Ten Questions for Ken10

ken10a

Local Poet Returns to the Mic at Poetic Libations II

Thursday night marks the return of Ken10 as a featured poet on the San Diego literary arts scene. Ken10, also known as Kenton Hundley, took a short break from performing his poetry regularly at local venues.

In the 2000’s Ken10 was a constant fixture at the various poetic happenings that took place during that period. He was a member of Goatsong Conspiracy and the award winning group, Los Able Minded Poets, and performed his socially conscious, hip hop and jazz influenced verse throughout San Diego.   [Read more…]

History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Life in the 1950s

1950s TV Set

Last week’s article “The Korean War Years” highlighted the differences between the Korean War and World War II in terms of their impacts on life in Logan Heights. Readers were introduced to Johnny Leyva, a Korean War vet who grew up in Logan Heights. Johnny’s story continues this week, offering a glimpse into 1950s life.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Korean War Years

38th Parallel sign

Veterans of World War II returned home deeply changed by their experience. They found that Logan Heights and San Diego had also been changed by the war. The effort to find a new normalcy would be interrupted by the Korean War.

This is part I of the Korean War and the 1950s, viewed through the experiences of Johnny Leyva who grew up in Logan Heights.
  [Read more…]

Barrio Bits: Placas, Chicano Park Day and Barrio Art Crawl

Saturday is Chicano Park Day AND Barrio Art Crawl! I repeat. Saturday is Chicano Park Day AND Barrio Art Crawl!

For the first time in the history of the universe two of the greatest things (of the many) that Barrio Logan offers is happening on the same day. From 10am until 5pm you can enjoy the sights and sounds that is the annual Chicano Park Day celebration then from 5pm until 9pm you can crawl the streets of La Logan in search of artistic enjoyment at the various art venues within this creative community.

Chicano Park was founded on April 22, 1970 as a land takeover by community members after they found out that a California Highway Patrol substation was going to be built on the site instead of a park. In 2013, due to the beautiful murals that grace the pillars of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, Chicano Park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Dancers and Dancing

Emma Lopez, Nachita Hernandez–and Rita Hayworth!

By Maria E. Garcia

Dancing lessons and dancing have been a focus at Neighborhood House since the early days. As stated in previous articles the dancers often performed at fund raisers held at the Marston House. The most memorable show from the early years was when they performed at the reception held for Jane Addams, founder of Hull House and a noted social worker. In those days they also performed in Balboa Park and at the Presido. Dance productions gave the entertainers from Logan Heights the opportunity to visit other parts of the city as well as for the members of the majority community to see the talent of the dancers from Neighborhood House.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Girls Play Ball!

Part II of Americanization through Baseball

By Maria E. Garcia

Newspaper articles in the 1940s and later indicate that at times a girls softball game was played prior to the boys games. This was almost always done as a way of enticing more people to attend the game. It is unclear whether attendance was to the benefit of the girls playing prior to the boy’s game, or if the boys team attendance benefited by playing after the girls.

From time to time the girls team would play against the boys team to add to the enjoyment of the game and to increase attendance. In some ways the early girls teams were a novelty to the general public, and yet, taken very seriously by the girls playing the game.   [Read more…]

Photo Murals Honoring Cesar Chavez Installed in Barrio Logan

What could have been an ugly structure will now become an important part of the community

By Brent E. Beltrán

This week photo murals depicting late labor leader Cesar Chavez have gone up on a new parking structure in Barrio Logan. The structure, located on the corner of Cesar Chavez Parkway and National Avenue, will be fitted with eight different photo murals “reflecting and honoring the life and work” of the United Farmworker co-founder.

Carlos LeGerrette, activist, photographer and originator of the Cesar Chavez Service Clubs, was instrumental in making the photo murals a reality through his historic and extensive photo collection of Cesar Chavez and the UFW.

“We worked with LeGerrette and other community members through a series of collaborative meetings to determine which images of Cesar Chavez should be displayed on the facility,” said Rudy Kastelic, Interim President at San Diego Continuing Education. “We have been serving the Barrio Logan community since the 70s and we’ve had ‘good neighbor’ relationships with Barrio Station, Cesar Chavez Service Clubs and other organizations in the community that we wanted to include in our building process.”   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Americanization through Baseball

By Maria E. Garcia

Settlement Houses across the United States, including Neighborhood House, stated that the Americanization of immigrant residents was one of their goals. Books and news article from the 1920s through the 1940s allude to the fact that baseball games and baseball teams were methods used in that Americanization.

