“Living In the City” is the San Diego Sun’s feature Q&A with downtown San Diego residents. It’s a way to get to know the city by meeting the people who live here. This is an ongoing series.
Name: Laura Fink
Location: East Village
Personal deets: A San Diego native, I moved away for college and a number of years. I’ve been back for more than a decade and downtown for 7 years, with my partner, Rob. He’s the reason I fell in love with East Village. He saw what my hometown eyes at first couldn’t see.
Professional deets: As CEO of Rebelle Communications, I help women leaders develop the skills and strategy to ascend to positions of power. I love being a catalyst for diverse women leaders to have an impact. We need more of us in power! I have clients develop their messaging and strategic plans from my dining table/board room. I also do local and national TV news appearances as a political analyst, often at the CoverEDGE studio on Market Street.
Best part of your building: I live in a small building near the library designed by Rob Quigley & Kathleen Hallahan. My neighbors and friends, Rob and Kathleen, are exceptional people. We laugh and we support each others foibles and eccentricities. In addition to being starchitects, Kathleen throws a killer party and Rob makes a mean martini.
Worst part of your location: We’re “close to the pain” in East Village. The hurt and challenges facing people experiencing homelessness are ever-present. I understand how hard this problem is to solve. It’s also heartbreaking to witness our neighbors struggling.
Downtown inspiration: I love my home office because it enables my clients to come be out of their traditional headspace. I also love to walk outside to the Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park (see video, above) when I am hitting a wall on a creative project, or when navigating the slings and arrows of local reporters gets rough.
Energy: Downtown is the heart of San Diego. It’s where people come together in community to do so many different things–from watching a ballgame to taking in a symphony or advocating at City Hall. No other neighborhood can say that, and has that much incredible energy.
Getting around: I walk a ton to eat, drink and shop in the neighborhood. I enjoy the trolley for short hauls. My electric car is also indispensable when I need to get somewhere far or fast.
Scooters: One ran over my foot coming around the corner of 13th and Market–then the rider apologized to my brother! I find them a necessary nuisance. Stay off the sidewalk people! (This is the “Get off my lawn” of downtown living.)
Seahorse Coffee at Quartyard.
Coffee Shop: I have a deep and abiding loyalty to Seahorse Coffee at Quartyard. Ashley and Chris are exceptional, big-hearted business owners. Ashley makes a perfect Viennese that has gotten me through beautiful and rough days. Where else can you play loteria to win a free coffee?
Lunch place: The Mission, for their soy chorizo dishes and chilaquiles. Chef’s kiss!
Dinner spot(s): Callie deserves every accolade for exceptional food and service. It’s new San Diego at its best. Taka Sushi has neighborhood flare. Sitting at the sushi bar always brings great conversation with their exceptional chefs. Pokez is killer for casual dine-in or takeout.
Best Bar(s): I like to sit at restaurant bars–Callie, Fifth and Rose (Pendry Hotel), Water Grill (for people watching). For a “bar” bar, Chee Chee is the best dive in the business. You and Yours Distilling Co. wins for the closest thing to a perfect cocktail.
Food shopping: My parents are retired UFCW union grocery workers from Albertsons. I spend my money where workers have the right to a voice on the job, so that’s where I shop with my two-wheeled “granny cart.” The service deli is great for entertaining in a pinch (Hello, Elote dip or fried chicken!).
The Coronado Ferry Landing. (Getty images)
Best insider tip for downtown: Ride the ferry to Coronado and back. Eight bucks and an hour on the water will change your outlook on life. Also great to do with out-of-town guests.
Scariest moment: Pre-pandemic, I was having a great night listening to my headphones and staring at the stars. I was approached by a man who thought I was drunk. He tried to shepherd me into his car. It was clear this was a pattern for him, preying on women who left bars and restaurants late at night.
Moment of Zen: I have a neighbor who bikes up and down 13th Street towing a fluorescent yellow cart with a boom box playing funk, early rap and hip hop. If he rides by, you know it’s gonna be a great day.
Streaming favorites: Killing Eve, Insecure, Succession, Black Lady Sketch Show, Abbott Elementary, Mare of Easttown, Gilded Age. If it has well written female leads, I’m in.
Laura Fink shares a lighter moment on air during local political coverage with KFMB-TV’s Carlo Cecchetto. (Courtesy photo)
Podcasts: I am predictably a Brené Brown “Dare to Lead” junkie. “Pod Save America.” NPR’s “Up First” before the gym. My good friend Christina Glickman has a short, inspirational pod called “Xtra” that’s a great 10 minutes of renegade positivity.
Cost of living: The housing here, like everywhere, is far too expensive. The housing crisis is real.
City infrastructure: I know too much about this professionally, and the barriers to getting things done. We’re way behind. Billions of dollars behind.
Padres games: My friend, Vanessa, is a season ticket holder. Some days, she texts me with a spare ticket to an afternoon game. I can walk two blocks to see the joyous boys of summer.
Parking advice: Pay, pray or hitch a ride. SDSun
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