SANDAG Bicycle Corridors – Finished Before They Even Started

Chicago transportation priorities

By John P. Anderson

Two and a half years ago SANDAG announced $200 million for bike projects to create a regional network. The first of these projects is a $40 million project in Uptown. It would create a critical connection both East to West and North to South in the heart of San Diego’s most densely populated neighborhoods.

Since the original announcement SANDAG has repeatedly trumpeted these funds as a sign of commitment to healthy transport in the form of bicycles. During the time since Uptown was selected for the first SANDAG bicycle project what has changed in the area? Population, businesses, traffic, and roadways all remain the same. There remain only two real options for an East to West connection – University and Washington.   [Read more…]

Demolition of North Park LGBTQ Historical Site… a Clerical Error?

Paisley Abbey gargoyle 6

Doug Porter recently wrote about the after hours demolition of one of San Diego’s two remaining historic Saltbox houses. The Bernie Michels-Thom Carey house at the corner of Florida Street and El Cajon Blvd was bulldozed by contractors working for developer HG Fenton this past Friday, May 29.

San Diego 6News has reported that the demolition permit may have been issued in error and that the city’s Development Services Department is conducting a “forensic review.” If that is the case, it is one helluva oops. A dozen red roses and a Hallmark card won’t put humpty dumpty back together again.   [Read more…]

SDFP Is Going All in for $15 Today!

By Staff

SDFP editor Doug Porter will be spending the day at the locations listed below. He’ll be tweeting throughout the day, so check our twitter feed. Doug’s column The Starting Line will return tomorrow with lots of news and analysis of today’s events.

Here’s the list of times and locations for protests on Wednesday:

7 am – Fast Food Worker Strike: 2345 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
8:30 am – Fast Food Worker Strike: 2829 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA
11 am – Security Officer Event:750 B Street San Diego, CA
Noon – State Workers Event: 1350 Front St, San Diego, CA
1:30pm – City Heights Rising Event: 3795 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA
3:30 pm – Home Care Worker Rally: San Diego State University 5500 Campanile Drive San Diego, CA (Between the music building and open air theatre)
4:30 pm– The Big Event: San Diego State University Scripps Cottage Lawn near Hepner Hall 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA   [Read more…]

‘The Grift': Mysteries and Cons at the Lafayette Hotel

Theater without the seat

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

Sometimes the word “theater” can be an intimidating one. Different festivals and companies around the world are recognizing that feeling of intimidation and have designed productions in non-theater related spaces like basketball courts, school yards, parking lots and so on. San Diego is also exploring this dynamic with events such as The Fringe and WoW (Without Walls) festivals.

Each festival, as with every project, entails a learning process. Since the WoW festival is designed to happen every two years, there are several shows in prep for it which give people the idea of the festival. These shows also act as a thermometer, testing out audience’s response to the building hype.

“The Grift,” the latest presentation in the WoW series, is a very particular, creative and innovative way to not only attract new audiences but to also boost teamwork and new relations and friendships. This theatrical event was created exclusively for the Lafayette Hotel, a California boutique hotel located in North Park since 1946.   [Read more…]

UT-San Diego’s Imaginary “War on Cars”

By Doug Porter

Papa Doug Manchester’s Mission Valley minions have decided to create an imaginary world to explain away recent court decisions adverse to the planning documents of the county government and the San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG.

Today’s UT-San Diego editorial fantasizes about an alternative universe wherein their “smart growth” principles are opposed by evil environmentalists seeking to impose suffering upon the good people of America’s Finest City by banning automobiles. It closes with a rant about “those who view cars and freeways the same way that most people think about bubonic plague.”

As is true with other imagined narratives (Fox News fantasies about a War on Christmas is my personal favorite), the War on Cars concept provides the opportunity for rapid-fire distortions and lies.   [Read more…]

Fall Brewing Company Joins North Park Beer Scene

The more the merrier or enough already?

