Editor: The day’s big scandal is the felony vandalism at the Lily Pond in Balboa Park caused by a midnight water gun fight. Doug Porter – over at San Diego Free Press – covered it – but below is a further development into the investigation of the caper.
By Thom Senzee / LGBT Weekly / August 13, 2012
Neither officials at District 5 City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s council offices, nor at his campaign headquarters are commenting on the fact that DeMaio’s life partner’s media company helped publicize a midnight water-gun battle that became a crime scene in Balboa Park.
“I have no comment on that,” said DeMaio spokesman, Jeff Powell, speaking by phone from the councilman’s offices at City Hall. Similarly, hours after a voicemail was left at the councilman’s mayoral campaign headquarters regarding the issue, the campaign had offered no response.
Costs for restoring damage done at the storied koi pond in Balboa Park after a weekend melee that included water-gun fights, invasion of the koi fish’s habitat by more than 500 intruding pairs of trampling (human) feet, and damaged municipal equipment has been estimated at $10,000.
An announcement on the Web site of San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN.com) promoted attendance of what calendar columnist Jim Winsor, termed “a very unique and unusual event.” Winsor gave former SDGLN.com contributor, “Ken St. Pierre and others” credit for organizing the midnight water-gun fight in Balboa Park.
Following is the text of the announcement, which includes a link to what appears to be a now-deactivated Facebook events page:
And this Saturday, we have a very unique and unusual event coming up: A midnight water gun fight in Balboa Park being organized by Ken St. Pierre and others. The idea is to “… meet at the large fountain in front of San Diego Natural History Museum at 11:45 pm (near Park Boulevard). First “squirt” will be at the stroke of midnight and then it is a free-for-all of water gun madness!!!”
The event is BYOWG (bring your own water gun) and pool attire is suggested, as everyone will be getting soaking wet. The fascinating thing is, this event has already generated LOTS of attention; as I write this over 900 people have already indicated themselves as “Going” on Facebook, and organizers are hoping the event will continue to go viral and attract over 1,000 potential attendees. So yeah, this should be interesting!
As of this writing, the above announcement is still visible at SDGLN.com
For his part, SDGLN.com editor, Ken Williams was either unaware of the fact that the event had been announced on the Web site he manages, or doesn’t consider posting times, dates and locations of such events to be the same as promoting them.
“That’s not true,” Williams told San Diego LGBT Weekly when asked to comment on reports that SDGLN.com had promoted the late-night water-gun battle. “Our event is Cityfest. SDGLN had nothing to do with that event.” Williams said he could not speak for SDPix, another Hale Media property, owned by Johnathan Hale. Hale is Councilman Carl DeMaio’s life partner. Hale has not returned LGBT Weekly’s phone calls as of this writing.
According to some news reports, more than one koi fish died from lack of oxygen or water after the invasion. However, City Councilman Todd Gloria, whose district Balboa Park lies in, told LGBT Weekly that no fish deaths have been confirmed. Gloria also told LGBT Weekly that anyone who helped promote the incursion into the koi pond or who helped cause damage to city property should be held accountable.
“Anyone causing damage to public property should be held accountable, no matter who they are or who they know,” said Councilman Todd Gloria.
While some in the local media have quoted San Diego Police Dept. officials as having said Balboa Park closes at 10 p.m., the park’s official city Web site says the park grounds are open 24 hours per day. Councilman Gloria confirmed the open-24-hours policy; however pointing out that large events must have a permit. No permit was requested for the water-gun battle, which police are now calling a crime scene. LGBT Weekly is still awaiting comment from San Diego Police media relations officials.