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March 2016 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter


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

Hacking into

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Logo Design






Best Coast Beer Fe st Page 15

Hitting the ground running New GQA marketing director has big goals By Dave Fidlin

on the photographs becoming a series, but he became captivated by “capturing the incredible character” of his subjects and said that doing the portraits humanized the homeless for him. “I realized these were real people with struggles and dreams, invisible people who’d been ignored,” he said. “I

After years of neglect, earnest efforts have been undertaken within the past three-plus decades — many of them notably successful — to restore the deep historic luster of the Gaslamp Quarter. Erin Liddell hopes to have a key role in taking those efforts to the next level as she settles into her new job as the marketing and communications manager of the Gaslamp Quarter Association (GQA), the business improvement district organization behind many of the special events and activities that occur within the 16 1/2-block Downtown hot spot each year. Liddell, who officially joined the association’s staff Feb. 16, said she is brimming with ideas in her first few weeks on the job. One of her first large-scale endeavors includes a pivotal role in planning this year’s Taste of Gaslamp event June 26. Considered one of the signature annual events within the Gaslamp Quarter, Taste of Gaslamp is being relaunched and expanded this year to give residents and visitors a glimpse into what the area has to offer. While the array of participating restaurants will remain at the heart of this year’s Taste event, Liddell said inclusivity is a mantra as other venues — including art galleries, boutique retail establishments and historic sites — will be brought into the fold as well. “We want to brand the event in a nice way so people know what the Gaslamp Quarter is really all about,” Liddell said. “There’s such a rich, rich history here and we really want to embrace it.” In addition to Taste, Liddell is helping plan the upcoming neighborhood cleanup activity in cooperation with other nearby neighborhood associations and Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Clean & Safe program. This year’s neighborhood cleanup is slated for April 9. Activities such as the neighborhood cleanup, touch on another goal of Liddell’s — to increase resident’s engagement within Gaslamp Quarter. “This is an area that is for the

see Homelessness, pg 18

see GQA staff, pg 9

Keeping legacies alive ➤➤ FEATURE

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Members of local networking group SDXD practice their user experience troubleshooting skills at the recent “Hackathon.” (Courtesy City of San Diego)

Making content king Morgan M. Hurley | Editor

STEM expo will entertain kids


For nearly 15 years, the city of San Diego’s website has been a workhorse of information to hundreds of thousands of local residents and visitors looking for insight on the inner workings of America’s Finest City, wishing to report a problem, or seeking forms or other documents. However, even a decade is a millennium in Inter-

net years. TeamSite — the city’s content management system (CMS), which is considered the “backbone” of any website — was a state of the art CMS when first installed in 2002, and it brought the city into a new era of public communications and information sharing. However, its time had come. In 2014, the city knew it had to upgrade what had now become a quite antiquated system; one that still required a skilled programmer’s intervention to make a new document available and the use

see, pg 20

Focusing on the homeless Louisiana on the bay ➤➤ DINING

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Local panel assembles to put a human face on the situation By Dave Schwab While acknowledging the magnitude and complexity of San Diego’s homelessness problem, experts on the subject nonetheless recently concluded it’s resolvable. A panel on “humanizing homelessness,” held at the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park Feb. 25, included a mayoral aide, a Roman Catholic deacon, an artist, a police officer and a housing development consultant. Panelists were introduced to the capacity crowd by Alex Kreit, a lawyer and associate professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, who acted as moderator. Kreit first asked each panelist a few questions himself before opening the discus-

A woman reviews a portrait by artist Neil Shigley, currently on display at the San Diego History Center. (Photo by Diana Inocencio/San Diego History Center) sion up to audience queries. Artist Neil Shigley, whose photography exhibit “Invisible People” that profiles the homeless is currently on exhibit at the history center, talked about the origin of his work. “In 2005, a man living on the street asked me to do his portrait,” Shigley said, adding that it prompted him to do others. Shigley said he never planned


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


San Diego’s landscape architecture pioneers keep a tradition alive Art on the Land Delle Willett Beginning in the early 1950s, the commercial landscape architecture firm of Wimmer Yamada was regarded as the landscape architecture firm of choice for San Diego’s most progressive architects. Founded by Harriet Barnhart Wimmer in 1954, the firm was staffed by herself and Joe Yamada, a new Berkeley grad who originally came aboard as a draftsman/ apprentice and later became her partner in 1960. Wimmer Yamada was the first woman-owned landscape architecture firm in San Diego and one of four firms at the time. They worked out of the Fifth Avenue Design Center, ground zero at the time, for many of San Diego’s most notable architects and landscape architects. Together they made a great team. Wimmer had an excellent education (a bachelor’s from Stanford; landscape architecture, Univ. of Oregon), years of practical experience, and a prosperous postwar clientele. And Yamada, who became an iconic designer in the local community and now retired, brought fresh design ideas and excellent training to the firm. While Wimmer’s strength was in residential garden design, Yamada was more interested in the land form and design of hardscape features and well equipped to handle commercial and urban design. From the beginning of the partnership they began to win important design awards. For over 50 years, as San Diego grew and expanded, Wimmer Yamada provided landscape design for many of San Diego’s landmark sites including SeaWorld, Seaport Village, the Embarcadero Marina Park, La Jolla Village Plaza, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Copley Estate, and numerous private gardens in La Jolla and other San Diego environs. Additionally Yamada did campus planning for 20 years at UC San Diego and numerous other campus projects. Wimmer helped landscape architecture become an esteemed profession in San Diego. She was one of several local professionals who facilitated establishment of the San Diego chapter (of the Southern California chapter) of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). In 1976 the national ASLA bestowed its highest honor to Wimmer, decreeing her a “Fellow.” The award recognized “the contributions of individuals to their profession and society at large based on their works, leadership, management, knowledge, and service.” Yamada was also made an ASLA Fellow, in 1979. Wimmer remained active in the firm until 1967, which continued under her name after her passing in 1980, and is known today as Wimmer, Yamada and Caughey. In 1980, the city of San Diego declared May 19 to be Harriett Barnhart Wimmer Day, in honor of her contributions to the beauty of San Diego. Wimmer Yamada was the starting point for many of the region’s stellar landscape architects

(l to r) The legacies of Harriett Wimmer and Joe Yamada have been kept alive by Dennis Otsuji and now Pat Caughey. who came under the influence of Harriet Wimmer and Joe Yamada, including Frank Kawasaki and Mike Thilaker (KTU+A); Dennis Otsuji and Jack Nakawase (ONA); Rick and Gail Garbini (Garbini & Garbini); and Patrick Caughey, now president and principal owner of Wimmer, Yamada and Caughey. Caughey first met Yamada during a career-day presentation at his son’s high school Ornamental Horticulture class in 1972, which sparked Caughey’s interest in the profession. Several years later, after completing his degree in Urban Planning and Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University, Caughey contacted Yamada for an informational interview in August of 1984. The outcome for Caughey was part-time work for the firm in the Phoenix market, which led to a full-

time position, running the Phoenix office, in the spring of 1985. After becoming partner in 1990, Caughey purchased the firm in 1995, along with his wife and equal partner, Jenny Caughey, who is also the firm’s business manager. Caughey, who worked with Yamada from 1984 until his retirement in 1998, said that Yamada’s biggest influence on him was developing his particular landscapedesign style and understanding the business acumen of a design firm. “I was given the opportunity to discover an early mentor and later would be privileged to become his business partner,” Caughey said. “As his partner and [now] owner of the firm, I owe Joe an endless amount of gratitude for my career.” Caughey has carried on the

see Landscape, pg 13

(Photos courtesy WYAC)


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


STEM festival returns to Petco Park Tori Hahn | SDCNN Intern Young students will have a chance to exercise their passion for science at the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering this weekend. The week of festivities with a focus on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — will kick off with an EXPO Day at Petco Park on March 5. Children of all ages, from kindergarten through 12th grade, are encouraged to participate in the event. “Our goal is to bring industry exposure to young children and families that they otherwise would not receive through the classroom, instilling an excitement for science, technology engineering and math,” festival director Sara Pagano said. The EXPO Day will include more than 130 booths of hands-on activities sponsored by businesses and corporations all across Southern California. One of the participating businesses is Illumina, which has sponsored the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering since 2014. The company contributes to the festival every year to ignite a passion for STEM in the next generation. “We designed our EXPO Day experience to provide opportunities for visitors to learn about genetics and engage with questions that can be answered with help from Illumina’s technologies,” said Karen Possemato, chief of staff to Illumina CEO Jay Flatley.

Children of all ages will enjoy the various activities planned at this year’s STEM Festival at Petco Park. (Photos by Melissa Jacobs) “We will also have experiences appropriate for all ages including a genetic traits bingo, scientific face painting, making codon necklaces, and a photo booth where students can picture themselves as scientists.” Other activities at the festival include a “Star Wars”themed recycling challenge and a TedxKids session, organized by the Cajon Valley Union School District, in

which young scientists will share their ideas about STEM in a TED-like discussion. EXPO Day is only the beginning of festival week, which will continue in various locations around San Diego, March 6 –13. With the new “STEM in your backyard” series, smaller versions of the EXPO Day will travel to diverse communities such as Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, City Heights

and East Village. Last year, the eight-day-long festival attracted 75,000 kids, parents, community members and scientists, according to the San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering website. Admission to the EXPO Day is free and open to the public. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. “It is everyone’s job — not just teachers — to spark that sustained level of excitement for

science and engineering into the minds of young people,” Pagano said. “Oh, and by the way, STEM is fun.” —Tori Hahn is an intern with SDCNN and a senior majoring in journalism at San Diego State University.v


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


A rising toll 54 lives lost in 2015 traffic fatalities By Dave Schwab Fifty-four pairs of shoes lined the steps of City Hall signifying lives lost to traffic accidents in 2015, as community activists on Feb. 2 called upon the city to spend more money to make San Diego’s streets safer. “We’re here today to honor the 54 lives that were lost last year in the city of San Diego in traffic accidents, a 17 percent increase from the previous year,” said North Park resident Kathleen Ferrier, director of advocacy for Circulate San Diego, a regional nonprofit working to improve mobility choices and create healthy, more vibrant neighborhoods. Noting that adding those pedestrians seriously injured “brings the total of injured or dead on the road to about 200,” Ferrier touted Vision Zero, a strategy adopted by the city last fall to reach zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries in San Diego by 2025. “Now is the time to invest in the improvements that will save lives,” Ferrier said. “We are calling — and demanding — for money to be allocated to implement Vision Zero, especially for safe street design, and especially to protect our most vulnerable: our children, our older adults, and people walking and bicycling in our neighborhoods, especially our lower-income neighborhoods.” “In San Diego, you should not have to cross your fingers before you cross the street,” said Bob Prath, a livable communities volunteer for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Prath noted diminishing faculties makes senior pedestrians especially vulnerable. “Pedestrian fatality rates sig-

nificantly rise by age 45,” he said. “By age 75, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely as a 16- to 20-year-old of dying by being hit by a car.” Prath noted that “some Vision Zero solutions require engineering, but many do not.” “It’s as easy as changing a traffic light’s timing, giving pedestrians a few-more-seconds start so they can be seen better in the crossway, or providing education to show neighbors how to work for safer streets,” Prath said. City Heights resident Samantha Ollinger, executive director of Bike San Diego, a nonprofit advocacy group promoting everyday riding and advocating for bicycling infrastructure, read a long list of pedestrians killed in San Diego traffic accidents during the past few years. “This is a very small sample of San Diegans who’ve lost their lives to vehicular violence,” Ollinger said. “They would be alive today if our streets were safer. But our streets aren’t safe.” Noting that pedestrian traffic deaths are “100 percent preventable,” she said, “The cost of a simple human mistake should not be paid with someone’s life. That’s unacceptable.” “The only reason people continue to die on our streets, is because our leaders continue to prioritize vehicle convenience over public safety,” Ollinger said. “The time for half measures must end. We cannot continue to simply sit back and continue to let the lives of our family members, friends and neighbors be endangered every single day.” Ollinger said law enforcement “must take aggressive steps to curb dangerous driving. Our elected officials must

