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San Diego Scene 10.2010

Photo by Bill Newell.

The Village Community Presbyterian Church in Rancho Santa Fe unveiled its new education building last month during the grand opening of the “Kids Village.” “An old building has been transformed into a fun, welcome space,” said Rev. Jack Baca, senior pastor. Built by ROEL Construction Co., the $675,000 remodel has five classrooms, a workroom and a new nursery. The toddler room includes a child’s-height entrance door and a low, round, view window. The original structure, built in the 1960s, was re-designed by domusstudio architecture to integrate with the church’s recently completed Lilian Rice-style sanctuary. The Kids Village incorporates new energy-efficient windows, lighting and mechanical systems.
The Village Community Presbyterian Church began reconstruction in September 2008. The two-story, 25,420-square-foot main sanctuary and administration building was completed in early April. The church also added a new roof to The Village Nursery School and a new playground for children.


California Chief Justice Ronald George — who is due to retire in January — will be special guest of the Downtown San Diego Partnership at its Oct. 18 breakfast at the Westgate Hotel. George was appointed to the California Supreme Court by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1991 and he was elected to a full term in 1994. He was appointed as the 27th Chief Justice of the court on March 28, 1996. Cost for the breakfast is $30 for members and $35 for nonmembers. To reserve space, e-mail Sheri Snead at (619) 234-0201.


Charles R. Plott, a founding father of “experimental economics,” which brings lab science to bear on the testing of economics and political theories, will be the guest speaker at the Economics Roundtable at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 8 in the UCSD Faculty Club. Plott is the Edward S. Harkness professor of economics and political science at California Institute of Technology. He studies the stock market in a laboratory setting in which he knows and controls the parameters.  “Major aspects of people’s lives today are dramatically affected, and improved, by policies shaped through experimentally devised science,” says Plott, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the Econometric Society, Distinguished Fellow from the American Economic Association and many other fellowships and awards. Plott will speak on “Asset Price Dynamics: Equilibration, Bubbles and Crashes.” The $50 per person cost to attend includes continental breakfast.


Carlos Slim, labeled the world’s richest man by Forbes, will give a keynote address on the importance of philanthropy during the “Tijuana Innovadora” technology conference Oct. 7-21 at the Centro Cultural Tijuana (CECUT) in Tijuana. Proceeds from the conference will be distributed by the International Community Foundation of Tijuana to accredited nonprofit agencies in the city. One of them is the Boys and Girls Club of Tijuana, the first of its type in Latin America. Other nonprofits that will benefit from the conference include the Mexican Red Cross, the Tijuana Food Bank, agencies that help children with autism and special needs, and the children’s museum El Trompo. The Boys and Girls Club, assisted by the U.S. parent organization, opened two years ago in the eastern community of Loma Dorada to help children and teens are risk of becoming homeless or delinquents. The community has few schools and virtually no recreation centers. Slim’s address at 1 p.m. on Oct. 19 is free and open to the public. Many of the events at the conference are free, including shuttle transportation from the border crossing and CECUT.
The conference goal is to showcase the cutting-edge technology being used by a variety of industrial sectors that send products around the world. Each day will focus on one theme, such as automotive, electronics and the health industry. The heart of the conference will be an interactive expo featuring products made in Tijuana with the latest technology. The expo is free and open to the public. Detailed bilingual information about the event is available at

Susan Riggs Tinsky of North Park has been selected by the San Diego Housing Federation board of directors as the organization’s new executive director. She replaces Tom Scott, who is retiring on Oct. 31 after serving as executive director since 2002. Tinsky has been an attorney with the San Diego law firm of Best, Best & Kreiger LLP since 2008. She specializes in affordable housing and redevelopment law. She worked for the San Diego Housing Commission from 2001-2004. In her last assignment there, she served as chief policy adviser working on public policy issues such as San Diego’s linkage fee, which is again under study.
Tinsky served previously as vice president of government affairs for the San Diego Association of Realtors and on the adjunct faculty of San Diego State University and Southwestern College, where she taught housing policy and real estate economics, respectively. Tinsky is president-elect of Citizens Coordinate for Century 3, former co-chair of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce Housing Policy Committee and serves on the board of Walk San Diego. She is also participating in Sustainable San Diego’s steering committee. Tinsky has been active in the redevelopment of North Park. She was vice president of the North Park Community Association from 2003 to 2006 and served on the North Park Redevelopment Project Area Committee from 2005 to 2007. She received her JD magna cum laude from Thomas Jefferson Law School in 2008 and holds a master’s degree in city planning from San Diego State University where she was outstanding graduate of the year in 2002. Her bachelor’s degree in Spanish is from the University of Georgia-Athens.

