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Tuesday, December 31, 2013


PULLED OVER IN PARADISE—There’s nothing more calamitous than being higher than the proverbial kite on proverbial hooch or worse and seeing those flashing lights in the rear view mirror.  Being pulled over for drunk driving puts a $25,000 price tag on that last New Year’s Eve cocktail that put you over the limit.  Let the legal dance begin.

“Stay off the road if you’ve been drinking,” says the preacher in horizontal stripes.  Please say: “Amen.”

No segue, but the following is a damn good read:

The URL takes you to a recent LA Times commentary written by author Joseph Wambaugh. It’s about the time he was a LAPD officer, who participated in pulling over a pair of suspicious characters back in 1962.

The would-be perps weren’t drunk driving because they were in a cab, but that doesn’t change the obvious dread they felt at seeing the flashing lights.

Monday, December 30, 2013


Loren Nancarrow
DETAILS AT ELEVEN--Loren Nancarrow (1953-2013) passed away Saturday night.  San Diego media and social media have been discussing how bravely he fought the brain cancer that ended his life.  Didn’t know Loren but like so many San Diegans we knew of him. 

He was a TV newsman who came across as a genuine person.  His goodness came through the tube.   Most of us have lost a friend we never met.

I think he would have been uncomfortable at being called a TV icon, but he was—in his own special, low key way.  He was an icon because he was Loren Nancarrow—human being.  He was a San Diegan, who spoke San Diegan.  That’s what I saw when I watched Loren and I bet if I did meet him he’d be the same friendly guy, who accepted the slings and arrows of media management in this town with a smile.

Television personalities in Loren’s lifetime were bigger than life.  TV and newspapers were the best, fastest way to get the breaking news.  He was among the best broadcasters in town.

Now, with the Internet/social media explosion we’re not so dependent on print and TV to give us the news.  Many of us still catch the 10 pm or 11 pm news and read one or two newspapers a day, but we’re in the minority.  Newer generations will not have the bond we had with newsmen like Loren Nancarrow.  Computer screens are short on wit and a wry smile.

His passing is more than just one man gone.  We’re losing how an entire industry does business.  Remember when CNN news was more than just travel stories?  Remember when we could relate to broadcasters like Loren Nancarrow.   Now, local broadcasting is only news and sports.  Thank goodness for public broadcasting that somehow still gets better every day.

Loren Nancarrow was his own station, his own network and as a viewer I’ll miss him because I know there’s no one in the wings that will replace him.

Loren was quick to reinvent himself.  He embraced blogs and he blogged right to the end.  The last post on his blog appeared December 16.
Click to read it:

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Upas at 28th Streets Portal Welcomes all to North Park's Historic Neighborhoods
BUNGALOW GATEWAY 20 YEARS LATER--Today, at the intersections of 28th Street, Upas and Pershing Drive you find a neighborhood entry designation hailing North Park and its vibrant and historical collection of Arts & Crafts bungalows.

The landmark salutes the community leaders of North Park’s rebirth during the 1990s and early 2000’s and the neighborhoods historic past. In addition, the portal is a practical and artistic welcoming venue for those entering the historic neighborhood.
Many persons were involved in turning North Park from a nearly blighted area in the 1980s and 90s into the thriving “hip” community that many national publications call one of the cool neighborhoods in America.

The historic “Craftsman Historic Neighborhood” designation at 28th and Upas is one metaphor honoring all the residents who pitched in to spark the renaissance.

Three important leaders of the rebirth of North Park are the late Don and Karon Covington and neighbor Aida Mancillas, who both lived at the corner of 28th and Kalmia in a historic homes built by David Owen Dryden in 1916.

Don and Karon loved North Park and they were recognized nationally as the leading historians of the architectural arts & crafts genre in San Diego.  They were active in all aspects of community.  What they couldn’t do themselves they inspired others to jump in and help out.

Aida, along with partner Lynn Susholtz were tireless contributors to the historic and artistic fiber of the community.   Mancillas and Susholtz, while operating as Stone Paper Scissors public art design firm, created the blue prints for the modern day Vermont Street Bridge.

While many were involved in the implementation of the Pershing Portal Project street designation, including several generations of District 3 council staffs, all agree that honoring the Covington’s was more than apt.  There is a quote by Don Covington on a plaque placed in the sidewalk, which shows the insight of the Covington’s.

The sidewalk tablet reads:  “North Park is a vast open-air, living museum of historic houses and neighborhoods.  Those neighborhoods have miraculously preserved not only the whole gamut of early 20th century architectural styles, but also patters of traditional ways of living and relating to neighbors and to the natural environment.”
            --Don Covington, October 1998 edition of North Park News.

