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    Pacific Beach pushes to move Farmers Market to Garnet Avenue
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 18, 2018 | 9661 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    People stroll and shop at the Pacific Beach Farmers Market on Tuesday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    People stroll and shop at the Pacific Beach Farmers Market on Tuesday. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Morgan Clover and Angela Jordan check out La Luz jewelry by Rhonda McCarty at the PB Farmers Market. 
THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    Morgan Clover and Angela Jordan check out La Luz jewelry by Rhonda McCarty at the PB Farmers Market. THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    Fresh produce for sale at the Pacific Beach Farmers Market. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    Fresh produce for sale at the Pacific Beach Farmers Market. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    Gabby Davila, of PB, samples cold-pressed juice at the Farmers Market.  THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    Gabby Davila, of PB, samples cold-pressed juice at the Farmers Market. THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    Rebuffed in their initial attempt to relocate the Tuesday Farmers Market from Bayard Street to Garnet Avenue in the heart of the Pacific Beach business district, community leaders were back again for another try. Pacific Beach civic leaders attended the April 12 Metropolitan Transit System board meeting to plead their case directly to transit authorities. They requested MTS board agendize a formal action item at its next meeting to reconsider the proposed PB Farmers Market shift. When PB market relocation was first proposed about a year ago, MTS and the San Diego Police Department both balked, noting honoring the request could prove problematic – and costly – in altering bus routes, ensuring public safety, etc. “For more than six years, the [Tuesday] Pacific Beach Farmers Market has been a valuable asset to our neighborhood,” said Kristin Victor, a member of beautifulPB, a public nonprofit working toward community enhancement. “The proposed move would help achieve community and citywide goals to strengthen the local economy and advance climate action goals, all while promoting safe transportation choices on one of the city’s most dangerous corridors.” “I would just ask that MTS would work with the community and myself … to see if there’s any way, any viable alternative, that we can help accommodate this request, which would be a terrific boom for the PB community,” said District 2 Councilmember Lorie Zapf. Rob Schupp, MTS director of marketing and communications, said the PB request, not being an agenda item, was not discussed by the transit board other than “Councilwoman Zapf’s supporting the issue and chairwoman Georgette Gomez saying she would start collecting facts.” Noted Schupp: “It is the City that ultimately makes the call. MTS just cited the impacts it would have on transit service, not only to the beach communities, but how delays in PB have ripple effects, and impact riders throughout our service territory.” Schupp added, “When this issue first came up, MTS asked for traffic control at unsignalized intersections to help ensure that we’re not stuck in gridlock, and the elimination of some parking so our large buses could safely navigate narrow streets required for detours.” Pacific Beach Planning Group chair Henish Pulickal noted the group voted 9-4 in favor of moving the Farmers Market to Garnet in April of last year. Longtime Pacific Beach Planning Group member Eve Anderson, was one of the four dissenters on the vote to move the Farmers Market. “The underlying reason for beautifulPB to want that market moved is the eventual, permanent closure of Garnet Avenue,” Anderson said.“And that needs a full discussion of the whole community.” “We want to change the personality of Garnet Avenue and have it be representative of the community,” said Victor previously. “The only way to do that is to get community residents and visitors to start supporting the businesses that are there." “Has anyone from beautifulPB notified the folks on Felspar and Hornblend of their proposed plans to shift the Farmers Market to Garnet?” asked Anderson. “Those residents are the ones who will suddenly find themselves inundated with traffic every Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m.”
