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San Diego’s ‘iMayor’ leaves the city better than he found it


By Monica Medina SDUN Reporter

Tiny boxes full of words

➤➤ FEATURE P. 10

Film folks who like spokes

➤➤ DINING P. 14

Ethan van Thillo, the founder of San Diego’s Latino Film Festival, at the Digital Gym in North Park, which screens films every day of the week. (Photo by Hutton Marshall)

The fire fueling the Latino Film Festival staff mad, but I believe there has to be something next since I don’t feel like I’m ever going to say, ‘Okay, I’m done.’” Van Thillo’s drive extends to the Latino community, for which his hot-blooded passion runs deep. Though he is not of Hispanic origin, he credits his mother, Grace, for his belief in and concern for the community, despite growing up in San Clemente where he observed, “the power structure is very conservative.” “I grew up immersed in the

San Diego Uptown News: Why is public service important to you? Todd Gloria: My parents raised me to believe that if you care about something you’re supposed to leave it better than you found it. When I was a kid, we couldn’t afford a car and would have to borrow one. Yet whenever we returned the car, it would be fully gassed-up and we’d wash the car, too, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Show gratitude and return it better than you found it. I think that’s what drives my public service. I really love the community and living in the city. I want to return it better than it was given to me. I feel so fortunate when I wake up that all I have to do is try to make the city better. I don’t have to increase the stock price or return more profit

see vanThillo, page 3

see ToddGloria, page 5

Ethan van Thillo empowers a community through film By Monica Medina SDUN Reporter

To pizza and beyond

➤➤ MUSIC P. 21

Crowd-funded head banging

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As the founder and executive director of the Media Arts Center San Diego, Ethan van Thillo works hard, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning, conjuring up new ideas on how he can make all that the center encompasses bigger and better. Yet at first glance, van Thillo strikes you not so much a gogetter, but as a man who seems happiest on the sidelines: unobtrusive and inconspicuous. Still, there’s no denying his success

at the helm, running one of the largest Latino Film Festivals in the nation, which, since its inception 21 years ago, has drawn 200,000 attendees and screened over 3,000 films. Factoring in the Media Arts Center, which shows films year-round, and the relatively new Digital Arts Gym, with its primary focus on youth, the man is, without a doubt, a powerhouse. “If I’m going to decide on doing something, I’m going to make it happen,” he said. “I have an internal drive and am constantly trying to bring in new innovations, which sometimes drives my

Many would have trouble believing that San Diego’s ever had a mayor nicer than Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. Having stepped into the role last summer in the midst of a maelstrom that made national headlines, he did so with the skill and know-how needed to get the job done. In a Feb. 15 letter to the U-T San Diego, Gloria was referred to as “a steady hand on a ship that was floundering.” Indeed, compassionate and impeccably polite, Gloria’s been a calming force and a welcome respite from the previous mayor. Now, in his last few days as “iMayor,” as he’s affectionately been dubbed, Gloria took time to sit down for a little Q&A.

Hillcrest’s Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras is back in action with a new look By Margie M. Palmer SDUN Reporter

The Hillcrest Business Association (HBA) and Greater San Diego Business Association Charitable Foundation seem to have kissed and made up since last year’s Mardi Gras fallout. In Dec. 2012, the HBA board of directors voted to forgo participation in the 2013 Hillcrest Mardi Gras; the event had been jointly owned and coproduced by both organizations for a dozen years at that point, but then-HBA executive director Benjamin Nichols said it was time to “take a step back and look at other options.” In previous years the HBA had taken on the majority of the work, he said in a press release, and their members had conducted all major activities for the production of the event including handling all the permitting, finances, logistics and coordination of promotions. “If the Foundation is interested in producing the event on their own, we welcome it,” he said at the time.

Foundation president and LGBT Weekly Publisher Stampp Corbin felt the show must go on. Bill Hardt was quickly hired to plan the large-scale party, but the Feb. 12, 2012 Mardi Gras Street Fair fell short. The Hillcrest Mardi Gras had been originally created to raise money for HBA neighborhood beautification projects and the Foundation’s LGBT scholarship program. Corbin said that scholarship giving fell by 50 percent this year due to last year’s lackluster attendance. Crowds were much smaller than were seen in previous years, according to attendees, and the night lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. But now, the former Mardi Gras Street Fair has been reprised and revamped and is receiving a much-needed makeover. HBA President Jonathan Hale said that although they’ve renewed their partnership with the Foundation, the HBA will completely taken over production. “We’re moving forward with a new version of the event and have rebranded it as Hillcrest

Appropriately dressed patrons of the 2012 Hillcrest Mardi Gras celebration (Photo by Cali Griebel) Fat Tuesday,” he said, “and it will have a bigger, better and larger footprint.” The 2014 version will take place along University Avenue between 10th Avenue and Herbert Street, Hale said, and will include a parade, street performers, an outdoor nightclub and dance party, gourmet food vendors and a performance stage.

see MardiGras, page 4


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


Local congregations to align, address citywide issues By Matt Phillips SDUN Reporter

An alliance of San Diego faith congregations, including two from Uptown, will gather Sunday, March 9 at University City United Church to discuss unmet community needs and to establish a clear directive for addressing those needs in 2014. The San Diego Circle of Faith Communities is an effort to unify voices from local churches across the city. It’s a partnership between local congregations and Justice Overcoming Boundaries, a local, inter-faith, though primarily Christian-based nonprofit that focuses on developing community leaders and fostering civic engagement. Members include The Swedenborgian Church of San Diego in University Heights and Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in North Park. Other members are Agape House in College Area, Clairemont Lutheran and University City United Church. The Rev. Jonathan Mitchell, who leads the congregation at The Swedenborgian Church of San Diego, said addressing community concerns is part of a biblical tradition. That work includes, as it did during the Civil Rights Movement, establishing a dialog with policy makers. “I think there’s a call to work

at the level of public policy,” Mitchell said. “From a faith perspective, from a moral perspective and from a perspective of spiritual values.”

AT A GLANCE WHAT: San Diego Circle of Faith Communities Issue Assembly WHEN: 3:30 p.m to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 9 WHERE: University City United Church, 2877 Governor Drive, San Diego CONTACT: Erin Tsurumoto Grassi at Community members from across the city are invited to attend the assembly. Through a process of dialog and voting, Mitchell said, the assembly will decide on three initial issues for city residents to address. The alliance will then form task forces for each issue and, from there, pursue action in the coming months. Erin Tsurumoto Grassi, a community organizer with


VANTHILLO Latino community because of my mom, a bilingual school teacher,” he explained. “My father, originally from Belgium, was a silk screen printer, but it was my mother who I’d go with to visit her students. I’d also travel to Mexico with friends and their families. Growing up in San Clemente and seeing the negative stereotypes of Latinos, and then traveling to Mexico, was a real eye-opener. It allowed me to see people for who they are.” It was this interest that led him to major in Latin American studies at UC Santa Cruz. With no clear career goals, except a feeling that he wanted to do community work, it was by chance that van Thillo found his path through film. “I had this professor, Armando Valdez, who grew up in the Chicano movement,” van Thillo recalled. “He said, ‘Let’s organize a Chicano Film Festival as part of our class final project.’ I naively volunteered to do it and learned basically everything about the festival biz — how to find films, write proposals, make posters.” Film was not van Thillo’s focus back then. He loved music more than film, having mastered the violin and formed a Cumbia band for which he played the guitar. But he distinctly remembers two movies from his youth that changed the way he looked at life, “Amadeus” and “Koyaanisqatsi.” Perhaps in recognizing the power of film, the class assignment grew into something more for van Thillo. “Being the driven, crazy person that I am, after it was done, I said to myself, I can’t do this just once,” van Thillo said. “So I did it on my own for another two years while still in school.” During this time, he met his partner and fellow student Mary Reed. Together they moved to San Diego, and now have two sons, ages 10 and 14. The young couple’s early days in San Diego shaped their aspirations for community involvement. “Mary was going to go to UCSD to get her teacher credential. I was working for the San Diego County of Education Migrant Education Program. My job was to knock on doors of families we thought might be migrant families. I’d tell them about the services, but they couldn’t qualify for the program unless I knew they’d worked in the fields. I would hear their whole story, and that really

Justice Overcoming Boundaries, said a series of meetings, so far, have shown residents concerned with, among other things, social mobility, youth engagement and job training opportunities. Issues, she said, that affect residents across the city. “It’s the struggle that a lot of San Diegans are facing — from the middle class on down,” said Tsurumoto Grassi. At a Feb. 12 meeting at the Swedenborgian Church & Hall in University Heights, a gathering of less than 10 Uptown residents discussed, among many other issues, lack of affordable housing for seniors, pedestrian and cyclist safety and homelessness. That meeting was open to the public and was held to establish and refine discussion topics for the March 9 Issue Assembly. The key moving for ward, according to Tsurumoto Grassi, is that whichever three issues emerge from the March 9 assembly, they must be concrete and narrow enough for the city and its residents to tackle. They should also be short-term and winnable, she said. Mitchell also said specificity is an important element for inciting positive change. “You have to get ver y specific on changes in policy that will influence peoples’ lives in a concrete way,” he said.u

helped me by giving me the ability to just talk to people.” Eventually, van Thillo started up a student film festival, Cinema Estudiantil, partnered with the Voz Fronteriza, a UCSD Chicano student newspaper, and SDSU’s student government. Then in 1997, he scored his first celebrity for the festival, actor Edward James Olmos. “That blew me away,” remembered van Thillo. “The house was packed and I woke up to the fact that people want to see celebrities. The next year we moved the festival off campus to Horton Plaza and started charging. That’s when the corporate world woke up to it, and I dropped the name, Cinema Estudiantil, and it became the Latino Film Festival.” As the festival grew, van Thillo made the decision to offer year-round programs, partnering with the San Diego Public Library. “We decided we needed a nonprofit to run our programs,” he said. “So we called ourselves the Media Arts Center and modeled ourselves after media arts centers across the country, adding the youth component, and workshops for adults and kids.” Not one to rest on his laurels, van Thillo is always on the prowl for the next big thing. “I want to keep growing,” he said. “It’s a little bit about entertainment, but I also want to keep focusing on education, careers in the film industry and other creative careers, too. We’re always going to screen films, but you’re going to see the festival move a little more into expos and panel discussions and trying to beef that up.” Van Thillo would also like to see the Digital Gym become a model for other neighborhoods, with storefronts one day in San Ysidro, Chula Vista and Escondido. “My number one priority is to be constantly committed to the community and keeping the focus on why we’re ultimately here,” van Thillo said. “I always use the tag line, ‘Changing lives through film.’ Whether it’s exhibiting films or providing the tools to make your own films and videos to tell your stories, when you pick a film you’re looking for that connection through culture and identity, family and community … I hope people feel that. I hope it’s felt 100 percent because that’s what it’s all about.” The Latino Film Festival runs March 13 – 23. For more information, visit

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San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