Note: The community also commissioned Don Covington to write the text for the historical markers placed in the sidewalks in front of North Park Theatre, Claire de Lune coffee house, Union Bank and Western Dental.

Pershing Portal tablet also reads:  “The 3400, 3500 and 3600 blocks of Pershing and Twenty-Eighth Street form one of the earliest neighborhoods in North Park.  Most houses were built prior to World War I.  The years between 1912 and 1917 were the culminating years of the Craftsman Style in American domestic architecture.  Those years in North Park constituted the first period of residential development.”

1986—Neighbors are concerned at the increased traffic accident rate at 28th & Upas, plus the constant flow of 40 mph plus speeders navigating narrow 28th Street.

1987-91—Neighbors along 28th Street begin lobbying City Hall to do something about the speeding up and down 28th Street (the small street was a convenient short cut for drivers to transition from Pershing Drive to University Ave).  Unfortunately, too many speeders didn’t adhere to common sense speed limits in the residential neighborhood.  Without the high number of speeders most likely the street would never have been closed or the Pershing Portal have the quality appearance it has today.

1992—The ad hoc 28th Street Action group is formed, a collection of 40 or more residents organized a week long, 18-hour per day traffic watch to prove to the city the sheer numbers of speeders using 28th Street.  The Action Group met regularly at the home of Tom and Phyllis Shess, who launched North Park News shortly thereafter.  Attendees at the meeting included Councilmembers John Hartley and then later Christine Kehoe and members of their staffs.

1993—The City acts on neighbor petitions and closes 28th Street at Upas with temporary cement barriers.  The closure created a cul de sac on 28th Street that exists today.

1995—Conceptual designs for the Pershing Portal project began under the guidance of many, especially 28th Street residents Aida Mancillas and Lynn Susholtz of the public art design firm of Stone Paper Scissors.  Funding would take another eight years.

2003—The completion of the landscaped Pershing Portal permanently closed 28th Street at Upas North.

To date—Many residents have volunteered over the years to maintain the quality of the landscaping by watering and weeding.  To them, especially Sheryl Hauser and family, we are forever grateful.

From the June, 1993 edition of North Park News:

“Neighbors Sour on Speeders; Petition City for Cul de Sac”
            “We simply got tired of drivers who don’t live in the neighborhood using 28th Street as a freeway ramp between University and Pershing,” said Phyllis Shess, attorney and homeowner.  “Also, 28th Street is one of the narrowest streets in North Park and no one has the right to drive 50 mph on any neighborhood street,” she added.
            Like most of North Park, 28th Street is made up mostly of young families or elderly.  “We had a traffic monitoring device in place last summer (1992) and still people drove by at 40 to 50 mph.  They’re just oblivious,” added Della Creelman, another homeowner.
            Fellow homeowners on 28th Street, led by Shess, Creelman and others created the 28th Street Action Group.  After several block meetings the group collected enough homeowner signatures to qualify for closing off 28th Street at Upas.
            Sid Pazargadi, a City traffic engineer pointed out “the group is operating within the system.  They collected signatures of 80 percent of the residents on that stretch of 28th Street.  They will receive their cul de sac June 2 (1993).
            Pazargadi also said a traditional cul de sac would not be created.  Instead, the street would be closed with a series of metal posts accented by flowers.  The post system allows emergency vehicles to use the street if necessary.
            Creelman, who has had a daughter hit and seriously injured by a driver on 28th Street, said the residents are tired at shouting to speeders to slow down.  “We wanted to do this before someone is killed.”
            The residents gained final approval from the North Park Planning Committee and the City Council.  Following several neighborhood meetings both the North Park Community Assn. and the North Park Business Assn., endorsed the residents’ petition.

Saturday, December 28, 2013


TEA FOR TEN--What does a deputy district attorney do after more than a hundred trials which tossed murderers, wife beaters and child molesters in prison? Easy, she’s now following a very civilized retirement path by replacing chaos with a bit of tea culture through her North Park Bungalow Tea Society. “I began producing charity teas a number of years ago as a way to help causes I believed in,” says former prosecutor Phyllis Shess. In September, she expanded to offer special occasion private afternoon parties in the comfort of your home or other locations. An elegant three-course champagne afternoon tea is brought to you complete with sparkling tea pots, cups and crystal. Or if you prefer, your tea can be hosted at the Society’s historic 1915 Craftsman bungalow in North Park.

