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Hillcrest Business Association … changing with the times

Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest

Johnathan Hale

Hillcrest has changed greatly these last decades and I have lived here on and off since the 1970s. I still live in Hillcrest, in a seniors building and have always loved this peaceful and wonderfully diverse neighborhood.

San Diego itself has changed much and so have so many of its neighborhoods and our Latino and Asian Pacific Islander populations are indeed changing California. I’ve said many times in speeches, “The Golden State is turning brown.”

When I first arrived in San Diego our City Council was all old white conservative Republican councilmen. District/neighborhood elections finally permanently changed all that. Yes, Hillcrest has greatly changed.

In fact, not long ago it was named “one of the best neighborhoods in America.” It’s one of the most friendly neighborhoods and one that has grown to accept diverse lifestyles and cultures. But it wasn’t always that way and when more and more GLBT people began to move here they weren’t always met with warmth and welcomes by longtime residents and businesspeople who were not used to same-sex couples holding hands or kissing.

For a long time the board members of the Hillcrest Business Association were mostly made up of uptight, straight older men. The current board of directors is probably the most diverse board in the history of the HBA … young businesspeople, people of color, women, seniors and yes gay and straight.

Yes, I attended last week’s monthly meeting of the Hillcrest Business Association and, yes, it was disappointing to witness and hear some of the negative and ugly accusations made by some past board members that were plainly personal and aimed at someone who they were out to get.

I do believe that the HBA really screwed up by having some of their meetings which were not handicap-friendly … a big no no, and I know they have learned from this mistake. But if you were to listen to the angry past board members you would think that the HBA and their president had a dislike for handicapped people and did this so they could not attend their meetings!

Also, it was disturbing to hear a long time past board member criticize the board for their charity fundraising and neighborhood-friendly events … the “Great High Heel Race” was also attacked! Almost all of the past board members who spoke were old and from a different generation and obviously do not like change.

But, what was more obvious to me was that they had one single agenda – to remove the HBA president, businessman Johnathan Hale who, by the way, was elected unanimously by its members.

All the speakers totally focused on Hale and almost all of them are known to have political differences with Hale and his life partner, former City Councilman Carl DeMaio.

This was like a lynching mob without the rope and most of us in attendance saw right through this … let’s call it exactly like it was … this was a planned, organized coup against the current HBA president … period.

Let me make it clear that Johnathan Hale is not perfect and has made mistakes (haven’t we all) but he has the full confidence of the board of directors and that’s good enough for me. After all, the Hillcrest Business Association board members are all very respected, successful business people and, most importantly, Johnathan Hale and the HBA are an all-volunteer board who give up their time and are dedicated to keeping Hillcrest the fabulous neighborhood it is.

The Hillcrest Business Association was founded in 1921 and also times change and some people do not like change or strong leadership.



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Posted by on Jun 26, 2014. Filed under Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

6 Comments for “Hillcrest Business Association … changing with the times”

  1. Once again Nicole Murray is showing her complete lack of understanding of the legal and financial issues that face the HBA under Hale’s short term in office.

    Exerting excessive control over any community organization, including running roughshod over their own Bylaws and applicable local, state, and federal laws pertaining to conducting the business of a community organization is by no means exhibiting “leadership”, and is more akin to the manifestation of an individual’s personality defect where any and all opposition is not tolerated and silenced so as to not interfere with Mr. Hale’s vision of “Halecrest” becoming nothing but a playground for money losing events that have actually hurt Hillcrest small businesses.

    Calling independent and concerned voices in opposition to Hale’s tenure as some sort of organized lynch mob could be nothing further from the truth, and show that their is a broad based independent dissatisfaction from residents, small business owners, vendors that have serviced the HBA such as my self, and from staffers and others who have suffered from Hale’s erratic and belligerent treatment to any who stand in his way.

    Nicole Murray I would like to remind you of your very own harsh criticism in this very column of Hale and his “Soft Porn” publication SDPIX, for publishing a series of images that not only blatantly promoted the Drug and Sex destructive sub culture in the LGBT community, but were a direct affront to you and the entire Recovery community in San Diego.

    How many more of these missteps should not only the HBA Board tolerate, but local businesses and residents who seek a vibrant and healthy community organization that has Hillcrest’s small businesses’ best interests in mind, and not the selfish and ego driven interests of blatant marketing huckster in Hillcrest.
    Whats next, promises of a fabulous marching band and flashy uniforms with 76 Trombones…more likely Rusty Trombones knowing Hale’s predilection for appealing to the lowest common denominator in the LGBT community.

    Drop the blatant grand staring as some sort of community authority and wake up and see the truth for what it is for once in your now fading career as community activist.

    Sincerely

    John Thurston

  2. Yet more proof that Nicole Murray-Ramirez is out of touch. When will Mr. Corbin retire this op-ed column? It’s long past time to.

  3. What blinds Nicole to common sense and the truth when he attempts to write any sort of political or community commentary is his predilection for crawling so far up the “behinds” of elected officials, mostly Republicans, who he brown-noses on such a continual basis as to be an embarrassment to both the politicians and himself, is that he cannot see how far off the mark he is about Hillcrest – a community where he lives and I live and which, if you are to believe him as the years drag on, he practically founded single-handedly.

  4. Not a Republican

    Please try to remember…”Nicole” is not a “her” or a “she”.

    I try not to read his column, but he’s in over his head on this glowing review of HBA president Johnathan Hale who’s now at the shaky helm of the city’s oldest business alliance. Did you see the article in the Reader? http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/jun/25/citylights2-bylaws-sweethearts-hillcrest/ …or in CityBeat? http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-13155-johnathan-hale-is-hillcrests-drama-king.html

    Don’t forget, the “accusations made by some past board members” (including former presidents) earlier this week are also long-time volunteers and business owners who cared enough who served on the board long before Hale or Nicole moved to San Diego. They showed up and spoke out to help get the business association back on track.

    Sadly, the HBA seems to have lost its way under the leadership of former (now back as “interim”) director Ben Nicholls, past-president Glenn Younger and current president Johnathan Hale. Board and staff are no longer following the mission statement of the organization (the Hillcrest BUSINESS Association). Instead they seem to be focused on the gay flag, Pride parties, high heel races, hoe downs and drinking events.

    All this brouhaha is an embarrassment to the community. I only hope that a new director and president, will help this group get back to basics.

    • Not a Republican

      Sorry…I mis-typed “Nicole” instead of “Nicholls”. The 3rd paragraph should read:

      Don’t forget, the “accusations made by some past board members” (including former presidents) earlier this week are also long-time volunteers and business owners who cared enough who served on the board long before Hale or Nicholls moved to San Diego. They showed up and spoke out to help get the business association back on track.

  5. It also seems that one of Nocol’s columns was retracted without posting a retraction. This is YELLOW Journalism at its best.

    Anne

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