By Helen Ofield, President Lemon Grove Historical Society
On July 9, in shocking disregard for 100 years of citizens' efforts to preserve Balboa Park and for their constituents' pleas to reject the Jacobs Plan -- pleas made over more than six hours of testimony -- the San Diego City Council voted 6 - 1 in favor of the costly, destructive Jacobs Plan. The lone holdout and sole voice for the people was Sherri Lightner (firstname.lastname@example.org), who showed leadership in her elected duty to protect and serve the public. By contrast, her colleagues on the council caved to Jacobs/Sanders machine in an embarrassing display of forelock-tugging toadyism.
The Union-Tribune's editorial two days later termed anyone who opposed Jacobs "idiotic." The adolescent, vengeful tone of the editorial was not remotely up to journalistic standards.
All who love Balboa Park seek to rid the Plaza de Panama of cars. But not with Jacobs "my way or the highway" approach. And highway it is. His plan will bring more cars than ever before in history into the heart of the park via the ill-designed, elevated road that will carve a hole in the historic Cabrillo Bridge.
The battle may be lost, but the war is not over. Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) will legally challenge the council's approval of the proposal that will irreparably damage Balboa Park and jeopardize its status as a National Historic Landmark District. The lawsuit will be based on the City's violations of a) the San Diego Municipal Code; b) the 1870 Trust Dedication of the park as "free" in perpetuity, i.e. no paid parking; and c) the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).
SOHO successfully challenged the council's 2011 illegal Memorandum of Understanding between the City and Jacobs' committee. Thousands of community leaders and local, state and federal authorities on planning, design, transportation, sustainability, economics and historic resources joined SOHO in arguing for the alternatives to the Jacobs plan that will protect and enhance parklands.
Bruce Coons, the indomitable executive director of SOHO, said, "Balboa Park, a national treasure established by state statute in 1870, to be held in trust forever as a free and public park and for no other and different purpose, deserves all of the protections of local and state law."
Please act now and send your tax deductible donation in any amount to: SOHO, Balboa Park Legal Defense Fund, 2476 San Diego Avenue, San Diego, CA 92110. Emailsohosandiego@aol.com.
The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact email@example.com.