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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

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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

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Comments
6

Oh for crying out loud. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but not to his or her own facts. Fact: This was a long-planned and long-announced fundraiser by supporters of various Balboa Park museums and had nothing to do with the plan for the Plaza de Panama. Fact: Portions of the park, from the Spreckels Pavilion to the plaza fronting the Museum of Man to other venues, are occasionally closed off for special events and parties. That in no way diminishes the "people" from enjoying Balboa Park.

We understand that you obviously did not like the vote of the City Council. But your feeble attempt here to fan the flames with falsehoods and ludicrous claims to "injury' only hold you up to ridicule.

July 17, 2012

wow you found this the second I posted it. because I corrected it to state it was not necessarily a Gala for PDP 2 minutes later. But your personal insults speak volumes.

July 17, 2012

and I did research it prior to posting and there were some things indicating it was perhaps an informal unofficial celebration of the victory. But you are right "officially" it was not PDP. But it certainly was a symbolic photo of whats to come!

July 17, 2012

You cant make such generalities about people who oppose your beloved PDP project. If you genuinely care about the park then you really do not understand the implication of Mondays vote. The Planning Commission referred to Balboa park as "a pile of buildings". These people have NO respect for the museums you speak of.

July 17, 2012

This event is certainly a prelude of what can and will happen during the entire year of 2015 under the Memorandum of Understanding set up between the Mayor and Balboa Park Celebration, Inc. as approved by the City Council. Personally I have a difficult time fathoming how they will be able to plan and execute Pavilions, Events, etc. within and throughout the Park - one of the reasons that I brought forward San Diego 2015 as a way to benefit the Park without major surgery, and benefit the Region with jobs and global focus. No more Free Tuesdays? Parking lots cordoned off so that people coming to events have guaranteed parking? Sections of the Park fenced off for extended periods to accommodate sponsors? Just as with the Plaza de Panama project, a rushed decision was made that the public swallowed because the City has created a situation similar to a starving man seeing food for the first time in a long time, or someone that is parched and dehydrated being given a canteen of water. The built up demand is so great that judgement is skewed. This time the temporary fences only lasted one evening. The Plaza de Panama project's fences, designed to keep people separated from cars descending under the existing roadway and to keep people from jumping off the "Centennial Bridge", are not temporary - just as the new roadway, bridge, and parking garage changes will forever alter the landscape of the Park.

July 19, 2012

Balboa Park was my first love of San Diego when I moved here a month ago. I remember one week I spent just about every day in the park, exploring every corner and breathing in the rich history. It was a few days after that week that I found out that a private owner will be taking control of part of the park, and it's the city that approved of it.

But when I was reading the report, it wasn't the officials of the city that decided to hand it over. Rather it was given into a vote, just how everything else is, and it just happened that the vote turned into the favor for the private owners. Once that the news hit the media, everyone started flipping out. Didn't everyone had a voice into this matter, though? Isn't the normal civilian capable of protecting their gorgeous park?

It breaks my heart to know that my favorite place in San Diego might be going through some drastic changes, but we have to understand that as citizens, we have the power to stand against it as well. If we don't want the park to change, then we can fight it. There's nothing that says we can't.

July 24, 2012

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