Mock-up aerial view of Balboa Park project site with subterranean parking garage
  • Mock-up aerial view of Balboa Park project site with subterranean parking garage
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Jacobs’s latest stand

The ultimate tab for taxpayers of the now-aborted secret deal between Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs and Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer to bulldoze a mammoth parking garage into the heart of Balboa Park remains unknown. Jacobs has pledged to someday resume his asphalt onslaught, terminated last week in the wake of soaring construction bids, though he’s never publicly committed to spending his own cash on the project. Few insiders think the controversial makeover will ever regain footing in light of other municipal capital improvement projects — including the mayor’s toilet-to-tap sewage recycling scheme — already over original estimates by billions of dollars per a February 12 report in the Voice of San Diego.

Irwin Jacobs is smiling, despite not getting his Balboa Park parking garage, because he’s still super rich.

Irwin Jacobs is smiling, despite not getting his Balboa Park parking garage, because he’s still super rich.

Whether the city council will ask to review any of the taxpayer-paid development costs of the now defunct project remains to be seen. On the other hand, the 2017 IRS disclosure report by the non-profit group set up by Jacobs to push the undertaking through city hall reveals that $512, 264 was paid to the KCM Group for “construction services,” along with $174,108 to Seltzer, Caplan for legal services, and $100,410 to the Innovative Design Group, also for construction services. The top three tax-exempt income sources were listed as the Legler Benbough Foundation ($507,000); the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego ($254,000); and the San Diego Foundation ($150,000). Besides chairman Jacobs, the non-profit’s board of directors included La Jolla financier Ted Gildred, who died last month at 83, retired Sempra executive Jesse Knight, Jr., and Morgan Dene Oliver, whose behind-the-scenes 2016 machinations with the mayor on behalf of the subsequently failed SoccerCity ballot initiative drew barbs from Faulconer critics.

Los Angeles Times editor Norman Pearlstine admits, “our legacy print business remains in secular decline.”

Los Angeles Times editor Norman Pearlstine admits, “our legacy print business remains in secular decline.”

Secular decline

They’re celebrating in Los Angeles over the latest additions to the staff of the Times, thanks to subsidies by the paper’s current owner, billionaire physician Patrick Soon-Shiong. “We’ve moved quickly to strengthen our daily newsgathering operation and restore many of the signature pieces of journalism that distinguish The Times from other great publications,” wrote executive editor Norman Pearlstine in a February 11 memo to employees heralding another bevy of new high-powered hires, including 1999 Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Read, the paper’s new Seattle correspondent. “Our editorial staff, though still significantly smaller than we were three years ago, has grown by more than 25% since Patrick acquired The Times in June.”

Down in San Diego, the Union-Tribune, also a Soon-Shiong property, continues on a slower track, with the latest announced recruit being a topics editor for the paper’s Accountability & Watchdog Team. “Supervise two investigative reporters, one data specialist, and beat reporters for education, military, government, and politics,” said a help-wanted notice for the spot. The winner: Denise Smith Amos, who as a reporter for the Florida Times-Union got the 2017 Best Beat-reporting Minority Issues prize from the Florida Pro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “My stories resonate with readers,” says Amos on her website. “With resolve, I dig into public documents and databases to help readers understand what it means when education becomes a big business.”

She replaces Ricky Young, an Orange County transplant kicked upstairs to digital editor. How long Amos will have to show her stuff remains a question in light of another theme of Pearlstine’s L.A. Times memo. “We recognize that our legacy print business remains in secular decline, and the recent round of layoffs announced by some of the most prominent digital media companies, suggests that many of the new businesses they — and we — are developing while promising, aren’t yet profitable.”

One recent Times job opening exists in San Diego at glossy Pacific Magazine, per a help-wanted notice on the paper’s website. “The PACIFIC writer covers all facets of the lifestyle and entertainment industry, including food, drink, dating, arts, and culture, music, health and fitness, nightlife, and cannabis. We are looking for someone who has his/her finger on the pulse of what’s going on around San Diego.”

Brian Maienschein

Brian Maienschein

No Jack Kennedy

San Diego’s GOP mayor Faulconer, who some speculate will be the next Republican to turn Democrat following in the footsteps of county supervisor Nathan Fletcher and state Assemblyman Brian Maienschein has been out flogging his pro-immigration message. “This is just one example of the positive impact immigrants can have on our city and nation,” Faulconer writes in an Instagram post hyping his speech before a roomful of green-jacketed men and a priest. “Irish heritage and culture is kept alive through the many gatherings, educational offerings and community contributions led by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.” Last August, the mayor, once considered the GOP’s front-runner for governor, gave a “New California Republicans” speech in San Francisco, touting ties to Mexico and his actions against climate change, which garnered little enthusiasm from his fellow partisans.

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JustWondering Feb. 20, 2019 @ 3:41 p.m.

One thought for San Diego taxpayers. Be AFRAID, be very afraid of the Balboa Park boondoggle being unabashedly portrayed as something good for the citizens of San Diego.

