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Stories by David Batterson

North Park Main Street update

Office remodel, financial snapshot

It appeared North Park Main Street, a business improvement district established by the City of San Diego, might be moving. Last month on two walkabouts it was dark inside, boxes and pictures were strewn about, ...

Caltrans to chip in for Cabrillo Bridge seismic retrofit

A project apart from controversial detour extension

The San Diego City Council on January 8 unanimously approved a cooperative agreement between the City and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to seismically retrofit and rehabilitate the Laurel Street (Cabrillo) Bridge. Under the ...

Horton Plaza Project Approved, but Planned Art Unfunded

The San Diego City Council on November 13 unanimously approved authorization to “advertise, bid, award, and construct” the multimillion-dollar Horton Plaza Improvement Project. The council acted in its role as the successor agency to the ...

New Agency Head Touts Centre City Development Corp.

The San Diego City Council on October 23 unanimously approved the mayor's appointment of Jeff Graham as Civic San Diego's new president. Graham had been vice president of redevelopment at the disbanded Centre City Development ...

Hillcrest’s Pernicano's and Casa di Baffi Restaurants... "Abandoned"?

The San Diego City Council passed an “abatement of abandoned properties” ordinance unanimously on October 2. It makes abandoned properties (structures and empty lots) subject to the same city code sections regulating vacant properties. Vacant ...

No Glowing Review on Hotel Sandford’s Renovation

The renovation of the Hotel Sandford at 1301 Fifth Avenue is complete. (click here to see article from 2010). I dropped by unannounced on September 22 to take a look. While the hotel interior looks ...

A Minute with Todd Gloria in North Park

District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria walked up 30th Street in North Park on September 15, with some constituents tagging along, to test a new Android app called “BestWALK” from WalkSanDiego. The free app (downloadable here) ...

San Diego City Attorney Passes on Fireworks Litigation

The September 13 special session of the San Diego City Council included several routine “consent items” on the adoption agenda, including one involving a legal matter. Item-604 concerned “authority to enter into contract for legal ...

San Diego Council Moves to Protect, Expand Military Assets

At its first meeting in weeks, the San Diego City Council on September 13 unanimously approved a resolution to raise awareness about the negative impact of automatic Defense Department budget reductions. The resolution encourages “a ...

Woolworth Building Renovation on Hold

When the city still had its Redevelopment Agency, the empty Woolworth building at 3067 University Avenue was acquired for $1,950,000. North Park Gateway and 31st Street LLC were chosen to develop the structure into a ...

North Park Eyesore to Become Irish Pub?

North Park has a few empty stores, including the long-vacant old Woolworth building at 3067 University Avenue. But a worse eyesore is at 3020 University Avenue, next to the cigarette store at 3018 University. The ...

North Park ElderHelp Facility to Get a Makeover

With financial assistance from block grants and fundraising , Elderhelp of San Diego will be getting an extreme makeover of their facility. The 501(c)(3) non-profit public benefit corporation received a new five-year lease from the ...

Johnny's R Restaurant Sign Stops Spinning

The big revolving sign outside Johnny's R Restaurant at 2611 El Cajon Boulevard has stopped spinning. The inexpensive family restaurant, originated by Johnny Raizian, had a run of more than 30 years in North Park. ...

Graffiti in North Park by Invisible Children Supporters?

Invisible Children, Inc., is the San Diego nonprofit company that created a video on Joseph Kony's rebel war in Central Africa. The video has reportedly garnered over 100 million views, but the organization may have ...

Metropolitan Transit System Chief Declines Benefits Increase

The board of the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System avoided a controversial public vote April 19 on a $20,000 benefits increase for CEO Paul Jablonski. At the board meeting, copies of a letter from Jablonski ...

Fate of Two America Plaza Site Up to City's Redevelopment Oversight Board

Just north of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego at America Plaza is an abandoned construction site that was originally going to be a high-rise office building called Two America Plaza; then the site ...

San Diego City Council Grants $51,000 for Needle Exchange Program

The San Diego City Council on April 10 approved (on their consent agenda) $51,000 for Family Health Centers of San Diego, to be used for their Safe Point San Diego program. Funds will be allocated ...

