Hillcrest Business Association … changing with the timesConversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest Thursday, June 26th, 2014
Commentary: Conversations with the Mayor of Hillcrest
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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