I so appreciated D.A. Kolodenko's Aug. 22 "Inside a Whale's Vagina" column on the 10 disgraces of San Diego spaces. In particular, as a long-term resident with four generations of my family having lived in Hillcrest, I, too, was outraged at the Hillcrest Business Association's Beautification Committee's choice of LED to replace the historic neighborhood neon sign.
I didn't even know about the switcheroo until the San Diego chapter of the American Institute of Architects gave them an Onion award, and I've taken it upon myself to discover any further shenanigans the HBA may be up to, considering this last stunt was done in a total vacuum of community consent or public discourse.
I've been attending Beautification Committee meetings and have discovered their next questionable course of action. In their infinite wisdom and total aesthetic amnesia after getting the Onion, they're planning to spend $70,000 on a new lighting project. It consists of more LED lights strung across University Avenue between Fourth and Fifth avenues to somewhat replicate the "look of an Italian pedestrian street, and lend to a more pedestrian friendly stroll."
For a variety of reasons, I think this project is another blunder: The height required to string them from rooftops makes it far from a pedestrian scale, and the street will not be closed to cars, making it just sidewalk-friendly bling. Once again, it will be potentially garish LED colors and they plan to make them be able to cycle through colors like disco. The visual clutter of adding this behind the Hillcrest sign will be more reminiscent of Las Vegas's Fremont Street, not an Italian Passeggiata.
To put his into perspective, they spend $30,000 a year on pressure-washing the sidewalks twice a year, yet the sidewalks remain gross in front of many establishments in their maintenance-assessment district very quickly after their biannual cleaning, and they declined spending more on that and would rather, in their words, "have more bling." Only the six people that were present were responsible for making this choice, and zero community consensus was involved—only a handful of business owners with their own interests, but not their checkbooks, at stake.
I hope you will report on this further degradation of Hillcrest. As a photographer, I plan to do a series of images of the neighborhood neon signs and comparing them to the ugly new LED sign. Thank you for caring, and thank you for taking the time to hopefully have taken this information into consideration for a further column on the HBA and their faux pas.
John Thurston, City Heights
U-T's Republican propaganda
Reading your Sept. 12 editorial about U-T San Diego felt like a breath of fresh air. It made me feel like I'm not the only sane person in San Diego.
I've been reading and subscribing to the U-T for years, and I totally agree with your assessment. I saw the paper shrink in content and add more and more cheesy advertising while raising prices. I blamed the economy. But after Manchester bought it, I get angry every day for the unfair and unbalanced Republican propaganda they pass for news. I feel like I'm reading Fox News. In fact, I pretty much avoid editorials and such and stick to news, but the real news is getting more and more rare.
The only reason I have not cancelled the subscription is because I do enjoy reading a paper at lunch, but I'm looking for digital alternatives.
Thank you for letting me vent. It's great to know I'm not the only one feeling this way.
Tiziana Moore, Clairemont
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