the joyful tang of silky house-made yogurt — or the stuffed grape leaves (dolmeh) packed with split peas, rice and a unique riot of herbs that begin with the subtle licorice flavor of tarragon. These are excellent first courses. And the baklava is a winner, too, with its dense filling of pistachios and flaky filo pastry moistened with rose water and honey. Bandar’s lunch specials are served from 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. They include the fabulous, aforementioned house salad. Dinner is served nightly until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. —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 fsabatini@


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San Diego Downtown News | February 2016



upgraded parks over the next five years. “For me, protecting our parks is the reason I became involved in public service,” Faulconer said. “Some of my best memories growing up are the summers my family and I spent at the local rec center or hanging out at the beach. And when I became a father myself, Katherine and I wanted our children to have the same experience.” Kris Michell serves as the executive director of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit business improvement organization. She said that parks fill a critical need in a hyper-urban neighborhood like Downtown. “For an urban environment like Downtown, parks are people’s front yards, side yards and backyards, so they become critically important,” Michell said. Faulconer’s parks expansion relies in part on converting public school parks to “joint-use parks,” which would be open to the general public after school hours. “Today, there are fields and green spaces across San Diego that our communities could use on evenings and weekends, but because they’re on school property, they get locked up whenever class isn’t in session,” Faulconer said. “Our communities and our school system are fundamentally linked. We shouldn’t let government bureaucracy stand in the way of making our neighborhoods great.” Since 2008, Councilmember Todd Gloria has represented District 3 on the City Council, which includes Downtown. Gloria said joint-use spaces are already a welcome addition to his district. “Joint-use fields have served a meaningful role in helping our neighborhoods meet their need for recreation space for decades,” Gloria


Mayor Kevin Faulconer practices the State of the City address (Courtesy City of San Diego) said. “From Birney Elementary in University Heights to Adams Avenue Park in Normal Heights, most District 3 neighborhoods have seen and benefited from joint-use facilities. I’m looking forward to breaking ground on our District’s next jointuse field at McKinley Elementary in North Park later this year.” After the parks plan, the second biggest policy proposal of Faulconer’s address was the “Housing Our Homeless” initiative, which seeks to house 1,000 homeless veterans this year, primarily by encouraging landlords to rent to homeless veterans entitled to existing federal housing subsidies and by improving the city’s rapid-rehousing efforts. San Diego was one of 25 U.S. municipalities to join the “25 Cities” pledge to end chronic homelessness among veterans by 2016. Faulconer said he will request that the City Council approve $4 million for the initiative. “A successful veteran community helps drive a successful city,” Faulconer said. “But a relatively small group of veterans has a difficult time transitioning to civilian life. Today’s unfortunate reality is that almost 1,700 veterans are



without stable housing or call our sidewalks and alleys home.” Gloria, a long-time supporter of efforts to address homelessness, praised the mayor’s plan for its ability to rally resources behind existing support systems for homelessness, such as the Section 8 housing vouchers. “If the mayor can assist in getting property owners and landlords to rent their available units to veterans and accept [housing] vouchers, 300 people could immediately transition out of homelessness, and from there I am confident we can eventually meet the goal [to end homelessness] among San Diego’s veterans,” Gloria said. “This sort of coordination and collaboration between the city, property owners, the county, and service providers will make a difference throughout our region.” Infrastructure improvement has long been among San Diego’s most pressing concerns, and in his address Faulconer made it a central issue of his plans for the coming year. The mayor promised $50 million on infrastructure improvements, which includes new construction, street repair and building improvement. To accomplish this, Faulconer urged


the approval of Councilmember Mark Kersey’s infrastructure proposal, “Rebuild San Diego,” which would secure as much as $5 billion for infrastructure projects over the next 30 years. “I’ve pledged to dedicate half of the City’s new revenue each year to infrastructure,” Faulconer said. “I did it last year. I did it this year. And I’m going to do it every year. “But there’s no guarantee that this practice of dedicating funds to neighborhood infrastructure will continue under future mayors. That’s why I’m asking the City Council to place a measure authored by [Kersey] the city’s Infrastructure Chairman, on the ballot so voters can guarantee funds for neighborhood infrastructure decades into the future.” Michell, who previously served as chief of staff under former Mayor Jerry Sanders, also praised the measure’s ability to make an impact “on everyone in San Diego, including Downtown. “That infrastructure and neighborhood investment will be directing over $500 million to rebuilding neighborhoods and filling 27,000 potholes in the first year, so Downtown’s getting a portion of that just like every community,” Michell said. “So really when you think about it, that’s 10 million in community improvements every week, which I think is fantastic.” Gloria, on the other hand, said that “Rebuild San Diego” doesn’t go far enough to address the systemic problems in San Diego’s neighborhood services, and believes the proposal is a ticket to financial struggles down the road. “The proposal Mayor Faulconer is supporting sounds good on the surface but upon closer inspection is bad public policy that fails to solve San Diego’s infrastructure problem,” Gloria said. “The city’s nonpartisan Independent Budget Analyst has made it clear that if we hope to fix our potholed streets, broken sidewalks and outdated facili-



