The acronym for Greater Golden Hill Maintenance Assessment District, MAD, could be used as a lesson in irony. The monthly meeting, inside the Balboa Park Clubhouse on June 16th, was yet again full of wild disorder and anger from both the MAD board and frustrated residents in attendance.
MAD members say they are an Oversight Committee; elected to oversee the functions of the CDC, as was originally promised to Greater Golden Hill's voters. Some on the committee claim to have been silenced by, in the words of a community resident, the "unyielding dictatorship" the CDC has assumed. Critics point to the CDC's hiring of a project manager without the MAD board's input as an example.
"The CDC is marginalizing the role of the committee, so that they can control the money," says John Kroll, MAD board member, "for example budgeting $1000 a month for an additional office for a new staff member. This is a classic example of empire building and is a battle for control of the neighborhood. Is the neighborhood controlled by the CDC, an unelected private-public group with close ties to the city's development arm? Or is it under the control of an elected group of neighborhood residents?"
The two opposing views have forced the city to get involved. Deputy director for San Diego's economic development division, Scott Kessler, spoke to board members in an attempt to clarify the role of the MAD board, though only seemed to worsen matters by referring to the committee as an advisory body to the CDC.
"You mean Oversight Committee right?" Said one board member.
"Advisory and Oversight mean the same thing to us," responded Kessler.
Many in the community believe this is further evidence that both the city and the CDC only wish to limit the role of the MAD board. "The CDC was intended to have a limited role as the conduit through which money was channeled. Now the city wants the committee (MAD) to be no more than "advisory" and subject to decisions made by the CDC," says Kroll.
After nearly 45 minutes of addressing the board's questions, with little resolution, Kessler was interrupted and the meeting was adjourned. No other items on the agenda for Greater Golden Hill's Maintenance Assessment District were discussed.