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  2006-07-07-Alef Bet of San Diego's Jewish community
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2006 blog


An Alef Bet of San Diego
County's Jewish community, July 7, 2006

{Names with links are honorees of the Louis Rose Society for the Preservation of Jewish History.  If you would like to honor a member of the San Diego County Jewish Community who is  not living in your own household, you can write a tax-deductible check for $36 to the Jewish Community Foundation/ Louis Rose Fund, and send it to the foundation at 4950 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego, CA 92123.  Be sure to designate on the memo line of the check whom you would like to honor.  Additional honorees may be designated for contributions of $18 (chai) to the Louis Rose Fund)

By Donald H. Harrison

C  Dave Cohen is retiring from his second career after serving six San Diego police chiefs, starting with Bill Kolender (who long since has been serving as the county’s sheriff).   Cohen previously had been a television reporter before he became a favorite, trustworthy and accurate source for every reporter in town trying to cover the police.  Whether the request was a big one, or small, whether your publication was widely read, or appealing only to a select specialty audience, Cohen, as spokesman for the police department, did his best to get the facts to you in a timely manner.  Always pleasant, never full of himself, Cohen had the trust both of police officers and the news media—no small feat.  For the moment at least, he’s planning to play lots of golf in retirement, but I’m willing to bet we’ll be seeing him in the news again, perhaps in some volunteer capacity.

D District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has ruled that four deputy sheriffs acted properly in three incidents last summer  that resulted in the deaths of three Hispanic suspects in the Vista area.  In a letter to Sheriff Bill Kolender, Dumanis said that Sheriff's  Deputy Mark Ritchie had acted properly in the shooting of suspect Jorge Ramirez; Deputies Shawn Aitkens and John Spach were justified in the shooting of Sergio Garcia-Vasquez and that Deputy Lewis Schott acted appropriately in the killing of Jesus Eduardo Manzo. 

F U.S. Rep. Bob Filner (D-San Diego), who will either become the chairman or the ranking member of the House Veteran Affairs Committee in the next term of Congress (depending on whether fellow Democrats or Republicans are in control of the House) has an old, familiar face as a new colleague from across the partisan aisle: U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Carlsbad), who won special election to the House of Representatives after the resignation and imprisonment of U.S. Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham for bribery.  Bilbray and Filner previously had represented adjoining San Diego districts and worked together on bills of local interest, maintaining cordial relations notwithstanding their partisan differences.  It will be interesting to see what kind of reception Bilbray receives on the House Armed Services Committee from another San Diego Democrat, U.S. Rep Susan Davis (D-San Diego), who ousted Bilbray from office six years ago in a tough election campaign.

G La Jolla residents opposed to Hillel of San Diego constructing a student center on land purchased from the city have filed a lawsuit to block it.  Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, executive director of Hillel, now is working with attorney Bob Lapidus to defend against the civil action brought by the La Jolla Shores Association. Before UCSD’s Jewish students can get the first-class facility they deserve, community money first will have to be spent on the legal process.  We all know how persistent people can be about buildings and landmarks in La Jolla.  The latest development in the 17-year battle to keep up the Mount Soledad cross came earlier this week when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy temporarily stayed the order by District Court Judge Gordon Thompson Jr. to the City of San Diego to remove the cross by August 1 or pay a fine of $5,000 per day.  There was a range of reactions in the Jewish community.  I personally would like to see the cross placed on either the high hillside owned by the Catholic-run University of San Diego, or on the one owned by Point Loma Nazarene College, thereby enabling Christians to retain a cherished religous symbol while removing it—and the implication of its endorsement by the government—from public land.  On the other hand, Phil Thalheimer  has led the campaign to keep the cross as the centerpiece of the war memorial atop Mount Soledad. 

K The late Monte Kobey's initial efforts en route to becoming the Swap Meet king were recalled this week in a cover article in the Reader by Jay Allen Sanford on the drive-in theatres that were once such a common sight in San Diego. Kobey started up the operation in 1976 on the grounds of the Midway Drive In Theatre.  Although only 13 sellers and 200 buyers showed up that first day, it grew so large that within three years Kobey's Swap Meet moved to the Sports Arena parking lot, where it has been a staple ever since.

L  Diane Bell reported today  in her column in the San Diego Union-Tribune how Heart of San Diego host Fred Lewis and wife Jenny helped make it a family affair when daughter Lynn had her baby, Simon John Lewis, at Scripps Memorial Hospital. Jenny went into the delivery room and even cut the umbilical cord. And Fred?  He had back surgery in the same hospital, and had himself wheeled up to the maternity ward in time to be among the first to hold his grandson.

O  Since leaving his 23-year position as  executive director of the Museum of Photographic Arts, Arthur Ollman has not exactly been mop(a)ing around—far from it.  In August, he’ll step into a  position as director of SDSU’s School of Art, Design and Art History.  We’ll see how things develop and  perhaps enlarge upon what he’s doing in the future.

P Shearn Platt is turning over the reins as chair of the Seacrest Village Retirement Communities to Bob Haimsohn, although he notes in a column in Happenings, Seacrest’s quarterly publication, that “I will continue as a very involved immediate past chair.”  During Haimsohn’s tenure, a planned expansion of Seacrest Village to accommodate more people is expected, but can we say that during Shearn’s rein, the development was “platted”?

S Gloria Stone, chair of the upcoming 12th annual Jewish Book Fair at the Lawrence Family JCC, heads what is shaping up into an impressive lineup of authors Nov. 2-8.  Some of the big names already signed up include: U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, attorney Alan Dershowitz, and Rabbis/ Authors Harold Kushner and Joseph Telushkin.

T San Diego playwright Janet Tiger has been notified that her one-act play, Day of Atonement, has been selected by the Dubuque (Iowa) Fine Arts Society for a cash award.  Over the last quarter century, Tiger has won similar awards in Dubuque four other times, with two awards going for other Jewish-themed one-act plays.  The irony of it, quips Tiger, is that hog-raising Dubuque considers itself the "ham capital" of America.

Care to share an item about yourself or other members of the San Diego County Jewish community? Please email Donald H. Harrison at or phone him at 619-265-0808.