It’s D-Day for Balboa Park as the San Diego City Council Votes on Parking Garage

by on July 9, 2012 · 1 comment

in Culture, Environment, History, Organizing, San Diego

Today’s the Day…. The San Diego City Council will vote this afternoon at 2pm on the Irwin Jacobs sponsored proposal to building a by-pass roadway coming off the Cabrillo Bridge and a fee based parking garage. Should the anticipated revenues from the parking structure fall short of expectations, city taxpayers will be expected to pony up for day-to-day operating costs and payments for bonds used to finance the deal. As part of its on-going campaign to support the use of taxpayer dollars for big and shiny structures that pump up the egos of our City’s mega-rich, the local daily paper has endorsed the plan, with editorial page editor William Osborne tweeting “A big opportunity that won’t come again. Don’t let it slip by, San Diego.”

There are plenty of people opposed to the Balboa Park plan, despite its promise to remove traffic congestion from Plaza de Panama. Congressman/Mayoral candidate Bob Filner has promised to speak out against the plan at today’s hearings. A protest outside City Hall is scheduled for noon and preservationist groups are urging people to attend the hearing and speak out against the proposal. Additionally there is a petition against the plan circulating that you can sign here. Additional coverage in the San Diego Free Press can be found here.

For the remainder of this article, please go to San Diego Free Press.

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Joanne Tawfilis July 10, 2012 at 8:29 am

I sat through the entire process yesterday and came away totally disappointed that the City Council voted in favor of a Parking Lot despite the legitimate and truly heartfealt passions from people who didn’t have deep pockets, but deep feelings and knowledge about the law and more importantly the rich diversity, culture and HISTORY of San Diego.
As a long time resident of San Diego, I haven’t seen statistics about the incidents and accidents caused by cars and pedestrians in the plaza, and none were presented yesterday either.
This issue was purely about money as lines of pro speakers whose organizations are fed by large endowments “testified” to their “belief” that paving paradise with a huge parking lot and accepting such a huge “donation” was more important for the future of San Diego residents and potential tourists and that having the ONLY public park in the US with a paid parking lot is more important. Why do historians always have to fight for preservation? If the Jacobs plan called for matching the historical architecture, that might help us accept the plan more, but someone described it well by comparing it to Disney’s “Tomorrow Land” with the monorail.
I tried in the one minute I had (since no one ever answered by letters/requests to meet with or speak), to tell them that the Centenniel Celebration was the opportune time for the CITY to apply for World Heritage Inscription and as a member of the US National Commission to UNESCO, that I would help. By the time I got the “one minute” to speak, I doubt if even one of the City Council members even heard what I said. Bob Filner is the ONLY one that I have been able to speak with and understood this. Changing this National Landmark with a 3 story garage, walls, and a bypass that will close the Cabrillo Bridge is not a sham…it’s a shame. Adding an insignificant number of parking spaces, where other locations (alternatives) were suggested really was upsetting to many, especially at the cost and construction mess it will cause to the environment.
Save Our Heritage, League of Women Voters and others offered “alternatives” that weren’t even looked at and it seemed even Dr. Jacobs only referred to the Precise and Lewis Plans in his rebuttal and while defending his plan when questioned. Although I feel Dr. Jacobs is an honorable philanthropist and GIANT donor to San Diego’s city-wide improvements, I think sacrificing the historical landscape for another taxpayer expense (bond of $14 million?), for a couple of hundred parking spaces in the park does not make sense and will not make the dollars the City officials think it will.
More importantly, watching the City Council who seemed to simply “entertain the public voices” by sitting on their perches, knowing full well they would vote for the money, was an insult and once the first Councilmember opened his mouth to support the Jacobs plan at about 830 pm, I knew how the rest of the story was going to end and left. So, as the song went, so will this “plan” “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”….unless of course, San Diegans stay the course. Without deep pockets and high priced lawyers and consultants, I feel normal citizens and historians outcrys will continue to fall on deaf ears. Let’s hope the future City Administrators will listen to the “people” and not just the institutions, organizations and individuals who would not dare to bite the hand that feeds them.


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