By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner
There are certain bare facts about our city that we – as informed San Diegans and curious citizens – would benefit from knowing more about.
The intent of my upcoming commentaries is to shed light on the anatomy of hometown government while getting the bare facts out in the open.
In anticipation of the July 4th weekend, why don’t we start with some bare facts about flashy celebrations, San Diego style.
You’re probably aware that the job of drumming up money and excellent ideas for a centennial celebration of the 1915 Balboa Park Panama-California exposition (Panama refers to the canal, not the hat or cigar) was wantonly messed up by an elite group of downtown insiders who apparently lacked the will, skill, vision, aptitude, frame of mind, and/or civic dedication that reputable public service demands.
The 1915 Panama-California Exposition was an historic extravaganza ultimately responsible for the unique look of today’s landmark Balboa Park. One hundred years later it’s well-worth an up-to-date commemoration.
Happy to report that planning for the centennial celebration has officially resumed, this time in the hands of city staff. But things still look anemic. So here’s a thought: how about re-creating a certain eye-catching theme from another great Balboa Park festivity, namely the 1935 Pacific International Exposition/World’s Fair? Yes, I’m referring to the exhibit known as the Zoro Gardens nudist colony.
A recapitulation of this old-fashioned pastime would – guaranteed – pull in the crowds and perk up our city’s image. And who knows? resurrecting the exuberant simplicity of this quaint moment in city history could wipe away repugnant recent memories of half-clad hedonists desecrating the Balboa Park lily pond. Or of flirtatious techniques practiced by our defenestrated mayor. Or of naughty tales about our wildly ambitious former council member, an also-ran for mayor who is now beating the congressional bushes to unseat first-term congressman Scott Peters.
(Just for the record, my urgent recommendation is to emphatically reject the attempted third coming of Carl DeMaio. Also, if you happen to live in San Diego’s District 6, you’ll be doing yourself and the future of the entire city a big favor by supporting Carol Kim for city council this November.)
Of course, bare facts come in many shapes and sizes. We’ll be tackling the basics first. Then we can work our way upward, sideways, and underneath the political mechanisms, bewildering acronyms, and intersecting systems that were (presumably) created to benefit the San Diego public. Join me in letting it all hang out.
Zorro Gardens, Balboa Park 1935
bob dorn says
What? Dionysus was 86’d? Maybe Norma’s Damsels were
waiting for him?
norma damashek says
Actually, these damsels were enacting a rite honoring Zoroaster (aka Zarathustra). To each his (her) own…
Judy Swink says
Norma – it is not City staff that is organizing the 2015 celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition but volunteers organized and led by David Lundin and others.
The Facebook page for the event, scheduled for the weekend of April 11-12, 2015 and titled “Spring into the Past”, is
You should also view last night’s local NBC news report: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/video/#!/news/local/Volunteers-Get-Reprieve-on-Balboa-Park-Fees-for-Centennial/266142811
Frank Gormlie says
Judy – please – could you add your worthy thoughts over at the repost on OB Rag.
Judy Swink says
Forgot to mention that there have been several stories in San Diego Free Press, by Doug Porter and by David Lundin (separate articles).