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    DAILY BRIEFING – Kayak Cleanup of SD River, Mickelson commits to Farmers Insurance Open, La Jolla Symphony series
    Jan 17, 2021 | 91685 views | 1 1 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A spectacular sunset filled the sky at Sunset Cliffs on Jan. 13. Photo by Thomas Melville
    A spectacular sunset filled the sky at Sunset Cliffs on Jan. 13. Photo by Thomas Melville

    A round-up of news, community, and business briefs from highlighting what’s happening in our community.

     Sunday, Jan. 17

    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
    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

    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.

    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.”

    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, by phoning the Box Office at 858-534-4637.  

    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  

    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.

    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.

    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

    Tuesday, Jan. 12

    “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.

    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.

    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. 


    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. 


    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


    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


    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


    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

    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


    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 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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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 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.


    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


    Wednesday, Jan. 6

    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 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

    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.

    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 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.

    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 or by calling 619-400-8251.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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

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    Jack Flash Floyd
    19 Hours Ago
    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
    Jan 07, 2021 | 3115 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 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

    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.




    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.




    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.




    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.




    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.




    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.



    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.




    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.




    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.




    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, 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.




    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.




    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.



    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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    In 2021, consider a San Diego Humane Society virtual training class for your dog (or cat)
    by Juliette Nash
    Jan 06, 2021 | 12245 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Uploaded 121120
    Uploaded 121120

    Whether you’ve just adopted a puppy during the pandemic or you’re a longtime pet owner, positive reinforcement-based behavioral training is key to a happy, healthy human-animal relationship, especially while everyone is spending more time at home.

    But with most traditional in-person training classes on hold in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, you may feel your options are limited. That is not the case, though — and trainers at San Diego Humane Society (SDHS) have moved many of their training classes online. They have found online training classes, conducted via Zoom or other video chat platforms, can bring tremendous results to pets and families alike.

    The Importance of Training Your Pet
    Training, when done right, is about more than just preventing accidents in the house or keeping your pet from chewing on the furniture. Positive reinforcement training, which focuses on rewarding good behavior with toys, treats and positive attention while ignoring undesirable behaviors, has many benefits. These include better communication, mental stimulation for your pet, and involving everyone in the house, all of which strengthens your bond with your furry friend, leading to better behavior. Plus, it’s just more fun for everyone.
    Multiple scientific studies over the past two decades have demonstrated that dogs trained using positive reinforcement methods show higher levels of obedience; are less likely to show aggression or fear; learn new skills more quickly, and are more interactive with their owners. Positive reinforcement training isn’t just good for dogs, either — you can even use the same methods to train cats in behaviors like using a scratching post, using the litter box, walking on a leash or even doing tricks!

    Getting Started with Virtual Training Classes
    If the pandemic has brought a new animal companion into your life, it’s important to start training right away. Don’t worry if you can’t attend a traditional, in-person training class. All-online virtual training classes, whether in small groups or one-on-one, are an excellent way to train your dog or cat right at home in their usual environment, with fewer distractions — and they’re incredibly affordable.
    January is National Dog Training Month, which makes now the perfect time to take advantage of the many free and low-cost training resources available through SDHS.
    The certified Behavior & Training Team at SDHS offers more than 50 different classes year-round, and most are currently available online. In addition to basic behaviors, addressed in classes like our popular Marvelous Manners course, SDHS offers specialty classes that address different aspects of high arousal behavior in dogs (Shy Dog, Fabulous Focus for Impulse Control, Reactive Rover and Feisty Fido), enrichment-based classes such as nose work and living room friendly dog sports — and of course, several classes for cats.
    If there has been a silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been an increase in shelter pet fosters and adoptions or more time at home with their pets for many people now working remotely. Training classes, whether in basic obedience or fun new tricks, will make this uncertain time something memorable for everyone. They can also resolve many behavioral challenges that may be straining your life at home.
    San Diego Humane Society is here as a resource for all pet families in San Diego County that need help. All animals are trainable, and believe it or not, they all learn in the same way.


    Juliette Nash, MS, is the community training coordinator for San Diego Humane Society. Nash helps the SDHS community address their behavior and training concerns through organizing, developing, and curating content for our extensive range of training classes for dogs and cats, community outreach projects, and responding to inquiries to our behavioral helplines. She holds a master’s degree from the University of San Diego in Marine Science and has spent more than a decade researching the social and vocal learning behaviors of killer whales. Nash grew up training a wide variety of animals and has been professionally training dogs for the past 10 years. When she’s not at work, Nash is being trained regularly by her three cats: Kitty (15) Ginny (4) and Poe (2).