Hillcrest Ace freshens up

come to me and say I’ve found a better job, I just think it’s an amazing thing,” Reeves said. “I think we’ve hired at least 500 people from the community.” On the business end, Reeves also credits the wide range of products offered to the store’s success. This achieved success rarely seen by busiBy Hutton Marshall SDUN Editor versatility that allows them to adapt to nesses on the block. Reeves attributed much of this staying power to a mutual emerging and fading trends is what has kept them relevant to their customer compassion existing between his store Shrouded behind several rows base. and the Hillcrest community. of lush plant life and a large mural “I think with a lot of businesses, it’s “The community has really emadorning the building’s sidewall, it’s those selling one single item that go braced us and supports us, so I would immediately apparent that Hillcrest out of business,” Reeves said. “With think it’s our great customers that keep Ace Hardware aims to brand itself as us, we have so many a bit more than different categories, just a place to buy if something goes out a hammer and of style we can just nails. phase into something Incense, eastdifferent.” ern-influenced Hillcrest Ace's interior decoranew round of retions and off-color models follows this home accessories mentality, allowing greet customfor a new series of ers as they walk products to gain through front more visibility within doors. Tin buckthe store. Perhaps ets are morphed the most easily into lights and recognizable aspect hung from the of their remodel is ceiling. the overhaul of their After nestling paint section. This itself into the comes along with community 19 a new partnership years ago, Hillwsigned with Valspar crest Ace is now Paint, which will sigsolidifying its cre- A look at the newly revamped Hillcrest Ace Hardware on University Avenue nificantly expand their atively presented (Courtesy Hillcrest Ace) selection. niche in the comAnother area currently still being us here,” Reeves said. munity by remodeling a sizable chunk remodeled is their below-ground The community’s embrace is of the two-story location. floor, which is getting spruced up to shown through the five Nicky awards “By the time we finish … about reflect the bright atmosphere of the Hillcrest Ace has under its belt. Good 50 percent of the store will have been rest of the store. The storefront got a business goes hand in hand with a remodeled,” said Hillcrest Ace owner big overhaul as well, now hiding itself give-and-take philosophy to Reeves. Bruce Reeves. “It’s been 19 years, it’s behind a small forest of plants for sale. He has regularly employed students time to make things look fresh.” To get a complete picture of Hillcrest and San Diegans in rehabilitation Setting up shop at the notoriAce's new look, nothing tops a visit to programs, those who appreciate being ously challenging business corthe store itself. For more information, given an opportunity to work. ridor along University Avenue east visit “My philosophy is that when they of Highway 163, Hillcrest Ace has

Longtime local hardware franchise adopts new look


MARDIGRAS HBA Executive Director Sonya Stauffer said the all-ages parade will start at Herbert Street and run west down University Avenue to 10th Avenue. She said some of the participating floats and contingents will stop and stage themselves between Vermont Street and 10th Avenue — the area to be cordoned-off for the street party that will immediately follow the parade. Like previous years this portion of Fat Tuesday will still be ages 21+, she said. DJ Taj and Nikno will share deejay responsibilities and Tootie from Lips and Paris Sukoki Max will emcee the performance stage. “We’ve gotten a really good response on this so far and it’s rounding up to be a great event,” Stauffer said. “There’s going to be trapeze artists, stilt walkers and a lot of other fun things; we’re even working with club owners to try to set up other parties throughout Hillcrest after our event closes down.” Corbin said he’s happy the Foundation and the HBA are able to work together again to produce an event that benefits the scholarship program and neighborhood projects. “Sometimes, people in different organizations have history and they need to take time out from one another before they can come back and resolve their relationship,” he said. “Last year [the HBA] decided they wanted to take some time off but this year they were able to come back and we can work together, and that’s great. They are putting it on and we are going to be a participant in the proceeds, and that’s how it’s going to go.” According to Wikipedia, Mardi Gras, which means Fat Tuesday in French, commemorates the final day of indulgence before fasting begins on Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It is a culmination of festivities which are celebrated worldwide, but the annual event in New Orleans’ French Quarter has become one of the most popular such celebrations within the U.S. Hillcrest Fat Tuesday will take place on Tuesday, March 4. The parade will kick off at 6 p.m. at the corner of Herbert Street and University Avenue and the 21+ street party between Vermont and 10th streets will start at 7 p.m. More information and pre-sale tickets are available now on the website. —SDUN Assistant Editor Morgan M. Hurley contributed to this report.u

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TODDGLORIA to shareholders. All I have to do is look at my constituents and say, I paved more roads today, added more library hours and made the neighborhoods a lot safer with the help of our city employees. For me, that’s what motivates me. SDUN: How did you manage to stay above the fray while saving our city from dire times? TG: It goes back to your family, your upbringing. My role in my family is that when something bad happens, I’m usually the one that gets the call, because I tend to be the one to shut out the white noise and stay focused on the situation and solve it. My mom had her credit card stolen the other day and she’s very upset. I said let’s call the bank, let’s file a police report, and so on. I think in part this is the role that I’ve constantly played. In terms of what we’ve been able to do, it’s just trusting people. The biggest flaw of the previous mayor is that he was a micro-manager. He didn’t really empower people to do their work. I got into this role and saw that we have amazing people who work here and all they needed to do their job was to say to them, “Follow the rules, use common sense and I’ll back you up.” It’s amazing the kind of output that comes when you do that. People’s morale increased, productivity increased and things are running well now. SDUN: When you look back at your decision not to run for mayor, what are your thoughts about the choice you made? TG: I don’t regret it, because it was the right thing to do for the city. It may not have matched my personal ambitions, but this is not about advancing myself or my career. This is about public service. My personal ambitions and public service may not have aligned perfectly, but if given that choice, if I’m not choosing public service, I shouldn’t be in this business. Because of the city’s charter, I was the


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014

person that had to run the city in the absence of an elected mayor. I came in here on August 30th and it was obviously a mess. I wasn’t scared but that doesn’t mean I’m not fearful. I walked in through those doors the son of a hotel maintenance gardener, a brown gay guy who’s thinking, am I now in charge of the eighth largest city in the country? How do I do this? The responsibility was on me and a lot of people were counting on me, and our team here at the city, to pull us out of this nosedive we were in. I made the judgment that I could not do that well and run for office at the same time. It’s very much a matter of believing I could do two things poorly or one thing well. And rather than be a bad candidate and a bad mayor I wanted to be a good mayor. As I walk out the door, if folks feel Todd Gloria (Courtesy City of San Diego) that I’ve done a good job an important reason. You leave yourself open then I did what I set out to do, which was to for an opportunity, do a good job with the do one thing well and to leave the city better work you’re presented and good things will than I found it. come your way. SDUN: Any plans to run for mayor in SDUN: Come Monday, what’s the first 2016? thing you’re going to do after you hand over TG: Well, I do have to find something to do in 2016, because I’ll be out of a job with the the reigns of the Mayor’s office? TG: I’ll go right back to being Council City Council. I never expected to be the City President. I have a Council meeting that Council president. That happened because of afternoon and we have some important issues a resignation. I never expected to be mayor, on the agenda. but that happened because of a resignation. While I’m a relentless planner and a very SDUN: As Council President, what are Type A personality, a part of me has become you going to do about filling the council seat very comfortable knowing things happen for


Mayor-elect Kevin Faulconer is vacating? TG: We are encouraging interested residents of District Two to apply. It’s my anticipation we’ll have a council hearing in early April that will be like an open job interview where those that applied and completed the vetting process will answer questions of the council members and whoever receives a majority of support of the sitting council members, will be the next council member. That person will serve from early April until early December. SDUN: How do you see San Diego 25 years from now? TG: I have a vision for it and I’ll be working the next couple of years to do my part to get it done. I would hope we’d be working aggressively on infrastructure. The biggest issue facing our city is our crumbling streets and sidewalks, and inadequate public facilities. It’s my hope that the voters will consider a measure in 2016 that will aggressively tackle this problem. It’s bigger than the pension problem and it needs really assertive action to fix it. I hope we’ll be a city that has successfully tackled homelessness. We’ve seen other cities across the country make significant strides in this regard. Phoenix recently declared an end to veterans’ homelessness. We should be able to do the same here. My hope and expectation is that we’ll be a global leader in sustainability. I proposed an aggressive climate action plan to put the city on a cleaner renewable future, 100 percent reliance on renewable energy by 2035, relying far more on solar power and wind energy. It’ll also be a city dependent on public transit, biking and walking, in order to get the gas emissions reductions. A denser, more compact city where we’ve preserved our open spaces and back country. By doing that, we’ll match people’s vision for themselves. Millennials typically don’t seem to be interested in a 1950s idealized version of life. They want urban settings, access to mass transit, the ability to bike to places and I’m hoping to put into place policies that will help make that

see ToddGloria, page 13


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


3737 Fifth Ave. Suite 201 San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 519-7775 Twitter: @SD_UptownNews PUBLISHER David Mannis (619) 961-1951 EDITOR Hutton Marshall (619) 961-1952 ASSISTANT EDITOR Morgan M. Hurley (619) 961-1960 REPORTERS & COLUMNISTS Charlene Baldridge Dave Fidlin Andy Hinds “Dr. Ink” Dale Larabee Monica Medina Margie M. Palmer Matt Phillips Frank Sabatini Jr. Kevin Smead Jen Van Tieghem Brian White

Letters Ray Street Artists Thank you to Uptown News and Morgan Hurley for bringing attention to our hard working artists! [See “The ‘visual voices’ of North Park” Vol. 6, Issue 4] Today [Feb. 14] is the opening of a new show at San Diego Art Department featuring Nancy Plank who appeared in the Ray Street Artist book! The show is up for a month – check it out. —Patric Stillman via

Old Globe talks affordable housing Regrettably, I was down with the Flu and unable to attend this meeting [See “Old Globe panel sinks its teeth into San Diego affordable

UptownBriefs LANSDOWNE RESIGNS, FAULCONER NAMES NEW POLICE CHIEF On Tuesday, Feb. 25, San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne announced his retirement, effective on Monday, March 3, which is the same day Kevin Faulconer will be sworn in as mayor. The announcement comes amid allegations of sexual misconduct among multiple San Diego police officers. The following day, Faulconer announced that Assistant Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman would be San Diego’s next police chief. Zimmerman joined SDPD in 1982. She is a graduate of Ohio Sate University and the FBI National Academy. She will be San Diego’s first female police chief. SDPD released a statement on Tuesday stating Lansdowne’s decision to retire was entirely his own. The 69-year-old police chief has ser ved in this position for more than 10 years, which is considerably longer than the average three-year term for big city police chiefs, he said in an inter view. San Diego had its lowest crime rate since the 1960s under Lansdowne’s tenure. UPTOWN PLANNERS CANDIDATES ANNOUNCED The Uptown Community Planning Group will hold an election to fill three vacated seats at its March 4 meeting. The window for applications closed on Feb. 25, and seven candidates will be listed on the ballot. Of the seven candidates, four are Hillcrest residents, two are from Mission Hills or Western Slopes and one is from Bankers Hill/Park West. The board holds elections each March to elect members to four-year terms. It provides input to city planners on land use and community planning issues. Currently, it is providing input on the Uptown Community Plan Update, which is expected to be finished by 2015. The candidates are Garr y Bonner (Bankers Hill/ Park West), Walt Chambers (Hillcrest), Roy Dahl (Hillcrest), Bob Daniel (Mission Hills/Western Slopes), Sharon

housing” Vol. 6, Issue 4], but appreciate the effort that went into holding it. The numbers do give a dim view of the future of San Diego as a city increasingly divided as the haves and have-nots. Had I been able to attend, I would have asked if the numbers could be broken down by gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, age, education. Studies nationally and locally document that there are specific issues for the diverse minority segments which together account for a significant proportion of the total population. These differences are being uncovered and identify that there is no one size fits all solution and would suggest a deeper more detailed study may be necessary to address significant anomalies at play. For many of these segments, there are unique sets of circumstances particular to the specific segments — education levels, age, health, gender and sexual preference to name a few. —William E. Kelly via sduptownnews.comu

Gehl (Mission Hills), Tom Mullaney (Hillcrest) and Matt Wahlstrom (Hillcrest). Uptown residents, as well as those who own business or property in Uptown, are eligible to vote in the election, given they bring proof of residency or business or property ownership to the meeting. Photocopies are acceptable. One may vote for up to three candidates on the ballot. For more information, email Election Chair Joe Naskar at The election will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Joyce Beers Community Center, 4100 Vermont St.

