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March 27 - April 9, 2015

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Old Town • Mission Hills • Bankers Hill

➤➤ NEWS P. 3

Red Cross hits Mid-City

Hillcrest • University Heights • Normal Heights • North Park • South Park • Golden Hill • Kensington • Talmadge

Uptown Planners reject SANDAG bike plan SANDAG considers postponing input meeting and reassessing plans

➤➤ DINING P. 11

By Hutton Marshall | Editor

Getting Wilde in Hillcrest

Hundreds packed the voluminous St. Paul’s Cathedral in Bankers Hill March 24 for what some called the largest Uptown Planners meeting in recent histor y. The gathering was not the community planning group’s normal monthly meeting, but a special single-agenda item hearing for the SANDAG Bike Corridor through Uptown. While the Uptown Planners is purely an advisor y body to the city on land-use and development issues, SANDAG staff said following input received from the meeting, the agency will reassess plans for the bicycle corridor. The 6 p.m. meeting, which took place in a much larger hall than the group’s typical Hillcrest venue, marked the last actions of several members, including

➤➤ HOME P. 14

Mission Hills chronicled

➤➤ THEATER P. 17

longtime chair Leo Wilson, who has ser ved intermittently since the Clinton administration. Wilson and other outgoing members passed strongly worded motions at the special meeting that rejected the SANDAG plan outright. The meeting began with some disorganization, with Wilson’s introduction of a SANDAG representative quickly devolving into boos and shouting. Elizabeth Hannon of the nonprofit Uptown Community Parking District, rather than the SANDAG representative, gave an impromptu presentation of the plan’s basics. More than 50 residents and bicycle advocates gave public comment over the course of two hours. Approximately half spoke in favor of the SANDAG plans, which would construct several miles of protected bikeways through Uptown’s urban core, while others criticized SANDAG for what they saw as an overreaching or poorly executed plan. After public comment closed, the planning board deliberated for another hour, eventually passing four unanimous motions con-

see Bikes, pg 7

A SANDAG representative gives a brief introduction to the agency’s Uptown Bike Corridor project at a March 24 Uptown Planners meeting. (Photo by John Thurston Photography)

Louisiana meets Hillcrest

Make your mark on Pride Plaza Locals get a say in Hillcrest project

By Frank Sabatini Jr.

Cygnet’s lady fairs well

Index Briefs……………….....….5 Opinion………………….6 Community Voices………8 Classifieds……….....….15 Business & Services......16 Calendar………………..18

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After a three-month renovation, Local Habit will reopen with a New Orleans-style bang on March 28 as the restaurant unveils a new menu of “Cali-Creole” cuisine to the gaiety of a traditional second line parade headed by the Euphoria Brass Band. Though after the ensemble and their handkerchief-waving marchers loop around the block and return to the restaurant at 3827 Fifth Ave., consulting chef and former co-owner Nick Brune assures Local Habit will be “a lit-up standout” ever y day of the week thereafter. The opening party runs from 7 to 11 p.m., and features a whole 250-pound hog cooked onsite. The cost is $20, which includes food plus a beer or cocktail of choice. When the demands of his catering company

see Habit, pg 4

By Hutton Marshall Ever y Sunday until April 26 at the Hillcrest Farmers Market, a special booth will allow visitors to create and suggest design elements for the “Pride Plaza” park project at the corner of Normal Street and University Avenue — the same location as the weekly farmers market near the Hillcrest Pride Flag. The booth, run by the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA), will solicit input on exterior design elements for the

Chef Nick Brune is bringing the New Orleans experience to Local Habit. (Photo by Chris Rov Costa Photography)

see Hillcrest, pg 20


San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


Red Cross preps Mid-City residents for crises By Catherine Spearnak When Francisca Diaz’s six children were small and all living with her in City Heights, flames broke out in a pan on her stove. She shooed the kids away, and was able to put out the fire with a kitchen towel. But what if the flames had spread? What if she and the six little ones needed to escape? This scenario did not happen only once to Diaz. She said it happened twice while her children were young. It was those incidents that brought the mother, 52, to the Red Cross Disaster Preparedness Day at Monroe Clark Middle School in City

were 38 home fires in the Uptown area, with six home fires in University Heights and 10 in City Heights. Thus far in 2015, there have been three in University Heights and none in City Heights, according to the Red Cross. Below is the breakdown of home fires in the Uptown area in 2015 by zip code: 92102 – One fire 92103 – One fire 92104 – One fire 92105 – Zero fires 92110 – One fire 92116 – Three fires “Preparedness Days are designed to empower community members

Red Cross staff gives fire-safety tips to Mid-City and Uptown residents. (Photo by Ron Sanchez)

Heights on March 14. “I came here to become prepared because you never know when an emergency is going to happen,” she said through an interpreter, Red Cross volunteer Lisa Hoffman. City Heights and University Heights notably high rates of home fires compared to the neighborhoods around them, according to the Red Cross. Thus, the organization held the event in City Heights to try and attract nearby residents who might be touched by fire. Fifty people attended. The two neighborhoods are the target of a four-year Red Cross San Diego initiative to help prepare San Diegans for emergencies and disasters. In 2013 and 2014 combined, there

with the training and resources to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies,” a Red Cross press release stated. “They consist of one-day events in targeted Prepare San Diego and Home Fire Campaign neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have been selected due to a high incidence of home fires as identified by National Red Cross statistics and/or qualify as a Prepare San Diego area with vulnerable populations that have been unable to take the three steps to preparedness due to economic or cultural barriers.” Kili Marshall, a seventh grader at Monroe Clark Middle School, passed out flyers for the Red Cross Preparedness Day, then turned around and

decided to go herself. Kili said she had a specific goal in mind – she wanted to learn CPR. “I came to learn how to be prepared in an emergency of collapsing so I don’t get all panicky and all that,” she said. “There are people of different ages all around us and you never know what’s going to happened based on their health and all.” Participants in the one-day event learned the three main things the Red Cross says people need to know to be prepared for an emergency – get a disaster kit, make an escape plan and learn CPR. Attendees of all ages learned to do CPR on dummies, guided by an instructor. In making an escape plan, participants thought about the best routes out of their homes and a safe place to meet upon escape. When making emergency kits, participants were told to have at least the following: One gallon of water per day, per person Canned food and a can opener First-aid items and medication A flashlight with extra batteries A solar-powered radio Emergency cash Copies of important documents Toys and games for children Pets need food, a bowl, a leash and copies of vaccination documents The Red Cross responds to help people in home fires, but it hopes all San Diego residents will make a point of preparing for an emergency. If participants learned that at Saturday, the event was a success, said press relations aide Brianna Shannon. “We certainly hope it inspired people to go home and think a little bit more about how they can get their families ready.” —Contact Catherine Spearnak at

San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015



San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


The exterior of the Local Habit on the tail end of a three-month renovation. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.) FROM PAGE 1


began mounting, Brune and business partner Barr y Braden sold Local Habit more than a year ago to four brothers: Ignacio, Javier, Guillermo and Antonio Fragoso. “They were looking for something already up and running at the time,” Brune says. “But they had a few struggles keeping the regulars around, so they called me up to change the concept and help man-

age the place a little.” Brune, a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, steered the brothers into a New Orleans model by recreating 40 percent of the menu. He also helped them redesign the space, which now includes a front patio framed by iron rails that extends 5 feet out to the sidewalk — a first on the east side of this Fifth Avenue block. Rollup windows were also installed along with a 24-foot-long interior mural painted by acclaimed “live artist” Sean Dietrich, whose rabbit-themed fresco dominates a

wall at The Rabbit Hole in Normal Heights. His mural at Local Habit, says Brune, reflects the restaurant’s new cuisine and cocktails as it depicts “New Orleans flowing into California.” Classic dishes such as gumbo, etouffee and jambalaya will appear as occasional specials to augment the daily farm-driven cuisine that Brune describes as “Cali-Creole.” Those meals, to name a few, translate to whole heads of roasted cauliflower with whipped goat cheese, Southernfried chicken “with a little Thai influence” and a “gumbo-meets-ramen” soup with dark roux noodles in pork and chicken broth, a recipe started years ago by the Vietnamese community of New Orleans. In addition, Brune will return periodically to present his popular crawfish boils, which he held at Local Habit in the past. The next one, he says, will take place shortly after Easter, although an exact date hasn’t yet been established. In his absence, the kitchen will be helmed by chef Jimmy Tessier, a culinary arts graduate of Johnson & Wales who worked at Union Kitchen & Tap in the Gaslamp District and at Emeril’s in Las Vegas. He has also been featured on Food Network’s hit show, “Chopped.” Local Habit’s previous focus on beer will remain, although with a full liquor license now in place, customers can get their absinthe fix poured with whiskey over a torched sugar cube in a classic Sazerac, which is Louisiana’s official state cocktail and considered one of the oldest in the United States. There will also be hurricanes, hand grenades, milk punch and blackberry-mint juleps slung to the rhythms of jazz, zydeco and other NOLA genres through a sound system, or sometimes live once a regular entertainment license is secured. “When you look at what New Orleans has done for the world in terms of food, cocktails and music, it’s amazing,” says Brune, adding that Local Habit will be open late on most nights and that “every Tuesday will be Fat Tuesday” with oysters and absinthe taking center stage. “Local Habit is still my baby. It’s a very important place to me and I’m excited to be helping out.” For more information, call 619795-4770 or visit —Contact Frank Sabatini Jr. at u


UptownBriefs CARE ABOUT NORTH PARK SEEKS APPEAL The battle against the Jack in the Box drive-thru at the intersection of 30th and Upas streets in North Park may not be over yet. For those unfamiliar, the legal battle stems from a May 2013 remodel of a North Park Jack in the Box at the corner of Upas and 30th Streets. Nonprofit group Care About North Park (CANP) alleged the “remodel” was actually an illegal rebuild used to allow the building to maintain its drive-thru window, which are now prohibited in the area. CANP since hired environmental attorney Cor y Briggs to sue the city of San Diego and Jack in the Box, although the judge dismissed the suit after the group missed a filing deadline. CANP is now running a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign through April 1 with a goal of $2,000 to finance another appeal. According to the funding page they have a “supportive donor” who will match the funds raised. At press time they had raised $1,000. Visit for more information.

