Barrio Logan

Barrio Logan is a predominantly Mexican/Chicano, low income, working class community located south of Downtown San Diego, north of National City and west of the Interstate 5 freeway. It is home to the national treasure Chicano Park, which is the site of the largest collection of outdoor murals in the world. The people that make up the community of Barrio Logan have a long history of standing up and defending their culture and civil rights.

Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Not-So-Great Depression and WW II Come to Logan Heights – Part I

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Not-So-Great Depression and WW II Come to Logan Heights – Part I

by Maria E. Garcia 09.27.2014 Culture

The Mexican Repatriation and hard times

By Maria E. Garcia

The 1930s and the Depression brought many changes to the families living in Logan Heights. The Great Depression started in 1929 and ended around 1941 when World War II brought jobs to the country as a whole and to places like San Diego in particular. In the late 1930s the economy improved. The war had created a lot of jobs and had a great influence in ending the Depression. In San Diego, the aircraft industry which included Consolidated-Vultee (which eventually became Convair), flourished and provided employment.

The similarities between the political climate of the Great Depression era and today are frightening. Like today, there was a call to deport Mexicans and Mexican-Americans and return them to Mexico. Like today, Mexicans and Mexican-Americans were perceived as taking jobs that belonged to “real” Americans, and like today, it was also believed that deportation would reduce the number of people on the relief rolls.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Arts District Shines with Multiple Cultural Events in Barrio Logan

Barrio Arts District Shines with Multiple Cultural Events in Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.25.2014 Arts

Barrio Art Jam, Barrio Art Crawl and Concerts in the Barrio Take Place this Weekend

By Brent E. Beltrán

Barrio Logan is becoming well known for its thriving, grassroots arts scene. This weekend’s activities are proof of that. From Friday through Sunday numerous cultural events will take place within San Diego’s most historic Chicano community.

The events include the 2nd annual Barrio Art Jam at La Bodega on Friday night, Barrio Art Crawl throughout the Barrio Arts District on Saturday afternoon/evening and the Barrio Logan Association’s Concerts in the Barrio at the Mercado del Barrio plaza on Sunday afternoon.

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Thumbnail image for A One-on-One Conversation with District 8 Councilman David Alvarez Continued

A One-on-One Conversation with District 8 Councilman David Alvarez Continued

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.25.2014 Desde la Logan

By Brent E. Beltrán

In Part I the Councilman discussed the minimum wage, upgrades to Chicano Park, Barrio Art Crawl and creating a place to be on Sunday afternoons in Barrio Logan. In Part II he talks about the Emergency Winter Homeless Shelter, bringing an outpatient mental health facility to Logan, big rigs rumbling though Barrio Logan streets, the final leg of the Bayshore Bikeway, and the Barrio Logan gateway sign.

Brent E. Beltrán: The Winter Homeless Shelter is probably going to be sited here again. How does this community fight that? Other districts don’t want it. It’s been here for so many years now. I’m under the impression that it’s always going to be here. My issue is how do we mitigate the impact of having hundreds of people not just living in the shelter but also living on the streets and in the park. How do we get more resources to come in without having to use Barrio Logan Association funds to clean up?

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Johnny Rubalcava

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Johnny Rubalcava

by Maria E. Garcia 09.20.2014 Culture

By Maria E. Garcia

Johnny Rubalcava is a very young 90-year-old man. He has been married five times, his last marriage lasting 30 years. He has been a widower for the last two years. When you look at Mr. Rubalcava you think you’re speaking to a man of 70, not only because of his wonderful memory, but because he carries himself like a much younger man.

He started going to the Neighborhood House at the age of six, during the 1930’s. Like so many of the other people I interviewed, Mr. Rubalcava remembers Neighborhood House as the place where kids in Logan Heights learned to dance, play on sports teams and enjoy occasional trips to camp.

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Thumbnail image for As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

As Study Shows Poverty Rising in San Diego, Campaign to Shame Restaurant Industry Over Wages Emerges

by Doug Porter 09.18.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The poverty rate in San Diego has risen over the past year according to data released by U.S. Census Bureau this week. A total of 209,045 San Diegans (15.8%)  lived below the federal poverty level last year, including more than 64,000 children (21.9%) of all children in the city.  

The release of this report comes two days after the San Diego Chamber of Commerce claimed success in a referendum campaign effectively halting implementation of a local minimum wage increase. Much of the money for that campaign reportedly came via the California Restaurant Association.