ties, we need a new funding source. This proposal ducks that difficult conversation and attempts to pay for a fraction of our infrastructure needs by diverting limited resources from neighborhood services like public safety, library hours, and code enforcement. “While some are telling the public they can have their cake and eat it too, the truth is that if enacted, this proposal will starve neighborhood services for up to three decades, and at the end of that exceptionally long time, will still fail to fix our roads. “There are no free lunches, and this proposal is no exception,” Gloria said. Overall, Michell said that Faulconer’s address reaffirmed the positive outlook many San Diegans have for the city’s future. “I was incredibly impressed with Kevin because of two things,” she said. “One, he talked in specifics about what our community would see from his office, meaning where he would spend his time, but he also had broad big vision. … And he’s really the one that can tell us, ‘are we heading in the right direction or the wrong direction?’ “He gave us a very positive outlook, which is wonderful, because I feel that, I believe that, and he validated that for all San Diegans,” Michell said. Along this vein, the mayor said that positive times are well on the horizon, and he continued to push his centric “One San Diego” message, promising shared prosperity among all San Diegans. “We have laid the groundwork for building our better future,” Faulconer said. “Now, in 2016, we begin the next phase of One San Diego, a city where every neighborhood has the chance to succeed and every person has the opportunity to prosper.” —Hutton Marshall is a freelance writer and former editor of San Diego Uptown News. Contact him at


SUDOKU PUZZLE ANSWERS ON P. 17 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 | February 2016


The next generation of wine is here Drink Shrink Jeff Josenhans

(Photo by Delle Willett)


Beautifying Balboa Park one garden at a time Growing Balboa Park Lucy Warren Balboa Park is world famous for its beautiful gardens. In fact, the 1915 Panama California Exposition was billed as a “Garden Fair.” People came from all over the country and all over the world to marvel at San Diego’s climate and the displays of all the varieties of plants that can be successfully grown here. It is no secret that Park and Recreation budgets were cut during a period of city financial woes. The years took their toll and while Balboa Park was maintained by its dedicated staff, it fell behind. A few years ago the question was posed, “So, what if gardeners, societies, businesses and nonprofits were allowed to ‘adopt’ a garden in the park to plant and maintain for the Panama-California Exposition centennial year?” Long before the event, that possibility was pondered, researched, run through legal channels and finally approved by the city of San Diego as a pilot program to enable citizens to participate in the enhancement of our “Crown Jewel of San Diego” to help it sparkle once again. Pioneers of this idea had led the way successfully. Volunteers from the San Diego Rose Society have worked in the rose garden for many years. The Trees for Health garden relies on a small core of dedicated experts and the Natural History Museum Canyoneers maintain the California Native Plant Demonstration Garden. Coordinated through Friends of Balboa Park, interested parties for the “Adopt-A-Plot” program are encouraged to select a garden area in the park to design, plant, and maintain for a year. Plans are reviewed by park staff and modified as needed. The adopting group must fund their project, provide the plants and commit to regular maintenance of their garden. There is no fee, but that space then becomes the responsibility of the group or organization, working with park staff. There is more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye. All of the adopted areas are evaluated by park staff and many are receiving irrigation upgrades with new water saving technologies appropriate to the location. Some sites historically planted as seasonal color gardens will continue, but with more drought-tolerant plants. All the permanent landscape Adopt-A-Plots feature drought-tolerant plants. Many sites look very much like new gardens and they are! They are

planned to allow plants to grow to their full sizes and provide beauty for years to come. Every plot is different and many have interesting stories. Here are just a few: San Diego Floral Association has been involved in the Marston House formal garden and other sites. The gardens around the east and north side of the Timken Museum were adopted by the San Diego Horticultural Society and showcase some of the newest varieties of drought-tolerant plants. Nearby, at the front of the Lily Pond, some of our youngest volunteers learn to garden every Saturday with sponsor Botany for Kids. The Master Gardeners demonstrate great drought-tolerant plants at Founders Plaza and have participated in the installation of several other gardens. Across the street, Laurie Landscaping installed plants inspired by Kate Sessions behind her statue. Downtown Rotary is providing glorious color in Alcazar Garden, while Daughters of the American Revolution are revitalizing the Bennington Memorial Oak Grove at the base of Golden Hill near Pershing Drive. San Diego High School students designed and installed the native garden in front of the Automotive Museum, while Canyon Crest Academy created a hummingbird garden beside the Park Avenue pedestrian bridge. San Diego Bee Society created a pollinator garden at the Cascades recognized by President Obama. The Dahlia Society has brightened the North Fountain in Plaza de Panama. To see these installations, tour the park and pay attention to the special signage, which identifies the sponsor of each garden area. For participants, what could be more fun or rewarding than to be able to garden in Balboa Park — to be a part of this city icon — and have the fruits (or flowers) of your labors seen by thousands of visitors to the park? Interested individuals can ask to be put on a notification list for open volunteer events. Of course, donations toward the gardens are also gratefully accepted. The program is working so well, it has been extended through 2017. Current adopters will be grandfathered in if they wish to continue the program and new plots are available for additional interested parties. Would you or your group like to adopt one of the gardens? You can find out more about the program at or by calling 619232-2282. Friends of Balboa Park is located at 2125 Park Blvd.

• • • • • • • • •

—Lucy Warren is chair of the Friends of Balboa Park horticulture committee, a Master Gardener and a well-known writer and speaker on horticulture. She is also co-author of The California Native Landscape, the definitive guide to planting with native California plants.v

I’ve spent most of my professional hospitality and beverage career focused on cocktails and mixology, a term that I saw come about and now expect to soon see disappear. I have also spent a fair amount of time on fine dining, having spent my 20s working in Europe. It was wine, however, that got me into the business for good. A bottle of Bouchard Père et Fils, Beaune du Château Premier Cru, to be exact. I was a student studying finance abroad in Stockholm when a friend of mine poured me a glass of this wine. Coming from a beer and tequila family, this was a revelation, and I soon embarked upon a career that would take me first through the range of French wine, and later through all the California wine appellations. I loved it, studied it and visited French vineyards. When I came back home to Southern California I reacquainted myself with wines from my home state and gained an immediate and deeper appreciation for some of the benchmark wines California produces, as well as those from some of the smaller boutique wineries.