(r to l) Kathleen Ferrier speaks about Vision Zero as Samantha Ollinger of Bike San Diego waits her turn to talk. Jose Miranda holds a poster of his friend Jaime Leonen, who was killed crossing the street. (Photo by Dave Schwab)

become leaders and say no to prioritizing vehicle convenience. We can’t afford to keep losing our loved ones to a cause that’s completely avoidable.” Jaime Leonen, 29, was killed by a car in 2015 while crossing the street with his father-in-law near Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in the 3000 block of Health Center Drive in Kearny Mesa. Leonen’s friends, Nicole Leon and Jose Miranda, spoke on his behalf Feb. 2. “There’s no safe area to cross in front of Sharp,” Leon said, noting that both her children were born there. “I used to pass by and only have happy memories. Now I think of Jaime, of the night he died, because there’s no safe area

to cross. We just want to make awareness that there is something that can be done to prevent accidents like this from happening.” Miranda read excerpts from a letter from Jaime’s father: “My son was taken away too soon. I imagine holding Jaime when he was 2 days old and feeling the warmth of him. … My biggest hope is that he will help others to remember the men, women and children all involved in, and affected by (car) crashes. They were not statistics. They were people just like we are, with the same hopes, dreams — and very imminent fear.” The city has experienced an alarming increase in traffic

deaths, especially among pedestrians, over the past several years. The numbers increased significantly in 2015 for all modes of transportation, including people walking, bicycling, driving and motorcycling. People walking experienced the biggest increase, with 23 deaths and 54 people seriously injured, 42 percent higher than 2014. Vision Zero is supported by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the City Council, as well as a coalition of leading transportation, business and community-based organizations. —Dave Schwab can be reached at dschwabie@journalist. com.v


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

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

Guest Editorial

Fighting for San Diego’s fair share By Dave Peters San Diego’s Downtown has grown into a thriving center for arts, business, tourism and urban living. Ask any resident or business owner what challenges remain, and most will cite homelessness. San Diego’s Regional Continuum of Care Council, led by Councilmember Todd Gloria, has brought together community leaders and service providers to distribute resources and get people off the streets and into permanent housing. In the San Diego way, we have been cooperative and innovative in our approach. For instance, the San Diego Downtown Partnership’s Clean & Safe Program has assisted more than 1,700 people with housing and supportive services. The problem may seem daunting, but San Diego has taken important steps to improve lives through affordable housing and increased access to healthcare and other services. But we’ve done this without our fair share of federal resources. In 2014, while we had the fifth largest homeless population in the country, San Diego received the 23rd highest level of federal homelessness funding. Just think of what we might accomplish if we received funding support more commensurate with our homeless population? Currently, the formula that determines how federal homelessness resources are allocated is related more to the age of a community’s housing stock than to the size of its homeless population. Just after coming to Congress in 2013, I reached out to then-Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan to ask that he make this fairer. I made the same request to Secretary Julian Castro when he took over, and brought him to San Diego to see the progress we’ve made. We toured the Churchill Hotel, which is being renovated to provide permanent housing for the homeless, including dedicated units for homeless veterans. During his visit, he announced that he would start the process for revising the funding formula this spring. Other western cities such as Las Vegas, Seattle, Houston, and Denver also receive a disproportionately low amount of federal funding given their homeless populations. Earlier this month, the

House of Representatives unanimously adopted my amendment to the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act to require HUD to reopen the formula. Secretary Castro supports my work to build Congressional consensus around this priority, and assured me again this month that the formula would be reopened this spring. My staff is working with the Continuum of Care to ensure that San Diego submits its comments and applications for future funding in the most strategic and effective way possible. I’m proud of my work at the City Council and the Port Commission on the ballpark, the Downtown library, the North Embarcadero, the Old Police Headquarters, and for the betterment of Downtown’s many neighborhoods. And I will keep working for more progress on homelessness. For years, my staff and I have participated in the Point in Time Count, where hundreds of San Diegans volunteer at 4 a.m. to seek out men, women and families living on the street to gather census data, and to interview them to learn how they got there and might be helped. I’ve also participated many times in Operation Stand Down, where veterans in need can access a range of services. From these experiences we see first-hand that our homeless population is not homogenous; it is made up of people from all walks of life who, for one reason or another, faced a life-changing event that they couldn’t overcome, whether that be a lost job, medical bills they couldn’t afford, an addiction or a personal tragedy they couldn’t move beyond. There is no one solution to end homelessness. It is about permanent housing, yes, but it is also about employment, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and giving people a chance to get back on their feet and have a stable home from which to rebuild their lives. Providing this kind of comprehensive support requires the engagement of an entire community, and I will continue to work for the solution. —Congressman Dave Peters serves the 52nd District of California, which covers much of central San Diego County including Poway, Coronado, and large portions of the city of San Diego. He is also a former environmental attorney, City Council president, and chairman of the Port Commission.v

Sometimes it feels like the past two years went by in a blur. Other times, they felt like a lifetime. On March 7, I’ll hand the keys to the Speaker’s office over to Anthony Rendon, and I will become Speaker Emeritus, a title I’ll carry until my days in the Assembly are over this December. As Mr. Rendon and I have worked together on a smooth transition for the past couple of months, I’ve begun to reflect on my wild ride as speaker, and I can’t help but smile while thinking about the things my colleagues and I accomplished. When I became Speaker in 2014, I made a point of making the Assembly more democratic by empowering individual members and giving committee chairs more autonomy. I think that helps create a truly representative government that better matches California’s rich diversity. The budgets we passed were on time and well balanced, strengthening our rainy-day reserves and paying down debt while at the same time repairing the social safety net that was damaged during the recession. We pumped billions of dollars back into public schools and hundreds of millions back into higher education, while continuing to fund the Middle Class Scholarship and ensuring that our universities return their focus to California students. We created the first-ever state Earned Income Tax Credit to help struggling families make ends meet and the Housing Support Program to help them avoid homelessness. And we allocated $100 million to fund affordable housing. We helped disadvantaged communities overcome environmental troubles and create more sustainable neighborhoods through our cap-and-trade program and other legislation, and we strengthened the state’s already world-leading climate change laws. We passed a comprehensive water bond and a groundwater-management plan to combat the prolonged drought. We boosted our economy in part by passing bills that help our film and aerospace industries compete with those in other states. We made our residential- and foster-care systems better and safer to improve the lives of the youth, elderly and disabled Californians who rely on our help. We protected public school children from infectious disease, and we gave terminally ill patients the option to end their lives with dignity on their own terms. We overhauled our system of regulating and licensing medical marijuana, ending 20 years of chaos. We helped the Coastal Commission enforce the law that allows the public unfettered access to our beaches. And we dramatically increased the number of slots for families who need preschool and child care. And I am very proud that some of the successes we had were bills that I wrote, including bills that: give transgender people control over the identity reflected on their death certificates; provide more help to victims of domestic abuse; strengthen the ban on the sale of elephant ivory; assist local fishermen in marketing their catch to the public; and helping

see Atkins, pg 7

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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 Andy Cohen David Dixon Dave Fidlin Christopher Gomez Ana Gramling Ann Jarmusch Gary Jones Kai Oliver-Kurtin Wendy Lemlin Jake Romero Frank Sabatini Jr. Taylor Schulte Dave Schwab Delle Willett COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 EDITORIAL INTERNS Joseph Ciolino Tori Hahn PRODUCTION ARTIST April Martinez, x115 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

ART DIRECTOR Todd Kammer (619) 961-1961

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 heart of primary season and a brave(?) new world where reality TV has utterly hijacked what most Americans until now had considered to be a fairly serious endeavor; running to be the next president of the United States. If you were asked a year ago, would you have predicted that Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, would be giving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heartburn? And NO ONE would have seriously postulated that Donald Trump would be this close to wrapping up the Republican nomination for POTUS as we headed into Super Tuesday. Yet that’s exactly where we are. An avowed “Democratic Socialist” is making waves on the Democratic side of the race and an apparently proud xenophobic, narcissistic billionaire racist is running away with the Republican nomination. Make no mistake about it: Donald Trump is a bigot of the highest order. How else can one explain his refusal to denounce the support of the Ku Klux Klan and that organization’s former Grand Wizard David Duke? Yeah, I know, Trump eventually did dismiss the KKK and their former leader, but only after a full day of waffling and insisting he didn’t know anything about the Klan, and that he had to do some research on the group, and that he didn’t know who David Duke was. Don’t buy the bull puckey: The Donald knew exactly who David Duke and the KKK were, despite his insistence to the contrary. There’s this thing called video, after all. Seriously Donald? You don’t know what the Ku Klux Klan is? Yet all of the outlandish, despicable, and outright disturbing things that Trump has said on the campaign trail apparently doesn’t bother at least one local member of Congress: Duncan Hunter (R-50). The vaping congressman threw his support behind Donald Trump in a San Diego Union Tribune op-ed, after having previously backed former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who dropped out of the race. “In the national game of politics, he’s got a winning message and the backbone to see it through,” Hunter wrote. “With the stakes so high, a Trump presidency stands to provide the right leadership to unleash the power of the U.S. economy,

Rep. Susan Davis, D-53 2700 Adams Ave. #102 San Diego, CA 92116 Local: 619-280-5353 Washington: 202-225-2040 Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-50 1611 N. Magnolia Ave. #310 El Cajon, CA 92019 619-448-5201 202-225-5672 Rep. Darrell Issa, R-49 1800 Thibodo Road #310 Vista, CA 92081 760-599-5000 202-225-3906 Rep. Scott Peters, D-52 4350 Executive Dr. #105 San Diego, CA 92122 858-455-5550 202-225-0508 Rep. Juan Vargas, D-51 333 F St. #A Chula Vista, CA 91910 619-422-5963 202-225-8045 secure the borders, and revitalize the armed forces,” he said. Hunter also noted that a Trump presidency is “not an idea fancied by some Republicans, but they’ll need to get over it and determine what about Trump is attractive to them and what about Trump has generated so much support among voters.” So, in other words, if you like policy screeds that entail in totality “something terrific”; an anti-Hispanic message; an antiblack message that has earned the full-throated support of white nationalist groups; blatant disregard for the First Amendment and freedom of religion; misogyny; a campaign a middle school playground would cringe at; then yes, Donald Trump is your man. Being president of the United States is a serious job, and apparently Duncan Hunter thinks a reality TV star who has debased the entire campaign by tacitly inciting violence against anyone who disagrees with him is a serious candidate. Last month, President Obama forwarded a plan to Congress that would once and for all close the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The plan would consider 13 different sites within the United States to take in the remaining detainees. The detention center has been a source of consternation since popping onto the national


969 Market St. San Diego, CA 92101 (619) 345-3114 The idea for The Market Hall was born while strolling through the streets of Paris, having lunch in Madrid and enjoying dinner in Rome. Our goal is to bring world class food to our valued customers and we take great pride in our ability to source unique, handmade cheeses, charcuterie, condiments, olive oils, vinegars, chocolates and preserves from small producers in the United States and beyond. We carry an excellent selection of value wines, local craft beers and freshly prepared foods and our restaurant menus are created based on the products we carry in our seafood department, butcher shop, organic produce section or our bakery. The idea of shopping from our own shelves, creating dishes and prepared foods from our state of the art kitchen, is a dream come true. “We make what we sell and we sell what we make” is our approach to everything we do at The Market Hall and everyday our chefs create a great selection of dishes for you to enjoy in-house or take home.

