Xavier with restored Impala
Xavier ‘The X-Man’ with his restored 1961 Chevrolet Impala.

Xavier “The X-Man,” midday host on radio station XHRM-FM Magic 92.5, is changing this year’s 18th annual “X-Man’s Cruise for the Cause” car show fundraiser into a virtual event due to COVID-19 crowd restrictions.

“Fundamentally, car shows are for guys and gals to show off the custom modifications on their cars, trucks and motorcycles,” said Xavier, who doesn’t use his last name professionally. “There is a lot of pride in their work, and the more eyes that see their pride and joy, the better. We decided the safest and most interesting way to continue was to put the car show on-line, where everyone in the world can see and participate.”

Owners of wheels of all kinds, including low-riders, classics, motorcycles, hot rods, DUBs, trucks, VWs and exotics, are invited to submit a photo of their vehicle to the radio station’s website. Requested donation is $40 per entry, which includes a commemorative T-shirt while supplies last.

Registrants will be invited to attend a slow-ride, drive-through starting at 9 a.m., Sunday, Aug. 30, at the Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista. The Sunday morning drive-through will be recorded on the Magic 92.5 Facebook page.

Xavier will be on site with his restored 1961 Chevrolet Impala. “I found it sitting in a garage in Fallbrook, wasting away and partially done,” he said. “Half the parts came in a garbage can. I took it home, took it apart and started from the ground-up. The name for my car is “Doing It To Death.”

Event proceeds will benefit the Emilio Nares Foundation, a nonprofit that helps families navigate their child’s journey through cancer, including providing transportation to medical treatments.

“We’re raising money for Emilio Nares Foundation so they can continue to help the children get to their much-needed cancer services,” said Xavier, “Emilio Nares Foundation needs help now more than ever, so the show must go on. Despite the challenges, I’m excited as ever for our community to come together and help the children who need it most.”

The radio station said two of its sponsors also have pledged support to the foundation. Mossy Ford Pacific Beach will provide a 2020 Ford transit van to use for transportation. Also, Soapy Joe’s car wash will donate $5,000.

Over the past 17 years, Xavier estimates his previous car show events have generated more than a combined $100,000 in donations for various charities.

Earlier this year, on Jan. 7, Xavier marked his 20th anniversary broadcasting on Magic 92.5. The station is owned by Local Media San Diego, which operates three other local stations.

Tony Manolatos Leaves MNM to Form His Own Firm

After four years with Manolatos Nelson Murphy Advertising & Public Relations, political consultant Tony Manolatos has left to form his own company called Tony Manolatos Public Affairs.

“I was looking for more flexibility to build high-caliber teams to better serve my existing and future clients to meet their goals and objectives,” Manolatos told Times of San Diego. “It made sense for the clients and me to make this move.”

Tony Manolatos

In 2016, Manolatos joined Bob Nelson and Kelly Murphy Lamkin, principals of BNA Communications, to form MNM. Previously, since 2011, Manolatos had operated his own consulting firms, called Apex Strategies and By George Strategies. Manolatos worked at San Diego City Hall for then council member Kevin Faulconer from 2009 to 2011, after working at The San Diego Union-Tribune as an investigative reporter since 2005.

As a solo practitioner, Manolatos consulted with the San Diego Unified Port District, where he worked with Nelson, who was serving as a Port Commissioner at the time. “Four years ago, Bob called me to meet and catch-up,” said Manolatos. “Bob said he and Kelly wanted to add PR services and he wondered if I would consider combining my firm with their firm and build a new brand.”

Nelson, who plans to retire early next year, has retained ownership of MNM, along with Lamkin. Nelson told Times of San Diego the firm’s board of directors has approved a name change from MNM to Murphy Nelson Marketing.

“I had the chance to work with incredible public affairs professionals in and outside of MNM,” Manolatos said. “But, I’ve found the more flexibility and expertise you can provide a client, the better.”

Tanya Mannes Castaneda, former public information officer at the Port of San Diego who joined MNM last year as VP of PR, left earlier this year to open her own firm. Dike Anyiwo also joined MNM last year as an account executive, but is now a policy advisor with the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Claire Trageser of KPBS Named SPJ 2020 Journalist of the Year

The Society of Professional Journalists San Diego chapter has named Claire Trageser, KPBS investigative reporter, as its 2020 Journalist of the Year.

Claire Trageser

SPJ San Diego said Trageser was recognized for reporting on police misconduct and racial disparities in criminal justice.

In 2019, SPJ said Trageser used public records obtained because of Senate Bill 1421 to report on former San Diego police Officer Donald Moncrief, who was accused of sexual assault, resigned before receiving any discipline and was never charged with a crime.

In February 2019, her series, called “Dr. J’s: How a Gang Shooting Changed Southeast San Diego,” led to an increased police presence in the community, which has created new problems, SPJ said.

In August 2019, SPJ said Trageser reported on the felony murder rule, which allows a defendant to be charged with murder even if they didn’t kill anyone. Trageser told the story of Shawn Khalifa, who is incarcerated after a conviction for a robbery he took part in when at age 15.

During the past year, Trageser also reported on the San Diego Humane Society’s controversial practice of releasing feral cats back onto the streets.

SPJ’s regular awards dinner recognizing winners of writing awards and remarks from the Journalist of the Year recipient will not be held due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, a video with comments from Trageser will be posted on Monday, Aug. 24, on the SPJ Facebook page and SPJ website.

It’s the second consecutive year a KPBS newsroom staffer has received the Journalist of the Year award. In 2019, it was Jean Guerrero, investigative reporter, for her coverage of U.S.-Mexico border and immigration issues.

IABC San Diego to Host a Virtual Summer Potluck

The International Association of Business Communicators San Diego chapter will host a virtual summer potluck from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 27, over the Zoom online meeting platform. Participants can show-off their favorite dish, appetizer or mixed drink. Recipes can be sent prior to the event to sandiego-info@iabc.com to be shared with attendees. The free event, open to members and nonmembers, also will include networking with communicators who are facing similar challenges during these unprecedented times, IABC said.

Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.