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Uptown News Briefs: Oct. 20–Nov. 2, 2017

Posted: October 20th, 2017 | Opinion & News, Uptown Briefs | No Comments

GOVERNOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY OVER HEPATITIS A CRISIS

Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency proclamation on Oct. 13 that allows the state to boost its supply of vaccines to combat the hepatitis A crisis.

Most of the hepatitis A incidents have occurred in San Diego County, but cases have now also been reported in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties. While a majority of the cases have involved the homeless or people who use illegal drugs, others have not fit into those categories.

In San Diego County, 19 deaths have been attributed to hepatitis A and more than 500 people have been sickened by the virus as of Oct. 18, according to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency. Statewide figures were unavailable.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria, who represents San Diego, said in a statement that the governor made the right call with the proclamation:

“Governor Brown is 100 percent correct. This is an emergency. What started as an outbreak of hepatitis A in San Diego County has snowballed into an epidemic affecting other areas of California like Los Angeles and Santa Cruz. We must contain this epidemic now.”

Call 211 if you suspect you have hepatitis A or need to find out where to get vaccinated, or visit 211sandiego.org.

HEPATITIS A CASES BY ZIP CODE

County health officials have announced the hepatitis A cases by ZIP code, with data compiled through Oct. 9. As expected, the Downtown area with its 92101 ZIP code had 81 cases.

In the Uptown News circulation area, 92104 had 14 cases, 92105 had 11, 92103 had 7 and 92116 had 2 — for a total of 34 out of 490 cases that had been reported as of Oct. 9.

Health officials stressed that the patient’s ZIP code report may not necessarily reflect the location where the hep A exposure took place.

SAFE PARKING PROGRAM TO HELP PEOPLE LIVING OUT OF THEIR VEHICLES

As another strategy to reduce homelessness, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer on Oct. 16 announced a safe parking program that will allow individuals and families who are currently living out of their vehicles a safe and secure place to park at night, with case managers and a housing specialist working to help them find permanent homes.The program includes the expansion of an existing safe parking lot and the opening of a satellite lot in District 6, which was recommended by Councilmember Chris Cate. The expanded program will now offer 120 parking spaces to homeless people.

“Homelessness comes in many forms. Sometimes people are living on the streets, some are sleeping on a friend’s couch and some live out of their cars,” Mayor Faulconer said. “In many cases, these folks just need a place to go so they can focus on getting their lives back on track. These safe parking areas will provide a creative solution for people who just need a temporary reprieve from the streets.”

The existing lot is operated by Dreams for Change at Jewish Family Service’s Joan & Irwin Jacobs Campus on Balboa Avenue and provides a safe space for 40 vehicles, serving 50 to 60 individuals nightly, with an emphasis on families. Thanks to support from the city and charitable donations through JFS, 20 new spaces will be added and, for the first time, people parking their vehicles will have access to housing navigators who will help them find permanent housing.

The second site, located at a city-owned parking lot near the intersection of Aero Drive and Murphy Canyon Road, will open Monday, Oct. 23, with 60 parking spaces. Together, these two safe parking lots will serve more than 200 people each night.

Program participants must be working toward securing housing and will be carefully screened to ensure it is a safe and welcoming environment for all.

According to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless’ 2017 Point-in-Time count, about 960 people, or 17 percent, of unsheltered people in San Diego reported staying in their vehicle. Many of them are couples or families with children. To participate in the Safe Parking Program, call 619-497-0236 or visit dreamsforchange.org.

NORTH PARK KEEPS RACKING UP AWARDS

This month, Realtor.com and Yelp.com both ranked North Park as the third hottest hipster neighborhood in America for its red-hot housing market and cool independently-owned businesses. You’ll recall that Forbes magazine first identified North Park as one of America’s hippest neighborhoods back in 2012.

The Clintonville neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, and the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle, Washington, finished ahead of North Park in the rankings.

Realtor.com cited factors such as farm-to-table restaurants, unique boutiques, and urban renewal projects along both the El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street corridors, for attracting the hipster crowd and millennials. And millennials make up almost a quarter of the population of North Park.

Yelp.com echoed those points, adding that craft breweries, the Thursday farmers market and a cool vibe contribute to making North Park an appealing home for hipsters and place to visit outside of the touristy neighborhoods of San Diego.

But that’s not all. The North Park Planning Committee (NPPC) won the “Outstanding Planning Document — Plan, Policy or Ordinance Award” for its North Park Community Plan update.

