The Villa Montezuma house in San Diego was built by same-sex couple Jesse Shepard and Lawrence W. Tonner / Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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Decades before the Stonewall uprising that catapulted the modern gay rights movement into prominence nationally, a handful of early LGBTQ pioneers called San Diego home.

As Randy Dotinga outlines in his history of the leaders of a century ago, we don’t know much about the six people’s intimate personal lives, but “it’s clear they lived lives that would be considered alternative in their time – and ours.”

Dotinga profiles Alice Lee, the second cousin of President Theodore Roosevelt’s first wife, who came to San Diego in 1902 and met and moved in with a woman named Katherine Teats. Teats’ family has since counted them as lesbians, according to an historian, but in any case the pair hosted Theodore Roosevelt and his second wife Edith in their home on the edge of Bankers Hill during the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Other early San Diego pioneers include a spiritualist and musician who built the Victorian house Villa Montezuma in Sherman Heights, a famous performer who was actually a female impersonator and a transgender physician who lived a secret life in La Jolla.

Click here to read more about San Diego’s early LGBTQ pioneers.

Deadline to Remove Unpermitted Outdoor Dining Has Passed, But They’re Still Standing

Outdoor dining in Little Italy / Photo by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña

The city of San Diego told business owners who wanted to keep the outdoor dining spaces they built during the COVID-19 pandemic they’d need to apply for a permit by Wednesday, but that deadline came and went and few businesses did so.

Most dining structures, though, are still up.

Anthony Santacroce, a spokesman for the city of San Diego, said the city sent letters to any business with a temporary permit that the deadline for a permanent permit was coming.

“We didn’t unleash an army of code enforcement officers yesterday to start nailing civil penalties to the wood,” Santacroce said. “Eventually they’re going to have to come down. And they should be taking them down today.” 

Businesses with structures that don’t have a permanent permit under the city’s new “Spaces as Places” program could eventually get slapped with a $1,000 citation. 

Angela Landsberg, the former executive director of the North Park Main Street Association, said she’s still getting calls from confused business owners. 

“The (permanent) permit is huge and cumbersome and requires professional guidance. Even the average, educated, permit-savvy person would have an almost impossible time going through the permit,” Landsberg said. 

Virginia Morrison who owns Second Chance Beer Company on 30th Street in North Park concurs. 

“I’m a lawyer. When I looked at the Spaces as Places program, I was like, ‘who the heck is going to be able to figure this out?’” Morrison said.

Her business is in a unique situation since the city painted bike lanes around her temporary dining structure. Morrison said she’s applied for the permit anyway but was then told her business has to remove the structure so the city can repaint the bike lane.

“I have no intention of removing my (outdoor dining structure),” Morrison said. 

In Other News 

  • Recent spikes in hospitalizations and new cases have led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to move San Diego County to its high-risk level for COVID-19. 
  • Starting Saturday, San Diegans experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis will be able to call or text 988 to get help for themselves or a loved one. The number will connect to a trained counselor who can provide support and connect people to services in their area. (City News Service)
  • The state is giving the San Diego City Attorney’s Office $1 million to fund education and training on the use of gun violence restraining orders as part of a new outreach campaign related to the state’s red flag laws. (City News Service)
  • Former County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar chatted with local political pollster John Nienstadt for his website this week, and revealed that she has swallowed many pieces of gum per day since she was a kid.

Correction: An NBC 7 story included in Thursday’s Morning Report has since been updated to correct that the San Diego City Council voted to set a public hearing to discuss the possibility of a rate increase for water. The City Council did not vote to raise water prices. 

This Morning Report was written by MacKenzie Elmer, Andrew Keatts and Megan Wood.

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1 Comment

  1. The City should encourage more outdoor dining. It’s great for the vibrancy and atmosphere of the restaurants. I can’t believe that it took a pandemic to have as much outdoor dining. One of my favorite cities, cold much of the year, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, has a wonderful outdoor dining scene in the summer months. We should have that here.

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