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Thumbnail image for A One-on-One Conversation with District 8 Councilman David Alvarez

A One-on-One Conversation with District 8 Councilman David Alvarez

by Brent E. Beltrán 09.18.2014 Desde la Logan

In this first of two parts the Councilman discusses the minimum wage, upgrades to Chicano Park, Barrio Art Crawl and creating a place to be on Sunday afternoons in Barrio Logan

By Brent E. Beltrán

I woke up on Monday morning and, as I usually do, checked my email first (then Twitter and Facebook). In my inbox was an email from the Raise Up San Diego campaign stating that they were holding a press conference with David Alvarez at Chicano Park at 10am.

Feeling compelled to attend a presser across the street from where I lived I went about my morning business of getting my son Dino ready for preschool and walked him the two blocks to Perkins Elementary.

With him starting school I’ve been on a walking kick to get rid of some of the “sympathy” weight I gained in solidarity with my wife during the pregnancy. From 9am to about 10am I’d walk from Barrio Logan down Harbor Dr. — dodging traffic since there are no sidewalks — to the Convention Center stairs and then back to my barrio.

Knowing that I’d be dripping sweat, from not only walking but from the muggy weather we’ve been having, I thought I’d hang in the background of the presser once I arrived to Chicano Park. That was not to be the case.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Fisher Garcia

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Fisher Garcia

by Maria E. Garcia 09.13.2014 History of Neighborhood House

Memories from The Depression to Duet Garcia

By Maria E. Garcia

Mary Fisher Garcia attended Neighborhood House as a child during the 1930’s. Miss Anita Jones was the director of Neighborhood House at the time. Jones had trained under Jane Addams, lived in Mexico for a number of years and spoke fluent Spanish. Mary credits Miss Jones with starting many of the programs that became so popular with the kids that attended Neighborhood House.

She remembers Miss Jones as being very strict, but she was also someone you could go to if you had a problem. Mary, like many of the other people I have interviewed, remembers the big fruit truck delivering fruit to the neighborhood and parking in the alley behind Neighborhood House. Word of the free fruit would spread quickly throughout the neighborhood. Free fresh fruit was clearly not taken for granted in the 30’s.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Two Generations of Carriedos and Tennis Comes to the Barrio

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Two Generations of Carriedos and Tennis Comes to the Barrio

by Maria E. Garcia 09.06.2014 History of Neighborhood House

By Maria Garcia

Margarita and Lorenzo Carriedo lived at 1759 National Ave in one of the bungalows owned by the late Mike Amador. They, like Mike, had grown up in Logan Heights in the 1920’s and 30’s and raised their own children there. Neighborhood House figures prominently in the memories of Margarita and two of her sons– Ruben and Marcos, all of whom I had the opportunity to interview. Mrs Carriedo, like so many of the other women I have interviewed, remembers Logan Heights as a neighborhood filled with maintained, well kept houses and lovely gardens. It was a good place to raise a family.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Paul “Paulie” Torres

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Paul “Paulie” Torres

by Maria E. Garcia 08.30.2014 Culture

By Maria Garcia

Paul “Paulie” Torres is a retired longshoreman who attended Neighborhood House from 1947 to 1954. His family moved to Logan Heights from the Little Italy area of San Diego. Paulie says there was a little barrio located in the Little Italy area with several Mexican families living there. Little Italy was in the proximity of the canneries and as far as Mexicans could live in the downtown vicinity–Point Loma to the north was the dividing line where whites and ethnic Europeans lived.

Like many others, Paulie had heard stories about the Logan Heights guys and felt intimidated when he first moved there. Within a short period of time, Paulie fit right in with the other boys who called Neighborhood House their other home. He states in a straightforward manner that the reason everyone called it Neighborhood House was because everyone in the neighborhood went there. He recalls the boys sitting there on the steps, talking, laughing, hanging out for as long as they could.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Art Crawl Once Again Takes Over Barrio Logan

Barrio Art Crawl Once Again Takes Over Barrio Logan

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.28.2014 Arts

San Diego’s Last Bastion of Grassroots Art Spaces Join Forces for Monthly Series

By Brent E. Beltrán

On Saturday, August 30 the various arts venues in Barrio Logan will join together for another Barrio Art Crawl. The Crawl is a self-guided tour of open studios, galleries, and local businesses within the Barrio Arts District. The Barrio Art Crawl was initially created for the Barrio Arts District by the operators of The Roots Factory.

