By Benny Cartwright
Hillcrest is a very special and unique neighborhood, and many of its residents are very passionate about the place they call home. The Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) was founded in 2007 to provide a voice for the residents of Hillcrest, whether they be renters, owners or unhoused, and our most recent meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13 was designed to make sure we stayed true to that original mission.
The meeting was titled “Have Your Say!” and instead of the usual 10-15 minute section for non-agenda public comment, we devoted an entire hour to hearing residents concerns and wants for the neighborhood. While we were happy to provide this forum, we know all too well that just letting people share their concerns can become unproductive so we asked residents to not only share their issues and concerns, but also try to suggest potential solutions.
We had a great conversation with folks speaking about issues of concern including affordable housing, dirty sidewalks, bumpy roads, crime, drug use, building height and density, and homelessness.
Many representatives of our local elected officials stayed the length of the meeting and took notes to share with their offices, as well as answer concerns that arose during the meeting that they had information about. We are still digesting the suggested solutions and hope to put together a plan to move forward in the next month.
One thing that I think we knew was the case but was evidenced at the meeting is that not all of Hillcrest’s residents (and others who love Hillcrest but don’t necessarily live here) have the same vision for the future of the neighborhood, especially when it comes to the issue of density in the neighborhood. While this is a very complex issue that affects multiple stakeholders, we look forward to providing a space for folks with varying opinions on this to work together to find reasonable solutions that will benefit all.
As the year rapidly comes to an end, we have a few more events coming up. Our next community meeting is on Tuesday, Oct. 11 from 6:30—8 p.m. and will feature a presentation by California Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni G. Atkins, who will talk about what she’s been working on in Sacramento and take questions from the audience.
Election Day this year falls on Tuesday, Nov. 8, and we encourage everyone to get out and vote. Since Election Day is on the second Tuesday of the month this year, it falls on the day of our meeting. We will still meet that evening so please vote and then join us! More on the agenda for that meeting to come soon.
Finally, the holidays! They’ll be here before we know it. This year, neighbors have two chances to celebrate. First, our friends at the Bankers Hill Community Group and Hillcrest History Guild will host the annual Holiday Potluck on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. at the San Diego Indoor Sports Club, 3030 Front St. in Bankers Hill. Then, on Friday, Dec. 16 from 6—8 p.m., HTC will host our first (and hopefully annual) Holiday Social Mixer at a venue in Hillcrest to be announced soon.
Keep an eye on this column, Hillcrest Town Council on Facebook, and hillcresttowncouncil.com for updates and more information!
—Benny Cartwright is the vice chair of the Hillcrest Town Council.