Some articles go as far as to state that they were a way of replacing what was considered “Mexican interests.” Emory Bogarus from the University of Southern California (USC), in referring to the Mexicans in Los Angeles, states “Baseball clubs were used to counter the interest Mexicans had in bull fighting, gambling and cock fighting.”

Neighborhood House, the various canneries and some employers in San Diego formed baseball teams for their employees. This was done not only to Americanize them but to maintain loyalty to a particular employer. Involvement in this popular sport had consequences that broadened the meaning of Americanization in unanticipated ways.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Merlin Pinkerton, Mentor and Coach

By Maria E. Garcia

Once a month the Logan Heights Old Timers meet for breakfast at the IHOP in National City. At one of those meetings I asked them to share their memories about Coach Merlin Pinkerton. Coach Pinkerton came to Neighborhood House in 1943.

The people quoted in this article are between the ages of 65 and 95 and yet their memories of Coach Pinkerton are clear and reflect the love they felt for him. The question becomes how did this man become the most loved and respected coach in the history of Neighborhood House? What did he do and how did he do it?   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Tulie Trejo’s Blue Ribbon Life

From learning to bake at Neighborhood House to winning the Pillsbury Bakeoff

By Maria E Garcia

It was Cinco de Mayo, 1941. Obdulia “Tulie” Trejo had left the turmoil of her parents’ house with its eleven children and the harsh restrictions her parents imposed upon her. She was living at the time with her girlfriend Dolores and her mother. On that particular Cinco de Mayo, Tulie was seventeen years old and that is the day that she met Joe Trejo, a young man from Carlsbad, at the waterfront near the foot of Broadway.

Joe had a car and taught her to drive. The car was a 1941 maroon stick shift Chevy. The car took them to Mission Beach, which she refers to as “our playground.” They would also drive to Balboa Park. Another place they really loved was Oscar’s on Broadway. At this time her mom was working at the cannery and unable to supervise what Tulie was doing. This gave her a lot of freedom.

Joe wanted to marry Tulie right away but with her eye on her high school diploma she said “no.”   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Tulie’s Story

How Neighborhood House helped to nurture an indomitable spirit

By Maria E. Garcia

Obdulia “Tulie” Trejo is the 91 year old sister of Armida Piña, one of the women who shared her Neighborhood House stories in the article “The Lives of Girls”. Tulie says that she raised her younger sister Armida. She invited me to her home in Chula Vista to show me her many baking trophies and to talk about her own memories of Neighborhood House.

Neighborhood House was a place where Tulie, a bright young girl in the 1930s, could learn and excel.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Love and Marriage, 1940s

Part II of the Lives of Girls

By Maria E. Garcia

Today’s article is a continuation of last week’s conversation with Amparo “Tuti” Zumaya, Consuelo Zumaya Lopez, Noralund Cook Zumaya, Rosa Zatarian Ramirez, Armida Piña, and Bertha Castro Zumaya. While hard economic times affected everyone, there were different societal expectations about what were considered appropriate activities for boys and girls during this time period. These women all provide rich details about the lives of girls who grew up during the war years.

Rosa Zatarian has her own memories about Neighborhood House and about Logan Heights. She and her sister would lay in bed on Friday night and listen to the Latest Hits program. This program came on at 9 p.m. every Friday and they couldn’t wait to listen to the music of the 1940s.

Rosa also remembered that when her family lived in El Paso and did not own a radio, a neighbor would place his radio in the window. Neighbors would then bring chairs and sit in the yard to listen to President Roosevelt’s fireside chat broadcasts. According to Rosa’s mother “Él nos quitó el hambre.” (He took our hunger away.) It seems that helping and supporting each other was a way of life all over our country.
  [Read more…]

Barrio Bits: Will East Village Chargers Stadium Bring Ethnic Cleansing to Barrio Logan?