Participating venues in this installment of the Barrio Art Crawl include Border X Brewing/SD Taco Co., Chicano Art Gallery, Chicano Park, La Bodega, La Esquina, Pop-Up Art Gallery at Fuller Lighting, The Church, The Glashaus, The Roots Factory, The Yard at Stronghold Collective, Union Barrio Logan and Woodbury School of Architecture. Each venue will have either visual art, music, food or a mixture of all.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized” Part II

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized” Part II

by Maria E. Garcia 08.23.2014 Editor's Picks

From the Toltec Club to the election of Pete Chacon and la lucha to get there

By Maria Garcia

Last week’s article introduced readers to Leonard Fierro, who grew up in Logan Heights, attended Neighborhood House in the 1930’s and upon returning from World War II began shaping and chronicling the history of Mexican Americans in San Diego. It is Leonard who wrote “We had just fought the war for liberty and justice and when we came home we found we didn’t have it in our city.”

The problems and frustrations of the Latino community had been constantly there, as noted in so many of the prior interviews, but it wasn’t until the establishment of the Toltec Club that political involvement was seen as the remedy to discrimination. The Toltec Club was initially envisioned as a social club with dances. The resistance members faced transformed it into a forerunner of the Chicano movement and laid the foundation for the political activism of the 1960’s.

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Thumbnail image for A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

A Trail for Humanity’s Final Walk Begins in Chicano Park

by At Large 08.18.2014 Activism

Exclusive San Diego Free Press video package of the Barrio Logan portion of the 300+ mile pilgrimage to the border

Video by Horacio Jones

On the morning of Saturday, August 16 over 100 people gathered by the temescal (sweat lodge) in Chicano Park for a ceremony to honor the walkers of A Trail for Humanity. On July 22 a group of women and children left Merced, California on a journey south to the US-Mexico border in San Ysidro to pressure the Obama administration to put a halt to its deportation enforcement only policies; call for an end to the use of police as immigration enforcement agents; demand an end to family separations; and stem the tide of racial profiling that has incarcerated so many migrants and African Americans.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized,” Part I

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Testing the Meaning of “Americanized,” Part I

by Maria E. Garcia 08.16.2014 Activism

The Castro Sisters, Frank Peñuelas, Leonard Fierro and the beginnings of the Toltec Club

By Maria Garcia

One of the goals of the settlement house movement, which was established in urban centers at the beginning of the twentieth century, was to “Americanize” the immigrant populations that had settled in those cities. When Neighborhood House was established in 1914 as the only United States settlement house on the Mexican border, its role was to “uplift” Mexican immigrants in the Logan Heights community and Americanize them in doing so.

The Americanization process included everything from introducing Mexican families to white flour and white bread to the provision of the first English as a Second Language (ESL) classes in the city to support for cultural, social and recreational activities in which athletics programs for the boys were particularly prominent.

When I recently spoke to Rose Castro, she provided a particularly illuminating comment about Neighborhood House–“They taught us leadership!” …

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Thumbnail image for A Trail for Humanity Comes to San Diego

A Trail for Humanity Comes to San Diego

by Brent E. Beltrán 08.14.2014 Activism

Marchers take a stand against violence targeting migrant women and children

By Brent E. Beltrán

On July 22 a group of mothers and their children began a journey from Merced, California to the U.S./Mexico border. This Saturday at 7am they will be at Chicano Park in Barrio Logan for the final leg of their pilgrimage.

After a ceremony at Chicano Park participants in A Trail for Humanity will leave around 8am and walk to Kimball Park in National City. From there they will be transported by vehicle to the MAAC Charter School in Chula Vista where they will have lunch.

After lunch and a brief rest they will continue their journey on foot to Larsen Field in San Ysidro. They will arrive at the park sometime between 3pm and 4pm where a rally will take place with speakers on immigration rights, danza Azteca and entertainment.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Garden Parties at the Marston House and Other Fundraising

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Garden Parties at the Marston House and Other Fundraising

by Maria E. Garcia 08.09.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

Neighborhood House, like other settlement houses throughout the country, was established through largely philanthropic efforts with the intent of social reform. Its goals were “To understand its Mexican neighbors; to interpret the needs of the community; to perform the intimate and friendly service of a good neighbor; to direct needed educational and recreational work. ”

Funds were initially raised by the College Women’s Club. Neighborhood House, upon its incorporation as a private non-profit in 1914, became a charter member of the Community Chest, the precursor of today’s United Way. It would depend upon an extensive network of donors and continued philanthropic efforts to maintain its presence in Logan Heights.