San Diego Civic Organist Carol Williams will play the Wonder Morton Organ at the Balboa Theatre on Oct. 2 at 1:30 p.m. in a concert made possible by special arrangement of the Balboa Theatre Foundation and San Diego Theatres. She will play popular favorites and Broadway show tunes. The Balboa Theatre Foundation, headed by Jeff Marston, its president, spearheaded the organ’s acquisition. Tickets are $20 per person general admission, with a discount to $15 for seniors, military and students. Tickets are available at the Civic Center and Balboa Theatre box offices, by calling San Diego Theatres at (619) 570-1100 or online at
Williams was the first woman in the world to be appointed as civic organist in 2001 and has served as civic organist and artistic director of the Spreckels Organ Society in San Diego since then.

A table at last year’s Jewelry Career Fair and Open House at the Gemological Institute of America. © GIA. Reprinted by permission.

The Gemological Institute of America’s (GIA) Jewelry Career Fair and Open House will be held at the institute’s Carlsbad world headquarters on Oct. 22. The agenda will include panel discussions, career coaching, on-site recruiting, classroom workshops and exhibits. The opening panel session, “Job Success in Today’s Market,” will include industry executives offering their expertise on how to create a successful career path. Panelists include Alan Bell, managing director of The Bell Group Inc.; Douglas Kazanjian, CEO of Kazanjian Bros Inc.; David Pomije, CEO of Top Hat Inc.; and Mark Smelzer, publisher of JCK magazine and Donna Baker, GIA president and CEO, will moderate. Additional sessions will include “From Design to Finish” and “Creative Careers.” One-on-one career coaching will also be available. Attendees can also experience classroom workshops and gem and jewelry exhibits throughout the day.
The GIA Career Fair and Open House is from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.  Employers who would like to recruit at the fair may contact GIA’s Career Services Office at (800) 421-7250, Ext. 4093, or e-mail


Deanna Weeks, one of the longest tenured economic development executives in California, has retired as president and CEO of the East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC) after 25 years in the post. Jo Marie Diamond, who has served as vice president since 2001, will serve as interim president and CEO. ECEDC was founded in 1984 and was the first regional economic development council to be established in San Diego County. The organization is an alliance of representatives from business, government and education in the East County regions of El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Santee, Alpine, Lakeside and Spring Valley. During the economic recession of the early 1990s, Weeks spearheaded the ECEDC’s receipt of a first-of-its-kind in the nation grant from the Department of Defense to study the needs of small defense-related firms in the East County. From that project evolved the Internet connectivity tool for businesses called the Connectory Network.
During her tenure, Weeks helped strengthen career and technical education in East County high schools and community colleges with an economic development connection, according to Barry Jantz, ECEDC chairman. Prior to joining the organization, Weeks worked at the Center on Aging at San Diego State University where she developed curriculum for police and sheriff training.

Robert Rauch, president of R.A. Rauch & Associates and operator of the Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar, has been honored by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute for achieving 25 years as a Certified Hotel Administrator. Rauch, who began his hospitality career as a dishwasher, has served as chairman of several tourism organizations nationally and in the West and is on the board of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District. He has been directly involved in developing several hotels including the Del Mar Marriott, Hilton Hotel Gaslamp Plaza, Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad, Hilton Hotel Santa Clara and several more.

Peter Bren, chairman and president of KBS Realty Advisors, and Hamid Moghadam, chairman and CEO of AMB Property Corp., have been invited to speak at the USD Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate lecture series this fall. Bren will appear on Oct. 6 and Moghadam on Nov. 30. Registration costs $35 per event or $60 if registration is made for the Oct. 6 and Nov. 30 events. Both events will take place between 7:30 and 9 a.m. at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. To register, go to
Bren oversees all aspects of KBS Realty Advisor’s business activities, including acquisition, management and disposition of assets acquired. He is also president of KBS REIT and KBS REIT II, both public, non-listed real estate investment trusts, and is a founding member of The Richard S. Ziman Center for Real Estate at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Moghadam co-founded AMB in 1983 and led the company through its initial public offering in 1997. He has held a number of strategic roles within the real estate industry. He has served as the chairman of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and the Real Estate Investment Trust Political Action Committee, a director of Plum Creek Timber Co. and a founding member of the Real Estate Roundtable. He is a past winner of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and has been named CEO of the Year on eight different occasions by four separate industry publications.

