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An Evening Well Spent at PIP

By Ann Jarmusch

More than one hundred SOHO members and friends old and new attended the 28th annual People In Preservation Awards celebration May 21, which began in Old Town's Heritage Park with a hearty outdoor reception many guests proclaimed delicious. As an evening chill set in, the enthusiastic crowd entered the 1889 Temple Beth Israel, site of the PIP Awards ceremony for the third year in a row. Pacific Hospitality Group helped sponsor the venerable venue.

SOHO president Curtis Drake alerted the audience, by then seated in wooden pews, to the temple's recent restoration and return to its historic colors. For the first time, Drake added, all the buildings in Heritage Park are being painted in historic paint colors - an accomplishment met with applause and pride, given SOHO's ongoing role in monitoring the structures.

Before presenting this year's ten PIP Awards to glowing recipients, emcee Elsa Sevilla, the host of KPBS-TV's San Diego's Historic Places, spoke of her love of history and antiques, cultivated at her grandmother's house. Her biggest reward, Sevilla said, comes when viewers tell her they've passed a landmark for years, but didn't know its history until it appeared on her show.

(From the top, each row left to right) Row 1 - Melvin & Ellen Sweet; SOHO Treasurer Jessica McGee; Joan Bigge & Tom White; Donna Burcher. Row 2 - Ingrid Helton, Delpha & Erik Hanson; David & Melanie Cohen; Ann Garwood, Dan Soderberg & Nancy Moors; Jim Royle. Row 3 - winners (clockwise from back left) John M. Garrison, Bob Coffin, Kevin Kelly, Jeanie Camp, Victor Camp, Tim Blood, Celia Conover, Karon Clipple, Suzanne Grant, Gina Gianzero, Maggie McCann, Jan Bart, Kim Gregory; SOHO Vice President Jaye MacAskill; Berta & Armando Armendáriz, Kathryn & Benjamin Cueva. Row 4 - Sandra Scherf; Elsa Sevilla & Karla Martinez; Steve Hill & winner Councilman Todd Gloria; winners Allison & John Lane. Row 5 - David Goldberg; winners Joe & Kim Grant; Susan & Carl Nelson; winner Mark Koll. Row 6 - Chris Latham; Steve & Katherine Hon; Vykki Mende Gray & David Swarens; Jan Barnes & Linda Matlock. Photo by Sandé Lollis

San Diego City Councilmember Todd Gloria announced the 2010 Most Endangered List with bits of personal commentary laced with righteous indignation. Audience members were also incensed. Overheard regarding one site on the list: "That's really stupid!" To which the speaker's neighbor replied, "They're all really stupid."

Gloria later returned to the podium to accept a PIP award for Public Policy Leadership. "You do get a lot of these if you're a public figure," Gloria said of his award but added that one from SOHO holds special meaning. "I was in trouble all the time," he recalled of the week his class spent in Old Town and added, "I kept splitting off from the group to explore because it was so interesting." So interesting, in fact, that he majored in history at the University of San Diego (where he graduated summa cum laude). "Now," he continued, "knowing I have thousands of people who will stand with me [for preservation] allows me to do what I have to do and to vote the way I know I should."

Among the many laudable preservationists in the audience were Lucy Berk, 2007 winner of SOHO's Lifetime Achievement Award; Dan Soderberg, who was resoundingly applauded as the maker of SOHO's recently premiered 40th anniversary documentary; and Jim Sweig, a volunteer woodworker who helped restore the nearby Sherman-Gilbert House circa 1970, soon after it arrived in Heritage Park.

Sevilla ended the gathering by reminding everyone that PIP nominations are accepted year-round and expressing her pleasure at being among so many ardent preservationists.

Volume 41 - 2010


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From the Editor

The Cosmopolitan Hotel: A Resurrection of the Past

Most Endangered List of Historic Resources

Lead Paint: What's at Stake?

The California Theatre Under Siege

10-Year Anniversary at the Whaley House

Marston House - First Year Retrospective

People In Preservation Winners

An Evening Well Spent at PIP

Preservation Community


Book Review

Strength in Numbers

Donations 2010

Lost San Diego


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