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    Barnard Elementary students in county-wide art competition
    Jan 24, 2021 | 2228 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Barnard Elementary student Aaron C.’s award-winning artwork. COURTESY PHOTO
    Barnard Elementary student Aaron C.’s award-winning artwork. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Two students from Barnard Mandarin Magnet Elementary School advanced to the county-wide competition level for the National PTA's Reflections Art Program. Fifth-grader Alarycia C. and fourth-grader Aaron C. both submitted artwork in the visual arts category in a school-wide competition, which earned their pieces "Awards of Excellence" from the Barnard PTA. Their artwork again received "Awards of Excellence" from the San Diego Unified Council of PTAs and advanced to the Ninth District PTA competition, where they competed with artwork from throughout the county in December.

    Reflections is the largest and oldest arts education program of its kind, and more than 300,000 pre-K through grade 12 students nationwide create original works of art each year in response to a student-selected theme. This year’s theme was “I Matter Because...,” and Barnard’s students produced an array of introspective, imaginative, and thoughtful pieces.
    For information on Barnard Mandarin Magnet Elementary School or to find out about the District’s School Choice program, visit barnard.san diego unified.org.

     

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    Pacific Beach student band grows up into talented musicians
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jan 21, 2021 | 20326 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    The Go Heads band was formed while its members were enrolled at Pacific Beach Elementary School. COURTESY PHOTO
    The Go Heads band was formed while its members were enrolled at Pacific Beach Elementary School. COURTESY PHOTO
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    Pacific Beach Elementary School teacher and parent David Sandler was an aspiring musician in his youth who only took his calling so far. Now, as informal manager of his son Evan’s up-and-coming band, Go Heads, Sandler hopes to see them all go where he never went before.

    “I grew up playing piano and 30 years ago I was in a band named Cool Beans where we wrote all-original music and played at the Coaster Saloon and the Beachcomber,” said Sandler. “But we never did anything with it.

    “Thirty years later, I was teaching my son and his friends, whose band literally just started from a talent show act. I ended up hauling them all over to my house after school, and I would teach them the songs that I played, a lot of my original music. And it just started from there. Then they started writing their own music.”

    The Go Heads consist of Evan Sandler, Kory Watson, Noah Kapchinske, Drew Tolley and singer Brianna Eckenrod. The first three are now in college. The last two are still at Mission Bay High School, where Brianna sings, and Drew plays, for the school’s award-winning jazz band the Mission Bay Preservationists, under the tutelage of music instructor and MBHS alumnus J.P. Balmat.

    The five young people are all serious about their music, say it is important to their lives and figures prominently in their future plans.

    “We started off pretty much as a classroom band in third- or fourth-grade,” noted Tolley, who’s been playing drums since age 7. “I originally didn’t know what I was going to play, but my dad said, ‘Play the drums.’ My dad had a little backyard shed and he had a drum set out there and he taught me all the basic moves.”

    “Our sound has matured since then,” said Kapchinske, adding he’s been playing guitar since age 8 and has studied under popular, high-profile local blues guitarist Robin Henkel. “I was first inspired to pursue music from hearing Johnny Cash and old country and rockabilly music. Then I got turned on to roots, jazz and blues. I really appreciate a lot of genres. I’ve been into bluegrass stuff lately.”

    “Almost all of us were in Pacific Beach Elementary’s band,” pointed out Evan Sandler, discussing his musical taste. “Blues music is huge with all these amazing influences that really blends well with our style.”

    Of what her singing means to her, Eckenrod said: “It’s this great form, experience, it’s something that comes from you. It’s your voice that’s inside of you, just a way to express yourself. When I was little I would zone out and start singing. I guess I didn’t sound too bad.”

    “[Brianna] sang a capella in our Pacific Beach Elementary variety show,” David Sandler said, adding he was impressed. “I said, ‘She needs to be in these kids’ band.’ She was 9 or 10 years old.”

    “I started playing guitar in second grade,” said Watson, noting David Sandler, “asked me if I wanted to play bass. I said, ‘Sure.’ That’s how it happened.”

    “[Watson’s] also a great sax and clarinet player and plays with the Preservationists,” added David Sandler.

    Of his guitar student, Kapchinske, blues-guitarist Henkel said: “Noah is talented, humble and enthusiastic. He’s polite and considerate. That, combined with his strong aptitude for music, is probably why he’s doing so well.”

    Henkel added Noah, as a guitarist, “gets it.”

    “When we explore the interrelation of various scales and harmonic devices I’ll ask him to compose something using those ideas,” Henkel added. “Each week he shows me a new tune in music notation with a demo-recorded version. He’s not just a guy in a band moving up quickly. He’s becoming a composer and arranger.”

    David Sandler’s more than a manager to his son’s band. He added he’s not living vicariously through them, but rather delighting in guiding them down their own musical path.

    “These kids are such a part of me,” he said. “They save my life in a way. I felt so empty after my era ended. I was going to school and getting my teaching credentials and master’s degree and starting a family. That just seemed to disappear for me. These kids just brought it back for me. It just fills my whole life to have them in my life.”

    Concluded David Sandler: “Their music is such a part of me now I could never have imagined. They just went above and beyond. They’re so talented, so smart, so articulated. You always want your kids to be better than you. These kids are far better than I ever was.”

    View a clip of the Go Heads performing at youtu.be/FNHjTmdXZtI.

     

     

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    Residents react to ‘disgusting’ Pacific Beach protest
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jan 21, 2021 | 4226 views | 8 8 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    San Diego police officers separate groups on Mission Boulevard during an assembly that turned violent on Jan. 9. PHOTO BY JOE ORELLANA (joeorellana.com)
    San Diego police officers separate groups on Mission Boulevard during an assembly that turned violent on Jan. 9. PHOTO BY JOE ORELLANA (joeorellana.com)
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    (Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information as well as an anonymous quote, which has been confirmed. In the coming days, SDCNG will have a follow-up story on the event as more information becomes available.)

    Shock, anger, and disgust were the primary reactions of local leaders and residents to the culture clash that turned violent between supporters of former President Trump, white supremacists, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and police on Jan. 9 along Mission Boulevard.
    “I view this as more than a culture clash,” said Pacific Beach environmental activist Karin Zirk, who witnessed the event. “We have white supremacists emboldened by President Trump trying to overthrow governments of all sorts and create a whites-only nation. This is the largest danger to our democracy since the Civil War.”
    San Diego Police declared an “unlawful assembly” that Saturday around 2:30 p.m. due to acts of violence that erupted. Witnesses reported people threw rocks, glass bottles, and eggs that also hit some police officers.
    “There will be consequences for those who bring that kind of behavior to our city. I am asking for the public’s help in identifying anyone who was seen committing acts of violence in Pacific Beach,” said Mayor Todd Gloria.
    Police reportedly fired pepper balls at crowd members to counteract ensuing violence in the large gathering that eventually spilled out onto the boardwalk. Some witnesses claimed police were largely unresponsive in reacting to the scuffle as it developed.
    A Pacific Beach resident, who wishes to remain anonymous due to threats of retaliation, was at the protest and said they were attacked by Antifa demonstrators. 
    “I was among a group of people who were attacked by a gang of about 15 Antifa kids dressed in black on the sidewalk of Mission Boulevard while I was filming with my phone sitting on my bike,” he said. “Two guys walked up to me with tasers, knocked me off my bike, and started stomping me on the ground, beating me with sticks and skateboards.
    "It was just a brutal, vicious terrorist attack. It was a violent mob that came here only to cause trouble and hurt people. It happened for four hours straight. Police were standing on the sideline watching.”
    PB resident Erin Smith, who was at the event with her 66-year-old mother, said they attended to be “In solidarity to stand up against groups that promote white supremacy and to let them know their dangerous antics will not be tolerated.”
    The Smiths claimed harsh treatment from both police and protesters alike during the demonstration, which led them to conclude: “The community, all of San Diego, needs to open their eyes to the very real problem we have here with neo-Nazis and domestic terrorists… San Diego can do better than this. We just need people to be aware of the severity of the issue.”
    Kathy Archibald of Pacific Beach was disgusted with the protest.
    “I found it disgusting that pro-Trump extremists would feel comfortable rallying in PB after pro-Trump extremists attempted to violently overthrow the government in Washington, D.C.,” she said. “Violence and racism must be confronted head-on, with honesty and accountability, whether in politics, law enforcement, or elsewhere. Otherwise, we will never get past this.”
    Marcella Bothwell, MD, president of the Pacific Beach Town Council and development chair for PB Planning Group, said: “I don’t understand why our community was chosen to have this activity from outside groups. I asked our board members to not get involved if possible.”
    Added Bothwell: “Our participation is like oxygen to these organizations and violence only hurts our community. Our businesses have enough to worry about keeping their livelihoods afloat and don’t need to spend time boarding up their windows. It seems that even if they (protests) start peaceful, they don’t end up peaceful. Please take your protests elsewhere.”
    Katie Matchett, president of nonprofit beautifulPB, pointed out the need for keeping public protests peaceful.
    “One of the essential roles of public spaces is to allow room for public discussion on the important topics of the day,” she said. “But for that discussion to be effective, everyone must feel safe and welcome in our public spaces. People who come to our streets with the express purpose of making others feel unsafe, or silencing particular opinions, harm our community.” 
    Added Zirk: “As someone who was present for parts of Saturday’s events, I felt threatened by the Trump supporters waving their flags and coming into Pacific Beach as a conquering army. I also felt that the police were treating the pro-democracy protesters much more harshly than the pro-Trump [protesters].”
    Michelle Papalote of PB praised the conduct of police during the demonstration.
    “The San Diego Police did outstanding work,” she said. “Their response was organized, professional, and kept PB from a potential storm of chaos.”
    “Peaceful protests are protected by the First Amendment and the police department will always facilitate these events,” reacted San Diego Police Department PIO Lt. Shawn Takeuchi. “However, violence of any kind will not be tolerated.” 
    “We need to be openly and proudly anti-racist, and we need to hold our law enforcement accountable,” Smith added. “They are here to serve us and protect us.”