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES PLAN TO SUPPORT HOMELESS Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Councilmember Todd Gloria earned the City Council’s unanimous approval this week for a plan to create a year-round indoor interim housing shelter in lieu of temporar y tents erected during the winter each year. The plan was based on a recommendation by the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) to re-purpose 350 beds at Father Joe’s Villages’ St. Vincent de Paul campus Downtown for use in the year-round shelter. The program is slated to begin July 1 and will cost $1.9 million annually. According to SDHC’s recommendation, the shelter will provide at least 350 beds each night and also calls for 40 percent to be set aside for homeless veterans, as well as 24-hour residential and security ser vices and 45-day lengths of stay for residents. The plan also proposes to create better connection between the new interim shelter and the Neil Good Day Center program, eventually bringing both operations to the St. Vincent de Paul campus, according to a press release by Father Joe’s.

TASTE OF HILLCREST RETURNS The annual “Taste of Hillcrest,” sponsored by the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA), will bring the neighborhood’s top chefs and their cuisine together for the 15th year

Hillcrest Newsstand

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San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


Poll of the

Month New Question Do you approve of SANDAG’s effort to create a bicycle corridor through Uptown?

VISIT to cast your vote (See results of the poll in next month's issue) on April 18. “We are very excited about the 2015 Taste of Hillcrest,” HBA Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls stated in a press release. “It’s the perfect place to experience a unique culinary adventure and enjoy an afternoon here in San Diego’s finest neighborhood.” The self-guided tasting tour will span approximately 12 blocks and include more than 40 cafes, bistros and dining establishments. Check in will be at the corner of Fifth and Robinson avenues. Tickets are $30 and available at fabuloushillcrest. com under “events.”

One of the utility boxes in Kensington causing residents concern. (Photo by Monica Garske)

UPDATES TO UNDERGROUNDING PROGRAM PROCESS APPROVED Recommendations to the city’s Undergrounding Program were considered and approved by the City Council this week. The recommendations were developed by the Utility Undergrounding Advisor y Committee — comprised of community members and representatives from AT&T, Cox Communica-

Conceptual renderings of the Mission Hills-Hillcrest Library tions, SDG&E, Time Warner Cable and the city. The group was created over a year ago to advise the City Council on undergrounding utility boxes, which many residents say they view as an eyesore in their communities. A press release from Councilmember Todd Gloria’s office outlined the approved updates to the program: •Improve coordination between the mayor’s office, City Council offices, Utility Undergrounding Program (UUP) staff, utility companies, and the community through a formalized process to establish local preferences prior to the start of engineering design in each affected neighborhood. •Revise UUP documents to ensure consistent language. •Expand UUP website with current program and project information, illustration of utility company above ground equipment and city owned equipment, graphic depiction of where above ground equipment may be located, design options, and a flow chart of community participation in the design process. •Provide public information support from the city’s Communications Department and UUP staff. •Revise and simplify public notice mailers. •Create design options. •Examine innovative equipment design and sizing. •Implement quality control. •Implement Council training.

CITY COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES $120M INFRASTRUCTURE BOND The City Council approved a bond-financing plan March

(Courtesy Architects Mosher Drew)

24 that will budget $120 million toward street repairs, fire stations and libraries throughout the city. More than 40 percent of the funds will pave the way for new streets. “San Diegans who want their streets repaired will find a lot to like in this package,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer stated in a press release. “We’re moving full steam ahead with improvements to neighborhoods throughout San Diego. This plan will fund critical projects — from street repair to fire stations to libraries — in the communi-

ties that need them the most.” Faulconer, who unveiled the plan following his “State of the City” address earlier this year, said street repairs are the top priority for San Diego’s infrastructure needs. In addition to street repairs, $22 million will go toward improving storm drains and $43 million will help with design work and construction for facilities. This includes the Mission Hills/ Hillcrest Branch Librar y, Fire Station 05 in Hillcrest and Fire Station 17 in Mid-City.u


San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


Poll of the

Month Last Month’s Question Target Express in South Park? Yay 13.4% (224 votes) Nay 86.6% (1,451 votes)


South Park on Target As someone who works, dines, shops, and (briefly) lived in South Park, I welcome Target as a great addition to the neighborhood [See Volume 7, Issue 6 “TargetExpress fight spawns South Park Town Council”]. I am tired of having to drive to North Park, downtown or farther to find produce that is not as saggy and wrinkled as I feel some days. Target also offers much better prices on housewares and pharmacy items than many of the tired, sad little stores that seem to mean well but just fall short in quality, variety, and price. South Park is improving in so many other ways, I just don’t understand the Luddite mentality that wants to block this one small area of progress. Roger Scott, North Park [Councilmember] Todd Gloria nor his reps were at the rally. I received the stock response, which didn’t include an answer, from his office

when I inquired about their lack of representation at the rally. Whether they can affect anything or not, we are Mr. Gloria’s “customers.” Jeanette Voss, South Park Has anyone opposed to this project in South Park visited the WalMart in Logan heights? There is no overwhelming traffic in need of traffic lights. Can national chains not coexist next to independent businesses in South Park as they appear to do in North Park? Would the same protesters protest if Trader Joe’s was moving in? Has anyone noticed that there is a 7-Eleven that has coexisted next to Gala for decades? I agree with Councilmember Todd Gloria and the owners of Gala on this one. The owners want to retire. Trader Joe’s was not interested in opening on their site. Target was. Target agreed to the current footprint of the store and appears to want to work with the community as far as coexisting with the other tenants of the

property. What right do we have to limit their retirement income by opposing their agreement? I believe a great disservice has been given to the owners who simply want to retire. I suspect that many protesters did not shop at Gala before. If that is the case, simply do not shop at TargetExpress either, but do not deny others who want the amenities that Target will offer the right to shop there. Let the people of South Park vote with their wallets on this one. If enough people agree with the protesters and boycott the store then it won›t be profitable to Target and they will leave. I wish more time and energy was spent on finding a solution for all such as finding another dependent tenant to satisfy all sides. We are lucky another developer has not come along proposing too many housing units for that site. I’d rather have a national chain there than a monstrous apartment building. Kimberly DeSouza, South Park

I am a 15-year resident of South Park and in the pages of Uptown News and other media, I read repeatedly of the “no concessions” opposition to the proposed TargetExpress in the old Gala Market. I would like to point out that there are many of us in the neighborhood who are not opposed to this project. I love our neighborhood and value its uniqueness, one aspect of which is that we can walk to many ser vices, restaurants, etc. With the loss of Gala, I now have to drive to supermarkets in North Park or downtown. I would welcome a market such as TargetExpress with better prices and a cleaner, more attractive interior than what we have had. In addition there would be a pharmacy and other options that we do not now have, all within walking distance. My understanding is that Target has agreed to not include a Starbucks so as to not compete with neighborhood coffee houses. I would expect that they would even add some landscaping to that ugly, barren expanse of parking lot. I have heard from some opponents that they would welcome a Sprouts or a

see Letters, pg 13


Historically, Hillcrest has been a hub for urban innovation in San Diego. So, it’s not surprising that SANDAG, the regional transportation authority, chose Hillcrest to pilot the first phase of its new protected bicycle pathway. SANDAG plans to create miles of bike paths throughout the city and they’re starting in Hillcrest. Generally, Hillcrest business owners are enthusiastic about bicycles and bicycling culture. In fact, Hillcrest was the first neighborhood in the city to install onstreet bicycle corrals (they’re the rainbow ones sponsored by the Hillcrest Business Association (HBA)). Given this past support for alternative transportation, we believe the criticism of Hillcrest business owners asking questions about the SANDAG plan, and seeking ways to provide input, is misdirected.  At first blush, elements of the plan concern many Hillcrest small business

PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951 EDITOR Hutton Marshall (619) 961-1952 CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Morgan M. Hurley, x110 Jeremy Ogul, x119 WEB & SOCIAL MEDIA Jen Van Tieghem, x118 COPY EDITOR Dustin Lothspeich EDITORIAL INTERN KC Stanfield CONTRIBUTORS Charlene Baldridge Michael Good Katherine Hon Justin Lichtenstein Frank Sabatini Jr. Catherine Spearnak

PRODUCTION ARTISTS Todd Kammer, x115 Suzanne Dzialo SALES & MARKETING DIRECTOR Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Sloan Gomez (619) 961-1954 Frank Lechner (619) 961-1971 Andrew Bagley, x106 Lisa Hamel, x107 Ilka Weston, x105 ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 WEB DESIGNER Kim Espinoza

ART DIRECTOR Vincent Meehan (619) 961-1961

OPINIONS/LETTERS: San Diego Uptown News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email submissions to hutton@sdcnn. com 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: Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to For breaking news and investigative story ideas contact the editor by phone or email.