radar shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been a major recruiting tool for terrorist organizations around the world. Meanwhile, thousands of terrorists are currently incarcerated in facilities throughout the U.S. without incident. Darrell Issa (R-49) compared any potential order by Obama to close the facility to the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation in the 1830s to Oklahoma, in which 4,000 people died. “It’s an old example,” Issa told Fox News, “but Andy Jackson, the founder of the Democratic Party, in the Trail of Tears defied the Supreme Court and marched Native Americans to their death.” So closing a detention center that houses roughly 100 “enemy combatants” is somehow comparable to the tragic and unfortunate treatment of Native Americans over 180 years ago? I’m not seeing it. On the other side of the aisle, meanwhile, Susan Davis (D-53) noted in a press release that “with about 2,000 personnel watching over 91 detainees, Guantanamo is a fiscally irresponsible approach to this issue and it will cost significantly more over the long term to keep detainees there than transfer them to a U.S. facility. Furthermore, our judicial system has a proven record of trying and incarcerating terrorists, with over 500 terrorists currently being held in U.S. prisons. “Congress should lift the restrictions that have prevented the president from closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,” Davis said. Scott Peters (D-52) visited Flint, Michigan, the city whose water supply has been poisoned for the past two years due to a fiscally motivated decision at the state level to switch supply sources from the Detroit water system — which gets its water from Lake Erie — to the Flint River, which is notoriously polluted. The corrosive water ate away at the protective lining of the lead pipes in the Flint water system, causing high levels of toxic lead to poison the city’s entire water supply. Peters, a native of the Detroit suburb of Southfield, Michigan, and a former environmental law attorney, was a co-sponsor of a bill, along with Rep. Dan Kildee (DMI) whose district includes Flint, that strengthened EPA requirements to notify residents when concentrations of lead in drinking water exceeds safe levels. —Andy Cohen is a local freelance writer. Reach him at ac76@ v

San Diego Downtown News | March 2016




reduce prison recidivism by better prioritizing housing assistance, drug and alcohol treatment, and mental-healthcare for former inmates. There’s still work left to do, of course, such as finding a permanent source of funding for affordable housing to help solve our statewide housing crisis, fixing our ailing transportation system, repealing the punitive maximum family grant in our CalWORKS program, and budgeting for an inevitable rise in the minimum wage. All that is in addition to my and my colleagues’ focus this year on fighting the evil of human trafficking. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to be the first Speaker from San Diego and I’m looking forward to continuing to serve San Diegans, and all Californians, in the years to come. Extras: Congratulations to my mentor, former state Senator Christine Kehoe — she will be inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame this month. She has done great work both for our city and our state. I’m so proud of her both for what she’s done and the work she continues to do … Free installation of smoke alarms is available for seniors via the Burn Institute, which offers the Senior Smoke Alarm Program. To see if you qualify, call the Burn Institute at 858-541-2277, ext. 18, or email smokealarm@burninstitute. org ... The state’s traffic ticket amnesty program can cut fines by up to 80 percent for some motorists facing financial hardship. They qualify if their ticket payments were due on or before Jan. 1, 2013 and they have not made a payment since Sept. 30, 2015. The website has more information. —Toni G. Atkins is the Speaker of the California State Assembly. For more information, visit her website, asmdc. org/speaker or follow her on Twitter, @toniatkins.v PENIS ENLARGEMENT FDA Medical Vacuum Pumps - Gain 1-3 Inches Permanently. Free Brochures (619) 294-7777 (Discounts Available)

Sudoku & Crossword puzzle answers from page 18


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


Odd Fellows and triple links Gaslamp Landmarks Jake Romero One of the Gaslamp Quarter’s most striking architectural masterpieces occupies the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Market Street. Built in an Italian renaissance style popular to commercial buildings in the late 1800s, the building features some fantastic architectural detailing such as Doric columns, arched windows topped with classical style pediments, and a central balcony with ornamental iron railings. The building is named after the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF), a national, religiously and politically independent fraternal order founded in 1819 by Thomas Wildey in Baltimore, Maryland. The IOOF is also known as the Triple Link Fraternity, referring to the order’s “Triple Links” symbol, alluding to its motto “Friendship, Love and Truth.” At one time, from 1862 to 1920, the IOOF was the largest of all fraternal organizations. By 1889, they had lodges in

IOOF Building (1882) northwest corner of Sixth Avenue and Market Street Architects: William Payne and William Lacy. (Courtesy GQHF) every American state and the building at Sixth and Market was built to accommodate their San Diego lodge. It was constructed at a cost of $25,000. Funds were raised through the establishment of a Masonic Building Association formed in 1872. The president of the association was James Pierce, a native of Massachusetts, who came to San Diego in 1849. Pierce was active in business and politics having served as the first vice president of the

Bank of San Diego, alongside president and successful town founder Alonzo Erastus Horton. Pierce also served as a trustee of the San Diego Library Association, Chamber of Commerce president, and Republican State Assemblymember. Construction of the IOOF building began in 1873, yet the cornerstone was not laid until 1882, due to problems with material and construction quality and a shortage of capital. The laying of the cornerstone was a celebra-

tory affair, with both the Odd Fellows and Masons holding a joint parade up Fifth Avenue to “D Street” (now Broadway), down D to Sixth, and then down Sixth back to “H Street” (now Market). A time capsule was placed in the cornerstone with various items, such as a piece of cedar wood from Lebanon, a piece of stone from Solomon’s Temple, and various newspapers, coins and Masonic IOOF documents. Both the Masons and the Odd Fellows occupied the hall, beginning with the Masons on July 29, 1882, and later, the IOOF on Aug. 5, 1882. In 1890, King Kalakaua of Hawaii attended a Masonic meeting at the hall. The legend is that the king, already a man in poor health, sat too close to an open window and caught a chill, resulting in his death in January of 1891 in San Francisco. The Masons left the hall for a new one at Fifth Avenue and Ash Street around 1910, eventually followed by the Odd Fellows. Today, the IOOF building on Sixth and Market stands as a beautiful reminder of San Diego’s Masonic history and rich architectural past. —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


Erin Liddel is ready to put her mark on the Gaslamp (Courtesy GQA) FROM PAGE 1

place in her heart. “I’ve always enjoyed getting the word out, and making people shine,” Liddell said. “I like locals, just as it is for the tourpartnering with other people. We ists,” Liddell said. “I want to begin can help one another if we work reflecting this, starting with social together.” media.” The GQA, as it turns out, was While the large-scale events a great fit for Liddell’s next professuch as Taste of Gaslamp garner sional foray in life. the most attention, many of LidGQA Executive Director dell’s day-to-day responsibilities Michael Trimble said Liddell was are less noticeable to the general one of more than 100 applicants public. Behind the scenes, she who threw their hats into the said she is working to form a ring, though he is quick to point marketing committee to continue out that less than half of the prosharnessing new opportunities of pects followed all of the details in what the Gaslamp Quarter has applying for the position. to offer. “Details are very important Event planning might be a in a job like this,” Trimble said. core function within the GQA, but “If you aren’t able to follow so too is liaising with the more directions on a job application, than 400 disparate businesses you’re not going to be suited for that call Gaslamp Quarter home a job like this.” and hold membership to the When Liddell’s predecessor, organization. Brandy Shimabukuro, left GQA Liddell knows what it is like in November to assume a position to be one of those member busi- with the city of San Diego’s Office nesses. Prior to assuming her of Special Events as its new filmposition within the association, ing program manager, Trimble Liddell was a longtime staffer said he and other GQA staffers at the Chuck Jones Gallery, took time and care in selecting a just a few blocks south of the person to a post that will carry GQA offices. For years, she out many of the organization’s had a seat on the association’s objectives. board of directors. From his perspective, Trimble “It’s an incredible group of said Liddell stood out from a people,” Liddell said of the board. crop of strong candidates for a “They’re very good about working number of reasons, including her with the retail businesses and do vast knowledge of the Gaslamp what they can to drive traffic to Quarter. the businesses.” “She had already been very Liddell said she decided to active with [GQA],” Trimble said. leave Chuck Jones Gallery last “She also had a lot of knowledge, June as she sought out new oppor- which is so important. We wanted tunities. One of the most difficult someone who could hit the ground aspects of leaving the gallery, she running. Erin has hit the ground said, was relinquishing her seat running.” on the board. To keep tabs on Taste of From the get-go, Liddell asGaslamp and other GQA activipired to join a nonprofit organities, visit zation — a nod, she said, to her father, who died five years ago of —Dave Fidlin is a freelance brain cancer. With that pivotal journalist with a special affinity experience in mind, Liddell said for San Diego and its people. Conthe nonprofit, development and tact him at dave.fidlin@thinkpost. fundraising sectors hold a special net.v


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016



San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

Family fun in Little Italy Little Italy News Christopher Gomez Spring is in the air and with warm weather comes more outdoor activities to do with your family in Little Italy. We encourage you to come experience San Diego’s culturally vibrant neighborhood for yourself! The Little Italy community focuses on creating a family-friendly atmosphere, making it easy for families to enjoy themselves and build lasting memories. Here are a few things you can do with your family in the neighborhood come springtime.

Family-friendly events: The neighborhood hosts multiple events throughout the year that are catered to kids and families focusing on maintaining tradition, even in an urban city. One of our most loved events, Mission Federal ArtWalk, is coming up on April 30 and May 1. The colorful street festival is filled with art, music and dance spanning across over 15 blocks in Little Italy—it even has a designated area with kid-friendly activities—KidsWalk. Keep your eyes on the Little Italy Association’s website for other events that are fun for all ages! Little Italy San Diego app: Kids love to play with phones and one of our newest additions to the neighborhood is the Little

Italy San Diego app. The app is perfectly equipped even for kids with a kid-friendly video-guided tour called “Little Italy Bambino Tour,” which allows your kids to follow the animated mascot, Danny Boy, around the neighborhood and learn about its history through videos, photos, augmented reality, games and quizzes. Waterfront Park: Little Italy is home to a state-of-the-art park at the waterfront of the San Diego Bay, with beautiful views located on Pacific Highway. Kids can play in the spray fountains on a hot spring day, making it perfect for family recreation. Family-friendly restaurants: Little Italy is home to some great family-friendly restaurants that cater to kids to ensure everyone has a great time. Some restaurants even put together various interactive and memorable activities to keep kids entertained, making it an enjoyable dining experience. Little Italy Mercato (Farmers Market): Families can eat, shop and play at the Little Italy Mercato held every Saturday with over 150 vendors offering fresh produce, crafts and more. A kids’ favorite, especially the corner musicians who play music and welcome people to dance. Piazzas and wider sidewalks: Kids love to run around and there’s no better place than

the multiple public spaces in the hood, including the infamous Piazza Basilone located on West Fir Street. Satisfy your sweet tooth: No better way than to end the day with something to satisfy your sweet tooth! Little Italy has an array of choices — Italian pastries, dessert shops and even some authentic Italian gelato. We hope to see you around the neighborhood this springtime.

To find out more information on where to take the family around, please visit littleitalysd. com. To stay connected with us, 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 chris@


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


(above) Aglaonema Key Largo makes an excellent houseplant; (below) Hedera Helix English Ivy can grow as a ground cover or in a pot; a fishtail palm can take up empty space (Photos courtesy Armstrong Garden Centers)

Five easy ways to make your décor pop with houseplants By Gary Jones Are you stuck in the mindset that houseplants are only desk or table plants? That their job is just to add a bit of life to a room? Expand your houseplant horizons. They can be so much more than a sorry fern in a pot. It is time to give plants a starring role. Today’s new tropicals deserve and demand attention. Bold, dramatic and colorful foliage is in and so is pottery in bright colors and patterned designs. Containers with interesting shapes and textures add fun to a houseplant’s new look. There are several ways that houseplants can become important and exciting elements of your home’s décor. Try incorporating some or all of these into your design plan:

Enlarge the scale

Create some drama. Choose a bold plant like a fiddle-leaf fig and move in a large 6-foot version. Now you’ve got some visual excitement. Or flank your fireplace with two plants. Have the same fun with an oversized, 7-foot fishtail palm and let it take over that boring living room corner. The bigger and bolder, the better.

