By Benny Cartwright
Our Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) meeting on March 8 was certainly a busy one! The meeting opened with a very special recognition of longtime chair Luke Terpstra, who presided over his last meeting on Tuesday night.
Terpstra, who has lived in San Diego since 1995, has been involved with HTC since 2007 when he saw a flier announcing a meeting to discuss a parking situation on his street. In 2011, Terpstra was elected chair of HTC, and since then he has presided over the organization with grace, humor and fairness.
Terpstra explained why he stuck around for so long.
“I felt welcomed by the members of the HTC board, the Steering Committee, the subcommittees, and members who are the residents of Hillcrest, the most important members,” he said. “Many of the board members were founding members because the HTC was only a few years old at that time, and many of the founding members are still active in the HTC to this day in one form or another. Impressed with the hard work that the founding members had put into the HTC, the bylaws and the mission statement: ‘to provide a voice for the neighbors,’ I decided to embrace the work and mission and submerged myself into the monthly and yearly activities of the Hillcrest Town Council.”
More than 70 community members packed the Joyce Beers Community Center to share their gratitude for Terpstra’s volunteer effort, including U.S. Rep. Susan Davis and San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria, who each presented commendations. Terpstra also received commendations from state Sen. Marty Block, and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni G. Atkins. Ben Nicholls, executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association, presented Terpstra with one of the rainbow flags that previously flew on the Hillcrest Pride Flag pole. Officials with UC San Diego Medical Center and Scripps Mercy Hospital also presented Terpstra with gifts as a token of their appreciation.
After the meeting, several community members headed over to Uptown Tavern to toast Terpstra and continue the celebration. It was a fun night for all, and a great way to celebrate Terpstra’s many years of service. Those who consider themselves members of the “Luke Fan Club” (as many of the speakers called it) don’t have to worry about completely losing him, though! Terpstra plans to stay actively involved in the HTC, and will continue to serve on the organization’s steering committee. Thank you, Luke, for your service!
With the vacating of seats on the board by Terpstra, as well as Mark Zangrando, who most recently served as treasurer, an election was held to fill the two seats. We welcome new board members, Mary McKenzie and David Coben, who were elected at the March 8 meeting. McKenzie and Coben will join returning members Rich Grousett, Kath Rogers and myself.
On March 9, the board elected officers: Kath Rogers, chair; Benny Cartwright, vice chair; Mary McKenzie, secretary; David Coben, treasurer; and Rich Grousett as member-at-large.
After all of the fanfare for Terpstra, we heard from Chris Ward, who is running for the District 3 City Council seat. Ward entertained a variety of questions from the audience as well as pre-written questions from the HTC board. Questions relating to a number of issues included Balboa Park, the stadium, the convention center expansion, and Climate Action Plan. Anthony Bernal, who is considered the other front-runner in this race, was unable to attend but may address HTC at a future meeting. Scott Sanborn, who has also entered this race, addressed HTC about his campaign during public comment.
Big thanks to Elizabeth Robinson of The Greenwald Company for generously sponsoring the refreshments at this week’s meeting, including tasty pizza from Napizza in Hillcrest.
Our next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. and we invite all Hillcresters and friends to join us! We are really invested in staying true to our mission of being a voice of the residents in the neighborhood, so we want to hear from you. Please don’t hesitate to share your concerns through our website form at hillcresttowncouncil.org/contact-us.
—Benny Cartwright is secretary of the Hillcrest Town Council.