Hillcrest Town Council update – Oct. 23, 2015

By Benny Cartwright

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and Elizabeth Hannon of the Uptown Community Parking District made important presentations at the monthly meeting of the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) on Oct. 13.

Speaker Atkins, who is finishing up her 16th month as Speaker (and is the first Speaker from San Diego in state history), updated the community on a number of things that she is working on. Many Californians are concerned about the drought and water issues, and Atkins announced that a desalination plant for the San Diego region will be completed in early 2017, ahead of schedule. Other bills and issues she discussed included the trade of ivory, fresh fish delivery, climate legislation, earned income tax credit, tuition scholarships for middle class families, higher education funding, homelessness and transit.

David Coben (Courtesy of HTC)

David Coben (Courtesy of HTC)

Hannon, the Chief Operating Officer of the Uptown Community Parking District, discussed two parking proposals that are under consideration. Parking is a challenge in many parts of Hillcrest, and Hannon and other groups are working to address the issue. Some things her group has done include negotiating a deal to make the DMV parking lot open for free parking after-hours and creating the “Lunch Loop” trolley to bring hospital employees into the core of Hillcrest without having to use their cars.

Two new ideas are on the table: residential parking permit areas and angled parking on some streets.

Parking is a hot-button issue for many residents, so a lively discussion pursued about residential parking permits and angled parking. While no decisions have been made, Hannon noted that the installation of angled parking on any street is up to the residents of that block, with at least 70 percent approval needed.

Also at the meeting, HTC introduced its newest member to the community. David Coben was nominated and approved as the new chair of the Neighborhood Improvement Committee (NIC). The NIC works to improve the neighborhood and oversees the Hillcrest Clean T.E.A.M (Together Everyone Achieves More), which has for many years held street cleanings in our neighborhood with volunteers, brooms and rolling barrels to “put the shine back in Hillcrest.” (You may have seen the T.E.A.M. out in orange T-shirts). Every year on the day after the San Diego Pride celebration in July, HTC partners with Pride to clean the parade route.

NIC also hands out the L.I.O.N. (Let’s Improve Our Neighborhood) Awards to residents, businesses or anyone who does a great thing with their property or business. Past award winners include the Crest Cafe for the beautiful mural on their building. To contact Coben or for more information about the NIC, email

As always, we encourage all Hillcrest residents to share their concerns about the neighborhood with us. The HTC is the voice of the residents, and we can’t effectively advocate for the best interests of our neighbors if we don’t know what those interests are. Please attend our next meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 at the Joyce Beers Community Center in the HUB Hillcrest. For more information about HTC, visit

—Benny Cartwright is secretary of the Hillcrest Town Council.

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