North Park Volunteer Patrol Will Target Rowdiness Outside Bars

At a March 13 meeting at the Lafayette Hotel, the North Park Community Association sponsored a meeting at which the Stonewall Citizens' Patrol presented their plans to expand into the North Park area. The volunteer ...

City’s New Vending Machine Deal Includes “Healthy Food”

More snacks are coming to city office buildings, libraries, police and fire stations, park and recreation facilities, and some beach areas. On February 28, the San Diego City Council by unanimous consent approved a vending-machine ...

Downtown Affordable Housing Project Likely to Languish for Lack of Funds

“The Atmosphere” low-income apartment complex planned for the long-abandoned Cortez “hole” site may not be built. The nonprofit Wakeland Housing & Development Corporation is the developer. Wakeland previously purchased the dirt-filled site, then resold it ...

City Council Seeks to Build Normal Street Linear Park in Hillcrest

At its January 10 meeting, the San Diego City Council unanimously agreed to send a grant application to the State of California for a proposed Normal Street Linear Park. The $4.7 million project would create ...

Labor Ready Storefront in North Park Closes Shop

The Labor Ready office at 2884 University Avenue closed on December 27. A sign posted on the door stated: “This office will be closed until further notice.” It says to contact their branch at 1021 ...

Hillel of San Diego Still Battles for a New UCSD Facility

After Hillel of San Diego purchased a parcel for a UCSD facility, the La Jolla Shores Association and a group of La Jolla residents sued the City of San Diego in June 2006. The San ...

Wang's North Park Restaurant Plans “Soft” Opening

While a little behind the planned opening date (but said to be right on budget), Wang's North Park restaurant will have a “soft opening” on November 21, said co-owner and operator Joel Herzer in a ...

San Diego City Council Considers Regulations for Home Farming

During a two-week review and comment period that began on November 4 and ends November 18, the San Diego City Council will consider new urban-agriculture amendments to allow more access to home-grown foods. The council ...

St. Paul's Cathedral Project to Move Forward in Bankers Hill

In a November 4 interview, the Very Reverend Scott Richardson, dean of St. Paul's Cathedral, said it appears their project to renovate the cathedral and construct two high-rise, mixed-use condominium towers is a done deal. ...

Caltrans Deems Georgia Street Bridge Deficient

The San Diego City Council on November 1 approved an amended agreement with Simon Wong Engineering for services on the Georgia Street Bridge renovation. This will add an additional payment of $493,000, boosting the firm's ...

San Diego's Cardrooms Allowed to Add Tables

The San Diego City Council on October 18 unanimously approved the increase of tables from nine to eleven at the remaining two cardrooms in San Diego. This proposal was sanctioned last August by the Bureau ...

Alleged Bank of America Official Threatens Protester

Hearing about an October 11 demonstration at the Bank of America branch on University Avenue at 31st Street, I dropped by. Not connected with the Occupy San Diego movement, this protest was connected to the ...

San Diego City Council Responds to County Grand Jury Assertion That New City Hall Is Unnecessary

The San Diego City Council voted 6-1 on October 4 to adopt a resolution, responding to the San Diego County Grand Jury report that a new city hall is not needed. The resolution authorized the ...

Affordable Housing Project Delayed by California Supreme Court

After the Cortez “hole” was finally filled and chainlink-fenced in August 2010 (click here for background), the plan was to transform the empty lot owned by the San Diego Redevelopment Agency into a paved and ...

North Park Residents Call Urban Corps for Speedier Graffiti Removal

Though some residents of North Park call the City of San Diego's graffiti hotline or use its online graffiti report form, some complain that the city's response is slow. So, Graham Blair, a volunteer with ...

Construction Begins on Florida Street HousingWorks Apartments

For many years there were rotting bungalows along Florida Street, between University Avenue and Robinson Avenue. The San Diego Housing Authority gave a loan of $4,900,000 over two years ago to Florida Street Housing Associates, ...