It was about that time that I got into beer and back into the cocktail scene. Why? Mostly because wine just wasn’t that exciting compared to what was happening in the other fields. Beer was local, plus the quality and offering was constantly improving. Cocktails — well they pretty much took over all beverage media for a solid decade with a constant hunger for creativity, leading to the development of that industry. And it was that connection to the person, that “local” feeling if you will, and that sense of drinking something produced from a creative mind that was missing with wine. I’m happy to say that wine has found its way back into the market. The same thing you saw happen with spirits and beer, you are now about to see with wine. It may not have hit the grocery store shelves yet, but trust me it’s just a matter of time. The new generation of winemaking is following the same formula the brewers and cocktail guys and gals did — be true to the past, don’t compromise quality, care for your environment and community, and be true to yourself — when creating a brand. Many of the wine labels you see in grocery stores have been there for a decade at least, and it’s refreshing to see them lose ground to those following the aforementioned formula for wine production.

To buy or not to buy? The pros (and cons) in San Diego Financial News Taylor Schulte A 2015 study released by Zillow shows that San Diego currently has one of the worst housing markets in the nation, with inventory down 30 percent year-over-year, and the fourth highest median price in the nation at $528,000. While the market is seemingly in the seller’s favor, many opt to buy regardless of the housing market — be it for stability, tax benefits or something else altogether. As a financial planner, I often find myself discussing real estate and its impacts on one’s financial future. And while there are plenty of reasons to buy, there are also a number arguments that support renting. Below are a few considerations to keep in mind when faced with that decision.

Why buy? Sure, the market isn’t ideal. In fact, it’s one of the worst in the nation. So why are some people opting to buy now? Stability. A home provides a place to live — stability for you and your family. When you own a home, you are no longer at the mercy of a landlord who changes his/her terms or, even worse, sells the property. There is also something to be said about making that payment and knowing that with each payment you are closer to owning that asset. No Surprises. While you can certainly be caught off guard by a leaky roof or a broken water heater, your monthly payment typically will not vary, so you can plan ahead. This helps with bud-

geting, cash flow and other aspects of a comprehensive financial plan. Tax Benefits. Tax breaks from home ownership can be significant. As a homeowner, you are able to deduct many home-related expenses. And, unless you owe more than $1 million, all the interest you pay in your mortgage payment is tax deductible. Diversification. While real estate hasn’t been proven to be the best investment over a long period of time, barely keeping up with inflation, it can serve as a great diversification tool. Consumers commonly invest in stocks, bonds, cash, CDs, etc., through their brokerage and retirement accounts. Real estate is another asset class that can help diversify your investable assets. Plus, as a tangible asset, real estate appeals to many. The key is to diversify and avoid investing solely in real estate. Building Equity and Retirement Planning. As a homeowner, you get to build up your equity by paying down the mortgage over the years. If you are successful in paying down your mortgage, you will likely have a lower cost of living in retirement.

Opting to rent While buying a home certainly has its advantages, renting often works better for many. So, if you are in that part of the population who is unable to buy at this time, here are a few good reasons to rent: Flexibility. While some people spend most of their lives in one location, there are many who prefer to move around, experience new neighborhoods, cities, etc. It’s hard to put a dollar value on that experience and enjoyment. The same goes for one’s career — if you are anticipating a change, it may be best to rent, as buying a home can hinder that flexibility to pick up and move. Skip out on home owner-

Trailblazers like Bonny Doon and Orin Swift have led the way for many of the new up-and-coming winemakers, both at home and abroad. While in France last summer, I was blessed to try wines from “thirtysomething” winemakers who have decided to abandon the French classification system entirely. Vesper Vineyards out in Ramona is a trailblazing production right here in our own backyard. If there ever was a time to jump off “the brand” you always drink and try something new, that time is now. The next time you need to buy a bottle, I suggest that you go to a wine shop, ask for a smaller producer, “natural” wines or a biodynamic, and anything else that wine shop steward might be excited about. I promise you he or she will have plenty of suggestions. Come see my seminar “The Wrath of Grapes” this March in Las Vegas at the Nightclub and Bar Convention and Trade Show, or follow me on Instagram @jeffjosenhans. —Level 2 CMS Sommelier and Master Mixologist Jeff Josenhans — who just recently added a Cicerone certification to his resume — has changed the dynamic in The Grant Grill Downtown from a classic institution to an exciting lounge and elegant restaurant. Follow his drink-related posts on Instagram @jeffjosenhans.v ship costs. Homeowners are painfully familiar with the extra and unforeseen costs that come with purchasing and maintaining a home. These include realtor costs, mortgage origination fees, property taxes, HOA fees (if applicable), moving costs, furnishing, decorating, leaky pipes, gardener, you name it. Often times, these costs are higher than people anticipate. As a tenant, you can enjoy the perks of your abode, without having to worry about the financial burden of those transactional and ongoing expenses. Illiquidity. For obvious reasons, a house isn’t something that can generally be turned into cash overnight. Many people invest their life savings into a home, thus putting the bulk of their net worth into an illiquid asset. While there can certainly be benefits to not cashing in on our savings, there is also a risk that comes with tying up a large portion of your wealth into such an asset. Renting allows for flexibility and other investment options for your assets. Building Credit. As consumers, we need a healthy credit for pretty much all we do — getting a new cell phone plan, buying a car, a home or even renting. While renting doesn’t boost credit the same way owning a home often can, creating a history of on-time rental payments can, in some cases, help build your credit to qualify for a mortgage down the road. This history can be created when (and if) your landlord reports your payment data to the credit agencies. Alternatively, there are several third-party services that can help report this information on your behalf. Once your credit is in a good place, you can reevaluate and see if owning a home is right for you. —Taylor Schulte, CFP, is the founder of Define Financial in Downtown San Diego. He specializes in providing independent, objective, financial advice to individuals, families and businesses. Reach him at 619-577-4002 or