Hillcrest businesses want bike lanes the right way By Benjamin Nicholls

123 Camino de la Reina. Suite 202 East San Diego, CA 92108 (619) 519-7775 Twitter: @SD_UptownNews

owners. For example, the plan calls for closing the off-ramp from Washington Street to University Avenue, and it could remove more than 90 on-street parking spots along University Avenue. For anyone who frequents the shops and restaurants in Hillcrest, it’s obvious these two landuse decisions would have a significant impact on the ability to access the business core of Hillcrest by car. Because of these concerns, the HBA is working with the impacted business owners to obtain more information and encourage SANDAG, and our elected officials, to reconsider the off-ramp closure and minimize the parking loss as much as possible. Despite what’s been said by others, the HBA and Hillcrest small business owners do support additional transportation options for customers. In fact, over the last several months, alternative ideas (like Transforming Hillcrest) have garnered a lot of community support. This proposal would provide safe and enjoy-

able paths for bicycle riders and still give people the option to drive (and park) their cars along storefronts. Hillcrest business owners are also seeking ways to slow down vehicles on University Avenue through traffic calming measures related to the bike path, which would make University Avenue safer for everyone. In addition, they also support having a two-way bike lane on Fourth or Sixth avenues, rather than the option, currently proposed by SANDAG, of removing dozens and dozens of parking spaces on an already narrow Fifth Avenue. These suggestions and ideas are provided in the spirit of constructive and respectful dialogue. Business owners, their customers and residents alike should all be afforded the opportunity to participate in a public process about something that can have impacts, both good and bad.  The notion that Hillcrest business owners don’t support plans for safe biking is just simply wrong. Hillcrest businesses are committed to working with SANDAG, the city of San Diego, our elected officials, and others on a plan that improves safety, multi-modal mobility and a vibrant local economy. We don’t believe any of these are mutually exclusive, and we look forward to making the proposed bike paths better and more useful for everyone.  —Benjamin Nicholls is executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association.u

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demning SANDAG’s plan. The crowd had thinned considerably by then, with only a small group of community activists and dedicated community newspaper editors remaining. Some attendees left to participate in a candlelight vigil through Bankers Hill honoring victims of fatal bicycle accidents. Of the four unanimous motions, the first was intentionally the most straightforward: “We find the current SANDAG proposal to be unsatisfactory and unacceptable.” The board also passed motions to ask SANDAG to reopen the planning process, to avoid closing University Avenue anywhere along the route and to mitigate parking losses, among other recommendations. While Wilson abstained from voting as the board chair, he created the majority of the language for the motions and led deliberations on them. Bike San Diego Executive Director Samantha Ollinger, a vocal critic of Wilson’s, said it was wrong to pass such strong motions a week prior to a new board being sworn in. Ollinger also broadly critiqued what she saw as a histor y of inaction by the Uptown Planners since its creation in the 1970s. “Given the fact that [the Uptown Planners] have shown zero leadership on making the streets safer during their entire existence, I’m not sure they actually have any idea how to make Uptown safe, with or without any input,” Ollinger said. “All they have to show for themselves is a handful of sharrows on University Avenue, one bike corral, a couple blocks of bike lanes, one of which is under lawsuit,” she added. Charles “Muggs” Stoll, director of land use and transportation planning at SANDAG, said that following the input received at

the meeting, the agency would reevaluate their plans for the corridor, possibly reexamining the route’s alignment. “Given all the comments we got [March 24] on that Mission Hills segment, right now we’re kind of reassessing some project options and how we would present those at the community meetings that we’re going to host this spring,” Stoll said. SANDAG planned to host a meeting on the bike corridor in Mission Hills April 23, but Stoll said that the meeting may be pushed back following last night’s input. “I think we’re gonna spend a little time assessing where we’re at on this,” Stoll said. A common criticism of the plan is its route down the dense University Avenue. When asked whether or not this reassessment would explore a route realignment, Stoll said that was now a possibility. “I think we want to review ever ything we’ve done so far — we’ve been working on this project for a while — but it could be,” Stoll said. This will likely be a sign of success for the plan’s critics, such as the HBA, which recently hired a lobbying firm to advocate on behalf of Hillcrest business interests. HBA board members and staff have criticized the plan for its potential impact on parking and traffic without providing for traffic calming measures. “The plan right now seems to be remove all the parking so we can ride our bikes, and I think that’s why it’s controversial,” HBA Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls said.

San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


(left) Uptown Community Parking District COO Elizabeth Hannon; (above) San Diegans gather for a special Uptown Planners meeting March 24 (Photos by John Thurston Photography) Nicholls clarified that the HBA continues to support the implementation of bike lanes, so long as it isn’t done at the expense of other modes of transportation. “Just because you’re not 100 percent on board with ever ything SANDAG’s doing, doesn’t mean you’re opposed to ever ything — that’s just silly,” Nicholls said. During the early stages of the project, SANDAG released an estimate that 91 parking spaces might be removed along the route through Hillcrest. University Avenue has 277 parking spaces between Front and Normal streets. SANDAG staff later called that estimate a “worst case scenario.” During board deliberations at the meeting, Uptown Planner Chris Ward (a 2016 City Council candidate for Uptown’s District 3), requested increased outreach rather than a redesign of the plan, since design render-

ings for the route have yet to be made public. He unsuccessfully proposed a motion to commend SANDAG for their efforts to promote active transportation, which was criticized by another member as “kissing up a little too much to SANDAG.” “I’d ask SANDAG not to go to back the drawing board, but to bring the drawing board out into the community,” Ward said. The HBA and other community organizations continue to support the “Transforming Hillcrest” plan, which was created by local architect Jim Frost. The plan calls for the removal of traffic lanes as a traffic calming measure, and adds parking rather than removing it. Ollinger and other bicycle advocates have also supported the plan. Stoll said SANDAG is currently performing a traffic study in conjunction with the city of San Diego to

explore the plan’s feasibility. “We did make a commitment along with the city of San Diego to work through the city of San Diego to assess [Transforming Hillcrest],” Stoll said. When asked if he had any message for Uptown residents after the meeting, Stoll said that the project would be a challenge, because finding a balance among ever yone’s interest was key. “We appreciate that the community cares a lot about this project, and we think that’s a good thing,” Stoll said. “But this is a challenge — there’s no doubt about it — to find a way to balance all of these issues, and we’re working with the city of San Diego to do that.” —Contact Hutton Marshall at Visit to take our online poll on the Uptown bike corridor.u

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San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


A testament to settling land as trash decomposes (Photo by Katherine Hon)

The flare station burns off methane gas collected by the underground piping system. (Photo by Katherine Hon)

When North Park was in the dumps By Katherine Hon When was North Park most in the dumps? Conventional wisdom says it was during the decades after the 1960s, when the regional malls drew shoppers away from the commercial heart of San Diego’s original streetcar suburbs. But the literal answer to the question is August 1952 to December 1974. Why? Because that is when the city of San Diego operated a sanitary landfill in Morley Field,

North Park’s backyard. The former landfill area stretches from Arnold Avenue at Upas Street southward through the park toward the intersection of Pershing and Florida drives. Nearly 2 million tons of garbage, refuse, trash, rubble and dirt lurk under park lawns, natural vegetation, trails, the City College baseball field, and city maintenance facilities. Before 1952, a natural canyon, apparently just begging to be filled, paralleled Pershing

Drive in the park. The operation of a sanitar y landfill involves daily compacting and covering trash with a layer of dirt, which is the model for landfill operations even today. In the early 1950s, this was considered a great improvement over transporting trash to outlying areas and burning it or creating open dumps which were breeding grounds for rats. It was thought that the convenient Morley Field location in the heart of the city would save trash haul-

ing costs, and when the Arizona Canyon was filled there would be a flat area available for some useful development. The long-range plan for the Arizona Canyon Sanitary Landfill unfortunately neglected to consider the continuing ground settlement that occurs as trash decomposes and produces methane gas. A testament to the settlement can be seen on the south side of the baseball field fence, where a gate designed for tall humans has been converted into a dog-door. A fly-casting pond located across from the petanque courts had to be abandoned in the 1990s because it would not hold water due to its continually cracking lining.

The problem of seeping methane gas could not be ignored after an explosion on the site in 1987 injured a worker who lit a cigarette near a storm drain. An underground gas collection system now pipes methane to a flare station where the gas is continuously burned off. The station is located just south of the disc golf course. City crews also monitor methane levels in 89 wells scattered around the park for compliance with state regulations. Because of the methane gas problem and land settling, most of the landfill surface will remain a passive area. Even landscaping could cause problems as irrigation could increase methane generation and possibly produce contaminated runoff. Not that passive use is a bad thing. Some of the most unique recreational activities in the city happily occur on the former landfill surface, including archery, Renaissance reenactment and kickball. Families, runners and dog walkers enjoy the loop trail behind the baseball field, where the Coronado Bridge and Coronado Islands grace the distant horizon. Imagine what could be buried under your feet as you wander the peaceful east mesa. Among soda bottles and TV dinner tins, an archaeologist conducting a “dig” might find the original North Park neon sign hung above University Avenue at 30th Street, which was removed in 1967 and never seen again. Several aerial photos of the Morley Field area showing the landfill and the canyon before and after are in the North Park Historical Society’s latest book, “Images of America: San Diego’s North Park,” published by Arcadia Publishing Company in 2014. This book, which tells the story of North Park from 1900 to now, is available in North Park at Paras Newsstand, Pigment, Kaleidoscope, and North Park Hardware. Visit the North Park Historical Society website at NorthParkHistory. org or email info@northparkhistory. org for more information. —Katherine Hon is secretary of the North Park Historical Society.u