Use as color accents

Instead of utilizing throw pillows to add pops of color, why not use houseplants? The color can be the foliage itself or its bright, glazed pot. Instead of the plant being a receding green, let it be the object that energizes the room. It will be the thing your eye goes to first and the color that makes the rest of the room sing.

Put it on a pedestal

A potted plant on a pedestal suddenly becomes a statement, especially if the pedestal is architectural, stylish and bold. No pedestal on hand? Then choose a very tall, colorful, narrow pot. They’re extremely popular right now.

Plunk a houseplant on top and you’ve got instant action whether the plant shoots upward or trails down. Here’s another trick — use a stack of books as a short plant pedestal, but be sure to use a saucer to catch any water.

Create some rhythm

If one houseplant is nice, why not place two or three exactly the same, right in a row? That will create rhythm. It is similar to two side chairs, a collection of vases on a table or a pair of lamps.

Design a skyline

Top interior designers make sure that rooms have an interest-

ing skyline. This means there are interesting things happening at the higher levels of the room. It can be boring to have everything at seating height or at eye level. Houseplants are very useful for changing a room’s skyline. Step back and assess your room(s). They might need a skyscraper houseplant or two. —Gary Jones is chief horticulturist at Armstrong Garden Centers, which has locations on Friars Road and Morena Boulevard. Email your drought and gardening questions to


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

Let’s have some fun … By Ana Gramling Whether you are a daredevil, or if skydiving is on your bucket list, you’ll be pleased to know that Airborne America is nearing completion of their indoor skydiving facility consisting of the nation’s only two-glass wind tube facility. Located in East Village at 14th Street and Imperial Avenue, the 26,500-square-foot indoor skydiving facility features two 14-feet-in-diameter and 30-feet-tall wind tubes constructed of glass. Excavation of an additional 50 feet below the tubes is where the giant 30-foot fans will be installed. Put on a jumpsuit, helmet, goggles, receive instructions, step into a glass tube and then begin to float five to six feet from the ground in flying simulations and, once over, you will simply float gently back to earth. Beginning fliers will simulate free-falling at speeds of up to 60 mph and advance fliers, including our Navy SEALs and other military personnel, have the ability to increase the wind speed up to 180 mph and float 30 feet into the air with up to seven other fliers. Instructors will be standing by to assist and direct. Buzz Fink, a longtime Coronado resident who operates the Skydive San Diego parachute-jumping school near Otay Lakes, is the vision behind Airborne America. The facility was designed by Carrier Johnson + CULTURE with structural engineering by Hope-Amundson. Swinerton Builders is the constructing contractor and the projected opening is in the spring of 2016. There will also be a gift shop and restaurant with party and training rooms and plenty of viewing platforms. For more information, visit —Ana Gramling is on the board of the East Village Residents Group (EVRG). Learn more about the EVRG at

East Village News First-ever East Village “Mix & Mingle”

The East Village social committee will host a Mix and Mingle event for East Village residents on March 10 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at The Parlour Sushi, located at 550 Park Blvd. The first-ever community event will include access to a sushi buffet, one drink and a chocolate fondue fountain with a $15 entrance fee. The night will also include a raffle and prizes for East Village community members. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the East Village Landmark Sign project.

Hot Chocolate 5k/15k

A race to the chocolatey finish line The Hot Chocolate 5k/15k race will take place on March 20 and will start and end at Petco Park. At the Hot Chocolate Expo that will take place a few days before race day, all participants will receive a goodie bag with a Hot Chocolate zip-up hoodie and race bib. There will also be music, merchandise and chocolate samples. After crossing the finish line, the runners will be rewarded with a commemorative mug packed with hot chocolate, fondue and a variety of dipping treats. All 15k finishers will additionally receive an official candy barlookalike San Diego Hot Chocolate medal. Race proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Charities of San Diego. Those who are interested can register for the race at


LANDSCAPE tradition of promoting the profession of landscape architecture. An active member in ASLA since 1986, he has held important positions at both the local and national level and was inducted into the ASLA class of Fellows in 2004. This year, Caughey is chairing the Friends of Balboa Park, where he will lead the nonprofit organization in their mission of preserving and enhancing the historic park for future generations. In November of 2011, Dennis Y. Otsuji, former principal and owner of ONA Inc. Landscape Architects, joined the Wimmer, Yamada and Caughey team as a principal, bringing to the table nearly 30 years of experience in landscape architecture, urban design and land-planning and a reputation for designing exceptional, awardwinning projects. An active member in ASLA since 1979 and an appointed Fellow since 1993, in his new position Otsuji provides leadership and concentrates on business development and client relations for the firm. He is an active volunteer with the Japanese Friendship Garden, the Manzanar Camp National Monument Committee, a member of the San Diego City Planning Commission and the U.S.S. Midway Museum Foundation. The plethora of awards accorded Wimmer, Yamada and Caughey have come from various sources. The firm especially prizes the Collaborative Arts Awards from the American Institute of Architects (biennial, 1960 – 1968). Other recognition includes

The design of Wimmer, Yamada and Caughy can be seen at Marina Embarcadero Park (Photo by Delle Willett) numerous ASLA Merit and Honor awards; multiple local Orchid Awards; and APA Planning and AIA Design awards. The firm was also awarded the ASLA Landmark Award in 2011 for the first San Diego River Improvement Project that was completed in the late 1980s. To see the work of Wimmer, Yamada and Caughey is easy, just pick a spot to stand in Downtown San Diego and look in every direction; you’ll see Horton Plaza; the Gaslamp Quarter; the Meridian; The Westin; The Mark; The Loft; the Chinese Historical District; Bank of America; and more. Walking along the harbor, their work is included at Seaport Village; Marina Embarcadero Park; the Old Police Headquarters; the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina; the Unconditional Surrender statue; and more. In Balboa Park, their talents are associated with the addition to the

Reuben H. Fleet Museum; Sefton Plaza; the original fountain in front of the Natural History Museum; and the first edition of the Old Globe Theater, after the fire in 1978. Back in the day, Wimmer Yamada was the landscape architecture firm of choice for San Diego’s premier forward architects. Today, with a record number of ASLA Fellows, Wimmer, Yamada and Caughey remains one of the most highly regarded firms in the San Diego region. Their office is located at 3067 Fifth Ave., in Bankers Hill, with a staff of 11, including eight landscape architects and three support staff. For more information, visit —Delle Willett has been a marketing and public relations professional for over 30 years, with an emphasis on conservation of the environment. She can be reached at



San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


Mortgage and your money

Three things to consider before you refinance Financial News Taylor Schulte The decision to purchase a home is often lifechanging, with a mortgage becoming a big part of one’s financial plan and often the biggest piece of debt. And, similar to the stock market, the economic landscape for lending is continuously changing, making it imperative for consumers to review their mortgage regularly. With interest rates remaining at historical lows, many are considering refinancing their home to lower monthly expenses and assist with a long-term payoff or consolidate debt — essentially to put themselves in a better financial position. Yet, reasons to refinance are not limited to interest rates alone and the “right” time may vary for each consumer. To hone in on key refinancing considerations, we chatted with Vince Giacalone, mortgage banker with Residential Wholesale Mortgage (RWMI). Below is our collective list of motivators and considerations for a refinance.

What’s your end goal?

Before jumping into a refinance, determine your plan for the home, i.e., what is the estimated time you plan on owning the home? Is it two years? Is it 20? Determining that time frame will help dictate the appropriate loan program and help choose either a short term or long term hold strategy. As Giacalone put it, “Friends don’t let friends pay points.” In other words, paying points to obtain a mortgage only benefits the consumer in specific, long-term scenarios. So, have a good understanding of your timeline before you refinance.

Know your motivators.

What is your specific reason for refinancing? Is

it to obtain the lowest possible rate, to protect the loan over the long haul or to improve your monthly cash flow? Or, are you considering home improvement? It’s important to determine the motivation prior to making the move. In a low-interest environment, some consumers may see immediate monthly savings, and as a result, opt to refinance for that reason. Others may use a cash out refinance to build an addition to the house, consolidate their debt, or invest the money elsewhere.

Interest rates.

Interest rates aren’t the basis for a refinancing decision, but they can certainly play an important role. With current interest rates at historic lows, consumers may be taking a closer look at their statements and assessing where they stand. “Taking the mortgage temperature can either show consumers they are well positioned or serve as a wakeup call,” advised Giacalone. As each scenario is specific to the person, the refinancing decision should be made based on all aspects of the interest rate environment. Similar to the decision-making process involved in the original purchase, it’s important to review one’s reasons for refinancing and whether it’s the right time. Personal situations vary, so be cognizant of your motivators and goals before refinancing your home. —Taylor Schulte, CFP is the founder of Define Financial in Downtown San Diego. Schulte specializes in providing independent, objective, financial advice to individuals, families and businesses. He can be reached at 619-577-4002 or


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


The sounds and smells of Louisiana Annual Cajun and Creole festival tickets now on sale

Gras spirit of Cajun, zydeco, Swamp Pop and New Orleans jazz has remained at its heart. Gator By the Bay is considered such an authentic experience, it has been recognized by the state of Louisiana as an official amBy Wendy Lemlin bassador since 2012. It is important to note that Gator By the May is still a few months away, but if Bay is more than just another music festival, you are a fan of Gator by the Bay, one of San however. Its wide-ranging appeal is also Diego’s largest music and good time festivals, about food, culture, and joie de vivre. you’ll be happy to know that advance tickets “While we focus a lot on the highest for the popular four-day event have just gone quality music from many genres, we also on sale. Taking place May 5 – 8 at Spanish create a Mardi Gras-style experience, which Landing Park on Harbor Drive, across from includes genuine Louisiana food, colorful San Diego International Airport, the festival ‘second line’ parades with New Orleans style attracts participants from around the world. brass bands, and educational workshops,” Now in its 15th year, Gator by the Bay explained Peter Oliver, the event’s organizer. began as a celebration of the upbeat, highly “[We even spend] an entire day, pre-festival, danceable, Cajun and zydeco music of South- dedicated to introducing local school children west Louisiana, drawing the top musical art- to the sights and sounds of a truly unique ists of the genre from the bayous and prairies segment of American regional culture.” of that region to San Diego. Indeed, the festival is fully experienced The accordion- and fiddle-driven Cajun with all five senses. There’s the rich smell of aromas emanating from the French Quarter Food Court, including 10,000 pounds of fresh crawfish brought directly from the ponds of Louisiana, along with gumbos, etouffees, jambalayas and other signature Cajun and Creole dishes, served by carefully curated vendors. The color and pageantry of daily Mardi Gras parades are as much fun to watch as they are to participate in, and live-cooking demos can be viewed throughout the day on Friday and Saturday. Festivalgoers will hear an eclectic collection of over 90 musical performances across seven stages, and can listen to stories about the roots of the music and culture at the “Bayou Grove.” Dance partners hold and swirl each other around dedicated dance floors at four of the music stages. There is even a full schedule of dance lessons for beginners — from zydeco to swing, and from line dancing to salsa — or those wishing (above) Dancing at one of seven stages at Gator by the Bay (Photo by to add some new moves to Joseph McDonald); eating some of the 10,000 pounds of crawfish (Photo by their repertoire. Shawn Milligan) One of the unique facets music stems from the traditions of Louisiof Gator By the Bay is its multi-generational ana’s French Acadians (aka Cajuns), while appeal, attracting fans of all ages. Always zydeco, the music of the multi-cultural Creole falling on Mother’s Day weekend, attending people, is the wilder, looser sister to Cajun the festival has become an annual tradition music, infusing African, Caribbean and R&B for many families and it’s not unusual to see influences. Both styles are made for partner three generations celebrating together. dancing, and at Gator By the Bay, the dance Marie Mintz, who travels to the event floors are always filled with happy feet. from her home in the San Francisco Bay Presented by the local Bon Temps Social area, is one of those for whom the festival is Club — a dance club founded in 1991 to a “must-do” every year. “spread the love of Louisiana Cajun dancing” “My daughter and her family lived in to the local community — the event draws San Diego for many years and Mother’s nearly 18,000 participants over its four days. Day has always been spent with her and While its musical focus has expanded in remy granddaughters at the festival,” Mintz cent years to include blues, swing, salsa and Latin, and rockabilly and roots, the Mardi see Festival, pg 19