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    Greetings and citations for dog walkers in Mission Bay Park
    by DAVE SCHWAB
    Apr 18, 2018 | 887 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A woman talks on the phone while walking her dog along the Mission Bay Park path during a beautiful sunset.         THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    A woman talks on the phone while walking her dog along the Mission Bay Park path during a beautiful sunset. THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    Swari hangs out in the shade of the seawall on the boardwalk in Pacific Beach with his owner Robert, of La Mesa.   THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
    Swari hangs out in the shade of the seawall on the boardwalk in Pacific Beach with his owner Robert, of La Mesa. THOMAS MELVILLE / BEACH & BAY PRESS
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    Walking the dog around Mission Bay Park on a sunny San Diego day seems like a perfect way to enjoy life at the beach. But parading your puppy on the promenade could put a pinch in your pocketbook. Turns out, Mission Bay is the most common spot where dog owners receive tickets for walking the pooch in the park. Dogs are prohibited from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (see sidebar) and a lot of people learn that law the hard way. According to stats compiled by the City, from 2015 to 2017, of 553 citations handed out to dog walkers in San Diego, nearly half – 256 – were issued in Mission Bay Park, with its 24 shoreline miles and 27 parks. The nation’s largest man-made aquatic park, Mission Bay features an abundance of paths including a 19-mile, full-bay loop connecting several neighborhoods, perfect for long walks with your four-legged friend. Balboa Park was runner-up to Mission Bay with 145 dog-walking citations in two years. Ocean Beach was a distant third with 84. Fourth- and fifth-place went, respectively, to Kate Sessions Park, 42, and La Jolla Cove/Shores, 26. Citations were for numerous causes including dogs off-leash and walking in prohibited areas. Some Mission Bay Park areas allow dogs on-leash only. Others, like Fiesta Island, are leash-free. Some areas do not allow dogs at all. City guidelines for legal dog-walking may seem strict to some. Service animals aside, it’s illegal to walk dogs during the day at all city beaches, which extends to all of Mission Bay, including all boardwalks, grassy parks and paved paths. The only two exceptions are Ocean Beach Dog Park and Fiesta Island, designated off-leash areas. The dog-walking prohibition in most San Diego public parks and beaches is not new. It’s been in place for 30 years due to public complaints about dogs threatening safety. Prime time for people being out in the City’s beaches and parks is daytime. Hence, the diurnal dog-walking restriction. Of course, no one enjoys being ticketed for anything, dog walking included. The Beach & Bay Press solicited accounts from beachfront residents concerning how, where, and why they received canine-walking citations. “I had put my [mini schnauzer] in the front basket of my bicycle riding with my daughter,” said PB resident JD. “A ranger stopped me on foot and said I could not pass through with a dog, even in the basket. She was close to giving me a ticket, but gave me a warning. I’m mad. My daughter thinks we can’t go places with our dog in a bicycle basket.” Cori Meara bought a bike called a school bus to accommodate their old Basset Hound. “Last April, we were stopped by a park ranger who wrote us a ticket for being on the boardwalk during non-dog hours. We told her our dog was technically not on the boardwalk, but inside a bike. She said it didn’t matter. The ticket was $280!”   “I think the regulations around times you can walk your dog are crazy,” said Angela Rowe of PB Plaza. “Walking your dog by the beach is illegal until after 6 p.m. starting April 1. The city should encourage exercising. Instead, it penalizes dog owners.” From the “other” side, Devin, a trauma center employee, and PB father of two young girls, said, “Leash and dog laws exist to protect both the dog and the public.”  Citing one example, Devin said: “It is the illegal off-leash use that makes the Kate Sessions’ hill unsafe for young children. I already know the owner doesn't mind breaking the law. How likely is [the dog] to bite? Knock over my daughter? Obey? Now add another five or 30-plus illegally off-leash dogs. It makes for a stressful, miserable time.”  Devin added that PB has a lot of legal dog-walking/running spots such as Capehart and Fiesta Island (89 acres) where off-leash is legal. Karen and Eric in PB agreed. “The laws are posted and people just disregard them,” the couple emailed. “We [runners] have a child who was bitten by a dog, and we intentionally go out to the parks, beaches and walkways when dogs are not supposed to be there. Every single time we go out people are disregarding the laws.”   