By John P. Anderson

Joining the large beer and brewing scene in North Park, Fall Brewing Company opened for customers this week. The brewery is located at 4542 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104 and is currently in ‘soft opening’ mode. The doors are open, but they’re not yet promoting the brewery to the public while kinks are ironed out – setting up the sales software, building up the stable of beers on tap, arranging staffing, etc.   [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…]

Readers Write: The Community Effort behind the Arrest of a Suspect in the North Park Assaults

By Alan Bennett

North Park citizens were intimately involved in the arrest of David Angelo Drake, a 23-year-old male as a suspect in the sexual assaults on women in North Park over the past four months. The San Diego resident was scheduled to be arraigned September 11, 2014, at the downtown courthouse. Mr. Drake was taken into custody into custody near the corner of Fifth Avenue and Washington Street.

This was possible because a North Park resident took the time to get involved. The tipsters words to me were: “I did not expect that I would solve the puzzle, but I knew that I had to try and that I was going to keep at it until I figured it out.” Although bedridden, the tipster suspected having seen the emblem on the suspect’s Tee shirt caught on a closed circuit television. That image was vague but familiar. After four hours, searching Tee shirt websites, a match was made.   [Read more…]

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

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.   [Read more…]

Reclaiming Public Spaces: The Art of the Alley in Logan Heights and North Park

By Avital Aboody

Last weekend, hundreds of San Diego residents picked up shovels and paint brushes to successfully beautify and activate four alleyways in North Park and Logan Heights. The Media Arts Center on El Cajon Boulevard started the “Take Back the Alley” initiative three years ago by converting their parking lot into a beautiful outdoor events area. But this is the first time that the initiative has actually expanded into the alley (spanning the two blocks between Kansas and Ohio Street), as well as three parallel projects in Logan Heights! For more about how this project got started, read my previous article: Take Back the Alley!   [Read more…]

Alvarez Draws Democratic Stars; Faulconer Attracts Reactionaries (Who Tear Down a Few Campaign Signs)

By Doug Porter

The contrast couldn’t be starker.

A procession of nationally recognized elected Democrats has rolled through San Diego to endorse the candidacy of David Alvarez for Mayor of San Diego.

More than three dozen elected officials from around the state have endorsed his candidacy.  The candidate’s got some star power behind him, connections that could prove valuable in the future.

Exactly zero Republicans outside the Chamber of Commerce/downtown developer set  have stepped up to the plate for his opponent Kevin Faulconer. Only four elected officials from anywhere are listed on his endorsements page. After promising the endorsement of “dozens” of Democrats from around the city for a press conference yesterday, only four were willing to be named on the press release.   [Read more…]

UT-San Diego Shafts its Employees, Blames Obamacare

By Doug Porter

Employees of the UT-San Diego are the latest casualties in the sordid saga of the right wing’s assault on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

UT Publisher Doug Manchester has made opposition and denigration of the President’s health insurance reform agenda a top priority since the day he bought the paper. His editorial pages have been (figuratively) screaming about the impending end of Western Civilization for months on end.  The ACA’s primary pillar—the individual mandate—was actually a conservative counter-proposal to President Clinton’s attempt to implement universal health care nearly two decades ago.   [Read more…]

Support Local Artists, Artisans and Small Businesses, Buy Independent for the Holidays

By Brent E. Beltrán

The holidays are upon us and the time for gift giving is here. Instead of shopping at the malls and giving your hard earned cash to a corporation why not purchase items from local artists and artisans?

Here is a short list of holiday art bazaars and small businesses that deserve to be patronized this holiday season.   [Read more…]

North Park Mayoral Debate Tosses the Rulebook: Intelligent Questions Evoke More Informative Answers

By Doug Porter

I’ve listened to and watched a bunch of mayoral debates this year. Usually I come away from those things feeling like I’d wasted my time.

No other face-off featuring the major players even came close to what occurred last night at the North Park Theater.

I came away with a much better understanding of who the candidates are and what they stand for. Which is what’s supposed to happen.

A broad range of issues were covered. There were no opening statements, no mandated time for each candidate to rebut. Questions were submitted from the general public via electronic media and thoughtfully shaped by Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis.  There were no mouth-breather questions about traffic tickets, favorite colors or unicorns.  No candidate promised free ponies for everybody if they were elected.   [Read more…]

Even Congressman Darrell Issa is Threatened by Falling GOP Poll Numbers

By Doug Porter

Bad things come in threes, so the saying goes, and the Republican Party just got a triple whammy of disastrous poll results.  How bad is it?