The Beer Festival has lots of interactive games and raises money to help those with cancer attend college. (Courtesy Cancer for College)

Best Coast Beer Fest returns for a second year Lending the real Ron Burgundy’s name to a good cause By Kai Oliver-Kurtin More than 6,000 people are expected to attend the second annual Best Coast Beer Fest on March 12 at Embarcadero Marina Park South, where attendees can sample beer from nearly 100 craft breweries, listen to live music, visit the food truck alley for chow, and even watch an outdoor movie later that night. As the only beer festival endorsed by comedian and actor Will Ferrell, the Best Coast Beer Fest is billed as, “the most amazing beer festival in the history of mankind.” According to producer Amy Ulkutekin, the event staff learned a lot from the inaugural festival last year. “We will be making improvements to make sure that everyone has an awesome time,” Ulkutekin said. “We’ve completely revamped the VIP experience, we’ll have more restrooms, will be pre-checking to allow quicker entrance to the festival, and have even more breweries on board this year.” During the festival, guests will enjoy live music from two bands — Dirty Bird and Rocky’s Revival — and have the option to purchase food from 10 different food trucks. The festival benefits Cancer for Col-


lege, a local nonprofit organization where Will Ferrell serves as an executive board member. Cancer for College was founded by Craig Pollard — Ferrell’s college fraternity brother at the University of Southern California — a two-time cancer survivor. “I knew that if I survived, I wanted to do something to help other cancer survivors,” Pollard said. “While volunteering at a camp for seriously ill children and their families, I saw how the kids lit up when they found out I was in college. The idea of returning to some kind of normal life is important to a person dealing with cancer. Helping them return to some kind of normalcy seemed like a way I could make an impact.” One grateful scholarship recipient, college student Kalina Campion, is a member of Rocky’s Revival, one of the bands playing during the festival. “We have found that our scholarship recipients tend to be more focused and determined to not only graduate from college, but make a difference in the world around

see Beer Fest, pg 17


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

DINING Coming in March to The Headquarters at Seaport Village is Flour & Barley Brick Oven Pizza, which will also feature Italian-inspired appetizers, salads and entrees along with barrel-aged cocktails and a comprehensive beer program totaling 150 drafts, bottles and cans. The restaurant first launched in Las Vegas a couple years ago, and has become known for its wood-fried pizzas made with high-gluten All Trumps Flour. 789 W. Harbor Drive,

Pizza at New York West restaurant

(Photo by J.T. Meadows)

A sister restaurant to Manhattan of La Jolla opened recently in front of the Embassy Suites by Hilton at 601 Pacific Highway. Co-owner Brian O’Donnell says New York West is an informal version of his fine-dining La Jolla steakhouse and focuses on casual Italian dishes and New York-style thin-crust pizza. Complete with a full cocktail bar and 20 beer taps, the space’s Big Apple theme is still shaping up as O’Donnell plans on decorating further with black-and-white photographs of New York buildings and celebrities. 619-819-7091;

Busalacchi Restaurants has closed its 12-year-old Po Pazzo in Little Italy to make way for Barbusa, which will replace traditional Italian dishes with “modern Sicilian” cuisine. The menu is still in the works, and the re-branded endeavor is slated to open sometime in May. 1917 India St.,

Barbecue with traditional fixings at Bugsy’s (Courtesy of Bugsy’s BBQ) Smoked turkey legs, St. Louis-style ribs and candied sweet potatoes are among the down-home dishes that have arrived to the Gaslamp Quarter, via the new Bugsy’s BBQ. Helming the menu is Pitmaster Jacob Greene, an expert in regional barbecue who has worked in restaurants throughout the country specializing in smoked meats. House-made pies are also in the offing. The restaurant, which was previously home to Urban Bar and Lounge, features an Old West theme boasting large flat screens and a full bar slinging unique cocktails such as smoked brisket martinis and the bourbon-based Lucky Luciano with pineapple juice and smoked lemon. 827 Fifth Ave., 619-235-8700, More than 50 reputable wineries are taking part in the inaugural Uncorked San Diego Wine Festival, from 1 –5 p.m., April 2, at Embarcadero Marina Park North. They include Foxglove, Laird, Fritz, Napa Cellars, and more. The event will also feature live music and about 10 food trucks such as Devilicous, Cousins Maine Lobster and Buona Forchetta. Admission is $55 for 2 p.m. entry; and $65 for VIP entry an hour earlier. Both include wine tastings. Food will be sold separately. 400 Kettner Blvd.,

Carnivore Sandwich piles on the meats (Courtesy Alternative Strategies) Nosh Delicatessen in Little Italy has rebranded to Carnivore Sandwich, which recently opened an additional location Downtown, at 317 10th St., and will soon open an express outlet at 707 Broadway, inside the Chase Bank building. The eateries are owned by Chicago native Bas Emini, whose father ran more than 20 delis in the Midwest. Joining the list of New York and Jewishstyle sandwiches piled with meats imported from back East, are stuffed avocados as well as paninis, clubs and melts. Original location: 670 West B St., 619-795-7002,

The “Wipeout” pays tribute to jazz musicians (Courtesy J Public Relations)

Grant Grill’s “chef de bar” Cory Alberto has introduced several new cocktails inspired by his favorite jazz and blues musicians. Listed under a special menu titled, “Kind of Blue,” they include creations named after Howlin’ Wolf (Johnny Walker Red, bitters and cigar foam); Ella Fitzgerald (Remy Martin 1738, rosewater, tangerine and prosecco); and Ali Farka (Avua cachaca, lime, acai puree and Aquavit). Another named Wipeout, pays tribute to surf guitarist Dick Dale via a tiki-style recipe combining rum, mescal, sherry and absinthe with pineapple and lime. 326 Broadway, 619-744-2077,

—Frank Sabatini Jr can be reached at fsabatini@


Rebirth on the harbor Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. Aside from its priceless perch on San Diego Bay, everything at the 27-year-old Top of the Market is fresher than a fish out of water. A roof fire in May closed down the iconic seafood restaurant as well as its casual ground-floor sibling, The Fish Market, which sustained less damage and reopened in August. The upstairs, however, didn’t spring back to life until December. It was given a costly facelift that coincided with the arrival of accomplished chef Stafford Mather, who revised 90 percent of the menu with specialty entrees that change daily. Gone are the dark colors and excessive teak that held Top of the Market hostage to the past. Some of the wood, however, was retained in the redo as elegant accents to cream-colored walls and ceiling panels. New light fixtures strike an Art Deco feel, and cushy, raised booths now allow additional customers unobstructed views of the surrounding harbor through enlarged windows. Mather’s food stacks up to the waterfront élan. He has helmed the kitchens at premier restaurants in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and for some of Brian Malarkey’s local fabric-named ventures. He was also executive chef at Top of the Market’s San Mateo location. If there’s anyone who can take the cliché out of crab cakes, it’s Mather. Think blue lump crab compacted into a disc without mushy fillers and with wisps of

(top to bottom) Pacific swordfish elegantly displayed; blue crab cake with grapefruit buerre blanc (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Old Bay Seasoning. Crowned with a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs, the creative component that gave this cake its mojo was grapefruit buerre blanc speckled with pickled mustard seeds that practically popped on the palate. My companion, who normally eschews crab cakes because she’s had too many that taste fishy, gave this a superior rating for freshness and originality. I fully agreed. Citrus prevailed also in a dish of seared prawns cloaked in blood orange reduction. The surprise elements, though subtle, were cardamom and Fresno chilies, both of which played smartly into the sweetness of the sauce. Scottish salmon over vegetables and pomegranate sauce My love of the (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Top of the Market 750 North Harbor Drive 619-232-3474 Prices: Starters, soups and salads, $10 to $23; entrees, $24 to $55; raw bar items and chilled seafood platters, $16 to $44 fruit had me washing down the dish with an outrageously quenching blood orange spritzer before joining my companion in a buttery Chardonnay by Fritz, which our waiter allowed us to sample with a few other whites at the start of the meal. Given the lengthy wine list, we appreciated the gesture. We started also with the jasmine roll constructed at the small sushi bar downstairs. The offerings aren’t listed on Top of the Market’s menu, but we learned it’s permissible to order them from your table. The roll was simple and lush: spicy scallops layered with fresh salmon, a little

San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

rice, and topped with paper-thin lemon slices. We followed up with a medley of pan-seared Brussels sprouts and artichokes. The dish rose above the norm with the additions of pomegranate, sumac and Meyer lemon yogurt sauce, which aided some of the overcooked sprouts within the medley. The menu describes them as “crispy,” but several suffered in the process. Clam chowder is one of the few untouchables on the menu. It’s been around since the restaurant opened and remains hearty and balanced in its roux-to-broth ratio. But why the lobster bisque was indelibly salty remained a mystery, even after bringing it to the attention of the chef. We each ordered entrees from the “mesquite grilled” section. Both were winners. Firm and meaty Pacific swordfish arrived in a pond of sauce vierge, a lovely French complement combining olive oil, tomatoes, lemon juice, and herbs. Supported also with braised fennel and haricot vert, the fish featured flavorful grill marks and hit the taste buds like a fine steak. The Scottish salmon was equally striking with its crispy skin and bedding of winter squash, balsamic onions and Brussels sprout leaves. Pomegranate seeds appeared randomly throughout the dish, imparting just the right tinge of fruitiness to the earthy vegetables. Filet mignon and braised lamb shank were the only red-meat options on the evening’s menu. They’re geared obviously to nonfish eaters coerced in to coming here by their seafood-crazed dinner mates, who may find themselves deciding between such other catches as Fijian yellowfin tuna, Bedford Sea scallops, South American lobsters and whatever bounties the oceans yield at the time. Our all-seafood supper concluded with a tall-standing slice of moist tiramisu and a chocolate peanut butter bar split artfully into two wedges. Both housemade, they were final testimonies to Top of the Market’s longstanding adherence to quality and presentation, which has seemingly grown stronger in its stylish resurrection. —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@san. v



