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San Diego’s Future - What’s Important To You?

Aired 9/13/11 on KPBS Midday Edition.

What will San Diego look like 40-years from now and what's important to you? Our Greater San Diego Vision wants to hear from you!

A view of the San Diego skyline from across the bay.
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Above: A view of the San Diego skyline from across the bay.

What will San Diego look like and be like 40-years from now? Our elected officials come up with regional maps and transportation plans, but what do you want for San Diego's future? Is education important to you? Infrastructure, rail service, wireless access? What's your priority?

It might take you a while to figure that one out, because it's not often that anyone asks for our opinions about the future. But right now, a series of workshops is designed for just that purpose. The organization called "Our Greater San Diego Vision" wants to know what San Diegans want most. We'll tell you how you can become involved.

GUESTS

Peter MacCracken, a member of the steering committee of Our Greater San Diego Vision

Xavier Lenyoun, community ambassador for Our Greater San Diego Vision

Read Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. What will San Diego look like and be like 40 years from now? Our elected officials come up with regional maps and transportation plans, but what do you want for San Diego's future? Is education important to you? Infrastructure, rail service, wireless access? What's your priority? It might take you a while to figure that one out because it's not often that anyone asks for our opinions about the future. But right now, a series of workshops is designed for just that purpose. The organization is called Our Greater San Diego Vision. They want to know what San Diegans want most.

I'd like to introduce my guests. Peter MacCracken is a member of the steering committee for Our Greater San Diego Vision. Hello.

MACCRACKEN: Thank you for having me here.

CAVANAUGH: And Xavier Lenyoun is community ambassador for Our Greater San Diego Vision.

LENYOUN: Thank you for having me.

CAVANAUGH: What do you want to see in San Diego's future? Give us a call. Our number is 1-888-895-5727. Or tweet your comment at KPBS midday. Peter, this initiative to get information about what San Diegans want for the region, can you explain how you're gathering up all that information and how it's going to be used?

MACCRACKEN: The workshops that start today at 1:00 o'clock are part of a very, very involved process to engage as many people as we can in thinking about the future. The process began two years ago, when we hired the experts guide us. They did the research to figure out what are the values of people in San Diego, what's important, what are we concerned about, are what do we love? We used the values research to develop four tracks that we're looking at: Education, jobs, infrastructure, housing, transportation, and so on. And culture and community amenities. What were the things we love, from museums to beaches to parks? We are now taking that information into the workshops, we want people to come in and really get into facilitated discussions, start mapping out where things will be in the future and see what that feels like. All of that will be taken to develop a vision that we hope will drive decision making and perpetuity.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Xavier, I know that you're a community ambassador for this project. What does that mean?

LENYOUN: That means that there are actually over 100 community ambassadors in this process. And what we do is after the task force gathers the information and they present some options to us as to what our San Diego should look like in the future.

CAVANAUGH: I see. And so do you have your own vision for what San Diego should lack like in the future?

LENYOUN: Do, as a matter of fact.

CAVANAUGH: Well, tell us. What is it?

LENYOUN: I want to see a San Diego that is both diverse and unified in all ways possible. I really want to focus on health and wellness. And almost most importantly, we really need to get on education and technology. These are all areas that I would like to see improvement in in our future for our up coming generations.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. So Peter, say Xavier is not a community ambassador, but he just goes into one of these workshops that you're having today and for the rest of this week, and says something like that, which was great, by the way. What do you -- how does that information translate into what you're doing in these workshops?

MACCRACKEN: Actually, there are two more steps to the process, but let me start with the workshops. Everybody put in these workshops is going to be compiled by the consultant team that we hire. That is all going to be tied to the task force working the subject matter experts. All of this is going to be used to create a menu of options for the future, from what we have heard from people and say, do you want one from column A? Two from column B? Here's what the future will look like. In November, people are going to be able to go in and make the choices between the menu of options for the future. And say, this is what I want. I want these priorities, this way, the future to look like this. This is a large engagement process. We want every voice we can get. We want Xavier's, we want even's.

CAVANAUGH: I want to invite our listeners again to participate. If you have a vision for San Diego, something you'd really Rick to see either preserved or come into fruition in San Diego in the next 40 years, give us a call and tell us about it. 1-888-895-5727. My guests are Peter MacCracken. He is a member of the steering committee of Our Greater San Diego Vision. And Xavier Lenyoun is community ambassador. One of them for a greater San Diego vision. And Peter, I wonder, has any other community done anything like this?

