NORTH PARK COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION SEEKS WEBSITE MANAGER, EDITOR
The North Park Community Association is seeking to fill key volunteer positions: website manager and newsletter editor. Candidates for website manager will administer content on the association’s site, northparksd.org. The direct contact for the position is the board of directors and newsletter editor. For the editor position, NPCA is seeking a volunteer familiar with Constant Contact or similar program who will oversee their email newsletter, NPCA News. The organization says one person would ideally do this, but two would be acceptable. Current manager and editor Beth Swersie will be leaving her position at the end of the year. “I’m proud to have been a part of NPCA for so many years,” she said in a newsletter. “It’s great to see a vibrant community of people … bringing new ideas, energy, enthusiasm and ‘hipness’ to the Association.” For complete information, contact Swersie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
805 GATEWAY BEAUTIFICATION PROJECT IS DEDICATED
A neighborhood improvement project originally initiated by a concerned Uptown resident has been completed. Steve Codraro, who is also a member of the North Park Main Street (NPMS) board, noticed the rundown area at the intersection of Wabash and University avenues while waiting in traffic earlier this year. He said he viewed the location as a “prominent area that leads into both North Park and City Heights” that didn’t “reflect the greatness of the two communities.” Overgrown weeds and a broken cement wall made for the unsightly scene. To beautify the space, NPMS worked with not only the City Heights Business Association, but also San Diego Gas & Electric who owns the wall, Councilmember Todd Gloria’s office, and a graduate of Downtown’s NewSchool of Architecture and Design, Luke English, who stepped up to donate his time to both conceptualize and create the metal artwork that was used to attach to the wall. The corner was celebrated on Oct. 12, when Gloria unveiled the new art on the wall located just east of the 805 freeway’s northbound University Avenue exit.
MUSEUM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTS TO HOST FIRST ARAB FILM FESTIVAL
San Diego nonprofit KARAMA has partnered with the Arab Film Festival (AFF) to bring the first festival featuring films about the Arab world to San Diego, taking place Nov. 16 and 17 at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park. Currently, the AFF produces similar events in San Francisco, Berkeley, Calif., San Jose and Los Angeles. The two-day festival will include an inaugural opening night reception featuring “Where Do We Go Now,” a film from Lebanon directed by Toronto Film Festival Audience Award-winner Nadine Labaki, as well as the short film “Bahiya & Mahmoud” by director Zaid Abu Hamdan. Haman won Best of Festival at the 2011 Palm Springs International Short Fest and will be in attendance at the San Diego festival for a question and answer period with the audience. Other features include “The War Around Us” (U.S./Palestine) and “Masquerades” (Algeria), as well as several other short films, and “The War Around Us” director Abdallah Omeish will be in attendance. KARAMA’s mission is to promote understanding of the Arab and Islamic world, with a vision to grow the San Diego AFF into a major cultural event in the region that “enhances the identity, perception and understanding” of the Arab world. For more information visit karamanow.org/films.html.
CITY COUNCIL APPROVES ‘SUNSHINE ACT’ ORDINANCE
Authored by Councilmember Carl DeMaio, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the “Sunshine Act” ordinance, which is designed to increase disclosure and transparency reforms for the city. The ordinance gained its name because DeMaio initially introduced the measure during National Sunshine Week, which is dedicated to promoting dialog about the importance of open government and freedom of information. Now approved, the Sunshine Act will require the city to provide the public with texts of contracts awarded for services over $25,000, written justification from the mayor for any sole contract over $25,000 and a list of all vendors receiving payments exceeding $25,000 among others. In a press release, DeMaio praised the council for the decision. “I applaud my colleagues for the bipartisan vote to approve the Sunshine Act and make San Diego one of the most open and transparent city governments in the nation,” he said. “This law sheds a light on City Hall and will allow the public to access information regarding city financial decisions, payments and transactions.”
MISSION HILLS RESTAURATEUR SELECTED FOR EXPLORE SAN DIEGO PROJECT
Su-Mei Yu, owner of Saffron restaurant located in the newly designated International Restaurant Row on India Street, has been selected as one of two winners of the KPBS-sponsored Explore San Diego project. Implemented as a submission-led contest for new programming for the nonprofit media outlet, Yu and the second winner, journalist Nan Sterman, will host their own KPBS programs that embody the “explorer spirit” of San Diego. “We’re incredibly proud to offer two new TV programs next spring from two highly regarded experts,” said John Decker, KPBS director of programming, in a press release. “Nan and Su-Mei are San Diego icons who genuinely care about the community.” Yu’s program, “Savor San Diego,” will follow the chef and cookbook author as she seeks “San Diego-centric growers, fisherman, vendors, products and all things food related,” the release said. “A Growing Passion,” Sterman’s program, will use her “passion for sustainable gardening” to provide trends in gardening, agriculture and horticulture throughout San Diego County. The first contest of this type, KPBS representatives said they will hold a similar contest next year. For more information visit kpbs.org/exploresandiego.
DIVERSIONARY THEATRE ANNOUNCES CAST FOR NEXT PRODUCTION
The complete cast for Diversionary Theatre’s latest production, “when last we flew” was announced Oct. 23. Included in the cast are Faeren Adams, Marshall Anderson, Lynaé DePriest, DeAnna Driscoll, Noah Longton and Cordell Mosteller. Colette Robert will direct the West coast premiere, which was written by Harrison David Rivers. “When last we flew” addresses topics including being African-American and gay in contemporary, teenage culture, the power of the arts to change lives and a family’s journey. Adams is returning to Diversionary after performing in “Learn to Be Latina,” Driscoll returns after her work in the theater company’s “Cloud 9” and “Lot’s Daughters,” and Longton’s Diversionary work includes “Edward II,” “Dooley,” “New Century” and “Sextet.” Anderson, DePriest and Mosteller are making their Diversionary debuts. Performances for the play begin Nov. 8, with official opening Nov. 17. “When last we flew” runs through Dec. 9; Diversionary Theatre is located at 4545 Park Blvd. in University Heights.