That honor was handed out Oct. 5 at the annual awards ceremony held by the San Diego Chapter of the Association of Environmental Professionals.

The community plan update was years in the making and finally approved by the City Council in late 2016. Longtime NPPC chair Vicki Granowitz and city planner Marlon Pangilinan helmed the laborious task.

Meanwhile, new NPPC chair René Vidales moderated a panel discussion at the San Diego Green Building Conference & Expo on Sept. 22 on the topic of “Beyond Triple Bottom Line Policies: How North Park Updated its Community Plan.” Angela Landsberg of North Park Main Street, Howard Blackson and Dave Gatzke also participated. The update reflected one of the most comprehensive sustainability elements of any community plan in the city and created policies to help retrofit an urbanized older community while sustaining historical neighborhoods. Vidales noted how North Park’s update has become a model for future community plan updates across the city.

SAN DIEGO IS SECOND-GREENEST CITY IN AMERICA

WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of the 100 largest cities in the U.S. and determined that San Diego was the second-greenest city in the nation in 2017.

To determine which cities promote a “green” lifestyle, WalletHub’s analysts used 22 key indicators of environmental friendliness and sustainability. The data set ranges from greenhouse-gas emissions per capita to green job opportunities per capita to number of smart-energy policies and initiatives.

Among national rankings, San Diego was fourth in farmers markets per capita, sixth in environment, eighth in lifestyle and policy, ninth in percentage of green space and ninth in annual excess fuel consumption.

San Francisco held the top spot. Aside from San Diego, other California cities in the top 10 were Fremont, San Jose, Sacramento, Irvine, and Oakland; in addition to Honolulu, Hawaii; Washington, D.C.; and Portland, Oregon.

Read more at wallhub.com.

SDCCD ECONOMIC IMPACT HITS $3.7 BILLION

The San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) contributed approximately $3.7 billion in net spending — or 1.8 percent of the county’s total gross regional product — during the 2016-17 fiscal year, according to a new report from an Idaho-based economic modeling firm.

The Emsi study also found the economic impact of former students who are employed in the San Diego County workforce amounted to $3.1 billion in added income to the regional economy, enough to support 35,735 jobs. A student who earns an associate degree from the SDCCD can expect to earn on average approximately $11,000 more annually than someone with just a high school diploma at the midpoint of their working career. Over a working lifetime, that increase in earnings amounts to approximately $407,000 in added income.

In all, the district’s economic impact supports more than 46,000 jobs, including nearly 2,500 in manufacturing, more than 4,200 in professional and technical services, and more than 5,400 in the health care and social assistance sectors.

“The San Diego Community College District is the great equalizer of economic and social mobility. The district provides any student who is seeking a degree or certificate and any employee who is seeking advancement in the workplace an opportunity to reach their goals,” Chancellor Constance M. Carroll said. “This report also shows that the district is having a profound impact and playing a pivotal role in the economy.”

SDCCD operates City, Mesa and Miramar colleges as well as San Diego Continuing Education.

EMPOWERING PEOPLE THROUGH COFFEE

The Dojo Café is a new twist on your average coffee shop. It grew from the years of conversations a social worker, Carlos McCray, had with the residents of City Heights and the 16-24 year olds he’s come to know since 2006.

Now, McCray and four fellow civic-minded entrepreneurs, along with a host of partners, are working together toward one goal: to empower underserved communities to thrive through social enterprise. It starts by having The Dojo Café become THE place to go in City Heights for coffee and events — the place where everybody is made to feel like somebody.

“In the Japanese culture, ‘dojo’ means ‘a place of the way,’ it’s a safe place to practice your craft and hone your skills,” McCray said. “So, we are creating a safe place for residents of City Heights, especially millennials and minorities, to come and hang out, learn, practice their craft, and hopefully be empowered to find their way.”The Dojo features the staples of a coffee place — lattes, cappuccinos, cold brews and café Cubanos — all caffeinated by Dark Horse roasted beans. And it will also offer four unique drinks made with the Dojo flair: Vietnamese cold brew, a super strong cold brew tamed with sweetened condensed milk or sweetened condensed coconut milk; The Dojo Spice, a dairy-free latte with a spice twang; The Dojo Mojo, with jimaica and a blast of spices; and Pinole, made from toasted heirloom blue corn sourced from Napa.

The drinks will be served out of an 80 percent solar-powered vintage travel trailer, which McCray and his co-founders completely remodeled, from the floor to the roof.

The Dojo Café, located at 4350 El Cajon Blvd., celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 14.

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