Todd Gloria re-elected as City Council President

Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, who was elected City Council President in Dec. 2012, was unanimously re-elected on Dec. 9 for a second term.

“Having the confidence of my fellow councilmembers and the support of so many San Diegans is humbling, and I am proud to continue leading the City,” Gloria said in a press release.  “Together, we have made tremendous progress in the past three months, and more hard work is ahead.”

The City Council elects its president annually, who is tasked with setting the council’s docket, recommending membership for council committees and representation for external organizations. The council president, as seen this year, is also responsible for serving as interim mayor when the city is without an elected mayor.


HBA Executive Director Sonya Stauffer on a recently de-gummed Sixth Avenue. (photo by Megan Gamwell)

Gum-removal project begins in Hillcrest

Last month, Hillcrest Business Association purchased a hydro-powered gum-removing machine to de-gum the streets of Hillcrest. The western sidewalk of Fifth Ave. between Robinson and University Avenues was the first section to receive the gum-removal treatment on Dec. 9. After being pleased with the machine’s results, the HBA voted on Dec. 17 to apply the gum-removal machine’s prowess to Robinson Ave., Sixth Ave., more of Fifth Ave., among other high-traffic areas in Hillcrest.

The HBA also approved the purchase of a water-reclamation machine to be used in conjunction with the gum-removal machine, which will cut costs and man-hours.


San Diego Bike Coalition names its ‘Big 13 of 2013’

After a year of notable bike advocacy accomplishments throughout the city, San Diego County Bicycle Coalition named their “big 13 of 2013”: the 13 biggest bicycle achievements of the year.

The Bicycle Coalition’s Big 13 of 2013 (in no particular order):

CicloSDias – San Diego’s first open streets celebration celebrates car-free streets

New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat raises more than $40,000 for local bicycling nonprofits

Thousands of bicycles cross the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge for sixth annual Bike the Bay and raise more than $62,000 for the Bicycle Coalition

Mayoral candidates address plan for livable streets and communities

The Bicycle Coalition hosts dozens of classes and public workshops to prepare anyone bicycling with safety tips

SANDAG approves $200 million for regional bike plan Early Action program

San Diego’s first-ever bike share program with DECO Bikes unanimously approved (scheduled to launch in 2014)

Bike to Work Day gets a record number of participants in 2013 (more than 9,000)

Cities across San Diego County install bike corrals, green bike lanes, sharrows and other infrastructure enhancements

The Bicycle Coalition hosts free bicycle valet at over twenty community events in San Diego County

Regional Bike Walk Alliance created by the Bicycle Coalition represented by Bicycle and Pedestrian groups in Oceanside, Coronado, Chula Vista, Encinitas, Vista, Escondido, Solana Beach and San Diego City Council District 2

Partnership with San Diego Business Improvement District Council holds Monthly Bike Local Sundays to encourage folks to ride and shop at local businesses

San Diego City Council Approves $312 Million Bicycle Master Plan Update

The Bicycle Coalition also honored the winners of its Golden Gear Awards to those going above and beyond this year in making San Diego more bike friendly. Among these were Randy Van Vleck of the City Heights CDC who won Advocate of the Year and SANDAG, winning Public Partner of the Year.


Congresswoman Davis introduces bill benefitting Pre-K Education

Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) introduced legislation that creates a route for states to receive federal funding to provide Pre-K education opportunities to low-income and middle-class families.

“The argument for universal Pre-K is not just a lofty moral imperative — it’s also good science and economics,” Davis stated in a press release. “Kids who receive high-quality early education are more likely to achieve success in both school and life. The research shows they’re more likely to graduate high school, earn higher pay, and live more productive lives.”

The EARLY Act (Expanded Access to Real Learning for our Young), would establish a competitive grant program, which, after states receive funding for it, would be accessible to families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty line, making it available to middle-class families as well.


‘Fill A Plate’ campaign kicked off by Senior Community Centers

The nonprofit agency geared toward benefitting San Diego’s elderly announced the start of their “Fill A Plate” campaign, which aims to fill 100,00 plates this holiday season and end senior hunger in San Diego in 2014.

According to Senior Community Centers, 40 percent of San Diego seniors must choose between food and rent. This campaign strives to reduce food insecurity felt by the many seniors living at or below the poverty level in San Diego.

Donations will go toward the preparation and delivery of meals to dining sites and homebound seniors. Senior Community Centers serves 2,100 meals every day.

To make a donation or learn about other ways to get involved, visit servingseniors.org or call Sheona Som at 619-487-0605.