PB resident Steve Kovack says he sees more serious violations than dog walkers along the beach and bay – such as alcohol use, smoking, and littering – with no enforcement. “I was given a warning on a weekday afternoon for walking my dog at Paradise Point, with no one else in sight,” Kovack said. “Along with the warning, I was provided a copy of the Mission Bay Park rules and regulations, of which there are 19 mentioned. How many tickets are issued to dog owners versus citations for violating many of the other rules?” “Thankfully, I have not received a ticket for walking our well-behaved service dog, however, I do agree with those who would like to see another separate area for dogs to play in Crown Point (instead of the elementary school),” said PB resident Melissa Pratchard. “I love the suggestion about using the dirt and grass area at the opening of the bay, off Crown Point Drive and Lamont Street, as a dog area,” Pratchard said. “Our dogs, just like our children, need places to play.” What are the City rules and regs for walking the dog? Q: What are the laws governing walking dogs along the coast? A: Dogs are not allowed on the beach and in park areas between the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Nov. 1- March 31 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from April 1 to Oct. 31. The area includes beaches, bays, parks, cliffs, sidewalks, boardwalks, piers and adjacent parking lots. This also includes having a dog in a crate, purse and a bike carrier/basket. (Service dogs are exempt from the law. Emotional-support dogs are not covered under ADA, so they are not exempt from the law.) • All dogs must be leashed at all times unless it is a dog park like Fiesta Island in Mission Bay or Dog Beach/Dusty Rhodes in Ocean Beach. • You must pick up after your dog.   •  The leash cannot be more than eight feet long. • The leash must be attached to a person.   Q: When, where, is it legal to walk pooches along the bayfront? A: Before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. from Nov. 1 to March 31 and before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. April 1 to Oct. 31. Dogs are allowed anytime at designated dog parks including Fiesta Island, Dog Beach and Dusty Rhodes.   Q: What are the most common infractions? What are the penalties for those infractions? A: Most common infractions include dogs off leash, dogs in the park during the restricted hours, and not picking up after dogs. Regarding penalties, these laws are considered “wobblers” and can be cited as either an infraction or a misdemeanor and include a notice to appear in court. The judge ultimately decides the amount of the fine, but fines typically start at about $250 per violation.   Q: Who enforces dog-walking regulations? A: A number of agencies can enforce regulations, including San Diego Park Rangers, County Animal Control, San Diego Police Department and San Diego Lifeguards.  
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    SeaWorld’s new roller coaster to open May 10
    Apr 17, 2018 | 7989 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    SeaWorld employees ride the Electric Eel during a test run.
    SeaWorld employees ride the Electric Eel during a test run.
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    SeaWorld employees ride the Electric Eel during a test run.
    SeaWorld employees ride the Electric Eel during a test run.
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    Electric Eel, Mission Bay’s tallest and fastest roller coaster, is set to open on May 10. Construction of the amusement ride continues to progress on schedule, allowing the park to launch the new, 62-mph, 150-foot-tall coaster a few days earlier than expected. Electric Eel will feature a triple-launch experience with high-energy twists and extremely fast loops. According to SeaWorld, this new ride should excite even the bravest thrill seekers, making them feel like an eel as they slither and dart around the track. The Electric Eel area will also feature an interactive learning experience called Mission: Deep Discovery. A habitat with mysterious moray eels, which was opened as part of the new Ocean Explorer attraction in summer 2017, is adjacent to the roller coaster.
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    Community briefs for Ocean Beach and Point Loma
    Apr 13, 2018 | 11708 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A view of Monday's sunset from Sunset View Elementary on Hill Street in Point Loma. / Photo by Thomas Melville
    A view of Monday's sunset from Sunset View Elementary on Hill Street in Point Loma. / Photo by Thomas Melville
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    PLA Peninsula Community Conversation on April 17 A PLA Peninsula Community Conversation will take place 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at UPSES Portuguese Hall. It’s like NextDoor but without the typing. Meet, face to face, in person… and talk. So it’s more like getting coffee. But instead of coffee, there will be free food and a bar. Leaders from Peninsula, Ocean Beach and Midway planning boards, Ocean Beach Town Council, Ocean Beach MainStreet Association and the Point Loma Association will discuss things that affect all residents. Find out what each group does. Discover how they work together, sharing concerns, collaborating on solutions, learning from one another and speaking with a unified voice to advocate for neighborhoods.  