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    (8)
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    John Cocozza
    |
    January 22, 2021
    This article is riddle with falsehoods and completely inaccurate reporting. I was on the ground documenting the event. I was there for nearly the entire time frame and have both photos and video evidence which was offered to the Beach n Bay Press staff, to which I have been published in for years prior. My photos and videos are also corroborated by numerous other videos from the day. I even supplied the Beach n Bay press with the news story that KUSI News did as their lead story for their 10pm news that I was interviewed for.

    I was attacked 2x during the day, first while just live streaming off to the side. Second when I had to rush in to rescue another bystander filming that was assualted by a mob of BLM / Antifa members who were beating him on the ground with weapons. The Union Tribune on Jan 11th ran an article clarifying that the police had declared the Unlawful assembly towards the BLM / Antifa group which they called "CounterProtestors" even though they were carrying BLM signs, wearing clothing, carrying placards, and chanting it. As well as the same for Antifa signage and clothing. The violence took place for hours before any Trump rally had organized, which was after the police had already set up police lines and were engaging with the BLM / Antifa group.

    This reporting is absolutely atrocious and they should be ashamed of what they printed.
    Ray Daniels
    |
    January 23, 2021
    This story was a blatant twist of the truth of what happened in PB this day.

    I can't believe how bad they lied about this.

    This is what is called FAKE NEWS!!!

    Shame on you SD News! You just lost all credibility by spreading bogus lies.
    JP S
    |
    January 22, 2021
    Let's be clear about the term "Antifa." That means ANTI FACIST. Which means being an American. It means being against totalitarianism and fascism. It is what any good citizen in this country should be. It is what our parents, grandparents and great grandparent were when they fought and died during WWII. So in truth this clash White Supremacist's and Nazis vs true Americans who were defending the United States Constitution.
    Robert Burns
    |
    January 22, 2021
    It looks like your article has been trolled. I support all proper exercises of First Amendment rights even by rightwingnuts. I like that view of not providing such people with "air"; I would have had leftists embedded throughout the rally areas in such a way as to keep watch but not create "air" or drama unless/until the rightwingnuts got out of hand.
    FactCheck the Media
    |
    January 21, 2021
    It seems like it was the all in black counter-protesters that were promoting violence. See video and article below.

    https://fox5sandiego.com/news/local-news/trump-supporters-counter-protesters-clash-violently-in-pacific-beach/
    Kwamie Jackson
    |
    January 21, 2021
    What a biased one-sided report. Typical of almost all media these days. The Trump people did nothing to start this confrontation. It was white Antifa punks using pepper spray and striking people with poles and skateboards deliberately aggravating a peaceful gathering. Ask the people who were beaten what really happened. Dissapointing that Dave Schwab has sunk to reporting false propaganda garbage. Your paper should be ashamed.
    Frank J
    |
    January 22, 2021
    Right! Isn't any decent American against fascism? The trump humpers fascists planned the protest for 2PM. That is 'doing something'. And I'm sure your name is Kwamie Jackson.
    Ray Daniels
    |
    January 23, 2021
    Yep, Dave Schwab really blew it on this story. It is just ridiculous how bad his reporting on this event. He totally twisted this story to make Trump supporters look like a bunch of Nazis and racists. BLM and Antifa were the ones starting all of the trouble. They were the ones committing crimes for over 4 hours. TELL THE TRUTH DAVE!!!
    DAILY BRIEFING – Mission Bay wetlands progress, City stormwater project grant, Spieth joins Farmers Insurance Open
    Jan 17, 2021 | 106138 views | 1 1 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A sunset is reflected in a puddle at Sunset Cliffs. Photo by Thomas Melville
    A sunset is reflected in a puddle at Sunset Cliffs. Photo by Thomas Melville
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    A round-up of news, community, and business briefs from sdnews.com highlighting what’s happening in our community.

    Saturday, Jan. 24

     

    MISSION BAY WETLANDS 
    At PB Planning Group meeting, Andrew Meyer of San Diego Audubon Society said progress is being made in efforts to expand environmental protections and enlarge wetland habitats in Mission Bay. “The Regional Water Quality Control Board recently approved a project for new planning for wetland restoration in Mission Bay,” Meyer said. “The City now has funded and approved a scope of work over the next 1 ½ years for Mission Bay that includes Campland, De Anza Cove and the mouth of Rose Creek.”
    During the pandemic, Meyer added SDAS has been writing a lot of grants. “We’ve also applied for two grants to do some research on the economic value of marshes,” he said. “As times change, and sea levels rise, we will be doing a cost-benefit analysis along with UC San Diego.”

     

    PB PROTEST FALLOUT
    During the latest PB Planning Group meeting, District 2 community representative Monique Tello told members of Community Collaborators, a loose-knit group of PB civic organizations, that police and government were restricted in dealing with the recent violent public protest on Mission Boulevard.
    “You do not need to pull a (City) permit to hold a protest,” Tello told collaborators at their January Zoom meeting. “Most times protesters are not required even to notify the police department before they gather.” Tello noted five police officers were assaulted during the protest and that some suffered minor injuries. She said one juvenile was arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer, while some businesses had their windows smashed.

     

    PB LIBRARY OPEN
    “We’re still offering contactless book holds and pickups,” PB head librarian Christina Wainwright told the PB Planning Group, adding that the library is not yet open inside for patrons. “If you want to use library services inside you have go to the La Jolla or Point Loma libraries,” she said. Wainwright added the PB library continues to host its “Books Like Us Winter Reading Challenge,” which rewards prizes for people of all ages keeping logs of hours they’ve spent reading books. For more information about the reading program and other available services, visit sandiego.gov.

     

    CITY STORMWATER PROJECT
    The City of San Diego will be able to move forward on a major storm drain repair project thanks to a $5.98 million federal grant. The project will consist of repair and replacement of the Maple Canyon storm drain that serves the Uptown community. When completed, the improvements will reduce the potential for flooding and erosion due to heavy rainfall.
    The project will consist of repair and modification of existing storm drains extending from the street into Maple Canyon where runoff flows are conveyed to well defined low points and continue southwest before reentering the City’s storm drain system and exiting into San Diego Bay. Additionally, the project will restore and rehabilitate the entire streambed, stabilize the banks and plant sustainable vegetation within the project footprint.
    Old corrugated metal storm drain pipes will be replaced by reinforced concrete pipes and extended, in most cases, to the low points within the canyon. Approximately 4,000 linear feet of pipeline are planned for installation. The grant was awarded by the U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration and will fund half the project with the City financing the remainder. The City expects work to start by late 2022 after the project design, environmental permitting and construction bidding processes have been completed. 

     

    SPIETH JOINS FARMERS OPEN
    Another top golfer, Jordan Spieth, an 11-time winner on the PGA Tour, has committed to compete in the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open set for Jan. 28-31 at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Spieth joins a field that currently includes 23 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings and 16 players among the top 30 in the 2020-21 FedExCup points standings. There are also seven past Farmers Insurance Open winners committed, as well as 12 players who have accounted for 25 major championship victories.
    Spieth owns two international victories and has played in three Ryder Cups and three Presidents Cups. He will make his sixth appearance in the Farmers Insurance Open, where his best performance was a top-20 finish in 2014. San Diego products committed to the Farmers Insurance Open include Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, Jamie Lovemark, Kyle Mendoza, Phil Mickelson, Pat Perez, Xander Schauffele and J.J. Spaun.

     

    VIRTUAL WILDLIFE BABY SHOWER
    Every spring San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife program is flooded with injured and orphaned baby wildlife and needs the community’s help to give them a second chance. But this year, instead of an in-person event, the public is invited to participate in a week-long virtual Wildlife Baby Shower, sdhumane.org/registry, Jan. 25-Feb. 6.
    By donating a special gift from the society’s baby registry, sdhumane.org/registry, the community will help prepare for the thousands of young animals including raccoons, rabbits, hummingbirds, ducklings and even baby bobcats, that need help in the coming months. The public’s generosity will help give these babies the care they need to grow healthy and strong before they’re released back into the wild. Every bottle, bag of birdseed and can of baby food donated will make a lifesaving difference.
    “Pandemic or no pandemic, the babies are coming and we will work tirelessly to give them the second chance they deserve,” said Gary Weitzman, SDHS president/CEO. “While our baby shower is a virtual event for everyone’s safety this year, we need the community’s support just as much so we can care for the thousands of orphaned and injured baby wildlife who will undoubtedly come through our doors this spring.”

     

    BILL WOULD CAP DELIVERY APP FEES
    California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) has introduced new legislation, Assembly Bill 286, to create a more equitable food delivery marketplace for restaurants.
    “Restaurants are being taken for a ride by multi-billion dollar food delivery companies,” Gonzalez said. “The piecemeal approach to this problem by local governments is not enough. We need to create statewide rules that protect struggling businesses against these price-gouging tactics.”    
    AB 286 would require food delivery apps to give their customers and partnered restaurants an accurate, clearly identified and itemized cost breakdown of each transaction. Delivery app companies would be prohibited from taking any portion of money intended to be a tip or gratuity for the delivery driver.
    AB 286 continues the effort to establish basic standards around fair food delivery services that Assemblywoman Gonzalez started last year with the Fair Food Delivery Act, her legislation AB 2149 (2020), which ensures restaurants have explicitly agreed to delivery services before a delivery app company can offer their food. 