If Mr. Jacobs wants this as his legacy then he can pay for it. It’s chump change to a billionaire. It’s bad enough that taxpayers will be stuck covering the ongoing costs to operate a facility that many don’t want in the first place.

Think about all the money already wasted and not a single spade of earth has turned over. With all of San Diego’s needs in the physical plant operations of the city I’m sure our tax dollars can be spent more wisely elsewhere.


monaghan Feb. 20, 2019 @ 4:54 p.m.

I had to laugh at your "some speculate" that our GOP Mayor Sunny will soon defect to the Democrat Party, following in the footsteps of Nathan Fletcher Gonzalez and Brian Maienschein. I don't think so. But the County Democrats are taking nominations for best-in-show at their upcoming annual Jefferson-Jackson/Franklin and Eleanor/Lorena & Nathan Dinner, so who's to say what the future holds?


AlexClarke Feb. 21, 2019 @ 7:07 a.m.

Agreed. Falconer's political career is over. He and his ilk, hopefully, will fade away.


monaghan Feb. 21, 2019 @ 2:08 p.m.

I saw the Mayor on TV last night, talking to residents of Hillcrest at the restaurant where a shooting occurred last week. It was pathetic and I felt sorry for him. Faulconer inherited the "strong Mayor" form of government, but it has never served him or us politically. Strong mayors have a lot of authority, but they have to be willing to use their power for the public good and to be highly visible in the community. Faulconer has operated behind the scenes, failed in many ventures like the Convention Center expansion and Soccer City, and is virtually absent from the public stage. Maybe it's the Peter Principle at work. I remember when Kevin Faulconer was on City Council and finally voted to ban booze at Mission Beach: it was a tough decision he didn't want to have to make -- lots of booze purveyors in his district loved the status quo -- but he voted to ban (after a Labor Day riot spilled onto the streets) and I admired him for it and was grateful.


Visduh Feb. 21, 2019 @ 8:18 p.m.

Look up "empty suit politician" in the dictionary, and his picture is the illustration. The guy is just a gasbag. Neither he nor Sanders made use of the Strong Mayor concept. But you see, it takes a strong personality to make that work, and neither had one. It might have been interesting to see what Filner could have done; he was taken down before he had any chance to show what he could do. Faulconer goes with the blow of the wind, and it changes direction periodically. Politically he's toast at this time. The logical step up would be to file for one of the vacated county supervisor slots, but he's not going to stand a chance in East County, and he could never sell in the seat now held by Kristin Gaspar. No, Kevin needs to head back to his real profession, public relations, aka spinning, weaving, and making black look like white.


GGibson2 Feb. 23, 2019 @ 8:25 a.m.

Hurray! I am so glad the Balboa Park parking structure idea has failed so far. Part of the charm of meandering throughout the entire park unhindered would have been lost. Gail Gibson.


anonyatCarolinaGildreddotcom March 19, 2019 @ 2:49 p.m.

Tom Gildred - support a Genuine young man i happen to appreciate from NYC. Support directly or be the first to initiate fund:
Trust me, no one should suffer because of a man or woman's personal ego wherein having had to put so much money into a personal bet on another man's sanity. Just ask Thompson Gildred in anyways form or manner. Tom are you still betting that you could you could make your wife's x-lover go insane? The follow up with another question; Are you the "Enlightened Prophet" (that's the social handle from north san diego who have been threatening to put a bullet in the head of Michael Foster if the mental assault campaign to drive his x-wife lover totally nuts did not work. I ask myself one question: you should do that too. If you know Tom Gildred - would you seek $250,000.00 in a lawsuit from a supposed mad man who claims fictitiously in his defense anwers to Gildred v Foster lawsuit 153554/17 NYSC? Unless your in Tom's skin to actually do something to the man out of court? So here's our little secret. Leave Tom Gildred and his Wife (his property) Carolina Gildred to the means of become their own self-inflicted dementia case. Notice the police in NYC & San Diego took their false report of an potential endangerment to their lives - from a broke tango guy from nyc?

Like Eskimos could like in igloos so is Tom Gildred at best could live in himself an honest mad-man. So that's cool just that he stays by himself. (be well).

Thompson Philip Gildred is an entrepreneur who lives in Fairbanks Ranch of Del Mar a nicely settled small city town in North of San Diego California mostly in the 92130 area codes. NAME-SE is everything in Del Mar. The Gildred Family of San Diego are one of those NAME-SE'S.

This fundraiser is about an individual who is forced to stand against and defend himself at the whims of the Name Se's The Gildreds of North San Diego in chief Mr. Thompson Philip Gildred.

The story;

Mr. Gildred is a profound gentleman who knows how to give a first impression especially upon his peers.

I have had the value of obtaining Mr. Tom's first impressions. I am producing this fund raiser because my experience was NOT good.

A second impressions came ANGRILY though Tom's retorts (he felt) was calm.


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