Support Cabrillo National Monument with vote The Cabrillo National Monument needs the community’s help in obtaining a financial grant. They have been accepted into the running for the All-in 4 Change grants offered by Harrah’s Southern California. Awarding of the grants will be determined by votes by residents. The voting started and runs through 5 p.m. on April 23. Vote at harrahssocal.com/all-in-4-change. Taste of Liberty Station Foodies can pacify their palates at the second annual Taste of Liberty Station Wednesday, April 18, from 5 to 9 p.m. The event will be all-encompassing featuring the best Liberty Station has to offer, everything from music, art and culture to drinks and food. Attendees can stroll through Liberty Station sampling a wide variety of fare from eateries, while listening to live music and checking out artisan goods and artwork on exhibit from local galleries. Participating businesses will include Roma Express, Solare, Pisco Rotisserie & Cevicheria, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Fitness Together Point Loma and Lauren LeVieux Artist Studio. Guests age 21 and up can also experience the Bubbly Garden featuring three tastings of sparkling wine in the Central Promenade. The live entertainment and art exhibits in the corridors and plaza are free and open to the public.  Child care will also be available with parents encouraged to drop off their children at Kid Ventures, an indoor-outdoor children’s play facility at Liberty Station. For information, visit libertystation.com. Point Loma Republican Women luncheon Point Loma Republican Women Federated monthly luncheon meeting will take place 10 a.m. April 19 at Point Loma Cafe, 4865 Harbor Drive. Program: Eric Golub, a Republican commentator and comedian will speak. A no host lunch follows. Guests welcome. Call Marilyn at 619-222-9532 for additional information. Day at the Docks The Port of San Diego's 39th annual Day at the Docks is a celebration of sportfishing that will take place on Sunday, April 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The festival marks the official start of San Diego’s spring saltwater fishing season. The event is held at Harbor Drive and Scott Street.  The festival provides the opportunity to discover new adventures, explore the latest in fishing tackle and techniques, walk aboard and tour boats in the fleet, talk with the captains and crews, take a ride on a boat and partake in the many activities planned for the day.  Free parking is available on Shelter Island and free round trip shuttle service to and from the festival is offered from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For complete information on Day at the Docks activities and schedules, visit sportfishing.org. Point Loma woman named San Diego’s ARCS Light for 2018 Doris Ellsworth has been named the San Diego Chapter’s ARCS Light for 2018. This honor is awarded to one member every year who has contributed outstanding service to the organization. Academic Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) awards approximately $500,000 annually to local scholars from UCSD, SDSU, TSRI, and USD. Ellsworth joined the charitable organization in 1987 and has contributed in many ways to promote its mission of recognizing outstanding young scientists with scholarships. Membership committee chair of events, strategic planning committee chapter researcher, and director of field trips are a few of the duties she has performed. Ellsworth has been active in numerous civic and nonprofit organizations including San Diego Diplomacy Council (president), San Diego Bar Auxiliary, PEO president, Children’s Hospital, and The Wednesday Club, Town and Gown, and Peninsula Singers. She co-founded the San Diego Courthouse Tour Program for elementary and high school students, receiving national recognition from the Freedoms Foundation. When her husband, Pete, took on the challenge of building Sharp Healthcare — merging seven hospitals and three medical groups — Ellsworth hosted and organized efforts supporting the massive effort. Women’s Museum sets #METOO art exhibit  Just as the #metoo movement has commanded a place in the mainstream public debate, so does it seek to inspire the private forces that fuel its fight against sexual abuse. From April 6 to April 29 at noon, that inspiration takes the form of #METOO, a Latin American Art Festival exhibit at the Women’s Museum of California, 2730 Historic Decatur Road on the Naval Training Center campus.    “#METOO,” the festival says,“ is not a fight born of anger; it is not a declaration of war against men, and it is not a witch-hunt. #METOO is a strong, unified, voice that seeks to put an end to silencing those who have been hurt and to say out loud, “No more!” The ten female artists include Nuria Bac, known for her deadpan, square-featured female characters, and San Diego’s Haydee Laborin, whose art embraces oils, acrylics and mixed media in creation of the figurative and conceptual. “It is time to put an end,” Mexican author Aracell Martinez Rose said in a festival statement, “to suffering in silence, to avoiding the reality of abuse and to hiding in pain. Now is the time to yell the truth, because truth becomes beauty, freedom, dignity and equality for all of humanity.” Tickets are $3 and $5. For more, see womensmuseumca.org or call (858) 233-7963. Barons Market launches community-intensive website Barons Market, an independent, family-owned grocery that numbers a Point Loma location among its seven Southern California stores, has announced the launch of its new website, featuring interactive elements designed to reflect the communities it serves. The site features community events calendars; recipe sections; announcements on weekly price deals; and photos, videos and a social media feed that showcase daily activity at the stores. “We want to create memorable experiences that go beyond a transaction,” marketing vice