Uptown Briefs – March 13

Posted: March 13th, 2015 | News, Opinion & News, Uptown Briefs | No Comments

Uptown residents to release book on Mission Hills history

Mission Hills residents Allen Hazard and Janet O’Dea will soon release their book, “Images of America: Mission Hills,” which catalogs historical photographs, oral histories and landmarks in the Uptown neighborhood. The book adds to Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, which also published the North Park Historical Society’s “Images of America: San Diego’s North Park.”

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Janet O’Dea (Photo by Hutton Marshall)

In the 128-page book, the husband-and-wife duo chronicle the architectural developments in the neighborhood, which are notable today for their diversity and preservation, as well as the neighborhood’s role in the city’s pivotal events, such as the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Hazard and O’Dea, who runs Powers Plumbing in Mission Hills, will hold a book launch on Sunday, March 22 at 12:30 p.m. at Francis Parker School, located at the corner of Randolph Street and West Montecito Way in Mission Hills. There, the authors will hold a lecture and a book signing. For more information or to purchase a copy of the book in advance, visit

Balboa Park donates $1m in yearlong passes

Balboa Park staff and city officials announced March 3 that the park would donate $1 million to give thousands of low-income San Diegans year-round access to many of its museums.

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Todd Gloria and local children whose families received a Balboa Park Family Explorer Pass
(Courtesy of J. Walcher Communications)

The donation, made in honor of the Centennial Celebration of the California-Panama Exposition, will provide families with 5,000 Balboa Park Family Explorer Passes. Each pass, valued at $199, gives two adults and four children free admittance to all park museums and institutions for one year.

“These generous donations, in addition to partnerships with charter schools, Wounded Warriors, Bayside Community Center and the Joan Kroc Center, will ensure that the full experience of the Centennial celebration is accessible to even more San Diego families,” stated Councilmember Todd Gloria, who represents Balboa Park, in a press release.

For information about Balboa Park’s Explorer passes, visit

Uptown Planners hold annual elections

The Uptown Planners held their annual board elections March 2, filling seven of the board’s 17 seats. New members will be seated at the April 7 meeting for four-year terms on the city-recognized community planning advisory board.

New to the board will be Michael Brennan (Hillcrest), Kyle Heiskala (Hillcrest), Dana Hook (Bankers Hill), Jay Newington (Bankers Hill) and Mat Wahlstrom (Hillcrest). Ken Tablang (Mission Hills) and Jennifer Pesqueira (Five Points/Middletown) were reelected to second terms.

At the April 7 meeting, the new board will elect its chair, replacing its longtime chair Leo Wilson, who has led the Uptown Planners intermittently for more than a decade.

Mayor outlines major road repair plan

Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced plans March 5 to repair 1,000 miles of city streets by 2020 and reform the city’s approval process for infrastructure improvements.

“I’m making street repair the City’s top infrastructure priority,” Faulconer stated in a press release. “We’re doubling the amount of street repair we do annually as we tackle head-on what is the No. 1 complaint of San Diegans. It’s also paramount that we make significant changes to the City’s infrastructure program so that projects are done faster and taxpayer money is spent more efficiently.”

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Councilmember Todd Gloria and Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the groundbreaking ceremony for a street repair project in Old Town
(Photo by Hutton Marshall)

Faulconer said the city’s increased street repair efforts will result in 300 miles of repaired roads in the coming fiscal year. Additionally, he stated that once his proposed reforms to the infrastructure program are put in place, street repair projects will be delivered 20 percent faster on average. These reforms include accepting online bids for construction, streamlining environmental reviews for small projects and managing cash to prevent infrastructure money from sitting idle.

A 2011 city survey showed that 35 percent of San Diego streets were in good condition, 40 percent were in fair condition and 35 percent were in poor condition. Established revenues like Transnet and the Gas Tax, as well as bond financing, will fund the repairs.

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