     

    LJ PROJECT WINS ENGINEERING AWARD
    Engineering and consultant firm Moffatt & Nichol is one of four San Diego companies named as 2021 recipients of the American Council of Engineering Companies California’s annual Engineering Excellence Awards. Moffatt & Nichol was cited for their work on the Gilman Road Bridge in La Jolla.
    Awarded projects were recognized for demonstrating an exceptional degree of innovation, complexity, achievement, and value. The Gilman Drive Bridge at the University of California San Diego provides a link over Interstate 5 for students, faculty and visitors commuting between the East and West campuses.
    Moffatt & Nichol developed bridge concepts with UC San Diego Design & Construction staff that included a standard two-span box girder, a three-span frame, and a modern concrete arch. The University chose the arch because of its elegant shape, which is unique within the I-5 corridor. The 406-foot-long bridge completes the long-planned campus loop road and provides a much needed second crossing for the growing campus by extending Gilman Drive across the freeway to provide a connection for buses, cars, bicycles, and pedestrians.
    As the prime consultant to UC San Diego Facilities Design & Construction, Moffatt & Nichol led the design of the $32 million project and provided civil, roadway and bridge engineering. Moffatt & Nichol also coordinated closely with Caltrans and SANDAG to accommodate the MidCoast Trolley project and provided engineering support during construction. The Moffat & Nichol Gilman Road Bridge Project is now eligible to enter the national level Engineering Excellence Awards competition in Washington, D.C.

     

    LJ COMMUNITY CENTER WEDNESDAY CONNECT
    La Jolla Community Center is offering classes as part of its Wednesday Connect interactive sessions featuring speakers presenting interesting topics for education and discussion with Q&A’s every Wednesday at 10 a.m. The next Wednesday Connect session is: Staying Positive, Facing Frustration and Creating Opprtunities: Cindy Burke, Ph.D., Feb. 3 from 10-11 a.m.
    A new year is often a time for resolutions and intentions. Burke will share her insights and practical advice regarding things we can do daily to be happier and more at peace, including ten tips and questions to ask ourselves to make each day the best it can be. Register at ljcommunitycenter.org/wednesday-connect.

     

    PBTC VIRTUAL EVENTS
    Pacific Beach Town Council is hosting a series of free virtual events for the community. The nonprofit is kicking it off this month with their Kids Series. Tuesday, Jan. 26, 5-5:30 p.m. Kids Series: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Story & Craft. This is a live interactive story and coordinating craft event. 
    Tuesday, Feb. 9, 5-5:30 p.m. Kids Series Be My Valentine Story and Craf celebrating Valentine's day with kids. Both events are sponsored by PBTC 2020 Honorary Mayor Cathie Jolley, a Pacific Beach resident and school teacher. For more information visit Pacific Beach Town Council’s Facebook page.

     

    NEW VP AT LJ SOFTWARE FIRM
    La Jolla-based MadCap Software, Inc. at 9191 Towne Centre Drive has added Aubrey Williams as vice president of sales. He joins MadCap from Siemens where he led the company’s global inside sales team. Aubrey will leverage his 20-plus years of sales management experience, including 10 years at MadCap competitor Adobe, in supporting MadCap Software’s next stage of growth. 

    Sunday, Jan. 17

    KAYAK CLEANUP
    Any kayakers out there want to do some good? The San Diego River Park Foundation is looking for people with kayaks to help remove trash from sensitive habitat at the San Diego River Estuary at a “B.Y.O.-Kayak Cleanup” on Saturday, Jan. 30. Kayaks will be sent out in three shifts: 8:15 a.m.-9:15 a.m., 9 a.m.-10 a.m., or 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Please indicate which shift you would prefer when you RSVP. For more information and to RSVP, email volunteer@sandiegoriver.org.
    Space is limited and volunteers must bring their own kayak. SDRPF staff will be enforcing COVID-19 health and safety measures to provide a safe volunteer experience for participants. If you have questions or concerns, email volunteer@sandiegoriver.org.

    MICKELSON JOINS FARMERS OPEN
    San Diego native and three-time Farmers Insurance Open winner Phil Mickelson has committed to compete in the 2021 tournament, set for Jan. 28-31 at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Mickelson joins a field that currently includes 16 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings and 16 players among the top 30 in the 2020-21 FedExCup points standings. There are also five past Farmers Insurance Open winners committed, as well as six players who have accounted for 14 major championship victories.
    Other San Diego products committed to the Farmers Insurance Open include Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, Jamie Lovemark, Kyle Mendoza, Pat Perez, Xander Schauffele and J.J. Spaun. The field is not final until the commitment deadline on Friday, Jan. 22 shortly after conclusion of play in that week’s tournament. Click here to view the current player field.

    UC SAN DIEGO E-CIGARETTE STUDY
    An analysis of a large nationally representative longitudinal study by University of California San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science reportS that starting tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, before the age of 18 is a major risk factor for people becoming daily cigarette smokers. Reporting in the Jan. 11 online edition of Pediatrics, researchers found that in 2014 people age 12 to 24 who used e-cigarettes were three times as likely to become daily cigarette smokers in the future. Among those who reported using a tobacco product, daily use increased with age through age 28. Daily cigarette smoking nearly doubled between 18 to 21 year olds (12 percent) and 25 to 28 year olds (21 percent).
    “This is the first paper that actually looks at progression to dependent cigarette smoking among young adults. In these data, e-cigarettes are a gateway for those who become daily cigarette smokers,” said the study’s first author, John P. Pierce, PhD, professor emeritus at Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “The start product has changed from cigarettes to e-cigarettes, but the end product has stayed the same. When users become dependent on nicotine, they are converting to cigarette smoking.”

    LA JOLLA SYMPHONY
    With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting everyday life, the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus has once again re-imagined its 2020-2021 season. Titled “Stay Home With Us,” the reimagined program will combine some of the lively conversation, fascinating ideas and extraordinary music.
    The six-part monthly series will prepare a lively menu of musical encounters featuring interviews, solo performances and selected pre-recorded works from the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus archives. Join from your living room, or maybe from the kitchen, as you prepare a meal and enjoy a glass of wine or listen as you walk on the beach or on the trails.
    It will begin on Jan. 15 with a program titled “Music in Nature.” It will feature selected movements from Beethoven’s picturesque Symphony No. 8 a solo performance of John Cage’s Child of Tree by percussionist Matt LeVeque and an archived performance of L.J. White’s Community Acoustics. Productions will also be aired Feb. 19, March 19, April 16, May 14, and June 18. Series subscriptions or individual event tickets can be purchased by visiting lajollasymphony.com, by phoning the Box Office at 858-534-4637.  

    NONSTOP ALASKA AIRLINES NY FLIGHT
    Alaska Airlines will add daily nonstop service to New York via John F. Kennedy International Airport from San Diego International Airport beginning April 4. Alaska Airlines joins three other airlines that also provide nonstop service to JFK. 
    “We thank Alaska Airlines for adding new, nonstop service to JFK from SAN,” said Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority President and CEO. “This service will complement Alaska Airlines’ daily nonstop service to Newark Liberty International Airport, providing passengers with additional options to get to the New York metropolitan area. We appreciate Alaska Airlines’ investment in San Diego as a West Coast hub.”
    This is the first new route Alaska Airlines has added this year. The airline will begin nonstop service to Missoula, Mont. March 11. Tickets are already on sale at alaskaair.com.  

    GONZALEZ ASSEMBLY BILL
    During the COVID-19 crisis, California students are missing out on crucial learning time that could have long-term effects on their educational progress. Assembly Bill 104 by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) will help disadvantaged K-12 students recover from nearly a year of lost instruction time with opportunities for grade recovery, supplemental instruction, and intervention programs designed to tackle students’ socio-emotional needs.
    Gonzalez’s AB 104, also known as the COVID-19 Student Learning Recovery Act of 2021, will provide local education agencies in the state a roadmap to hold California students harmless for lost learning time during the COVID-19 crisis. Under this legislation, students would receive academic instruction based on their individual needs, with specific supports for English learners and students with exceptional needs, in small cohorts or in the form of distance learning if public health conditions prevent schools from reopening safely.

    CHORUS VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE
    The award-winning San Diego Chorus of Sweet Adelines International wants you to shine in 2021. The Chorus is hosting their Winter Open House virtually on Jan. 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. The event, "New Year, New Start, New You,” will be held via Zoom. The San Diego Chorus is looking for all women and other marginalized genders from all walks of life who get joy from singing and performing.
    The night will be structured much like the weekly "ViRehearsals" and will include an educational breakout session for guests including an explanation of what a cappella singing is, and how barbershop fits in the genre; information about Sweet Adelines International and competition; questions answered regarding voice parts, and more. For more information, visit San Diego Chorus - The San Diego Chorus of Sweet Adelines International.

    NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Girls on the Run San Diego enters the new year with new leadership, hiring Anna Maria Gentiluomo Maybury as its new executive director. Maybury brings to Girls on the Run San Diego extensive experience in the nonprofit space, having worked previously with San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum, Project Left Behind, and Voices for Children.

    In her role as executive director, she will lead organizational development and strategic planning, optimize financial performance and cultivate existing and future charitable partnerships, manage the Girls on the Run San Diego staff, and oversee all programming in San Diego County. For more information about Girls on the Run and how to register as an individual or start a new team for the spring season, visit gotrsd.org.

