City officials launch San Diego’s largest-ever tourism marketing effort
On Jan. 22, San Diego’s Tourism Authority unveiled a $12 million national marketing campaign to promote San Diego’s merits as a travel destination. The campaign began the following weekend during the Farmer’s Insurance Open golf tournament at the Torrey Pines Golf Course with the airing of a national television ad. The six-month campaign will also consist of print and online advertising. The push was announced by Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego Tourism Authority President Joe Terzi.
“More tourism money means more money flowing into our local economy, more tax revenues flowing into our city coffers to help pay for neighborhood improvements we all want,” Gloria said. “We all want more freshly paved roads, we want to hire more police officers, we want more library hours. Tourism is one of the ways we can accomplish that.”
The funds for the marketing effort were put on hold last year by former mayor Bob Filner, who asked for a reworked deal that provided more money for the City and better wages for hotel workers, the U-T San Diego reported in early 2013. Gloria released the frozen funds after Filner’s resignation.
CA legislature proposes plastic bag ban
California legislators have proposed a bill that, if passed, would ban single-use carry-out plastic bags at supermarkets, liquor stores and pharmacies by 2016, reports KPBS News. The City Council is currently working on a proposal that would ban plastic-bag use throughout much of the city. Los Angeles and nearly 100 other cities and counties throughout the state have enacted bans on single-use plastic bags.
In August 2013, a report to the City Council’s Rules and Economic Development Committee reported that approximately 500 million single-use plastic bags are distributed each year by retail outlets, and that less than three percent of those are recycled.
Critics of the proposed bill claim that the ban would put an unfair burden on small businesses and San Diego’s poor.
“Sadly, the state’s proposal is just as bad as the one being pushed by Councilmember [Sherri] Lightner,” stated Bishop George McKinney, pastor of St. Stephens Cathedral, Church of God in San Diego. “Both impose a hefty tax on working families and seniors who are barely getting by, and both allow the big grocery chains to pocket the tens of millions of dollars that will come from this tax. At the very least, instead of going to big grocers, this money should be spent for local programs in San Diego, like community cleanups. It’s just not fair.”
The bill would require supermarkets to stop distributing plastic bags by July 2015, extending to smaller stores the following year.
Modern Times Beer to open North Park Flavordome
Point Loma brewery Modern Times Beer announced its plans to open a 1,624 square foot tasting room that will be known as the “North Park Flavordome” on the bottom floor of The North Parker apartment complex being constructed on the corner of 30th and Upas streets. It will feature two outdoor seating areas and 16 taps. While a blog post on Modern Times’ website stated plans are still being formed, a tentative opening date will be in spring or summer of 2014. Other businesses confirmed for the ground, retail floor of The North Parker are Tacos Perla, UnderBelly and Influx Café. The building is expected to be completed in late February or early March.
Mayoral poll shows increasingly close race
The latest 10News/U-T San Diego poll released Sunday, Jan. 26 showed David Alvarez closing the gap between fellow Councilmember Kevin Faulconer and himself in the final stretch of San Diego’s mayoral election. The poll shows 44 percent of likely voters supporting Alvarez, with 49 percent backing Faulconer. This shows a marked change from the poll released on Jan. 10, which showed Faulconer ahead of Alvarez with 51 percent of the vote, compared to Alvarez’s 39 percent.
Alvarez’s support base comes largely from the area of San Diego south of Interstate 8, where he leads by 20 points. Faulconer, however, continues to lead among men, women, independents and moderates; the latter two groups’ preference presents a serious challenge to a democratic candidate, reported the U-T.
The runoff election date is scheduled for Feb. 11.
Bankers Hill group announces new meeting location
The Bankers Hill Residents group held its last meeting on the rooftop of Inn at the Park on Jan. 17, announcing its new location for future meetings. Group speaker Ben Baltic thanked the staff at the Inn for years of service and fond memories before informing the members that February’s meeting will take place at the San Diego Indoor Sports Club located at 3030 Front St.
“We’ve had a great run here at Inn at the Park, and we are going to miss this beautiful venue,” Baltic said. “But the people at the San Diego Indoor Sports Club are very enthusiastic about hosting our meetings, and I think we can look forward to some great hospitality at our new home.”
The venue is tucked away just north of the First Street Bridge, and one block to the west. There is plenty of free parking, but the group encourages its members to walk or bike to the meetings. The group will continue to meet on the third Monday of the month, the next being Feb. 17.
Free heart screening for teens in Hillcrest
On Sunday, Feb. 9, the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation will partner with San Diego schools to offer free screenings to local youth (ages 13 – 19) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest. Having provided free screenings to the community since 2010, the foundation will screen its 10,000th teen at this event.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the second most common cause of death for youth under 25. These screenings help to identify often-undetected heart abnormalities that put one in 100 youths at risk. More than 7,000 kids die nationwide each year from Sudden Cardiac Arrest, which stops the heart suddenly, without warning, and is fatal in 92 percent of cases. The screening takes less than 30 minutes and is non-invasive, meaning no needles or x-ray exposure.
Parents can register their teens for the screening at EPSaveALife.org, where they can download a screening packet to complete and bring to the event. Scripps Mercy Hospital is located at 4077 Fifth Ave. Free parking is available for the event.
The Old Globe elects new board members for 2014
On Jan. 27, the Old Globe Theatre held its annual meeting on the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage to choose the board and executive committee members for fiscal year 2014. Afterward, a reception was held in the Ottenstein Lobby, where exiting Old Globe Board Chair Harold W. Fuson, Jr. announced the newly elected members, including his successor as the board’s chair, Elaine Bennett Darwin.
In addition to Darwin, the 2014 Board of Director’s Executive Committee will consist of Fuson (Immediate Past Chair, Ex Officio), Vicki L. Zeiger (Vice chair, nominating), Peter J. Cooper (Vice Chair, Education), Anthony S. Thornley (Treasurer), Harvey P. White (Secretary; Past Chair, Ex Officio), Mary Beth Adderley, Valerie S. Cooper, Paula Powers, Conrad Prebys, Ann Steck (Chair, Finance), Karin Winner, Donald Cohn (Past Chair, Ex Officio), and Kathryn Hattox (Past Chair, Ex Officio).
Fuson also honored newly elected and re-elected board members, as well as those whose terms of service concluded in 2013. To learn more about The Old Globe, its leadership and upcoming performances, visit theoldglobe.org.
Fridays on Fifth kicks off in Hillcrest
The Hillcrest Business Association has partnered with Babycakes and other restaurants in the heart of Hillcrest to start a weekly happy hour running from 4 to 9 p.m. on Fridays. Babycakes owner Christopher Stavros envisions a weekly four-block pub crawl involving restaurants, bars, retail outlets and other businesses wishing to get involved. Currently, Babycakes offers $3 cocktails, beers and wine along with $5 appetizers.
While several businesses participated in the inaugural event on Jan. 24, the HBA encourages any Hillcrest business interested in participating to contact Megan Gamwell at firstname.lastname@example.org.