It’s so bad even a “safe” Republican like Congressman Darrell Issa’s numbers have tanked. You know it’s bad when the local Democratic Party sends out fundraising emails talking about unseating Brian Bilbray in the last election and saying Issa’s next.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey of 650 voters in the 49th Congressional district taken October 15 & 16 shows Rep. Issa with a 49-43 disapproval margin (9% undecided).  For the first time ever, voters preferred a generic Democratic opponent in a theoretical match up, if only by 1%, well within the margin of error. And his constituents opposed the GOP’s “shut ‘er down” strategy by 62-32%.   [Read more…]

An Introduction to North Park’s Latest Celebrity– Meet Sunny Rey

Author – “Quotes and Poems of a Nobody”

By Judi Curry

Not too long ago, I had a chance meeting with Sunny. And it didn’t start out all that well.

Sunny is the sister of Ian Rey, the young man that worked at Henry’s for over 14 years and was let go because of a missing jacket. I had been talking to another store about the possibility of Ian working there, and Sunny misunderstood my intentions. She thought I wanted to do a story – like the other media – when, in fact, I wanted to introduce Ian to the owners of Baron’s Market, where he now works.

After talking to Sunny and straightening out the reason I wanted to talk to Ian, I found her to be an absolutely delightful person; a poetess in her own right; on the upward path of becoming an entity of her own, writing, reading her poetry, etc. to a wide audience in San Diego. To say that she has a following in San Diego and beyond is mild compared to who she is and what she is becoming.   [Read more…]

Progressive Politics in the Post-Filner Era; Getting Beyond “BlenderGate”

By Doug Porter

Rumors of the Filner’s imminent resignation swirled through the city yesterday like scraps of newsprint caught up in the wind eddies regularly whipping through San Diego’s downtown canyons.

Could IT be today? Would IT be this week? Was the City Attorney working out a deal?

Several dozen people gathered at mid-day to protest the possible return of Mayor Bob Filner to City Hall, chanting “Bob must go!” for the assembled press corps.  The minions of the mainstream media nodded their heads in approval.

The organizers of the recall movement weren’t taking the resignation rumors seriously.  Organizer and Republican activist Michael Pallamary told UT-San Diego, “There’s no reason to believe he will resign. It’s not in his DNA. You got people now turning their tune from resign to recall. There’s only recall. There’s no way he’s going to resign.”   [Read more…]

CicloSDias San Diego – From Golden Hill to City Heights and Back

Yesterday, Sunday, August 11th was CicloSDias in San Diego. Three friends and I – all on bikes – joined the celebrated 5.2 miles of open roads and streets just for bicycles and pedestrians, and we rode from Golden Hill, through North Park, over to City Heights – and back.

Weather was perfect, the streets were cleared of cars – except for the four that we counted along the way – and there was an enthusiastic turn-out for the event. Hundreds of San Diegans took part in the 6 hour free bike tour thr0ugh San Diego’s mid-city. Yes, hundreds – not the thousands that we wanted to see – came out. We wanted to see hordes on bikes – but were happy with what we saw and experienced.

Ever so often, there would be a few tents and the canopies of booths open to participants, some giving away gifts, others selling their bicycling-related products and services.
  [Read more…]

San Diego Zoo Targeted by NRA Activists

By Doug Porter

The National Rifle Association is continually expanding its activities on many different fronts, and the newest of these campaigns, HuntForTruth.Org, has listed the San Diego Zoo as one of the non-governmental organizations it plans to “expose.”

Joining the Zoo as targets of this group are the Peregrine Fund, the Ventana Wildlife Society, the California Condor Recovery Team, the Raptor Education Group, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.  All have urged the Environmental Protection Agency to ban hunters from using lead ammunition because of its effects on eagles, condors, swans and other birds.   [Read more…]

North Park Says Get Back, Jack!

By Doug Porter

Residents in North Park have called for a rally this afternoon at 5pm to protest the continuing denigration of their neighborhood by Gag-in-the-Bag, aka Jack in the Box, at 30th & Upas Streets.