BEERFEST them,” Pollard said. Since 1993, Cancer for College has granted nearly $2 million worth of scholarships to more than 1,000 cancer survivors. They’re currently in the process of creating an endowment fund to secure sustainable funding for a significant number of scholarships annually, as long as there’s a need. Pollard said Ferrell has been involved with Cancer for College since the beginning and has used his celebrity to help raise money and bring a level of awareness to their cause that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. “Will is a genuine person and a very loyal friend,” Pollard said. “His mantra to me has been to ‘use him to do the most good’ for the charity.” Cancer for College will have a booth at the festival where they’ll be selling their popular Will Ferrell Super Mega Sexy Hot Tan Sunscreen, as well as other items autographed by Ferrell. “Through our partnership with Cancer for College, we’ve been able to create a festival with a fun personality — something essential to a beer festival,” Ulkutekin said. General admission tickets, called “Stay Classy,” include festival attendance from 1 – 4 p.m. and a souvenir tasting cup for unlimited beer samples. Afternoon VIP tickets (currently sold out) also include early entrance to the festival at noon and access to the VIP tent, which offers reserve beers, an unlimited Lucha Libre taco bar and private restrooms. Private cabanas are also available for up to 10 people. For those who prefer to sip at night, evening tickets (general admission and VIP) to the beer fest are available from 5 – 8 p.m., and include a movie screening of one of Will Ferrell’s favorite movies (think “Step Brothers” or “Zoolander”). Ticket prices increase as the date draws closer to the festival. For more information, to volunteer or purchase tickets, visit To learn more about the Pollard’s charity, visit —Kai Oliver-Kurtin is a local freelance writer. She enjoys covering events, restaurant news, culture and entertainment. Contact her at



San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


HOMELESSNESS thought if I could focus on each individual and channel the little information I knew about them into their likenesses, maybe I could touch a little bit on their human condition and make them visible.” Katherine Johnston, director of infrastructure and budget for Mayor Kevin Faulconer, said homelessness is high on the mayor’s priority list and he believes in finding a solution. “It’s a complex issue with a lot to do moving forward,” she said. Deacon Jim Vargas, president/ CEO of Father Joe’s Villages (FJV), a full-service homeless provider, said the nonprofit institution he manages works daily with the homeless population, whom he described as “the marginalized, the stigmatized and the disenfranchised.” Kris Kuntz, a senior associate at LeSar Development Consultants who works with the homeless and the city’s housing policy, said he was pleased to have the opportunity to consult with FJV and other homeless providers, doing the “good work” it takes to achieve social justice by helping to house people. A spokesman for San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team, Sgt. Michael Stirk, said he was inspired by his family history to “have a positive impact with homeless veterans.” Moderator Kreit asked panelists about the nature of San Diego’s homeless, inquiring as to who they are and where they came from. “It runs the full gamut from people with alcohol and substance abuse problems to the mentally ill and people who’ve grown up


It was a packed house at San Diego History Center for the panel, “Humanizing Homelessness.” (Photo by Diana Inocencio/San Diego History Center)

in the foster care system who turn 18 and end up on the street because they have nowhere else to go,” Stirk said, noting that many San Diegans are “only a couple paychecks away” from being on the street. Panelists were asked if they believed in the “housing first” model trending in homeless care. “It’s housing first, but not housing only,” Vargas said. Vargas added that transitional housing has to be coupled with providing “wrap-around services for people” to help break the cycle of homelessness by addressing their root problems, which caused them to end up on the street in the first place. Johnston said there are “different reasons why individual home-



less require unique interventions.” Noting that housing is a “basic human right,” Kuntz pointed out that furnishing housing to the homeless is “an initial platform, so all change can happen.” Stirk said the most recent homeless count indicated there were 8,700 people living on the street in San Diego County, and 5,600 of those are in the city of San Diego. “It’s a challenge to tailor a solution to 5,600 people,” he said. The high cost of housing in San Diego is another major hurdle that needs to be cleared in order to get the homeless off the streets, Vargas said. Johnston added that federal and local funding are being furnished to provide subsidized


housing for San Diego’s homeless to help them transition off the street. “We need to find a way to incentivize landlords to provide housing to veterans and other homeless,” she said. One point the panelists did agree on was that there is real hope when it comes to housing issues. “We’ve seen cities across the country do an awesome job housing the homeless and coming up with some really creative solutions,” Kuntz said. “We can learn from others.” Panelists were asked if creating “tiny houses” for the homeless might be one creative solution to helping homeless become upwardly mobile.



“I don’t think it’s effective because it lulls the homeless community, giving them a false sense of security,” Vargas said, again noting that a better solution is providing them with wrap-around services which would allow for “long-term interventions” to get them to confront – and deal with – their individual problems and situations. Johnston said experience has demonstrated that proactively working to get the homeless off the streets is much more cost-effective rather than reacting to their problems and issues through emergency medical care and the criminal justice system. Stirk agreed, pointing out that providing ambulances and other emergency care to the chronically homeless can cost huge sums of money over time. As a case in point, he cited the record of one serial inebriate who’d run up an ambulance bill exceeding $200,000, just for rides to the hospital addressing overindulgence. Vargas challenged the audience to get involved and become volunteers in the fight against homelessness. He told the assembled crowd that FJV has thousands of such volunteers and couldn’t function without them. “You [public] are very much a critical part of the equation,” Vargas said. “If I leave you with nothing else, it’s this: work with us, partner with us in making a difference.” “Homelessness is unacceptable,” concluded Kuntz. “It [homelessness] is solvable, as a community, across the nation. Homelessness can be ended.” —Dave Schwab can be reached at


SUDOKU PUZZLE ANSWERS ON P. 7 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.

Getting in shape with laughter



Music, art and fashion Fashion Files Diana Cavagnaro

Actress identifies with humorous but empathetic script

Andaz Salon event

By David Dixon A singing and dancing comedy about losing weight has become a surprise hit. Productions of “WaistWatchers the Musical!” have been staged since 2007 and a new one is now running at the Lyceum Space at Horton Plaza. In Miss Cook’s Women’s Gym, a fitness instructor, Carla (Yvonne Brown), tries to help three of her clients get into shape and live a healthier lifestyle. She learns about the intimate private lives of the gym members. Carla finds out that Cindy (Brandi Lacy), Connie (Danielle Levin), and Cheryl (Kathy Sanders) are going through issues involving sex, work, and marriage. The main performers know the material inside and out since they starred in a recent run at Phoenix’s Herberger Theater Center. A Coronado resident, Sanders grew close to the ensemble during her stint in Arizona. “The relationships featured onstage are similar to the ones we have in real life,” she said. “We did become like a family.” Sanders admitted that there are some parallels between the actresses and the roles that they play. “Our characters are sort of similar to us in real life,” she said. “We made the characters more into ourselves.” Directing this highly identifiable story is John Anderson, the production manager of the San Diego Repertory Theatre. Anderson has directed plays in the past, but “WaistWatchers” is the first musical that Anderson has ever staged. The most difficult aspect of

San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

(l to r) Brandi Lacy, Yvonne Brown, Kathy Sanders and Danielle Levin (Photo by Steve Carr) directing a musical, for Anderson, is making sure that the music sounds as good as possible in the theatre. “The most important [element] in a musical is that the melodies are perfect,” he said. “My work became easier when the musical director started working with the cast members on the tunes.” In trying to make the protagonists feel real, Anderson has included a theme featured in some of the previous tales he has directed. “I wanted to create a place where they don’t have to pretend to each other at all,” he said. “Miss Cook’s gym is their clubhouse and Fortress of Solitude.” As the bond between the four women grows, parodies of popular songs from artists such as ABBA and Britney Spears are performed by the various characters. Titles such as “Botox Queen,” “Big Balls Are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “I Went to the Buffet Line” are indicators of the tongue-in-cheek tone during the 90-minute one-act. Many reviewers have compared Alan Jacobson’s script with “Menopause The Musical,” since that show also featured parody songs, a female cast and irreverent humor. Sanders said familiarity with well-known tunes such as “Maria” from “West Side Story” and “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)” from “Man of La Mancha” really adds to the humor.

“People just start cracking up as soon as they recognize the music and how the words are altered,” she said. “There is a lot of cleverness in the lyrics.” Besides the jokes, Sanders enjoys the way that theatregoers can connect with the plot. “There is something in there for everyone to relate to,” she said. “It’s basically four people discussing topics that are talked about on a daily basis.” Anderson said the primary reason the laugh-filled evening has been so popular is because it has such a lighthearted approach while remaining empathetic. “It is a joyful experience for 90 minutes,” he said. “Viewers will see themselves, as well as loved ones, in the narrative.” Whether going out with a big group of friends or just looking for a fun date night, this comical event should be one of the funnier times spent at a gym. Don’t be surprised if it becomes tempting to sing along with the four friends. “WaistWatchers, the Musical!” will be playing at the Lyceum Space, 79 Horton Plaza, Downtown, from March 5 – 27. For tickets or more information, visit or call 619-544-1000. —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 daviddixon0202@


FESTIVAL and my granddaughters at the festival,” Mintz said. “Two years ago, she moved to Pasadena, but we still continue the tradition, with all of us enjoying this great excuse to come to San Diego on what we consider to be the best weekend of the year.” Gator By the Bay kicks off on Thursday evening, May 5, with a special zydeco concert featuring the Grammy-nominated C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band. Mardi Gras parade at Gator by the Bay (Photo by Joseph McDonald) C.J. is the son of the late great “King of Zydeco” Clifton Chenier, widely acthe airport (just across the street) gado, Sugaray Rayford, and The knowledged as the father of modern from both Downtown and the zydeco and the first Grammy Award- 44s with Kid Ramos. Old Town transit station and free Filling in the schedule is a full winning musician of the genre. shuttles are available from some roster of other regional and local The festival continues on parking locations. Friday evening, May 6, and all day favorites, including Johnny “V” For all the details on musical and evening Saturday, May 7 and Vernazza, Sue Palmer and her Motel Swing Band, the Bill Magee lineup, schedule, festival experiSunday, May 8. Blues Band, Robin Henkel, Manny ences and ticket info, visit GatorCajun and zydeco headliners Cepeda, and the popular world from Louisiana include Jeffery music of Todo Mundo. Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, —Wendy Lemlin is a San Daily advance tickets start Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble, Diego-based freelance writer. She at $25 and multi-day packages and Bonsoir Catin. Some of the can be reached at wendy@wendystart at $102. blues heavyweights include Roy MTS bus service is available to Rogers, John Nèmeth, Curtis Sal-

The Andaz San Diego hosted a stylish Salon Event on the evening of Jan. 28, featuring jewelry, art, and music. Locals and tourists were both invited to partake in the festivities for the evening with complimentary food and drink during the first hour, which included hosted hors d’oeuvre, beer and wine. This social and cultural salon series is the first of many that will be offered throughout the year. The Bohemian-chic jewelry was from the earth-conscious boutique, Onegreenlove. The designer, Jeni Jeffries, creates delightful jewelry and stationery. The jewelry included necklaces, earrings, and bracelets with a touch of vintage glam for women. Jeffries had beautiful gemstones from the Philippines and necklaces made from water buffalo horns for men. Onegreenlove also creates charming sustainable paper products that include greeting cards, invitations and party planning props. They are all handmade in sunny Southern California. Every effort is made to buy materials and supplies from reputable companies and Jeffries is committed to the environment and preserving it through the use of green products. The evening featured artist and fitness guru, Kael Roberts. The curvaceous woman and the female form inspire her and Roberts’ first paintings were of a woman’s body. She enjoys earthy ideas that reflect the strength of women. Some of the paintings were mixed media on canvas made with gold leaf. Her current collection is called Skyline. RegalaMia, who is reawakening humanity one song at a time, gave a special musical performance. She creates music to open hearts and bring the community together by using her music to raise awareness about the homeless and the local homeless shelters that are doing great work. Andaz San Diego, in the center of nightlife located between the Gaslamp Quarter and East Village, will continue with more cultural and social salon events throughout the coming year. The

(l to r) Jeni Jeffries (onegreenlove) and artist Kael Roberts (Photo by Diana Cavagnaro) next in the Andaz Salon series will be March 30, and will again feature fashion, music and art. Visit for additional upcoming dates.