San Diego Downtown News | January 2015


Fashion Files Diana Cavagnaro

Broadway San Diego

celebrates four decades, sets season By Charlene Baldridge

RAW Artists RAW: Natural Born Artists San Diego presented its 2016 event, FUTURES, at the House of Blues on Jan. 20. The venue was hopping with art, photography, performance art, music, fashion, and accessory designers. There were a total of 60 local artists featuring live painting, henna, body casting, hair and makeup designers and more. The show began with musical acts: Cassandra Richard, Chezale, and Bandalier. Next to the stage came dance performances with Carly Topazlo, Tap Fever, and Niara. The evening culminated with a fashion show beginning with the art clothing of Margaret the Maker. This fashion forward collection by Corinne Walsh featured many sheer and transparent fabrics. The next segment featured Francesca Mayer who has learned to contour rubber around the human body. Mayer uses recycled rubber and fabrics for unique shapes and textures. The materials are braided, woven, and molded around the figure creating a very provocative look. GFASH rocked the runway with accessories that shimmered. Gwendolyn Bates is the owner and head designer of these glamorous accessories that are perfect for the red carpet. Bates is community involved and stands behind a cause of women empowerment and self esteem. The GFASH brand says, “Fabulousity is an attitude we use in a positive manner. When women are confident, they feel beautiful and powerful. GFASH wants to bring it out of you.” RAW is an independent arts

(top) Gwen Bates with models; (bottom, left) ‘Strike a Stripe’ cardigan; (right) ‘The Stop & Go’ vest (Photos by Diana Cavagnaro) organization for artist by artists. This is an international community across the globe. The artist is given a platform to be seen, heard, and loved. The next event in San Diego will be RAW: San Diego Presents Signature on April 20 at 6 p.m. Stay tuned for updates at

World class needle arts The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) came to town, Jan. 7-11, at the San Diego Convention Center, featuring their 2016 Winter

Trade Show. There are four segments comprising this organization: the Yarn Group, the Needlepoint Group, the Spinning and Weaving Group, and the Counted Thread & Embroidery Group. Their mission is to advance its community of professional businesses by encouraging the passion and leadership for needle arts through education, industry, knowledge exchange, and a strong marketplace. The trade floor had exhibitors showing off merchandise and introducing the latest products on the market. Activities were scheduled including classes with world-class needle arts teachers. On Friday evening the Yarn Group sponsored a fashion show featuring the latest trends in knit and crochet wear with an array of gorgeous shades of yarn. The models dressed in all black and then slipped on one of the beautiful designs from the Yarn Group. There were shawls, ponchos, cardigans, vests, skirts, and duster coats along with accessories such as bags and hats. Some of the standouts were the gorgeous Gioco poncho from the Stitch Sprouts Collection, the delightful Jokull wrap by Freia Fine Handpaint Yarns, and the Missoni-inspired Bonnie pullover by Classic Elite Yarns. More highlights were the fun Driftone Squared Shell, the incredible Bohus turtleneck in the Universal Yarns Collection, and the brilliant colors of The Stop & Go vest. The finale design was a stunning Strike a Stripe cardigan from the Trendsetter Collection. The National NeedleArts Association is a national membershipbased organization focused on encouraging the needle arts. Their next show will be in Washington, D.C. on June 11–13. For more information, visit

At the Balboa Theatre Jan. 23, Broadway San Diego (BSD) tossed itself a party celebrating 40 years. Barbara-Lee Edwards of CBS-TV Channel 8 acted as emcee of the event. There was no birthday cake, just a lot of visual and aural frosting designed to entice onlookers to subscribe to what the organization describes as, “one of their biggest and most charttopping seasons yet!” One wonders by whose chart; it looks pretty much like more of the same thing they’ve been doing for the past 20 years at least. We are, nonetheless, lucky to have the series here, presenting the latest Broadway tours under the auspices of A Nederlander Corporation, whose Broadway San Diego Vice President Joe Kobryner, stated in a media release that he is thrilled with the 40th anniversary 2016–2017 season, consisting of six touring shows, four additional events, and four shows remaining in the 2015-16 season. Most of the shows are presented at the San Diego Civic Theatre, 1200 Third Ave., Downtown. “We have everything from the classics that have thrilled audiences for years and are now reimagined to some of the biggest titles coming straight from Broadway,” Kobryner stated in the release. An example of this would be “If/ Then,” starring Idina Menzel, which played Jan. 5–10. The filmed portions of the celebration consisted of clips from the upcoming shows and commercials for the season’s sponsor, San Diego County Credit Union (replete with the “money, money” TV ad that shows how much those other guys can ding you). There were also filmed testimonials from satisfied BSD attendees who enjoy the benefits of membership in the President’s Club. The promotional film also included an informative segment about the Ben Vereen Awards (the third annual local talent competition takes place at the Balboa Theatre May 29, with Vereen in attendance). The competition emphasizes the abundance of San Diego’s high school talent. The winners move on to compete in additional cities, including New York. Though we expect to see portions of the film in the form of TV commercials this year, the live talent displayed Friday night at the Balboa was the best part of the celebration. Tshidi Manye, who came direct from the Broadway “The Lion King” cast, sang “Circle of Life.” “The Lion

