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E-Newsletter 1st Edition

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Welcome to Your National City News!

The City of National City is excited to bring you the very first edition of Your National City News, an "E-newsletter" dedicated to sharing information and resources with the community. We are dedicated to the use of technology to provide opportunities for residents have access to a wide range of tools and information in order to participate more fully in city affairs. This newsletter will highlight information on community interests, events and activities as well as update and report on major projects. We're teaming up with the Sweetwater High School Media Team to produce video snapshots which will be included in each edition. Editions will be released six times a year for a one-year pilot program and this is the very first edition. Don't hesitate to let us know what you think or if you have an idea for an article or feature. This really is your newsletter. Enjoy!

Residents Favor Continued Local Funding for Services

A recently conducted survey (see link below) of 400 National City residents found that 72% of respondents support a continuation of National City’s existing, voter-approved district Proposition D funding to maintain local City services like the City’s own Police and Fire Departments and to provide a local source of funding protected from State takeaways.

In 2005 the City of National City was looking at a projected $4 million structural deficit with a $6.7 million structural deficit forecasted for 2006. Prop. D was enacted by the National City voters in 2006 to enact local funding to help fill those deficits and protect and maintain local services. On January 21, 2014 the City Council heard a presentation on a three year operating plan outlining what the City would look like for fiscal years 2015-2017 when Prop. D expires, including the closing of a fire station and a 40% reduction in sworn police officers. In response, the City Council voted to move forward with developing and drafting a potential November 2014 ballot measure to continue Prop. D with no increase in tax rate.

According to the survey, which was conducted by the highly regarded opinion research firm of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, 64% of respondents view National City as headed in the right direction, and 69% have a favorable view of the City government. Residents strongly support protecting local funds from state takeaways (80%), with 72% extremely/very concerned about state budget cuts that reduce the money available to local city services.

“We are pleased that the residents of National City are happy with the job we are doing,” said City Manager Leslie Deese. “For us to maintain the local services we all rely on -- especially retaining our local firefighters and police officers-- we must continue to have a dedicated source of local funding that can’t be taken by Sacramento.”

Public safety services top the list of services residents want maintained, together with a desire to protect and maintain the City’s financial viability. Key priorities include: maintaining local police and fire services (85% extremely/very important), fire protection services (88%), the financial viability of the City (79%), neighborhood police patrols (81%) and repairing streets and potholes (78%).

“National City is San Diego County’s second oldest city with a history of strong community involvement,” added Deese. “The community supports this existing local funding with no increase in tax rates, which will keep National City a safe place to live, work, and raise a family. We need to maintain local control of funding so that we can continue to provide local services.”

Link to the City’s website with the full power point presentation:


What's Happening Along 8th Street?

By now you’ve seen all of the construction taking place along 8th Street from the trolley station east through Downtown – the official name is the 8th St Corridor Smart Growth Revitalization project. Smart Growth is a term used in urban planning and transportation to describe projects that create compact, walkable urban centers to achieve a unique sense of community and place.

The project will provide traffic calming through corner bulb-outs, increase sidewalk space, and improve parking and access to local businesses and transit along the 8th Street corridor. Other streetscape enhancements include new lighting, historic banners, wayfinding signs, benches, bicycle racks and other street furnishings, and undergrounding of the overhead utilities.

This project goals are to:

  • Strengthen the physical and visual link between the 8th Street Trolley Station and Downtown National City to encourage walking, bicycling and transit use;
  • Enhance pedestrian safety, access and mobility;
  • Reduce vehicle speeds through traffic calming;
  • Improve parking and access to local businesses;
  • Enhance the public realm through creation and activation of public open spaces;
  • Invigorate “Smart Growth” redevelopment and revitalize a critical transit and pedestrian corridor for the benefit of local businesses, residents and visitors of National City.
The project is scheduled for completion in October of this year.