    Tuesday, Jan. 12

    MAYOR REACTS TO VIOLENT PB PROTESTS
    “This past weekend, we saw violent confrontations and destruction following the outrageous events last Wednesday in Washington, D.C., when the President used lies and disinformation to incite his followers to storm and ransack the Capitol, causing the deaths of five people,” said Mayor Todd Gloria in a release. “Violence will not be tolerated in San Diego. There will be consequences for those who bring that kind of behavior to our city. I am asking for the public’s help in identifying anyone who was seen committing acts of violence in Pacific Beach. Please report those incidents and individuals to the San Diego Police Department as soon as possible.
    “The City of San Diego will always support the people’s right to demonstrate and voice their opinions while taking measures to keep the peace and prevent violence,” added Gloria. “However, I want to remind San Diegans that COVID-19 continues to kill thousands of Americans every day, and the smartest thing all of us can do right now is stay home.”
    Anyone with information leading police investigators to those who acted violently last weekend in PB should call the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division Substation at 858-552-1700.

    ROSE CREEK BIKEWAY PROGRESSING
    Over the past several months, SANDAG construction crews have made significant progress constructing the Rose Creek Bikeway that runs two miles along Santa Fe Street between the cul-de-sac at the north end (south of SR 52) and the new Mission Bay Drive undercrossing (north of Garnet Avenue).
    Recent construction activities included:

    • Roadway striping

    • Planting trees and groundcover

    • Irrigation improvements

    • Stormwater maintenance

    • Electrical work

    • Grading and paving

    • Installing curb, fences, and railing

    Upcoming construction activities will include building the raised median for the bikeway on Santa Fe Street, paving the path along the creek, continued planting of trees and ground cover, habitat restoration, and the installation of lighting, signage, and other finishing touches. The bikeway is expected to be completed in spring 2021.

    SEA WORLD DRIVE-THRU
    SeaWorld San Diego is giving fans a whole new way to enjoy the park with the first Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru. Guests can experience the all-new drive-thru event on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from Jan. 15 through Feb. 14. With enhanced health and safety measures in place, the new drive-thru allows guests to drive under SeaWorld’s Skytower lights and through light tunnels while enjoying the only Sesame Street Parade of Lights on the West Coast. The experience features everyone’s favorite furry friends dancing along to a lively Sesame Street soundtrack.
    “This is an exciting new way for families to experience SeaWorld’s Sesame Street Party Parade and an incredible winter wonderland of lights from the safety of their own cars,” said park president Marilyn Hannes. “As we continue to promote our enhanced health and safety protocols, we are thrilled to offer this unique opportunity so our guests can enjoy SeaWorld like never before.”
    After passing through the entrance, guests will begin their journey by meandering through a winter wonderland of lights lined with their Sesame Street friends physically distanced on parade floats while listening to Sesame Street music along the way. The excitement continues as guests venture under the illuminated Skytower and watch in awe as they drive through two different tunnels of lights before cruising through the Sesame Street Village. Seasonal favorite snacks will be available to enjoy in the car with limited contact purchasing. Advance purchase of date and time-specific tickets are required and start at $49.99 per vehicle. Tickets are on sale and advance reservations are required for all visitors to manage capacity. 

     

    HIGH MARKS FOR CITY BUILDING CODE EFFECTIVENESS
    In recognition of the City of San Diego’s exemplary efforts to enforce and administer the building code, the Insurance Services Office has given the City its second-highest national rating for effectiveness and performance.
    The ISO rating recognizes the City’s Development Services Department and its dedication to comprehensive building plan reviews and field inspection services. DSD staff work with developers, residents, and businesses to ensure new buildings are code-compliant, have structural integrity and minimize catastrophe-related damage, ultimately helping lower insurance costs for property owners.
    “Through the proactive upkeep of the building code and regulating the design and construction of buildings, we are reducing vulnerabilities from the devastating effects of natural disasters,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “DSD’s efforts help protect public welfare and provide future cost-savings on insurance premiums for homeowners and small businesses.”
    As a statistical, rating, and advisory organization, the ISO evaluated more than 14,000 building departments nationwide in 2020, providing advisory insurance underwriting and rating information to insurers. Its Building Code Effectiveness Grading Schedule is a rating system that ranks how well municipalities mitigate property damage caused by natural disasters. The system is used by individual property insurance carriers to help set rates.
    “The ISO evaluated our current staffing capabilities, the codes enforced and the quantity of permits reviewed and inspected, determining that we have achieved the second-highest rating in the industry,” said DSD deputy director and chief building official Kelly Charles. “Though we are rated among the nation’s best, we will continue to improve our training and staff development to serve the City of San Diego even better.” Visit DSD’s website to view the most requested services, make an appointment, and to find other project and permitting resources. 

     

    CESARINA EXPANDS IN POINT LOMA
    One of San Diego's more popular Italian restaurants, Cesarina has taken over the 1,100-square-foot space across the street in Point Loma and will open Angelo, a bakery and pizza shop with a full bar set to debut later this year. After relocating to San Diego from Rome, Cesarina Mezzoni and her husband Niccolò Angius started their Cesarina brand as a pasta vendor at area farmers markets before launching their first brick-and-mortar restaurant in March 2019 in Point Loma. In order to expand operations, the couple has taken over space across the street that previously housed Richard Hosker Whyte Antiques to open a compact bakery with a pizza component. 
    Angelo is expected to open later this year at 4060 Voltaire St. and Point Loma. In addition to having a small dining area with a chefs' table for intimate meals, the eatery will be used for much of the preparation at both restaurants, including making fresh pasta, pizza, sauces, and bakery items like Italian desserts and cakes. Angelo will also have a full bar thanks to the eatery obtaining the liquor license from the now-defunct Jolt N Joes La Mesa branch. For more information about Cesarina, visit cesarinarestaurant.com.

     

    LINK BETWEEN METABOLISM AND DEPRESSION
    Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, in collaboration with Dutch scientists, have found that certain metabolites — small molecules produced by the process of metabolism — may be predictive indicators for persons at risk for recurrent major depressive disorder. The findings were published in the Jan. 11 online issue of Translational Psychiatry.
    “This is evidence for a mitochondrial nexus at the heart of depression,” said senior author Robert K. Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, pediatrics, and pathology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “It’s a small study, but it is the first to show the potential of using metabolic markers as predictive clinical indicators of patients at greatest risk — and lower risk — for recurring bouts of major depressive symptoms.”
    Clinical depression is a mood disorder characterized by multiple symptoms in combination: feelings of sadness or hopelessness, anger or frustration, loss of interest, sleep disturbances, anxiety, slowed or difficulty thinking suicidal thoughts, and unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches.
    Major depressive disorder (MDD) is among the most common mental illnesses in the United States, with an estimated lifetime prevalence of 20.6 percent, meaning one in five Americans will suffer at least one episode during their lives. For patients who have recurrent MDD (rMDD), the five-year recurrence risk is up to 80 percent. View the full study at nature.com/articles/s41398-020-01182-w#Sec31.

     

    NONSTOP JAPAN FLIGHTS RESUME AT SAN DIEGO AIRPORT
    Japan Airlines has resumed nonstop flights between Tokyo, Japan via Narita International Airport and San Diego International Airport . The service will operate three times a week with the first arrival into San Diego on March 2 and the first departure from San Diego on March 3. The resumption comes after Japan Airlines suspended service in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    “Japan Airlines provides the greater San Diego area with an important nonstop link to Asia,” said Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority president and CEO. “By providing Japan with direct access to our region, San Diego is more competitive and attractive to those individuals looking to vacation or conduct business in Southern California, which is critical to rebuilding our economy post-COVID-19. We look forward to welcoming travelers from Asia once again and thank Japan Airlines for resuming this important service.”
    Japan Airlines became the first airline to launch nonstop flights between Asia and San Diego when they inaugurated service to Tokyo in December 2012. Pre-COVID-19, the airline offered daily nonstop flights which were immensely popular. For schedule and tickets, visit jal.com/en/

     

    CODE UPDATES STREAMLINE PERMITTING
    To keep up with the ever-changing needs of the City of San Diego’s land uses, the City Council has approved an update to the code that regulates the development and use of properties. Among the 44 items in this Land Development Code Update, applicants can now turn ground floor commercial spaces into residential uses more quickly.
    Additionally, recreational amenities in the public right of way will no longer need a development permit, and adult day care facility regulations will now be defined in the City’s Municipal Code.
     “Each component of this update is a step toward fulfilling the City's goals of creating more dynamic neighborhoods that are more inclusive and sustainable," said Mayor Todd Gloria. "These updates are also about adapting to the challenges we face during this time. We are enduring a housing crisis and it's important we make it easier to build more homes for San Diegans. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's also critical that we support local businesses and help them get through this." 
    “Land Development Code Updates are crucial to keeping the City progressing in a positive direction, adapting to new trends such as an aging population, and anticipating for what is expected to come,” said Planning Department Director Mike Hansen. “These updates remove unnecessary barriers to ensure our City’s needs, like making it easier to create housing, are met.” 

    Thursday, Jan. 7

    BALLET BARRE ZOOM CLASSES
    Starting on Monday, Jan. 11, City Ballet School in Pacific Beach will offer one-hour Ballet Barre Zoom classes. It's fun and perfect for all fitness levels. Sculpt your way to a dancer's body in the comfort of your home. Ballet Barre classes are a way to achieve a dancer’s physique without having to learn choreography.  Classes feature exercises using the ballet barre that tone your legs, lift your glutes and strengthen your upper body core. The class ends with a stretch to help you relax and to lengthen your muscles.
    Contact the City Ballet School office at 858-274-6058 weekdays between 9 a.m.-1 p.m. or 3-7 p.m. You will receive a Zoom meeting invitation to join the Ballet Barre Classes. If you are not a student currently enrolled at City Ballet School, complete the 2020-2021 Adult Registration Form and submit via email to school@cityballet.org.