Roz Savage, who became the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean earlier this year, will speak about her experiences on the open water and her dedication to the environment at a special Oct. 7th presentation at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The event is free and open to the public. Savage worked as a management consultant for 11 years before deciding in 2005 to compete in her mid-30s in the 3,000-mile Atlantic Rowing Race. In 2008 she became the first woman to row solo from California to Hawaii. In 2009 she continued from Hawaii to Kiribati, and in June she completed the Pacific crossing by rowing to Papua New Guinea. Savage has rowed more than 11,000 miles and cumulatively spent nearly a year of her life at sea in a 23-foot rowboat. Her goal is to raise awareness of issues facing the environment, including climate change, plastic pollution and habitat destruction. Savage will show footage from her voyages and discuss the physical and psychological highs and lows of such epic endeavors. She will also talk about what inspired her to take up her oars in the fight for a cleaner, greener future. Following the presentation will be a book signing of Savage’s book, “Rowing the Atlantic: Lessons Learned on the Open Ocean.”

BSD Builders has completed a $1.75 million upgrade and renovation of the 13,000-square-foot pool deck at the Harbor Club in Downtown San Diego. The construction project included the demolition and removal of more than 400,000 pounds of topping slab concrete and dirt from the existing sixth-floor pool deck and planters as well as the reconstruction of existing swimming pool and spa. The renovation project was led by BSD Project Superintendent Randy Poe and Project Manager Mike Fayad. The project team included David Reed Landscape Architects; Milnamow-York Interior Design; and construction manager KAVANAGH Associates. Construction team members included Dreamscape; Structural Engineering Solutions; ICR Services; MSI; TB Penick & Sons; Penhall Company; Tri Co Flooring; Mission Valley Pools; General Coatings; Ghianni LaRussa Group; Lyons Masonry; Davis Framing; TCP Plumbing; Berg Electric; Pure Water Pools; and Acme Safety. The Harbor Club is at 100 and 200 West Harbor Drive.

Visitors to the San Diego Museum of Man will learn all about human bones during an exhibit opening Oct. 23 presented by curator Tori Randall. In “Strange Bones: Curiosities of the Human Skeleton,” Randall will focus on the many different, strange, and curious things that happen to human skeletons throughout the course of our lives. Visitors can view specimens that evidence dwarfism, the fusion of fractured bones as the result of abnormal healing, the effects of diseases such as scurvy and syphilis, and culturally motivated modifications such as foot-binding (practiced in China until the mid 1900s) and neck rings (worn by the Kayan of Myanmar and Thailand).
A skeleton, says Randall, informs us about a person’s life long after that individual passes away. The exhibition will include an example of Myositis Ossificans Progressiva, a hereditary disease that prevents movement because the connective tissues, such as ligaments and tendons, become as dense and rigid as the bones themselves. Another example is an Aymara type of cranial elongation from Peru, where some infants’ heads were bound as the skull solidified in order to underscore their elite status.

The third annual Because I Care Community Resource Fair, a free event promoting wellness and healthy living, will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 9 at the San Marcos Senior Center, 111 Richmar Ave. in San Marcos. It is presented by California State University San Marcos and the city of San Marcos Community Service Department. The event is designed specifically for local caregivers, their families and their older patients. It will feature educational workshops, no-cost blood pressure and dental screenings, information about available community resources and services from local vendors and a “Meet the Pharmacist” session offering free, individual consultations. Interactive activities for children and live entertainment will also be provided. Flu shots from CVS Pharmacy, as well as food, will be available for purchase at the fair. Keynote speaker will be Dr. Nick Yphantides, a community wellness advocate and author of “My Big Fat Greek Diet,” in which he chronicles his life-long struggle with food. Event sponsors also include Palomar Pomerado Health, Silvergate Retirement Residences and Alzheimer’s Suites, Palomar Pomerado Supportive Home Care and Philips Lifeline, Visiting Angels, Living Assistance Services, The Elizabeth Hospice, Starbucks Coffee and Sparkletts.


