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The National Park Service has come out against Irwin Jacobs's plan to clear traffic from the Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park by constructing a Cabrillo Bridge bypass road that would lead to a new parking garage behind the Organ Pavilion.

The Plaza de Panama project, partially financed by Jacobs and supported by the mayor and all mayoral candidates except for Bob Filner, has drawn the ire from residents and the historical preservationist group Save Our Heritage Organisation. They say that the new bypass road would ruin a historical landmark and mar the aesthetics of the park.

The National Park Service agrees. In a letter to councilmember Kevin Faulconer, associate director of cultural resources Dr. Stephanie Toothman said the project would have a "permanent, major and adverse effect on the integrity of the Balboa Park National Historical Landmark...

"The Project will physically destroy a part of the [National Historic Landmark] property, and the Project will introduce visual elements and spatial changes that will diminish the integrity of the property's historic features."

Toothman adds that the proposal to add two reflecting pools would give a "false sense of history... This suggests that the pools would be conjectural and not reconstructions of the 1935 pools."

In summary, the letter supports statements from Save Our Heritage Organisation and others that say there are easier alternatives to removing traffic from the plaza. "The [National Park Service] believes there are viable, less-costly alternatives that would reduce or eliminate private vehicular traffic from the core without the significant impacts to the integrity" of the Cabrillo Bridge. http://sandiegoreader.com/users/photo...

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Meniskos May 9, 2012 @ 2:26 p.m.

The key word here is ''destroy.'' Look at the trouble this bad idea has caused so far, and remember how another wealthy individual, Ellen Browning Scripps, donated money and exerted her influence to make physical changes that she personally wanted on public property. She created Children's Pool in La Jolla.


Hardcover May 9, 2012 @ 3:16 p.m.

IMPORTANT CORRECTION: Bob Filner is the only mayoral candidate not being swayed by the Jacob team and their back room favor-pulling. There has been some talk about DeMaio possibly coming out on the pro-preservation, lower financial risk side, but nothing official yet.


Hardcover May 9, 2012 @ 3:23 p.m.

Meniskos: I can't tell if you are being satiric or not. E.B. Scripps wanted La Jolla kids to have a chance to learn to swim locally. This was in a time when there was NOT A SINGLE SWIMMING POOL IN ALL OF LA JOLLA. Times have changed. Nowadays, if you tell a La Jollan that you don't have a pool in your house or complex, you are probably as likely as not to get a frown and words of sympathy.


Dorian Hargrove May 9, 2012 @ 3:44 p.m.


Thanks for catching that. I always get those two confused...only kidding. Just a mistake on my part!



Visduh May 9, 2012 @ 8:13 p.m.

This is all most interesting. While I don't think of the NPS, or any other federal agency, as the final arbiter of anything significant, it is surprising that it came out against such a well-financed and politically powerful group. The "old fool" Jacobs is trying to buy a legacy to himself, and to him, what better spot than SD's iconic Balboa Park? If you are one of those people who is suspicious of Jacob's motivations in this instance, please be equally suspicious of his other political hobby horses. He has many, and as he settles into his dotage, will have many more that grow more bizarre.


Twister May 9, 2012 @ 8:30 p.m.

Even if all the aesthetic stuff didn't matter, the scheme would still only shuffle the present situation around AT GREAT COST. There are a lot of things that would do more good in terms of making the park functional with respect to ALL its NEEDS, before monumental and monumentally costly shuffling is done.

Handicapped access, staff in and out travel, shipping and receiving, and other such "mundane" aspects of the WHOLE issue are conveniently ignored by armchair analysts who put their egos above other considerations, if they consider much else at all.

Directing through traffic around the park hasn't been looked at seriously, nor has the option of a good internal transportation system that is more than a faux-trolley. There are complex needs and priorities that need to be efficiently served, and no study has taken any of these functional aspects of the whole seriously.


monaghan May 16, 2012 @ 11:57 a.m.

No surprise we didn't read this (good) news in the Jacobs-backed voiceofsandiego journal!

Visduh, you are a nattering nabob of negativism: Irwin Jacobs is not entering his "dotage" and deserves always to be honored for transformative gifts to the San Diego Symphony, San Diego Opera and for sustaining a vibrant theater scene in this beach town, as well as many other generous gifts. Jacobs has overstepped in education politics and is dead-wrong to push the Balboa Park folly, but let's keep the record straight.

Twister's is the voice of reason here about the best future for Balboa Park. No one, including the historical resources Park advocates, addresses the crucial issues mentioned in these three simple paragraphs. Until a better day, when there is a comprehensive plan and resources to mesh Balboa Park with its institutions and the community, at least let us do no harm to the Park as it stands.


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