Artists to watch at Adams Avenue Unplugged By Justin Lichtenstein During the final weekend of April, a horde of musical acts will “unplug” for one of the region’s largest acoustic festivals, Adams Avenue Unplugged. Here are a few acts to get your banjo atwangin’ this year. SATURDAY, APRIL 25: Jimmy Ruelas The Rabbit Hole stage from 1 – 2 p.m. Perhaps cut from the same cloth as Pete Seeger and a young Bob Zimmerman (that’s Bob

time Sherman demolished his way to Savannah. With instruments ranging from banjo and fiddle to washboard and, you guessed it, jug — look no further if you got a thing for authentic and vibrant takes on a classic American style. SUNDAY, APRIL 26: The Liquorsmiths Adams Park at 35th stage from 6 – 7 p.m. Thirsty for some boozesoaked Americana with a melodic pop twist? This trio featuring guitarist/vocalist Drew Thams,

alt-countr y outfit El Monte Slim, comes Ypsitucky. Three-fourths of Slim (guitarist/vocalist Ian Trumbull, bassist Ruben Ramos and drummer Paul Brewin) joined forces with fiddler Heather Vor werck for a more traditional countr y sound that’s altogether more upbeat and a bit more kickin’ than their former band’s lower-key material. I can’t wait for them to release some recordings already. Euphoria Brass Band Twiggs stage from 4-5 p.m. This fun brass collective have been bringing an authentic New Orleans swing to San Diego stages for the past couple years. It’s hard not to love this sevenpiece group filled out with tubas, saxophones, clarinets, trombones, trumpets and marching drums — they’ve long cemented their status as the group in town to catch if you want to be dancing around

Clockwise from top: Gregory Page, Liquorsmiths, G. Burns Jug Band, David J, Jimmy Ruelas (All photos courtesy of the Adams Avenue Business Association)

Dylan for all you youngsters), Ruelas exudes a certain selfconfidence that only the greatest troubadours seem to possess. Making a name for himself around town with his ferocious performances of Robert Johnsonesque blues, Americana and protest folk, the singer-songwriter’s never content to stay situated playing one style for long — so expect the unexpected at The Rabbit Hole on Saturday.

multi-instrumentalist Ryan Fisher and drummer Clayton Payne has a tall, cool drink for you. The Liquorsmiths have been a nearconstant presence on San Diego stages over the last year or so, with a recent headlining show at House of Blues and an ongoing monthly residence at Normal Heights’ Sycamore Den under their belts. If you’re not familiar with the band already, you will be. Check ’em out.

Gregor y Page Java Joe’s stage from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. The always sharply dressed Page has long been considered one of the finest songwriters in San Diego — if not anywhere. Every record he’s released over the last couple decades (there’s about three dozen of ’em) seems somehow better than the last. A master at crafting instantly familiar melody, the crooner sounds just as comfortable playing turn-of-thecentury lounge jazz and big band as he does folk, blues and pop. Whether he’s turning heads with his velvety voice or his impeccable guitar playing, his shows are mustsee events.

Ypsitucky Locally Brewed Stage at Blind Lady Ale House from 4 – 5 p.m. Out of the ashes of the San Diego Music Award-nominated

G Burns Jug Band Kensington Library Park stage from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. This group is old school. As the name suggests, G Burns Jug Band delivers hillbilly romps that’d sound right at home at Southern shindigs around the

like it’s Fat Tuesday ever y day of the week. Simply contagious. David J The Rabbit Hole stage from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. and the Church Stage from 6 – 7 p.m. Adams Avenue Unplugged headliner David J is set to take on two different stages on Sunday. You may recognize him from his previous work with beloved gothrock bands Love and Rockets, and Bauhaus. He’ll be offering a decidedly different tone than most of the other artists at the festival, eschewing folk musings and country barnbusters for his own brand of acoustic rainy-day pop.u

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT The OAS Center Specialized Therapy Services 4204A Adams Ave. | San Diego, CA 92116 | 619-431-5049 Our Community – Our Kids OAS was established as a resource for the children of the Uptown community. It was founded on three underlying principles. First, the Opportunity that we create for children to improve school performance through tutoring and teaching good study skills; speech therapy that improves communication skills, and occupational, behavioral and physical therapy to learn and become proficient with many of life’s activities. The second principle is Achievement. Achievement of goals through improved test perfor-

mance, better grades, stronger social relationships, friendship building, and gaining independence. Opportunity + Achievement = Success By providing the opportunity for achievement, kids can successfully overcome obstacles whether through increased focus on a particular subject in school or an individualized therapy program to help with a special need. Steve Oas, M.S., CCC-SLP is the founder/director of the OAS Center. For more information on all of our programs call 619-431-5049.

San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015



To advertise, Call SLOAN (619) 961-1954


San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


(l to r) Potato croquettes; spicy tuna rolls; sesame chicken; and cucumber-seaweed salad (Photos by Frank Sabatini Jr.)

Restaurant Review Frank Sabatini Jr. The year was 1975. “Saturday Night Live” debuted on NBC and the Vietnam War had ended. In San Diego, Led Zeppelin played to a sold-out Sports Arena while down at the foot of Washington Street, restaurant-goers with pedestrian palates began digging

on miso soup and udon noodles at a humble, little joint called Yoshino Japanese Restaurant. Other than moving a few addresses away several years later, little has changed at Yoshino, which translates to “blossoming cherry tree.” Its hospitable owners, Yama and Kat Yamamoto, say the recipes for classics such as beef teriyaki and vegetable tempura have remained exactly the same since the restaurant opened 40 years ago. Yoshino’s façade appears dull

and forsaken in a small stucco strip plaza set back from the street. Inside, however, the atmosphere is bright, clean and linear in its layout. A sushi bar was added about eight years ago, adding contemporary flair to an acceptably dated motif adorned with several framed photographs of Yama showing off his prized catches from fishing trips. Our trio began with crispy potato croquettes and a refreshing cucumber-seaweed salad accented with lemons. Both appetizers were simple in their approach, with no sauces or accouterments needed. An order of steamed housemade gyoza floating in a bowl of hot water proved irresistible, with or without the mild soy-chili sauce served alongside. Akin to Chinese dumplings, these pillowy pork-filled beauties leave out the ginger in lieu of finely minced vegetables, resulting in a more delicate flavor that becomes apparent as you continue eating them.

From the entrée list, sesame chicken jumped out at me only because I’ve never had it outside of a fast-food Chinese eatery. Unlike those versions, which are riddled with palm sugar and taste often like donut holes, the Japanese recipe is far less cloying, allowing you to taste the sesame. Also, the chicken (all thigh meat) is served on a bento-style plate in neat, organized strips opposed to the lump cuts doled out from steam trays at certain “express” places. The red meat lover in our group ordered beef teriyaki, plated in the same elegant fashion as the sesame chicken, with lightly dressed bean sprouts and iceberg lettuce sitting in separate compartments. Expecting skirt steak, he got top sirloin instead – a nice surprise yielding a rich, supple texture that had me believing at first it was filet mignon. In addition, the dark, clingy teriyaki glaze was balanced in soy sauce, brown

Yoshino Japanese Restaurant 1790 W. Washington St. (Mission Hills) 619-295-2232 Prices: Appetizers, $5.95 to $13.95; sushi rolls, $3.50 to $12; noodles, entrees and combo meals, $8.45 to $18.95 sugar and mirin; it’s not overly sweet and certainly not from a jar. For a dish that’s become so commonplace, if not outdated, this authentic and straightforward version triggers waves of renewed appreciation. The vegetarian among us was pleased with her vegetable tempura, which revealed a bounty of judiciously battered organics ranging from super-sweet onions and chunky broccoli to Japanese pumpkin and snappy green beans. The tempura was frilly and non-oily in a way that only Japanese kitchens seem to achieve. Miso soup is included with most meals. It was comforting and rightfully salty and contained a few cubes of tofu bobbing within its cloudy broth. From the sushi bar one of my companions tried the spicy tuna rolls, served six to an order and made by a young Japanese employee under the watchful eye of Yama. To my dismay, the companion shoveled them down before I could get my hands on one, telling me afterwards that both the fish and rice tasted spot-on fresh, and that the spice level was mild enough for his vulnerable palate. The rolls and sashimi across the menu are familiar in the traditional sense, meaning that you won’t find bacon or zany sauces in their constructs. The regular menu, too, sticks to dishes that have long appeased American consumers: chicken katsu, broiled salmon (or mackerel) and udon noodles prepared in tempura or Nabeyaki styles, the latter containing chicken, fish cakes, shrimp and carrots. Green tea cheesecake is perhaps where the kitchen steps into modern times. But it was dry and underwhelming and really not necessary after plowing through a parade of time-honored savories that left lovely, residual flavors on our lips. —Contact Frank Sabatini Jr. at


San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015

JA MESON with a side of potatoes Come On Get Happy! D r. I n k

Oscar Wilde’s Irish Gastropub 1440 University Ave. (Hillcrest) 619-567-8249 Happy hour: 3 to 7 p.m., daily Jameson on the rocks and potato wedges (Photo by Dr. Ink)



Is it any wonder that Irish-born writer and poet Oscar Wilde has drinking establishments named after him all over the world? Known to be an avid boozer, he once professed: “I drink to separate my body from my soul.” Oh Oscar, I hear ya. Equally fitting is that his spirit has descended on Hillcrest, with the recent arrival of Oscar Wilde’s Irish Gastropub. By all accounts, Wilde was a bisexual who challenged society’s narrow views on sexuality — and during the Victorian Era no less. Sadly, he was imprisoned for indecency and afterwards spent the last few years of his life in exile. Cheerier commemorations of the literary legend are in store at the pub, situated practically under the Hillcrest Pride Flag in the original home of Gossip Grill before it moved down the street. During daily happy hour, you can land a pint of Harp or Guinness for $5. Or if you prefer sticking to U.S. territory, then Saint Archer, Ballast Point, Bud Light and other domestics are in the offing for the same price. Toss out another $5 and you can pair your suds with any burger listed on the regular menu. Well cocktails and house wines

are available for $4, and so is Jameson Irish Whiskey, which Wilde would likely agree better expedites the separation of body from soul. I ordered it on the rocks. A couple sitting next to me at the bar chose theirs as shots. Judging from before my ice started melting; I no doubt got the bigger pour from the fast-moving bartender who ran a play list of ’90s music on this late afternoon. Several snacky items are discounted as well, including “spun spuds” (house chips) and potato wedges served with house-made ketchup infused with Jameson. “We infuse booze into a lot of things here,” the bartender said in reference to glazes, gravies and sauces containing beer or spirits. Indeed, the regular menu titillates with plenty of swooped-up pub fare that will warrant a lunch, brunch or dinner visit down the road. The $2 potato wedges I ordered were cooked to a dark finish, not quite burnt but extra crispy with moist, pulpy centers. The ketchup was both sweet and tangy, although I couldn’t detect the whiskey in it. Then came a round of fruity rum shots for the entire bar, which is something I don’t see occur so much these days. It wasn’t clear who bought them, but we all toasted to nothing in particular and down they went. Missing from Oscar Wilde’s are the design elements of a classic Irish pub. There are no paned windows, no heavy woods and no Celtic appointments. But a welcoming air pervades


D R I N K S: Deals apply to about 15 draft beers, a few house wines and Jameson Irish Whiskey served anyway you desire.