Upcoming events March 2|“The Sky’s the Limit” – 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: com/fashion-show/ March 13 | “Teen and Bridal Expo” – Plan your Quinceanera, Sweet 16 or wedding at this event. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Crowne Plaza 2270 Hotel Circle North, for tickets call 888-260-9748. March 15 | “Vai Fitness Fashion Show” will showcase the 2016 Vai Fitness Line. Located at Procopio Tower, 525 B St. on the first floor Multipurpose Room from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Event is free and the proceeds benefit the Burn Institute. March 30 | “Andaz Salon” – This evening will feature fashions by Legit Chaos, artist David von Stadler, and musical guest performances by Mad and the Boones and Pedalay the Boss. Special musical guest, DJ NEZ. 6 –10 p.m. Andaz San Diego, 600 F St., Downtown. For more information call 619-814-2040. —Diana Cavagnaro is an internationally renowned couture milliner based in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter. Learn more about our hat designer, teacher and blogger at


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


SANDIEGO.GOV of HTML code for the simplest of changes. With the rest of the Internet speeding past and increasing difficulties and delays when trying to keep the website up-to-date, staffers realized they had to throw out the old. But first they had to search for the new. Though the city’s IT department houses 102 employees, its web team consists of only five; so the city’s first order of business was to consult with the local chapter of Code for America — a nonprofit that’s sole purpose is to modernize city, state and federal governments. As a result, Code for San Diego helped guide the city through all the steps required in choosing the most appropriate vehicle to drive on the world’s information superhighway. In April 2015, Mayor Kevin Faulconer, along with City Councilmember Scott Sherman, and the city’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) Jonathan Behnke, announced the redesign in a press conference. Also in attendance was Kristine Angell, founder and CIO of Hopscotch Labs, a consumer research and design strategy corporation that formulated and managed the redesign’s outreach element, which has been a pinnacle of the project since day one, according to Faulconer’s press secretary, Jen LeBron Kuhney. Throughout the entire process, community engagement has been at the forefront of everything that we’ve done,” Kuhney said. “We started off with a survey where we were hoping to get 1,200 participants but we got nearly 5,000 right off the bat. From that pool there were 900 individuals who said they would like to participate in further testing, so we had folks come in for focus groups and one-on-one interviews at every stage of the process, from the brand style guide that we put out somewhat recently, our web templates, and our information architecture of the new website.” The city chose Drupal — a free, pliable, open-source content management framework —as its new CMS. Drupal comes complete with everything the city needed, even the tools necessary to create a unique user interface, which is what users see when they visit the website, and one of the most important aspects of the redesign. The redesigned site has become more customer-focused, is more intuitive making it much easier to use, and it includes many features that were not previously there. “If you’ve been to our website you know that navigation can be very difficult, it’s very cluttered, and it uses a lot of terminology that the general public might not be particularly familiar with,” Kuhney said. “The new website uses what they call in the design world ‘human-centric language.’” Kuhney said based on feedback so far, the new method of organizing and categorizing content is a lot better than its previous iterations. “We know that people are coming to the city’s website not because they want to find out news about the city necessarily or look at the latest department updates, but they are coming with a task in mind,” she said. “So we are giving them the tools to make that task as easy as possible and so that we can serve our residents in the best way we can.” Alpha testing with “a very rough version” of the new website launched in December, Kuhney said. Beta testing then began in February, along with a final community outreach event, coined as the “Hackathon,” with final release to the public to take place mid-March. After opening remarks from Faulconer, the “Hackathon” — which took place in a donated space at the NewSchool of Architecture on Feb. 20 — the last, focused community engagement process commenced. Nearly 80 volunteers from the San Diego Experience Design (SDXD) meetup group spent four hours going through various exercises to “live hack” the new website and provide important feedback on the current status of its progress. SDXD, an online networking group administrated by Paul Hong — whose full time job is director of UX for local cybersecurity startup AttackIQ — consists of hundreds of local IT developers, engineers, designers, managers, and the like. Angell, already a member of the decade-old SDXD herself, brought the networking group into the fold with the hopes of getting them involved in a final research and design debrief once the city’s website went live; but Hong said they quickly recognized an opportunity for a more active role in the development process. “SDXD organized and

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planned the entire [hackathon] event,” Hong said. “We designed the day’s activities, created instruction packets and had our organizing team facilitate the proceedings throughout the afternoon,” Hong said. “All of those guys are professionals when it comes to user experience design from a variety of companies all throughout San Diego,” Kuhney said. “So we wanted to tap into their expertise and they were excited to give back to their city as well.” Kuhney said the main goal for the group was to navigate the nearly 7,000 pages of online content at and find ways to both streamline and improve the content, giving future users a better experience overall. During the hackathon, SDXD worked directly with the “live personas,” actual city residents from various backgrounds and business genres with differing needs regarding content from the city, and designed mockups based on those needs. Having such a large concentration of “hackers” working together all at once allowed them to power through a greater amount of information in a shorter period of time, which worked in the city’s favor. Hong described the collaboration with the city was a “win-win.” “Our members got to apply their skills and expertise in a rather unusual fashion and in an atypical domain — civic design,” he said. “The city essentially had the services of San Diego’s best and brightest user researchers and designers for a whole afternoon. Our services are not cheap because good research and design is extremely difficult, but it is essential if you want any service or product to be a success.” One of the more exciting points of the redesign, and certainly something that will be of interest to the general public, is that redesign came in well under budget. Over two fiscal years the city council set aside $1.275 million for the project, but the complete cost, including CMS development, migration of content, community engagement, and formulation of the style guide, was $646,000. That leaves plenty of room for the other projects on the horizon. “There is a lot of exciting stuff on the digital front coming from the city of San Diego and this is the way we are kicking it off,” Kuhney said. Once the site has been launched to the public, they will move to what Kuhney called a “public beta” phase, where the city encourages active troubleshooting from everyday users. To facilitate this, there will be a “feedback tab” on every page. “The new site will provide the city with the flexibility and responsiveness that its residents deserve,” Kuhney said. “We live in an innovative city and we need to have a website that is as innovative as the people who live here.” Keep an eye on sandiego. gov for the transition later this month. To learn more about SDXD, visit —Morgan M. Hurley can be reached at morgan@sdcnn. com.v

A farce is a farce Theater Review Charlene Baldridge Farce. Usually. Has. High absurdity content. The U.S. premiere of Kenneth McLeish’s (1940-1997) English translation of Georges [sic] Feydeau’s “Now You See It,” is no exception. Farce is beloved at North Coast Repertory Theatre (NCRT), where it plays through March 20 in a splendid looking production directed by Bruce Turk. A San Diego Critics Circle Craig Noel Award-winner for his portrayal of Leontes in “The Winter’s Tale” (2005), Turk is remembered for 14 additional Shakespeare roles during the Old Globe Shakespeare Festival and also for his more recent staging of “Faded Glory” and “Freud’s Last Session” at NCRT. In Turk’s staging, McLeish’s translation places “Now You See It” in Great Britain around 1910. Thus the characters are English citizens instead of French. Turk’s eye for casting is as impeccable as his acting acumen. Kern McFadden portrays Summersby, a philandering husband who berates his attractive wife (attractive Allison Minick as Marie-Louise) for suspecting him of cheating. A splendid woman in every way, she is absolutely right: Her first husband (now deceased) had the round heels as well and broke her heart. During the heartbreak phase of her first marriage, MarieLouise and husband No. 1 lived in India, and during her initial marital disillusionment she almost succumbed to the ardent Shaftesbury-Phipps (David McBean). Having found out only now of her bereavement (news traveled slow in those days, apparently), he has traveled to England to claim her, only to find her remarried and in a similar situation as before. Hail-fellow-well-met, Summersby seizes the opportunity to further distract Marie-Louise (he already employs the science of hypnotism) and invites Shaftesbury-Phipps to live in the couple’s summerhouse. Privy to all these shenanigans is the thoroughly incompetent, alcoholic, household factotum, Oriole (John Greenleaf, an adept physical comedian, who loses his shoe hilariously to the family dog


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

in the first scene). The further human complication is Summersby’s current inamorata, (the unseen) wife of the formidable, always-readyto-make-a-deal wine merchant, Vole (Ruff Yeager), who discovers his wife in a trance and threatens to dismember Summersby. Vole is more concerned with his reputation than he is by the infidelity. Casting is particularly brilliant here, for Yeager’s initial entrance capitalizes on his immensity – a colos-

(l to r) David McBean and Allison Minnick sal sight gag. My favorite moment of calm amid chaos is Oriole making his mistress comfortable after she’s been put to “sleep” — he places a Caruso aria on the wind-up phonograph (sound designer Melanie Chen) and lovingly covers her with a blanket, knowing its likely to be a long evening. Marty Burnett creates a scrumptious, detailed English country home. Anastasia Pautova presents a parade of period style, with Marie-Louise’s frock and its permutations taking the cake for beauty and McBean’s for foppishness. Her attire for Yeager and Greenleaf are a hoot as well. Matthew Novotny’s lighting captures summer in the country, and Peter Herman’s wigs are as always, top drawer. As to why farce is so beloved at North Coast Rep in particular, that’s a discussion for another day. Why this one seems somewhat unsatisfying despite having landed so squarely in the casting, direction and finely turned production departments, is puzzling. Perhaps it’s because “Now You See It” has fewer characters than other Feydeau farces. Perhaps

“Now You See It”

by Georges Feydeau Translated by Kenneth McLeish Directed by Bruce Turk Wednesdays through Sundays Through March 20 North Coast Repertory 987-D Lomas Santa Fe Drive Solana Beach Tickets $43 – $50 858-481-1055

(above) The full cast of “Now You See It”; (below) Allison Minick and Kern McFadden (All photos by Aaron Rumley) it’s because unlike most farces, the subject matter is darker and more threatening than usual. Or perhaps, as they say, too much thinking precludes complete satisfaction. — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at



San Diego Downtown News | March 2016



The third annual “Spring Thing” benefit will be hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (1100 Kettner Blvd., Downtown) starting at 6:30 p.m. “Modern Mutiny” will pay homage to contemporary art and rule-breaking artists. The anchoring, and only displayed, piece of artwork for the event will be “Sailing at Sunset” by Marnie Weber – an LA-based artist who will be in attendance. This unconventional event will include a cocktail hour and dinner party with rum and food pairings curated by Kettner Exchange’s Executive Chef Brian Redzikowski and Beverage Director Steven Tuttle along with Malahat Spirit Co. (7:30 p.m.). For those who want to skip dinner, a late-night party will start at 9:30 p.m. and feature music by Jeffrey Paradise, Wild Wild Wets and DJ Vaughn Avakian. The party will also include an all-night hosted bar featuring Malahat Spirit Co.’s rum and Tito’s vodka, snacks from Starlite and Nomad Donuts, aerial yoga and more. Event proceeds will benefit education and exhibition programming at the museum. Ticket prices are $50 for the late-night party and $175 for the dinner (includes party) with discounts for the museum’s “Avant Garde” members. Visit for tickets and details.


The 10th edition of this busker festival will feature a diverse lineup of acts from across the country at Seaport Village (849 W. Harbor Drive, Marina District) and The Headquarters at Seaport (789 W. Harbor Drive). From unicyclists to acrobats to fire-breathers, there will be many eyecatching performances. Mainstream forms of entertainment like comedy and music will also be featured at the weekend-long event, which will be held from noon – 6 p.m. each day. On March 5 from 7 – 10 p.m. an “untamed” show dubbed “Buskers After Dark,” with acts best suited for those over the age of 18, will occur in conjunction with food and drink specials, a live DJ and more. Entry to the entire festival is free; tips accepted by performers. Visit for more information.


