By Mary M. McKenzie
San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward was the featured speaker at the Hillcrest Town Council’s first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
Marking his first 30 days in office, Ward spoke to the gathering about his plans and goals for District 3. Ward said he has been appointed to the Rules, the Environment, and Public Safety committees.
Much of the discussion focused on homelessness. Ward expressed hopes of re-enlivening the Alpha Project in Hillcrest, focusing on providing the homeless with the resources they need to get off the streets. He also spoke to the need for more mental health funding as a long-term solution.
Ward also emphasized the need to accelerate construction efforts on the Mission Hills Library and Fire Station No. 5.
The councilmember then spoke of the city’s Community Plans as “living documents” and emphasized that issues such as bike lanes, parking and pedestrian ways are works in progress, especially as development efforts take shape.
In response to audience questions on the future of the San Diego Chargers, Ward said that “public dollars should go toward public purposes.”
Finally, Ward cautioned that discussions over the city’s budget promise to be very difficult. He cited slower-than-expected growth as the primary reason.
As always, attendees were briefed by several community organizations, including the San Diego Police Department, Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s office, the Stonewall Patrol, the Uptown Community Parking District, and both the UCSD Medical Center and Scripps Mercy Hospital.
David Coben, treasurer of the Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) and chair of its Clean Team, urged attendees to participate in the next Hillcrest cleanup on Feb. 18.
Town Council meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month at Joyce Beers Community Center in the HUB shopping center. Possible future meeting themes include local development plans, effects of the legalization of marijuana, empty storefronts and public health.
HTC chair Kath Rogers announced that elections for three board members will be held in March and she welcomed anyone interested to get involved.
The Hillcrest Town Council welcomes new volunteers. If you have any questions, email Kath Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about HTC is available online at hillcrestowncouncil.com.
—Mary M. McKenzie is secretary of the Hillcrest Town Council.