Mrs. Magician to play its final show at Soda Bar

Amid rising popularity, San Diego surf-rock quartet Mrs. Magician announced via Facebook that their final show will take place Dec. 27 at Soda Bar. Following two successful LPs released this year and the last, the band’s final show was largely unanticipated.

“So… This is gonna be our last show. Thanx for being a part of our band for the past 4 years. Peace doods

RIP MRS MAGICIAN,” wrote the band wrote on their Facebook page announcing their farewell show.

Known for playing ‘60s surf-rock tinged with black humor, Mrs. Magician gained notoriety following their North American tour with Cults in 2012.


Hillcrest chef crowned ‘Chef of the Fest’

R-Gang Eatery’s owner and Chef Rich Sweeney won the “Chef of the Fest” title at this year’s San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival. Sweeney swayed the judges with his duck-fat fried beignets with burnt orange dish. The annual bayside competition pitted San Diego chefs in a head-to-head culinary cook-off judged by the San Diego Chapter of the American Culinary Federation, along with celebrity guest judges.

“Producing the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival this year was a tall order, especially with the expectations that come with it being our ten-year anniversary,” said San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival co-producer, Michelle Metter. “This year’s Chef of the Fest participants were instrumental to our success, putting out dishes that really did our 10th annual event justice.”

For the second year in a row, the 2013 Chef of the Fest competition was judged using a blind-tasting format. Forty-two competitors were carefully narrowed down to 10 finalists and five category winners using a graded point system. Sweeney was a contestant on Season Five of Bravo TV’s Top Chef reality show. R-Gang Eatery is located at 3683 Fifth Ave., in Hillcrest.


Pride even more charitable than in 2012

San Diego Pride’s charitable giving in 2013 totaled $146,000, a marked increase over last year’s amount. Each year, Pride uses profits from the annual LGBT Pride weekend festivities to give back to the community. This year’s July celebration was particularly successful, which allowed the organization to surpass last year’s funding by 72 percent. “Our greatest drive is to not only celebrate our diversity, but to enhance the well being of our community,” said Pride General Manager Stephen Whitburn in a press release. “We take great pride in supporting more than forty LGBT-serving organizations this year, and we will work to grow that support even more in the future.” Organizations that received financial support from Pride include groups that provide LGBT-specific services and programming in the areas of senior care, foster & homeless youth, HIV/AIDS, women’s health, military spousal support, arts & entertainment, recovery, sports, education, and historic preservation. For more information, visit sdpride.org.


Mama’s Kitchen Pie in the Sky bake sale raises more than $111,000

After running for approximately six weeks in October and November, San Diego nonprofit Mama’s Kitchen surpassed fundraising goal for their Thanksgiving bake sale, “Pie in the Sky,” selling more than 4,200 pies to raise more than $111,000.

Proceeds will directly fund Mama’s Kitchen’s meal service, which provides free, hot, home-delivered meals to San Diegans living with AIDS or cancer. This year’s bake sale raised enough to fund 37,100 meals.

Twenty-four of San Diego’s top pastry chefs, caterers and bakeries donated their time, energy and, most importantly, their pies to the fundraising effort. This year’s sponsors included Wells Fargo, The Original Pancake House, Sycuan Casino, Energy Radio 103.7 FM, Gay San Diego (a sister newspaper of SDUN), KyXy Radio 96.5 FM, SD PIX, San Diego Uptown News, San Diego Magazine and SDGLN.com.

For more information about Mama’s Kitchen or to volunteer, visit mamaskitchen.org or call 619-233-6262.


An “ashcan” installed in Mission Hills to reduce cigarette-butt waste in the community (Courtesy Belinda Smith)

Seven ‘ashcans’ installed throughout Mission Hills

The Mission Hills Town Council (MHTC) recently funded the installation of seven cigarette butt receptacles, or “ashcans,” outside of popular businesses throughout the community. Working in conjunction with I Love A Clean San Diego and the Surfrider Foundation San Diego County Chapter, volunteers gathered on Dec. 17 at the Regal Beagle to install the first of seven ashcans.

Leading the charge against cigarette-butt waste, the two aforementioned nonprofits further assisted MHTC by conducting litter scans throughout Mission Hills to identify the areas most in need of the receptacles. Areas where 500 or more butts were found were recommended installation locations.

In addition to Regal Beagle, the Blue Water Seafood Market and Grill, Rubicon Deli, Gelato Vero Caffe, Brooklyn Girl, Eatrey, Lamplighter and Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar had ashcans installed in front of their business location.

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