Brennan tosses firehat in Council race

Firefighter Aaron Brennan announced his 2020 candidacy for the San Diego City Council seat being vacated by Barbara Bry so she can run for San Diego Mayor. Brennan — who lives in La Jolla and is a 17-year veteran of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department — is the fourth candidate to enter the District 1 race, joining Will Moore, Joe La Cava and Louis Rodolico.

“As a firefighter, I see people on their worst days and I have to be at my best,” Brennan wrote on his campaign website. “I know what service really means. It would be my honor to fight for our families and serve our neighborhoods on the City Council.”

According to his LinkedIn page, Brennan is also a defense council member at the Truman National Security Project, a nationwide group stressing strong and principled foreign policy that takes its name and inspiration from President Harry S. Truman.

La Jolla ivory traffickers convicted

San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott announced Tuesday that the Carlton Gallery in La Jolla, its owner, and an employee will pay combined fines of $210,000 after pleading guilty to trafficking ivory in defiance of California law.

Carlton Gallery’s owner, Victor Hyman Cohen, was convicted on 11 counts, and a salesperson, Sheldon Miles Kupersmith, was convicted on 8 counts. The Gallery and Cohen were each fined $75,000, and Kupersmith was fined $60,000. Cohen and Kupersmith were also placed on three years of probation, violation of which will result in an automatic 364 days in custody and an additional $100,000 fine per defendant. The defendants will also be required to complete 200 hours of court-ordered work service at the San Diego Zoo within the year.

The fines are the largest ever imposed for ivory trafficking in California.

Love, assessor style

The San Diego County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk’s office still has openings to issue marriage licenses and perform weddings and vow-renewals on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, Feb. 14.

Ceremonies can be conducted at its waterfront park, alongside the County Administration Center or inside one of its ceremony rooms overlooking San Diego Bay. Marriage licenses fees start at $70, with ceremonies an additional $88.

“We are excited to offer walk-in services at our historic downtown office on the waterfront for Valentine’s Day and don’t want couples to miss their chance at a Valentine’s Day wedding,” said Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk Ernie Dronenburg.

The downtown office, 1600 Pacific Highway, Suite 273, will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day. License and ceremony appointments are encouraged, but not required, and can be made at or by calling (619) 237-0502.

Open House open to more volunteers

OH! (Open House) San Diego needs event volunteers to help San Diegans learn and interact with La Jolla’s architectural marvels. Shifts are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday March 23 and 24.

First-time volunteers receive a year-long San Diego Architectural Foundation membership, and signing up by Feb. 28 gets everyone a free volunteer T-shirt:

Volunteer orientation is mandatory. For La Jolla, it takes place 4:45-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 12 at the La Jolla Historical Society, 780 Prospect St.

La Jolla Inn out

The La Jolla Inn, 1110 Prospect St., will emerge from its construction cocoon this spring as the Cormorant Boutique Hotel.

The rebranded property will boast 26 rooms with ocean views, balconies and smart thermostats. A self-serving bar with lounge seating, called The Perch, will be located on the roof with direct street access.

The Prospect Market will remain on the ground floor.

More road closures to avoid

The La Jolla Village Drive and Genessee Avenue intersection has begun daily partial closures so workers can install the sixth of seven Mid-Coast Trolley support beams there.

From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays, through lanes at La Jolla Village are closed, as are southbound Genessee lanes.

From 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, two north- and soundbound Genessee lanes are open while through lanes at La Jolla Village remain closed.

From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. this weekend, one lane will be open on northbound Genessee.

These closures remain in effect through Friday, Feb. 15. Detour signs will be posted, but drivers are encouraged to steer clear of the area.

Blowing minds at D.G. Wills

UC Berkeley neuroscientist David Presti will discuss his new book, “Mind Beyond Brain: Buddhism, Science and the Paranormal,” 7 p.m. Saturday Feb. 23 at D.G. Wills Books, 7461 Girard Ave.

Presti’s book explores how evidence for paranormal phenomena — including telepathy, near-death experiences, apparent memories of past lives, apparitions, and precognition — can influence the Buddhism-science conversation.

But the story of how this booking came about is just as mind-blowing. The title of Presti’s book caught the attention of bookstore owner Dennis Wills, who ordered a copy from Columbia University Press and placed it in his window.

V.S. Ramachandran, director of UC San Diego’s Center for Brain and Cognition, happened to stop by and see the book.

“He said, ‘I know Presti, you ought to have him speak here,’ ” Wills recalled. “I told him that book talks normally take a long time to set up, and sometimes, the authors aren’t even interested. So Ramachandran called Presti in the bookstore and booked him right on the spot.”

The event is free and open to the public.

Art & Wine Fest accepting early applications

The La Jolla Art and Wine Festival, scheduled for Oct. 12-13 along Girard Avenue, is now open for applications from oil painters, photographers, watercolorists, sculptors, jewelers and artists in mixed-media, ceramics and glass to display.

Applicants must have a free profile account on Zapp (, then pay a non-refundable application fee of $35. For more info, visit or email