Plus, Barrio Loganites Seek Crosswalk, Barrio Art Crawl Returns, Barrio Seed Bank Opens, Chicano Park Day Fundraiser y Más!

By Brent E. Beltrán

With all of the talk around town about the Chargers and their demands for a new stadium something has been overlooked: Barrio Logan. If the city acquiesces to the demands of the Chargers (which they have done in the past) and gives them a brand new stadium in the East Village what happens to the community that sits just south of there?

The impact on Barrio Logan residents would be tremendous… in a bad way.

For the most part the residents of Barrio Logan are renters. A new stadium so close to a community of renters would raise property values up to the point where they could no longer rent in the community they love. Thus, forcing many longtime community members out and changing the socio-economic and cultural character of Barrio Logan.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: The Lives of Girls

By Maria E. Garcia

Families in Logan Heights faced grim financial hardship during the 1930’s and early 1940’s. Childhood entertainment and opportunities were limited. Neighborhood House provided classes, programs and outings that are remembered sixty and even seventy years later by the many people that I have interviewed.

While hard economic times affected everyone, there were different societal expectations about what were considered appropriate activities for boys and girls during this time period. Boys participated in the popular sports programs at Neighborhood House. Team members played in other parts of the city and even other parts of the country. Boys were also given a much greater freedom to explore their environs singly or with other boys.

Girls were raised in a socially conservative environment that emphasized marriage and raising a family. Their activities were often restricted or required a chaperone.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Three Women Who Worked at Neighborhood House and Became Part of the Community

Miss Gertrude Peifer, Mrs. Wilfreda Brackett and Miss Julie McClure

By Maria E Garcia

Last week I wrote about three women who shaped the direction of Neighborhood House from the 1920’s to World War II. The leadership of Mary Snyder, Rebecca Halley and Anita Jones reflected the influence of the newly recognized profession of social work and the progressive era’s spirit of social reform.

There are three more women during the same time period and into the early 1950’s who deserve recognition for their contributions to Neighborhood House and the Logan Heights community.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Social Workers and the Progressive Era Spirit of Reform

Mary Snyder, Rebecca Halley and Anita Jones, the early years

By Maria E. Garcia

Women had a great deal of influence and contributed to the work at Neighborhood House. A number of them did so as members of the newly recognized profession of social work. Settlement Houses originated in England and by the 1880’s they had become established in the United States. Neighborhood House came into being as part of the settlement house movement.

Settlement houses were usually established in poor urban areas and provided a variety of services to the community. Those services included cooking classes, adult education, craft and sewing classes. They also did crisis intervention and provided home health care and daycare for working mothers. The settlement house movement evolved in parallel with the social worker movement in this country. Both were unique agents of social reform during the Progressive Era from 1890-1920.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Mary Barrios, Part II

The War Years, Romance and Work

By Maria E. Garcia

Mary Barrios’ early years centered around the activities provided by Neighborhood House during the 1930’s. She learned to cook and sew and went to Camp Dehesa. Neighborhood House services took some of the stress off of struggling families like Mary’s during The Great Depression.

Her father and her mother were both widows and came to the marriage with children. They also had children together and at one point a woman that worked at the cannery gave her mother a baby boy. This woman felt she could not return to Mexico with a child born out of wedlock. This very big family lived at 1870 Newton Ave.   [Read more…]

Barrio Bits: Barrio Logan Planning Group Begins, SD Workers Center to Open, Break Down Borders Run, La Bodega’s Anniversary y más!

By Brent E. Beltrán

This is the first in what I hope will be a bi-weekly column within my Desde la Logan column that will highlight the various happenings in the barrios of San Diego. I can’t cover everything but I can highlight those things that I feel deserve to be seen and read about. It’s a work in progress so bear with me.

Barrio Logan Planning Group Holds First Meeting
Barrio Logan finally has a planning group! And I’m on it!

On January 20 the Barrio Logan Planning Group held its first meeting ever at Woodbury University School of Architecture. The meeting was attended by more than 65 people plus the fifteen appointed planning group members that were able to make it. The large crowd was a good start and shows the interest that community members have in getting involved in Barrio Logan.