A host of speakers from a variety of industries and organizations will come together in San Diego on Nov. 8 to take part in the inaugural TEDxSanDiego conference at Anthology at 1337 India St. in Downtown San Diego. “The goal of TEDxSanDiego is simple: ignite conversation and breakthrough thinking to maximize vitality and potential … personally, communally and globally,” said Jack Abbott, curator of the event. “By creating an environment that encourages participants to plug-in to conversation, interaction and new ways of thinking, we can stretch the limits of what’s possible and fuel the potential for change.” Event hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Among the roster of leading speakers scheduled to appear at TEDxSan Diego: Eric Topol, cardiologist and geneticist at Scripps Translational Science Institute working to accelerate research and change medicine; Tony Haymet, director of Scripps Institution of and founder of Clean TECH San Diego; Jake Shimabukuro, master of the ukulele known for playing styles previously taboo; Laurence Burns, professor of engineering at University of Michigan and former vice president of research and development at General Motors; James Fowler, professor at the School of Medicine and Social Sciences at University of California and author of “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How they Shape our Lives”; Simon Sinek, author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”; Jason Russell, founder of Invisible Children; Christine Comaford, executive coach and New York Times bestselling author of “Rules for Renegades”;  Kurt Gray, Harvard-educated psychologist studying morality and mind perception;  Robert Bilder of the Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA; Pankaj Kedia, director of global ecosystem programs for mobile Internet at Intel Corp.; Bill Toone, director of ECOLIFE Foundation; Jake Wood, president of Ream Rubicon; and Tom Yellin, co-founder and president of The Documentary Group.
Registration fee for the conference is $100. Online applications are at

Joan Waitt and her family, from left, Emily, Sophie, Max and Haley.

Joan Waitt, philanthropist, mother of four and champion of foster children, was honored with the first Celestial Award by Voices for Children during its annual gala last month. The Celestial Award was given to Waitt and her family to applaud the work they have done to help Voices for Children provide more court advocates, called CASAs, for foster children. Waitt has a history of supporting women and children who are victims of domestic violence and abuse, and began doing so when she lived in Iowa. Since moving to San Diego, she has been involved with various nonprofit organizations and has been responsible for raising awareness of the problems and creating new sources of revenues. Voices for Children, celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, is a private, nonprofit organization devoted to helping abused, neglected and abandoned children who have been removed from their homes and placed under the protection of Juvenile Court. Some 6,000 children in San Diego County will go through the foster care system this year. Voices for Children recruits and trains Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs), who are volunteers from the community.  Upon completion of their training, CASAs are sworn in by the juvenile court and matched with a foster child.  This year, there are over 600 volunteers working with the agency.

The San Diego Housing Federation’s 19th annual Affordable Housing and Community Development Conference will be held Oct. 14 at Marina Village Conference Center, 1936 Quivira Way, San Diego. This year’s theme is “Collaborating for Sustainable Neighborhoods.” The event begins with a 9 a.m. keynote address by Barry J. Schultz, an attorney with Stutz Artiano Shinoff and Holz. It includes 18 workshops throughout the day on current trends, housing issues, operations, affordable housing finance, supportive housing, and design and development. It concludes with a networking reception at 5 p.m.  In addition to the educational and informational sessions, there will be an exhibit of products and services and opportunities for networking and meeting informally with developers, government officials, consultants and others interested in affordable housing development and advocacy. Tom Scott, retiring SDHF executive director, will speak at the luncheon about opportunities and challenges he sees facing the affordable housing industry. He will also introduce the federation’s new executive director, Susan Riggs Tinsky. Registration is open at Registration for SDHF members is $160 and $190 for nonmembers. For more information, call (619) 239-6693.