FOO D: Having tried only the potato wedges, they were cooked to a well-done crisp, but didn’t taste so bad, especially when squirting them with the house-made ketchup.

VA LU E: My generous pour of Jameson Irish Whiskey in a rocks glass was only $5. I’ve paid almost double for the same amount at other places.

S ERV ICE: The bartender was fast, sociable and knowledgeable about the pub’s drink inventory.

ATM O S PH ER E: Roomy and bright, the layout allows for indoor and outdoor seating, although the cozy design elements you’d expect from a classic pub are pretty much missing. And I can’t say much for the metal caging that frames the patio throughout the patio, bar and dining areas. And Wilde isn’t forgotten. Written on a chalkboard near the bar are quotes from him that change periodically. On this day it read: “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination – O.W.” Ouch to those of us who flock to bars for the drink bargains in an effort to not overspend.u


San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015

UPTOWN FOOD BRIEFS BY FRANK SABATINI JR. After many delays, the long-awaited Heart and Trotter has opened in North Park with a meat case stocked with various cuts of chicken, beef, lamb and pork. The whole-animal butchery launched a couple years ago as an online meat supplier by college pals Trey Nichols and James Holtslag. It has since relied partly on

A renewed concept is in store for Local Habit in Hillcrest as it reopens on March 28 with a “Cali-Creole” menu authored by consulting chef and Louisiana native Nick Brune. The restaurant has been under renovation for the past few months and will spring back to life with a sidewalk patio, rollup windows and a splashy mural created by acclaimed live artist Sean

DINING remodeling the space previously occupied by Randy Jones All American Sports Grill at the Hazard Center in Mission Valley. The Moorpark, California, chain makes its local debut in May with ribs, steaks, brisket, burgers, poultry and fish cooked over oak fire. A full bar using freshly squeezed fruit juices will also be in place, along with “tailgate service” that allows customers to pick up their orders from the restaurant’s parking lot before heading to the ball parks. 7150 Hazard Center Drive, Suite 215, Patty Thongchua, the owner of Plumeria Vegetarian in University Heights and Asian Bistro in Hillcrest, is opening a third restaurant in Normal Heights in the next few months. She plans on naming it Chi, followed perhaps by “bistro” or “kitchen.” The menu will feature all-organic, largely vegetarian dishes with some poultry, eggs and fish sprinkled throughout it along with Thai influences. The space is located at the corner of Adams Avenue and Idaho Street.

Trey Nichols and James Holtslag at their spanking new butchery in North Park (Photo by John Dole)

funds raised through Kickstarter before it could move into a retail space. In addition to raw meats, customers can also purchase pates and head cheese prepared in-house. A beer and wine license is in the works as well as butchering classes that will begin in a couple months. 2855 El Cajon Blvd., 619-564-8976.

Dietrich. (Look for our full stor y about Local Habit’s rebranding in the March 27 issue of San Diego Uptown News.) 3827 Fifth Ave., 619-795-4770. San Diego’s barbecue scene is about to expand when Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill finishes

What’s being touted as “the largest oceanfront sushi rooftop in San Diego” is Cannonball at Belmont Park in south Mission Beach, due to open April 1. Overlooking the boardwalk, the 9,400-square-foot space will be marked by aquatic-themed design elements and a glass-enclosed “sushi cube” for diners wishing to partake in traditional Japanese rolls. The restaurant will also feature an array of share plates capturing Pacific Rim specialties along with craft cocktails tailored to oceanfront lounging. 3105 Oceanfront Walk, 858-228-9304. For those who have never had a White Castle burger, or

favorites such as Devilicious, Curr ywurst and Crepes Bonaparte. They will be joined by nearly 50 other vendors of local and national origins as White Castle projects to sell 100,000 of its iconic mini

Get your White Castle burger fix. (Courtesy Red Dragon LLC) long for one after moving here from points east, the company is making a grand presence at the upcoming Great American Foodie Fest on March 27-29 in the northwest parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium. The event brings together a mix of restaurants, specialty food vendors and dozens of “celebrity” food trucks spotlighted in recent years on The Food Network, The Cooking Channel and The Travel Channel. Among them are several local

burgers from a large cook station during the three-day festival, which is presented by Red Dragon LLC from Las Vegas. Cocktails, wine, beer and live entertainment will also be featured. Admission is $8 a day or $13 for a weekend pass if purchased in advance at Gate prices are $10 and $15 respectively. Once inside, attendees purchase their meals and beverages a la carte from the vendors. Food items will average between $5 and $10. Hours are from 4 p.m. to midnight, March 27; noon to midnight, March 28; and noon to 8 p.m. on March 29. Tin Can Ale House in Bankers Hill has changed its mode of operation slightly under the new name of Balboa Bar & Grill. According to managing partner Tom Logsdon, “We’ve done away with the canned beer concept and stepped up our cocktail game quite a bit,” adding that the specialty list features old classics with modern twists. Having “warmed up” the interior as well, Logsdon’s hot-selling burgers (beef or black bean) served on locally baked bolillo rolls remain in place. 1863 Fifth Ave., 619-955-8525. —Frank Sabatini Jr. can be reached at


Hillcrest digs into international gardening nonprofit KC Stanfield | Contributor The Atlanta-based nonprofit DIG, which stands for “Development in Gardening,” is returning to Hillcrest for their annual “Reap Life” fundraising event on March 29. Following the mentality of “give a man a fish and it feeds him for a day; teach a man to fish and it feeds him for a lifetime,” DIG travels to developing countries affected by or at risk for AIDS/HIV, to teach small communities how to build and sustain gardens of their own. The new gardeners can then teach neighboring communities how to grow their own food as well. “What we’re trying to do is teach people that they have impact on their nutrition and food security wherever they are,” said Sarah Koch, co-founder and executive director of DIG. “There are things they can do to diversify their diets wherever they are.” According to the DIG website, hunger and malnutrition are harmful to everyone, but people with weakened immune systems — such as those with HIV — are much more likely to fall ill, die or suffer serious complications and have difficulty benefitting from medical treatment. In addition to educating them on how to enhance their nutrition through gardening, DIG also provides guidance on other aspects


LETTERS Trader Joe's (neither of which is interested in coming here). That tells me that they are not really opposed to a big corporation in the neighborhood, just this particular one. If Target abandons this project, I fear that we are going to have an ugly, empty, deteriorating building in the middle of our neighborhood for a long time to come. Finally I agree that the Grape/Fern streets intersection is a problem, but it always has been and I would expect city engineers to be able to design something to ameliorate the situation there. Thank you. John Tibbals, South Park

Bicycle helmets and brain damage Your article “To helmet or not to helmet” in the March 13 issue of San Diego Uptown News [Volume 7, Issue 6], begs the real question: “to be or not to be.” I want my kids and my neighbors to be safe on the streets of San Diego! I buckle up! Anyone sharing the right-of-way should exercise the same degree of caution as I do. When I rent a vehicle, I make sure it has good brakes and seat belts. I use both, whether I intended to rent that vehicle or not or simply “spontaneously” decided on a trip up the coast. Life is precious to me and I

of sustainability. “[One] common misconception is that you have to use chemicals to be successful,” Koch said. “I know that’s not necessarily a misconception here in the U.S., as organic is a big thing, but the places where we work, organic is fairly unheard of. “People have stopped growing organically in a lot of places and we’re trying to reconnect them to that.” Each garden costs approximately $5,000, and their goal for the fundraiser is $15,000, which will help renew some projects in Kenya. DIG’s next trip is to Uganda, with travel slated for May. Last year, the local San Diego community helped DIG raise enough money to plant three community gardens in Kenya. Those three gardens are earning income for those families and allowing them to consume five times the amount of vegetables they did before. DIG has done similar feats for communities within Zambia, Uganda, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and others. The organization also makes sure to stay in touch with these communities by doing follow-ups, evaluations and providing troubleshooting assistance. Founders Koch and Steve Bolinger were inspired after Bolinger helped repair a West African hospital’s garden during his time in the Peace Corps. The patients’ health improved, which hope to keep my prodigy alive and healthy after I stride from “the stage.” I do not want to see my health care cost soar because of a growth in traumatic brain injuries. And I have no idea where you came up with the idea that Senator Liu’s bill “... reinforces the false notion that bicycling isn’t beneficial to personal health.” I encourage people to bicycle, and here in North Park we are encouraging new bicycling lanes, the adoption of “share the road” programs and the DecoBike rental system. Being a responsible member of society entails using the brains we were given and exercising reasonable standards of behavior to keep from damaging them. I don't wave red flags at bulls because they have a hard-wired response to that stimulus. People who are spontaneous may be hard-wired to exhibit behavior which is not thought through and evaluate all possible outcomes, and your article improperly tries to justify irresponsible behavior. I do not want to pay for the consequence of that behavior. The bill is much more than a "...Band-Aid on what’s likely a non-existent wound.” You quoted the accident statistics and the volume of trips is not the driving statistics. It is the people who are insured! Vehicle trips have soared in the last 100 years but windshield wipers, seat belts and crash-absorbing vehicle design have prevailed and lowered overall injuries absolutely as vehicle trips have increased geometrically. Let's get ahead of the cur ve when it comes to vehicle trips by bicycle! Alan Bennett, North Parku

