By Megan Burks
California Fund to Help Food Retailers in Low-Income Areas
Food justice advocates were abuzz Wednesday with the White House announcement of a California program designed to bring food retailers to food deserts.
California FreshWorks Fund is a $200 million loan program assembled by The California Endowment, banks and other partners that will offer low-cost loans to large and small retailers willing to bring fresh food to low-income and rural areas that lack grocery stores. Organizers said residents in such low-access areas are 20 percent more likely to be obese.
Last week, we asked whether access was really the issue in City Heights, where food retailers are visible but obesity remains a concern. We pointed to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine that found that food choice was not affected by access to a grocery store.
In a San Diego Union-Tribune article on FreshWorks, Mid-City CAN Director Diana Ross said access remains an issue in the neighborhood because many don’t have cars to get to the store. The article also compared access in City Heights to industry standards; while it’s typical for communities to get 3.0 square feet of retail space per resident, City Heights only has 1.64 square feet.
What do you think? Take our poll and tell us whether initiatives like FreshWorks are enough to improve diets in City Heights.
Business owners looking for funding under the plan can visit the FreshWorks website: www.cafreshworks.com.
[Disclaimer: Speak City Heights is funded by The California Endowment.]
Follow California FreshWorks Fund @CAFreshWorks.
Todd Gloria Could Be House-Hunting in Uptown
If you’ve been following our redistricting coverage, then you know the City Council is headed for a shake-up.
The redistricting commission was tasked with adding a ninth district. Its preliminary map severs City Heights from District 3 and places it at the center of the new district, which includes the College Area and parts of southeast San Diego.
That leaves Councilman Todd Gloria, who lives in City Heights but has strong ties to the gay community throughout District 3, in a pickle. Will he run for council in District 9 or pick up and move to seek reelection in District 3?
Get ready uptown realtors, because it seems Gloria is breaking out the moving boxes.
There’s still a chance that Gloria will stay put. The preliminary map must go before the public in a series of hearings in the coming weeks. Commission Chief of Staff Midori Wong has said it’s anyone’s guess whether testimony at the hearings will inspire a last-minute change of boundaries.
Follow Todd Gloria @ToddGloria.
According to the report, some affordable housing projects have cost taxpayers between $400,000 and $500,000 per apartment, which typically only house one or two people. The cost is a function of state and federal grants that favor pricey bells and whistles and labor contracts that require developers on government builds to shell out more for construction workers.
The report argues that fewer affordable homes are being built than could be.
Follow voiceofsandiego.org reporter Will Carless @willcarless.
Food From SoCal’s Cultural Petri Dish and Muslim Reality TV
This week I tweeted some links to Multi-American, a Southern California Public Radio blog on “immigration and cultural fusion in the new Southern California.” It’s a great source for immigration news, but also for interesting stories coming out of the region’s cultural milieu.
I was drawn in by its story on Filipino and Mexican fusion cuisine. White Rabbit, a gourmet food truck in Los Angeles, serves up Filipino tacos and red velvet cake iced with flan. The article is the first in a series on the “must-try experiments from Southern California’s cultural petri dish.”
The blog also had a post on how reality television producers are looking to Islam for inspiration. TLC will begin airing a show called “All-American Muslim” and Bravo is developing a show called “Shahs of Sunset.” Both will take a look at Muslim families in the United States.
Follow Multi-American @Multi_American.
Central Elementary Students Camp Out, Roast Marshmallows
Nothing’s better than ending the week with some adorable kid banter. The San Diego Union-Tribune followed Central Elementary School third graders to Louis Stelzer County Park in Lakeside, where they camped out, met a frog and learned about geocaching and wolves.
Here are some questions from Central Elementary student Kiernan Hanan, 9, for you to ponder over the weekend:
“Do wolves and hyenas fight a lot? Is it hard to open a wolf’s mouth?”
Follow The San Diego Union-Tribune @sdut.