Axios San Diego

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It's Wednesday. Boy, tomorrow is an awfully big day for San Diego sports.

  • Today's weather: Coast — Mostly sunny with highs in the low 60s. Inland — Sunny with highs in the upper 60s.

Today's newsletter is 837 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Meet Petco Park organist Bobby Cressey

Bobby Cressey, Petco Park's organist for all day games. Photo: Bobby Cressey

Stadium organist Bobby Cressey brings old-timey vibes to Petco Park with his renditions of everything from "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to — drumroll, please — a song he's debuting this season.

Why it matters: Cressey, who will begin his 15th season as the Padres stadium organist Thursday on Opening Day, has grown into a big part of the game-day experience.

The latest: Cressey told Axios he's introducing The Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias" into his catalog this season. That's particularly exciting news for Andy, our resident Deadhead.

  • Yes, but: Cressey said he can't deliver on our request for Phish's "Tweezer Reprise."

Scarlet Begonias is the newest addition to an already-diverse repertoire, which includes everything from the cues for "Charge!" and "Let's Go Padres!" to "Bohemian Rhapsody" and the theme songs for "Paw Patrol" and "Succession."

  • He's also the organist at San Diego Gulls games, if hockey's more your thing.

Fun fact: During the first six years of the Petco Park era — before Cressey — the team didn't have an organist.

Flashback: Cressey, a working musician and lifelong Padres fan, had just moved home from Los Angeles in early 2010.

  • At a fan event before that season, a Padres executive unveiled Throwback Thursdays, saying the team was looking for an organist to go with the team's throwback unis.
  • Cressey made his move and dropped his business card on the team representative.
  • He checked in relentlessly until he got an audition and the gig.

What he's saying: About 40 minutes before the game, Cressey gets 12 minutes to connect with Petco's diverse crowd via an all-over-the-place setlist.

  • "If you can't pick out every song, that's a good thing, because it means someone in some other demographic is getting it when you aren't," he said.
  • He's likely to drop some '90s tunes, a video-game theme, some classic rock from the '70s, and maybe a jazz standard that connects with an 80-year-old fan.

The intrigue

2. Nuclear power plant reef is finally doing its job

The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in 2019. Photo: Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

The world's largest artificial reef, built to restore the marine habitat harmed by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, is finally meeting its performance standards — a decade after the power plant shut down.

Why it matters: For more than 30 years, the nuclear power plant's seawater cooling system sucked in 2.4 billion gallons of ocean water a day to cool its reactors, which degraded nearby kelp beds and killed fish and other marine animals off the northern San Diego County coast near Camp Pendleton.

Driving the news: The Wheeler North Reef project, built to offset those losses, met its restoration goals, including improving kelp growth and fish production, for the first time during its three-year existence, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Tuesday.

Flashback: The plant shut down in 2013 after defects were found in its replacement steam generators, and it's still being dismantled, per the U-T.

How it works: The 2.5 miles of reef made of rock act as an anchor for giant kelp to grow, creating a canopy-like forest for fish, sea lions, whales, birds and other marine life.

What's next: The reef, one of the world's largest made by man, must continue to meet its performance goals for 27 more years.

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3. The Lineup: Local news catch-up

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Lifeguards on both sides of the border are working record numbers of migrant rescues and drownings, as more migrants try to swim around the U.S.-Mexico border wall. (KPBS)

⚡ SDGE residential customers can expect a $78 credit on their April energy bill, thanks to a state climate program. (City News Service)

🚔 San Diego police are investigating a string of 20 burglaries in the city's northern neighborhoods of Mira Mesa, Rancho Bernardo and Rancho Peñasquitos. (CBS 8)

🍷 Convoy's Mekong Lao & Thai Cuisine is expanding with a new natural wine bar and cafe serving Southeast Asian brunch dishes. (Eater)

4. Mapped: CA women in office

Women as a share of municipal officeholders
Data: Rutgers; Map: Axios Visuals

California has a higher percentage of women in local government than the national average, according to a new report from the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

By the numbers: About 40% of municipal officeholders in the state are women, compared to 32% nationwide.

  • That includes city council members, mayors and other officials of cities and towns with populations greater than 10,000.
  • The state ranks eighth overall, with Colorado (46.1%) at the top.
  • Plus: About 42% of California's state legislators are women, 11th-highest in the country.

Zoom in: San Diego has three women on its City Council.

  • The mayors of Oceanside, San Marcos, Lemon Grove, Solana Beach and Imperial Beach also are women.
  • Three of the county's five supervisors are women.

Six women represent San Diego in the state Legislature, and one, Toni Atkins, is running for governor.

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Our picks:

🎸 Andy wants you to know that Bruce told the San Diego crowd Monday that he would be back, but that's probably not possible if it takes 30 years again.

📚 Kate is reading "The Women" by Kristin Hannah. Any fans?

This newsletter was edited by Carly Mallenbaum and copy edited by James Gilzow.