Downtown News Briefs April 2014

Posted: March 31st, 2014 | Downtown Briefs, News, Opinion & News | 1 Comment

Charity event for Monarch School

Andaz San Diego, located at 600 F St., in East Village, is offering a special social event on April 23 called Andaz MBA (music, beer and art) to raise money for Monarch School. Monarch gives Downtown’s homeless children a safe and friendly atmosphere to learn in. For admission to MBA, participants are asked to donate art supplies, all which will go to Monarch School to support art projects. Modern Times Brewery will be on hand with their latest craft brews, local artist’s work will be on display, and guests will listen to local music. This event is open to anyone 21+. For more information, call Andaz San Diego at 619-849-1234.

Federal audit of SDPD to be conducted

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman announced the City plans to open its books to a Department of Justice management practices audit on the San Diego Police Department (SDPD), which is expected to take approximately six months. The audit will look at protocol and practices, especially those meant to detect problem officers, and recommend policies and procedures to improve the department. Faulconer stated he looks forward to hearing and implementing the recommendations, and promised to ensure public access to the recommendations. The audit follows two charges of sexual misconduct by on-duty police officers, with one convicted of demanding sexual favors from women during traffic stops. The other officer is currently under investigation. The mayor stated this audit is key for restoring trust in SDPD.

Balboa Park Explorer Pass launches

On March 17, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Council President Todd Gloria joined Balboa Park Cultural Partnership at the San Diego Air and Space Museum to announce the launch of the Balboa Park Explorer Pass program. The first-of-its-kind pass provides general admission to all 17 Balboa Park institutions for an entire year. Participating institutions include Centro Cultural de la Raza, Japanese Friendship Garden, Mingei International Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego Air and Space Museum, San Diego Art Institute – Museum of the Living Artist, San Diego Automotive Museum, San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum, San Diego History Center, San Diego Model Railroad Museum, The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Man, San Diego Natural History Museum (theNAT), Timken Museum of Art, Veterans Museum and Memorial Center and the World Beat Center. The program also offers a special opportunity for San Diegans to get “Charter Explorer” status. Annual Balboa Park Explorer passes purchased by April 17 will receive a three-year price lock upon renewal along with an exclusive insignia “Charter Explorer” printed on their personalized pass. The Explorer Passes are $129 for adults, $99 for seniors and students, and $199 for families of six or less. For more information, visit

Seaside Market from Carlsbad joins the Petco Park concession family this season (Courtesy San Diego Padres)

Seaside Market from Carlsbad joins the Petco Park concession family this season (Courtesy San Diego Padres)

New market concession to offer baseball fans healthy options

North County grocer “Seaside Market” announced an agreement with the San Diego Padres and Delaware North Companies — the food service manager of Petco Park — to open a location at Petco Park for the 2014 spring baseball season. The new specialty grocer will debut Sunday, March 30, which is Opening Night and the Padres play the Los Angeles Dodgers starting at 5:05 p.m. Cardiff Seaside Market has been family owned and operated since 1985 and its Petco Park location will offer baseball fans a sandwich bar, flatbreads, cold salads, fruit, a hot bar, fresh juice, organic sodas and craft beers. “DNC is very fortunate to have partnered with Seaside Market,” said DNC Sportservice’s Petco Park General Manager Josh Pell in a press release. “Having a market in the ballpark will allow us to serve several new, healthy food options as well as gourmet dishes not commonly found in sports venues.” Fans will be able to make purchases at the market and take them to their seats inside the stadium or to the Park in the Park for a picnic with family and friends. For more info on the San Diego Padres, visit

The Headquarters launches farmers’ market

Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. a new farmer’s market will be in operation at The Headquarters at Seaport District, located at Harbor Dr. Named Brian’s Certified Farmers’ Market after local San Diego Farmers’ Market creator Brian Beevers, the open air market first debuted on March 23. Up to 30 vendors will line up along Harbor Drive  between Pacific Highway and Ruocco Park. In addition to a selection of artisan breads, cheeses, fine wine, seafood, herbs and other produce, the market will also include stalls filled with several Headquarters restaurateurs, including Puesto, Gelato Paradiso, and Venissimo Cheese.Beevers is teaming up with David Klamen of the Ocean Beach Farmers’ Market and they hope the stylized stalls offer a “traditional marketplace feel.” “Strolling through the marketplace on Sunday is a great family outing and sure to be popular with the community,” said Jennifer Gordon, vice president of marketing for Terramar Retail Centers, owner and developer of The Headquarters at Seaport District. The market will also be one of few that offer “electronic transfer” so shoppers who receive public assistance may buy organic and pesticide-free products. For more information, visit or visit

