Here on Skyline Drive, great swaths of sward stretch out below, springy and green. Here, there are vacant lots littered with possibility, within sight of a park so big and open and clean and outfitted — pool, tennis, and basketball courts, baseball, and a concrete slide like the ones they swoon over in San Francisco — that it’s enough to make you believe in city government. Here, Zillow tells me, I can buy a nearby fully remodeled three-bedroom/two-bath on a third of an acre for under $400,000.
“Some of the people that were taking the trolley [from 62nd Street] are pissed because they lost their parking,” he said, “and sometimes they gotta park in the red [painted curves] and they get tickets or get towed. It pisses people off that live there because people park in front of their houses."
Encanto resident Teddy Cruz says that in choosing Affirmed Housing, Civic San Diego ignored their own guidelines. One such example was a restriction placed on affordable-housing units. According to the request for proposal, no more than 33 percent of the units would be designated for affordable housing; Affirmed Housing Group's proposal calls for 65 percent.
I’m in the line of shops they call Trolley Stop Plaza (Salaam Fish House). When I come in, I see Nation of Islam newspapers and literature on the counter. Louis Farrakhan’s face beams beside a headline: “Can Caribbean Nations Survive?” Next to the TV they have a picture of President Obama. The caption: “Destiny.”
The first Thursday of each month has the residents of North Encanto gathering at a neighbors' house. For over twenty years, this diverse, fun, quirky group has advocated for their neighborhood while socializing surrounded by home cooked, international gourmet cuisine. It was started over twenty years ago by two neighborhood women going to lunch. One of their daughters is still in the group.
Juan Muños, whose home overlooks Pepperview Canyon, isn't opposed to the project because it would deter garbage dumping, but he questions the quality of workmanship. When grading occurred last year, about ten feet of his property slid to the canyon floor. "Without a permit, they took a lot of dirt out, and the hillside fell."
Encanto has had its share of bad press, when it’s been the site of shootings drug busts, or, in March of 1998, emu abuse. Its residents protest that this is a bum rap. “It’s actually very safe here,” says Linda Churchill, an Encanto Heights resident. “I don’t hear about problems like break-ins from any neighbors. It’s the people I know who live in places like La Jolla who seem to have those types of concerns.”
I came here, to the Apostolic Prayer Temple, a storefront in between a nightclub and a fish market in Encanto, to see the Rev. Tom Shaw in the Gospel setting that is so much a part in his life. He is playing his guitar, sitting in the front of this small, bare white room, with its eight rows of pews that were just moved in today. But he is subdued, not as active as some of the others here tonight.