HillcrestBlog by "San Diego News Service" (619) 757-4909

"San Diego News Service" covers hard news, features and reviews for local and national print media, and maintains, "HillcrestBlog." Address: 3907 Georgia St., #15, San Diego 92103-3548. Our editor is Leo E. Laurence, J.D., Copy Ed.: Martin Brickson. Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California. Call news tips to (619) 757-4909 (days), Nights: (619) 220-8686 (fax also). leopowerhere@msn.com Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Friday, September 26, 2008

SKELETONS OF HILLCREST BUS. ASSN. EXPOSED

Hillcrest -- "The goal (of Hillcrest Business Association treasurer Cecelia) Moreno, Crest Cafe owner, is to bankrupt the (HBA) and put it out of business," said Ruth Harrison, former assistant director, a person who knows where all the HBA skeletons are hidden.
The HBA has over $341,000 in tax funds, and about $45,000 in receivables, Harrison reported in an exclusive interview.
UGLY BATTLES
Behind the scenes, the HBA's board of directors is mired in ugly battles and personal power plays, particularly by its vice president, Nancy Moors (owner, HillQuest.com).
Moors has frequently called herself the president pro tem, though no such office exists in the organization's ByLaws.
"Nancy, (her partner and HBA director Ann) Garwood and HBA president Michael Wright (owner of City Deli) are malicious. Michael is (Nancy's) monkey. He does whatever she tells him to do," Harrison said.
Wright seems especially shy presiding over the HBA's board meetings, particularly because he doesn't seem to know elemental rules of parlimentary procedure.
The organization of Hillcrest business owners has a very long history of intentionally and knowingly violating its owns ByLaws and the state's Brown Act.
"They will do whatever they want to do," Harrison added.
"They will do it because they think they can get away with it."
So far, they are right. Nobody in the Hillcrest business community seems to care that their business-tax money is going into a disreputable organization.
"These people deserve some watching so that some of the (HBA's) money doesn't go into their own pockets," Harrison explained.
For example, last year the HBA donated $10,000 to the Hillcrest History Guild, run by Moors and Garfield. That money went with the proviso that an accounting of the spending of those funds would be provided by the year's end.
The accounting was never provided, and the HBA's board seems unconcerned about it. Some believe the money may have allegedly been used to pay for Moors' mortgage or personal bills.
Also, the HBA pays the Off-Duty Officers company $6,000 a month to patrol Hillcrest, particularly University Avenue. That contract was a no-bid contract, in alleged violation of the HBA's contract with the City of San Diego.
"I've never seen an ODO (security) officer on patrol in Hillcrest," said San Diego Police Community Relation's Officer David Surwilo. He is headquartered on University Avenue in the Uptown District.
The HBA's longtime executive director, Warren Simon, has resigned.
"He was forced out by Nancy (Moors) and (president) Wright," Harrison said.
"They (Moors and Wright) think we (Simon and Harrison) are too old and too old fashioned," she added. Harrison is younger than Moors.
The HBA recently amended its ByLaws using mail ballots.
Was it legal? Probably not.
"This office (of the state Attorney General in Sacramento) has long disapproved . . . the casting of mail ballots," an analysis of the state's Brown Act stresses (emphasis added).
"We know they (Moors and Wright) are going to cook the books," Harrison said bluntly.
"But, it seems nobody in Hillcrest cares," Harrison added.
The HBA's annual meeting is scheduled for October 14th at the Joyce Beers Community Center in the Uptown District at 5 pm. Those targeted for removal as directors - because they are independent thinkers - are 2nd vice president Sissy Isham, 2nd trustee Cindy Lehman and Alex Marin.
"Chris Shaw (owner, Urban Mo's and Baja Betty's) is dirty in all this. He (and Moors) initiate a lot of this at his regular Marketing Committee meetings which serve as de facto executive committee meetings," Harrison said.
"Those meetings are not noticed publicly," said Crowder, "as required by the Brown Act."
"They (Moors, Wright et al) are using Chris Shaw and he doesn't realize it. He has a conscience; however, which is something they do not have," Harrison stated.
"I understand these people (HBA directors) don't like each other . . . but I got caught in the bad politics of that board and it angers me," said longtime community activist Leo Wilson.
__________________
Copyright by journalist Leo E. Laurence, J.D. leopowerhere@msn.com or call (619) 757-4909.

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