Hillcrest Town Council holds annual election

By Mary M. McKenzie

The annual meeting of the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) was held on Tuesday, March 14, at the Joyce Beers Community Center in the HUB shopping center.

As usual for the March meeting, the primary order of business was the election for the board of directors.

Voters check in with Hillcrest Town Council election moderators Toni Duran and William Pontius. (Photos by Benny Cartwright)

It was the first contested election in recent memory, and a number of community members recognized the board for becoming more inclusive and pertinent to community members.

Six candidates were on the ballot for three open seats. Forty-six ballots were cast, and the most votes went to incumbents Benny Cartwright, Kath Rogers and steering committee member David Vance.

HTC secretary Mary McKenzie, acting as elections chair, thanked the other candidates (Andrew Dugger, David Lundin and Derrick Roach) for their desire to serve the community.

HTC secretary Mary McKenzie acted as elections chair, as president Kath Rogers observed.

Daniel Merk-Benitez did not stand for re-election and was recognized for his service to HTC by state Sen. Toni G. Atkins’ office.

As always, the attendees heard from several community members and representatives, including Sen. Atkins’ office, Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s office, the Stonewall Patrol, the San Diego LGBT Community Center, the Hillcrest Business Association and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon weekend, which will occur on June 3-4.

Of special note is Sen. Atkins’ authorship of the Building Homes and Jobs Act that will create a permanent source of funding for affordable housing.

HTC election moderators William Pontius and Toni Duran

The last order of business was a discussion of bylaws. The board worked for several months on a revision to the bylaws, and after a spirited discussion, the new bylaws were overwhelmingly accepted by the majority of HTC members at the meeting.

The changes expand HTC membership to include the unhoused who live in Hillcrest; restructured the Steering Committee (now the Advisory Committee); and extended to ability to propose changes to the bylaws to the entire HTC membership. The new bylaws can be found on the HTC website.

HTC meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at the Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St. Next month, on April 11, HTC will focus on hate crimes with guests from the mayor’s office and the Stonewall Patrol.

The HTC always welcomes new volunteers. If you have any questions, contact Kath Rogers at More information about HTC is online at

—Mary M. McKenzie is secretary of the Hillcrest Town Council.

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