Faulconer, Gloria announce 2015 Balboa Centennial scaled-down

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Todd
Gloria said Thursday they will unveil plans Friday for a scaled-down version of
a celebration of Balboa Park's centennial next year.

Plans for a yearlong series of events that would draw national and
international visitors collapsed after a citizen's group failed to attract
enough private investment. Balboa Park Celebration Inc. is in the processing of
disbanding amid questions of what the city got in return for its $2.6 million

On Wednesday, the City Council's Environment Committee requested
financial and performance audits of BPCI.

At a news briefing that also took place Wednesday, Gloria promised that
details on the reformulated celebration were forthcoming.

“You can't lose sight of the fact that our park institutions have been
doing incredible work over a long period of time, with the help of the
centennial group, to pull together some blockbuster presentations for 2015 —
those efforts continue,” Gloria said.

He said a “spectacular” celebration can be stitched together using
what the cultural institutions have planned and what they already do anyway —
augmented by events paid for via philanthropy.

The city stepping in should restore confidence in the 100th birthday
celebration for the park among prospective corporate partners and other donors,
Gloria said.

Jerry Sanders, who was mayor when BPCI was formed, said on the KPBS
radio program “Midday Edition” that people who wanted to give money to the
celebration were discouraged by the condemnation of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin
Jacobs by opponents of his plan to remove cars from the park's Plaza de Panama.

The Jacobs plan, which included construction of a bypass bridge to carry
vehicles away from the plaza, was opposed by a preservationist group that
prevailed in court.

In another development, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association
called for the BPCI to disband immediately and turn over all documents to the

Gerry Braun, who is handling the dissolution of the group, said the
process has been underway for a month. He said state law does not allow
nonprofits to cease operations immediately.

At Wednesday's committee meeting, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the
city was being particular over which documents it would receive from BPCI, in
an effort to avoid having the city assume any liabilities.

Categories: KUSI