12. June 2014 16:48
There is a new park where there was once a parking lot. The expansion of public open space that pays homage to one of the most impressive architectural structures in the county is a win for all. But, not every plan goes off without a hitch. Downtown San Diego is the county’s centerpiece, and for the past decade the changes and new projects have been welcomed and often earn praise. Petco Park where the San Diego Padres play ball is a ballpark, and more. The new residential towers have brought life where old warehouses and dark streets existed. The U.S.S. Midway Museum is one of the most visited sites in the region. The new downtown library is a model for multi-use space and public/private collaboration. And the City County Building built in the 1930’s, with the welcoming Donal Hord statue, located at the base of San Diego Bay, has been maintained and restored in impressive fashion. That massive parking lot which once surrounded the building is now a park, open to all. Wonderful in concept, yes. But it has major flaws. Yes, we now have underground parking at the site. But the addition of a “waterpark” was a mistake. The grandeur and natural beauty of the blue San Diego Bay has taken a back seat to the Las Vegas-style fountains and theme-park style child recreation areas. Essentially, it is a free public swimming pool. I have nothing wrong with the pool concept. Hey, I am a swimmer. But, call it a public pool if that was the intent. There are liability issues from the non-potable water used (and ingested), and there is high potential for slip-and-fall injuries. But the glaring mistake is we are in a serious drought. Historic drought. And while CALTRANS has the freeways that flash signs to “CONSERVE WATER – SERIOUS DROUGHT” , the County is eating cake. My opinion is the water features at the park will eventually be turned off and the spaces used more according to the site: focused on the building and on the bay.
16. May 2014 12:16
On May 14, there were 9 wildfires burning in several San Diego County neighborhoods. To date, 1 person has died, several dozen homes were destroyed or damaged, & schools were evacuated. The temperature hit 100-degrees, and fueled with strong Santa Ana winds, the combination has had an awful outcome. The San Diego District Attorney’s office is sending a team of investigators amid sentiment the fires may have been deliberately set. Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch, Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Penasquitos, Santaluz, Del Sur, Fallbrook, De Luz, Rainbow, Carlsbad, Aviara, Camp Pendleton, San Marcos, Escondido, Harmony Grove, La Costa, El Cajon, Lakeside, Scripps Ranch….each of these communities were struck by wildfire in the past 72 hours. The region we live in, with a near-perfect Mediterranean climate, is essentially a desert. Ever since I was a boy, when Castle Peak in Woodland Hills caught fire and forced my family to evacuate in the dark of night, I have been exposed to the wildfires of California topography. The best advice is to be prepared to move out, quickly, with your family and pets, and to have important documents and items easily reached. Now is a good time to verify your insurance coverage's are adequate. Take a video of your home & possessions with your smart phone, in case there is a need to file a claim. Make an emergency plan…how & where to evacuate and what method to communicate with family & friends. Most of all, enjoy living in San Diego and all that our beautiful region offers….but always be prepared at the same time. (Photo taken atop Mt. Soledad late afternoon on May 14, 2014, shortly after the San Marcos fire began and as the Carlsbad fire was being contained).
30. April 2014 12:00
Last Saturday morning I joined forces with dozens of other volunteers. The nationwide campaign known as Rebuilding Together is designed to assist a member of the local community. Rebuilding Together San Diego 2014 was held in Ocean Beach and our efforts supported a disabled Veteran, Mike Buoey. Sponsored by the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS® and several other companies, the overall mood was upbeat…everyone there wanted to be there, and everyone wanted to help. Buoey is a retired Coast Guard seaman, charged with jumping from helicopters in the open ocean to save people in distress, typically in 50-foot storm swells. Now he helps other disabled veterans transition back to civilian life by teaching them how to surf. He is a good soul, a happy man. Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Ed Harris arrived to wish us well and proclaim the day, Mike Buoey Day. If you have the time to help out, with this or any community project, I encourage you to do so. The rewards are tangible.
18. April 2014 10:01
The last single screen movie theater in San Diego, the KEN on Adams Avenue in Kensington, is closing it’s doors April 29. The announcement from tenant Landmark Theaters was a shock to everyone, and yet, a shock to no one. The KEN has been a neighborhood fixture since the late 1940’s when the building that houses it was completed. The CBM Company was the builder (a partnership in the mid century of designer / architect Chris Cosgrove, and builders Howard Mueller and Mr. Brockbank). The CBM Company built several “modern” homes in Kensington, Coronado, Pt Loma, Rolando and La Mesa, and many have historical designation. There are 4 homes on Canterbury Drive that are CBM-designed and built. The Ken Theater building is owned by the Robert Berkin Family and also is home to popular restaurants FISH PUBLIC and THE HAVEN Pizza. The KEN’s next door neighbors, Kensington Video, is the go-to retail store in the region for everything related to film history and hard to find movies. The announcement of Landmark leaving may be a dust up in lease negotiations, and perhaps even a tactic for better leverage … who knows for sure. Landmark has a very sweet deal at $2100 per month, but, they have an odd assortment of independent films that rotate out weekly. Thus, their seats are never sold out, and a big turnout at a movie is a few dozen people. The Berkin family’s legacy is the KEN, so we know their vested interest is keeping the theater as a theater, or, if that is not feasible, at least keeping the KEN’s façade. The Kensington neighborhood was developed in the 1920’s and maintains a distinct sense of place with Spanish style homes, palm-lined streets and well maintained lawns. For that reason, there is a strong preservationist spirit that demands no less than the continuation of the KEN, in it’s present place, in its present form. Plus, I personally think it is the coolest name for a movie theater.
25. March 2014 11:55
I know, it is a big claim, but listen to this: The wind, the sand and sky compliment the ocean & the trees to create a most beautiful & serene place. The sound of breaking waves & the call of the red hawk, these are witnessed today no differently than the experience eons back. The military jets from Miramar break the silence and distract, but they fly ridiculously fast and away from this peaceful place. The 2,000 acres of land was deeded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps to the City of San Diego in the early 1920’s. (The City has since transferred the land to the State of California). At the time of gifting, many moneyed citizens had their eye on building homes here, and many more pushed to have a road built along it’s cliffs to create a convenient passage north to south. I have often hiked or jogged the many paths and thought “this is a perfect setting for my dream house”. The State Park operates the park as a Natural Reserve, which is the highest level of protection of natural resources while still availing to the general public. (entry fee is $8-$15). The park hosts the nations rarest pine tree, and a high perch from it’s many trails to observe migrating whales and schools of porpoise in the Gulf of Santa Catalina,( the body of water in the Pacific that extends from La Jolla Cove north to Orange County). The ocean off Torrey Pines offers a sand break for surfing and bodysurfing the waves. I have been a volunteer docent at Torrey Pines since 1998, and served as the docent President, Secretary and Program Director in years past. There are educational programs and hikes available to all, and recently, the Torrey Pines Association in coordination with the Torrey Pines Docents, have established an endowment fund at the San Diego Foundation. Most importantly, a visit to Torrey Pines today affords each of us the experience of the natural elements that make San Diego such an awesome place to call home.