King” returns to San Diego for the third time, Sept. 7–Oct. 2, (the first time in seven years). Danielle Dalli from the touring company of “The Sound of Music” (directed by former Old Globe Artistic Director Jack O’Brien) closed the evening with the title song from that show plus the inspirational number, “Climb Every Mountain,” at which point hordes of kids from The J* Company trooped down the Balboa Theatre aisles to contribute live support to the emotional climax. “The Sound of Music” plays Nov. 15–20. So, what else is new and old? Newer shows I’m most looking forward for the upcoming 2016–2017 season are “Cabaret” (Aug. 23–28), which kicks off the new season; Time Magazine’s show of the year, “Matilda the Musical” (Jan. 31–Feb. 5, 2017); “Finding Neverland” (April 4–9, 2017), and “The Bodyguard” (June 13–18, 2017). “The Bodyguard,” which has been touring Great Britain, debuted in London’s West End, where it played for two years and then went on tour in Great Britain. It is a remake of the film that starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner and features such Houston songs as “I Will Always Love You” and “Saving All My Love (For You).” I also look forward to seeing the Broadway tour of John Cameron Mitchell’s über-rock musical, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” (Nov. 29– Dec. 4), which fails in its description to tell exactly what that inch might be, only stating that the musical may be inappropriate for those 12 and under due to strong language and adult themes. In addition to shows mentioned above, Broadway San Diego has added engagements of two San Diego-connected Broadway hits, “Rent” (Jan. 10–15, 2017) and “Jersey Boys” (May 9–14, 2017). Other shows remaining in the current 2015–2016 season are “The Realish Housewives of San Diego” (Feb. 2–7,at the Balboa Theatre); “The Book of Mormon” (Feb. 23– March 6); “The Wizard of Oz” (March 15–20); “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles” (March 29–April 3, Balboa Theatre); Disney’s “Newsies” (May 31–June 5) and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” (Aug. 2–7). That’s a lot to digest and a lot to anticipate. Readers may find additional information regarding shows and dates at — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at

Upcoming events March 2 | The Sky’s the Limit — a luncheon and fashion show by Leonard Simpson at the U.S. Grant beginning at 10:30 a.m. Guests are encouraged to dress in shades of sky blue. The event benefits The Epilepsy Foundation of San Diego County. For more information, visit —Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at

Morgan Reynolds as ‘Scarecrow’ in "The Wizard of Oz" (Courtesy Broadway San Diego)


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016


Rep presents extended ‘Mullingar’ Theater Review Charlene Baldridge

Greer Grimsley as Scarpia in “Tosca” (Courtesy San Diego Opera/Ken Howard); The opera’s director, Lesley Koenig (Courtesy Lesley Koenig)

The genius of Puccini on full display By David Dixon Giacomo Puccini’s dark achievement, “Tosca,” features brutal deceit, immoral behavior, and a cunning villain that represents pure evil. In other words, it’s just another night at the opera. For a very limited engagement, San Diego Opera brings Puccini’s popular work to the San Diego Civic Theatre. Adapted from the Victorien Sardou play, “La Tosca,” the music-filled epic has resonated with audiences since the very early 1900s. Those that have never seen a production of “Tosca” before should know that the plot involves an Italian singer, Fiona Tosca (Alexia Voulgaridou), living in early-19th century Rome. Although she has a romantic relationship with a passionate painter, Mario Cavaradossi (Gwyn Hughes Jones), Fiona is an easily jealous woman who does not always trust her boyfriend. Their lives become gloomier when the villainous chief of police, Baron Scarpia (Greer Grimsley) searches for an escaped prisoner. His quest to find the fugitive ultimately puts Fiona and Mario’s lives in danger. The events take place on June 14, 1800. Director Lesley Koenig (the current managing director at Weston Playhouse Theatre Company in Vermont) knows a lot about the historical context of “Tosca” and the events have increased her appreciation of the libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. “Almost every action that happens on that day to the protagonists is because of the Battle of Marengo between French forces and Austrian forces,” she said. “Looking at the political context of ‘Tosca’ doesn’t change how the characters act on stage. However, it helps the audience understand the importance of the day.” Even though “Tosca” has not been modernized, there are still aspects of this interpretation that have modern relevance. Grimsley, a bass-baritone, feels that Scarpia remains a haunting antagonist, even today. “In present-day situations, there are still abuses of power and privilege,” he said. “The character is not so unbelievable, because we have seen a heinous abuse of that sort of power in the past century.” The singer respects Puccini’s ability to express the emotions of each character through music. “He is able to describe musically what the characters are feeling,” Grimsley said. “You completely understand the state of mind every person is experiencing.” Like Grimsley, Koenig appreciates the deeply layered roles