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES DISPENSARY ORDINANCE On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the City Council approved new regulations of medical marijuana dispensaries, or “cooperatives,” operating in San Diego. The vote was nearly unanimous, with Councilmember Mark Kersey casting the only vote against the measure, citing contradictor y rulings on the federal level. The ordinance that appeared before the City Council on Tuesday was a revised version of one that failed to be adopted last year. The revisions provided stricter guidelines for San Diego cooperatives. Along with several other new requirements, they must be located 1,000 feet from public parks, churches, child-care centers, playgrounds, residential care facilities, schools and other cooperatives. Councilmember Lorie Zapf successfully motioned to limit the number of cooperatives per council district to four. An analysis by SANDAG found that this would limit the maximum number of dispensaries in San Diego to 30. The ordinance also requires approval by the California Coastal Commission, which according to city staff, is expected to adopt the measure within 90 days. LOCAL LAW FIRM OFFERS FREE RIDES HOME FROM MARDI GRAS CELEBRATIONS The Law Offices of Howard Alan Kitay will provide 125 $20 credits through the rideshare app L yft as part of the firm’s Sober Lift Home Program for Mardi Gras goers. L yft users may claim the $20 credit by entering the promo code “KITAY” into the app under the “payments” section. The

code will go live on March 4. The firm hopes to curb drunk driving with the offer. In 2012, more than 10,000 people died in DUI-related crashes in the United States. For more information regarding the Sober Lift Home Program, visit

MISSION HILLS HOME EARNS NATIONAL RECOGNITION The centur y-old “American Craftsman” house was recently awarded “Home of the Year” at the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The award comes after it was given a significant architectural makeover by IS Architecture of La Jolla and Hill Construction Company of San Diego. The American Craftsman was built in 1910 in Mission Hills, which is one of San Diego’s oldest and most historically preser ved neighborhoods. The house also received the regional Gold Nugget award in 2013 for its design and build. OLD GLOBE TO HOLD AUDITIONS FOR SUMMER SHAKESPEARE INTENSIVE On March 15 and 16, The Old Globe will hold auditions for its 2014 Summer Shakespeare Intensive, which offers San Diego County high school students the opportunity to refine their acting skills in a professional setting. The four-week program will begin on Saturday, July 19 then run on weekdays from July 21 through Aug. 18. The program costs $700 with a limited number of needbased scholarships available. Auditions will take place on the Globe campus by appointment only. For more information, visit or email END DATE FOR CABRILLO BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION PUSHED BACK Caltrans announced that the completion date for the Cabrillo Bridge Retrofit and Rehabilitation Project — specifically the Laurel Street Overcrossing — will be pushed back from spring 2014 to an unspecified date in the summer. The project team expects to have a more specific deadline before the end of March, according to a press release. The

see Briefs, page 16

DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Mike Rosensteel (619) 961-1958 ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Sloan Gomez (619) 961-1954 Jerry Kulpa (619) 691-1964 Lisa Peterson (619) 691-1956 Yana Shayne (619) 961-1963 SALES & MARKETING INTERNS Melinda Baron Hillary Hudson Michael Kean Moises Romero ART DIRECTOR Rebecah Corbin (619) 961-1961 PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Vincent Meehan (619) 961-1961 ACCOUNTING Priscilla Umel-Martinez (619) 961-1962 WEB DESIGNER Kim Espinoza OPINIONS/LETTERS San Diego Uptown News encourages letters to the editor and guest editorials. Please email both to Include phone number and address for verification. We reserve the right to edit letters for brevity and accuracy. Letters and guest editorials do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher or staff. SUBMISSIONS/NEWS TIPS Press releases and story ideas are welcomed. Send press releases, tips, photos or story ideas to DISTRIBUTION San Diego Uptown News is distributed free, every other Friday. COPYRIGHT 2013. All rights are reserved. Printed in the United States of America.


CalendarofEvents FRIDAY, FEB. 28

Preschool story time: 10:30 – 11 a.m., Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 W. Washington St., free. Cinema Under the Stars: 8 p.m. screening “Gravity,” 4040 Goldfinch St., tickets start at $14.


Golden Hill Farmers’ Market: 8 a.m. – noon every Saturday, B Street between 27th and 28th streets, free. Classical Melodies in Balboa Park: 8:45 a.m. – 7:15 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory ensembles fill Casa del Prado with classical music, 1549 El Prado in Balboa Park, free. University Heights Open Aire Market: 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. every Saturday, 4100 Normal St., free. Get Fit: 9:30 – 10:30 a.m., fitness experts Leah Francis and JJ Brawley lead workouts encompassing cardio, strength, agility, balance and coordination. Bird Park at 28th and Upas St. Call 619-800-3480 to register, free. Children’s craft time: 10 a.m., Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 W. Washington St., free. UH Librar y Children’s Program: 10:30 a.m., arts and crafts event for children, University Heights Library, 4193 Park Blvd., free. Emei Qigong Practice: 10 – 11 a.m., “Master Wendy” leads a weekly Wuji Gong practice group at the WorldBeat Cultural Center, 2100 Park Blvd., free. Organ Concert: 2 p.m., music by organist Carol Williams, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, free. Comedy Heights: 8 p.m., comedy show every Saturday night featuring local comedians, ages 13 and up welcome, Comedy Heights, 4590 Park Blvd., free. Cinema Under the Stars: 8 p.m. screening “Gravity,” 4040 Goldfinch St., tickets start at $14.


Hillcrest Farmers’ Market: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., every Sunday under the Hillcrest Pride Flag at the intersection of Harvey Milk and Normal streets, free. Classical Melodies in Balboa Park: 1 – 5 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory ensembles fill Casa del Prado with classical music, 1549 El Prado in Balboa Park, free. Organ Concert: 2 – 3 p.m., music by organist Carol Williams, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, free.


Signing Storytime: 1:30 – 2:15 p.m., teach your baby to sign, first and third Mondays of the month, Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 Washington St., free. Bankers Hill Parking Committee: 5 – 6:30 p.m., monthly meeting occurs on the first Monday of the month at Merrill Gardens, 2567 Second Ave.


Old Town Parking Committee: 10 a.m., monthly meeting occurs on the first Tuesday of the month at the Hacienda Hotel, 4041 Harney St. Old Mission Rotar y: 12 p.m., regular weekly meeting of the Old Mission Rotary Club, Best Western Seven Seas, 411 Hotel Circle South.

Hillcrest Business Association Beautification Committee: 2 p.m., monthly meeting occurs on the first Tuesday of the month at 1419 University Ave. Suite D. “Famous Book” Club: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m., discussing “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy. New members are welcome but are requested to read the book beforehand, which is available at the Circulation Desk while supplies last, Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 Washington St., free. Curbside Bites: 5 – 8 p.m., weekly gathering of gourmet food trucks at 3030 Grape St. in South Park, free. North Park Main Street Design Committee: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of the month at North Park Main Street Office, 3076 University Ave. Normal Heights Community Planning Group: 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month at the Normal Heights Community Center, 4649 Hawley Blvd. Uptown Planners: 6 p.m., elections will be held for three seats on the board. Uptown residents with proof of residency may vote, Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St. Tasty Truck Tuesdays: 6 – 9 p.m., every Tuesday night Smitty’s Service Station hosts several food trucks under their well-lit shade structure, live music, 3442 Adams Ave, free. Pajama Story Time: 6:30 – 7 p.m., every Tuesday children are invited for story time fun with books, singing and puppets. Feel free to come dressed in your pajamas! Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 W. Washington St., free.


LEGO play time: 5 – 6 p.m., children are invited to get creative with LEGOs, Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 W. Washington St., free. Stars In The Park: The San Diego County Astronomy Association hosts a telescope viewing session at dusk by the fountain in front of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, 1875 El Prado, free. Wednesday Jazz Jam Session: 7:30 p.m., Gilbert Castellanos hosts the Wednesday Jazz Jam Session with special guest musicians and surprise guests at Seven Grand, 3054 University Ave, no cover charge. Dynamic Night: 8 – 10 p.m., a weekly open mic night for musicians at The Merrow, 1271 University Ave., free.


Mission Hills Book Group: 10 – 11 a.m., the group will discuss “Remember me?” by Sophie Kinsella. New members are welcome but requested to read the book beforehand, which is available at the Circulation Desk while supplies last, Mission Hills Books & Collectibles at 4054 Goldfinch St., free. North Park Farmers’ Market: 3 – 7 p.m. every Thursday, parking lot behind CVS at 32nd St. and University Ave., free. Kirtan musical meditation: 8:15 p.m. every Thursday chant and sing contemporary mantras celebrating love and life at Pilgrimage of the Heart yoga studio, 3301 Adams Ave, free.


Preschool story time: 10:30 – 11 a.m., Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 W. Washington St., free. Children’s craft time: 10 a.m., Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 W. Washington St., free. Cinema Under the Stars: 8 p.m. screening “12 Years A Slave,” 4040 Goldfinch St., tickets start at $14.

San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


Golden Hill Farmers’ Market: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. every Saturday, B Street between 27th and 28th streets, free. Gentle Bike Ride: 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., join fellow cyclists every Saturday morning for a ride through Balboa Park. Meet at the small parking lot on the left-hand side as you enter the park from Sixth Ave. and Upas St., free. UH Library Children’s Program: 10:30 a.m., arts and crafts event for children, University Heights Library, 4193 Park Blvd., free. Ray at Night: 6 – 10 p.m., monthly art walk every second Saturday featuring over 25 galleries and businesses, Ray Street in North Park, free. Guitars in the Classroom Sing-Along Jam: 7 – 8 p.m., listen to bluegrass, folk and rock tunes at Rebecca’s Coffee House, 3015 Juniper St. in South Park. Bring the kids, free. Cinema Under the Stars: 8 p.m. screening “12 Years A Slave,” 4040 Goldfinch St., tickets start at $14. Comedy Heights: 8 p.m., comedy show every Saturday night featuring local comedians, ages 13 and up welcome, Comedy Heights, 4590 Park Blvd., free. Tai Chi Chuan: 9:30 p.m., Qi Gong/Taoist meditation classes on Saturdays, as well as Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m., Taoist Sanctuary of San Diego, 4229 Park Blvd.


Hillcrest Farmers’ Market: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., every Sunday, Hillcrest DMV, 3960 Normal St., free. Southern California Plumeria Society Meeting: 1 – 3 p.m., Open Meeting featuring a presentation titled “The Secret of the Rooting Tube” at the Balboa Park Recital Hall, 2130 Pan American Plaza, free. Organ Concert: 2 p.m., music by organist Carol Williams, Spreckels Organ Pavilion, Balboa Park, free.


Metro San Diego Community Development Corporation: 3 – 4:30 p.m., regular meeting occurs on the second Monday of each month at the Fifth Ave, Financial Center conference room, 2500 fourth. Ave. North Park Maintenance Assessment District: 6 p.m., regular meeting occurs on the second Monday of each month at the North Park Adult Activity Center, 2719 Howard Ave. Golden Hill Business Group: 6:30 – 8 p.m., regular meeting occurs on the second Monday of each month at the Postal Express in Golden Hill, 2801 B St.