New car for Vintage Trolley’s Silver Line

Vintage Trolley #530 arriving at the Trolley's maintenance facility. (Courtesy MTS)

Vintage Trolley #530 arriving at the Trolley’s maintenance facility. (Courtesy MTS)

MTS recently announced the acquisition of another 1946 Presidents Conference Committee (PCC) car planned for restoration and use with the San Diego Vintage Trolley’s Silver Line. “The addition of another PCC car to our vintage Trolley fleet means that MTS can offer more reliable service to passengers who want to experience a piece of San Diego’s transportation history first-hand,” said Harry Mathis, chairman of the MTS board of directors in a press release. “This PCC car is similar to the ones that provided service in San Diego from 1936 until the last car was retired in 1949. Riding one is like stepping back in time.” Once the trolley car is restored, it will join the local fleet as PCC #530 and offer flexibility in case PCC #529, currently the only vintage trolley in operation, should need service. Restoration of the new vintage trolley car will be performed by MTS personnel and be mostly cosmetic. San Diego Gas & Electric contributed $50,000 toward the restoration and once completed, the interior of the car will display historic SDG&E photos of electric transportation. The trolley car will be named “Centennial,” honoring both the upcoming 100-year anniversary of the Panama-California Exposition that took place at Balboa Park and the fact that SDG&E has been powering MTS trolleys for over 100 years. “Thanks to SDG&E’s contribution PCC # 530 restoration work is expected to be completed in six to eight months and be included as part of regular Trolley service on the Silver Line,” said Mr. Mathis. San Diego Vintage Trolley, Inc. (SDVTI). The 501(c)(3) nonprofit was created in 2005 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of MTS. Once the restoration of PCC #530 is complete, SDVTI will assume operation and maintenance responsibility. For more information about the vintage trolleys and their MTS route through Downtown, visit

The parking lot at 13th and J streets where a "placemaking" sign (at right) asks passersby "What would you like to see here?" (Courtesy San Diego Downtown Partnership)

The parking lot at 13th and J streets where a “placemaking” sign (at right) asks passersby “What would you like to see here?” (Courtesy San Diego Downtown Partnership)

SDDP and East Village Assn ask for ‘placemaking’ input

On the gate of a small parking lot at 13th Avenue and J Street is a large blue and white sign with many small boxes that says, “What do you want here?” The sign begs passersby to share what they’d like to see happen with the parking lot. The San Diego Downtown Partnership in conjunction with the East Village Association, RD Lab and owner of the property HP Investors, is conducting this social experiment, to see what kind of response they can get. It is part of their larger “Urban Placemaking” initiative that plans to take low-use spaces and turn them into lively, engaging spaces. “We need to look at public and private spaces in new ways and find innovative solutions that serve the community and create excitement about the Downtown experience. Where others see asphalt, we see opportunity,” said Kris Michell, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership in a press release. “Our firm strives not just to create value for our investors, but also for the communities we invest in,” said Sumeet Parekh, principal of HP Investors in the release. Parekh approached SDDP about the idea of engaging the community. “In evaluating different options to enhance this property, we recognized an opportunity to do something unique and cool that would also create a neighborhood amenity.” The sign, modeled after other open space community engagement signs like “Before I Die,” has so far received responses from a dog park to a children’s play area. “The East Village community is excited about this new space and can’t wait to help make it a reality,” said David Hazan, president of the East Village Association in the release.  Community feedback will be sought over the next couple of months, after which HP Investors has agreed to fund the revitalization of the space, while SDDP’s Clean and Safe program will supervise the site. Michell said she and her staff will continue to search out other spaces to further the placemaking initiative. For more about the SDDP, visit

