Susan Luzzaro 4:30 p.m., Dec. 11
Balboa Park shuts down main part of park to the public for private philanthropist Gala
It seems ironic that days after the City voted to hand Balboa Park over to private interests, philanthropists held a big private Gala and shut the park off to the public. The main fountain at the park was shut off to the public surrounded by private security. The event may not have been a specific celebration for the Plaza de Panama decision, but it certainly poured salt in the wounds of the public by shutting down the main fountain area of the park and showed them what a privately run park may look like.
The Gala was held on Saturday July 14. It started at 6:00pm but it appears from witnesses that the fountain area was closed off earlier and surrounded by security guards to keep "the people" who own the park away.
Now that the park is officially under the control of alleged philanthropists does the public have any say whatsoever in what happens to "their" park? Will these private parties and Galas be much more frequent? How much access will the people have to the park they own? It doesn't appear that the public has the same power to just "rent" the park for a Gala. And certainly would never be able to section such a large area off.
Some concerned citizens snapped some photos of the security surrounding the fountain. The photos seem ominous in light of last Monday's decision. What do you think?
Please join the citizens concerned about the implications of the Plaza de Panama plan on their Facebook page here.link text If you care about losing the public park forever please consider making a donation to SOHO who has announced they will proceed with legal action to block this giant giveaway.link text