DIG teaches sustainable gardening to communities struggling with HIV. (Courtesy DIG)

DIG’s efforts abroad rely on support from San Diegans. (Courtesy DIG) gave the two entrepreneurs the idea to establish an organization focusing on HIV and AIDS. “Being able to come in and work with them and help improve what they’re doing, grow healthier, more diverse produce and also for less cost, is really interesting for people,” Koch said, adding that nutrition is particularly important for other

San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015 vulnerable groups, pregnant and nursing mothers, and the elderly. Koch and Bolinger officially launched DIG in San Diego in 2007. “Steve was closely connected to the San Diego community, as he had been living there for some time before joining the Peace Corps,” Koch said. “He reached out to a few friends like Big Mike, Michael Mack, Art Kelleher, Nicole Murray Ramirez, Wayne Back, Eric Shearin, David Perkins, Brian Voogd and others for support.” Encouraged to hold a fundraiser in San Diego, the inaugural event raised the money needed to launch their first project — an HIV clinic in Dakar, Senegal, that proved so successful, Koch said both Bill Clinton and Laura Bush made visits. Koch notes that while DIG’s offices are now based in Atlanta, they will always consider San Diego home and have made it a goal to return annually for the Reap Life event. “It is the place we can always go back to and not only find support for our work, but passion and community for the cause,” she said. “Perhaps it’s because San Diego has been touched by the ravages of HIV and the innate understanding that how we nourish our bodies can have a life-saving effect. “Or, perhaps it’s because so many in this community have fought stigma and discrimination in their own lives; I don’t know,” Koch continued. “What I do know is that the DIG supporters in San Diego understand community. They have shown time and again that we are connected in more ways than we are not and that compassion and love transcends borders, gender, health, and economic status.” The upcoming Reap Life event will provide an opportunity for DIG


supporters to meet with board members and the people leading the projects. Attendees will see a short film about DIG, participate in silent and live auctions, and enjoy food and drinks. General admission tickets for the event are $15 and include entrance and appetizers. “Home Gardener” tickets are $100 and include entrance, appetizers, a drink ticket, and special recognition during the event. For those unable to attend but wishing to get involved, there are many ways to do so. The “Monthly Farmer” option is a one-year, $25-permonth commitment, which comes with two “Home Gardener” tickets to the Reap Life event that can be given to the attendees of your choice. You can also donate through the website, purchase items from the “garden” store on the website, and even “get your hands dirty” by joining DIG in achieving their missions both locally and abroad as a volunteer. DIG offers short and long-term internships and also — for a fee — others the opportunity to travel with DIG in small groups and enjoy a mixture of vacation and volunteerism; a combination of sightseeing and “giving back” to these impoverished nations. The ninth annual Reap Life event will be held March 29, from 3 – 5 p.m. at T Lounge, (formally Bamboo Lounge), 1475 University Ave., in Hillcrest. For more information find the “Sundowners in San Diego” event on Facebook or visit —KC Stanfield is an editorial intern with SDCNN. —Contributing Editor Morgan M. Hurley contributed to this report.u

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San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


The 1926 Henry F. and Marion A. Lippitt house at 4481 Hortensia St. is a large Spanish Revival style designed by William Templeton Johnson.

The backside of the Johnson/Trepte house originally featured a pergola as well as Moorishinspired arches over a balcony off the bedroom.

(Courtesy of Bruce and Alana Coons)

(Courtesy of Colleen O’Malley)

As luck would have it Allen Hazard and Janet O’Dea thought they were documenting a historic neighborhood, but they were writing a book

HouseCalls Michael Good

True to form, Friday, March 13, was not a particularly audacious day in Mission Hills, particularly if you were running a plumbing enterprise. Someone had reported a gas leak and the city had turned off the supply to a good portion of the neighborhood. Now the all-clear signal had sounded. People were calling plumbers to get the natural gas turned back on, which they couldn’t do without assistance from SDG&E. Which was, no doubt, forthcoming — eventually.

Fortunately for Allen Hazard and Janet O’Dea, who own and manage Powers Plumbing on West Lewis Street in Mission Hills, their other joint endeavor, a picture book of the neighborhood, had avoided the “Friday the 13th” curse. It was the release of this book — they had a copy sitting on the shop counter — that had brought me to the historic Powers Plumbing premises on this otherwise fine March afternoon. As luck would have it, the day was neither rainy nor cold. No one was going to freeze to death as a result of the Great Gas Shut Off of 2015. But that didn’t stop the phone from ringing. And ringing.

It only takes a quick glance to see what makes “Images of America: Mission Hills” particularly appealing — it’s the incredible richness and breadth of the photographs Janet and Allen had managed to compile over the years. In that, they had been exceptionally fortunate. These photo books for Arcade publishing’s “Images of America” series rise or fall on the strength of their photos, and while Arcade has published hundreds of these neighborhood picture books, some have been hampered because the authors couldn’t afford to buy or hadn’t managed to wrangle a sufficient supply of quality photographs. (The books typically contain a couple hundred pictures.) Part of the appeal of personal photographs is their ephemeral nature. They capture a moment in time that is otherwise lost to us. And they only continue to exist, after 100 years, because someone had a compelling reason to safeguard them from the vagaries of life and the ceaseless march of time. When people pass away, when estates pass from one generation to the next, photographs have a way of disappearing in the wind, like so much natural gas. Perched on a mesa above Old Town, Mission Hills was one of many streetcar suburbs that sprang up along the electric rail lines in the early years of the 20th century. Prior to the first subdivision, which was filed in 1908 by a syndicate that included George Marston, the area was home to a hunting club, a cemetery, a smattering of orchards and at least one house, the Villa Orizaba, which had been built by the family of ship captain Henry Johnston. (Johnston had dreamed of subdividing his 65 acres of hilltop land, but he died before his plan could come to fruition.) Several things set Mission Hills apart: its connection with San Diego’s romantic past, the curving streets that followed the natural flow of the land, a highly restrictive code designed to keep out the riff-raff (which is to say anyone who wasn’t prosperous and white), and a requirement that all houses cost at least $3,000. So the seemingly identical houses built in Mission Hills and North Park would differ in construction materials and level of detail — the Mission Hills house would have more expensive materials (thicker walls made of hollow clay tile, for

The 1921 Italian Renaissance Guymon House (center) (Courtesy of Janed Guymon Casady)

example) and more extensive wood trim, plaster effects, decorative painting, tile work, plumbing fixtures, and so on. The area attracted San Diego’s prime architects, designers and builders, including Frank P. Allen, Jr., Louis Gill, Del Harris, William S. Hebbard, William Templeton Johnson, Cliff May, Frank Mead, Henry Preibisius, the Quayle Brothers, Richard Requa, Lillian J. Rice, William Wahrenberger, Emmor Brooke Weaver and William Wheeler, Sr. Many of the city’s leading citizens called Mission

The Miller family on Thanksgiving day in 1931 (Courtesy of the Miller family) Hills home as well: Roscoe E. “Pappy” Hazard, Catholic bishop Charles F. Buddy, San Diego mayors Percy Benbough and John F. Forward Jr., store owner Guilford Whitney, Kate Sessions, her brother Frank and her nephew Milt Sessions, state Sen. Edwin Sample, aviation pioneer T. Claude Ryan, and state Sen. James Mills, who grew up in a modest bungalow on Ingalls Street and went on to create the Mills Act, which has helped preserve the area’s architecture. Although Mission Hills became a bit frayed around the edges in the ’60s and ’70s, as middle class families fled to the suburbs, those who stayed managed to keep out the scourge of apartments that nearly doomed North and South Park. It was the more recent trend of teardowns and McMansions that finally galvanized homeowners. After seeing one particularly fine house destroyed on one of their walks through the neighborhood, Janet and Allen decided to get involved. Between rings from the office telephone, Allen explained how the Mission Hills and Ft. Stockton Line Historic Districts came to be. “We were the first residence-driven historic district,” he says. “When we noticed on our walks a Craftsman that was being torn down — was that 2001 or 2002?” “2002,” Janet chimes in, rising to answer the phone. “Well,” Allen continues, “we said, we don’t want this to happen again. So let’s get a historic district. We went to the city. The city said, ‘Why don’t you do it?’ So we started to

research our own district. We were the first to really find the builder and architect for every home within the district itself.” That proved to be no easy task. “We went through the lot books, and the county records, ‘Builder and Contractor’ magazine.” “Water records…” adds Janet. “One of our early inspirations was Kathy Flannigan, who’s since passed away,” continues Allen. “And Kathy always told us, ‘You need to write it (the house history) as if it were a National Register house.’ We held ourselves to that standard — that extra effort to find the builder and architect.” “That led to the photos,” explains Janet, having finished with her phone call. “Trying to find the builder, or whatever we could in terms of documentation.” Looking for photographs, Allen and Janet crawled through attics. They fished through garages. They finagled and borrowed from homeowners, collectors and fellow historians. When they found something interesting, they scanned it. They thought they were documenting a neighborhood, but they were also writing a book. “Mission Hills” includes a series of aerial photographs, a section on family life, a variety of architectural shots, photographs of lost mansions, a section on artists as well as business people, and photos of churches and schools — not to mention a section on the cemetery hidden under a park. (You might say Janet and Allen know where the bodies are buried. Literally.) The majority of these photos were acquired without purchasing the rights from an historical association, such as the San Diego History Center. When asked how many hours went into the book, they shake their heads and laugh. “Countless hours,” says Janet. “This is what you do when you don’t have kids,” says Allen. The couple has been lucky in ways other than photo research. Through their interest in historic preservation they found a neighborhood, a calling, a business, and each other. The couple met volunteering for various historic groups. (They’ve been on the board of both SOHO and Mission Hills Heritage.) When they found they were spending so much time in Mission Hills, they decided they might as well move there (from Rancho Bernardo). Janet was concerned at first about the commute for work, but then the opportunity to buy the plumbing business came up — now she can commute by foot, and walk past the many houses she and Allen helped preserve. Thanks to Allen Hazard and Janet O’Dea (and hundreds of their neighbors), Mission Hills is once again one of the more desirable areas in San Diego. And they’ve got the photos to prove it. —Contact Michael Good at

