Axios San Diego

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Happy Wednesday — hope it's a LOVEly day. ❣

  • Today's weather: Coast —Partly sunny with highs approaching 60. InlandMostly sunny with highs near 65.

Today's newsletter is 926 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Polyamory could get more legal protection

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

This Valentine's Day, more Californians are thinking about love — beyond monogamy.

Why it matters: Media coverage, a buzzy new memoir and shows like "Couple to Throuple" are bringing polyamory into mainstream conversations, but California is just beginning to introduce bills protecting people from the stigma that can come with being in relationships with multiple people, Axios' Carly Mallenbaum and Mimi Montgomery report.

By the numbers: Data is limited on the prevalence of polyamory — and surveys differ in how they ask about relationship preferences — but there seems to be an uptick in openness to it.

  • In San Diego, 27% of OkCupid daters over the past two years said they would consider an open relationship, according to data shared with Axios.
  • About one-third of polled American singles say they've had a consensually nonmonogamous relationship, according to Match's 2024 Singles in America study — and a slightly higher proportion described their ideal relationship as something other than monogamy in a 2023 YouGov survey.

Yes, but: A harmful stigma can be associated with consensual nonmonogamy, and laws protecting and supporting people in these relationships are limited.

  • Unlike gender, race or sexual orientation, relationship structure isn't among the categories typically protected when it comes to housing and work.
  • Being polyamorous can also be a barrier in child-custody cases.

What's happening: This week, Berkeley and Oakland are introducing family and relationship structure nondiscrimination bills, representatives from the Polyamory Legal Advocacy Coalition tell Axios.

What they're saying: "As a millennial living in Oakland … I know plenty of people who are polyamorous but wouldn't say that out loud," says Oakland City Council member Janani Ramachandran, who says she's the first LGBTQ woman of color to serve on the council.

  • Ramachandran plans to introduce to the rules committee Thursday a nondiscrimination ordinance protecting diverse family and relationship structures, she tells Axios.
  • She hopes it could lead to a "waterfall effect" and encourage school districts and even state lawmakers to protect all kinds of families.

Read more

2. San Diego music is fine: South Park's new jazz venue

Meraki bar/restaurant in South Park is launching a monthly jazz night series. Photo: Andrew Keatts/Axios

Meraki, the long-awaited restaurant and event space from the folks behind Buona Forchetta, is open at last. Turns out, it's a music venue — sort of.

State of play: The restaurant/bar just up the street from the original Buona Forchetta in South Park is opening in style with a spring jazz series that begins next week.

  • The series is produced by music students from Mission Bay High School, and all proceeds go to the school's music program.

What's happening: The initial lineup of third-Thursday monthly shows boasts some of local music's most celebrated names, including:

  • Feb. 22, Euphoria Brass Band — This New Orleans brass band, who's been making San Diego crowds dance for more than a decade, offers a fitting Mardi Gras celebration on their way to multiple San Diego Music Awards nominations.
  • March 21, Gilbert Castellanos — This well-known jazz trumpeter has been SDMA's best jazz artist six times, as well as musician of the year, while playing with the San Diego Symphony and sharing the stage with legends like Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie and Wynton Marsalis.
  • April 25, Holly Hofmann — The internationally renowned jazz flutist won the Jazz Hero award from the Jazz Journalists of America in 2019.
  • May 30, Leonard Patton & Peter Sprague — Patton has been a jazz singer for 30 years, drawing comparisons to Sam Cooke and Bobby McFerrin, and has long played with Sprague, a guitarist praised by Pat Metheny.

What's next: Each show begins at 6:30pm; headliners take the stage at 7:30pm.

  • Tickets are on sale now — $20 for general admission or $60 for a dinner package.

Share this with a jazz-loving friend

3. The Lineup: News worth noting

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

📚 San Diego Unified's pre-pandemic chronic absenteeism rate was 11%. By last year, it reached 28%, meaning 80,000 additional students missed at least 10% of their school's instructional days. (Voice of San Diego)

San Diego Wave FC general manager Molly Downtain resigned from the record-breaking, NWSL team that she helped build. (SD Wave)

🌊 A new report from SDSU researchers called untreated sewage, urban runoff and industrial waste in the Tijuana River a "public health crisis." (Union-Tribune)

4. Romance book stores are having a moment

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

Niche bookstores courting people who love to read about love are popping up across the country.

Why it matters: The romance genre is red hot and starry-eyed fans are demanding more access to stories that defy age-old tropes and stereotypes, Axios' Torey Van Oot writes.

What's happening: San Diego helped set the trend when Meet Cute romance bookshop opened a brick-and-mortar site in fall 2022 after doing pop-ups and selling online.

Driving the trend: Data from consumer research firm Circana show print sales of romance novels as of last summer were up 52% year over year.

  • Industry experts say the growth is fueled in part by TV adaptations and#BookTok and #bookstagram bringing new and younger readers into the fold.

What they're saying: "Particularly after lockdown, people were looking for spaces to be in community with one another — with people they had things in common with," Meet Cute owner Becca Title told Axios.

  • The bookshop creates that space in North Park by hosting book clubs, author talks, mixers and other events.

Some romance book recs

5. Where in the world is Kate in San Diego?

You tell us. Photo: Kate Murphy/Axios

Ready to solve another case?

Reminder: Email us with your best guess for this local spot for a chance to win some Axios swag!

A clue: You'll have to climb way up high to catch this ride.

Our picks:

🎶 Andy has Futurebirds and Helado Negro on the mind.

🍫 Kate is disappointed (but not deterred) that chocolate is more expensive than usual this Valentine's Day.

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