After the company violated the terms of a construction permit for renovation of its fast food restaurant at the location, the Mayor’s office intervened and called upon the City Attorney to issue a stop work order.   [Read more…]

Blackfish: The Documentary Asking Questions SeaWorld Doesn’t Want You to Think About

By Doug Porter

By the time the documentary film Blackfish opens on Friday (Hillcrest/ Landmark Theatres) the SeaWorld public relations campaign should be reaching a crescendo. The way I look at it, any film that provokes this kind of backlash prior to its release is worth checking out.

The questions raised in the movie, which builds a narrative about the captivity of orcas (also known as killer whales) around the death in 2010 of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau, cut deeply into the wholesome public image that the mega chain of water /oceanariums /marine mammal parks seeks to promote.

While spokespeople with SeaWorld refused to cooperate in any way with Gabriela Cowperthwaite during filming, the resulting film is, by all accounts (including SeaWorld’s) a disturbing look at the living conditions of the nearly half of the world’s orcas in captivity owned by the company.   [Read more…]

University Avenue: The Best Opportunity to Show What Cycling in San Diego Can Be

North Park – Mid-City Bicycle Meeting – Tues., June 25 6pm

SANDAG seeks community input for selection of route and infrastructure to make East-West bicycle connections

By John P. Anderson

Tuesday evening SANDAG (San Diego Associations of Governments) will host the 3rd Community Advisory Group Meeting to discuss the North Park – Mid-City (NPMC) Bicycle Corridors Project.  Members of the public are invited to attend and voice their opinion on which routes would be best and which type of infrastructure is preferred (sharrows, bicycle lanes, cycle tracks, etc.).  The meeting will be held from 6:00 PM to 8:30pm at 5450 Lea Street, San Diego, CA 92105 (Teen Challenge Center).   [Read more…]

SD For Free: North Park’s Summer Concert Series in Bird Park Begins June 15th

North Park’s corner of Balboa Park plays host to the 11th annual bi-weekly concert series from June 15 – August 10

A weekly column dedicated to sharing the best sights and activities in San Diego at the best price – free! We have a great city and you don’t need to break the bank to experience it.

Address: Bird Park (north-east corner of Balboa Park at intersection of 28th Street and Thorn Street).

Best For: Date night, family outing, summertime hanging, a peaceful evening with a view

Time and Date: 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM every other week starting on June 15 and ending August 10

Additional Information: Website

Balboa Park encompasses 1,200 acres in the heart of urban San Diego. The area around El Prado comprised of the San Diego Zoo and most of the museums in the park is typically thought of as the ‘heart’ of Balboa Park.

However, there is much more to the park and the various neighborhoods on the fringe of the park have their own ways of claiming Balboa Park as their own.
  [Read more…]

Pershing Drive Bicycling: Let’s Make It Safe

By John P. Anderson

Pershing Drive is one of the best examples in urban San Diego of what well planned and executed bicycle infrastructure can be.  The road has few stops (basically just one, at Florida Drive), goes through an enjoyable area of Balboa Park with many nice views, and has full-width bicycle lanes on both sides of the road.

Additionally, Pershing connects North Park and other neighborhoods like City Heights and Normal Heights with Downtown – an ideal route for those commuting to work Downtown or headed there for entertainment or other purposes.  It is also a great example of how an ideal situation can be squandered.   [Read more…]

It’s Spring and the McKinley School Garden is the Best Kind of Green

A Trip to the Octopus’ Garden

By Karen Kenyon

It’s a sunny day and McKinley Elementary School has a little paradise in its back lot.

No Adam and Eve — but trees and plants that bring knowledge of the earth and its abundance.

And organic, as well! Here is a garden with edible plants and seasonal flowers (lettuce, carrots, radishes, artichokes, fava beans — daisies, sweet peas, California poppies – and even a lemon tree with gorgeous lemons) all surrounded by a sea-themed mural created from broken tiles, pottery, and mirrors. Words that define the International Baccelaureate School’s values weave their way into the patterns of the mural —Respect, Tolerance, Creativity, Imagination, Curiosity….

This area, called “The Octopus’ Garden” is watched over by a large mosaic octopus whose tentacles seem to reach out to enclose visitors with a kindly hug as they enter this magical space.   [Read more…]