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San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015

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Answer key, page 16


San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015






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Puzzle from page 15


Musical Drama

Crossword from page 15


‘My Fair Lady’

San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


sings at Cygnet

Theater Review Charlene Baldridge Make no mistake: Cygnet Theatre has yet another musical comedy hit on its hands in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s 1956 Broadway musical, “My Fair Lady,” which continues through April 26 in Old Town. The classic musical was adapted from George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play and Gabriel Pascal’s 1938 motion picture, “Pygmalion.” Shaw (1856-1950) hated the idea of turning the work into a musical, and during his lifetime refused to allow it. Director Sean Murray, who is artistic director of Cygnet Theatre, cast himself as Professor Henry Higgins, as he did when Cygnet was in Rolando. The role suits him to a T and he plays it with great ease and understanding, singing much more than Rex Harrison, the original musical’s Henry. Murray sets his production in 1936. One supposes fashions in 1936 take up much less room than those of an earlier era. Additionally, the show makes do with only 10 performers plus six exceptional instrumentalists

Allison Spratt Pearce

(l to r) Tom Stephenson and Sean Murray (Photo by Ken Jacques)

(Photo by Daren Scott)

When it’s time for Eliza to have her own life, Higgins ruefully admits, “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face.” Whether Eliza, now a consort battleship, remains depends upon one’s interpretation of the amorphous, romantic ending. We know what Shaw would have said. Adding to the enjoyment are scenic design by Andrew Hull, costume design by Jeanne Reith, lighting design by Chris Rynne, sound by Matt Lescault-Wood, wigs and makeup by Peter Herman and choreography by David Brannen. Syd Stevens is responsible for props. The hat Eliza wears for her initial arrival at Higgins’ is memorable — and so is it all. — Charlene Baldridge has been writing about the arts since 1979. You can follow her blog at or reach her at charb81@

"My Fair Lady" by Lerner and Loewe Through April 26

7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays, 3 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays Tickets are $56 and up (some discounts apply) Cygnet Theatre 4040 Twiggs St. (Old Town San Diego State Historic Park) or 619-337-1525

(l to r) Katie Whalley Banville, Bryan Banville, Ron Choularton, Charles Evans, Jr., Linda Libby and Debra Wanger (Photo by Ken Jacques)

(strings, keyboard, woodwinds and percussion) including music director/ conductor Patrick Marion. Higgins encounters Eliza Doolittle (Allison Spratt Pearce, a soprano who loves singing) at Covent Garden, where she is a flower seller. The same evening he also encounters Colonel Pickering (Tom Stephenson), a fellow language expert. When Eliza’s Cockney grows too much to bear, Higgins bets Pickering he could pass her off as a duchess if given six months to teach her proper speech. A ménage a trois ensues, with the two middle-aged men who have nothing but language in mind and a young woman intent on the promise of self improvement and independence (“I Could Have Danced All Night”). Murray’s directorial secret involves excellence and depth of the company, something for which he’s strived but never before achieved to this degree. As one would expect, Ron Choularton delivers nicely in his reprise of Alfred P. Doolittle, Eliza’s canny father, who against his will rises to the top as a homely philosopher (“Get Me to the Church on Time”). Also, Stephenson delivers quality in his reprise of the kindly

Pickering. Others in the company — experienced musical theater stalwarts all — are Bryan Banville, Katie Whalley Banville, Charles Evans, Jr. (as Freddy EynsfordHill, who sings “On the Street Where You Live”), Ralph Johnson,

Linda Libby (as Henry’s appalled mother) and Debra Wanger. All double, whether as Eliza’s Covent Garden friends, Doolittle’s drinking buddies or Ascot races aficionados. It’s an amazing array of talent splendidly utilized.

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San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015

CalendarofEvents FEATURED EVENTS Earl Thomas at Rock in the Park Friday, March 27 San Diego-based bluesman Earl Thomas and his band will perform at this year’s installment of the Rock in the Park concert series at Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (1875 El Prado, Balboa Park). They’ll be performing “The Blues Cabaret” (written by pianist Dave Fleschner) along with soloists Billy Mixer and Jimmy Wilcox for a Broadway-styled show. The quartet’s offering will mix jazz and blues. Singer-songwriter Michael Tiernan will open the show. Doors are at 7 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Visit rhfleet.

org/events/rock-park for tickets and more information. The OAS Center open house Sunday, March 29 Today’s open house is a chance to find out more about The OAS Center, which offers after-school tutoring for grades K-12 including high school honors and AP subjects. OAS is also the home of Specialized Therapy Services (STS), a complete therapy clinic for children struggling with various challenges. STS specializes in speech, occupational and physical therapy, counseling and more. The open house will be held from 2 – 5 p.m. at 4204-A Adams Ave., Kensington. For more information, call 619-431-5049. Vinyl Junkies Saturday, April 4 This bi-monthly event turns

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT Conceptual Options 13025 Danielson St., # 200 | San Diego, CA 92064 858-771-0825 | Conceptual Options and The Center in Hillcrest are partnering up to bring a series of surrogacy and fertility informational classes to the LGBT community. There will be specific classes centering on women and their fertility and egg freezing options. This ongoing series will cover surrogacy, egg and sperm donors, fertility, as well as the reproductive legal process specifically for the LGBT community. Though the classes are open to everyone in the community, space is limited. Conceptual Options Surrogacy and Egg Donation Agency has been making families a reality since 1999. Conceptual Options is experienced and dedicated to helping build

your family through surrogacy, egg donation and sperm donation — regardless of your sexual orientation, marital status, or location. We offer a hands-on gestational surrogacy and egg donation program that encompasses all aspects of your case from surrogate and egg donor screening to preparing you for delivery. We strive to manage every aspect of your case, so that you can enjoy the special journey of creating your family. Our full service staff is available to you each and every day in order to provide you with prompt, personal service — to help you make the right decisions with regards to your egg donor, surrogate, or intended parents.

CALENDAR quintessential rock club the Casbah (2501 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy/Midtown) into a daytime record swap meet from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Vendors from all over Southern California will participate with records of all genres for purchase. The event will feature several guest DJs, including some members of beloved local bands (Shady Francos, Schitzophonics, Tropical Popsicle). Plus you can imbibe while you shop! Food vendor Anthem Vegan will be set up outside with tasty sandwiches and other food offerings. Admission is $3 at the door and the event is $21+. Visit facebook. com/VinylJunkiesRecordSwap for more information. Grunion run Sunday, April 5 Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego (2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla) leads these events on certain spring nights through mid-June. Following high tides, hundreds of small, silvery grunions will come on shore where females will lay eggs in the sand and males will fertilize them before returning to the sea. Naturalists from Birch will guide participants in their viewing experience. Attendees should bring a flashlight and warm jacket. Tickets are $14 for members, $16 for the public ages 6 and up. Children 6 – 13 must attend with a paid adult. This session starts at 9:30 p.m. and ends at 11:30 p.m. Visit for more information and to prepurchase tickets (required).

RECURRING EVENTS Daily: Don’t Try This at Home!: Six varying times per day until May, a live science show is presented with demonstrations that are too messy, loud or shocking to try at home. Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, 1875 El Prado, Balboa Park, free with admission. Visit for more information. Mondays:  Singing Storytime: 1:30 p.m., learn what’s going on inside your baby’s mind, strengthen your bond and sing songs together at Mission Hills Library, 925 Washington St., Mission Hills, free. Open Mic Night: 7:30 p.m., the mic is open to you at Lestat’s Coffee House, 3343 Adams Ave., Normal Heights, free. Tuesdays: Curbside Bites: 5 – 8:30 p.m., gathering of gourmet food trucks at 3030 Grape St., South

Park. Open Mic Charlie’s: 7 – 10 p.m. (except the third Tuesday), open mic night at Rebecca’s Coffee House, 3015 Juniper St., South Park, free. Tasty Truck Tuesdays: 6 – 9 p.m., Smitty’s Service Station hosts several food trucks under their well-lit shade structure, 3442 Adams Ave., Normal Heights. Wednesdays:  Wang’s Trivia: 7 p.m., free trivia competition for prizes, tourna-

SAN DIEGO INDIEFEST 9 Saturday, March 28

This year’s Indiefest theme is “Rock to Stop Violence,” which is also the name of the event’s nonprofit beneficiary. The event combines live music on three stages with art exhibitions and plenty of kid-friendly enticements. The diverse collection of musicians performing includes Dead Feather Moon, Todo Mundo, Danielle LoPresti and the Masses, and headliners Bear Hands. The day kicks off at noon, with the curtain call at 11 p.m. The festival will take place at 3700 Fairmount Ave. in City Heights at the corner of Fairmount Avenue and Wightman Street. Attendees can bring food and non-alcoholic drinks along with chairs and blankets to the event. Alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase and consumption in designated drink areas. Tickets are $12 for students, seniors and military, $15 for general admission. The event is free for children 12 and under and City Heights residents with valid ID. Visit for more information and to purchase tickets.