North Park Main Street Promotion Committee: 11 a.m., regular meeting occurs on the second Tuesday of each month, 3076 University Ave. North Park Main Street Promotion Committee: 11 a.m., second Tuesday of the month meeting of the North Park Main Street Promotion Committee, 3076 University Ave.


Old Mission Rotar y: 12 p.m., regular weekly meeting of the Old Mission Rotary Club, Best Western Seven Seas, 411 Hotel Circle South. Curbside Bites: 5 – 8 p.m., weekly Tuesday night gathering of gourmet food trucks at 3030 Grape St. in Southpark. Tasty Truck Tuesdays: 6 – 9 p.m., every Tuesday night Smitty’s Service Station hosts several food trucks under their well-lit shade structure, live music, 3442 Adams Ave. Pajama Stor ytime: 6:30 – 7 p.m., every Tuesday children are invited for story time fun with books, singing, and puppets. Feel free to come dressed in your pajamas! Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 W. Washington St., free. Hillcrest Town Council: 6:30 – 8 p.m., regular meeting occurs on the second Tuesday of each month at the Joyce Beers Community Center, in the Uptown Shopping Center on Vermont St.


University Heights Maintenance Assessment District: 4:30 p.m., regular meeting occurs on the second Wednesday of each month at the University Heights Community Development Corporation, 4452 Park Boulevard, Suite 104. LEGO play time: 5 – 6 p.m., children are invited to get creative with LEGOs, Mission Hills Branch, 925 W. Washington St., free. Uptown Parking Advisory Meeting: 5 p.m., regular meeting occurs on the second Wednesday of each month at Joyce Beers Community Center, 900 Vermont St. North Park Planning Public Facilities, Transportation, Parks & Public Art Meeting: 6 p.m., regular meeting on the second Wednesday of each month, North Park Recreation Center, 2719 Howard Ave. Kensington-Talmage Planning Group: 6 p.m., monthly meeting held on second Wednesday of the month at Franklin Elementary School, 4481 Copeland Ave. Free Author Talk: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Glenda de Vancy will sign and discuss her book “Journeys Through France and Life: A Memoir of Discovery,” Mission Hills Branch Library, 925 W. Washington St., free. Dynamic Night: 8 – 10 p.m., a weekly open mic night for musicians at The Merrow, 1271 University Ave., free.


North Park Farmers’ Market: 3 – 7 p.m. every Thursday in the parking lot behind CVS at 32nd St. and University Ave., free. Mission Hills Town Council Trustees Meeting: 6 p.m., the regular meeting occurs on the second Thursday of each month at Francis Parker Lower School, 4201 Randolph St. Kirtan musical meditation: 8:15 p.m. every Thursday chant and sing contemporary mantras celebrating love and life at Pilgrimage of the Heart yoga studio, 3301 Adams Ave, free.u


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


Little Free Libraries seen throughout the community (Photos by Diane Larabee)

Move over, Amazon

Dale Larabee Larabee's Lowdown As you might have noticed, there are tiny, wooden boxes sprouting out of lawns around Uptown. These are various styles of “Little Free Libraries” (LFLs), and like us, they come in all sizes, shapes and colors. These overgrown birdhouses won’t put Amazon out of the book business, but they sure are more neighborly. And the price is right. Each undersized house welcomes you to walk onto the owner’s lawn, open the tiny door and browse the reading materials inside. Their slogan, “take a book, leave a book.” Most bear a small placard explaining that the LFL is registered with the National Registry founded 2009 in Wisconsin. Inside each LFL is a condensed mixture of books and magazines. I have browsed five in the KensingtonTalmadge area and have seen a variety of adult and children books as well as magazines. I saw nothing worth banning, although the Trustees of White Fish, Montana closed a LFL for fear of “inappropriate materials being available.” I think these tiny libraries are cool and community friendly — though not free of controversy besides

porno. I learned this and more by talking to owners of these libraries. Michael Lesniak built his after a friend gave him a set of plans and said, “You can build this.” In 2012, he did. Soon after, Lesniak was on his roof, hidden by trees from the street, when a father and daughter walked up to his library. The 8-year-old girl was fascinated and wanted to look inside, but her father dutifully reminded her that the structure was on private property. He thought it was a dollhouse. That’s when she noticed Lesniak’s “open” sign. When her father insisted it was time to go, Lesniak settled the discussion with a booming voice from on high: “It’s a library; it’s open!” Julie Braden’s LFL in Kensington appears similar to Lesniak’s from a distance, but its differences become obvious up close, as is the case with most. Each mirrors its owner’s personality. All those I saw had small windows through which to look inside and doors on the front. Braden is a strong advocate for registering the libraries with the national organization, because it uses the money it collects to help others. Jim Baross’ LFL in Normal Heights is a bargain basement version. Jim uncovered a used kitchen cabinet stashed in his garage, decorated it, placed it near his sidewalk, seeded it with books and opened it for business. He said he’s been reading more and meeting more of his neigh-

bors since then. “It’s for my neighbors,” Baross said, explaining why he chose not to register his LFL on “It costs $35, I think, and I won’t have anyone from New York borrowing books.” My neighbor Sheila Jitler had hers built several weeks ago. Jitler’s rests on concrete blocks. Her mother owned the bookstore at 35th and Adams until she died in 1982 and the house she inherited in East Talmadge is jammed with books. She stocks her library with18 books and is amazed by how quickly the books turnover. No reports of vandalism or “inappropriate materials” or upset neighbors. All the news was good. A tip to anyone interested: If you decide to build your library on your property, have at it. However, if you want to build on public land you must apply for a permit and pay fees. Regardless whether you register or tangle with the City, watch the joy of discovery from those seeing a library for the first time. Soon it won’t take Lesniak’s godlike voice from on high to remind us, “it’s a library, it’s open.”u

San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014



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San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


(l to r) Shots from “Road from Karakol” directed by Fitz Cahall, “Boy” directed by Justin Chadwick and “Paperboy” directed by Mik Gaspay (Photos courtesy Bicycle Film Festival)

A weekend of cycling and the arts Bicycle Film Festival returns to San Diego Feb. 28 and March 1 By Dave Fidlin SDUN Reporter

The day Brendt Barbur was struck by a bus while riding his bike through the streets of New York City proved fateful in more ways than one. Barbur, who still vividly recalls the 2000 incident, was given a new lease on life and was inspired to start the Bicycle Film Festival — which frequently goes by the catchy acronym of BFF. In 2001, with a desire to meld his love of cycling with music, film and other art forms, Barbur established the first BFF in the same city of his awful incident. In the years since, the event has sprinted at a monumental pace. Today, it’s held in 60 cities across the globe. “I really wanted something positive to come of my experience, and that’s how this all got started,” said Barbur, a Northern California native who continues to reside in the Big Apple. Holding the title of founding festival

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director, Barbur has played a pivotal role in forging relationships with organizers across the globe interested in showcasing cyclingthemed films and accompanying events. Nearly half of this year’s BFF venues are outside the U.S. “This is really about a true grassroots spirit,” Barbur said. “There are more than 300 people who have helped make this grow as rapidly as it has.” Locally, Dayna Crozier, editor of the Urbanist Guide publication, has been instrumental in planning the specific BFF activities in San Diego. Several organizations — including bicycle advocacy organization BikeSD — are lending their support. “I’m really serious about bringing cool stuff like this film festival to San Diego,” Crozier said. “There are times where we get bypassed, so I was really happy to make this a reality here.” Specific films and activities vary from one city to the next. Festivities in San Diego kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 with a free photo ex-

hibition near El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street An after party will be held at 8 p.m. at Live Wire, 2103 El Cajon Blvd. The program resumes at noon on Saturday, March 1 with a BFF release party at Tiger! Tiger!, 3025 El Cajon Blvd. The release party will include beer samplings from their in-house brewery, Automatic Brewing Co. The cornerstone of the event — the film screenings themselves — will be showcased during three separate programs. In all, nearly 30 films will be screened throughout the evening. All films will be shown at Balboa Park’s Museum of Photographic Arts, 1649 El Prado. The first program, starting at 4 p.m., entails a showing of the film, “The Way I Roll.” The second program at 6 p.m. is comprised of cinematic shorts, and the final program of the evening at 8 p.m. consists of urban bike shorts. Crozier said she is excited by the momentum that has built up in the 13 years since BFF was first established across the globe. “Bike culture back then wasn’t even close to what it is today,” she said. “People are starting to take notice, and that is evi-

dent by the changes in urban planning.” Barbur agrees with Crozier’s assessment, and said he is pleased with the many paths BFF has taken since its inception. “The goal is to have a positive impact in people’s lives in some way,” he said. “It’s nice to know you’ve been able to put a smile on someone’s face.”u

AT A GLANCE WHAT: San Diego Bicycle Film Festival

WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28; noon Saturday, March 1 WHERE: various locations, including Museum of Photographic Arts, 1649 El Prado INFORMATION: full itinerary at


What a clown taught me about work-life balance

Andy Hinds Parenting

than the old man did. When we were done embarrassing the boys, we went to the “back lot” behind the big-top, to see where the circus families live. According to Jon, Circus Vargas is definitely a family affair. Many, if not most, of the performers and crew travel with their families. There is a trailer that, when not on the road hauling equipment, functions as a school for the dozen or so kids who are enrolled this year. Many of the kids will go into the circus business — some of the performers’ families have been in it for several generations — and some won’t. Laura and Jon’s eldest daughter, whom we met briefly while she was on her way to get into costume and makeup, is continuing the family tradition. Jon and Laura invited us into their home for the brief time before the performance was to begin. While the interior was tasteful and neat, I have to say that the landscaping (dust and woodchips) left something to be desired. Of course, every few weeks, they hook their home up to the back of a dually pickup truck and join the caravan to the next performance location. I sometimes feel hemmed-in by our narrow, 1200-square foot cottage, but all five Weisses (and their tiny dog) live in a 43-foot fifth wheel trailer. My kids were fascinated by this house-on-wheels, especially the big-screen TV tuned to the Disney Channel.