     

    NEW PORT CEO
    The Port of San Diego Board has selected Joe Stuyvesant as its next president/CEO. Stuyvesant, who currently serves as executive director at Navy Region Southwest, was considered the top candidate among hundreds of applicants after a vigorous nationwide search that began in September. Stuyvesant’s contract is expected to be ratified at the Jan. 19 board meeting and it’s expected he will assume his duties Feb. 1.
    Stuyvesant served in the United States Navy for 30 years. His primary assignment in the Navy was as a naval aviator. Stuyvesant will lead more than 500 employees managing the Port, a specially created state district responsible for more than 14,000 acres of tideland, bay, and beaches along 34 miles of waterfront in five cities.

     

    NATIONAL BAGEL DAY
    National Bagel Day is Friday, Jan. 15 and local bagel companies are offering some sweet deals to mark the occasion. To celebrate the tasty holiday, guests can receive any of the below free bagel deals simply by ordering ahead on the respective brand’s mobile app beginning Jan. 15 through the end of the month: 

     

    • Einstein Bros. Bagels: Receive any egg sandwich of your choice, such as crowd-favorites like the Farmhouse and Chorizo Sunrise, for free with any purchase when you order ahead through the brand’s mobile app.

     

    • Noah’s New York Bagels: Receive any egg sandwich of your choice on a high quality, fresh-baked New York-style bagel for free with any purchase when you Order Ahead through the brand’s mobile app. 

     

    • Bruegger’s Bagels: A free, fresh-baked and authentic New York-style bagel and cream cheese with any purchase when you Order Ahead through the brand’s mobile app.

     

    AIRPORT BOARD APPOINTEE
    Newly elected County Supervisor Nora Vargas of Chula Vista has been appointed to the board of the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority replacing former Supervisor Greg Cox. Vargas was nominated by Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher and confirmed by the full board on Jan. 5. The Airport Authority, which operates San Diego International Airport, is governed by a nine-member Board whose members are appointed by elected officials representing all areas of San Diego County.

     

    NEEDS ASSESSMENT SURVEY
    Through Jan.15, Circulate San Diego is working alongside the County of San Diego’s Community Action Partnership to collect input about community needs across the region. To ensure the community has a voice in the process, the County and CSD invite residents to participate in a Community Needs Assessment Survey and Community Conversations being held virtually.
    The purpose of the 2020 Needs Assessment is to identify current strengths, needs, and ideas for future services in the community. Previous Needs Assessments have identified top needs to be youth programs, housing, gang activity, community engagement, access to healthy food, infrastructure improvement, employment, education, and transportation. Take the survey by Jan. 15 and be entered to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. surveymonkey.com/r/SanDiegoNeedsAssessment2020.

     

    SCRIPPS PARK UPDATE
    Construction activity is continuing for the EB Scripps Park Comfort Station Replacement Project to replace outdated and deteriorating restroom-shower facilities with an attractive, sustainable pavilion honoring the beauty of the Cove and Scripps Park. Work has begun on the foundation of the north building. The crews expect to pour the walls in the early weeks of January. Work will continue on the structural elements of the buildings for the next few months. The project remains on schedule and is anticipated for completion this summer.

     

    UC SAN DIEGO TOPS FOR LUNG TRANSPLANTS
    The university’s lung transplant program ranks among the nation’s best. Recently, the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients announced its biannual report, released every January and July, ranking transplant programs across the United States. The SRTR evaluates the status of the nation’s solid organ transplant system and provides data analyses to transplant programs, organ procurement organizations, policymakers, transplant professionals, transplant recipients, organ donors, and donor families, as well as the general public to help improve overall recipient outcomes.
    In the latest rankings, UC San Diego Health’s lung transplant program was first in the nation for one-year patient survival outcomes among programs with a volume of 30 to 100 lung transplants performed, and second in the nation among all lung transplant programs. According to the SRTR, the probability of UC San Diego Health lung transplant recipients surviving one-year post-transplant is 98.59 percent, which is higher than the expected rate of 90.94 percent and national average rate of 89.86 percent.

     

    FRIDGE RUN BENEFITS FOOD BANK
    Cutwater Spirits’ First Fridge Run benefiting The San Diego Food Bank will take place virtually on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 23-24. Those interested in participating in the lighthearted competition can purchase a race kit and register at cutwaterspirits.com/fridge-run-2021. All race kit proceeds go to the San Diego Food Bank, and Cutwater will provide at least 125,000 meals to the community. Direct donations can also be made on the registration site. Actor Kevin McHale and comedian Sarah Colonna are joining Cutwater for the race-from-home challenge by posting footage of their “race day training routines” (to and from the fridge) on Instagram.
    Participants are encouraged to do the same and share training, race-prep and “most epic” weekend strides to the fridge content for a chance to win prizes like a fridge-full of Cutwater Spirits’ award-winning canned cocktails. The winners’ podium will include Best in Show, Most Creative, Most Athletic, Best Music and/or Choreography and Best Fridge/Finish Line.

     

    POINT LOMA PLAYHOUSE CLASSES
    Nonprofit Point Loma Playhouse at 3035 Talbot St. is offering classes for all levels Jan. 11 through Feb. 8. Hamilton resident director Hannah Ryan will show how Trust The Text will strengthen your acting skills through text-based analysis of new works. With the goal of finding strength in truth, you will learn to approach new and developing pieces of theatre with an action-based objective. The five-week live class begins Monday, Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. For more information, visit pointlomaplayhouse.com.

     

    Wednesday, Jan. 6

    WINTER READING CHALLENGE
    Connect with characters and explore new stories this January with the City of San Diego Public Library’s annual Winter Reading Challenge. The program, which began Jan. 1, and the theme, Books Like Us, is a celebration of diversity and stories that reflect the unique experiences of people around the world. The Winter Reading Challenge is open to children and adults. Participants who complete the program by reading five books or logging five hours of reading are eligible for a variety of prizes including passes to San Diego’s Museum of Us, meal vouchers, puzzles and journals.
    The program runs through Jan. 31. Participants can register online and view of list of recommended books at sandiego.gov/WinterReading and join the San Diego Public Library’s Virtual Hub for storytimes and book discussions. For a list of available in-person and online library services, visit the San Diego Public Library’s web page

    FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN RETURNS
    Three notable players have committed this week to compete in the 2021 Farmers Insurance Open, set for Jan. 28-31 at Torrey Pines Golf Course:

    • Jon Rahm – World No. 2 and 2017 Farmers Insurance Open champion;

    • Brooks Koepka – World No. 12 and four-time major championship winner;

    • Marc Leishman – World No. 28 and 2020 Famers Insurance Open champion.

     Rahm, Koepka and Leishman join a field that currently includes 15 of the top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings and 15 players among the top 30 in the 2020-21 FedExCup points standings. There are also three past Farmers Insurance Open winners committed, as well as five players who have accounted for nine major championship victories. San Diego products committed to the Farmers Insurance Open include Rickie Fowler, Charley Hoffman, Jamie Lovemark, Kyle Mendoza, Pat Perez, Xander Schauffele and J.J. Spaun.

    STATE RELIEF AID EXTENDED
    Small Businesses and nonprofits now have some extra time to apply for $500 million in State of California COVID-19 relief funds. The San Diego and Imperial Small Business Development Center, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and The San Diego Foundation have partnered to make sure those funds get into the hands of those who have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested entities can apply at CaReliefgrant.com. They have until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 13.
    Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in December $500 million in grant funds for small businesses and nonprofits. This is not a first-come, first-serve grant. All applications will start to be reviewed following the closure of the application period. These grants are to cover business expenses and specifically for small businesses hit by the pandemic.

    BLOOD DONOR MONTH
    San Diego Blood Bank is celebrating National Blood Donor Month throughout January by inviting eligible individuals to donate blood and convalescent plasma in 2021 with the goal of creating a robust supply that can meet local hospital patient needs. To be eligible to donate blood you must be at least 17 years old, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in general good health. Appointments are required and available by visiting sandiegobloodbank.org or by calling 619-400-8251.

    ROSE CREEK GUIDED WALK
    A guided walk around Rose Creek to learn about native plants and animals that co-exist in the estuary will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9. There will be a 10-person maximum, masks are required and there will be no sharing of binoculars with people outside their own household. Rose Creek is a hidden treasure in Pacific Beach, a quiet, peaceful stroll under the hanging Eucalyptus trees that line the walking path on the west side and the bike path on the east side. You might see or hear the osprey family, kingfisher, great blue heron, hawk, egrets, and the mud feeders; plovers, willits, sandpipers and ducks.
    Wear sturdy shoes, bring binoculars and your camera or smart phone and a coat. Suitable for all ages. Guests will be walking on mostly flat paved and dirt trails. Meet at the Mission Bay High School Faculty parking lot off Grand Ave and next to the Creek. Here is a google map pin with the location of where to park.

    NEW LA MESA BARBECUE
    La Mesa’s newest addition, Smokey & The Brisket, is ready to ring in the new year with toothsome barbecue sure to become a staple favorite in the neighborhood’s growing culinary scene. Locals and visitors can curb cravings as they savor the smokey goodness of barbecue prepared the old-fashioned way, with custom techniques that are revved up with flavor and quality. Smokey & the Brisket is now open for lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., in a 5,000-square-foot space at 5465 Lake Murray Blvd.
    Smokey & The Brisket’s seasoned owner and chef is San Diego restaurateur, Alberto Morreale, who is behind such concepts as Farmer's Table and Farmer's Bottega. The barbecue concept is Morreale’s second La Mesa eatery, and he has a real heart for the community. Call for more information at 619-439-6544.