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    Portion of new West Mission Bay Drive Bridge opens to traffic
    Jan 05, 2021 | 8995 views | 1 1 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A portion of the new West Mission Bay Drive Bridge will open Jan. 6. The project is now roughly halfway complete. CONTRIBUTED GRAPHIC
    A portion of the new West Mission Bay Drive Bridge will open Jan. 6. The project is now roughly halfway complete. CONTRIBUTED GRAPHIC

    Mayor Todd Gloria on Jan. 5 was joined by City Council President Jennifer Campbell to open traffic onto a portion of the new West Mission Bay Drive Bridge, signaling that the $135 million project is now roughly halfway complete.

    On Jan. 6, motorists will begin to be diverted onto the newly constructed bridge to allow the existing, aging bridge to be safely demolished. As the existing bridge is demolished, the iron, concrete and other materials will be hauled off to be recycled and reused in other capacities.

    The old West Mission Bay Drive bridge was built in the early 1950s and features only two travel lanes for northbound and southbound traffic. As traffic volume increased significantly during the past 70 years, the bridge was targeted for replacement to accommodate this growth. The new version features two standalone bridges – each with three vehicle lanes – and a 12-foot-wide shared path for pedestrians and people riding bicycles, scooters or other modes of transportation.

    Adding protected bike and pedestrian lanes will improve the safety and accessibility for all road users on this busy route linking the Loma Portal and Midway District neighborhoods with SeaWorld, Mission Bay Park and popular beach areas.  

    "It’s an exciting day in District 2,” said Council President Campbell. “The opening of the new West Mission Bay Bridge is a big step in reducing traffic, increasing safety and creating better options for the residents in our beach communities to move around."

    In addition to the significant infrastructure and mobility upgrades, this high-profile project provides for environmental mitigation at key locations along the San Diego River, allowing for the growth of native vegetation and habitat for protected species in the area.

    Improvements will also be made to widen the westbound Interstate 8 off-ramp, as well as nearby Sports Arena Boulevard. The project is expected to be completed in 2022.

    Construction on the project began in July 2018. Conceptual renderings of the bridge and live video feed of the work in progress are available by visiting

    “I am thrilled to open this new bridge that will ease traffic congestion in a heavily traveled part of our city and ultimately provide bicyclists and pedestrians a safe and environmentally friendly way to cross the San Diego River,” Gloria said. “This new bridge is going to make life easier for residents in our coastal communities, especially during busy summer months.”  

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    Thomas Mitch
    January 15, 2021
    Why is this called the Mission Bay Drive bridge when the streets it connects are Sports Arena Blvd. and Ingram?

    Pedestrians aren't safe when they have to share a path with bicycles and scooters who often expect pedestrians to get out of their way and are loath to slow down.
    SOHO's annual list of San Diego's most endangered historic sites
    Jan 01, 2021 | 46512 views | 2 2 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    With its exquisite murals and Modernist design, the Chase Bank building, at 4650 Mission Bay Drive,  displays scenic San Diego mosaics, a bronze seal sculpture, and an interior folk mural. COURTESY PHOTO
    With its exquisite murals and Modernist design, the Chase Bank building, at 4650 Mission Bay Drive, displays scenic San Diego mosaics, a bronze seal sculpture, and an interior folk mural. COURTESY PHOTO

    Save Our Heritage Organisation, San Diego’s only countywide historic preservation advocacy group wraps up this year with its 22nd annual Most Endangered List of 12 historic buildings, sites, and landscapes. The pandemic’s stressors of uncertainty, inequity, and loss underscore the unifying power of our shared multicultural heritage and venerated historic places. The pandemic also threatens historic buildings and places that are not now regularly used, visited, or monitored due to restricted activities.

    These threatened sites also reflect and define San Diego’s authentic character, and cry out for preservation before it is too late. Key among these are the vulnerable redwood Red Roost and Red Rest bungalows, which have overlooked La Jolla Cove since 1894. Sadly, a recent fire severely damaged Red Rest and partly burned Red Roost. The pair has appeared on SOHO’s Most Endangered List for more than 25 years, longer than any other threatened historic resource. Fire is always a primary worry for preservationists, as are the woeful conditions of other buildings on this year’s list: abandonment, deferred maintenance that can lead to structural weakness, and the unlawful “demolition by neglect.”

    This year’s Most Endangered List, ranges from the seriously neglected Presidio Park in Old Town San Diego to Granger Music Hall, an acoustic gem in National City designed by renowned San Diego architect Irving J. Gill; and from Point Loma’s fabled Marine Corps Recruitment Depot to the fragile Pottery Canyon kiln hidden in a La Jolla hillside.

    The 2020 list includes prominent and remote buildings and sites throughout San Diego County carried over from the 2019 list. Two were removed from last year’s list (La Playa Piers are likely saved, the national award-winning San Diego Stadium is being demolished), and six are new entries.