Jon Weiss of Circus Vargas balancing a 12-foot step ladder on his chin (Photo by Andy Hinds)

to Circus Vargas. It turns out we had a lot in common with the Weisses, between moving from There aren’t very many things the East Coast to California (Cirthat I’m really, really good at, but cus Vargas mostly stays in the I’ve always felt like I’m kind of a Golden State), traveling, raising master at the “work-life balance” kids, being shot from cannons … that eludes so many of us — esoh, wait — I never actually did pecially, it seems, those of us with that. The point is, they seemed kids. Of course, I usually err on the like the kind of people who had side of “life,” and have bailed on a figured out how to live in a way couple of careers that interfered that made them happy, and those with it too much. And thankfully, are the kind of people I really I have been able to spend the past like hanging out with. four years (since my twin girls The circus itself is very were born) scheduling my work kid-centric. There’s a pre-show around my kids, which has tilted (don’t miss this if you have kids!), the scale way over to the “life” hosted by Jon and Laura, where side. Next year, my kids will be in the children come out to the ring kindergarten, which will leave me and learn tricks like hula-hooping, more time to work. The balance juggling scarves and balancing shifts back and forth with time, and peacock feathers. If you don’t find I hear that careers can be very fulthis adorable, you are filling, but most of us hope dead inside. to have more memories of Once the pros take quality time with friends over, it goes from cute and family than of punchto mind-blowing pretty ing the clock. quickly. I have to admit Last weekend, howevthat my opinion of the perer, I met a dad who made formance may have been me look like an amateur colored by seeing my fourwork-life balancer. year-olds literally agape To hear Jon and Laura and applauding wildly for Weiss tell it, they never most of the show. It was planned for the life they a classic circus perforhave now. They met in mance — thrilling, silly, high school, married amazing, cheesy and just some years later and a lot of fun. It also has the started a family with benefit of not having any whom they now spend alanimal acts, so we didn’t most all of their hours, on have to feel terrible about the job and off. According our complicity in the degto them, it all just kind of radation of noble jungle fell into place. But it’s hard beasts. to imagine that the line of There are very few work Jon, Laura and now things more engaging all three of their kids are than seeing your small in doesn’t require an exchildren losing their traordinary, innate sense minds with excitement; of balance. The Weisses yet I still found myself reare circus folk. flecting, as I watched Jon I got the opportunity Weiss balance progresto meet Jon and Laura and sively bigger things on his their kids when my family nose and chin — a dollar and I went to see Circus bill, a shoe, a hat, a foldVargas at Mission Bay ing table, a Costco-sized Park. (They have moved shopping cart, a 12-foot on from that location, but stepladder: They’ve got a will be in Mira Mesa until pretty good thing going, March 3rd, after which these circus families. they set up in Temecula, (l to r) Andy Hinds, Jon and Laura Weiss with the two As usual, I grilled the so you can still catch them Hinds children in front (Courtesy Andy Hinds) kids afterwards to see pretty close to home.) I what their impressions of the As we lounged around in think I must have been expecting show were. They loved it all, estheir kitchen, the Weisses them to be shifty-eyed vagabonds pecially the parts where some fire explained how they ended up as or something, because I was very turned into a lady, and the guys a circus family. Jon graduated pleasantly surprised to find that jumped on the trampoline, and from clown college in 1981 and they were some of the most open, the lady changed her clothes a lot, planned on performing for a friendly, laid-back people I’ve and Mr. Jon balanced a shopping year or so, while he figured out met. Jon introduced us to his two cart, and … and … and. “So, what what he was really going to do teenaged boys who were manning do you want to be when you grow with his life. Laura joined him concession stands and acting like up,” I asked. “Circus girls,” they at Ringling Brothers a couple teenaged boys; i.e., rolling their both said. years later, and they ended up eyes at Dad’s jokes and exuding I hope they take me with staying with that organization the impression that they knew them.u for 26 years before moving on much more about the circus biz

San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014



Mission Hills Community

Scripps Mercy Hospital














One of the city’s smallest BIDs, it was incorporated in 2006, and since then it has provided delicate, conservative support to the area’s EL CAbackbone JON business community, whose is boutique shops and deeprooted, family-oriented dining spots. The goal of a BID is to support the local businesses within its boundaries, usually by facilitating networking and partnerships, leading marketing efforts or overseeing local events. Each BID aims to accommodate the specific needs of their business community, which N can vary GTO quite greatly in Uptown. For instance, while the Hillcrest N I Association thrives off producing nightlife-oriented events H SBusiness WA and the gargantuan Hillcrest Farmers’ Market, the Mission Hills BID takes a notably softer approach. It doesn’t have a weekly event, and the organization just began hosting its “Taste of Mission Hills” in 2012. Its biggest recent accomUNIVERSITY plishment was the installation of the Mission Hills monuments that mark entry into the area, which the BID’s Executive Director Gerrie Trussell said was the result of quite a bit of work with the city. ROBINSON The BID itself is comprised of four different subcommittees: design, promotions, economic development and the executive committee. Trussell is the BID’s only paid staff member, all others are business owners volunteering their time. While Trussell said she would be open to adopting a regular event if it was the right fit for the community, it wasn’t one of the primary goals the BID is looking to achieve moving forward. Most of the BID’s attention will be on producing a Mission Hills business directory listing its more than 400 local businesses, increasing visibility for UPAS Mission Hills with efforts like the Mission Hills monuments and facilitating communication and community relations with other Mission Hills community organizations.















UCSD Medical Center








Last week, we printed a map of the 41 community organizations spread all throughout the coverage area of San Diego Uptown News. Now, to help make sense of it all, we will go community by commuADAMS nity to talk about the organizations pulling together each one. We begin with Mission Hills, which nestles itself in between Old Town and Hillcrest, just south of the San Diego River. It remains MADISON among Uptown’s most affluent and MADISON historically preserved communities, priding itself on its early 20th-century architecture and smalltown appeal. What it lacks in parking spaces, it more than makes up MONROE in sparkling clean sidewalks, friendly neighbors and a quaint business district.






San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014






STAFF Gerrie Trussell, Executive Director


CONTACT INFORMATION 4019 Goldfinch St. #106 619-296-8100




Mission Hills Town Council CEDAR




10TH 11TH



DOWNTOWN Horton Plaza




W. H



GASLAMP PETCO Park Convention Center







BALBOA PARK “Our mission is to preserve and protect the character, charm MUNICIPAL and historic resources of Mission Hills, assuring that development GOLF COURSE projects harmonize with the established community.” —Mission Hills Heritage Preservationist organizations like Mission Hills Heritage are common in areas with strong historical roots. Mission Hills is among San Diego’s oldest neighborhoods, and its extensive history remains visible in many of its well-preserved residential areas. Filling this niche, Mission Hills Heritage has two primary goals: to promote and protect the historical integrity, and to advocate for development that fits the “community character” of Mission Hills via A community planning. Regarding its preservation efforts, the organization hopes to creB ate two additional historic districts in Mission Hills this year. Much of their C work highlighting the historic aspect of Mission Hills also revolves around education. As they have in years past, they will continue to offer their annual lecture series, which was held in January, BROADWAY their historic home tour and their walking tour. E focus of their community-planning side centers on the Uptown The Community Plan Update, which has been in the works for several years Fnow. Board Chairman Barry Hager said they successfully advocated for aspects of the plan such as lower height limits and conG trolled density increases because of their efforts to reach a common ground with the Mission Hills BID and Town Council. MARKET The organization’s unique blend of the educational and the politicalISLAND gives it a loud voice in advocacy efforts, which dates back to its origin, when a group of citizens informally banded together to oppose J a five-story, mixed-use condo building being built in Mission Hills. IMPERIAL Mission Hills Heritage incorporated one year later, in 2005, as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit. It now has more than 200 members. For more information, visit 25TH






Mission Hills Heritage




















MORLEY FIELD BOARD OF DIRECTORS President: Trish Watlington, The Red Door and The Wellington Vice President: Tom Curl, Ascent Real Estate SAN DIEGO ZOO Treasurer: David Wallace, Senior Helpers Secretary: Patti Yap, Chase Bank Stuart White, Stuart White Design Terry Parks, Washington West Hair Studio Andrea Santos, Narrative Therapy OLD Krista Lombardi, Berkshire Hathaway GLOBE TIMKEN MUS. OF ART Anthony Nyikos, Perfect Space









OFFICERS President: Debbie Quillin Vice President: Deborah Pettry Chairman of the Board: Barry E. Hager

see MissionHills, page 13


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014



TODDGLORIA so. Work will happen in the next couple of years and assuming we’re successful, that’s what San Diego will look like 25 years from now. SDUN: What’s going to be the last thing you do as interim mayor? TG: I have a practice of going to get coffee every morning at the same place. I’m a creature of habit and stay as long as it takes to have a cup of coffee and eat a bagel. These folks have seen me become Councilmember, Council president and the Mayor and I love that they know me well. People will come up to my table and tell me what they think. I like the interaction and pick up a thing or two. They let you know if you’re doing well or not. I’ve gotten feedback, “You’re the same person, nothing’s changed, you’re still here.” When I stop being mayor, nothing’s going to be different, whether it’s Monday or Tuesday. SDUN: How did calling you “iMayor” start? TG: We were kicking it around what to call me. Interim mayor sounded long and (City Attorney) Jan Goldsmith said, you should just be “iMayor,” and it stuck. On KPBS someone said it’s a reflection of being younger and tech savvy on social media. As a hashtag, it works well. I do my own tweeting. I think social networking is invaluable. It gives me a good sample of people and you can see their comments and reactions. You find out what people like to retweet or what didn’t get retweeted because it’s not that important to them. I enjoy staying in touch, whether it’s the old school style, while having my coffee, or through social networking. Hopefully, you do it with some understanding of where people are.

Members of the Mission Hills community gather with elected officials to commemorate the completion of monuments marking entry into Mission Hills (Photo by David Mannis)


MISSIONHILLS Treasurer: Lynne Fletcher Secretary: Laura Largey BOARD OF DIRECTORS Kimberly A. Adler Kirk Burgamy Betty Hauck Joan Hiser Sanford Lakoff Hugh Largey James Reily Bob Self ADVISORY DIRECTOR Ron May CONTACT INFORMATION 325 W. Washington St., Suite 2, #221 619-497-1193

MISSION HILLS TOWN COUNCIL The broadest and most welcoming organization in the community, Mission Hills Town Council tackles a wide variety of initiatives, from creating park space to hosting summer con-

certs to advocating policy. Formed in 2007, it’s also the youngest organization of the three, but it already boasts 200 to 300 members, according to Council President Mike Zdon. Similar to Mission Hills Heritage, the group initially formed to oppose a nearby commercial project, choosing to organize afterward in order to continue to shape their community. Now, the town council has quite a few things on their plate for the year. In 2013, they held 10 summer concerts in Grant Park, a number they hope to reach again this year. On the community planning side, they hope to see the completion of a pocket park started near the corner of West Lewis and Goldfinch streets. The town council also hopes to assist SANDAG plan their bike corridor as it winds its way through Mission Hills. The upcoming Grant School and Mission Hills Library are two projects in the planning phase that the organization also wants to have some input on. Other smaller projects include increasing the cell service in the area, confirming whether the 100-year-old palm trees are the variety that lives to be 200 and planning their Fourth of July barbeque, which is free for any resident who becomes a member of

HELP WANTED We are seeking an experienced, motivated advertising sales consultant for our three community newspapers. Must be knowledgeable of these areas and have a minimum of one year advertising sales experience. The ideal candidate is energetic, bright, positive, creative, personable and relates to small business owners and can assess their advertising needs. Fulltime, base plus commission. Our office is located in the community of Hillcrest at 3737 Fifth Ave., Suite 201. For more information about our biweekly newspapers visit us at

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the town council. Much of what they tackle may sound tiny compared to accusations of sexual abuse in the police department and other big issues plaguing the city, but few realize that much of what makes a community thrive are these small groups tackling miscellaneous issues that often get lost underfoot by the City. BOARD OFFICERS President: Mike Zdon Vice President: Belinda Smith Treasurer: Carin Canale-Theakson Secretary: Gavin Grant TRUSTEES Lara Gates (past president) Jasper Benke Bob Rast Sharon Gehl Bernard King Gina Barnes Christina Woods David Espinosa Penny Giacalone Jim Scott Anthony Nykos CONTACT INFORMATION 325 W. Washington St., Suite 2, #159 missionhillstowncouncil.orgu