throughout Puccini’s major accomplishments. “His pieces are so complex and the characters are so real,” she said. “There are many dimensions to them.” According to Koenig, plot and music weave together perfectly in operas by Puccini. “He knows how to tell a story and within three notes can make audiences cry,” Koenig said. “Puccini is just masterful at storytelling.” Koenig wants to honor the beloved music, while also breathing new life into the drama. “I think the production will be respectful of the composer/librettist, but a fresh look,” she said. “It’s going to be really good theater.” For people who have never been to the opera before, Grimsley highly recommends “Tosca.” “This is a great first opera,” he said. “The plot is very engaging and deals with injustice with haunting results. Puccini combines music and theater in the best way.” The rest of the 2015–2016 season will give Puccini aficionados their money’s worth. San Diegans have the opportunity to see “Tosca” and another classic from the composer, “Madama Butterfly,” which comes to town in April. Bring the tissues and get ready to listen to timelessly beautiful music. “Tosca” will be performed Feb. 13 – 21, at the San Diego Civic Theatre, located at 1100 Third Ave., Downtown. For tickets or more information, visit or call 619-232-7636. —A fan of film and theater from a very young age, David Dixon has written reviews and features for various print and online publications. You can reach him at

“You’re a bit of a lump,” says Rosemary Muldoon to Anthony Reilly. The two, middle-aged now, have lived on adjoining cattle and sheep ranches outside Mullingar, Ireland, since childhood. In fact, Anthony toppled Rosemary on the playground one day when they were 7 — he doesn’t remember — and family lore has it that she has hated him ever since. Hated him so much in fact, that she persuaded her doting father, back in the day, to give her the right of way strip on the property Anthony will inherit. When John Patrick Shanley’s 2014 Broadway play “Outside Mullingar” opens (directed by Associate Artistic Director Todd Salovey, the play has been extended until Feb. 21 at San Diego Repertory Theatre) Rosemary’s father has died. There’s been a funeral and what’s left of the Muldoons and Reillys meet, as neighbors do, to pick over the past and prognosticate the future. Present are Rosemary’s admirably stubborn mother, the just widowed Aiofe (Ellen Crawford), and Anthony’s beyond-irascible father, Tony (Mike Genovese). While Rosemary (Carla Harting) stands outside in the rain so she can smoke (she claims to like cigarettes better than people), Tony proposes leaving the ranch to Anthony’s American cousin. While Aiofe stands up for Anthony (Manny Fernandes), and Anthony attempts to bring Rosemary inside, we receive the backstory from the elders. As it turns out, there is much more to it than they know. The ensuing scenes, a year later and four years later, reveal the truth and the depth of Rosemary and Anthony’s feelings. She is a seething kettle of passion, and he, as she says, an inept lump. The two are fascinating receptacles of repressed longings and unspoken truth, as well as victims of the hard environment and parental insensitivity. In addition to his pitch-perfect company, Salovey gathers a terrific design team for “Outside Mullingar.” Giulio Perrone’s scenic design morphs into three distinct cottages replete with kitchen appliances and sitting areas. It also suggests porches, barns and fields. Sherrice Mojgani’s lighting design evokes the landscape, and Anastasia Pautova’s costumes, the sort of every day and dress-up wear that churchgoing people close to the land affect. David Scott’s sound design and

(l to r) Manny Fernandes and Carla Harting in the angst-filled romance, “Outside Mullingar” (Photo by Daren Scott)

“Outside Mullingar”

by John Patrick Shanley Extended through Feb. 21 San Diego Repertory Theatre 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown Wednesdays through Sundays

Tickets $33–$66 or 619-544-1000 the three-piece Irish band (Jim Mooney, Alicia Previn and Richard Tibbits) add much color. I can’t imagine a better company or more sensitive direction. All the actors are sublimely enmeshed in their imperfect, cantankerous, yet loveable characters. None goes too far. This is an absolutely delicious production. The reconciliation scene between Tony and Anthony is one of the best father-son scenes

ever witnessed, and the working out of the younger couple’s long denied truth is both hilarious and heartbreaking. Due to the magic of Shanley’s poetry and the music of his language, we care so much we dread the denouement. I felt much the same about Shanley’s Italian family in the film, “Moonstruck.” Now, he’s returned to his own, Irish roots. His description of how that felt is reprinted in the Rep’s program from an article Shanley wrote in The New York Times. Shanley is also author of the highly successful play, “Doubt: a Parable,” which received a Tony Award for Best Play in 2008 as well as the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at


San Diego Downtown News | February 2016

DOWNTOWN CALENDAR Editor’s Note: We are trying out some changes to our calendar this year. Let us know what you think by writing to


The San Diego Museum Council and Macy’s have once again teamed up to present Museum Month. Participants can pick up a “Museum Month Pass” at any area Macy’s store to receive half-off admission at participating museums for the entire month of February. Visit to find the nearest Macy’s store. Over 40 local museums will participate this year including Coronado Museum of History & Art, Gaslamp Museum at William Heath Davis House, Maritime Museum of San Diego, The New Children’s Museum, USS Midway Museum and many more in and around Downtown, plus many in Balboa Park. Visit for more information.


Ticket purchases for tonight’s San Diego Gulls game will benefit Susan G. Komen San Diego. A donation will be made to the foundation for each ticket purchased here: bit. ly/1KIp9EH. The evening will start with a pre-game “tailgate” featuring happy hour pricing on food and drinks, live entertainment and more. There will also be a postgame skate. The game is at 7:05 p.m. against the Milwaukee Admirals at the Valley View Casino Center (3500 Sports Arena Blvd., Midway District). For more information visit


Part of a free workout program hosted by local fitness experts. Today’s session will include a walk/ run and farmers market shopping trip with Fitbit Local Ambassadors Sheri Matthews and Mike Sherbakov. The run/walk will begin at the end of West Cedar Street in front of the San Diego County Waterfront Park (1598 Pacific Coast Highway and 899 W. Cedar). Then a guided healthy shopping trip will occur at the Little Italy Mercato on West Cedar Street between Kettner Boulevard and Front Street. 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Visit for more information.


