KPBS’ Tarryn Mento reports that the City Heights Economic Development Collaborative is seeking California Cultural District designation for the Little Saigon area of City Heights. If successful it will join the Barrio Logan and Balboa Park districts to represent San Diego among the current fourteen designated districts. The hope is that this designation can be used in the fight against gentrification. [Read more…]
Probably the most fascinating of Gloria Muriel’s murals in the alley is one she did with friends this year. Framing a large, classic “Glow” woman, a series of faces, beginning with two softly rendered women, evolve into hard-edged geometric faces that burst into triangular forms, all of which are bracketed by semi-circles floating over black space, a kind of evolutionary progression of humanity in time and space over chaos.
When I say this one appears to have a fully developed storyline, Muriel laughs. [Read more…]
By George Howell
Artist Gloria “Glow” Muriel is touching up the large eyes of the “Mystery Lady,” whose wavy hair flows along the wall of El General Market in Azalea Park. Someone has “tagged” her, subtly adding brown paint to her eyes.
Muriel notes the graceful way the eyes were tagged and then squeezes a burst of spray paint.
“I’m improving their work,” she laughs. “I’m helping them.”
I first saw Muriel’s work in Tijuana’s Pasaje Rodriguez, the creative marketplace off Avenida Revolución known for its terrific assortment of murals. Muriel, born in Mexico City and raised in Mexicali, studied graphic design at the Universidad Ibero-Americano in Playas de Tijuana and came to San Diego in 2002 because of a medical crisis in her family. Although she continued to sketch during the illness, she put her art career on hold for several years, and then developed a unique style, a catalogue of female characters with exaggerated eyes and abstracted expressions who range from the childlike to the mature to the mystical. [Read more…]
By Rebecca Paida
The saying goes, if you are not at the table, you are on the menu! This statement suggests that advocacy by supporters is essential but that lived experiences also matter. If people with first-hand experiences of a particular phenomenon are not part of decision making processes, then they will likely get left out. For many underrepresented and under-served populations, including refugees and immigrants in the San Diego region, this is a reality that they must confront. While some residents actively participate in civic discourse at the community level, that is the extent of their contributions. This is in part because they have little or no opportunities to affect policies at the City level and beyond, due to a lack of inclusion.
“Why didn’t you ask the neighbors and the community what they might think?”
This past week San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced as one of the key highlights of his State of the City that he is bringing forward “the first comprehensive vision for San Diego’s parks in more than 60 years” and promised that “ground would be broken on 50 new or upgraded parks during the next five years. “
Actual budgets are always a reality check on visionary pronouncements. By April we should know if and how this vision will be reflected in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2017 budget.
There is a need for yet another kind of reality check. The convergence of the promise of a new grand vision for parks by the Mayor while the city’s Real Estate Asset Department (READ) pushes ahead with the sale of city-owned properties brings us to an important crossroads for determining the future of the Commons for the City of San Diego. [Read more…]
Resistance, Vision and Community
Chicano Park exists in Barrio Logan because of the construction of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and the loss of property and displacement of lives that it caused. The community responded in a powerful, unique way. Residents couldn’t stop the construction, but they did lay claim to the land beneath the immense concrete pillars that enabled travelers above to make their way across the Coronado Bridge, oblivious to the transformation occurring below them. The land that was being readied for a California Highway Patrol substation was re-claimed as a long promised park. The reclamation began as a twelve day occupation that involved hundreds of people.
City Heights was likewise changed forever when eight city blocks along 40th Street- people’s homes and businesses–were scoured from the face of the earth in the early 1990’s to make way for the last connecting link of I-15, which extends from Canada to Mexico. City Heights would become a scorched earth community divided by an enormous ditch in keeping with Caltrans signature construction style. [Read more…]
From City Heights Town Hall to Airport Protest
“Tell me what democracy looks like!”
“This is what democracy looks like!”
The chant ran up and down the whole length of Terminal 2 of San Diego’s Lindbergh Airport, up and down the opposite side of the terminal and could be heard on the second floor walkway. Three lines of cars ran between the two and those cars honked their horns while passengers waved flags and held signs outside of the windows.
An estimated 2,000 of us put our bodies on the public sidewalks of the airport to protest the fear and chaos engendered by Trump’s recent executive order restricting immigration from seven Muslim countries. [Read more…]
San Diego City Councilwoman Myrtle Cole’s contentious election as Council President last week culminated with her appointments to the various City Council committees. Few of us know that these committees exist or what they do, but by the time issues are brought before the full City Council for legislative action they have been discussed and pretty much finalized in a committee.
Cole’s appointments to the Public Services and Livable Neighborhood (PS&L) committee denies a seat at the table for those of us who live in communities south of 8. Her selection of Councilmembers Chris Cate (chair), Lorie Zapf (vice chair), Barbary Bry, and Chris Ward is enraging, deeply concerning and unacceptable. [Read more…]
Seventeen hundred dollars. Seventeen hundred dollars has become the standard monthly rent for a two bedroom apartment in City Heights. Over the past six months many residents who were paying around fourteen hundred dollars a month for a two bedroom apartment saw their monthly rents suddenly increase– by hundreds of dollars.
The increase in rents does not reflect a sudden investment by the property owners in additional amenities associated with gentrification. Property owners are raising the rent simply because they can. It’s the same housing stock, sometimes poorly maintained, at rental prices that are out of reach in a community with an average household income of thirty-three thousand dollars per year. [Read more…]
By John Stump
Rainbow Pipeline 1600 passes through heavily populated urban areas of San Diego, including my home community of City Heights. This pipeline is approaching 70 years of age and if it was human it would have retired, be collecting Social Security, and on Medicare. The San Bruno explosion made clear the scale of injury and property that could result from a pipeline failure. The Rainbow Pipeline 1600 is older, bigger, and under higher pressure than the disastrous San Bruno pipeline.
Last year at the San Diego Free Press third birthday celebration at Border X Brewery in Barrio Logan, an extensive collection of the first iteration of SDFP, circa 1968, was on display. Bud Sonka had kept these paper copies in an oversize folio box these past decades and brought them out to the surprise and delight of all of us. The term “archivist” could now also be added to Bud’s lifelong accomplishments as an agitator and intellectual. And mahjong player.
Bud passed away last week. We have not had time to pull together the celebration of his life that he deserves because we were out organizing and agitating in response to Donald Trump’s appearance in San Diego. We think Bud would have approved of how we spent our time. [Read more…]
Will these improvements be included in San Diego’s FY’17 budget?
By Anastasia Brewster / City Heights Community Development Corporation
[Originally posted November 7, 2015]
In October of 2015, fifteen-year-old Crawford student Jonathan Cortez was tragically killed in a hit and run crash on 54th Street just south of Lea Street, where I live with my young family. The news that a teenager died along the same route where I regularly bike with my 7- and 9-year olds to their school hit too close to home, eliciting a parent’s worst fear. My heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends who survive Jonathan.
Local residents have long been concerned with the safety of this section of 54th Street. Vehicle crashes regularly occur at the intersection of 54th Street and University Ave, and the free right turns at this intersection expose pedestrians to unnecessary risk when crossing the street. The bike lanes along 54th Street are not continuous, and in fact none exist where Jonathan was hit, nor do sidewalks. These deficits create an unsafe environment – they limit our viable choices on how we move through our community. [Read more…]