No surprise District Three Council member Todd Gloria voted in favor of the devastating developer-backed Jacobs Balboa Park plan. Especially after he blocked me and other concerned D Three constituents from posting anything at all on his Council Facebook page prior to the hearing because we had expressed concerns about the Jacob's plan and the loss of Balboa Park's National Landmark status. I knew the fix was in.

He pretended to listen and take notes during the 8 HOURS of public testimony, but let's be honest Todd has known since day one how he would vote on this giveaway. Todd can't seem to understand that he was elected to represent the PEOPLE of District Three not just ACE parking and the developers and private interests that want to make money off of District Three.

It was encouraging to see the hundreds of citizens that showed up. People came from all over San Diego to save the historic park. We packed the chambers and three overflow rooms and people were turned away due to occupancy problems. (You would have thought the City would have anticipated that and planned a bigger venue). So some citizens did not have a chance to be heard.

In fact when we got there 20 minutes late we were told to leave because they were at maximum capacity. Obviously that outraged citizens that had taken time off work to get down to the historic hearing. In fact security even said "you should have been here earlier if you wanted to get in." That statement only outraged the remaining crowd even more since they had rushed there after work.

So security quickly swept in and tried to usher us across the civic center to watch the hearing on a TV screen in a totally different building. They said "don't worry you'll still get to see it." I responded "but we need them to see US." "Do they get to see US?" They were silent. I felt that exchange was so symbolic of this entire issue. All that matters is that we can see THEM making the decision--likely a decision that had already been made. They don't need to see US, the people that took a day off work and the people that drove in from all over San Diego to be there to show support to oppose the plan.

I and my friend refused to go to the other building and insisted we would wait until people left so we could get in.

Those in opposition to this plan FAR outnumbered those in favor at least 10 to 1. And all those FOR the plan were coincidentally developers or members of a special "committee" that had private meetings with Jacobs. It was downright disturbing to see how many developer CEOs were so interested in seeing this plan passed. Actually interested is an understatement. They were adamant it be passed and insisted anyone against it was a spoiled brat and should be ashamed of themselves for treating billionaire benefactor Jacobs this way.

In fact insult after insult was hurled at people who opposed the Jacob's gift. Speakers referred to us as lunatics, selfish, ungrateful (since obviously we didn't have the money to fix the park), uneducated, entitled (ironically) and on and on. And SOHO was really targeted as enemy number one. In fact to listen to the supporters you would have thought it was only a handful of SOHO nut-jobs that didn't want this. That was in direct conflict with the sheer number of people present. This opposition was much bigger than SOHO.

Previous City Attorney Mike Aguirre stole the show by turning around at the podium, directing his statements directly at Jacobs rather than Council insisting since Jacobs was the decision maker he'd skip the middle-men (Council) and talk directly to him. Council reprimanded Aguirre demanding he address them as the decision-makers, but Aguirre insisted he was "addressing them since billionaire Jacobs was telling them what to do and was Council."

Save Our Heritage did an absolutely outstanding job of presenting the concerns and implications of this. In fact they have spearheaded the enormous effort of educating the public and the city about the damage this plan will have. I highly recommend donating to SOHO they are going to need money to hire an attorney now. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude!

City boards and commissions that oversee Balboa Park and its historic resources agreed with SOHO and voted NO on this bad project due to the irreparable irreversible damage it would do to the historic Cabrillo Bridge weeks earlier. The Park and Recreation Board also voted against the plan, as did the House of Pacific Relations choosing instead the alternate Lewis Plan.

Both the National Parks Service and the State Historic Preservation Officer, M. Wayne Donaldson, warned the City not to vote for this (as a result billionaire Jacobs had Donaldson fired) citing the proposal could threaten the National Historic Landmark District status. In my opinion this is the true goal of this plan since a National Historic Landmark District is a big obstacle to developers and other key interests that could financially exploit the 1400 acres of park land for financial gain.

Master architect William Lewis presented a stellar alternative that would cost $5 million to $10 million less and would not compromise the historic integrity of the park in any way. The fact that proponents of the plan will not even consider this superior alternative is confounding to say the least.

Truly heart-breaking but not surprising: this is clear evidence that our leaders do not care about the desires of the citizens they were elected to represent. And Todd Gloria was one of the 6 that voted for this atrocious plan that will likely destroy the National Landmark status of the park.

"I believe the benefits of the project, including removal of all cars from the heart of the park for greater pedestrian safety and access, reclaiming more than six acres of parkland for the exclusive use of the people, increasing the amount of parking in the park and reducing the number of vehicle-pedestrian conflicts and the potential for accidents, outweigh its costs," Gloria said. The statement reflects Todd's utter contempt for his constituents and his dishonesty since opponents NEVER opposed removing vehicular traffic.