Lyric Opera Poised to Sell North Park Theatre

Lyric Opera, which owns Birch North Park Theatre, struggles to pay the mortgage and operating costs, which run more than $50,000 monthly. Now, the nonprofit organization is close to unloading the property. According to Lyric ...

Woolworth Building Rehab Cost to Rise?

A 15,600-square-foot property at 3067 University Avenue was built in 1949 by F.W. Woolworth Company. Last year, the city purchased the long-empty building for $1,950,000 for redevelopment. North Park Gateway, LLC, was selected to work ...

Transient Problem at North Park’s Albertsons

For many months, transients have hunkered down in front of the Albertsons supermarket at 2235 University Avenue in North Park. They panhandle for change and sometimes fall asleep on the sidewalk. After contacting the Albertsons ...

City Slow to Remove Racial Slur on Sign in North Park

On June 2, when I saw a stop sign at Louisiana Street and Polk Avenue tagged with anti-semitic graffiti, I immediately emailed councilmember Todd Gloria's office. I also sent a photo showing the racial slur, ...

North Park Main Street’s Plans for 2011

The North Park Main Street design committee met on January 4 to discuss revitalization plans for 2011. Amy Colony, assistant director of North Park Main Street, said, “Our main goal is to draw in businesses, ...

Mama's Kitchen to Move

Mama's Kitchen, which has provided meals for people with AIDS and cancer for years, has lost its longtime lease at 1875 Second Avenue and the church property is up for sale. The nonprofit has a ...

North Park Animal Hospital to Include Holistic Treatments

A building at 2200 University Avenue is undergoing a total renovation after its purchase by longtime North Park veterinarian Robert Nagell. Located across from Albertsons, the structure was originally a Jack LaLanne gym, “so was ...

San Diego Housing Commission to Overhaul Hotel Sandford

The timeworn Hotel Sandford, a single-room occupancy facility for low-income seniors at 1301 Fifth Avenue, will soon receive long-overdue renovations. The San Diego Housing Commission purchased the building earlier this year for $6.8 million and ...

San Diego City Council Passes Equal Benefits Ordinance

The San Diego City Council on October 18 unanimously approved an "equal benefits ordinance" proposed by openly gay District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria. The measure requires city contractors to provide domestic partners of employees the ...

San Diego to House Homeless at World Trade Center

Conversion of the former World Trade Center at 1250 Sixth Avenue into a “one stop” homeless center moved closer to reality October 5: the San Diego City Council, convened as the San Diego Redevelopment Agency, ...

CCDC Wants More Cortez Property

Just when we thought the Cortez “hole” project was set for future development, a new glitch of sorts has emerged. The Centre City Development Corporation would like to see the now-filled Cortez “hole” (abandoned Atmosphere ...

Activists Demand Release of Army PFC Bradley Manning

More than 50 individuals from activist organizations and their supporters gathered at Horton Plaza on September 19 to demand the release of Army PFC Bradley Manning. The Army intelligence analyst was arrested and jailed for ...

Martin Calderon, Scrap Metal Sculptor of Hillcrest

I was walking around Hillcrest recently and wondered what's with the lifelike metal animal sculptures in front of houses on the 3700 block of First Avenue. I found out through the Hillcrest Town Council that ...

Affordable Housing on the Way

Recently at the Cortez “hole” site (midblock between Ash and Beech, flanked by Fourth and Fifth avenues), I met with Barry Getzel, senior project manager at Wakeland Housing & Development Corporation. The aborted construction site ...

Nowhere Near Bankruptcy?

Twenty people attended District 3 city councilmember Todd Gloria's latest community coffee klatch on August 14 at Grant's Marketplace in South Park. (Contrary to what the photo suggests, alcoholic beverages were not served.) Gloria spent ...

Talk, Act, Fight

A small crowd of MoveOn.org supporters gathered at noon on August 10 at the Community Concourse to "fight Washington corruption." Speakers included Anne Hoiberg, copresident of the League of Women Voters of San Diego, and ...

Gays’ Day in Court

After Northern California’s chief district judge Vaughn Walker on August 4 ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, I contacted Robert R. DeKoven, law professor at San Diego's California Western School of Law, since he writes ...

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