    AMBROSIA 15 TRANSFORMING
    Semola Pasta is leaving the Little Italy Food Hall and re-opening sometime in early 2021 in La Jolla as Semola – The Ambrogio15 Pasta Bar on 7556 Fay Ave. The new establishment will feature a menu with several modern pasta dishes that will share the same philosophy of high quality, gourmet ingredients and recipes that made Ambrogio successful. There will also be some special dishes inspired by the owner’s hometown of Milano, Italy. The new location has a beautiful patio. The eatery will also always be available for take-out and delivery. Say tuned and follow at semolapastasd.

    ODDITIES & CURIOSITIES EXPO
    For Lovers of the strange, unusual, and biizarre, the Oddities & Curiosities Expo is coming to San Diego Jan. 16 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The event focuses on the weird, with local and national vendors selling all things strange and unusual. You’ll see items such as taxidermy, preserved specimens, odd antiques, horror and Halloween merchandise, original artwork, animal and human skulls/bones, jewelry made from insects/bones, clothing, antique medical equipment, vintage circus collectibles and much more. For more information, visit odditiesandcuriositiesexpo.com.

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    Jack Flash Floyd
    |
    January 18, 2021
    What the San Diego River really needs is an amphibious loader and an amphibious hauler to constantly patrol for large appliances, shopping carts and auto parts.
    YEAR IN REVIEW - Pacific and Mission beaches overcoming pandemic challenges
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Jan 07, 2021 | 3355 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Public beaches, parks, trails, and parking lots were temporarily closed in April due to the pandemic. PHOTO BY JOHN COCOZZA
    Public beaches, parks, trails, and parking lots were temporarily closed in April due to the pandemic. PHOTO BY JOHN COCOZZA
    slideshow

    Almost everything in 2020 seemed upside down. Inside was out, outside was in. And nearly everything was done remotely after the coronavirus pandemic struck in mid-March, fundamentally altering how we all live, work, and play.

    Looking forward to a better, more productive, and fruitful year ahead, Beach & Bay Press looks back one last time at the once-in-a-lifetime-year 2020. We all will remember it for being as transformative and life-changing as it was disruptive and unsettling.

     

    JANUARY

     

    Scooters Scooted

    In January, enforcement began on the prohibition of motorized vehicles, including electric scooters, on Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Shores boardwalks, as well as Mission Bay Park bayside path. The measure had been approved by the City Council by a 5-4 vote in December 2019.  “Keeping these pathways clear ensures the safety of our pedestrians and the livability of our neighborhoods,” said District 2 Councilmember Jen Campbell. 

     

    ‘Felony’ Park

    With some labeling it “felony park,” Pacific Beach Town Council launched a petition drive while appealing to the Mission Bay Park Committee to institute a curfew at the popular PB oceanfront park. “Fanuel Park, aka ‘felony park,’ is a total problem area and has become a magnet for crime, much of it happening during the nighttime hours,” said PBTC president Brian White. “Due to the rampant illegal activity being observed by residents, the PB community is seeking a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for Fanuel Street Park.”

     

    Mural Winner

    BeautifulPB announced Red Dragon Martial Arts at 1603 Garnet Ave. was the winner of a community-wide mural contest. The winning location was selected by a panel of eight of San Diego's top art, building, and urban planning experts. The new mural was to be painted by internationally-renowned artist Aaron Glasson.

     

    Market Turns Corner

    Unsuccessful initially in relocating the Tuesday Pacific Beach Farmers Market from Bayard Street to Garnet Avenue, the market literally turned the corner expanding its footprint onto Hornblend Street on Jan. 7.

     

    Friendlier Boulevard

    Pacific Beach Planning Group approved recommendations on how to make Mission Boulevard more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly. Redesigning Mission Boulevard was proposed to include much broader sidewalks on both its east and west sides and much-improved pedestrian- and bike- crossing facilities east-west across Mission Boulevard. Plans propose roundabouts at every current signaled intersection along Mission Boulevard from PB Drive to Diamond Street.

     

    Environmental Milestone

    The City of San Diego claimed to have slashed greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent over the past decade – far surpassing the 2020 goal of 15 percent – and conducted the first-ever analysis on climate equity. The City’s landmark Climate Action Plan calls for halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2035, compared to emissions from 2010.

     

    Roundabout Rally

    Foothill Boulevard residents continued their push for a roundabout and other traffic-calming measures on their dangerous street. But it’s been a long slog, as the effort has been underway since 2014. Community activist Tom Coat presented a slideshow to beach planners detailing the dangers caused by speeding on Foothill Boulevard. He also gave a historical perspective on residents' efforts to make this street safer, while answering audience questions.

     

    FEBRUARY

     

    Pizza Promotion

    With National Pizza Day on Feb. 9, San Diego Community Newspaper Group highlighted some of the local pizzas our readers crave from healthy cauliflower crust to Detroit-style sheet pizza to old-school Italian hot pies.

     

    Taco Turnover

    Taco Surf at 4567 Mission Blvd. in Pacific Beach, owned by Sam and Cindy McLarty for 30 years, was sold to new owners Matt and Melanie Gilmore. “The opportunity arose and we jumped on it,” said Cindy McLarty of the sale of their Mexican restaurant to their friends the Gilmores.”

     

    Leap Year

    Being a Leap Year, 2020 offered an additional 24 hours on the last Saturday of the month. BBP asked locals how they spent their time, as well as profiling nearly endless suggestions for things to do, in and around San Diego, with the extra time. The list included kitesurfing, yoga by the ocean, whale watching, kayak tours, visiting both sides of the border wall, Temecula wine tours, riding in a hot air balloon, and going skydiving.

     

    Roundabout Reinforced

    Reacting to a groundswell of complaints about traffic and safety problems on Foothill Boulevard, Pacific Beach Planning Group Feb. 12 unanimously endorsed several traffic-calming measures there including a future roundabout on Vickie Drive.

     

    UpLyfting Experience

    Ridesharing Lyft unveiled its 35,000-square-foot, one-stop-shop driver center with a lounge and full-service auto repairs at a Feb. 11 press conference in a converted Bay Park retail space that once was a Toys R Us.

     

    Commodities Caregiving

    Saint Brigid Parish in Pacific Beach collaborated with the San Diego Food Bank to benefit low-income individuals and households experiencing food insecurity. Beginning Feb. 28, and recurring every fourth Friday of the month, Saint Brigid offered a free commodities distribution at the church at t 4735 Cass St.

     

    MARCH

     

    Animal Activism

    Animal-rights activists took aim on hunting enthusiasts protesting a March 7 fundraiser held by the San Diego chapter of Safari Club International at Paradise Point Resort and Spa on Vacation Isle Park in Mission Bay.

     

    Step Forward, Back

    Circulate San Diego, a regional grassroots group advancing mobility choices, released 2019 collision data showing 44 people traveling by foot, bicycle, motorcycle or vehicle died the previous year within the San Diego City limits. That was 14 fewer fatalities than the year before in 2018. However, 2019 still had more fatalities than two years prior in 2017. It was part and parcel to Vision Zero’s goal of entirely eliminating all traffic fatalities, which remains a long way off.

     

    Infrastructure Improvements

    A sewer and water project in Crown Point and La Playa and an SDG&E project to underground utility lines and remove the utility poles in that area continued to close streets in PB.

     

    Coastal Report Card

    San Diego coastal areas, like the rest of the county, got mixed grades from good to poor in the fourth annual Climate Action Plan report card released by the Climate Action Campaign. “While we are winning some battles, we are losing the war against the climate crisis,” said Maleeka Marsden, the lead author of the CAC report card. “The path to a zero-carbon future will not be easy, but we will emerge on the other side with cleaner air, cleaner water, better health, and livable neighborhoods.” The report card details how well 18 cities and the County of San Diego are implementing their climate solutions and moving toward carbon neutrality.

     

    APRIL

     

    Parks Pause

    Public beaches, parks, trails, and parking lots were temporarily closed due to the pandemic, and it was no longer permissible for people to be on boardwalks or in the ocean and bay including surfers. The Port of San Diego also closed public parks around San Diego Bay, which included beaches, parking lots, piers, and boat launches.

     

    COVID Cooperation

    As the pandemic lockdown continued, coastal business improvement districts including Discover PB, La Jolla Village Merchants Association, and Ocean Beach MainStreet Association all worked together along with their umbrella organization, the BID Alliance, to help small businesses in neighborhoods citywide.

     

    Street Stewards

    The Street Stewards, who were doing community beautification in Ocean and Pacific beaches, Point Loma, and University City, were re-purposed during the pandemic to aid homebound seniors. “Many of our neighbors are at-risk for coronavirus and must self-isolate at home, specifically seniors and immunocompromised individuals,” said Aaron Null, founder of the volunteer, nonprofit organization. “It's vitally important we check in on them to make sure their basic needs are getting met during this pandemic.”

     

    Online Transition

    San Diego Unified, the state's second-largest school district, transitioned to online learning starting April 6 due to COVID-19. The announcement came a few weeks after the district shut down all of its schools to prevent the spread of the virus. SDUSD said the move was being made to save the academic year for students, while district physical structures remained closed until the health emergency abates.

     

    Coastal Closures

    San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer closed all City beaches, parks, and trails until at least the end of the month to further limit public gatherings and slow the spread of COVID-19. “People can still go outdoors, but please go outdoors close to home,” Faulconer said. “This is about protecting each other.”