San Diego’s biggest block party returns with a festive parade and celebration featuring five stages of live entertainment. This year’s eclectic music lineup features Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Mix Master Mike (Beastie Boys), Caked Up, The Aggrolites and much more. The event promises street performances, Mardi Gras-inspired entertainment, live art and the visual treats of the parade. The entire event will be from 5 p.m. – midnight with the parade at 9 p.m. Visit for VIP and general admission tickets.


Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean & Safe program will

provide trash bags and supplies for this neighborhood cleanup and The District will donate lunch for all volunteers. The cleanup will be from 10 a.m. – noon. Meet at Urbana East Village Flats lobby, 450 10th Ave. Visit


A dinner will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt (1 Market Place, Downtown) to install the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s 2016 Board of Directors and Chairman. The reception starts at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. and an after-party at 8:30 p.m. KUSI News reporter Brandi Williams will emcee the event. Visit downtownsandiego. org for more information.

‘RECIPE FOR A HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS FALL’ COOKING CLASS THURSDAY, FEB. 18 This is a free class by Scripps nutritionists at Jimbo’s… Naturally! (324 Horton Plaza, Downtown) featuring healthy and delicious meals. This edition’s menu focuses on heart-healthy recipes including: a raspberry green tea smoothie, super food salad with salmon, and chia seed pudding. All ages welcome. Check-in 5:30 p.m. Visit j2eb2x5 for more information.


This eclectic event at 98 Bottles (2400 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy) will showcase local talents from visual artists to musical performers. Jazzfunk-soul outfit Tiffany Jane and The Kicks will be the “house band” for the night with several featured singers, including Jonathan Richards, Tom Andrew Potter, Jonathan Edzant, Corona Rose and Randy Robledo. Also performing will be soulful hip-hop group The Lyrical Groove. In addition to music, Culture Shock Dance Center will put on a dance performance; several artists will be displaying and selling art; there will be live painting and pottery making; spoken word performances; and more. 8 p.m. Tickets $10 in advance and $13 at the door. Visit for more information.


This festival will feature craft brews from around California and beyond. Live music will be showcased both days, along with food and other vendors. Friday’s entertainment provided by The Fooks; Saturday will be Euphoria Brass Band. This is a 21-and-up event with tickets starting at $40. There will also be a VIP session on Saturday with a special hour with cheese and beer pairing. Benefits Outdoor Outreach and the San Diego Mountain Biking Association. San Diego Winter Brew Fest will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday at San Diego Hall of Champions (2131 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park). Visit for details and tickets.


The third of four concerts by the San Diego Symphony as part of its

CALENDAR “Family Festival” designed for children 5 – 12 years old. This edition will demonstrate how various instruments make their individual sounds. Attendees will hear how it all comes together “through the sounds and science of a symphony.” The concert starts at 2 p.m. at Copley Symphony Hall (750 B St., Downtown). Visit


This special multimedia presentation will feature the San Diego Symphony with guest speakers discussing various topics. The event is open to the public as well as attendees of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology conference. Dr. Charles Limb and Nina Kraus, Ph.D. will be the guest lecturers before the concert discussing various topics including: Beethoven and hearing loss; how music provides a window to the human brain; jazz improvisation and spontaneous creativity; and more. Other highlights of the event will include an appearance by local and world-renowned trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos and an opening lecture by La Jolla Symphony and Chorus music director Steven Schick. Lectures begin at 7:30 p.m. at Copley Symphony Hall (750 B St., Downtown). Tickets are $20 – $65 and can be purchased by phone at 619-235-0804 or online at


Over 30 local performing arts organizations are collaborating and promoting the first ever San Diego Theatre Week. The various groups will be offering special promotions throughout the week including ticket discounts, offers on concessions, cast talkbacks and more. Some offers will include performances that take place during San Diego Theatre Week and others will be for future events. Visit for more information and a list of participating organizations.


The chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, Ron Roberts, who also represents District 4, will present the annual State of the County Address at the San Diego Hall of Champions (2131 Pan American Plaza, Balboa Park) at 6 p.m. Seating is limited. Please RSVP to 619-531-5732 by Feb. 18. A reception will immediately follow the address.


The Electric Bike Expo will hit Liberty Station for the entire weekend with a free series of events open to the public. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about, test ride and experience electric bikes. Electric bikes utilize a battery and motor making long commutes and difficult terrain easier to navigate. The expo will be open from 3 – 8 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26; 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27; and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28. Visit for details. —Compiled by Jen Van Tieghem. Send items for inclusion to editor Morgan M. Hurley at

VALENTINE'S EVENTS Sweet treats at Bake Sale

‘Valentine’s Jazz Evening’

‘Lovers and lovers of the rind’ cheese pairing class

Saturday, Feb. 13 and Sunday, Feb. 14 Hornblower Cruises & Events San Diego will present two opportunities for a romantic evening at The Abbey (2825 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill). The 1910 landmark was originally constructed as an Episcopal church and is San Diego’s only remaining Classic Revival structure. These Valentine’s weekend events will not only be a chance to admire this beautiful venue but will also include sweet and savory bites, and live entertainment by jazz musician David Patrone. Tickets start at $49 (plus tax and service fee) and include free-flowing Champagne, a reserved table and more. VIP tickets ($69 plus tax and service fee) offer VIP balcony seating, two premium drink tickets per person and more. Saturday’s event will be from 9 – 11 p.m.; and Sunday’s festivities will be from 8 – 10 p.m. Visit for more information and tickets.