The local history of Neighborhood House is in many ways the history of prominent San Diegans. In the early years of the Neighborhood House the fundraisers held in the beautiful gardens of the Marston House were a main source of revenue.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights:  Emma Lopez

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Emma Lopez

by Maria E. Garcia 08.02.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

Emma Lopez is a spunky lady who will turn eighty-eight in November. She was born at 821 Beardsley in Logan Heights and started attending Neighborhood House when she was around nine years old, in the early 1930’s. Her parents owned the Neighborhood Café which they had purchased in 1935. The Neighborhood Café was next door to Neighborhood House. Like the others interviewed Emma has very fond memories not only of Neighborhood House but of the Logan Heights community.

It has been very difficult finding women who attended Neighborhood House. Unlike the boys who spent most of their day at Neighborhood House the girls took a specific class and then went home. Emma’s participation in Neighborhood House activities reflected that social expectation. While she was allowed to attend activities at a young age as she got into her mid-teens her participation was more limited. Emma’s independent streak, however, exposed her to a few more adventures than other girls of that time.

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Thumbnail image for Premiere Video Learning Tool Gives Power Back to the Communities

Premiere Video Learning Tool Gives Power Back to the Communities

by At Large 07.31.2014 Activism

Environmental Health Coalition Launches “Creating Healthy Neighborhoods: Community Planning to Overcome Injustice”

By Environmental Health Coalition

On Monday, Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), an organization fighting toxic pollution in San Diego and Tijuana, released its video learning tool to empower residents to speak up and advocate for positive changes to their communities. Creating Healthy Neighborhoods: Community Planning to Overcome Injustice is a bilingual video demonstrating the impacts of discriminatory land-use in San Diego and teaching community members how to achieve environmental justice in seven empowering steps.

This series of strategic planning techniques has led to great successes for low-income communities of color in San Diego. In Old Town National City, this process guided residents to provide input and influence policy in their community to achieve a collective vision. In 2006, residents successfully advocated for adoption of an ordinance to phase out heavy polluters from a predominately residential area in close proximity to a local elementary school. In 2010, the city implemented the Westside Specific Plan, bringing affordable housing units within walking distance of public transit and vastly improving the quality of life in Westside National City.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Hart Taylor and the Health Clinic, 1914 to 1938

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Hart Taylor and the Health Clinic, 1914 to 1938

by Maria E. Garcia 07.26.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

For over two decades Mary Hart Taylor directed the health clinic and various core health programs at Neighborhood House. She was well liked and respected by the community. It was a well-known fact in Logan Heights that if your child became ill in the middle of the night, you knocked on Miss Taylor’s door and you would be allowed in or she would follow you to your home to administer medical advice and care.

One of the reasons that Neighborhood House was established was to address the high mortality rate of Mexican children in Logan Heights.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary and Helen Marston

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary and Helen Marston

by Maria E. Garcia 07.12.2014 Culture

The Marston family history is synonymous with the history of San Diego. Volumes have been written about their philanthropy and their contributions to the history of San Diego. For those of us that grew up in San Diego, we remember the Marston Department Store. My biggest memory of the department store is of the escalator and the smell of perfume.

I am sure we never bought one thing there. Despite her fear of escalators, my mother would take us there for the express purpose of riding the escalator. It was our simple version of the “E” ride at Disneyland. We would walk around the store, go up to the second floor and ride the escalator down with that beautiful smell greeting us at about the halfway point. In my mind the “Marston” name and “rich” are one and the same.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Joe Serrano

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Joe Serrano

by Maria E. Garcia 07.05.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

From the moment Joe Serrano tasted bread for the first time he loved it. Until he attended kindergarten at Neighborhood House in the 1920’s Joe had never eaten bread. He remembers their snack of milk and bread coming from Mike Amador’s store, right across the street. I have surmised that there was some type of an arrangement between the Neighborhood House and Mr. Amador.

After kindergarten at Neighborhood House, Joe attended Burbank Elementary. His principal was Miss Barbara. If students did not behave, Miss Barbara would put her hands on your shoulders and dig her rather long fingernails right into your skin. Even today, almost 80 years later, Joe remembers when a black woman came to enroll her son at Burbank and was told by Miss Barbara that her son would have to have to go to “their” school–Logan Elementary, which was a mere three blocks away.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dr. Armando Rodriguez and Bea Serrano Rodriguez

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dr. Armando Rodriguez and Bea Serrano Rodriguez

by Maria E. Garcia 06.28.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

Armando and Bea Rodriguez welcomed me into their home to look at old newspapers clippings about Neighborhood House that I had brought. Those clippings set off a conversation filled with memories and untold stories from the 1930’s and 1940’s. One of the pictures that received the most attention was taken at a party at the Marston House. The Marston family played a seminal role in providing both financial support to Neighborhood House and direction. Their garden parties were particularly memorable.