As usual the mayor sat up front totally smug. You could see there was not an ounce of concern on his face. In fact he could barely contain his grin. He knew this was the finish line. The city had done all the tedious "due diligence", posturing and pretending to care about getting input from the citizens that he hates so much and now they could get down to business.

So it's official San Diego has been sold to developers and special interests using Jacobs and his "gift" of a few mill (which is just a shell game -- not a gift at all--more like an investment that will pay off big time for him and his friends). This is a historic day for San Diego, the day your Council gave Balboa Park to private interests and the day citizens lost the ability to enjoy their park for free forever.

If you can please donate to SOHO. They need money for lawyers to sue to save Balboa park from privatization and potential development due to this ILLEGAL plan!! http://sohosandiego.org/main/giving.htm

Also if you want to stay up on the conversation about the Park with other concerned citizens go to the Plaza de Panama Facebook page here.

Please see other District Three citizens that are expressing strong opposition to this plan.

Blogger and D Three resident Jimmy Sullivan refers to the project as a Trojan Horse in his blog.

Jimmy points to the fact that Jacobs spent over a $100k lobbying 8 City Council members to vote on this project, and used his influence with the Lt. Governor to threaten the job of the State Historic Preservation Officer (who was recently fired) because he disagreed with the destructive project.

Comments

DavidnPB July 10, 2012 @ 7:53 a.m.

PAID Parking for Balboa Park for the first time in 97 years.

NO ONE will use the Paid Parking Garage so long as there is one empty, free parking space remaining. People are that way. So the revenues "projected" by City Staff to pay the construction bonds will never materialize.

Look to the City - Owned garage in North Park at the Birch Theatre. That garage is surrounded by free on-street parking. The same idiots made the same silly projections for this White Elephant. The revenues can't pay for the bond debt, or the operations and maintanence costs. Same thing will happen in the Park.

So the ONLY cure for this totally predictable economic behavior will be the immediate imposition of uniformly priced PAID parking for every space in both the Park and the Zoo. A Minimum of $5.00, and probably more like $5.00 an hour. More on "Free" Tuesdays and special Events, like Winter Nights.

So Seniors and young families will be priced out of the Park. The many Volunteers at the Museums and ZOO will be priced out of volunteering.

And then there is the destruction of the Cabrillo Bridge by the addition of the ugly By Pass bridge...

Write your Councilperson and urge them to reconsider this Park Tax immediately!

Todd Gloria failed to defend the Park in his District. He showed he is willing to do anything if someone else pays the bill. He will NOT appear in the next round of the "Profiles in Courage" awards at Harvard.

He should be ashamed of his performance today.

Recall Petitions anyone ?

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neighbors4hillcrest July 16, 2012 @ 10:41 a.m.

Balboa Park, Bus routes as well as Noise Pollution (from nightclub's amplifier aimed at residential zone) are only some of the issues. We have tried in numerous times both by email as well as meeting in person to bring sense to Todd's lopsided policies. He smiles and ignores.

<p>neighbors4hillcrest@gmail.com>
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sjagitator July 10, 2012 @ 8:26 a.m.

This city is a cess pool of corruption. The developers and the navy own us and citizen input is a ruse. Remember Liberty station? Public land handed over to Corky McMillan to make millions of dollars in profit... There are so many instances where the wealthy have made the decisions they are too numerous to count. They are on the path to doing the same at the port. They don't want to be bothered by a vision from the people which given our community diversity and spirit could create one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in the world. Instead more malls, parking lots & starbucks for us. Notice the restaurant association was one of the active players on this? Not because they care about the city but because they are looking for one more way to make a buck off of us. We are not citizens but consumers. We are modern day serfs - the definition according to webster: "a laborer bound under the feudal system to work on his lord's estate".

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SurfPuppy619 July 13, 2012 @ 8:09 p.m.

Good comment-Mcmillian bougth the politicians, and look had bad liberty station turned out...where is the park?????

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eastlaker July 14, 2012 @ 12:21 p.m.

The parade ground is still there--but I agree, overall the impression it leaves is of a rather weak effort. And extremely corrupt, with housing ending up in the hands of the friends of McMillan...great example for all of us to remember.

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neighbors4hillcrest July 16, 2012 @ 10:45 a.m.

Todd Gloria pretends to care about Hillcrest business but allocates funds to further not all businesses but the Alcohol lobby.

<p>neighbors4hillcrest@gmail.com>
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cmsmuse July 10, 2012 @ 4:45 p.m.