The eighth installment of this science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) festival will kickoff with Expo Day on March 5 at Petco Park (100 Park Blvd., East Village). Local businesses, corporations and organizations will provide interactive, hands-on STEM exhibits and activities for this daylong event. The festival week (March 6 – 13) will continue with over 60 events and programs throughout San Diego County. Geared towards children grades K – 12, but there will be events appropriate for preschoolers and some 21-and-up happenings as well. Visit for a full program of events.

RECURRING EVENTS MONDAY East Village walking tour: Take a tour of the village’s best residential buildings, condos and see their amenities. 10 – noon, Urbana Lofts lobby, 450 10th Ave., East Village. RSVP


St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a national charity that funds childhood cancer research. Their nationwide Shave-A-Thons invite attendees to volunteer, donate or shave their heads to help raise money for the organization. The fundraiser by the San Diego chapter will be held at The Commons (901 Fourth Ave., Gaslamp) from noon – 4 p.m. A $10 donation at the door will provide admission; a $20 donation will include admission, a T-shirt and a raffle ticket. Last year’s event raised over $35,000 and this year the chapter has set a goal of $50,000. At this year’s event, and throughout the month of March, The Commons will feature a St. Baldrick’s signature cocktail and three specialty food items where $1 from the sale of each will benefit the foundation. All the proceeds from the Shave-A-Thon will go directly to the foundation as well. Visit CommonsBar2015 for more information and to donate.

The Abbey in Bankers Hill is a unique venue for the beer festival (Courtesy Bankers Hill Business Group)


Doors will open at 6 p.m. for this event presented by the Bankers Hill Business Group and the San Diego Brewers Guild. The event will be held at The Abbey (2825 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill) and feature some of San Diego’s top breweries including Uptown-area brewers like Hillcrest Brewing Company, Thorn Street Brewing and more. There will also be food served by local restaurants including Barrio Star, Mister A’s, Pizzicato and more. Community members are invited to eat, drink and mingle with business owners and neighbors. Tickets are $25 through March 1; $30 thereafter and $35 at the door. Visit for details and tickets.


Coronado Playhouse (1835 Strand Way, Coronado) presents this musical full of “sharp parody, sinfully spectacular dancing, and irreverent humor” for four nights only. It tells the story of five small-town boys taking their pious pop act on the road after finding success in Ohio. Michael Mizerany will choreograph and direct this show. Tickets $20, all performances start at 8 p.m. Visit


The Cheese Store of San Diego (1980 Kettner Blvd. #30, Little Italy) will host this fun cheese-making class lead by Claudia Lucero – author of “One Hour Cheese” and owner of Urban Cheesecraft in Portland, Oregon — starting at 7 p.m. Attendees will see the process of making mozzarella from start to finish and customize their own ball of cheese, learning how to flavor with herbs and spices. The class includes a glass of wine, tastings of classic and flavored mozzarellas along with other cheese platter items and flatbread. Class is $65 per person. Visit for more info and to reserve a seat. And visit for more on the instructor.

WEDNESDAY Weichelt Wednesday: Come eat, drink and mingle with East Village residents and visitors. Pizza samples, first drink free, drinks specials. 5 – 7 p.m. Basic Bar and Pizza, 410 10th Ave., East Village. Visit THURSDAY Sunset Trivia: Bring a team or play alone. 7 – 9 p.m. 98 Bottles, 2400 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy. Visit


Downtown San Diego Partnership and Family Health Centers (FHC) are hosting this annual fundraising art auction to benefit FHC and the Hearts for Healing Foundation. The event will feature artwork by Gerrit Greve, his students and teaching assistants. The fundraiser will be held from 5 – 8 p.m. at L Street Fine Art Gallery in the Omni San Diego Hotel (628 L St., East Village). Festivities will include music, drinks and appetizers. Tickets are free but RSVP is required to rsvp@ or bit. ly/1QnYKBO. For more on Hearts for Healing and the artwork, visit

TUESDAY Residents Free Tuesdays in Balboa Park: Participating museums change the first four Tuesdays of the month. Free for San Diego city and county residents with ID, active military and dependents. Hours vary by museum. Visit Coronado Certified Farmers Market: 2:30 – 6 p.m. First and B streets at Coronado Ferry Landing. Visit East Village Community Clean Up: Help keep the village clean. Rooftop lunch provided. Meet at Urbana Flats Lobby, 450 10th Ave., East Village. RSVP tinyurl. com/j2secnb.

Revelers will be turning ‘Irish for a Day’ on March 12 (Courtesy ClubVIPsd)



This St. Patrick’s Day party will take place in more than 25 of Downtown’s nightclubs, bars and pubs. Ticket holders will receive a “Club VIP Party Passport” granting them free admission to participating venues all along Fifth Avenue, with welcome shots at 15 of the stops, green beer specials, DJ and live music, dancing and lots of fun. Opening party at 2 p.m. at McFadden’s (731 Fifth Ave., Downtown) featuring traditional bagpipers, green beer pong, outdoor games and more. Afterward, attendees can follow a pre-planned route or bar hop at their own pace. The finale party is at Parq Nightclub (615 Broadway, Downtown). Tickets start at $30. Visit for more details and tickets.


Broadway San Diego presents a new production of this classic fairytale featuring songs from the movie score plus new ones by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The familyfriendly fantasy has a run time of two hours and 30 minutes, including an intermission. Evening performances each night and matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $23.50. Civic Theatre, 1100 Third Ave. in Downtown San Diego. Visit for tickets and showtimes.


One of the largest outdoor St. Patrick’s Day parties on the West Coast returns to the Gaslamp Quarter from 4 p.m. – midnight. The festival will take over the streets with live entertainment, specials in various eateries and bars, and more. General admission tickets are $40 through March 16 and $45 at the door; VIP tickets are $85 through March 16 and $95 at the door. VIP amenities include entry to a special lounge area and bar, four complimentary drinks, $1 off drinks at the VIP bar, access to a VIP restroom and more. This event is hosted by and benefits the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation. Visit for tickets and more.


Bake Sale (815 F St., Downtown) will hold this morning baking class from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., to explore ways to serve breakfast or brunch that doesn’t involve a skillet or griddle. Some of the items to be prepared (and consumed) include stuffed French toast bread-pudding-style and a baked sausage-and-egg tart. Entrance to the class costs $80.12. Visit bakesalesd. com for more classes and info.


The Cheese Store of San Diego (1980 Kettner Blvd. #30, Little Italy) will host a special pop-up dinner to celebrate the first day of spring with a “bright and fresh” menu. Each course prepared by guest chef Tristan Holmes will feature – you guessed it – cheese! $69 per person. Visit thecheesestoresd. com for more info and to reserve a seat.


In honor of Women’s History Month, the women of The PGK Dance Project and female guest choreographers will perform at The San Diego Central Library (330 Park Blvd., Downtown) at 6 p.m. This is a free show. Visit thepgkdanceproject. org for more information.

FRIDAY Weekly Downtown San Diego Partnership walkabouts: Join DSDP’s Clean & Safe program at 10 a.m. in alternating neighborhoods: Cortez Hill, Core/Columbia, Gaslamp Quarter, Marina and East Village. For more info, call 619-234-8900, or sign up for their newsletter. Take a bite out of Downtown: Hosted by food tour service Bite San Diego, join fellow foodies and winos for a historical walking tour sampling some of Downtown’s finest restaurants. 21+. Noon. Tickets are $45. Tours also on Saturday. Visit bitesandiego. com/index.php. SATURDAY Little Italy Mercato: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Rain or shine, visit over 100 booths on West Cedar Street between Kettner Boulevard and Front Street. Visit mercato. The Gaslamp Architectural Walking Tour: Stops on this tour include architecturally significant structures from the 1800s including Old City Hall, the Keating Building, William Heath Davis House Museum and more. 11 a.m. 410 Island Ave., Gaslamp. SUNDAY Walk-in eReader and device assistance: Free and open to the public. Bring your Android and iOS devices for hands-on learning. 2 – 4 p.m. Room 222, San Diego Central Library, 330 Park Blvd., Downtown. Visit Outdoor organ concert: The San Diego Organ Society presents a free organ concert. With over 4,500 pipes, this organ is one of the largest organs in the world with a wonderful sound, playing classic and popular hits by Carol Williams. Enjoy free parking, lots of seating. Balboa Park’s Organ Pavilion. 2 p.m. Visit —Compiled by Jen Van Tieghem. Send items for inclusion to editor Morgan M. Hurley at


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016


Saving Horton Plaza Park Preservation Matters Ann Jarmusch When a construction fence comes down this month, the Horton Plaza Park fountain — one of Downtown San Diego’s gems — will be a bit closer to its long-awaited reawakening this spring. Horton Plaza Park, at Fourth Avenue and Broadway, and its iconic domed fountain, tell a compelling preservation story that has stretched beyond a century, embracing decades of change, growth and public celebrations. Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO), San Diego’s leading preservation advocacy group, has saved the fountain not once, but three times since its founding in 1969. Initially working behind the scenes with city staff, SOHO ensured the park became Historic Site No. 51 in 1971, and continues its watchdog role for this unique landmark’s future, which is looking brighter than it has in years. That’s because the park and fountain are currently being restored to their historic 1910 appearance, as designed by noted San Diego architect Irving J. Gill. Gill based the neo-classical fountain design on the ancient Greek Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens and made it the centerpiece of hallowed park ground set aside in 187071 by Alonzo Horton, the father of New Town San Diego. The bronze and marble fountain stands opposite the Broadway entrance to the 1910 U.S. Grant Hotel. On the hotel’s opening night, owner (and future mayor) Louis J. Wilde unveiled the $10,000 fountain he’d had inscribed “Broadway Fountain for the People.” This civic gift was also an engineering feat: the first fountain to combine flowing water and electricity. The electricity powered scores of changeable colored lights that turned plumes of water into a nocturnal spectacle. Today’s park restoration is part of, but distinct from, an expansion of public space between it and Westfield’s Horton Plaza retail center. Instead of a blocky Robinson’s-May department

store, which had once hemmed in the park and crowded historic buildings around it, visitors will soon enjoy programmed open space, including an amphitheater and food and ticket pavilions, along with reclaimed urban vistas. Although the city has grown up around Horton Plaza Park, the overbearing store’s demolition enhances the plaza’s visibility and access. “One of the nicest things is that four historic buildings surround the park on all sides,” said Bruce Coons, SOHO’s executive director, who advised Westfield to ensure an accurate restoration. For the first time in decades, for example, the fountain’s bronze-and-prismatic-glass dome will be in sight of the restored, historic Balboa Theatre’s tiled dome on Fourth Avenue. Cleaned, stabilized and completely restored, the fountain’s white marble and bronze eagle and domes will gleam by day, and its new, energy-efficient LED lights will dazzle by night. Light posts topped with globes (added around 1916-18) and long-missing urns are being replicated for the park, while monuments to be reinstalled include a 1985 plaque commending SOHO’s preservation action on

An aerial view of Horton Plaza Park, c. 1910s, with its signature queen palm trees and the U.S. Grant Hotel, from a hand-painted glass lantern slide (Courtesy Coons Collection) the park’s 75th anniversary and rededication. “The key to this project is open space, civic space, so the park becomes a socially significant part of San Diego again,” said Curtis Drake, of Heritage Architecture & Planning. Drake described the combination of the historic park

alongside the paved expansion, where Westfield plans to host 200 events each year, as “a whole different approach.” A new era has arrived and preservationists helped us keep sight of the value of a beloved public place. “The reason SOHO saved Horton Plaza Park and its

fountain is for this day,” Coons said. “So it would be honored and cherished, restored and used.” —Ann Jarmusch represents SOHO. She can be reached at 619-200-3340 or by email at For more information about SOHO, visit


San Diego Downtown News | March 2016

San diego downtown news march 2016  
San diego downtown news march 2016