Barrio Logan is in the midst of a self-imposed identity crisis.
Residents are still reeling from a citywide vote in June that shot down their years-in-the-making plans to shape the neighborhood in a way that would steer homes away from shipyards.
And ever since the historic, predominately Chicano/Mexican-American neighborhood began to build cache among hip, young urbanites, longtime residents have begun to feel the threat of their neighborhood losing its character.
That’s what happens when an area people once visited only when they made a wrong turn becomes a hub for exciting art and culture. Developers begin to creep in. Visit the neighborhood and you’ll already see condos beginning to rise to the sky just feet from Chicano Park, the epicenter of San Diego’s Chicano civil rights movement.
Enter the Barrio Art Association. The group has been formed to fulfill two missions: promote Barrio Logan artists and to conserve the Barrio way of life. That means preserving the area’s Chicano heritage, maintaining its vibrant arts scene and blunting some of the effects of complete gentrification.
Still in its early days, the BAA is composed of community organizers, local business owners and others who have a vested interest in maintaining the Barrio’s identity.
We Stand Up For You. Will You Stand Up For Us?
Art Pulse has folded. Haven't heard anything new on the SDMA's gallery. Those barrio artist voices would include Cesar Castañeda at Chicano Art Gallery, Bob Green at The Roots Factory and Milo Lorenzana, Chris Zertuche and Max Bojorquez at La Bodega as well as individuals in the Chicano Park Steering Committee.
Following the links of your commenters, this quote seem quite significant (Dorian Hargrove, from San Diego READER, June 2014):
Other residents are now taking action. “McFarlane Communications had the highest bid for the contract, so it raises some serious questions, especially given Nicholls was hired by McFarlane after several years of passing contracts its way,” wrote Leo Wilson, a longtime Bankers Hill resident. “I will be requesting the Uptown Parking District budget not be approved until the question of potential conflict of interest in awarding the contract to McFarlane Communications is investigated and resolved.”
Quote from Mr.Nicholls:
"I love what they’re doing [at Makers Quarter] and I like the guys that are organizing it, but I think the developers are trying to make a cool thing that they can later develop. It doesn’t feel honest.”
If it doesn't feel honest, why does he like it? Doesn't sound right.
Desde la Logan is right to have concerns: Ben Nicholls has a history of helping developers and doing questionable things with nonprofits. The first time he was with the Hillcrest Business Association, the bylaws were changed to allow outside developers to sit on the board and to exclude legitimate businesses--http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/jun/25/citylights2-bylaws-sweethearts-hillcrest/
Nicholls also registered as a lobbyist with the City expressly to "Establish a conclusion date for the IHO (Interim Height Ordinance) and make it descretionary in Uptown," despite massive opposition by the community. See filing ID 129718805, http://nf4.netfile.com/Pub2/AllFilingsByFiler.aspx?id=129718771
Does Glenn Younger think this is "a great idea" because he's a fan of the arts in Barrio Logan--or because he was the President of the HBA when all this happened, and is now working with Nicholls on yet another uncertified nonprofit, the Hillcrest CDC?
The BAA was started by and is located at Mike Fuller's events promotions business. Before giving validity to this "arts association," look at how Nicholls has used nonprofits as vehicles for events promotions--http://sandiegofreepress.org/2014/06/battle-lines-are-drawn-in-hillcrest/
I think an interesting development to note is the new Restaurant Depot building which preserved the old mural from the former building which was torn down. A new development which preserved a bit of the former character.
The 1% development fee for Art is a great idea. Other communities have done so with great success.
Here is one of the best examples I know of; see Art in Public Places:
Gentrification in Barrio Logan is not the reality that many think it is. New developments in and of themselves does not equate to gentrification. Since the 1990's there have been seven new residential developments in BL. Only one has been market rate and it's the smallest one (corner of National/Sigsby). The rest have been apartments for low income people like myself. The author is incorrect when she calls the new building next to Chicano Park condos. The Estrella del Mercado are not condos. It is an affordable housing development. I know because I live there. The vast majority (I'd say 90% if not more) of the new people moving to BL are Latinos and other historical minorities. Including those here at La Estrella.
I just don't see major condo developers building here with the toxic maritime industry and freeway pollution plus the negative stereotype that my community has. People will not want to pay market rate to live here. If I could I wouldn't pay market rate to live here and I love this vibrant community. I foresee only affordable housing developments being built. That is not gentrification because the same socio-economic and ethnic demographics that have historically lived here will continue to do so. This is not San Francisco's Mission District nor NY's Brooklyn and it will never be like those places that have experienced actual gentrification.
There is a general distrust by some of the art space people that created the Barrio Arts District towards the Barrio Art Association. Barrio Logan has always been wary of outsiders. We've been dumped on for decades by outsiders so until the BAA proves themselves to be a part of this community that general distrust will continue. The BAA did not happen organically. It wasn't the art spaces that created it. It is the vision of businessman Mike Fuller who hired Ben Nichols (who is mired in a brouhaha at the Hillcrest Business Association). Though I have no distrust towards either of these two individuals, they seem to honestly want to help, some spaces here do. Especially when Nichols is getting paid to create the BAA when the people that run the spaces here are barely making ends meet.
I think what may end up happening is that the more Chicano/Latino grassroots spaces like The Roots Factory, La Bodega and Chicano Art Gallery will continue doing what they do whereas the non-Chicano/Latino spaces like Glashaus, Woodbury, Bread & Salt and some others will join with the BAA. Especially if the BAA charges a membership fee.
Though I have no animosity towards Fuller or Nichols, they seem like really nice guys, I feel they went about creating the BAA in the wrong way. Fuller should have surveyed each space, learned about their needs, and then hire an Executive Director that is from Barrio Logan or someone that has a history of working with this community. Because Fuller didn't the the BAA is going to have to do extra to win the trust of the spaces that currently lack that trust. And that can only be done through actions and time.
If the residents of Barrio Logan want to control their own future, they seriously need to consider incorporating into a city of their own. Of course people in other parts of San Diego will, if given the choice, vote down anything that benefits Barrio Logan if it might disrupt the region's shipbuilding industry. Incorporating will mean Barrio Logan will no longer have to ask permission from the rest of San Diego for every little thing they want to do.
The first hurdle will be obtaining permission for Barrio Logan to secede from the City of San Diego. This might be tough because Barrio Logan likely subsidizes many of the other, more residential neighborhoods of San Diego, and those neighborhoods won't want to lose the money. But once that's achieved, Barrio Logan will be able to set its own destiny.
That is completely unrealistic. It would require a vote of the entire city and we saw in the last election what the city thinks of Barrio Logan residents.
@Desde la Logan We saw in the last election that San Diego fully understands the value of Barrio Logan's maritime industry. Perhaps if Barrio Logan were to accept some of the adjacent low-income neighborhoods into its new city, San Diego might grant secession.
It would be better if San Diego would keep Barrio Logan but give it complete autonomy and economic self-sufficiency, but that seems to be even more unlikely.
@Carrie Schneider I expect that they would contract with the neighboring city (San Diego) as county islands do.
The article states "the Barrio Art Crawl, a monthly series of gallery openings, open studios...", but when you click on the Barrio Art Crawl site....their last event posting was May 31st. Doesn't look like a monthly event.
@Joe Point here's the scoop on the Art Crawl. It's great fun. You should come along! https://www.facebook.com/barrioartsdistrict?ref=br_tf