Maritime industry made it very clear that they were upset with David Alvarez not appointing anybody of their liking to the group. Well boohoo! Elections have consequences and the consequences for their B & C referendum is them not (yet) having a seat on the planning group. There’ll be plenty of opportunities in the future for them to worm their way onto the group. Until then they can give public comment.   [Read more…]

The Lighting of the Barrio Logan Gateway Sign

By Horacio Jones

December 13, 2014 was a historic day for the up and coming neighborhood of Barrio Logan. It was the official ribbon cutting ceremony for the Barrio Logan gateway sign. It is a distinctive addition to the existing signs in the Gaslamp, University Heights, Hillcrest, North Park and The Boulevard.

I was able to get insight into the creative process behind the sign and its symbolism through interviews with lead artist Armando Nuñez and architect Vicky Estrada. It was a fun-filled day for the community with Aztec dancing, Mariachi Music, original music from Cumbia Machin and local vendors selling food and art.   [Read more…]

Remembering Peter “Pete” Chacon, June 10, 1925 to Dec. 14, 2014

Educator, Activist, California State Assemblyman 1970-1992

By Paul Chacon

Peter Chacon served in the California State Legislature from 1970 until his retirement in 1992 representing the urban core of San Diego. Upon his election, he became only the second Latino legislator elected to State of California public office in the past (100) years. Together with Alex Garcia, they formed the California Latino Legislative Caucus with a membership of just two.

Peter was born in Phoenix, Arizona on June 10, 1925 to Severita and Petronilo Chacon. His father had served as a commander in Poncho Villa’s revolutionary army and he passed on to his family the passion and determination to fight for what they believe in and to defend the rights of those who can’t defend themselves.   [Read more…]

5th Annual Love Thy Neighbor Toy Drive Takes Place This Weekend

 By Brent E. Beltrán

This weekend the 5th annual Love Thy Neighbor Clothing & Toy Drive takes place at the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park. For the past five years Ruben Torres and some of his close friends have organized this event to bring a little joy during the Christmas season to youths in San Diego and Tijuana.

South Bay native Ruben Torres continues to give back to the community he loves. He says, “God gives us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with. I’m honored to see the community come together to give and to be a blessing to the needy.”

Toys will be collected for the children of the YWCA as well as families of The Training Center in Spring Valley.

This year’s main event takes place on Sunday, December 14 from 12-8pm and is hosted by radio DJ Beto Perez of 95.7 KISS FM and features an art show curated by Ruben Torres and Wendy Wolf.   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Viva Tortilla’s Army!

Lasting friendships, family ties and community

By Maria E. Garcia

Tortilla’s Army was the spontaneous outgrowth of the ways World War II altered life in Logan Heights and its intersection with the charisma and leadership of  young Manuel “Tortilla” Ojeda.  A favorite game during wartime in Logan Heights was playing army.

By 1942 Tortilla had assembled his troop of kids as young as five and as old as fourteen.  He had pressed into service his younger cousins, neighborhood friends and his younger brother Nando. General Tortilla marched his growing ranks around the neighborhood to protect it and to be prepared to fight.

After the summer of 1942, the participation in Tortilla’s Army slowly died. …   [Read more…]

The History of Neighborhood House in Logan Heights: Tortilla’s Army – Defending Logan Heights

The Summer of ’42, patriotism and childhood’s end

By Maria E. Garcia

San Diego in the 1940’s was alive with military action. Newspapers were full of stories about defending the home front, men were training for military duty and bunkers were being built on Point Loma. If my source is correct there is a bunker by Chavez Parkway and Main Street. The men from Logan Heights had left for Europe and the Western Pacific during War War II.

In Logan Heights a favorite game became playing army. Visualize looking across the bay to Coronado. You see ships leaving and preparing to go across the ocean to defend our country. Newspapers and the radio had constant reminders of the dangers of living in a military town on the western side of our country. In this atmosphere Tortilla’s Army was born.   [Read more…]

SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

By Anna Daniels

Renovation, Rebuild or Turducken?

The North Park Preservation lawsuit against Jack in the Box/City of San Diego is moving forward, with a Summary Judgment hearing before Judge Prager on Friday, November 21.

The group filed the suit when Jack in the Box underwent renovations and a rebuild that the community maintains are violations of city zoning and the community plan. Also at issue is that the city did not correctly permit the project.
  [Read more…]