La Jolla News Nuggets: April 23-29

Tapenade finds new home on upper Girard, Symbolic Motor Car Co. changes ownership ... and more

Input sought on city budget priorities

The public may offer input on the City of San Diego’s budget for Fiscal Year 2016 during a series of public meetings 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 4-8 in city council chambers, 12th floor, 202 C St. in downtown San Diego, and at a special meeting 6 p.m. May 11 in council chambers. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer released his proposed $3.2 billion budget for FY 2016 on April 13. A public hearing on the overall document will be held May 21. A vote on the final budget will take place in June.

During the May 4-8 meetings, city council members will pore over projected spending for individual departments. A schedule of when each department’s budget will be discussed can be found at

Each year, La Jolla’s city advisory groups solicit public input on infrastructure, capital improvement and park projects that La Jollans would like funded and compiles a list that is forwarded to the city for consideration. To view a list of recent budget priorities submitted by the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA), visit

“Anyone who’s interested in participating in the process, please plan to participate down at City Hall,” La Jolla City Council President Sherri Lightner urged during the April 2 LJCPA meeting. “We having sessions both afternoon and morning all days that week.”

Items can also be submitted for consideration by phoning Lightner’s office at (619) 236-6611.

Tapenade finds new home on upper Girard

Tapenade French restaurant will relocate from its longtime home in the Shingle Lane retail complex on Fay Avenue to a new space at 7437 upper Girard Avenue, suite B (adjacent The Village Greens).

The La Jolla mainstay — exiting the site where La Jolla Music Society plans to build its new performing arts center — will reopen this summer as Bistro Du Marché, a nod to La Jolla’s Open Aire farmers market, held nearby every Sunday at La Jolla Elementary School.

Chef and owner Jean-Michel Diot said he expects to supply much of the produce used in the menu from the farmers market.

A sign on the door of the new 60-seat bistro promises a “casual yet chic,” environment, “as only the French can do,” while introducing San Diego to “bistronomie, a contemporary French concept that defines an establishment’s cooking as a hybrid of traditional bistro fare and gastronomie, the ultra-refined cuisine served by Michelin star-laden restaurants.

“It will be a typical bistro like in Paris,” Diot said. “It will be decorated in the Art Deco style of the 1920s and ’30s and will have a zinc bar. The menu will be small, but will change every two weeks, following the creativity of Chef Christophe Santos.”

Symbolic Motor Car now O’Gara Coach

Symbolic Motor Car Co., the La Jolla exotic car dealership tied to a local campaign donation scandal, has changed ownership.

Beverly Hills-based O’Gara Coach, a dealership for Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce, is the new owner.

Paul Radford is O’Gara’s new general manager in La Jolla.

A little more than a year ago, Marc Chase, co-owner of Symbolic, pleaded guilty to his role as a straw donor helping Mexican millionaire Jose Susumo Azano Matsura funnel illegal donations to the election campaigns of Bonnie Dumanis, Bob Filner and Juan Vargas.

Azano’s defense attorney argued in court that the money Azano gave to Chase was part of his contribution to purchase a share in the Symbolic dealership, U-T San Diego reported.

Chase’s sentencing hearing was postponed from April 7 to January 2016. He faces up to eight years in custody and fines of as much as $800,000 on misdemeanor counts of conspiracy, aiding and abetting contributions by a foreign national and making a conduit campaign contribution.

Meanwhile, Symbolic’s inventory of classic road and race cars has been moved to Sorrento Valley, where a Symbolic car service facility has operated for years at 11455 Sorrento Valley Road.

An April 3 email from Symbolic International to a customer explained that the car company had outgrown its original La Jolla showroom of 25 years and had completed a “much needed move” to a new, expanded, more centrally located facility at 11425 Sorrento Valley Road.

— Diane Bell, Special to La Jolla Light

Medical building to replace El Torito

The former El Torito Mexican Restaurant at 8910 Villa La Jolla Drive (adjacent Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery) has been demolished to make way for expansion of the La Jolla Village Professional Center (located behind Rock Bottom). The center’s expansion involves construction of a 14,750-square-foot, two-story medical office building where El Torito was situated.

Playhouse has role in national effort to up arts audiences

La Jolla Playhouse was selected for the New York-based Wallace Foundation’s Building Audiences for Sustainability effort – a new, six-year, $52-million initiative aimed at developing insight into how performing arts organizations can expand their audiences.

The Playhouse was awarded $390,000 in the first cycle of this multi-year grant to commission new works that reflect multi-ethnic perspectives, develop diverse productions, enhance the theater-going experience through audience engagement activities, and employ in-depth market research and innovative marketing strategies to reach new audiences in nontraditional ways.

The Playhouse was one of 26 arts organizations from around the country selected to be a part of the initiative. These represent a spectrum of artistic disciplines, from dance and opera companies to orchestras, theaters and multidisciplinary arts. The evidence gathered from their work will be documented and analyzed by a team of researchers to provide insights, ideas and information for the entire field.

“Attracting and engaging new audiences is challenging for arts organizations because, even as the number of arts groups has grown, national rates of participation in the arts have declined, arts education has waned, and competition for ways to spend leisure time has increased,” said Will Miller, president of The Wallace Foundation.

Youth Symphony offers 
‘open days’ April 25-26

Registration is now open for the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory 70th anniversary season of orchestral and wind ensemble training. Registration is open until May 21 at

Students, parents and music teachers are welcome to visit the Youth Symphony for Open Days at their rehearsals on April 25-26 in Casa del Prado, Balboa Park, 1549 El Prado. Prospective students will be able to sit in one of the 10 ensembles, hear the conductors in action and speak to the artistic staff about registration and auditions. More information at

SDYS allows every musician that auditions (ages 8 to 25 years) a place in its programs. Its Balboa Park Programs are made up of 10 ensembles with programs ranging from entry level classes and ensembles to advanced orchestras comprised of pre-professional musicians, performing some of the most challenging repertoire to the highest standard attainable by a youth orchestra led by SDYS Music Director Jeff Edmons.

The Youth Symphony also provides scholarship opportunities for their top students and financial aid for families in need. Musicians’ Handbooks with detailed information about SDYS’ programs available online at u

— Compiled by Pat Sherman 
and Ashley Mackin

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