president Rachel Shemirani said. “This launch is a testament to our love of community and the personal touch points that come with being infused into the community.” The Point Loma Barons, noted for its specialty, organic and natural foods, is located at 4001 W. Point Loma Blvd. The group also has a North Park franchise and five other outlets from Alpine to Murietta. The site address is baronsmarket.com. Battle of San Diego fete set at Naval Base Point Loma On Saturday, April 14, history will repeat itself for the 214th time at the Battle of San Diego Anniversary Celebration, which commemorates the only Pacific Coast ship-to-shore battle between an American vessel and a Spanish fort. The event, hosted by Balboa Park’s House of Spain in conjunction with Naval Base Point Loma, will run from noon to 4 p.m. at Naval Base Point Loma, at the end of Rosecrans Street. A flag-raising ceremony and the American and Spanish national anthems will open the program. Capt. Brien Dickinson, Naval Base Point Loma commanding officer, will welcome the attendees and Javier Vallaure, Los Angeles consul general of Spain.  Keynote speaker is California State University San Marcos archaeology Prof. Adolfo Muñiz, who will speak about the battle’s history and its artifacts.  On March 17, 1803, Capts. William Shaler and Richard Cleveland sailed into San Diego Bay on the American brig Lelia Byrd to buy sea otter pelts, although such trading was forbidden by governing Spain. Five days later, Spanish soldiers captured members of the ship’s crew, fueling a gun and canon battle at Fort Guijarros, today’s Naval Base Point Loma.  A hat was eventually waved, and both parties ceased firing. No injuries were reported. The Fort Guijarros site was designated as California Registered Historical Landmark No. 69 in 1982. A Spanish dance performance by Doña Juanita Franco’s Classical Dance Academy will be performed following the ceremony, which will include a variety of historical, cultural and maritime displays, historical costumes, children’s craft activities and food and beverages,  including paella, chorizo, beer, sodas and Sangria. Reservations are required to enter Naval Base Point Loma and must be made no later than March 30. They may be made through e-mailing a list of attendees to hossd7@gmail.com. Reservations for children under age 18 accompanied by an adult are not required if accompanied by an adult. Literacy council fundraiser to serve food for thought at ninth Eat.Drink.Read. More than 20 chefs representing local restaurants including Point Loma’s Solare Lounge will create a culinary journey inspired by the chefs’ favorite books and literary characters at the San Diego Council on Literacy’s ninth annual “Eat.Drink.Read. A Culinary Event for Literacy,” set for Thursday, May 17 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Balboa Park’s San Diego Air & Space Museum. San Diego brewers, distillers and winemakers will also bring their products to the event, which will feature live music and a battle between the chefs, with awards for best dish, best dessert, best display and people’s choice. Past works of inspiration have yielded creations from Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” The event raises funds to support the nonprofit council’s 27 literacy programs, campaigns and referrals that serve 180,000 residents a year at no cost. More than 520,000 adults in San Diego have difficulty reading – and most of them are native English speakers. Many of these are parents, and their children are said to be adversely affected by low-level literacy skills in the household. Tickets go on sale March 26, with the early bird price of $60 available through April 12. Tickets increase to $75 beginning April 13. The museum is located at 2001 Pan American Plaza. For more, see literacysandiego.org or call (619) 574-1641 ext. 103. Vanessa Davis named general manager at Broadway/San Diego Vanessa Davis, former president of the San Diego chapter of Executive Women International and a member of National Broadway Leagues’ group sales ticket committee, has been named general manager of Broadway/San Diego, Nederlander Organization executive vice president Nick Scandalios announced. Davis, who currently oversees Broadway/San Diego’s President’s Club, group sales and patron services, will also assume the duties of current vice president Joe Kobryner, who announced his retirement in January after 22 years with the Nederlander Organization local office. Kobryner will remain with Nederlander through July 13. Nederlander, established in Detroit in 1912, has produced dozens of live Broadway shows and has presented hundreds of top entertainment headliners in San Diego and elsewhere.  Of Davis’ appointment, Scandalios said, “I have been impressed by Vanessa’s work in all capacities over the years, and nothing makes me happier than to promote her to our executive team.” Kobryner added, “I have worked with Vanessa for over 20 years,” Kobryner added, “and am thrilled that she will succeed me in overseeing the important San Diego market. Over the years, she has demonstrated a tremendous ability to learn and excel at everything in which she is involved,” he stated. Davis remarked that “It will be a privilege to serve as general manager in our vibrant San Diego arts community, and I look forward to leading the incredibly talented team at Broadway/San Diego into the next chapter.” For more on Broadway/San Diego, see broadwaysd.com.