SDUN: What makes you laugh? TG: A lot of things around this job make me laugh. I enjoy “Arrested Development.” Shows like that that crack me up, but I find a lot of humor in this job. I was at a school and a student asked, “Do you live in a place like the White House?” I laughed and said no. The kid didn’t understand why I was laughing so hard. I live in a studio apartment in Hillcrest so the idea of living in some mansion really doesn’t match my reality. One night I was shopping at the grocery store and a lady says, “You’re shopping?” Yeah what do you think? I do have to eat. Or when I’m at the Laundromat, “Don’t you have someone who can do this for you?” I just start cracking up because of their perception of what life must be like for me. SDUN: What’s the one piece of advice you have for Faulconer as he comes into office? TG: Trust the staff. When I took over, we didn’t have permanent people in most of the city’s executive ranks. I’m happy to say that those positions are all filled by public servants who will help him implement his vision. They’ve been helping me these last few months and I think he will be very successful by relying on these folks and trusting them. I’ll be there as well, as the Council president, and I think he shares my belief that we can be a great city. SDUN: So you feel like you’re leaving the city in good hands? TG: I do. I’ve worked closely with Kevin the entire time I’ve been on the City Council. We have done many things together, collaboratively. Most notably of course, working to effect the resignation of Bob Filner. We have a genuine friendship. We’ll have points of disagreement, I’m sure, but on the whole I think he’ll be just fine.u


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014

Artichoke dip with house-made flatbread (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


orget adjectives like Neapolitan, New York-style and deep-dish. The pies served at Red House Pizza & Boutique defy them all, yet they contain characteristics of each after cooking rapidly in ovens that combine convection, steam, microwave and infrared technologies. In a further departure from most pizzerias, the menu delves adeptly into vegetarian and gluten-free territories while offering several international dishes like Asian-inspired kale wraps, flavor-of-theday hummus and baked brie with honey and rosemary. On Wednesdays, New Zealand-style ribs appear, catching off guard those who assume that this charming, converted house is only about pizza. The restaurant was launched a few years ago by New Zealand native Shanan Spearing and his girlfriend, Cindi Hoang. They took over the space after Pizza Gourmet Express came and went. Both work the front lines enthusiastically, although it is Hoang who largely oversees the menu with her lifelong osmosis of cooking. “I grew up in the food industry and have a very diverse palate. My parents owned a restaurant in Seattle and I later owned coffee and smoothie shops in San Diego,” she said while revealing a few secrets about the pizza dough used here. The “regular” dough is made with a


FRANK SABATINI JR. | blend of all-purpose and unbleached wheat flours. It contains extra oil and less water for achieving puffy, pastry-like crusts that seemingly melt in your mouth. The glutenfree pizzas offer denser, biscuit-y shells. Rice and tapioca flours are used in lieu of wheat, resulting in a noticeably different texture but without losing that familiar, homey flavor in the translation. There are also whole-wheat and thin-herb options. Pizzas cook in four minutes or less in the kitchen’s super-powered, energy-saving TurboChef ovens. The pies are available in 10, 12 and 14-inch sizes, with the gluten-free pizzas ringing in as the most expensive. Not surprising, considering that purveyors of gluten-free ingredients maintain a profitable stronghold on restaurants subscribing to this ever-growing market trend. Toppings span a wide, adventurous gamut. In addition to classic tomato and pesto sauces, you’ll find (and love) a garlicky mayo-based white sauce containing egg, white wine vinegar and Parmesan cheese on both the vegetarian “La Blanca” and sausage-arugula “Seattle.” Our trio tried the latter with a gluten-free crust, reveling in the fennel-spiked meat on top, as well as turbo-roasted tomatoes, fresh basil, mushrooms and red onions. The white sauce also binds the musttry artichoke dip served with pastry-like

Restaurant Review gluten-free beef meatballs proved that rice flour works just as well as breadcrumbs for keeping the meat moist and soft. From the sandwich category, the “Red House melt” capturing three types of cheese on fat slices of toasted, homemade bread was both spicy and sweet due to the addicting interplay of fresh jalapenos and caramelized onions inside the sandwich. As for those New Zealand-style pork ribs served on Wednesdays, they’re at least twice cooked and doused in craft beer and pineapple along the way. Not the sauciest ribs in town, but tender and primo right down to their bones. Sharing the menu with pizzas of every flavor stripe are sprightly salads, glutenfree pasta dishes and roasted chicken with garlic and fresh herbs. Desserts include root beer floats, gluten-free berry cobbler and house-made chocolate chip cookies that are sinfully gooier than most. Craft beers, wine and gluten-free hard ciders are also available, adding further merriment to this cozy pizzeria that feels as through you’re hanghang ing out at the home of a good friend.u

flatbread — not your oily Tupperwareparty recipe. Without complaint, we encountered it yet again on a daily-special pizza made with the airy “regular” crust. Though hectic in appearance, the mingling of kale, Granny Smith apples, sausage and sweet pickled onions made perfect sense on the tongue. And then there’s the “Lincoln” pizza with sweetish red sauce served by Lincoln, the waiter with red-hot charisma. The edible version is topped with pepperoni, sausage, roasted garlic, onions and fennel seeds. Kale is also included, but a friend in our party who doesn’t like leafy substance on his pizzas put the kibosh on it. We chose the thin herb crust, which paired deliciously to the big flavor scheme. In man form, Lincoln is the restaurant’s showman server, a tall, handsome guy whose quick wit can turn the place into a veritable party. He’s fast, on the ball and unfor4615 Park Blvd. (University Heights) gettable by the time he delivers your first plate of food. Prices: appetizers and salads, Among our starters, the kale wraps contained $5.95 to $10.95; sandwiches, entrees in rice paper and served and pizzas, $6.50 to $21.25 with peanut-hoisin sauce were ultra-fresh. A side of



3027 Adams Ave. (Normal Heights)


Unfiltered sake (Photo by Dr. Ink)

Happy Hour: 4 to closing, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday; plus 10 p.m. to closing on Fridays and Saturdays

SAKE RUSH AND ‘BUKU BITES’ Come On G e t H a p py ! D r. I n k

In a perfect world, bars and restaurants would appease day workers by extending their happy hours a little beyond 6 p.m., as we found at Sabuku Sushi in Normal Heights, which offers discounted sake and nibbles from 4 p.m. until closing on Monday through Wednesday. For the remainder of the week, you’ll need to get there before the clock strikes six. Otherwise, if you’re crawling the streets in the late evening on Fridays and Saturdays, happy hour resumes at 10 p.m. Sabuku is a modern, slick sushi house known for its avant-garde cuisine and colorful sauces. Discounted samplings are available during happy hour, with medium-size portions priced from $5 to $8 per plate. Rock Sake during happy hour is priced at $5 per glass. Brewed in Oregon, it’s considered a premium brand that supposedly uses spring water from the state’s coastal mountains. We ordered the unfiltered version, which tasted crisp and light despite its milky, opaque appearance. In terms of alcohol content, it measures 15 percent — just low enough to tempt you into taking full gulps. But don’t because these are only threeounce pours, and your palate will surely miss the super-faint melon and coconut notes on the finish. White wine by the glass and a few Japanese beers, such as

Kirin and Asahi, are also priced at $5. Select cocktails made with soju and sake are $7. Sticking to the rice wine, we zeroed in on the $5 appetizers for sustenance. Among them were “buku bites” featuring a quartet of tempura-battered shitake mushrooms stuffed with spicy tuna, crab and cream cheese. Novel and sake-friendly, they’re served in a pond of jalapeno ponzu butter for extra kick. The “buku nachos” are a modern creation that would seem better washed down with beer, or anything carbonated in order to reset the palate between mouthfuls. A riot of different flavors emerged from these stacked wonton chips, which are topped with fresh ahi tuna, pico de gallo, guacamole and four sauces that included ginger aioli and sweet mandarin. Though easily polished off, it’s one of the zaniest appetizers you’ll find on a happy hour menu. Other discounted dishes include gyoza, twice-baked mussels, ahi tacos and “shiso crazy rolls” that you can witness in the making by planting your caboose on a comfy chair at the sushi bar. And if you’re wondering about the translation of Sabuku, it means nothing. We were told a co-owner came up with it after a night of drinking.u

RATINGS: Drinks: The drink specials feature Rock Sake (clear or unfiltered) and limited choices of Japanese beer served in large bottles, cocktails and house white wine

Food: Expect a lot of creative twists and zesty sauces on your plate.

Value: Prices on drink and food items are reduced by $2 to $4.

Service: Our waitress was friendly but overly rushed; a catch-herwhile-you-can type.

Duration: Over the course of a week, the deals are available starting in the afternoon and resuming sometimes in the late evening. On other days, they’re available straight through closing.

“Buku bites” for $5 (Photo by Dr. Ink)

San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014



San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


Five local shows over the next two weeks By Kevin Smead SDUN Reporter

The Creepy Creeps, Octagrape, DJ Claire @ The Whistle Stop Friday, Feb. 28 | No price currently listed. The Creepy Creeps are, hands down, one of the most fun bands I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never heard or seen The Creepy Creeps, they play upbeat, danceable grooves with a decidedly surf slant and generally perform with several go-go dancers. Also, they all wear some kind of themed mask, be it a zombie, werewolf or undead mariachi group. Bring comfortable dancin’ shoes and spend Friday night being as creepy as possible. Com Truise, Phantoms @ The Casbah Saturday, March 1 $12 advance, $14 day of show I first caught wind of Com Truise via his remix of “Thanks Bill” on El Ten Eleven’s “Transitions Remixed.” While I’m normally not a fan of remix albums, this one happens to be excellent, and Com Truise’s is a standout track. His style is heavily ‘80s inspired and is very much akin to other electronic artists such as Kavinsky and Oliver. It’s perfect music for driving late at night, or in this case, spending a


low-key evening at The Casbah. Warm Soda, Peach Kelli Pop, Bit Tits @ The Hideout Thursday, March 6 | $8 advance, $10 day of show Warm Soda is a great garage rock band from Oakland and definitely my kind of group. Its music features both pop and punk elements without being pop-punk — you know, in true Blink-182 fashion. Also noteworthy is that this show is at The Hideout, which was formerly The Void, et al. Though many venues have had their fair share of troubles at this location, this show’s a great opportunity to check out somewhere new that will (hopefully) stick around for a while. The Ataris @ House of Blues, San Diego Friday, March 7 | $20 advance, $23 day of show Speaking of pop-punk, I really missed The Ataris. Their seminal album “So Long, Astoria” turned 10 in 2013 and the group is touring, celebrating its big one-zero. While singer/guitarist Kris Roe may be the only original member of the band, don’t let that stop you from going and singing all the words to “My Reply” like it’s 2003. The Gods of Science, I*WISH*I, The Beautiful View, Dead Satellites @ Soda Bar Friday, March 14 | $8 I’d never heard of The Gods of Science until writing this column, but I must admit I really dig their sound. As I’ve said several times, I’m a sucker for garage punk. The Gods of Science seem to be somewhere in between Rocket from the Crypt and The Bronx with their funky minor chords and heavily octave-based driving parts. I mean, if nothing else, it’ll be loud. When it comes to garage punk, sometimes that’s all that matters.u FROM PAGE 6

BRIEFS project began in early Januar y. The delay is primarily due to the removal of more debris and water from the workspace than originally anticipated. The press release stated the project would still be completed prior to the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial Celebration. For more information about the project, visit

MAYOR-ELECT ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP TEAM Kevin Faulconer has announced his top-level staff. The mayor-elect is putting a diverse team consisting of three deputy chiefs of staff into place to run his administration; a Spanish-speaking Latino, a respected policy expert and a San Diego native who is also a long-time advisor to the mayor-elect. The three areas the deputies will focus on are as follows: Matt Awbrey, communications; Jaymie Bradford, policy; and Felipe Monroig, community engagement. In a release, the choice of three deputy chiefs of staff is meant to “provide additional focus on the areas of community inclusion, fiscal reform and

government transparency, all of which are top priorities for [Faulconer].” Bradford most recently ser ved as deputy chief of staff and chief of policy for Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. Monroig ser ved as president and CEO of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and also as a city council chief of staff. Awbrey ser ved as Faulconer’s communications director since he was first elected to City Council. Faulconer will be sworn in as mayor on March 3, at which point Todd Gloria will return to ser ving as the council president and council representative for district three.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR BALBOA PARK ROSE GARDEN The Inez Grant Parker Rose Garden in Balboa Park is accepting volunteers, novice or experienced, to join the Rose Garden Corps. Volunteers work in the garden trimming off dead blooms, weeding, raking, fertilizing, pruning and planting new varieties. Volunteer days are Tuesday and/or Thursday mornings, preferably weekly, for 2 to 3 hours. A monthly meeting in the Rose Garden the third Tuesday of each month at 9:15 a.m. is used to share information and direct needed work. Volunteers learn about roses, and also act as goodwill ambassadors to tourists frequenting the garden. Rose Garden Corps volunteers receive excellent rose care training from experienced volunteers. Those interested in volunteering may contact Mar y Rose at


Stability ball, ergonomic chair or standing desk?