     

    Schools Adapt

    SDUSD had a soft opening for its new online system involving numerous teaching platforms on April 6. Student and staff instruction was completed on April 27. “We’ve been transitioning into the virtual distance learning online platform making sure students have their devices (computers) up and ready to go,” said Ernie Remillard, Mission Bay High School principal. “Many teachers have used online learning to a degree in their classrooms, so it’s been more about enhancing the capabilities of teachers on my staff.”

     

    Virus Memorial

    In honor of COVID-19 victims and in solidarity with other parts of the nation suffering the heaviest loss of life, Mayor Faulconer directed all City-operated buildings and facilities to fly flags at half-staff to pay tribute to every person who has lost their life to the coronavirus.

     

    Remote Real Estate

    Real estate agents still showed and sold homes, but were moving forward remotely to observe mandated COVID-19 social-distancing requirements. Virtual home tours conducted by agents were using internet tools, applications like FaceTime, Zoom, and Matterport, to not only conduct meetings but transact business.

     

    Unsheltered Count

    Following innovative actions that made San Diego the only major county in the state to see homelessness decrease in 2019, a new report showed the number of people living on City of San Diego streets dropped by 12 percent in 2020, Mayor Faulconer and the Regional Task Force on the Homeless announced April 28.

     

    Slow Streets

    Continuing to take steps to deliver relief to San Diegans affected by COVID-19, Mayor Faulconer joined District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell and mobility advocates on April 29 to introduce a “Slow Streets” pilot program to re-purpose certain public streets, create more outdoor space and encourage safe walking and cycling while still following public health rules for physical distancing and facial coverings.

     

    MAY

     

    Traffic Transition

    Civic leaders praised the City’s decision to construct a roundabout and other traffic-calming improvements at Foothill Boulevard and Loring Street in Pacific Beach. The announcement came shortly following yet another auto collision at the nettlesome crossing. Construction of the estimated $2.4 million project was set to begin the third quarter of 2021, with completion anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2022.

     

    Critical Mass Transit

    At an April 23 joint remote press conference, Circulate San Diego and Metropolitan Transit System argued mass transit is critical to getting essential workers to their jobs while adding bus and trolley service would continue during the pandemic, though at reduced levels. The conference came in response to a white paper report released that day by Circulate San Diego, which found nearly 16,000 essential workers in the region commute to work every day by public transportation.

     

    Beaches Back

    As City-operated beaches re-opened for some uses following the County of San Diego’s revised public health order, Mayor Faulconer was joined by the San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit, Lifeguard Division Chief James Gartland, and Randa Coniglio, president and CEO of the Port of San Diego on April 27 to provide an update on the first day of limited coastal access. “Today you stayed classy, San Diego because you followed the beach rules developed by lifeguards and public health officials,” Faulconer said. "We've all seen beaches around the country reopen to pandemonium. Today the nation saw San Diego acting like America's Finest City."

     

    Multiplying Murals

    Pacific Beach residents looking to occupy themselves waiting out the coronavirus “pause,” did so in taking beautifulPB’s self-guided murals tour for a fun afternoon. BBP profiled nearly 50 murals to choose from, not even counting painted crosswalks or decorated utility boxes, strewn throughout the community.

     

    Quarantine Contest

    The winner of Pacific Beach Town Council’s "Community in Quarantine" art and "quarantee" contest was Charlie Nieto creator of the HAZMAT surfer. Nieto is a Mission Bay High graduate attending SDSU.

     

    Market Reopened

    The Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers Market reopened May 19 after being closed during the pandemic under the new City of San Diego guidelines. The market, which began in 2011, was closed in late March when the City of San Diego suspended all farmers market permits. The governor's office ordered farmers’ markets to stay open along with grocery stores as essential services, but individual counties and cities set their own requirements for continued operations.

     

    Childcare Aid

    Continuing to take steps to deliver relief to San Diegans affected by Covid-19, Mayor Faulconer joined County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and City Council member Chris Cate on May 8 to announce the City and the County would direct $10 million in federal stimulus funding to provide childcare for essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic response.

     

    Slow Streets Reaction

    Not everyone wanted to fast-track Mayor Faulconer's new Slow Streets program in Pacific Beach, which became clear during Pacific Beach Town Council’s May 20 Zoom meeting. Some neighbors objected to the program, which turned Diamond Street from Mission Boulevard to Haines Street into a slow streets thoroughfare. Opponents claimed it disrupted the traffic flow and created parking problems in nearby side streets. The “Slow Streets” pilot program was introduced to make it safer for San Diegans to walk and bike by creating more space for physical distancing and reducing congested foot traffic at parks, beaches, and outdoor trails.

     

    JUNE

    An economist with San Diego Association of Governments predicted the protracted shutdown of much of San Diego’s economy would translate into a long, slow, and painful recovery. “It’s going to take longer than we hoped, that’s for sure,” said Ray Major, chief economist with SANDAG, the region’s transportation planning agency comprised of local government City and county officials, which sets and oversees planning and fares for public mass transit.

     

    Black Lives Matter

    Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, and La Jolla saw several peaceful rallies supporting Black Lives Matter from three paddle outs to a march down Garnet Avenue, to protests on the sidewalks of busy streets. On June 5, the Black Student Union at Mission Bay High organized and led a Black Lives Matter rally at the school’s front entrance on Grand Avenue. Dozens of students, parents, and some teachers joined to protest against police brutality and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. The group held signs and cheered on drivers who honked in support.

     

    Trolley On-Time

    Pacific Beach community planners were told by a San Diego Association of Governments engineer in June that the Mid-Coast Trolley extension stopping at a new PB/ Clairemont trolley station at Balboa Avenue is on schedule for completion in late 2021.

     

    Force Reduction

    Following a series of public meetings to hear feedback on community and police relations, Mayor Faulconer announced on June 24 that the San Diego Police Department had created standalone policies to help officers reduce the use of force and increase community trust.

     

    JULY

     

    Payne Park

    In 1945, a petition signed by 1,900 Pacific Beach property owners demanded the removal of William Payne, the community’s first Black teacher on the staff of Pacific Beach Junior High School, because of his race. Seventy-five years later, Crown Point residents and San Diego State University administrator Paige Hernandez started a similar petition drive to honor Payne for his courage and community service. Hernandez’s goal was to get the same symbolic number of signatures, 1,900, to rename joint-use PB Community Park near PB Middle School and the PB Recreation Center, to Fannie and William Payne Community Park.

     

    Relationships Changing

    Change can only happen within relationships. That, and the need for hope, were two messages delivered by Pacific Beach social activist Caryn Blanton on July 2 at a community “conversation” on homelessness and crime held at St. Andrew’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. Blanton spoke to guests and community volunteers about combating homelessness and crime while they ate chocolate and roasted marshmallows.

     

    Safety-First Approach

    Drawing tourists back, and getting them to stay and spend, wouldn’t be easy. But Elvin Lai of San Diego’s hospitality industry discussed his plan with BBP. “How we get tourism back in San Diego is by showing tourists that San Diego is a clean and safe place to come to,” said Lai, noting all tourist-oriented San Diego organizations are working together to “enhance health protocols to make sure employees, as well as guests, are safe through cleaning protocols, social distancing and sanitation stations.”

     

    Hotel Upgrade

    Ocean Park Inn in Pacific Beach enjoyed upgrades from the first phase of the oceanfront boutique hotel’s remodel, which included 71 newly re-imagined rooms, refreshed common areas, and a pool deck as part of an ongoing property-wide renovation. Founded by the Lai family four generations ago, the independently owned inn is a boutique hotel on the PB shoreline at 710 Grand Ave. boasting a variety of suites.

     

    Promontory Project Panned

    A project for redeveloping a lot with a companion unit at 3535 Promontory St. in Crown Point fared no better in July than it did in January, as Pacific Beach Planning Group once again turned thumbs down on the redo plan by a lopsided margin. Project developer Igor Prokopenko argued before PB planners on July 8 that plans for remodeling the Promontory dwelling and its accessory dwelling unit had been “softened” by redesigning it to mute its modernistic design. But PB planners remained unconvinced, moving at the end of testimony by neighbors opposed to the project to recommend its denial on grounds the project was out of character with the neighborhood.

     

    Rental Compromise

    District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell’s compromise proposal on short-term rentals stirred strong emotions, being condemned outright by at least one civic group, while other stakeholders were more conciliatory. Campbell worked with Unite Here Local 30 and Expedia Group, the parent company for leading short-term rental brands Vrbo and HomeAway, to craft a comprise on short-term rentals. The parties agreed to a set of comprehensive rules to regulate San Diego’s short-term rentals industry. As outlined in a memorandum of understanding, Campbell claimed her proposal would reduce the volume of whole-home short-term rentals, while creating legal inventory for short-term rentals platforms and local operators that comply with the new rules.

     

    Pernicano Passes

    Well-known and loved Pacific Beach Italian restaurant owner-operator John Pernicano, 92, died in his sleep on July 22 from cancer complications. The community mourned his passage.

     

    AUGUST

     

    Parking Enforcement Paused

    Due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, Mayor Faulconer directed City staff to delay full enforcement of parking regulations until Sept. 1. Parking enforcement had been limited to holiday or Sunday regulations in the City since March 16. During that time, the City had suspended citations for vehicles violating street sweeping parking restrictions, metered parking, time limits, and yellow commercial zones.

     

    Outdoor Operations

    Mayor Faulconer won unanimous City Council approval Aug. 4 for two measures offering greater opportunity for small and disadvantaged businesses to stay in business and follow public health orders during the pandemic. An executive order was issued allowing businesses including gyms, churches, barbershops, and nail salons to expand their operations into private parking lots, sidewalks, and on-street parking.