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    Is San Diego planning a massive Midway District redevelopment?
    by LYNN WALSH
    Apr 12, 2018 | 6098 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    AEG Management, which operates Valley View Casino Center, is currently in lease negotiations with the City for a possible extension beyond 2020.  THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
    AEG Management, which operates Valley View Casino Center, is currently in lease negotiations with the City for a possible extension beyond 2020. THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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    The City owns not only the arena and its parking lot, but also the land under businesses like Dixieline, Salvation Army, and Pier 1 Imports.  THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
    The City owns not only the arena and its parking lot, but also the land under businesses like Dixieline, Salvation Army, and Pier 1 Imports. THOMAS MELVILLE / PENINSULA BEACON
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    (This story was originally published at voiceofsandiego.org and is published on sdnews.com with their permission.) San Diego owns nearly 100 acres of land in the Midway District, and almost half of it could be put up for grabs to private developers in mid-2020, if the city gets its way. Meanwhile, businesses that lease the land are trying to secure extensions from the city. Something’s gotta give. “You’re not going to tear down an arena that is doing 130 events a year,” said Ernie Hahn, general manager of Valley View Casino Center. “It’s the only place that a hockey team can play in town.” Valley View is operated by AEG Management, and its lease with the city ends in May 2020. The two parties are in lease negotiations for a possible extension, with Hahn and his team seeking a five- to seven-year deal. The city owns not only the arena and its parking lot, but also the land under businesses like Pier 1 Imports, Dixieline Lumber and the Salvation Army. If the city doesn’t extend those leases beyond 2020, the stage will be set for a major redevelopment of the entire area, perhaps orchestrated by one developer following a competitive city bidding process. The city is also moving this summer to update the Midway District’s community plan, which will vastly expand the amount of development that could occur there. If fully developed, the new plan could expand the neighborhood’s population by nearly six times what it is now. Hahn said he has been talking to the city about wanting to extend the Valley View lease for more than a year, but just recently started the negotiation process. The extension is “100 percent” going to happen, he said, and he expects it to be similar to what they have had in the past: a rolling rent model, with step increases each year. San Diego confirmed that it’s currently negotiating for a possible extension of the Valley View site, but would not answer questions or provide specifics. Joe Lawrence, president and CEO of Dixieline Lumber and Home Centers, said he has yet to approach the city about a lease extension, but he plans to soon. He said he’s hoping to keep his business in the area for 10-15 more years, at least. “We are praying to the man above that the project does not go forward,” he said. “We have been here since 1967 and do not intend to go anywhere. We will ask for as much time as we can get.” Lawrence and Hahn have been through these negotiations before. Both said the process went smoothly, with the Dixieline negotiation process taking a year to complete. “We had a lease renewal about three years ago that gave us the 2020 deadline,” Lawrence said. “We were investing in our property at the time and were notified after we had begun construction that extensions were not being granted past 2020 because of potential (to redevelop) the Sports Arena…We need to get started now. The end of 2020 will be here quickly.” Hahn, who has been the general manager of the arena for more than 20 years, said extending the Valley View lease several years gives the San Diego Gulls a long-term home. The Gulls’ current agreement to play at Valley View expires in 2020. The team plans to stay in San Diego, according to Gulls communications manager Steve Brown. “In terms of what we want to do, playing hockey, whether that is a new arena or AEG extending the lease, we are hoping to be in San Diego,” he said. “So many iterations of the Gulls have bolted, left or changed, but we are invested long term.” In addition to the Gulls, San Diego’s new National Lacrosse League team, the San Diego Seals, will begin playing at Valley View in November. Their agreement with the arena also ends in 2020. Hahn said the San Diego Gulls bring 350,000 people a year to the arena and expects the Seals to bring in more than 100,000 fans a year. “Extending [the lease] really gives us the ability to really work with the key entities at hand that want more time, that are a part of the San Diego community,” Hahn said. “It’s the best use of the land right now with the facility that’s there… Then down the line, should a new building get built, it gives the option to the city to get that land back while allowing the teams to continue to have a venue.” Talks and plans for a new sports venue or event arena in San Diego have been ongoing for years. Most recently the focus has been on the Mission Valley area, which is home to SDCCU Stadium, formerly Qualcomm Stadium, and an expansion of the downtown convention center.  