Jeff Smith 2:55 p.m., July 25
Bob Filner changes position on Balboa Park Plan, tells Voice of San Diego he will support Council's decision
For opponents of Irwin Jacob's Balboa Park makeover plan, the news came as a bombshell.
Democratic Congressman Bob Filner, who they were counting on to lead the loyal opposition to the Jacobs parking and road project, had just changed his mind and will henceforth no longer oppose the project.
He didn't tell them first, instead announcing his flip-flop late Wednesday afternoon to the Voice of San Diego.
"It is not the plan I would have proposed, but it has now been adopted by the City Council," the Voice quoted Filner as saying. "Part of my job as Mayor will be to implement the policies adopted by the City Council, and I will do that."
The Voice orginally headlined its exclusive "Filner Flips, Backs Balboa Park Remodel," but then late on Thursday changed the title to "Filner No Longer Opposes Balboa Park Remodel."
A note at the bottom of the item was also inserted: "Update: Our original headline and intro emphasized that Filner had flipped or reversed on Balboa Park.
"After some reflection, we decided that wasn’t the best way to characterize his statement. So we've updated the headline and intro and fourth paragraph."
As is usual for news in the Voice involving Jacobs, the item was capped with a sentence saying "Disclosure: Irwin Jacobs is a major supporter of Voice of San Diego"
Are Filner and Jacobs about to become a political item?
The campaign cash and influence of the La Jolla billionaire and Qualcomm founder--who is also a major donor to San Diego State University's public broadcasting operation, where the newsroom is named after him--would be coveted by many if not most political hopefuls.
And eyebrows were raised all over town after Republican consultant Tom Shepard, who had been working for GOP Assemblyman turned independent Nathan Fletcher, backed by Jacobs's son Paul and a host of high-powered Qualcomm executives, recently announced he was now advising Filner.
In an interview yesterday, Filner spokesperson Lena Lewis denied there was anything like a conspiracy afoot, and said that neither of the two Jacobs "has endorsed, nor do we have any expectation they will."
Asked for comment this morning, Bruce Coons, president of Save Our Heritage Organisation, the group leading a lawsuit against the Balboa Park makeover, said they will continue to fight the project but would not comment further.
Word on the street is that Filner plans to issue a statement later today clarifying his comments.
*Update: Representative Filner responded with the following statement on the Plaza de Panama project: "It is not the plan I would have proposed, I opposed it, but it has now been adopted by the City Council. Part of my job as Mayor will be to implement the policies adopted by the City Council and, if the plan is not blocked by the Court, I will do that. It is now in the Court. As the Mayor, I must abide by the Court’s decision."
Matt Potter also contributed to this story
More like this:
- Filner's accusers and their interesting connection to KPBS and the Port Commission — Aug. 8, 2013
- In cross-appeal, Save Our Heritage Organisation rehashes fight over plan to remove traffic from Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama — June 3, 2013
- City Attorney finds a way to bypass court ruling against Plaza de Panama Project — April 4, 2013
- Jacobs says he is bowing out of Balboa Park makeover — Feb. 5, 2013
- As the world turns: Earth Day Fair to be held inside Balboa Park — Feb. 5, 2013