A group of dancers in traditional Mexican dress are all lined up together in one of the clippings. I had no idea who the dancers were other than boys and girls from the Neighborhood House. Much to my surprise, Bea states “Oh my God, that’s my sister and me.” Taking a closer look, the boy with a zarape over his shoulder and a fake mustache was indeed a girl. Bea and her sister Consuelo were the dance partners.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Bill Breitenstein, Athletics Director

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Bill Breitenstein, Athletics Director

by Maria E. Garcia 06.21.2014 Culture

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

This history of Neighborhood House has introduced readers to some of the programs and activities that placed this organization firmly at the center of life in the Logan Heights community in the 1920’s and 30’s. Past articles have referred to the popularity of formal sports training at Neighborhood House, particularly for baseball. Neighborhood athletes were coached, provided with the required equipment and could participate in tournaments. The team was a source of enthusiastic neighborhood pride.

The Neighborhood House baseball team provided children with tremendous opportunities while it also exposed them to discrimination, as the recent interview with Dr. Bareño revealed. Memories of Coach Bill Breitenstein are inextricably intertwined with the accounts of so many people I have interviewed for this series. Mr. Breitenstein died in 1928, but his influence was felt well into the 1930’s. This “shining star,” as Dr. Bareño called him, deserves a special place in the history of Neighborhood House.

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Thumbnail image for A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights : John Bareño, 1930’s

A History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights : John Bareño, 1930’s

by Maria E. Garcia 06.14.2014 Activism

SDFP exclusive series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria E. Garcia

One conversation about Neighborhood House always leads to another. When I told Kiko I was working on a research paper about Neighborhood House he told me “You have to talk to John Bareño.” “Kiko” is Frank Peralta, one of the people who spearheaded the effort to construct a war memorial in Chicano Park. I took Kiko’s advice and on a Thursday in May I drove to Spring Valley to interview Dr. Bareño in his home.

I found a man with a wealth of information about Logan Heights, baseball, discrimination and Neighborhood House. Dr. Bareño was born in Loreto, Baja California. His father had been offered $500.00 to move the family to Mexicali. They were going to work picking cotton there.

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Thumbnail image for The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: 1930’s, the Maids’ Story, Art Classes and More about Summer Camp

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: 1930’s, the Maids’ Story, Art Classes and More about Summer Camp

by Maria E. Garcia 06.07.2014 Columns

Part of the ongoing series The History of Neighborhood House: From 1918 to the occupation in 1972

By Maria Garcia

The Maids’ Class

During the 1930’s a maids’ training program came to Neighborhood House. It was established under the Adult Education Department at San Diego State University. This portion of the paper was very difficult to write in the 1970’s when I was doing my first research on Neighborhood House. My first reaction was to jump up and feel anger that these women had been put in such a class. I have had to evaluate my biases and try to put myself in the place of young girls and women of the 1930’s who needed employment. I also reviewed pictures of their graduation to try and understand their point of view and sense of accomplishment.

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Thumbnail image for 2014 Primaries: It’s #Ididnotvote by a Landslide

2014 Primaries: It’s #Ididnotvote by a Landslide

by Doug Porter 06.04.2014 2014 June Primary

By Doug Porter

Yesterday San Diego non-voters elected a district attorney personally embroiled in a criminal case, a county clerk supported by anti-gay bigots and a supervisor known for using taxpayer dollars to support religious causes. Call it a resounding victory for apathy and a defeat for advocates of the two tier/jungle primary voting system as a near-record low number (I’m guessing 22%) of voters cast ballots.

Approximately 12% of the city’s registered voters agreed with a corporate campaign almost completely based on lies to overturn a five-year-long community planning process. Incumbents were triumphant everywhere.

There will be runoff elections in November for San Diego City Council District 6 between Carol Kim and Chris Cate, the 52nd Congressional District between Carl DeMaio and Scott Peters, along with Mary Salas versus Jerry Rindone vying for the Mayor in Chula Vista. A stealth campaign by teahadist Donna Woodrum for a seat on the San Diego Community College Board failed to unseat Maria Nieto Senour.

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