‘Valentine’s Cabaret’ and more at The US Grant

Valentine’s Day cruises

Wednesday, Feb. 10 – Sunday, Feb. 14 If your Valentine has a sweet tooth, head to Bake Sale (815 F St., Downtown) for a variety of heartshaped cookies priced at $2.25 per small cookie and $3.95 per large cookie. Handmade chocolate ganache truffles will also be available for $12 for a box of six and $45 for a box of two dozen. Visit bakesalesd. com for more information.

Thursday, Feb. 11 The Cheese Store of San Diego (1980 Kettner Blvd. #30, Little Italy) will host a unique Valentine’s Day event ahead of the holiday. This class will pair gourmet cheeses with jams, charcuterie, wine, beer and other surprises. You will also learn about cheese and how to pair at home. $54 per person. Visit for more info and to reserve a seat.

Friday, Feb. 12 – Sunday, Feb. 14 There are several options for Valentine’s Day at The US Grant and Grant Grill (326 Broadway, Downtown). The Grant Grill will serve a four-course, Frenchinspired dinner with several food options along with a dark chocolate soufflé for two available Friday – Sunday ($85 per person) and an optional wine pairing (additional $55 per person). Reservations from 5:30 – 9 p.m. Call 619-744-2077 for reservations. The US Grant’s Celestial Ballroom will host a “Valentine’s Cabaret” show by Lamb’s Players Theatre on Feb. 14 only with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. and the show at 7 p.m. Choose from a two-course tasting and the show ($59 per person) or a three-course tasting and the show ($80 per person). Lastly the hotel will also offer a Valentine’s package with two tickets to the aforementioned cabaret show, a one-night stay, a bottle of sparkling wine at arrival and the option of a two or threecourse offering of lounge fare. Call 866-716-8136 for room and package reservations.

Valentine’s events at The Headquarters

Friday, Feb. 12 – Sunday, Feb. 14 The Headquarters (789 West Harbor Drive, Marina District) will help lovers celebrate in several ways over Valentine’s weekend. On Friday, Feb. 12 there will be a free outdoor screening of “Bonnie and Clyde” from 6 – 9 p.m., along with mug shot photo-ops and the chance to check out the fully restored 1939 jail cells. Guests are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets for the screening. Also located at The Headquarters, Gelato Paradiso is offering $2.14 off any cake or 12-pack of gelato pops through Valentine’s Day. Just across the courtyard, Puesto will offer a free rose to any couple dining on Valentine’s Day. Visit theheadquarters. com for more information.

‘Galentine’s Day’

Saturday, Feb. 13 A day for ladies to celebrate the amazing women of our community at the Women’s Museum of California (2730 Historic Decatur Road, Suite #103, Liberty Station). This free event will be a chance to network with other women and explore the museum. The event will be from 1 – 4 p.m. and there will be mimosas served. Visit conta. cc/1UvKXc7 to RSVP.

Sunday, Feb. 14 Flagship Cruises & Events (990 North Harbor Drive, Downtown) will set sail twice on Valentine’s Day with romantic cruise options. Each cruise includes boarding Champagne, musical entertainment and dancing and 24 miles of romantic skyline views. Their brunch cruise boards at 10:30 a.m. and includes a two-hour gourmet brunch buffet, unlimited mimosas, and complimentary coffee and tea. Tickets for the brunch cruise are $69.50 for adults, $41.70 for children 4 – 12 years of age and free for children 3 and under (taxes, service charge and landing fee are additional). The dinner cruise boards at 6 p.m. and includes a three-course plated gourmet meal. Tickets for the dinner cruise are $99.50 for adults, $59.70 for children 4 – 12 and free for children 3 and under (taxes, service charge and landing fee are additional). There is also a hosted bar option for $26 per person during the dinner cruise featuring beer, wine and top shelf liquor cocktails. Visit to see the menus and book your cruise.

‘Special Valentine’s Day Sonnets’ and ‘Soulful Love Show’

Sunday, Feb. 14 A special meeting of the San Diego Shakespeare Society will be held at Upstart Crow Bookstore and Coffeehouse (835C W. Harbor Drive, Seaport Village). This free event will feature readings of some of Shakespeare’s most romantic sonnets. The event starts at 2:30 p.m. Afterward, Upstart will host live music from 5 – 7 p.m. with Stacey Murray dubbed the “Soulful Love Show.” Visit or call 619333-0141 for more information.

‘Valentine’s Day at the Museum’

Sunday, Feb. 14 This unique opportunity will start with an after-hours, lovethemed art tour at The San Diego Museum of Art (1450 El Prado, Balboa Park). Tours will start every half-hour from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. After the tour, couples will enjoy a picnic in the May S. Marcy Sculpture Court and Garden at Panama 66. Their picnic basket will be packed with gourmet sandwiches, a cheese or vegan plate, chocolate truffles and a bottle of Champagne, wine or a growler of craft beer. Musical entertainment will be provided by Miss Erika Davies. Tickets are $80 for members and $90 for nonmembers. Visit sdmart. org for more information and to purchase e-tickets.v

San Diego Downtown News | February 2016



San Diego Downtown News | February 2016

San diego downtown news february 2016  


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