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The Starlight Bowl has drawn people to Balboa Park for the plays and music performances it’s hosted in the decades since it was first built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
But these days the amphitheater is an abandoned eyesore, overgrown with weeds and looking like it’s frozen in a staging for a post-apocalyptic melodrama.
VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt has the latest on the dilapidated 80-year-old theater, which, according to one recent report, would require nearly $16 million in repairs and upgrades before it could be successfully reopened.
Tomas Herrera-Mishler, who leads the Balboa Park Conservancy, one of the many organizations that supports the park, told Halverstadt that the revamp of Starlight will take significant effort.
“It’s a big black hole in the park,” told Halverstadt. “Something great has to happen there.”
A handful of groups have ideas about what that something could be, but the city is still wading through the theater’s complicated lease before it puts out an official call for proposals.
A Lament for the Film Commission
The San Diego Film Commission used to lure film production companies to the city and acted as a facilitator, making it easier for filmmakers to get the permits they needed and otherwise made shooting a film or commercial in San Diego as smooth as possible.
The commission closed in 2013 amid huge staff cuts at the city’s Tourism Authority, but there’s been some recent discussions about bringing it back.
Mike Harris, a stagehand who lives in Normal Heights, wants that type of talk to continue. In an op-ed for VOSD, he makes the case that bringing the commission back from the dead would be a big-time boost for the local economy.
The Problem with San Diego’s Disappearing SROs
The 44-room Star Hotel will soon be razed and replaced with a new high-rise housing project.
Star is just one of San Diego’s single-room-occupancy, or SRO, hotels that provide small, cheap units, which often house people who’d otherwise be left out on the streets, unable to afford anything else.
The Union-Tribune’s David Garrick reports that it’s just the latest SRO to close. Pointing to a city survey, Garrick reports that the number of SROs has shrunk from 14,000 to less than 3,900 since the late 1980s.
The loss of SRO hotels is one of the reasons San Diego’s seen a dramatic spike in the number of homeless people sleeping in out streets, a startling phenomenon VOSD’s List Halverstadt recently reported on.
Because God Forbid There Be a Chargers-Free Weekend
If you thought the big game would overshadow the local Chargers drama at least for one weekend, think again.
The U-T’s editorial board used Super Bowl 50 as an in for penning a piece about how the game doesn’t actually bring in as much money as the NFL and city officials want you to think it does.
That’s not a reason to totally dismiss the idea of supporting a partial subsidy to fund a new stadium for the Chargers, the omniscient editorial board made sure to slip in. That’s something the U-T will likely support in the future, but they just want folks to be honest about why it’s an idea worth backing.
• The U-T’s Dan McSwain does some number crunching and finds that a move to Inglewood would likely make more financial sense for Chargers owner Dean Spanos. McSwain throws out the possibility that Spanos might actually like San Diego, which is why he’s trying to make it work here.
• NBC 7 San Diego’s Derek Togerson takes a look at where the Chargers and Raiders are now that a move to Los Angeles isn’t definite (how do the “Las Vegas Raiders” sound?).
Quick News Hits: The Tragedy of a Falling Tree and More
• Hundreds of people showed up to morn the loss of professional drummer, Nicki Carano. She’s the woman who lost her life when a giant oak tree fell in Pacific Beach, crushing her car. (Fox 5 San Diego)
• Got questions about coast erosion? The U-T’s got answers.
• The Cardiff Kook Run still happened even though there’s ongoing litigation about whether the group who runs it has the right to use “Cardiff Kook” in the name of the annual event.
• Amazon is about to get real about San Diego. The mega corporation is prepping to open an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore in San Diego. (U-T)
• There are big plans for the six new female white rhino residents at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. No pressure, gals, but it’s up to ya’ll to save your entire species. (U-T)
San Diego Social Media Moments
• San Diego just can’t win when it comes to its weather these days. Lots of former east coasters just aren’t down with an 80-degree day in the winter.
• San Diego sunsets, though, are loved by all. This serendipitous shot of the colorful San Diego sky is simply divine.
• Monster trucks rolled into town over the weekend and this dude’s got a ton of pictures for you if you’re into that kind of thing (I secretly am).
• I’m staring at a mountain of laundry and wondering why only four people have backed this locally made dirty-clothes-problem-solving app on Kickstarter so far.
• Sorry, guys and gals, no cute animal pics this week. Just kidding! Here’s a snapshot from a meet-up of French bulldogs in San Diego.