Tom Hom, the first San Diego City Councilman of Asian descent and an early promoter of the Gaslamp Quarter, will celebrate publication of his memoir this week and be honored as “Mr. San Diego” by the Rotary Club later this month.
Hom, who was elected to the council in 1963, will sign copies of his memoir Rabbit on a Bumpy Road at Warwick’s in La Jolla beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The book recaps how the son of Chinese immigrants overcame life’s challenges to achieve the American Dream.
Then on Sept. 25, Hom will receive the “Mr. San Diego” honor, which has been awarded annually since 1952 by the San Diego Rotary Club.
“Tom has been the catalyst for so many projects in San Diego, including the development of decent and affordable workforce housing, creating what is now known as the Gaslamp District and the incorporation of the iconic Western Metal Building as part of Petco Park,” said Michelle Candland, president of the club. “He is most deserving of this award and we’re honored to be presenting it to him.”
Hom was born into a Chinese family in the year of the Rabbit in the 1920s when much of American society was segregated, socially and economically. He broke barriers and made San Diego history in 1963 when he became the first minority elected to the City Council. Hom went on to win a seat on the California State Assembly.
In addition to being a path-breaking pioneer, he helped transform San Diego’s skid row into the vibrant Gaslamp Quarter Historic District and led efforts to establish the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum.
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