“I love helping design tea parties around special life events.” One of her most memorable clients was a lovely 85-years-young former WWII prisoner of war. “She has had such a rich life…and her birthday celebration gave all of us an opportunity to enjoy her wisdom and wit.” The Society also produces children’s teas. “My own son has been enjoying afternoon tea since he was four and it’s a great way to introduce children to a fine dining experience.” If you are looking for a one-of-a-kind holiday gift, certificates are available for tea parties in 2012, but dates book quickly since she limits herself to two parties per month. Contact:

Recent article on the North Park Bungalow Tea Society:

More on the North Park Bungalow Tea Society go to facebook.

Author’s disclaimer: Yes, I am Mr. Phyllis Shess. She is the woman who transformed me to a man who loves tea when we shared afternoon tea for the first time many years ago at The Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia.

Images: North Park Bungalow Tea Society

Friday, December 27, 2013


LOCALULISMS--In honor of the latest Ron Burgundy/Will Farrell cinema spoof (in theatres near you) that pokes San Diego in the eye, Pillar to Post has revived this “You’re a native when...” list, which appeared the other day on facebook via Terry Williams, managing director of the San Diego Press Club.  We post the San Diego list in total with numbers, but the alphabetical additions are those of Pillar to Post.

1. You can correctly pronounce Tierrasanta, La Jolla, Rancho Penesquitos, Jamacha, San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Jamul and El Cajon and know where they're located.  

2.There are four distinct seasons: Summer, Not Quite Summer, Almost Summer and oh, it’s summer, again.
            2B.  And, you’re not remotely surprised that San Diego County has many different major climate zones: ocean, mountain, desert and AriZonies.

3.  Your high school had a surf team.

4.  When four aircraft carriers are in port, you know things are peaceful in the world.

5.  Your house is worth more than some small countries.

6.  You know what MB, OB, OTL, and PB stand for.
            6B.  You know OMBAC stands for Old Mission Beach Athletic Club and it was founded in 1954.
            6C.  You played Over the Line (OTL) on the ocean side of South Mission Beach until 1967 when they moved the tourney to Mariners’ Point.
            6D.  You know OMBAC throws an annual Miss Emerson bikini contest and have figured out what Emerson stands for.

7.  Know that San Diego means St. James.   We live in Sunny Jim.

8.  The green flash is real and where you see it.

9.  Really cold is under 60 degrees.  Freezing was when your high school date sat at the far end of the front seat of your car at the Rancho Drive In.

10.  You’ve tailgated at a Chargers game at Balboa Stadium and Qualcomm Stadium.

11.  You don’t care that Qualcomm Way is no where near Qualcomm Stadium.

12.  You know that “charge” doesn’t refer to a credit card.

13.   You still remember Sixth grade camp.

14.  You still call it the Del Mar Fair and you gripe about how much it costs to park there.

15.  Know what watching the submarine races means.

16.  You feel sorry for tourists who arrive in May and June and expect it to be sunny.

17.  There’s a North County, South County, and an East County but no Central County.
18.  You know what it means when a girl in a short skirt is walking on El Cajon Blvd.
            18B.  You know a girl walking on El Cajon Blvd in a plaid skirt is coming home from Our Lady of Peace High School.
            18C.  You know where “Nations” ice cream parlor was located.

19.  You avoid Horton Plaza parking structure after a Padres game.

20.  You know what the “merge” is and will plan your entire day around not being on it during rush hour.

21.  You know the difference between Clairemont Mesa, Kearny Mesa and Mira Mesa.

22.  You know how to spell Clairemont and you know that Ridgemont High was really Clairemont High in the Sean Penn and Phoebe Cates flick.

23.  You know that Ron Burgundy is supposed to be Hal Green but not really.

24.  You’ve thought about staying home from work or school because it’s raining.

25.  You know why front row seats are always open at the Shamu show at Sea World.

26.  Local damsels understand San Diego bachelors are ready for marriage when they start wearing their baseball caps with the bill in front.

27.  No matter what the weather is, there is always someone walking around in a t-shirt, shorts and flip flops.

28.  You know Marines at Camp Pendleton are stationed there to protect San Diego from LA.

29.  Zonies are different from snow birds because Zonies are the loudest customers in a restaurant.

30.  You know Santa Anas have nothing to do with the City of Santa Ana

31.  Don’t care if your local pro sports team have never won a World Series or a Super Bowl and really don’t expect them to do so anytime soon.

32.  Never quite figured out why you can’t go north on I-5 when you travel I-8 going East from OB.  Did CalTrans run out of off ramps?

33.  Understand we have an unlimited supply of politicians who will embarrass San Diego nationally sooner or later.

34.  Know all the best beaches and when to go there.