Eva Knott 2:42 p.m., May 21
Todd Gloria still ready to move forward on Plaza de Panama Project
Council President asks City Attorney for guidance on how to get the ball rolling on the project.
Opponents of the Plaza de Panama Project should have known it would take more than a decision from a Superior Court Judge to keep it from coming back.
Today, council president Todd Gloria sent a memo to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith looking for guidance on ways to resurrect the project.
Reads Gloria's memo:
I understand that your office has analyzed Judge Taylor's ruling and the Municipal Code and can now recommend a path by which the city council could, if it chose, overcome the legal roadblock that Judge Taylor identified so that the Plaza de Panama Project could proceed forward.
I understand that the timeline for enactment on this legislative solution is relatively short and that, if it found support with my colleagues on the City Council, could result in project completion in time for the 2015 Centennial Celebration in Balboa Park.
And if the council and City wasn't able to get the project rolling in time for the 2015 party? No matter. Gloria says the project is still worth pursuing.
I continue to support the Plaza de Panama Project as approved by the City Council, and am firmly convinced, as Judge Taylor was, that its benefits far outweighs its impacts, even in regard to protecting the park's historical resources. I am also firmly convinced that the City needs to fix the problem with its Municipal Code, as identified by Judge Taylor, or it may never be able to remove parking and traffic from the Plaza.
The memo comes less than a week after the project's main proponent and financial backer, Irwin Jacobs, waved the white flag, saying he would no longer pursue the project as presented.
Of course, not everyone was pleased with Gloria's allegiance to the plan. Shortly after the memo was posted, Bruce Coons of Save Our Heritage Organization fired back with a letter of his own.
Please take a moment to express your displeasure over Councilman Gloria's attempt to end run the system and the law.
The proposed Centennial Bridge would cause significant impacts to the Balboa Park National Historic Landmark District and was opposed by thousands of San Diegans, as well as the National Park Service, the California Office of Historic Preservation, the City's own Historical Resources Board, 5 planning boards, the City's own Park and Recreation board, numerous community and historical organizations and institutions, and SOHO. The Court has now approved a writ that will compel the City to comply with its own historic preservation ordinance. We would strongly oppose any effort by the City Attorney or any members of the City Council to now attempt to pass any amendment to the existing historic preservation ordinance. The ordinance provides important protections to the City's historic resources, and no such resource is more important than Balboa Park. Such an attempt to "move the goal posts" after the case is finished and the Court has made its Order is wrong. Dr. Jacobs has said his plan is dead. We respect his decision and ask the City Council and City Attorney to do the same. The existing ordinance was the result of a detailed, public, and well-considered process some years ago that requires alterations to valued historic properties to follow well-established rules that protect them.