ment for $1,000. Drink specials during trivia range $3 – $6. Wang’s North Park, 3029 University Ave., North Park. Wednesday Night Experience: 7 – 8 p.m., uplifting and spiritually inspiring experiences for all, weekly at Universal Spirit Center, 3858 Front St., Hillcrest, love offering requested. Young Lions Music Series: 7 p.m., each week features a new “young rising star” chosen by Gilbert Castellanos. Castellanos will also join in during the first set, the Expatriate Room, Croce’s Park West, 2760 Fifth Ave., Bankers Hill, $5 cover. Storytelling: 7 – 8:45 p.m. the first Wednesday of each month featuring members of Storytellers of San Diego at Rebecca’s Coffee House, 3015 Juniper St., South Park, donations welcome. Ages 12 and up. Wednesday Jazz Jam Session: 7:30 p.m., Gilbert Castellanos hosts the Jazz Jam Session with special guest musicians at Seven Grand, 3054 University Ave., North Park, free. Thursdays:  Uptown Sunrise Rotary Club meetings: 7 a.m., weekly meeting at Panera Bread, 1270 Cleveland Ave., Hillcrest. Gentle Yoga for seniors: 2:45 – 3:45 p.m., presented by The Center

and Silver Age Yoga Community Outreach (SAYCO) at The San Diego LGBT Center, 3909 Centre St., Hillcrest, free. North Park Farmers Market: 3 – 7 p.m., in the parking lot behind CVS at 32nd St. and University Ave., North Park, free. Kornflower’s Open Mic: Sign-ups at 6:30 p.m., open mic (no poetry or comedy) 7 – 10 p.m. Family friendly event at Rebecca’s Coffee House, 3015 Juniper St., South Park, free. Kirtan Musical Meditation: 8:15 p.m., chant and sing contemporary mantras celebrating love and life at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga, 3287 Adams Ave., Normal Heights, donation requested. Fridays: Preschool Storytime: 10:30 a.m., at Mission Hills Library, 925 Washington St., Mission Hills, free. Fridays on Fifth: 4 – 9 p.m., various restaurants and bars offer discounts and specials for a social hour on Fifth Avenue between Washington Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Hillcrest. Cinema Under the Stars: 8:30 p.m., classic movie screenings at 4040 Goldfinch St., Mission Hills. Tickets start at $15.

see Recurring, pg 19


RECURRING Saturdays Old Town Saturday Market: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., on Harney Street and San Diego Avenue, Old Town, free. Golden Hill Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., on B Street between 27th and 28th streets, Golden Hill, free.

Children’s Craft Time: 10:30 a.m., at Mission Hills Library, 925 Washington St., Mission Hills, free. Melodies in Balboa Park: 1 – 5 p.m., the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory ensembles fill Casa del Prado with classical music, 1549 El Prado, Balboa Park, free. Celebrity Book Readings: 2 p.m., local celebrities will visit the “Ingenious! The World of Dr. Seuss” at the San Diego History Center on the second Saturday of each month to read their favorite Seuss stories to those in attendance, 1649 El Prado, Balboa Park, free. Comedy Heights: 8 – 10 p.m., local comedians take the stage next to Twiggs Coffeehouse at 4590 Park Blvd., University Heights, free. Sundays Free Pancake Breakfast: 8:30 – 9:45 a.m., every second Sunday this neighborhood breakfast precedes worship service and Sunday school at Normal Heights United Methodist Church, 4650 Mansfield St., Normal Heights. Email Hillcrest Farmers Market: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., under the Hillcrest Pride Flag, Harvey Milk and Normal streets, free.  —Email calendar items to

COMMUNITY Bankers Hill Parking Committee 5 – 6:30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month Merrill Gardens, 2567 Second Ave. Old Town Community Parking District 10 a.m. on the first Tuesday The Hacienda Hotel, 4041 Harney St.   Hillcrest Business Association Beautification Committee 2 p.m. on the first Tuesday 1419 University Ave. Suite D.   North Park Main Street Design Committee 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday North Park Main Street Office, 3076 University Ave.   Uptown Planners 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St.   Normal Heights Community Planning Group 6 p.m. on first Tuesday Normal Heights Community Center, 4649 Hawley Blvd.   Mission Hills Business Improvement District 3:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday Ascent Conference Center, 902 Fort Stockton Dr.   University Heights Community Development Corporation 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday 4452 Park Blvd. Suite 104   University Heights Community Parking District 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday 4452 Park Blvd. Suite 104

University Heights Community Association 6:30 p.m. on the first Thursday Alice Bimey Elementary School auditorium, 4345 Campus Ave. Uptown Community Parking District 5 – 6:30 p.m. on second Monday Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St.   North Park Maintenance Assessment District 6 p.m. on the second Monday North Park Adult Activity Center, 2719 Howard Ave.   Normal Heights Community Association 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday Normal Heights Community Center, 4649 Hawley Blvd.

Hillcrest Business Association Board of Directors 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St. Hillcrest Town Council 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St.

San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


North Park Planning Committee 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday North Park Christian Fellowship, 2901 North Park Way

Old Town Community Planning Group 3:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday The Whaley House, 2476 San Diego Ave. Ken-Tal Community Planning Group 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday Franklin Elementar y auditorium, 4481 Copeland Ave.   Greater Golden Hill Community Planning Group 6:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday Balboa Golf Course Clubhouse in Balboa Park   Burlingame Neighborhood Association 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday Mazara Pizza and Italian Deli, 2302 30th St.   Mission Hills Town Council Trustees Meeting 6 p.m. on the second Thursday Francis Parker Lower School, 4201 Randolph St.   Bankers Hill Residents 6 p.m. on the third Monday San Diego Indoor Sports Club, 3030 Front St.   Normal Heights Community Planning Group, Ad Hoc Bylaws Subcommittee 6:30 p.m. on the third Monday Adams Recreation Center, 3491 Adams Ave.

Talmadge Community Council 6:30 p.m. on third Tuesday of odd numbered months 4760 Miracle Dr. (residential address)   El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association 9 – 10:30 a.m. on the third Thursday Blvd Office, 3727 El Cajon Blvd.   North Park Historical Society 6:30 p.m. on third Thursday Grace Lutheran Church, 3967 Park Blvd.   Greater Golden Hill Community Development Corporation 6:30 – 8 p.m. on the third Thursday Golden Hill Recreation Center, 2600 Golf Course Dr.   Talmadge Maintenance Assessment District 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday Franklin Elementary Room #2, 4481 Copeland Ave.   North Park Community Association 6 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday Lafayette Hotel, 2223 El Cajon Blvd.   North Park Action Team 5:30 p.m. on the fourth Thursday North Park Adult Activity Center, 2719 Howard Ave. Mission Hills Heritage 7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday Call 619-497-1193 or email info@ for meeting location.   – Email for inclusion of your organization or committee meeting. u


San Diego Uptown News | March 27 - April 9, 2015


Three design options for the Pride Plaza park project at the intersection of University Avenue and Normal Street being shown at the Hillcrest Farmers Market every Sunday until April 26. Visitors may create their own design elements on the renderings. (Courtesy of Michael Brennan) FROM PAGE 1

HILLCREST space ahead of a semi-permanent mockup planned for June, where a portion of the intersection will be closed to traffic for months to replicate plans for a permanent park. Three renderings of the project space allow anyone to hand draw and suggest their own designs. The Pride Plaza will span approximately 7,300 square feet, according to architect Michael Brennan, an HBA board member active on the project. He also said the plans will allow the space to swell as large as 34,000 square feet for special events like the Hillcrest Farmers Market.

“The different variations well ebb and flow from those extremes,” Brennan said. The booth’s first Sunday in operation was March 23. According to HBA Executive Director Benjamin Nicholls, some of the suggestions included a sculpture garden, a “hammock garden” and a “happy hour dog park,” where a dog park would take over a portion of the space for designated hours each day, likely 5 – 8 p.m. “There are certain things that have to go in there: bike lanes, car lanes, parking, but there’s a lot of other space to play around within that,” he said. After the booth’s final Sunday on April 26, a design will be mocked up and presented, said Nicholls. After that, the HBA

plans to use temporar y design elements — likely paint and planters — to cordon off the area for several months to demonstrate how the plans would change "It's such a cool idea to kind of expand on what we've done at the Pride Flag ..." ~ Michael Brennan

pedestrian use and traffic flow. Brennan said more pedestrian space around the Pride Flag is sorely needed. “It’s such a cool idea to kind of expand on what we’ve done at the Pride Flag, and it seems like every time they raise a different flag

there, there’s a gathering that spills into the street,” Brennan said. While the project’s budget won’t be known until the final design is produced in early summer, Nicholls estimated a minimum amount of $800,000. He said that while the HBA has done much of the organizing around the project thus far, other stakeholders will need to contribute resources. “So we’re doing sort of the groundwork, but everybody’s going to have to come to the table pretty soon,” Nicholls said, mentioning the Uptown Community Parking District’s large funding reserves lying dormant. “There are very few projects in this city where one group does everything.” He also said that certain design elements might open doors

for other funding opportunities. “Depending on what people want to do, we’ll free up different pots of money,” Nicholls said. “If there’s a storm water improvement piece of that park, then that will free up storm water money.” Securing city support for the project will be imperative as well, which Nicholls and Brennan said is already under way. They said a meeting with key city officials earlier this year showed excitement for the development. “A lot them were pretty enthusiastic to make this thing work and to kind of grease the skids to get the city approval and permitting process,” Brennan said. —Contact Hutton Marshall at

San Diego Uptown News 03 27 15  
San Diego Uptown News 03 27 15