Hillcrest Business Association elects officers, new boardAround the City Thursday, October 10th, 2013
The Hillcrest Business Association elected officers and a new board of directors Tuesday night at Heat Bar & Kitchen, as longtime board member and SDGLN.com publisher, Johnathan Hale was chosen by members to take the reigns as president of the business improvement association, which has a $1 million annual budget.
In addition to an election, HBA’s annual open house presented an occasion for members to meet the organization’s new executive director, Sonya Stauffer.
“I want to congratulate Hillcrest Business Association and thank (former executive director) Ben Nicholls for all of his hard work making this organization what it is today,” said Interim Mayor Todd Gloria. “I also want to welcome Sonya Stauffer to Hillcrest.”
Stauffer, whose first day on the job was Tuesday, comes from a real estate-development background.
“I would like to see more development in Hillcrest,” Stauffer told San Diego LGBT Weekly. “Mixed use development and projects that will complement things that are already underway, like the new bike-path corridor.”
Incoming HBA president, Johnathan Hale said his vision for HBA includes finding ways to get more small businesses involved in the organization.
“We’re all about inclusiveness and finding ways to connect businesses and people in the community,” Hale said. “I plan to build on Ben Nicholls’ success growing Hillcrest Business Association by helping to steer us in a direction that creates opportunities for everyone.”
Hale points to the upcoming, third annual Hillcrest Hoedown as an example of the kind of opportunities he’s talking about.
“If you go, you’ll see that the Hillcrest Hoedown is a perfect opportunity for business owners to get involved with HBA and the local community,” Hale said.
Hale says events such as Hillcrest Hoedown, CityFest and HBA’s new Fat Tuesday event, slated for March 4, 2014, stimulate the local economy.
Last year, HBA’s partnership producing a Mardi Gras event with the GSDBA Charitable Foundation fell apart over differences about how the event was to be organized.
“This year, Hillcrest Business Association is looking at hosting our own Fat Tuesday event,” Hale said. “I don’t see ours as competing with theirs. It just didn’t work out last year, but I think there’s room for both of us.”
For his part, GSDBA Charitable Foundation president, Stampp Corbin, owner and publisher of San Diego LGBT Weekly, remains open-minded about a future partnership.
“We were confused why HBA pulled out last year,” Corbin said. “We are always open to re-partnering with HBA. The GSDBA Charitable Foundation remains focused on providing scholarships to LGBT students. In the past eleven years, we have awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships. Fundraisers like the Absolut Hillcrest Mardi Gras Street Fair help us continue our mission.”
Tuesday’s HBA election was not without controversy. One member, Roberts Electric general manager, Mat Wahlstrom, “voted” for a single write-in candidate for the board of directors. Wahlstrom wrote on his ballot, “none of the above” as a protest for not being permitted to run because, according to new, more stringent bylaws, Roberts Electric is not a Hillcrest business.
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