5K and expo to support Parkinson’s Association

A U.S.A. Track and Field-sanctioned 5K run/walk will be sponsored by the local Parkinson’s Association on Apr. 12, at NTC Park in Liberty Station. Renown sportscaster Dick Enberg will be master of ceremonies for the event, which will open at 7 a.m. for registration. Runners will begin at 8 a.m. and walkers will start at 8:30 a.m. Runners and walkers and their families will also have access to what is being called “the largest neurological medical expo in California.” Researchers and experts from UC San Diego School of Medicine, Scripps Health, the Salk Institute, and many more will be on hand to answer questions or offer information. Next to the expo will be the Parkinson’s Association’s “Life Enhancement” Spring Symposium, featuring speakers from a variety of universities, hospitals, and research clinics discussing cutting-edge treatments and research topics. Health services for those affected by Parkinson’s disease will also be on hand, as well as representatives from Paws for Parkinson’s, a dog adoption and support organization. The day’s events are geared toward families, with a kid’s playground, classic car show, food trucks, a beer garden, live music and drawings. 5K participation fees are $45 adults, $20 children (12/under) and $10 for dogs. For more information or to register visit or call 858-273-6763.

Faulconer rescinds proposed email purge

Soon after taking office on March 3, Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced he was suspending a recent policy that would delete City emails more than a year old, pending further review. Faulconer then rescinded the highly criticized Administrative Regulation 90.67 on March 18. Council President Todd Gloria first proposed the policy in his final weeks serving as interim mayor. The proposal came after the City switched to a new email archive system in January, which allowed for the preservation of emails for an unlimited amount of time. Concerns arose regarding how the City would maintain such a large amount of data, but Faulconer said his office is now working to develop the most cost-effective way to store City email data permanently.

Creek to Bay annual cleanup seeks volunteers

Registration will open April 1 for volunteers of all ages to help I Love a Clean San Diego (ILACSD) clean up coastal and inland sites around San Diego County on April 26. The event has grown from 2,000 volunteers at 27 cleanup sites 12 years ago to approximately 6,000 volunteers and 90 locations today.  At this year’s three-hour Creek to Bay Cleanup, volunteers are expected to remove graffiti and landscaping, and perform storm drain stenciling. Areas of concentration fall between Oceanside and Tijuana and Ocean Beach to Alpine, and include various beaches, bays, canyons, creek beds and other urban areas. “As I Love A Clean San Diego celebrates its 60th anniversary year, it is more important than ever that our events, such as the Creek to Bay Cleanup, work to build the next generation of environmental stewards,” said Pauline Martinson, executive director of I Love A Clean San Diego in a press release. “Through these cleanup efforts, volunteers young and old will be empowered to take action in preserving our local environment.” In all of 2013, volunteers assisted with 219 cleanups, and the removal of 220 tons of debris. For a list of locations or to register, visit after April 1.

St. Paul’s Nationally recognized

The McColl Health Center, one of St. Paul’s Senior Homes and Services locations, recently received a five-star ranking in U.S. News and World Report’s annual Best Nursing Homes. Senior living facilities in all 50 states were rated and 3,867 have earned an overall rating of five stars; St. Paul’s was rated for their excellence. Areas ranked are health inspections, nurse staffing and quality of care. “On any given morning this year, roughly 1.4 million individuals will wake up in a U.S. nursing home. That number translates to 1 in 34 people ages 65 and up,” said Avery Comarow, health rankings editor in a press release. “They and their families will want and need a way to find a source of the best possible care. For many, it won’t be easy and we want to help families find a good and caring facility for those they cherish.” Rankings are based on the consumer website Nursing Home Compare, run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). For more information on St. Paul’s call 619-239-6900 or visit

Father Joe’s Villages receives $2 million from Qualcomm founder

Franklin Antonio, co-founder, executive vice president and chief scientist at Qualcomm, Inc., recently donated $2 million to Father Joe’s Villages for its lunch program. Father Joe’s serve more than a million meals each year to the fourth largest homeless population in the country, often between 700 and 900 at each meal. The gift ensures 300,000 lunches will be served over the next five years. The announcement was made March 14 at the Paul Mirabile Center, located at 1501 Imperial Ave. “We are extremely grateful to Mr. Antonio for this tremendous donation, which will provide so many individuals with their only meal for the day,” said Diane Stumph, president of Father Joe’s Villages. The free lunch program started in the 1950s and was one of the first services offered by Father Joe’s. It serves the homeless and the working poor in nearby communities. “Father Joe’s is a San Diego treasure,” Antonio said March 14. “I’m incredibly impressed by what they accomplish, and I’m honored to be able to help.” The lunch program was renamed “Franklin Antonio Public Lunch Program.” For more information about Father Joe’s Villages and their partner agency, St. Vincent de Paul, visit


One Comments

Leave a Comment