Port Commissioner and candidate for Congress Scott Peters shares news about plans for San Diego Embarcadero, offers warning about UT San Diego stadium proposal for marine terminal.
On March 13th, the OB Planning Board held its annual election to select half of its membership. A new term brought new leadership—and a few new faces—to the Ocean Beach Planning board. After two terms as the board’s chairman, Giovanni Ingolia stepped aside in favor of becoming just a regular board member. Jane Gawronski will take his place as the chairperson.
Landry Watson, a familiar face to both the OB Town Council and the OB Planning Board, will resume his duties of the vice chair, Barbara Schmidtknecht will become the board’s new treasurer, and board newcomer Kelly Taing has accepted the nomination for secretary.
The OB Planning Board consists of 14 members, two from each of the seven districts. There are still four open seats.
Scott Peters Speaks to the Board
Besides the officer elections, the only other major item on the agenda was a presentation by Port Commissioner and candidate for Congress in the 52nd District, Scott Peters (more on Peters’ pitch for Congress in a separate post tomorrow).
As Port Commissioner, Peters had two main items to discuss. The North Embarcadero Visionary Project, 15 years in the works, is finally moving forward. The plan is to make the San Diego by a “world class waterfront” that San Diego can tout in a similar manner as Vancouver and San Francisco. By narrowing Harbor Drive, tearing into the asphalt in front of the cruise ship terminals, and creating new pedestrian walkways and bike lanes. The hope is to transform the area into a place “so that when people come to visit it would be kind of a cool place that you would want to take them to,” Peters said.
That project is expected to be completed sometime in 2013.
Peters also wanted to discuss the stadium project proposed by new UT San Diego owner Doug Manchester. Manchester and the UT San Diego has proposed taking over the 10th Ave. Marine Terminal just to the south of the San Diego Convention Center and turning it into a waterfront stadium for the Chargers, Aztecs and numerous other events as a part of a much grander convention center expansion project. Such a project would not be in San Diego’s best economic interests. “We don’t want to put (a stadium) on a marine terminal where we’re actually trading goods,” Peters Said.
According to Peters, the economic impact of San Diego’s two marine terminals to the region is $1.9 billion per year. “You can’t do that in El Cajon. You have to have it on the waterfront.” One out of every eight cars that is imported into the U.S. arrives through the National City marine terminal, he said. At the 10th Ave. Marine Terminal, the Port Commission just renewed the contract with Dole Bananas. “Any banana you eat on the West Coast that says ‘Dole’ on it comes from San Diego, and that puts San Diegans to work.”
Peters also noted that much of the materials to build wind turbines that get transported to the Midwest also come through San Diego. “Either the current Qualcomm site or the bus yard adjacent to Petco Park would be fine places for a stadium, but not on the marine terminal,” he said.
“The plans put forward by Mr. Manchester and the newspaper are kind of inconsistent with our economic wellbeing.”