Click for more information:

The City of National City Plans a Community Service Day in Collaboration with Local Partners

The City of National City is collaborating with A Reason To Survive (ARTS) to host a Community Service Day on April 26, 2014. Volunteers from around the community will be donating their time and skills to support community service projects in and around Kimball Park. Participants will take part in creating useful and artistic projects that will improve the safety, beauty, health, and overall quality of National City. People of all ages will engage and work together in caring for our home through the collaboration of work and the use of recycled materials that will be donated from National City businesses and partners. Projects will focus on the beautification of the Arts, Cultural, and Education District which centers around Kimball Park and the ARTS center and also includes the National City Public Library, Nutrition Center, Kimball Senior Center, and the MLK Community Center.

Thanks to our partnership with a few regional organizations, this day will prove to have a most lasting effect. Partners include Sweetwater High School and SDSU students, community organizations, and the Navy. Outreach is currently underway to include additional local leaders in our business, faith-based, service clubs, and non-profit communities as well. If you, your family, or your business would like to join us on this day or contribute in some way, your assistance is greatly appreciated. You may help plant a tree, paint a mural, or support one of the many projects that will benefit our community. Your efforts will make a difference in National City and will be felt for many years to come! If you would like to get involved please contact for more information.

The National City Police Department “signs on” to the use of social media

The use of social media sites has become a valuable tool for law enforcement agencies to engage and inform the community. According to a survey completed in 2013 with members of the International Association of the Chiefs of Police (IACP), approximately 95% of police agencies utilize social media in some capacity. The majority of police departments using social media have cited the benefits in that it has improved public relations, community outreach, citizen engagement, and crime prevention.

The National City Police Department began using social media through Nixle ( several years ago. The police department utilizes Nixle to disseminate important public safety, crime prevention, and community awareness information to the public. National City Police Chief Manuel Rodriguez recognizes the use of social media is important for law enforcement because it allows the police department to reach a larger and varying audience.

In February 2014, the National City Police Department began sending out information via Twitter. Twitter will allow the police department to “tweet” short 140 character messages to the public in real time. The “tweets” allows the police department to link followers to in the event more detailed information is necessary. In the near future, the police department will use Twitter to conduct “virtual ride alongs” with various units in the department. The process will be interactive and allow the public to follow the activities of an officer or dispatcher in real time through social media.

The public can follow the National City Police Department on and by using the following sites:

  • On Twitter - search for “@NATIONALCITYPD”
  • On Nixle – Search for “National City, CA”
In addition, the City of National City’s social media presence can be found on Twitter @CityOfNatlCity and on Facebook at CityofNationalCity.

The Nutrition Center Serves Seniors

The George H. Waters Senior Nutrition Program serves seniors with nutritious meals in a welcoming social setting on D Ave near Kimball Park. The Nutrition Center provides seniors with healthy and well balanced lunches. The Nutrition Center also delivers meals to senior that can’t travel to the Center. Our most important priority is to prevent problems before they occur through proper nutrition, awareness and education. We also offer referrals to other appropriate supportive services.

We are located at 1415 “D” Avenue in National City across the street from the Boys and Girls Club. Lunch is served from 11:00 – 12:30 Monday-Friday. Our Home Delivered Meal Program delivers meals to homebound seniors on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

For more information call the Center at (619) 336-6752 or visit the City’s website.

Employee of the Quarter: Kevin Hamel

National City is proud to recognize Firefighter Paramedic Kevin Hamel as our Employee of the Quarter. Kevin, in addition to being a newly hired Firefighter Paramedic who provides a high level of patient care on a daily basis, demonstrated his commitment to the citizens of National City by volunteering to coordinate the National City Fire Department, National City Firefighters’ Association and the City of National City’s Tower of Terror Halloween event this past October. Kevin spent well over 50 off-duty hours volunteering his time to plan, coordinate and orchestrate the actual event. He demonstrated excellent leadership qualities as he brought many partners together to ensure a successful, safe and fun Halloween night for our community. This included working with local businesses, multiple City departments and Sweetwater High School students. Kevin worked diligently to ensure the design and decoration of the tower was not only the scariest but also the safest event around. He went above and beyond on the day of the event to be available to the media in order to positively promote the event.

His creativity, positive attitude and willingness to work make him an excellent example of a great employee.

