Ken Leighton 3:37 p.m., June 18
Newsom Attacks Critic of Project Backed by Wealthy Donor
Democratic California Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom has fired off a letter to San Diego architect and state Historic Preservation Officer Mildford Wayne Donaldson, criticizing Donaldson for questioning the Plaza de Panama plan, that controversial traffic and parking makeover of Balboa Park.
In the letter, dated February 15, Newsom says, "After a recent visit to San Diego, I became aware of the proposed Plaza de Panama project."
He lauds the plan as "a shining example of what we can do to improve our communities when private and public parties come together with the shared goal of preserving California's history."
Turning to Donaldson, Newsom says, "this is a project with broad local political, philanthropic and community support so it may be more productive to work in collaboration with the project development team to achieve your goal of preserving this historical open-space.
"As the State Historic Preservation Officer I hope that you will consider these arguments, withdraw your comments, and begin to work in collaboration with the leaders of the Plaza dePanama project."
"Should you need help making contact with the project team I stand ready to assist."
Of course, Newsom, who has his eye on the governorship, which will require millions of dollars in campaign donations to obtain, may not be the most unbiased observer.
In September of last year, according to an account in the Daily Californian, he announced "creation of a work group designed to discuss funding for students throughout California’s higher education system."
Top "private sector" member: Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, who is also the money and political clout behind the Balboa Park plan critiqued by Donaldson.
And, though Newsom doesn't mention Jacobs in the letter, the La Jolla billionaire gave $5,000 to the then San Francisco mayor's campaign for lieutenant governor in October 2010.
The missive came to light after a link to it was tweeted late this afternoon by a representative of the press office of the mayor, which is promoting the park makeover plan.
Pictured: Gavin Newsom