Last month, someone was polling residents about a potential ballot initiative to replace the Valley View Casino Center. It asked what type of additional development they would support in the area. Katie Keach, a San Diego spokeswoman, and Hahn both said they are not behind the polling. Valley View arena opened in 1966, before San Diego voters passed a restriction on how high buildings could be west of Interstate 5. To build a new arena of the same height or higher, voters would have to sign off on the plan. But one of San Diego’s most influential lobbyists, California Strategies and Advocacy, has registered with the city to lobby on behalf of H&S Ventures, LLC, the company that owns the San Diego Gulls and the Anaheim Ducks, according to lobbying records filed with the city. The Gulls owners are seeking “improvement of Valley View Casino Center/Sports Arena…or entitlement of a facility in the San Diego region to host the San Diego Gulls.” Benjamin Haddad and Craig Benedetto are the two lobbyists registered from the firm for this project. Benedetto also lobbies on behalf of FS Investors, the developers behind the SoccerCity initiative. He made headlines recently after news broke that San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate leaked him a confidential city attorney’s memo that addressed legal questions related to the SoccerCity initiative.  The law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton also registered as lobbyists with the city on behalf of H&S Ventures to discuss the Midway-Pacific Highway Community Plan Update. Calls from Voice of San Diego to Benedetto and Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton law firm were not returned. Hahn said he is supportive of a new arena but doesn’t see one being built in the near future. He questioned whether the Sports Arena area is the best location. “I love grandiose ideas but I believe the next arena that should be built in San Diego should be in the spec and scale, whether it is downtown or Mission Valley or somewhere, that allows us to look at NBA or NHL capacities,” he said. “I think that is six to eight years out best case… As far as looking at this area for it, I think there are so many challenges… I see it fairly far down the list as far as the best locations in San Diego.” In addition to being the home of the San Diego Gulls and now the Seals, the arena’s parking lot each weekend hosts the Kobey’s Swap Meet, an outdoor flea market. Hahn said the market has been there for 38 years and represents more than 350 local businesses. “[Valley View] is still the juggernaut when it comes to entertainment and sports in San Diego,” Hahn said. “For the next six, eight, 10 years, we have it covered.” Hahn said he is OK with extending Valley View’s lease for just a few more years, but Lawrence is hoping for something more. The Sports Arena Dixieline Lumber store is both a home center and a corporate headquarters, and Lawrence said it is one of his company’s better performing stores. “Relocating the homecenter facility would be challenging,” he said. “We could find office space elsewhere, but having that home center footprint is very critical for us.” Hahn said negotiations are going smoothly, and he can’t imagine failing to reach an agreement. “It’s hard for me to think that a mayor and a city would just say we are going to close down the arena,” he said. “I don’t think the mayor is looking to lose anymore teams and he has been very supportive of the Gulls from the get-go… Based on conversations we’ve had with the mayor, I am excited we are going to get something done.” One thing that could be included in the lease terms, Hahn said, is an option for the city to take the land back earlier. He said he could see this happening if another arena or venue is built with the capacity to host the sports teams and other events currently at Valley View. In addition to the property lease expiring, the venue’s naming rights agreement with Valley View Casino and Hotel expires in December. They are talking with the company about a possible renewal and are open to potential new opportunities as well, Hahn said. The Valley View team will work to secure the naming rights agreement on their own, but the city has to sign off on it and receives a portion of the money. Currently, according to Hahn, the city earns 10 percent of the naming rights agreement between the arena and Valley View Casino and Hotel. Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She produces content focused on government accountability, public access to information and freedom of expression issues. She’s also helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public through the Trusting News project. Connect with her on Twitter or send her an email with story tips or a good sunset photo.
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