The National City Performance Recognition Program-Employee of the Quarter is designed to communicate the City’s appreciation for outstanding work performance and service, by recognizing those employees who maintain high standards of personal conduct and who make significant contributions to the work environment.

511 Offers More than Just Traffic Info

Did you know 511 offers more than traffic information? 511 and the network of yellow highway call boxes provide a free safety net for drivers stranded on the freeway. Just call 511 and say “Roadside Assistance” or use one of more than 1,200 yellow highway call boxes to be connected to the help you need, 24 hours a day. Assistance is available from police, fire, ambulance, towing, or even a family member or friend.

The Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) is a free service that improves safety for stranded motorists and reduces traffic congestion on San Diego County highways. The FSP travels select local freeways seven days a week to get drivers back on the road. They can help with a gallon of gas, a jump-start, or water for the radiator. FSP assists more than 50,000 drivers per year. Visit for more information.

The Story of Car 54
Historic Street Car Now at National City Depot

by Eric Sanders

Resting in the back room of the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park is the body of one-time San Diego Electric Railway Company street car # 54.

The informed visitor will examine the body structure with great care because this car was built here in San Diego from the bodies of two former cable cars. Examine the roof and clerestory, check the details against those visible in old cable car photographs, and one will see that the Cable car ancestry is clearly evident in street car number 54.

In 1892 the San Diego Cable Railway Company closed down and twelve combination style (open-closed) and two all-open type cars went out of service.

However, in 1896 after remodeling and a conversion into electric streetcars, the twelve combination style cars were returned to service by the new owners, Citizens Traction Company. The track was still narrow gauge but the overhead catenary and other necessary electrical facilities had replaced the in-street endless wire cable loop.

The life of the line was short lived as in 1898 service was again discontinued. In time, the Citizens Traction franchise, cars and other facilities were purchased by the San Diego Electric Railway Company.

The uptown narrow gauge track was converted into standard gauge and then combined with SDERy’s own Fifth Avenue line. The remaining narrow gauge rail was abandoned. The SDERy"s own cars went into service on the line and the twelve narrow gauge cars went into storage.

In 1903, four of the cars were scrapped but the remaining eight were worked over into four double ended electric cars. This was done by cutting away one third of an old car and splicing it with the remains of another car. The re-built cars, numbered 51 through 54, then went back into service on SDERy’s lines.

In 1914 the much-publicized center entrance "Exposition Cars" began arriving and many of the old cars were displaced. Electric cars 51 through 54 went into dead storage. As an economy move two years later the cars were sold for scrap.

The body of number 54, less trucks and electrical equipment, was purchased by H. H Himebaugh. He located the car body in Logan Heights on the west side of the 2100 block of Logan Avenue (there’s the body of an "Exposition Car" located today on the east side of the same block). The closed sections were boarded up and Himebaugh used the car as a real estate office.

Two members of the Railway Historical Society of San Diego (RHSoSD) who lived in Logan Heights in the twenties remember seeing the car there.

Two or three years later the car body was moved to the backyard of the family home at 2140 Kearny Avenue. Until his health failed; Himebaugh continued to use it as his office. The home later passed into the hands of Himebaugh’s daughter, Mrs. Nellie Clower. Members of the Clower family used the car as living quarters and for storage.

In 1955 RHSoSD member Lyle Judd ( Sam Judd’s father ) "rediscovered " the car and the Society started negotiations to acquire it for their collection.

In 1958 Mrs. Clower donated the car to the Society and on March 15, Robert E. Staite, a contractor who once "hawked" newspapers on the car, moved it to the M. H Hiesman’s "Bullfrog Haven" at 47th and Nogal Streets. Later, it was moved to the Star Machine Company yard on 10th Avenue. Another move became necessary in 1962.

On the assurance of RHSofSD member Jack Stodelle that the Society would appropriate funds for professional labor and materials, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the exhibition of the car at the rear of the Whaley House in Old Town after restoration had been completed.

In May 1962 the Board of Supervisors approved immediate placement of the car in the Old Town location. During the May hearing, Chairman DeGraaf Austin recalled that he had ridden to and from school on Car 54.