By Mary M. McKenzie
The Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) held its first community meeting of the year on Tuesday, Jan. 9, at the Joyce Beers Community Center. Despite stormy conditions, more than 50 community members came to discuss Hillcrest’s priorities in 2018.
Public comment was the focus of the meeting. Eric Hufford, from San Diego Remembers, explained efforts to preserve the John Wear memorial plaque, located between two parking meters on University Avenue, between Tenth Avenue and Vermont Street.
Wear, 17, was murdered in 1992, a victim of a hate crime. The plaque has fallen into disrepair despite efforts to preserve it. San Diego Remembers proposes to move the plaque to a more visible and safe location; one option is near the Pride flag.
Hillcrest’s public representatives also spoke about this year’s priorities. Zach Bunshaft, representing U.S. Rep. Susan A. Davis (D-San Diego), emphasized her continued commitment to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, and higher education.
State Sen. Toni G. Atkins sent the news that she has been elected the Senate’s next President pro Tempore, effective March 21, a first for a woman and for an LGBT leader.
State Assembly member Todd Gloria continues to work on affordable housing and homelessness, said Nick Serrano, his communications director. Serrano emphasized that the housing crisis is not limited to San Diego but encompasses the entire state. Climate commitments remain a priority as well.
San Diego City Council member Chris Ward is working diligently on the crisis of homelessness. Brittany Bailey, Ward’s community contact, reported that Ward will again serve as vice chair of the Regional Task Force on Homelessness as well as chair of the city’s Select Committee on Homelessness.
Nancy Moor encouraged the attendees to reconsider the location of the planned AIDS Memorial, proposed for the planned Olive Street Park in Bankers Hill.
Tom Mullaney, of Uptown United, gave a brief presentation about the proposed development at Seventh Avenue and Pennsylvania, and he asked that the community seriously reconsider the structure and logistics of the multi-story complex. The proposed building will be higher than the AT&T building across the street, and the only access to owner parking will be on the alley between Sixth and Seventh avenues. He argued there are better, more environmental friendly ways to develop that parcel with fewer negative impacts. A few residents spoke in favor of the project, including Benjamin Nichols, executive director of the Hillcrest Business Association.
The community also learned about a Humane Society-sponsored ballot measure promoting more humane treatment for farm animals and heard from Lori Saldaña, candidate for county supervisor.
Eddie Reynoso, head of the LGBT Visitors Center, alerted folks about Diversity Night at the San Diego Gulls hockey game on Jan. 20, a first in many respects for the LGBT community. For more information about Diversity Night, visit bit.ly/2Cq2pw2.
HTC meetings are held at 6:30 on the second Tuesday of every month at the Joyce Beers Community Center. The Hillcrest Town Council always welcomes new volunteers. If you have any comments or questions, look for the HTC on Facebook or contact Kath Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Mary M. McKenzie is secretary of the Hillcrest Town Council.