Vincent Farnsworth 6:31 p.m., Dec. 4
Todd Gloria sells his soul and the city of SD to the Devil and votes for Jacob's devastating plan
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
Please see other District Three citizens that are expressing strong opposition to this plan.
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.