The mission of fostering a "spirit of understanding, tolerance, and goodwill" has hit a snag.
  • The mission of fostering a "spirit of understanding, tolerance, and goodwill" has hit a snag.
  • from houseoflebanon.org
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The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages in Balboa Park says it is a "near utopian multicultural organization" that was launched in the 1930s "to create a spirit of understanding, tolerance, and goodwill" among various national and ethnic groups.

The House of Lebanon, a longtime member, says it isn't so. For many years, several members of the House of Pacific Relations have sought to build additional cottages. They include the House of Lebanon, House of Mexico, House of India, and several others. In November, House of Lebanon filed a suit in superior court claiming that New International Cottages, an affiliate of the House of Pacific Relations, was refusing to recognize the House of Lebanon's interest in the project.

In December, the City of San Diego, one of the defendants, denied every claim by the House of Lebanon.

On February 7, House of Lebanon stepped up the action: it claimed it is a victim of discrimination — a bombshell for the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, which boasts of its educational mission of promoting understanding among nations and cultures. Since this involved federal laws, the case was moved to federal court.

The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages "demonstrated their animus and discriminations toward House of Lebanon," said the suit. The alleged discrimination was "due to the Lebanese national origin of the members of the House of Lebanon," said the suit, specifically citing that its president, Camil Saab, was a victim.

Camil Saab

from YouTube video

I could not reach Saab, but got to Douglas Jaffe, lawyer for the House of Lebanon. The House of Pacific Relations International Cottages and the groups wanting to build more cottages "want to put a different house in there — not these Lebanese people," says Jaffe. "They wouldn't even shake their hands, and told them they didn't want them part of the project."

I asked Jaffe if this alleged discrimination was a result of the sectarian strife in Lebanon. He said it was "anti-Lebanon prejudice." He would not specifically say this is anti-Muslim prejudice, perhaps because House of Turkey is one of the defendants. (Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim.)

I could not reach the attorney for the House of Pacific Relations. Mel Weekley, chair of the Hall of Nations, said that, on the advice of counsel, there would be no comment by the defendants.

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Comments

Don Bauder Feb. 13, 2017 @ 6:34 p.m.

CAMIL SAAB SAYS HE DOESN'T KNOW SOURCE OF THE ALLEGED PREJUDICE AGAINST HIM. I finally reached Camil Saab, and asked him why the House of Lebanon believes that the other houses single out him as a problem. It could be his religious affiliations or his background, he says. He wondered if the House of Palestine may be involved in the alleged animus, but he had no specific information on that possibility.

He said the House of Lebanon has not paid $219,000 requested by the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, but other houses have not paid what they owe, either. Best, Don Bauder

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swell Feb. 14, 2017 @ 9:02 a.m.

Is there a Lebanese community in San Diego?

Offhand I can think of a few substantial local communities that are NOT represented in the Park- Vietnam, Somalia, umm, help me out here that's all I can think of.

And some who ARE represented have little or no presence in San Diego: France, Denmark, Scotland… I don't recall ever meeting a person from France in San Diego; not a resident nor even a visitor.

No African country is represented. How do we determine fairness in these decisions? Should other minorities be considered for representation: religious, sexual preference, handicapped, aboriginal, and what about me- left handed?

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Don Bauder Feb. 14, 2017 @ 10:25 a.m.

swell: Some young German female tourists were staying at a local hotel. They jumped into the swimming pool bra-less, as it their custom at home. They were told to buy a swim suit with a bra and wear it. Best, Don Bauder

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swell Feb. 14, 2017 @ 9:22 p.m.

Don: you forgot to mention the name of the hotel!

I met a topless Euro gal sunning herself at OB once. An enthusiastic crowd had gathered and I mentioned to her that, while she looked great, she may not have realized how distracting she was.

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2017 @ 9:21 a.m.

swell: That's because I don't remember the name of the hotel, or perhaps I never knew it. Just heard the story from reliables source. Best, Don Bauder

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AlexClarke Feb. 15, 2017 @ 6:20 a.m.

Gee, these folks in these "cottages" can't get along so just what are they promoting?

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Don Bauder Feb. 15, 2017 @ 9:22 a.m.

AlexClarke: Are you expecting a war among the cottages? I doubt it. Best, Don Bauder

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