     

    COVID Hot Spot

    Pacific Beach became a coronavirus hot spot. So much so that San Diego County opened a COVID-19 testing site in the beach community due to the increasing number of cases there. “It’s important to remember that our actions matter. We must all do all that we can to prevent contracting and spreading the virus,” said Wilma Wooten, County public health officer. The new drive-up site offering free COVID-19 testing Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. was set up at the Pacific Beach Library at 4275 Cass St.

     

    Rental Worries

    Concern ramped-up that some coastal short-term rentals were hosting gatherings and parties without guests wearing masks or social distancing. "Many short-term rentals operating in our residential areas here at the beach have shown to be consistent hot spots throughout the pandemic for large gatherings and unchecked parties with complete disregard for public health orders and safety precautions,” said Brian White, Pacific Beach Town Council president.

     

    Parks Repurposed

    As part of a continued effort to help San Diegans move activities outdoors where experts say the spread of COVID-19 is reduced, Mayor Faulconer Aug. 18 signed an executive order allowing gyms and religious institutions to operate in city parks.

     

    Coastal Crime

    Three years ago, Pacific Beach ranked second behind only East Village out of 125 City communities in violent crimes reported that year with 216. In 2020, PB retained the exact same ranking, down slightly with 206 total violent crimes reported in the community in 2019 crime statistics compiled by San Diego Police Department.

     

    Save San Diego Neighborhoods

    BBP profiled the stance of Save San Diego Neighborhoods and sympathizers against short-term rentals. The group insists they’re illegal in residential neighborhoods and laws on the books prohibiting them should be enforced. The hot-button issue dating back years was rekindled when District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell surprised most with her compromise proposal on a new set of rules and regulations to govern the short-term rental industry moving forward. 

     

    Planners Concur

    Pacific Beach Planning Group unanimously endorsed a proposal by two local social activists to rename PB Community Park as Fannie and William Payne Community Park honoring the pioneering Black educators in post-World War II PB.

     

    SEPTEMBER

     

    Saska’s Sold

    Three properties in Mission Beach: Saska’s restaurant, former Swell Coffee shop and a surface parking lot, were sold by E3 Advisors, as receiver for American National Investments, as part of the liquidation of properties formerly owned by Gina Champion-Cain. Cain pled guilty to securities fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice for defrauding investors out of $400 million through a liquor-license loan funding program.

     

    Don’t Trash MB

    Beachcomber Cathy Ives joined fellow Mission Beach residents Tony and Tim Sanfelice in launching a new citizen advocacy group, Don't Trash Mission Beach, donttrashmissionbeach.com. The new group held its first volunteer beach cleanup for South Mission Beach on Sept. 12. That cleanup saw another community first: A Beach Trash Art Exhibit- Installation crafted of disposed of items, to bring awareness of beach trash and its impact on the environment.

     

    OCTOBER

     

    Historical Controversy

    Plans by Chase Bank on Mission Bay Drive in Pacific Beach to demolish their existing bank branch building and replace it with a mixed-use development ran into opposition from architectural preservation group Save Our Heritage Organisation. SOHO objected to the proposed project citing the historical significance of the Mission Boulevard Chase branch. “SOHO learned about the intended demolition of the Millard Sheets-designed Home Savings and Loan building, now Chase Bank, early this summer,” said the nonprofit.

     

    Coastal Clean-Up

    Pacific Beach civic groups and individuals stepped in to fill gaps in voluntarily cleaning and maintaining the community’s sidewalks, trails, and landscaping. Pacific Beach Town Council removed gum and did deep cleaning of years-old grime from Garnet Avenue sidewalks in the community’s business district while removing overgrown weeds from medians.

     

    Parking Pilot

    The Pacific Beach Parking Advisory Committee proposed a one-year pilot program for paid street parking in the densest, prime-parking area of the Garnet Avenue commercial district. The pilot program would be limited to commercial parking zones with two-hour and fewer time limits. Pricing could be flexed to accommodate higher and lower demand. But the price would not exceed the City’s $2.50 per-hour cap.

     

    Major Milestones

    Pacific Beach Woman’s Club observed two major milestones in 2020: The club celebrated its 125th anniversary, along with putting its 109-year-old historic clubhouse up for sale for the first time entertaining offers starting at $1.5 million.

     

    Changing Of The Guard

    An all-volunteer, public nonprofit charity, beautifulPB, elected a new board and refined its vision but retained the same mission: to create a sustainably beautiful Pacific Beach that other communities can emulate and replicate.

     

    Rentals Supported

    Following lengthy testimony, the City Planning Commission on Oct. 8 voted 4-3 to send a short-term rental compromise proposal by District 2 Councilmember Jennifer Campbell back for further review. In carrying the matter over, the seven-member commission presented a long list of questions to be answered. Those included a request for more details of the council member’s plan including information on fees and a lottery to include short-term rental operators under a proposed unit cap, as well as specifics on how a new ordinance would be enforced.

     

    On-Leash Hours

    “Our all-volunteer PB Town Council is seeking increased hours to 10 a.m.-4 p.m. year-round for on-leash dogs in Mission Bay Park,” said PBTC president Brian White in a community appeal. “We believe the current hours are too restrictive, so we're proposing that the City of San Diego loosen up the hours a bit to give dog owners a little more time in the mornings and evenings to enjoy the bay with their pups."

     

    Block Captains

    Pacific Beach implemented a new block captain program for a portion of Garnet Avenue. “It’s being co-sponsored by Pacific Beach Town Council and Pacific Beach Planning Group,” said planning group member Eve Anderson, who likened the block captain program to a “Neighborhood Watch for businesses,” Anderson said the program would extend from Crystal Pier to Ingraham Street.

     

    Crime Review

    Pacific Beach Town Council in October heard from local law enforcement about everything from homeless encampments to bike theft, sidewalk vending, and illegal beach fires.

     

    Street Vending

    Pacific Beach Town Council continued lobbying to have the City enact its own ordinance that would counteract what they saw as the excesses of SB 946, which took effect Jan. 1, 2019. SB 946’s purpose was to legalize and decriminalize sidewalk/ street vending across the state. “PB Town Council supported the draft ordinance for sidewalk vending when it was brought to City Council committee over a year ago in September 2019, and in recent months, we've also asked why it was never brought to full City Council for approval to establish much-needed regulations,” said Brian White, PBTC president.

     

    NOVEMBER

     

    Homeless Encampments

    With proliferating homeless encampments in Pacific Beach tarnishing the community’s image and vibe, residents were looking for answers. "This situation is an utter shame, and downright incompatible with a healthy, thriving beach community,” said Brian White, president of Pacific Beach Town Council. “The excessive number of homeless encampments and continued degradation in our beach area has created an unsavory atmosphere for residents, families, and vacationers. “Many feel threatened by aggressive behavior being displayed regularly by mentally unstable individuals roaming our streets, alleys, and boardwalks with impunity.”

     

    Memorial Playground

    On Nov. 9, Mayor Faulconer, Councilmember Jennifer Campbell, and community leaders celebrated the reopening of the transformed Maruta Gardner Playground at Bonita Cove. The playground was named in honor of Gardner, a longtime Mission Beach community leader who was tragically struck and killed by an impaired driver four years ago while she was painting over graffiti. The Bonita Cove playground replacement effort began as a private initiative launched by the Mission Beach Women’s Club and Gardner.

     

    Parking Pushback

    Some criticism was encountered during a Nov. 5 meeting on the proposed implementation of a year-long parking meter pilot study in the densest part of Garnet Avenue’s commercial district in Pacific Beach. Some residents argued it would push street parking into residential areas. Regina Sinsky-Crosby, chair of the PB Parking Advisory Board, countered with detailed plans for creating a parking pilot program using new technology, not old-style metal meters.

     

    Complete Communities

    The City Council on Nov. 9 voted overwhelmingly in favor of Complete Communities, a package of initiatives and planning strategies to provide incentives for housing development near transit while promoting and investing in active transportation as an alternative to cars.

     

    Parking Pilot Progresses

    In November, the push to implement a year-long parking meter pilot study on Garnet Avenue gained traction as Pacific Beach Planning Group voted 9 to 3 for the proposal. The PB parking pilot would be limited to 321 two- hour-or-less-time-limited spaces in the densest part of Garnet Avenue’s commercial district.

     

    Pocket Park

    A trio of young women near Pacific Beach Elementary School guided by a neighbor took on a community-improvement project: creating the first-of-its-kind mini-park in their neighborhood.

     

    DECEMBER

    The pandemic notwithstanding, Pacific Beach continued its long tradition of decking Crystal Pier out with wreaths, lights, and a Christmas tree, along with a window-decorating contest, while promoting local small businesses.

     

    Commission Consensus

    The City Planning Commission on Dec. 3 voted 7-0 for a proposed short-term rental ordinance calling for licensing them, capping their numbers, and penalizing violators, while creating a City office to administer the new program while making it subject to annual review. Commissioners also agreed to a “carve-out” for Mission Beach, the community with the highest percentage of short-term rentals citywide, from the overall compromise plan offered by District 2 Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell.

     

    Mail Carrier Mourned

    Jerry Tin, a San Diego postal carrier covering Route 46 including Crown Point in Pacific Beach, died while on the job and was mourned by those he served. A community GoFundMe page was set up in Tin’s memory.

     

    DPB Turnover

    Discover Pacific Beach’s longtime executive director Sara Berns announced she was moving on after 13 years with the beach business improvement district. “ It will be good for the organization moving forward to restructure some things. I just thought it was a good opportunity for me and my family at this point,” said Berns, who succeeded Andy Hanshaw who left DPB to become executive director of the San Diego Bicycle Coalition.

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