Neighbors Working Together to Make a Difference

| August 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

Over the last several weeks I have been very impressed by the commitment and fortitude of my neighbors and people from communities throughout the city who have been pulling together to make a difference. I applaud all of them for their efforts and their accomplishments. Here’s a quick recap of their efforts.

Presidio Park/Presidio Hills
In the Presidio Hills area of Mission Hills we are experiencing a true team effort to deal with problems associated with homelessness and neglect of Presidio Park. This past week I spoke to several neighbors who have taken it upon themselves to be the eyes of the community by using the “Get it Done” App ( that allows us to communicate directly with the City of San Diego and San Diego Police Department to respond to crime and potential problems (i.e. drug activity, potholes) in our communities, including transients prowling our properties and/or living in our parks.

Just in the last couple of weeks, the San Diego Police Department has apprehended individuals living in Presidio Park who may have been involved in lewd acts and drug activity. Arrests have been made. However, due to new laws, the police, as we know, can only hold them for a very short period of time.

There are now upward of a couple of dozen homeowners in the Presidio Hills area who are creating a community group to meet regularly and work with city officials to clean up Presidio Park, as well as continue the restoration of this landmark property.

Presidio Hills Golf Course
The group of volunteers who are dedicated to restoring the historic, Presidio Hills Golf Course (PHGC) are looking forward to completing an RFP that is due by August 27, 2018. With an update from John Vallas, executive director of Friends of Presidio Hills Golf, a pending 501(c)3, their goal remains pretty similar to what they shared earlier this year. As a community-led non-profit, privately funded initiative, Friends of Presidio Hills Golf intends to manage, fund, restore, revitalize, and re-launch Presidio Hills Golf Course. This project includes:
• Long-term leasehold of PHGC. Initially, they intend to immediately transition operation to a PGA pro, Johnny Gonzalez, to improve the current state of the course while maintaining the current or similar operating hours.
• Parallel to this, Friends will work with the City of SD to approve and fund a plan to restore and revitalize the golf course, continuing the 18-hole par 3 format, with ProKids consulting on, and eventually taking over operation. They will also work with SOHO and descendants of Old Town to plan and fund the restoration of the Carrillo Adobe back to its 1810 configuration, ultimately re-opening as a house museum for the public, run by SOHO.
• Build a new, modular structure community center, pro shop, golf legacy museum, snack bar, and classrooms, clad in conformance with old town design district guidelines.
• Improve walking path along Mason St. with new ADA sidewalk, improve and install native plants, and new way-finding and historic significance signage.
• New signage, fencing, and decor around parking lot, and property boundaries for Presidio Hills Golf Course and the Carrillo Adobe.

Protect Our Communities from Airbnb and HomeAway
I applaud the efforts of all of the residents throughout the city who have spoken directly to our elected officials to change the course of action and keep neighborhoods intact.

Over the last several weeks, I have heard from numerous individuals about the rising problems associated with Airbnb houses that are changing the personality and culture of our neighborhoods. There has been an increase of noise, disruption, parking abuses and violations and other associated problems related to people who come here to vacation.

What is ironic is that we have a “housing crisis” that all of our elected officials are aware of, and, yet, this had not been identified as a part of the problem. The fact is that local and outside investors have purchased homes for the sole purpose of making them Airbnbs. I know this because I have heard directly from people who have no problem admitting this has been their reason for buying property in San Diego County.

This past week, despite serious legal action by the Airbnb and HomeAway lobbyists, the City Council voted to uphold the new rules, which will limit short-term stays to one’s primary residence only, the council reaffirmed its decision in a second reading of an ordinance that will now legalize home sharing. The vote was 6-2, with Councilmen David Alvarez and Scott Sherman opposed. Councilman Chris Cate was absent.

However, this is not a done deal, because attorney’s representing the “home sharing” industry, as it is called, are preparing a legal fight.

And I want to inform you that we are not alone with our goal to protect our neighborhoods. Community activists in New York City and San Francisco are also doing their part to protect neighborhoods from an onslaught of “home sharing” properties, which are destroying the integrity of neighborhoods.

The message is, “We want ‘functional’ neighborhoods, not ‘dysfunctional’ environments that are not conducive to creating and sustaining healthy and vital communities.”

Thanks to all of you for leading and joining these causes. Your hard work and courage is greatly appreciated…and direly needed.

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