Only You Can Save Balboa Park!

by on June 14, 2012 · 2 comments

in California, Culture, Environment, History, Organizing, Popular, San Diego

Proposed bypass bridge – a crucial element of the Jacobs’ plan.

The good folks at SOHO – Save Our Heritage Organization – are fighting angry. And for good reason. They are upset that the San Diego Planning Commission approved billionaire Irwin Jacobs’ plans for Balboa Park at its June 7th meeting. SOHO wrote us:

After eight hours of presentations and public testimony on June 7th, with little thoughtful deliberation, the San Diego Planning Commission voted 7-0 to recommend approval of the Plaza de Panama project. Their conduct was one of extreme disappointment as they let down both the public and forfeited their stewardship of Balboa Park in an embarrassing display up one-upmanship of who could thank Dr. Jacobs the most for gracing their presence. This is no exaggeration.

The meeting in its entirety can be viewed at this video link. But for those of you who haven’t the time or inclination, please view the following short clips. These remarks from the Planning Commissioners will give you a good idea of just how endangered Balboa Park is in the hands of decision makers who are unable or unwilling to show real leadership and why your involvement is so crucial.

Chairman Naslund describes the National Historic Landmark District as a “pile of buildings” – VIDEO

Commissioner Griswold explains why anyone with the financial means should be able to “dictate” what happens to Balboa Park – VIDEO

To say that this board abdicated their obligation is an understatement. They took no heed of the votes by two city boards that are part of the permit process: the Park and Recreation and the Historical Resources Board (HRB) to oppose the destructive project and in fact city staff explained away the HRB vote because they were looking only at a narrow scope of historic issues for the National Historic Landmark District.

The final public hearing for the project is July 9. This will be your last chance to voice your opinion to decision makers about the massive, destructive, and inappropriate development project. Your help is imperative.

Take these actions now!

  • Write to City Council (email LINK). We must make an impact on those who are voting on the fate of our park.
  • Sign the petition. This is a new one and each time a person signs it, the council is notified. We are close to 600 signatures now. Let’s make it thousands. Share this with friends! Petition LINK
  • Share this email on your facebook by pasting this LINK on your wall. And forward this email to every person you know who loves Balboa Park as much as you do!
  • Write your local papers with a Letter to the Editor. Help get the word out, the public needs to be heard! Click HERE.
  • Show up at City Council. SAVE THE DATE now to attend: July 9. This may be the most important City Council meeting you will ever attend. Remember, there is only one Balboa Park.
  • For more information, and to learn more – HERE

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Les Birdsall June 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm

If you favor turning Plaza de Panama (in Balboa Park) into a pedestrian only area – – no cars – – then the Irwin Jacobs alternative roadway, and donation, makes sense as does a camouflaged parking garage just south of the Spreckels Amphitheater.

Parking is always a problem in the park and there is limited external parking.

The primary issue here is: should Plaza de Panama be a no-car, pedestrian only area?
That is the issue. Mr. Jacobs involvement is not an issue.


Anna Daniels June 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Les- your analysis is short on the facts. There is broad agreement on eliminating cars at the plaza and returning that space to pedestrian use.
The issue is how to do that. Irwin Jacobs’ involvement is very much an issue. Despite alternative plans to eliminate the cars, the Jacobs’ plan has been hurried through the approval process. The other plans were never given a fair public hearing or vetting, despite significant public support.
Money and political influence is the underlying story here.


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