Kellie McCormick of North Park, senior designer at Bast/Wright Interiors in Hillcrest, has been elected president of the San Diego chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). McCormick is the creative force behind many of the firm’s award-winning commercial and residential designs. Current projects include the complete restoration of a Henry Hester-designed modern home on Prospect Place in La Jolla and the new interiors for “Sea Cliff,” a private residence on Coast Walk in La Jolla. McCormick has won numerous awards, including three first place awards in the ASID Design Excellence Awards program, and “Best Remodel” in the 2007 Home of the Year competition sponsored by San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine. She is a graduate of San Diego State University and has taught interior design at SDSU for the past eight years.
Other board members are Mary Kellejian, Polo Bay Interiors, president-elect; Robin Wilson Carrier, Robin Wilson Interior Design, director of communications; Mark Gauvin, industry partner of Discount Glass and Mirror, director of financial oversight; Anne Kellett, A Kinder Space, director of membership; Lindsay Hester, Hester Interiors, director of professional development and programs; Kathleen Kita Palmer, K. Kita Design, director at large; and Gerald W. Bouvia III, student representative to the board.
Michael Croft

The La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology has selected scientist Michael Croft to lead its Division of Immune Regulation, which researches innovative ways to use the power of the immune system to fight disease. It is one of five research divisions at the institute. “For 15 years, Dr. Croft has been one of the most productive and respected scientists at the La Jolla Institute,” said Institute President and Chief Scientific Officer Mitchell Kronenberg in announcing Croft’s promotion. “He has built an international reputation in the field of immune cell co-stimulation, which is key to developing new treatments for many immune-mediated diseases. This includes his findings on a cellular mechanism for the treatment of asthma that are the basis for clinical trials now under way.” Croft received his bachelor’s degree from Brunel University in London, U.K, and a Ph.D. in immunology from Sussex University in the U.K. He became a tenured faculty member in 2003.


Jolyn Parker, volunteer member of the board of San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine, has been named “Volunteer of the Year” by the Combined Health Agencies (CHAD) for her contributions to the organization. Parker, a resident of Rancho Santa Fe, is a retail consultant to several start-up businesses. She began working as a volunteer for the hospice in 2005. Parker works in many fundraising events including the annual golf tournament and Melisa’s Memorial 5K Walk and Fun Run. She is a member of the Friends of Hospice donor group. “Our people are our strongest asset, led by volunteers like Jolyn Parker,” said Kathleen Pacurar, CEO of San Diego Hospice. “Her commitment to the community where she lives and works, and her passion in relieving suffering and promoting quality of life led her to us. Her tireless efforts help us to raise awareness and charitable funds in support of our important work.”

Intracorp Companies and ST Residential, a nationwide real estate asset ownership and management company specializing in luxury condominium properties, have joined forces to market a collection of loft communities in San Diego. The companies will market Metro Lofts, a group of five communities spread out over two San Diego neighborhoods: the East Village/Ballpark area and Little Italy’s art/design district. With a total of 58 units for sale, the properties offer a variety of floor plans designed by architect Jonathan Segal and feature low-rise, low-density living with an urban, industrial feel. Sales are scheduled to begin in November. For more information, visit

Neil Alan, who opened the Neil Alan Designs studio and showroom in Downtown San Diego, is not only selling his professional design services but will provide free design consulting for several Downtown transitional housing groups and monetary donations to San Diego Habitat for Humanity. “My design firm is all about home. Everyone has a right to live comfortably, to enjoy the comforts and warmth that home brings,” says Alan. “Our firm is the perfect partner for San Diego Habitat for Humanity and people who are building better lives.” San Diego Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, charitable organization that builds houses for people in need. Homes are built using all volunteer labor and are sold at no profit.
Alan’s studio, located at 1353 Sixth Ave., is open by appointment only (619-825-8128) But the company is planning exclusive gallery showings of Alan’s own abstract art with proceeds to benefit San Diego Habitat for Humanity.


The largest vertical solar array in the United States — it has more than 350 panels on the south façade and roof of the Career Technology Center at San Diego City College — was activated by Sullivan Solar Power last month. The system is monitored via a Web-based interface that allows Sullivan Solar Power to see the daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and lifetime data of the system’s production output in order to determine system performance and functionality. The solar PV system is projected to generate roughly 67,558 kilowatt-hours per year, or enough energy to power more than 1,000 homes for one day. It will generate clean energy for over 25 years. The system was turned live during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Downtown San Diego campus. The California Center for Sustainable Energy awarded the San Diego Community College District a rebate check from the California Solar Initiative for $105,517. “Not only will the installation generate enough solar power to provide for a portion of the building’s energy needs, but the vertical array also provides a very visual statement about the (San Diego Community College) District’s commitment to renewable energy,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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