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Editorial: SOHO responds to Jacobs Plan vote

Posted: August 4th, 2012 | Opinion, Opinion & News | 1 Comment

On July 9 Councilmember Todd Gloria, led the City Council (all but Sherri Lightner) to vote in what will be historically recounted as one of the greatest failures of leadership ever shown in San Diego City Council chambers.

In the eight-hour hearing, hundreds of citizens began the day by first having to endure Mayor Sanders as he opened the meeting by telling the people of San Diego that their complaints were vile and idiotic. While one might expect this from a schoolyard bully, it came as a bit of a shock coming from City Hall in America’s Finest City and went without an apology from any member of the council regarding the mayor’s actual display of vile and idiotic behavior.

The City’s own independent budget analyst explained how the fiscal reality of the deeply flawed and poorly designed “Jacobs Plan” was as backward as the plan itself. In a monumental failure of fiscal responsibility, the council ignored the report as cavalierly as they dismissed the tens of thousands of citizen voices.

The project’s main goal – to bring more automobiles and paid parking into the people’s park and place the real cost of construction and long-term maintenance on the citizens’ dime – was approved.

This backward thinking in a time when we expect more signs of intelligent life and vision from our elected officials cannot be rationally explained. No thought was given to what design or plan would allow the park to move graciously, naturally, and elegantly toward the future. Instead, City Council was given a red herring that they eagerly gobbled up to give the appearance of doing something noble, and that they must do this in time for the 2015 celebration.

In actuality, the 2015 timeline was merely a pretense manufactured by the developers, contractors and the pay-parking industry, to secure allegiance with the mayor, council and project proponents, to reach their goal of opening the park to privatization and development.

To replace the internationally-renown, iconic viewscape of the Cabrillo Bridge and park entry ¬– this image of great beauty, culture, and historic significance – with one of ugliness and destruction, portrays San Diego forever as having a total disregard for arts and culture. This plan diminishes the standing of the community’s architecture, design, and arts, with the approval of an immature design lacking any vision for sustainability or for the future.

Because our city leaders have let us down so egregiously and because they acted unlawfully in doing so, the courts remain the best and only option to save Balboa Park, the People’s Park, from being ravaged. You still have the ability to make a difference – your voice can still be heard through SOHO. Donations for the legal fund are needed now. Help SOHO save Balboa Park. Visit us at SOHOsandiego.org.

–– Alana Coons, Education and Communications Director
Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO)

One Comments

  1. The decision by Dr. Jacobs, Mayor Sanders, the City Council, and the Plaza de Panama Committee established by Dr. Jacobs and Mayor Sanders to bulldoze their way past public input to create a thoroughfare for private automobiles through a public Balboa Park reflects the lack of forward thinking that purchased San Diego’s Electric Railway (Trolley) Lines in the mid-1940’s and shut them down in favor of automobiles and bus transit. That decision has helped clog our roads, created urban spread, created environmental pollution, supported a disposable mentality economy, and established challenges that require new thinking and acts to overcome.
    The ideas that I’ve proposed at SanDiego2015.com toward establishing Balboa Park as a Sustainability Showcase reflect some possibilities that could be implemented by 2015 with little or no cost to the City’s taxpayers and future visitors to Balboa Park. The technologies that could be put into place already exist. Removing private automobiles from Balboa Park, improving access throughout the Park, and bringing hydrogen fuel cell buses made in California to San Diego that support the infrastructure linking our communities together are all actions that could be accomplished through cooperation.
    San Diego, as a City and as a Region, needs to be more than what the City Council’s actions and Mayor Sanders’ actions and remarks show it to be to the world.
    In 1915 the leaders and people of San Diego were able to bring together an economic outreach plan that focused the World’s eyes – despite World War I breaking out in 1914.
    In 2015 San Diego, as a region, has the opportunity to focus the world’s eyes on it as a leader in bringing arts, culture, education, scientific leadership, and perhaps even peace talks to the region.
    Right now the City plans to remove parking from Lower Inspiration Point, Park Blvd./Presidents Way, and the Palisades while doubling Balboa Park visitors (to 20 million) for a 2015 Balboa Park Celebration.
    If the supporters of the Jacobs/Sanders Plan believe that they are improving Balboa Park as an attraction by building a new road, a bridge, and a parking garage – they must be high on the power of money. The project does nothing to solve the challenges facing the Public’s enjoyment of its Park.

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