Billionaire Philanthropist Gets His Way!

By John P. Falchi

It was good to have spent Monday downtown on one of the hottest issues of our time, the preservation of the historic integrity ofBalboaPark. For some time now the behind the scenes machinations  of our local power elite have been working their way toward this day of decision on the part of our S.D. City Council Members. Many members of fine organizations like dan Soderberg’s Neighborhood Coalition to saveBalboaPark, Bruce Coon’s organization,SOHO, and Jeanne Brown’s League of Women Voters, have been fighting the good fight, and were there with members of their groups, yesterday. I was also impressed by the turnout of young people, many from the Occupy Together Movement, locally, who came to lend their support to those who chose to speak against the Jacobs-Sanders Campaign to fundamentally change BalboaPark.

I went without my nap, my normal food intake, and my workout at the gym, to spend endless hours mostly listening to a lot of development executives and cultural institution CEOs fawn over a key representative of the one per cent in our midst, Qualcomm owner and billionaire, Irwin Jacobs. These folks know which side their institutional bread is buttered on, so they spoke, to a similar script in most cases, in favor of a landscape damaging centennial bridge, a transportation arrangement in Balboa Park that encourages more traffic through it, and the dreaded specter of the inauguration of PAID PARKING, which had been prohibited by the park’s founding agreements.

We spent the better part of the first hour viewing a litany of propaganda about how the Jacobs Plan for the park was the best thing since sliced bread, but it was unconvincing to most people who have seriously studied what this plan will do to the park and the people who regularly use it. Of course, they proportioned time for opponents of the plan to speak their minds, also. However, only Mel Shapiro and Mike Aguirre, truly spoke their minds about how this City Council had been bought and sold by this pretentious philanthropist. Just like he received naming rights for Qualcomm Stadium, there no doubt will be a statue or a wall with his name on it somewhere in one of the eight new buildings to be erected in our cherished park.

They bragged about the 200 meetings they had about this matter all over town, but failed to say how little the public input was taken into consideration in formulating the Jacobs Plan, or any slight modification in it that they deigned to make. It was the way plutocracies turn democracy on its head in an inverted totalitarianism, as Sheldon Wolin would say. In any case, only one Council Member, Sherri Lightner, was able to speak truth to power and vote against this major usurpation of civic financial power, as Bob Filner so ably put it, and she has a massive Right Wing machine working against her re-election in the fall.

It was a real civics lesson on how democracy doesn’t work in the so-called nation’s finest city (that money can buy)!!!



  1. avatarJack Hamlin says

    Sad, sad, sad…like so many rich dogs who need to leave their scent permanently on the landscape. Shame on you Dr. Jacobs and shame on the City Council for flagrantly pandering to the wealthy. All that money could be put to such better uses to improve the community and the lives of the people in it. But instead, all your names will be forever emblazened on a plaque for all to see…and they will know who truly “owns” San Diego.

  2. avatarmicaela shafer porte says

    they kept talking about “returning the park to pedestrians”, but it is really all about building parking garages and access roads to pack even more cars into the park…
    and the “bypass” road doesn’t even have pedestrian or bicycle lanes in case walkers or bicyclers would like to access directly the other part of the park (oops, i mean the parking garage!)
    hope the bronze statues of the sponsors go in front of the parking garage as would be merited.. is that included in the price? $58, 000 per parking space….

  3. avatarunWASHEdWalmaRtthONG says

    Damn, there’s another icon to put upon my list of places to NOT visit. I avoid the icon on Mt. Soledad because it’s the ugliest thing this side of a champion sumo wrestler’s buttocks. The airport is getting yet another facelift; wasn’t that to be moved to Brown Field? Or Miramar Air Station?
    Govorporation steals
    Govorporation spends
    Govorporation wins
    Govorporation–tis not what we are part of .
    Stop the govorporation. Hic opus, hic labor est.

  4. avatarmarilyn says

    I hope that this will be stopped. I live near Balboa Park, and I have walked through the park many times over many years, and have so many memories of the park in relationship to my life and was I was going through at the time. There have been times that my son or myself have walked from our home to Balboa Park. However, most of the times, we drove and parked in various locations in the park. At times, we drove over with our dogs to let them walk with us on their leashes. There have been many times, that I was able to drive to the park and walk but due to a knee injury or foot problem I could not have walked from my home. I do not do “parking structures” because of the warnings in most parking structures that say there are cancer producing chemicals in the parking structure. I breathing exhaust fumes while I am in the structure. It is so unpleasant. I would not be able to take dogs with me in to a parking structure because it would be too difficult to watch out for them even though they would be on leashes….while trying to exit out of the structure to the park.
    “Returning the park to the pedestrians”…..that’s silly, because the park would not be returned to it’s original state, but rather changed. In those days when the park and buildings were build, there were cars.
    To charge for parking in a public park would be very offensive.
    I like the way the park is right now, and don’t want it modified.
    By the way, I met a physical therapist who told me she decided to drive to Pt. Loma for work rather than work on 4th Ave in Hillcrest because the only place she could park was in a
    parking structure. We all know that parking in a parking structure is an exposure to chemicals, as well as trying to locate one’s car while wondering what floor it is on and also, about who is going to pop out and rob someone. I feel safer in the wide open where I can more easily see who is near my car.

    Hat’s off to Sherri Lightener. Sorry she did not support the seals the way I would have liked, however, I will be trying to get her re-elected if it will keep out the Extremists.

    Oh, dear Balboa Park…I must hurry over to enjoy you while you last….as if you are tampered with, you will be just another Sea World…..

  5. avatarTom says

    This is just one of the things that the rich are doing to “over-write” history. Putting their projects, and names, out front and marking their territory like rabid wolves. A word to you wolves………you may have enjoyed it when you were young, like I did, but once it’s gone it’s gone forever. Your name will also be associated with the historical destruction by true San Diegans and for that you will be hated, especially by me. Besides all that, don’t you think that the crowds in the park are already sufficient? More parking will make it busier than Belmont Park on the 4th of July. Oh yeah, whens the parking structure going in there?