Brian White F itness

Numerous studies prove that regardless of whether you jump up at the end of your workday from your desk and go for a run or hit the gym, you cannot negate the health problems arising from sitting for 10 – 12 hours ever y day in front of the computer. What health effects you ask? Prolonged sitting can increase fat in your blood, blood sugar levels and insulin production, also decreasing your body’s ability to use it. It is also associated with metabolic syndrome — which is defined as a group of risk factors the leads to coronar y arter y disease, stroke, type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer. And of course, don’t forget the obvious damaging effects sitting for long periods of time has on our posture and the aches and pains associated with it. But the takeaway here is not the damage that can be caused by prolonged sitting, it is that too much sitting is not the same as too little exercise. We need to change the way we work — our computers are tr ying to kill us and jumping up at the end of the day and exercising is unlikely to undo the damage. So what can you do? If you are sitting at a desk all day, you have no doubt put some thought into buying a stability ball or a new chair or you have experienced aches or pains associated with it. So what should you do? Buy a new chair, a ball or just stand to relieve you of the negative health effects of prolonged sitting? The real answer is none of them will really relieve you of much pain by themselves. Yet, they all can be a part of a strategic plan to get through your workday energized and pain-free. You can still slouch on a stability ball, probably even more so than in a chair. It also takes practice to be able to hold a good posture on it, and don’t discount the fact that there is no lumbar support. However, there are good things about a stability ball, you can lightly bounce on it for a little activity and it may help ser ve as a reminder to keep a good posture. An ergonomic office chair can be a ver y valuable tool to help support the body in a sitting position, but you are still sitting. A couple of downfalls though are price ($600+) and some can be confusing to get set up exactly right for your body. Many of

them come with eight or nine features that all require adjustment. While these chairs are designed to support your body correctly, you still need to practice proper posture to reap the benefits of these tools. A relative newcomer to the party gaining steam is the standing desk. While this option certainly alleviates some of the issues associated with sitting all day, it raises a few new ones when done for long periods. Standing all day long can be problematic, leading to varicose veins and potentially increasing the chance of carpal tunnel syndrome by compromising wrist position. If you are a business owner, beware before you purchase these for your company. Research has shown stand-up desk usage rapidly declines after 30 days, because people just don’t like to stand. If you are looking for ways to alleviate the “trauma” of prolonged sitting at work the answer for you is to combine as many

of these tools as possible with getting up and moving. Think of your work area as a circuit work station. Sometimes sit in your desk chair, sometimes sit and bounce on your stability ball, sometimes pace around in front of your desk. Step away from your desk and do 10 – 15 squats or push ups against your desk. The human body will function better and hurt less if you are constantly changing your body position throughout the day. If you are not going to purchase any of these tools and you are chained to your desk for most of the day, you need to get up and move around ever y 45 minutes. This doesn’t mean you have to do t’ai chi in the middle of your office or rip off 20 lunges, all you need to do is get up and walk to the printer. This is more about not staying in one position for too long than tr ying to break a sweat. Walk to the bathroom, hand deliver a message or walk one lap around the office after each phone call. It’s not hard stuff but it will take discipline, set a timer or leave a sticky note on your computer to remind yourself that you are going to live a long time, and it will be way more fun if your computer doesn’t slowly kill you.u

San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


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San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014 DUI DEFENSE



Abbas, Jenson & Cundari 1940 Fifth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 619-298-9699 | The partners of Abbas, Jenson & Cundari are celebrating the firm’s 27th year in business. Originally established in the Hillcrest area, their offices are now located at 1940 Fifth Ave. in Bankers Hill where they provide income tax and accounting services to individuals and small business owners throughout the San Diego region. Tom Abbas, Rulon Jenson, Chris Cundari and Jeremy Dutson pride themselves in the personalized service they provide to their clients. All work is done in-house, and all tax preparers are Certified Public Accountants (CPAs). The one-on-one, face-to-face relationships that exist between them and their clients are different from what you will find at the larger CPA firms or the seasonal tax preparation businesses. The difference is trust, knowledge and personal attention. There is great value and great comfort in knowing that you will always be dealing with the same, knowledgeable person from year to year and even throughout the year as changes occur in your financial life. Please call or visit their website when you are ready to schedule a time to meet with one of the partners at Abbas Jenson & Cundari, CPAs.


H R Tactics Strategic Planning, Tactical Training Joe Whitaker operates H.R. Tactics, a full-service human resource consulting firm in Mission Hills, providing a broad range of human resource support, products and solutions for small to midsized companies with fees designed to put affordable human resources in reach. He can be contacted at 804-4551 or e-mail at


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Kevin S. Atto, REALTOR® The Metropolitan Group 3930 Idaho St. San Diego, CA 92104 CAL BRE #01935513 619-672-3792



Water view home. Buy or lease option, $1,650,000. 21,800 ft. Kearny Mesa office building $3,950,000, 18 miles Baja oceanfront, need partner, Idaho Resort F & C $625,000. Try your sale, exchange ideas? Geo Jonilonis. Rltr (619) 454-4151.


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Most people don’t know Kevin Atto was an award-winning high school mathematics teacher right out of school. He taught for two years in Michigan, and after earning his masters degree in educational studies, he moved to San Diego in 2004. Kevin eventually got out of teaching because he wanted to follow his entrepreneurial spirit. In 2007, he started San Diego Pro Cleaning. Kevin ran his company successfully for six years and managed a team of 25 employees. His focus was on excellent customer service and he instilled this in his team. Kevin sold his company in 2013 to Pro Maids to focus 100 percent of his attention on Real Estate. Kevin always stresses that, as a REALTOR, he is not a sales person. The job of an exemplary REALTOR is that of an agent; Kevin represents buyers and sellers in Real Estate transactions to make sure that deals close and they close on time. Kevin brings with him the same level of exemplary customer service he displayed with his former company. Buying and selling property can be stressful, but having an agent like Kevin can make the process smooth and painless. Please call Kevin today to see how amazing he is!

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San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


‘The Winter’s Tale’ marks Edelstein’s directorial debut By Charlene Baldridge SDUN Reporter

“The Winter’s Tale”

Two kings, a pregnant queen, an infamous bear (”exit, pursued by ...”), a storm to put “Lear” to shame, almost enough metronomes to satisfy Györgi Ligeti, a bunch of Bohemian bumpkins, and a child appropriately named Perdita — add to these one king’s catastrophic jealous rage, a pronouncement from the Oracle at Delphi, and two of Shakespeare’s strongest women, and you have “The Winter’s Tale” as staged by Barry Edelstein, a noted Shakespeare scholar and director who became Globe artistic director just a year ago. Admittedly this writer’s favorite Shakespeare romance, the play is set in motion by the jealous rage of Sicilia’s King Leontes (film and TV star Billy Campbell), who suspects that his queen, Hermione (Natacha Roi) and their houseguest, Bohemia’s King Polixenes (Paul Michael Valley), are having an affair, and further, that the child she carries almost to term is not his but Polixenes’. Leontes orders Camillo (Cornell Womack) to kill the Bohemian king, and Camillo, sensing the wrong-headedness of this, flees and takes Polixenes with him. In addition to Hermione, Shakespeare’s other strong woman is the fierce courtier Paulina (Angel Desai), whose husband, Antigonus (Mark Nelson), falls victim to the bear when he takes the spurned infant Perdita (played at 16 in Act II by Maya Kazan) to exile on the shores of Bohemia. Never mind that Bohemia has no coastline.

Through March 16 The Old Globe Tues – Fri 8 p.m. Sat 2 & 8 p.m. Sun 2 & 7 p.m. 1363 Old Globe Way $29 and up 619-23-GLOBE (234-5623) Perhaps the most tragic casualty of Leontes’ rage is his son Mamillius (appealing and natural 12-year-old Jordi Bertran), who is torn from his mother. In Bohemia, Perdita is rescued and raised as his own daughter by an Old Shepherd (Mark Nelson), whose son is a Clown (Brendan Spieth). She falls in love with Florizel (A.Z. Kelsey), Polixenes’ son. Uninvited to the harvest festival that will celebrate their engagement is a dastardly pickpocket named Autolycus (Paul Kandel), intent on foiling the play’s happy ending and furious when he actually moves the plot toward a wondrous, magical denouement in Sicilia. Blessedly, all the actors speak the same language. To his credit, Edelstein uses many young actors from the Old Globe/USD MFA program. Campbell, seen here previously in John Rando’s 1997 production of “The Comedy of Errors” and Brendon Fox’s 2003 production of “Much Ado About Nothing,” is impressive in limning

(above) Paul Kandel as Autolycus (right) and the cast of “The Winter’s Tale”; (below) Billy Campbell as Leontes (Photos by Jim Cox) a possible insanity defense for Leontes’ actions. During Hermione’s imprisonment he becomes wan and almost catatonic, and upon hearing news of and witnessing his loved ones’ deaths he is convincing in his histrionic grief. Those who are able to push away their inner “yes, but” voices during a production of “The Winter’s Tale” are rewarded, despite having to endure the tedious clowns (the writer admits prejudice against bumpkins), intensified by Kandel’s song-and-dance caterwauling and shtick.

