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Jim Winsor’s Out & About: Saturday night towing massacre leaves Hillcrest in an uproar

As happy revelers were leaving Rich's, Eden and other popular Hillcrest hot spots along University Avenue around 1:45 am last Saturday, they emerged upon a scene of horror and despair: An army of tow trucks impounding every vehicle up and down the entire street, as far as the eye can see.

What ensued then was absolute pandemonium. Some people were in a state of shock at seeing their car already gone, a few of them howling in agony once they realized they had no money left for cab fare, and were essentially stranded on a street in a strange neighborhood after dark. Others witnessed their car actually in the process of being hooked up, and ran over as fast as they could to plead with the tow truck crews for mercy.

All the while, San Diego Parking Enforcement personnel were affixing tickets to all the windshields in advance of the tow vehicles in their usual calm, methodical and ruthless manner; all while SDPD patrol cars with their red-and-blue lights blazing in the night carefully watched over all stages of the entire operation ... presumably to discourage a riot.

Why did all this chaos happen, you ask? What was it that caused all this unnecessary anguish, inconvenience and financial loss (in tickets and impound fees) to bar patrons who just wanted to go out and have a good time in Hillcrest on a Saturday night? The answer: The San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, which was scheduled to run at 6:15 am last Sunday.

Or more specifically: The unreasonable and deceptive parking restrictions along the race route prior to the Marathon. The signage along University Avenue set a no-parking time span from "Sunday | June 5th, 2011 | 12:01am to 9:30am." What seems to have happened is that people arrived at the clubs on University before midnight (as they usually do), saw a no-parking sign for a "Sunday" event, probably thought to themselves "oh, that's tomorrow" and happily skipped into the club, never dreaming in their wildest dreams that said event would require their car off the street literally on the first minute of the new day.

And this isn't the first time such confusion has reigned. Last year midnight towing was in effect prior to the Marathon as well, and dozens of shocked and unsuspecting Hillcrest clubbers got caught up in the trap when the when the trucks starting hoisting vehicles up at about 12:30 am.

As a result of this latest outrage, people in the community are now asking questions: WHY tow at midnight? Since University Avenue officially remains open to traffic until 5am, and no serious race prep seems to take place on the street before then, surely the no-parking restriction just as easily begin just after the bars close at, say, 2:15am? Wouldn't 95% of the cars towed last Saturday night have moved away under their own power if the start time had simply been pushed back a couple hours?

These are questions that need answers. Hopefully they'll be addressed by the Marathon organizers next year during the mandatory "community outreach" portion of the event permitting process, and necessary changes made to avert yet another disaster. I can tell you there's enough anger out there over this that the status quo is simply not going to be acceptable.

Laugh Out Proud at Martinis Above Fourth

Tonight, Martinis Above Fourth will be hosting the June installment of its Laugh Out Proud comedy night. The featured entertainers will be local comedians Star Dell'Era, Sean Wherley, and Sarah Burford, San Francisco-based comedian Yuri Kagan, and the headliner for the evening, Los Angeles-based bisexual comedian Travon Free.

The show kicks off at 8 pm, and is free with a two drink minimum. Guests are welcome to come early to enjoy a full dinner menu, and reservations can be made by calling (619) 400-4500 or visiting their website. All other seating is first come, first served.

Mankind Fashion Show at Bourbon Street

Also this Thursday, 10 pm at Bourbon Street, Mankind will be having a fashion show, showcasing underwear and swimwear from Piss & Vinegar, Pull-In, Pistol Pete, Intymen, Go, Es, Frank Dandy and Timoteo. And directly after that ...

The Wet Finals at Bourbon Street

... will be the long-awaited Wet finals at Bourbon Street! Open only to past contest winners within the last six months, the winner will not only take home a grand prize of $500 in cash, but they'll also receive a professional photo shoot by Rufskin Studios and be featured on the cover of the 5-year anniversary edition of SDPIX Magazine.

This very special show will be hosted by Ken St. Pierre and Tori Heart. Like I said above, contest should get going right after the Mankind fashion show, probably around 11:30ish, I’d say.

San Diego during LA Pride

I know many of you are trekking north to LA Pride this weekend, but for those staying down here in San Diego for whatever reason, there's still stuff to do! On Friday, for example, Rich's will be having Circuit Sweat, with DJ Dan DeLeon on the main floor, and DJ Will Z in the front with hip hop and pop videos.

And on Saturday night, there'll be a special Mariah Carey edition of Eye Candy at Numbers, with DJ Marcel Hetu spinning Mariah mega mixes as will as hip hop favorites.

Candyland on Christwire

Speaking of Numbers, the faux fundamentalist Christian website Christwire recently "borrowed" a Numbers party flyer (specifically, their "Candyland" flyer) for use in one its satirical pieces. Entitled "Gays Using Candyland To Turn Your Kids Into Frolicking Fecal Bandits," it's absolutely hysterical! For a good laugh you can check it out here.

Last week's events

And be sure to tune into SDPIX for all the lastest photo albums, including pictures from the Dining with the Divas anniversary party at Lips, Club Lucky San Diego at the House of Blues, and Ricky Cervantes' birthday at Church at Babycakes. Happy viewing!