    Among those new to the endangered list: A rare cluster of c. 1928 beach cottages in Oceanside, a Chase bank building of architectural distinction that glitters with San Diego-inspired mosaic murals by the acclaimed artist Millard Sheets, and a folk Victorian house in San Marcos built by a Union Army officer turned pioneer farmer. Stately old pepper trees fringe his former house while dozens of century-old pepper trees are under threat by the City of San Diego along historic Kensington streets.

    SOHO releases this annual list to raise awareness among the public, property owners, decision makers, students, and developers regarding threatened landmarks and memorable places in historic built and natural environments. These are the sites that stitch together an irreplaceable patchwork quilt of stories, deeds, and achievements. Any or all of these pieces could burn, crumble, topple, or otherwise vanish forever if not vigilant. SOHO is sounding the alarm about these 12 places.


    Chase Bank, Pacific Beach

    Proposed for demolition by Chase to accommodate a drive-through restaurant and new bank building, this original Home Savings and Loan branch is the only one left in San Diego. With its exquisite murals and Modernist design, the building displays scenic San Diego mosaics, a bronze seal sculpture, and an interior folk mural. SOHO staff is preparing a historical designation report to submit to City staff. Chase Bank has declined to comment on retaining the architecturally distinctive building and its interior murals by Millard Sheets, but has plans to relocate the exterior murals to the new Balboa Avenue Trolley Station.


    Kensington Pepper Trees

    Since early 2018, when a “Conserve-a-Tree” application was submitted to the City of San Diego for 37 street trees, the Kensington-Talmadge Planning Group and SOHO have been advocating to retain now 36 c.1910 pepper trees, which provide abundant shade and character to the historic neighborhood. Years before that, residents such as Maggie McCann were organizing to save these stately trees planted when the original subdivisions were built. However, the City is violating its own policy regarding public notification for undergrounding utilities that will impact these trees, and it is failing to process the Heritage Tree nomination that would protect them. Two legal challenges are pending on the removal of two specific pepper trees without following the municipal code process, and others are at risk of surprise removal by City crews.


    Roberts Cottages, Oceanside

    A rare and finite collection of historic buildings, these seaside cottages were constructed c. 1928 by A.J. Clark and are the best surviving examples of auto-court beach cottages. Demolition is a real possibility due to the ever-rising cost of buildable land and the lack of historic designation, which would help, and lovers of beach and cultural history are worried.

    When leisure travel by auto became all the rage, convenient lodging along the way became necessary. The first generation of these auto-courts, built in the late 1920s, ’30s and ’40s, were known as cottage courts or traveler’s courts. Roberts Cottages is one of the first.

    Designed and built by the Whiting-Mead Co., the 12- by 24-foot cottages by the 1950s had been sold individually to various owners. This is said to be one of the first times the condominium concept was used in the state of California.

    These unique beach buildings represent an important part of Oceanside’s early tourism industry, and figure prominently on motor Route 101 that runs directly through the city. Today many of them are still available for weekly rentals, continuing their role in welcoming visitors.


    Marine Corps Recruitment Depot, San Diego

    Due to a Congressional mandate to integrate the sexes in the military, the Marines are considering their options for MCRD, designed more than a century ago in the Spanish Colonial style by Bertram Goodhue, the renowned New York-based architect who also created Balboa Park’s 1915 exposition buildings and gardens. Twenty-five of the depot’s buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. A study, to be completed in 2021, is evaluating ways to accommodate women as residents and trainees. Renovating the facilities or selling the base, on about 388 acres of prime land near downtown, is possible.


    Merriam House, San Marcos

    Deteriorating due to neglect, the wood-framed Merriam House has been unoccupied for more than a decade. Built in 1889 in the folk Victorian style by Gustavus French Merriam, an early settler of Twin Oaks Valley, it was crudely expanded three times. Now, the two-story house is suffering decay from abandonment, exposure to the elements, and piles of tree leaves rotting on the pitched roof. Few people even know of the home’s threatened status, as it occupies land owned by a nonprofit organization with private operations. The group has not fulfilled its decade-old agreement with San Diego County to rehabilitate and reuse the house. Meanwhile, the 21st-century is encroaching on this fragile building, with heavier traffic on Deer Springs Road and the area’s waning agriculture.

    Merriam, a farmer producing wine and honey who had been a major in the North’s army in the Civil War, helped settlers who followed him to Twin Oaks Valley. He also provided a school for the community and served as vice president of the First National Bank of Escondido. In addition to Merriam’s contributions, his niece Florence Merriam was a nationally influential ornithologist who pioneered studying birds in the wild, rather than as specimens in a museum. Bird watching while riding sidesaddle, she eventually wrote eight books, including A-Birding on a Bronco, which features her observations in Twin Oaks Valley astride her horse Billy.