The directorial application of metronomes (tempus fugit) and a plethora of keyboards — including a charming, practical toy grand piano, an upright, a concert grand and even a rude pump organ — is enjoyable but stretched a bit beyond the meta metaphoric pale. Furthermore, the music sometimes obfuscates text. Music director Taylor Peckham visibly and excellently performs Michael Torke’s brilliant original score, written for Edelstein’s 2003 Broadway production, which origi originated at New York’s Classic Stage Company. It puts one in mind of Gershwin on Satie and impending dissonance. Wilson Chin’s scenic design is wondrous, especially as lighted by Russell H. Champa. Judith Dolan’s sumptuous gowns are absolutely luscious, and Fitz Patton is the sound designer. Hopefully he will tweak the balance. Now that the Edelstein Old Globe directorial debut has come and gone, patrons look forward to a future rife with intelligence, excellence and stability.u


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014



momentum Dead Feather Moon to perform entire upcoming album to promote crowd-funding effort By Jen Van Tieghem SDUN Reporter

In early 2012, I was toying with the idea of starting a local music blog. I had just started to see what San Diego’s music scene had to offer and thought it worth exploring further. Then I witnessed Dead Feather Moon. The first time I saw a full live set by the quintet I was standing in the intimate, shadowy expanse of The Griffin. When the band took the stage they possessed a chemistry that simply electrified the Bay Park club. The dynamic of the group was just as enthralling on hard rock jams as it was on softer, soulful numbers — which is no easy feat in a live context. My admittedly visceral reaction to the band inspired me to share their music with anyone who’d lend an ear. As with anything else I become enamored with, I just had to spread the word. And with that, I started my blog two days later. Now, two years later, Dead Feather Moon’s performances still provoke the same sense of awe and adoration in me — albeit a lot

more folks now share my enthusiasm. As one of the most buzzedabout local acts, they stamped their mark on the scene in 2011 with their debut album, Dark Sun. It won them the San Diego Music Award for Best Alternative Album and an onslaught of loyal fans. They’ve since played up and down the West Coast, with their San Diego shows becoming beloved, packed congregations of rock worship — presenting fan favorites and introducing new songs that are now taking shape as their sophomore record, to be released later this year. “The songs for the new album are ones that have been developed over the past three years,” said Greg Peters, multi-instrumentalist for the band. “They have stood the test of time, been road tested live, and put under the microscope at the studio.” Peters and his musical brethren recently recorded what he calls “the first phase” over six days at Big Fish Studios in Rancho Santa Fe. Along with Justen Berge (singer/guitarist), Tyler Soule (drummer), Jesse Kling

Dead Feather Moon (Photo by Garcia Borgo Photography) (guitarist),and Chris Bowling (bassist), Peters and company are pouring a lot of time and energy in to this one. “We tracked [this record] live to two-inch tape, which definitely made the process more time consuming, but we are very, very happy with the results,” Peters explained. “Over the next two months we will continue recording the final touches ... we are taking our time with this one and getting it right.” Like many bands, DFM aren’t easily defined – their sound possesses elements of country, rock and blues. But the songs from Dark Sun (and their more recently released singles) showcase the individual members’ talents at building intricately layered songs, becoming more stylistically experimental. The 2013 single, “Never Gets Better,” is a prime example of this layering with its ethereal mixture of lap steel guitar ringing out behind Berge’s soulfully yearning

voice. Juxtaposed with the anthemic rock tune, “Always Around,” which was released at the same time, these two songs give a snapshot of the diverse styles they play and just how well they pull off both ends of the spectrum. With dedication and time invested, the tight-knit band’s efforts have paid off in solidifying them as one of the most soughtafter bands in town; a group that continues to grow as musicians, challenging themselves to produce the highest quality music they can. That endeavor, of course, comes at a price. “As you know, recording an album can be a very expensive process, especially if you want it done right,” Peters lamented. “The band is absorbing as much of the costs as possible, but the reality is it will cover about half of what is needed. We don’t want a lack of funds to prevent us from making the best record possible.” After careful consideration, the band has decided to launch a group-

funding campaign with Indiegogo to help fund the production of the new record. This popular format gives fans a chance to back a project with financial contributions. “We are viewing the campaign as an album presale,” Peters said. “Backers are not just giving us money, they are pre-ordering a limited edition, first-pressing vinyl.” There will also be higher contribution levels with unique incentives ranging from merchandise packages to a brewery tour with the band. In that fun-loving spirit, the band will launch the Indiegogo campaign with a free show, including a performance of the new album in its entirety, at The Griffin — where my love affair with their music began — on Saturday, March 1 with one-man-band blues stomper, Low Volts, opening. Fans can contribute to the campaign at the show and online. For more on the band and the upcoming album visit Facebook. com/DeadFeatherMoon.u


San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014


A confidence booster for your ‘hood

Local realtors talk up their stomping grounds

“The Forward House” at the corner of First & Ivy in Bankers Hill got its ‘moniker’ by being the home built for San Diego Mayor John Forward Sr. in 1905 and the current home of American Security Mortgage since 1998. We offer a wide variety of home loans from First-Time Home Buyer Programs to Reverse Mortgages.

Call me or stop by for the lowest rates available!

John Olbrich, Owner 619-533-7900 American Security Mortgage A Division of U.S. Mortgage Bankers Corp. 108 Ivy St., San Diego, CA 92101 • • NMLS# 264381 CA BRE#01144118

IN THE HEART OF HISTORIC BANKERS HILL Lovely 3-story condominium on charming street near Balboa Park and the Spruce Street footbridge! Two bedroom, 2 1/2 baths, plus spacious bonus room suited for 3rd bedroom, home office, or artist’s loft. Polished urban vibe close to wonderful restaurants and shops, big sky views from 2nd story living areas, and an electric car charging station at parking space! Light, bright, and fresh! 3568 Front St., #C 92103

Offered at $507,000

Meridith Metzger


BRE: 01435132

Uptown News asked local real estate agents to explain what they loved about the neighborhood they’ve familiarized themselves with, and what new trends they’ve seen popping up in the area. BANKERS HILL San Diego locals have long loved the historic Bankers Hill neighborhood west of Balboa Park as much for its huge array of gorgeous architecture as for its proximity to cherished landmarks like the San Diego Zoo, Morley Field and the world famous museums and plaza of Balboa Park. While home buyers flocked to outlying areas of the county for decades, the quaint metro neighborhoods of old San Diego are now enjoying a strong resurgence of interest by those seeking neighborhoods with historical interest, charming amenities like the footbridges at Spruce Street and Quince Street, as well as the convenience of being close to the city’s top eateries, shops and nightlife. Nestled at the top of the hill overlooking San Diego Bay, Bankers Hill offers all the charm of a historic neighborhood along with diverse housing from condos to mansions. This hidden city enclave has been built among verdant canyons and is known for its alphabetical arrangement of plant-named streets and lanes (a nod to Balboa Park and its “mother” Kate Sessions). It’s a community treasure that has been enjoyed since the early 1900s, and new homebuyers are banking on it for the next hundred years! —Meridith Metzger, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California TALMADGE Talmadge is all about community, community, community. It’s the smallest metro neighborhood, sandwiched between three canyons and Monroe Avenue. There are only 1200 residences north of Monroe. The houses have been beautifully kept and the electrical wires have been put underground. Driving through the neighborhood at night, all the lantern lighting is beautiful and they twinkle through the matured trees. There is an annual party held for the whole neighborhood, holiday caroling, annual community garage sale, plus a tremendous involvement from the community in the Talmadge Community Council, Neighborhood Watch and the KenTal Planning Group. Talmadge is the most involved and communityoriented metro neighborhood. You can’t go wrong. —Afton Miller, Coldwell Banker UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS University Heights is one of San Diego’s oldest, most popular urban neighborhoods. Trendy and cool, an under-

current of good-old “home town” comfort wraps its residents like a warm blanket. Sure, there are other, more obvious perks like the Park Boulevard commercial district with its restaurants, pubs and variety of small businesses. And you can’t help but adore the beauty and craftsmanship of the turn-of-the-century homes and mature, tree-lined streets. No one can argue that the location is excellent and central to all. Trolley Barn Park provides a lovely respite and gathering place — sort of like your own back yard. But it’s not just its physical attributes that make University Heights so special. Young families and urbanites of all ages want a walkable “village” atmosphere, but still want to live in a real neighborhood — a community where they know their neighbors and are on a first-name basis with their mail carriers. This is the special ingredient in University Heights. It’s the level of community participation, dedication and spirit that provides this unique element and increasingly drives its popularity. The University Heights Community Association spearheads improvements, forges relationships with law enforcement and organizes events that continue to draw the community together. There’s an amazing “Crime Watch” network fashioned after Neighborhood Watch to help keep residents informed and aware. Birney Elementary School has become a highly sought-after International Studies Magnet school with a highly proactive PTA and parent foundation. The University Heights Historical Society protects the charm and beauty of the rich history. What is most amazing is the roll-up-your-sleeves and pitchright-in attitude of the volunteers. Service and spirit are the foundation of a great community, and University Heights residents take that to heart. —Tamara Zyhylij, Ascent Real Estate KENSINGTON During the last 15 years or so, many changes have occurred in Kensington. Not only has the physical makeup of the “village” changed with new restaurants, a new retail/loft building — a.k.a. the “Starbucks Building” — and a new structure of similar makeup under construction, but the occupants of Kensington have changed too. While many long-time residents are still around (hard to leave this great community) there are many more young families and children about. It is a bustling community, especially on weekends with the restaurants usually quite busy

and flourishing: a nice variety of cuisines, a few wine bars, coffee (local and chain) and voila! Kensington is now a destination neighborhood for many San Diegans. Home prices are rebounding here and, like many other areas, the number of homes on the market is low, but sales are brisk. The charm of the Spanish colonial, craftsman bungalows and even the traditional homes are finding their way into new owners’ hearts. It is much more common these days to walk into someone’s home in Kensington and see many upgrades and remodeling that has taken place during the last ten years or so. Old mixed with new while preserving the original look and style has created Kensington’s mini renaissance! —Mike Tristani, Tristani Real Estate Group NOR TH PARK Forbes Magazine named North Park as one of “America’s Best Hipster Neighborhoods.” That makes me proud to own property and work in North Park. Why? Because of its cultural diversity: From craftsman cottages to microbreweries and coffee shops, it’s a friendly and fun place to work and live. And, people are flocking to the area. As a desirable urban San Diego community, North Park, with its high rate of pedestrian activity, is a great place to enjoy. And for those that prefer riding to walking, there are plans for to make the area more bike-friendly when several streets will be designated bike corridors. Great news … a primarily volunteer-based organization, North Park Main Street is a Business Improvement District (BID) in San Diego. The BID is dedicated to the revitalization of bringing new life and a lasting vitality to North Park. And here’s a quick tip: A great way keep up with North Park events like the First Annual Bikes & Beers event on March 29th is to follow the Facebook page North Park Main Street. —Kim Ward, Horizon Real Estate Here in North Park, the Wild Wild West still survives! As of late, I’m noticing two wild and crazy Renaissances happenings. The first is that the area south of University Avenue, west of I-805 and East of Boundary Street is finally experiencing its Renaissance moment in North Park. There are several current listings in that zone, and they appear to sell fairly quickly and at surprisingly higher prices than one would expect. On another note, a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home sold for $700,000 at the corner of Utah Street and Howard Avenue, one block from North Park Community Park and the water tower near El Cajon Boulevard. That sale raised my eyebrows, since we usually see that type of pricing closer to Morley Field. This means that the quadrant of homes between Texas and 30th streets and El Cajon Boulevard and University Avenue will most likely be experiencing their Renaissance moment in the near future as well. All in all, North Park continues to be a great place to live and the gentrification of the area continues full steam ahead! —”Broker Bill” Vivian, RE/ MAX 24K u

San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014



San Diego Uptown News | Feb. 28–March 13, 2014

thanking all our clients for supporting us and referrals... 2013 was record breaking!

concierge ‌ of real estate luxury sales / leases


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$700,000 2bd/2ba 1,216 sf 3 car garage

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steve mclellan sales associate jan 2014

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San Diego Uptown News - February 28 2014  
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