Back in the early 70’s, my friends and I would pile in a car after classes at Monte Vista High School to go to Balboa Park. We would stroll about the grounds and sometimes sit and talk in the nice, quiet Alcazar Gardens. It was a time when the park was available to everyone. The park belonged to the people of San Diego. No more. High school students won’t spend $5.00 to go to the park for a few hours. And what about senior citizens who like to spend a couple of weekdays sitting by the reflecting pond? Do they have the extra cash? Sure, we could park at the zoo where parking is free, but I’m sure they’ll start charging for parking once everyone parks there instead of at the new parking structure. And what if I just want to buy a piece of Art at Spanish Village? Another five dollar bill gone? Furthermore, the ramp behind Alcazar is hideous. Forget about enjoying the tranquility of this beautiful Garden. Why don’t they just close down the bridge and have everyone enter off of Park Blvd? Jamming this project down our throats with no other option is just unconscionable and Un-American.

I guess I have to change my Ode to Alcazar Garden to include the traffic noise and Godawful ramp/thoroughfare:

Alcazar Garden (Balboa Park)

I met you in a courtyard amidst brilliantly flowered pergolas romancing water fountains wildly splashing flashing like diamonds with the sun’s torch setting Moorish tiles of yellow, green and turquoise blue on fire intoxicating stained glass skies to shine kaleidoscope blazes upon eurythmics of eucalyptus arousing harmonic bell towers to sing impassioned canciones de amor to the beauty of Alcazar and our new love story

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historymatters July 10, 2012 @ 5:15 p.m.

@Dave I think that is part of the plan. They intend to use this "opportunity" to bankrupt the park and force us into devastating public private partnerships.

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eastlaker July 12, 2012 @ 10:46 a.m.

Maybe this is not the same thing, but in San Francisco, they ran out of land for "projects" so were able to commandeer a stable housing area south of San Francisco State which was well-loved and taken care of. Many were long-term rental units, town houses, which although were approx. 50 years old, were well-designed and kept up.

They are to be torn down and replaced with high-density units--and the decision-makers were obviously not the people living there.

This is very dangerous. The maws of the greedy open ever wider.

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SurfPuppy619 July 13, 2012 @ 8:08 p.m.

I remember those units eastlaker!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Whn were they razed????

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eastlaker July 14, 2012 @ 12:12 p.m.

I'm not sure of the status of the project, just know that the city gave the developers the go-ahead to evict and bulldoze--I think maybe 6 mos. ago. When I was working on my MA at SFSU a while back, I remember thinking how nice those units looked, great color scheme, nice green areas, touches of classical design that together created a tranquil and very pleasant atmosphere. I was shocked to learn they will be replaced by highrise units.

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eastlaker July 14, 2012 @ 12:48 p.m.

I am going to try and post a link about this. As I said, I do not know what the status is at the moment.

www.baycitizen.org/development/story/parkmerced-plans-approved-tenants-sue/#comments

By the way, maybe we can combine efforts with some of the Bay Citizen people on some of the legislative issues.

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eastlaker July 14, 2012 @ 12:57 p.m.

And by the way, the old color scheme seemed much more upbeat. The new color scheme is drab by comparison, a bad choice imo.

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historymatters July 13, 2012 @ 6:55 p.m.

eastlaker.... great comment. Actually the land Im referring to in SF Candlestick park is totally undeveloped. Both are egregious. Dont people see they obviously dont care about people or they just make use of existing housing. But they get $ to tear it down and to build from scratch so we pay 5 times as much as we need to for the same thing. These affordable housing developers have taken over the state govt in a big way and we better wake up fast.

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historymatters July 13, 2012 @ 7:01 p.m.

The fact is there is absolutely no demand for new housing to be built so they have to use the affordable housing argument so they can get govt contracts to build housing we dont need. No one is more in bed w/ these afford housing developers than Todd Gloria and Toni Atkins. there is a reason so many affordable housing developrs testified at Mondays mtg demanding this project go thru. These guys run the state and the city and pay off politicians using Delaware llcs which are legal forms of bribery. Todd is being paid off no doubt about it.

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SurfPuppy619 July 13, 2012 @ 8:07 p.m.

Reminds me of the commercial downturn from 89-94, we were selling apartment complexes as low as $5K per unit, with the average unit at $12K per unit, and then rehab costs of $5-$10K, with a total cost of still less than $25K per unit, and the gov was building "affordable" housing units at $150K per unit.........

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historymatters July 14, 2012 @ 12:11 a.m.

precisely surfpup!!! We dont need to build ANY affordable housing!!! If anything give people vouchers!!! We have to get these guys out of govt!!! and in regards to McMillin...they were one of the big heavy weights demanding this project. I talked to Aguirre afterwards and he agreed w/ me that there is definitely much more going on here. There are way too many housing developers demanding this.

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historymatters July 13, 2012 @ 7:02 p.m.

there are also some really scary bills in the state now like SB1156 which would really destroy CEQA once and for all. So please contact your reps and oppose this disastrous plan. CEQA is the ONLY thing protecting us from developers!

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atpjunkie July 15, 2012 @ 9:58 a.m.

and let me predict when this garage does get done, @ some point the city will paint the curbs along Park Blvd and 6th Street red to force people into this white elephant

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