    Presidio Park, Old Town

    The park still waits for the City of San Diego to honor the national significance of this historic, cultural, and archaeological site with proper and consistent maintenance as well as a master plan that sets priorities for the entire presidio, park, and museum site. The Junípero Serra Museum got a new coat of paint in 2019, but there remains a lack of stewardship and attention to this entire National Historic Landmark. Further, a proposed parking lot would negatively impact the site of the 18th-century casamata (fort), which was built on higher ground to defend the presidio. As this proposed project would forever alter and destroy the historic setting and landscape, the City needs to prepare an Environmental Impact Report.

    Join in urging Mayor Todd Gloria ( and District 3 Councilmember Stephen Whitburn ( to continue the progress and greater focus on the care and appreciation of this unique National Historic Landmark.


    Hillcrest Commercial Core Historic District, Uptown

    The City earmarked grant funds to develop the Hillcrest Plan Amendment to increase density, which will impact the area’s historic resources and a potential historic district in the neighborhood’s commercial heart. Although the historic commercial core will be evaluated, the protection and retention of historic resources is not assured. Further, despite the pandemic, Hillcrest continues to have properties undergoing historical review and development projects pushing ahead. The City is on the brink of losing walkable, bohemian Hillcrest, long a magnet for residents and visitors alike.


    Red Rest, Red Roost Bungalows, La Jolla Cove

    SOHO's longest-running preservation battle, which is far from over, focuses on these two remnants of La Jolla village’s origins as a seaside art colony. The cottages have endured more than a quarter century of shameful, deliberate neglect. While there was an unfortunate fire in late October that took most of Red Rest and damaged Red Roost, the owners appear willing to take on reconstruction and have tried to salvage materials.


    Barrett Ranch House, Jamul

    Placed on SOHO’s Most Endangered List in 2014 after multiple concerned citizens reached out to SOHO concerning its dilapidated condition, this well-known rural farmhouse still triggers regular inquiries. Since 2014, the Jamul - Dulzura Community Planning Group has wanted to turn the house and ranch into a community park, but they must first raise funds to purchase the land and then more funds to plan for and maintain the property as a park—a big challenge for any volunteer group. A solid solution is still elusive.


    Granger Music Hall, National City

    While the Port of San Diego’s evolving master plan does not address this languishing landmark, this unique masterpiece represents a rare, currently stymied chance for a rewarding partnership. While the 1898 building known for outstanding acoustics continues to deteriorate, there is still a ripe opportunity for the Port and National City to join forces in relocating this important resource to its intended permanent home, Pepper Park. As part of the master plan process, a survey will identify all the historic resources within the Port’s jurisdiction, which should include Granger Music Hall.

    Email Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis ( and the National City Council ( as well as the Port of San Diego ( and ask to hear music again in a rehabilitated Granger Music Hall.


    Big Stone Lodge, Poway

    The Camp Big Stone resort was never fully realized, but the rustic complex is an unusual assemblage of gigantic roof beams and large granite boulders thought to have been brought from the steep local hillsides. Designated as Poway Historic Site 16, it is eligible at the state level to become a historic district. The lodge’s significance stems from its bold architectural style expressed in local natural materials and its association with the resort’s original owners and other notable people in Poway’s development. 

    At a public workshop in February 2020, City officials said that no decision to demolish the lodge had been made, yet neither has a project materialized to revive the property. An online petition with almost 1,900 signatures and other signs of community enthusiasm all support at least retaining and reusing the lodge.

    Contact Mayor Steve Vaus ( and the Poway City Council ( to share your memories of the site, concern for the demolition, and support for preservation of the Big Stone Lodge to be rehabilitated. Sign the petition HERE.


    Pottery Canyon Kiln, La Jolla

    Located on a private lot next to Pottery Canyon Natural Park in La Jolla, the endangered kiln is a round wood-burning adobe structure. Cornelio Rodriguez, who arrived to La Jolla in 1928 from Guadalajara, Mexico, operated a pottery in this area through the 1980s. At the time of its local historic designation in 1976, this pottery works was the oldest still in operation in San Diego and thought to be the oldest in all of Southern California.

    The City of San Diego’s historic staff is working with code compliance officials to address the kiln’s deteriorated condition with a shelter of sorts. While a designated site, the park is a developable parcel, so City staff must be diligent to ensure this unique resource is not lost. Report any activity near the kiln to San Diego's Code Enforcement staff, either through the Get It Done San Diego mobile app or HERE.

    Or email the Historical Resources Division directly ( as well as Mayor Todd Gloria ( and District 1 Councilmember Joe Lacava (


    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    Thomas J
    January 05, 2021
    The Marine Depot in Point Loma has beautiful building that should either be removed if they are to be saved, or demolished to make room for a second runway at San Diego International. In all honesty, the old Spanish style building are nice, but their are plenty already preserved. That area would be better as an extension of the airport.
    January 01, 2021
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