Padres plan to renovate left field
As part of their multi-million dollar plan to improve Petco Park, the San Diego Padres announced the details regarding renovations of left field for 2015. Included in the changes are enhancements to their video display system, known as the “jumbo tron,” which after upgrades will be the third-largest in Major League Baseball. Additional improvements include updates to the left field seating area below the video display, with two new rows and an increase of 171 total seats. The overhang above will be recessed and raised to allow better viewing angles for fans in the lower seats.
The new state-of-the-art high definition video board will measure over 60 feet tall and 120 feet wide and will cover almost 8,000 square feet of space, nearly five times the size of the current video screen. New LED “ribbons” will be installed along the first and third base lines and the left field grandstand. The Padres said the changes are an investment in the latest technology to improve fan experience. In addition to the added seats in the front of the section, two rows of fixed seats will be removed in order to add barstool seating and additional barstools and drink rails will be added to the upper section. Seats in this area may be sold as individual tickets or used as an area for fans to socialize. To further accommodate the changes, the padded left field wall will be brought in 34 – 38 inches and lowered a foot. Demolition is set to begin next week and improvements are scheduled to be complete prior to opening day in spring 2015. For more information and specifics, visit padrespressbox.com.
New program grants free admission to participating institutions
On the first full weekend of each month, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch customers can now take advantage of a free program, “Museums on Us.” By showing a credit or debit card from either financial institution (along with photo ID) park visitors will get free general admission to participating museums, aquariums and more. In San Diego, Birch Aquarium at Scripps (2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla), the Museum of Photographic Arts (1649 El Prado, Balboa Park) and the San Diego Museum of Art (1450 El Prado, Balboa Park) are part of the program, which has 150 participating locations nationwide. To see upcoming “Museums on Us” dates and a full list of participants, visit museums.bankofamerica.com.
Martinis Above Fourth brings two sirens to stage
Martinis Above Fourth Table and Stage in Hillcrest have expanded their cabaret and have scheduled the tributes of two singing legends this month. On Nov. 13, Carol Welsman will take the stage at 8 p.m. with her tribute called “Reflections of Peggy Lee.” Welsman is an internationally known singer and pianist. This is the first time Peggy Lee’s life story has been told through her music on stage. Welsman’s delivery and looks are said to be “hauntingly” similar to Lee. Doors open at 6 p.m. On Nov. 20, Chantal will take the stage with her tribute to Edith Piaf, the French singer-songwriter and subject of the academy award winning film, “La Vie En Rose.” Songs about loss, love, sorrow, hope and romance will be part of the set. Martinis Above Fourth Table and Stage is located at 3940 Fourth Ave. in Hillcrest. For tickets and more information, visit martinisabovefourth.com.
Asian Film Fest offering discounts to library members
In conjunction with the San Diego Public Library’s annual One Book, One San Diego reading program, the San Diego Asian Film Festival is offering library card holders a discount for tickets purchased for this year’s 15th annual festival. Attendees may show their library card at the host box office at Ultra Star Cinemas in Hazard Center, or use discount code SDLIBRARY for tickets purchased online and get a $2 discount off any general admission ticket. This year’s One Book selection is “Monstress” by Lysley Tenorio, a book filled with short stories set in both the Philippines and California. For more information about the San Diego Asian Film Festival visit sdaff.org. To learn more about the One Book, One San Diego program, visit sandiegolibrary.org.
Chargers Blood Drive
The Chargers and their fans are ready for “Chargers Drive XXXVI for Health and Wellness,” presented by San Diego County Credit Union, Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the Town & Country Convention Center in Mission Valley. This is one of the Chargers’ longest running community events of the year. San Diego Blood Bank has expanded the drive this year, adding a “Wellness Zone” with interactive exhibits, activities, food sampling, entertainment and much more. In addition to donating blood and meeting Charger players, the first 500 people will get free blood typing and all attendees may take advantage of the free bone marrow registry onsite. Admission is just $5 for adults, $1 for children ages 3 – 12 years. Proceeds will help the San Diego Blood Bank get a new Bloodmobile. Those who donate will receive a parking validation and may also request a refund of their admission price. Blood donations will begin at 9 a.m. with the exhibits and entertainment starting at 10 a.m. For more information call 619-296-6393 or visit sandiegobloodbank.org.
First Rapid Transit bus now in service
The MTS Mid-City Rapid Transit Bus debuted on Park Boulevard in early October, offering a speedier bus route with its own dedicated traffic lane. The “Rapid 215” will run from San Diego State to Downtown San Diego. Earlier this year, Voice of San Diego reported that while a rapid transit bus system is considerably less expensive than other “high-end transit,” the mid-city line only reduces travel time by 10 to 22 percent during peak hours, which equates to shaving four to 11 minutes off a rider’s daily commute.
SANDAG eventually plans to turn the route into a light-rail transit line by 2035, according to its Long-Term Transportation Plan, but the agency is currently fighting a lawsuit that claims the plan does not meet state-mandated greenhouse gas-reduction targets. The “Rapid 215” runs seven days a week from 5 to 1 a.m., picking up every 10 minutes during rush hour.
Local minimum wage increase now up to voters
The minimum wage ordinance passed earlier this year by the City Council will now require passage by San Diego voters in June 2016. After a successful petition campaign led by the right-leaning San Diego Chamber of Commerce to block the ordinance, the City Council was forced to either rescind the measure or put it on a citywide ballot; they chose the latter. “Minimum wage opponents delayed the implementation of the minimum wage increase by funding a deceitful referendum campaign,” stated Council President Todd Gloria, who authored the ordinance, in a press release. “The result is that 172,000 San Diegans will have to wait at least two years to get these necessary raises that will help them keep a roof on their heads and food on their tables. I look forward to a campaign based on facts, rather than the lies told during the signature gathering process.” The ordinance would raise the minimum wage to $11.50 over a three-year period and guarantee employees the right to earned sick leave. Meanwhile, the statewide minimum wage, currently $9 per hour, will bump up to $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016.