Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
City Council Votes to Level Plaza de Panama, Plans "Parking Structure That is Actually Designed to Last."
Councilman Gloria: "As we plan for the future, we must not forget to honor our past."
Mostly cardboard and paste.
HOPING THAT COUNCIL CHAMBERS ARE FIREPROOF/MOB-PROOF, DOWNTOWN — "Really, it was inevitable," says Councilman Todd Gloria of the City Council's controversial decision to demolish the structures built along Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama and replace them with a massive, Spanish-Colonial style parking garage. "Those structures were never meant to last. Master architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, who designed them for the California-Pacific Exposition of 1915-1916, begged the city to tear them down after the event, because he knew they were little more than theater sets. Of course, the city ignored him in favor of patching them up with plaster and chicken wire and staging another Expo in 1935. They saw a chance to wring a few more dollars out of their investment, and they weren't about to pass it up."
Gloria paused to shove a podium up against the Council Chamber doors, hoping to delay the angry mob outside. Then he continued: "But it was only a matter of time. Right now, those pretty cornices and colonnades are little more than a deathtrap, a major lawsuit waiting to happen. They had to come down eventually, and the crisis of downtown parking availability is a perfect occasion for doing the right thing. We solve two problems with one project. That's just good government. And on top of that, we have a chance to honor the wishes of Goodhue, who did so much to promote America's Finest City in its early days."
Gloria then slipped through an escape hatch located below his seat, but not before assuring this reporter that the planned parking garage would be "every bit as lovely as the California Building, except maybe without that churchy-spire thing."