COUNCIL-APPROVED AFFORDABLE-HOUSING PARKING POLICY APPLAUDED
The MOVE (Mobility Options Viable for Everyone) Alliance applauded the City Council on Oct. 16 for the approval of an ordinance that will allow affordable housing developers to maximize limited space with more homes and apartments in transit-priority areas. MOVE chair Kathy Breedlove said in a press release the new standards will reform the “one-size-fits-all” approach to development and is expected to allow the flexibility to create better communities. The ordinance will allow affordable housing developments to maximize the number of homes within walking distance of transit and other amenities by lowering the number of unused parking spots. “This eliminates wasted space and inefficient use of valuable land and creates new opportunity for increasing much needed housing units in the city,” said Elyse Lowe, MOVE executive director, in the release.
In a 2010 San Diego study, data from a sample of 34 local affordable-housing sites show that:
- Parking demand for affordable units is roughly half of typical San Diego rental units
- Demand varies with the type of affordable housing
- Parking demand rises with the size of dwelling units and higher income levels
- Demand for parking is less in areas with frequent transit and walkable destinations
- Developments supplied more peak overnight parking than spaces used
Several councilmembers commented on their support of the ordinance, citing the new growth paradigm for San Diego and trends toward transit orientation with multi-modal networks that require less driving, alleviating the need for surplus parking. Once the ordinance goes into effect, the city will provide parking rates for four different types of affordable housing: family, single-resident occupancy, senior housing and studio or one-bedroom apartments. The new parking rates model takes into account residents, visitors and staff parking, as well as special circumstances when demand is higher. The new ordinance will not go into effect until the Coastal Commission hears the new ordinance in the next 18 months.
26 BAKERS PARTICIPATE IN MAMA’S KITCHEN FUNDRAISER
Now in its eighth year, the annual Mama’s Pie in the Sky Thanksgiving Bake Sale for Mama’s Kitchen has added 10 new participating “bakeries” this year, bringing the total to 26 local restaurants, hotels and catering businesses. Located throughout San Diego County, the 26 bakers pledge to donate baked pies to the nonprofit, which will then be delivered for pickup on Nov. 21, the day before Thanksgiving. Pies cost $20, with all proceeds funding Mama’s Kitchen programs. Last year, the bake sale was the most successful to date, bringing in more than $100,000. “The annual Mama’s Pie in the Sky pie sale has become a Thanksgiving tradition in San Diego. It provides an opportunity to check off one more thing from your holiday ‘to-do’ list while supporting our mission,” said Alberto Cortés, Mama’s Kitchen executive director, in a press release. This year, the organization is anticipating selling more than 6,000 pies during the six-week presale period. Pumpkin, pecan, apple and no-sugar apple pies can be pre-ordered now through Nov. 18 at mamaspies.org or by calling 619-233-6262
DEMOCRATS FOR EQUALITY ANNOUNCE FREEDOM AWARDS 2012 WINNERS
The San Diego Democrats for Equality will honor this year’s Freedom Award winners on Nov. 17 at 1202, located at 1202 University Ave. This year’s ceremony is a tribute to the legacy of Sen. Christine Kehoe. Award winners include: San Diego Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee receiving the A. Brad Truax Human Rights Award; Brian Polejes, union representative and organizer for SEIU Local 1000, receiving the J. Douglas Scott Award for Political Action; Eric Issacson receiving the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Community Service; John Lockhart receiving the R. Steven Pope Award for Volunteerism; and National Stonewall Democrats founding board member Craig Roberts receiving the Gloria Steinem Award for Communication. The Presidents Award will be announced at the event. Began in 1981 with a roast of San Diego Democratic Club founder Bob Lynn, the Freedom Awards have grown to honor individuals who promote equality and Democrat values both locally and in California. Kehoe was honored with the Gloria Steinem Award in 1986. Tickets for the 6 p.m. event are $50 for members, $60 for non-members, $25 for sustaining members and free for patron or sponsoring members. For more information, including all past award winners and to purchase tickets, visit democratsforequality.org.
‘PENNY FOR THE ARTS’ APPROVED BY COUNCIL, INCREASING ARTS FUNDING BY 129 PERCENT
On Oct. 22, the city council unanimously approved a resolution to increase arts funding. Funds from the city’s Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) will go toward the “Penny for the Arts Five-Year Blueprint,” which will help to restore funding to fiscal year 2002 levels over the next five years, resulting in a 129 percent increase to $17.9 million by 2017. In a press release, Mayor Jerry Sanders said the funding will “help San Diego remain a world-class arts city. Through the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture (CAC), the city will begin to restore funding for local arts groups under the Penny Blueprint. Funds can be used for operations, programming, supporting under-served communities and schools, deferred maintenance of buildings and public art, and planning major cultural events and festivals. With the increase from TOT revenue, restoration of funds is possible without reducing funding to other city services, the release stated. “The arts and culture community has consistently proven their value to the city and we have demonstrated that ‘Penny for the Arts’ will give San Diego a great return on investment,” Victoria Hamilton, executive director of the CAC, said in the release. A request for an additional $1 from TOT was included in the Penny for the Arts plan, which will help support a large-scale celebration planned for the 100-year anniversary of Balboa Park. “With the Balboa Park Centennial Celebration right around the corner, it is imperative that the city invest in the arts and culture organizations that will make this event a success,” Sanders said.