MACCRACKEN: Absolutely, Maureen, one of the things that we did was study region visioning in other communities around the country. The consultant who is leading our team is Robert Growe. He has done the same process in central Florida, northern Michigan, other efforts have been done in Seattle, Vancouver, Chicago, New York, Portland. We have tried to collect as many of these and look at them and determine the best practices so we can apply those to our process.

CAVANAUGH: Did anything happen in the Utah vision -- did people come up with anything that surprised people?

MACCRACKEN: Well, I would say yes.

CAVANAUGH: Okay.

MACCRACKEN: As Robert grow will tell you, the people of Utah primarily Salt Lake City, voted twice for taxes for light rail. Now, you would suspect that people would not vote to tax themselves for pretty much anything. But that was because the vision showed that light rail transit was a part of the solution. In Seattle, they changed the amount of new housing development that was inside or outside the metropolitan core. Seattle was sprawling. They did a vision exercise and realized that was not going to work for the future. So now most of the housing growth is within the metropolitan core. Those are the kinds of things you see when you look far enough ahead to say we need to go in this direction to get there.

CAVANAUGH: Again, taking your calls the number is 1-888-895-5727. Ignassio is on the line, and welcome to the show.

NEW SPEAKER: Hi. Thanks for taking my call. Yes, I've been commuting for the last ten years from Santee all the way to La Jolla, and I would love to see a trolley line going from all the way from East County to the UTC.

CAVANAUGH: Okay.

NEW SPEAKER: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much for the call. Suppose people say they want to see fewer cars on the freeways in San Diego. We've gotten a lot of calls about people who would like to see alternative transportation and alternative vehicles on our roads. What happens toing an idea like that if it comes up in a workshop Peter? Let me tell you about the research we did asking a thousand San Diegans about things last year. The top issues affecting quality of life, the third issue from the top is traffic congestion and lack of transit. That's today. You add 1.3 million more people 40 years from now, and think of what the problem is going to be. It's not an issue of less cars. It's dealing with the growth, and are we going to have enough freeways, and if we don't, how are we going to get around? Is transit the answer? Not for me to say. It's for all of us collectively to say. There are trade offs to transit, cars, population growth, trade offs to containing population growth.

CAVANAUGH: Jason is calling from San Diego. Hi Jason. Away to the show.

NEW SPEAKER: Hi there. I just wanted to add a quick comment. I've been hearing in terms of just the long range planning. Specifically around technology. I actually run a technology company in San Francisco. But I live down here in San Diego. And I think that it's actually a real golden opportunity right now and for the next 20 years if the planning commission takes into account how to incident I have beenize companies to set up shop down in San Diego and then create new jobs. Because right now in the bay area, it's awful for me to hire engineers. The traffic is beyond worse in San Diego. But I look at San Diego, and I say, wow, you know, educated work force, however, there's just not enough of a critical mass of jobs or trained software professionals that I can say, okay, I'm going to move my company down here and take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities. If there were incentives for me to do so, I think there would be a host of people from all around the country coming down here, setting up shop, and then really creating new innovative jobs, which I think the real driver for any change for the future of this community.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you so much for the call. That's a really thought out idea. And Alinebackeria is calling from San Diego. Hi Alicia.

NEW SPEAKER: Hi. I was wondering if there is a way for the public to submit comments aside from attending one of the workshops.

MACCRACKEN: Yes. Absolutely. You can right now today go to ourgreaterSan Diegovision.org, or to make it easier, OGSDV.org, and you can sign up on Facebook, twitter, and put your name down to be informed of thing as they develop. On the workshops, it'll be going on this week. We have a separate website just to register for those. And that is showyourloveSD.org.

CAVANAUGH: And we also have a link on our website, KPBS.org, for people who are looking around and trying to submit their ideas to your organization. Xavier, I wonder, why was it important for you to become involved in this initiative?

LENYOUN: It was important for a number of different reasons for me. Upon first of all, it's important, I'm 25 years old, I'm in the younger generation now. And I really believe that I am one of the people that will benefit from an initiative like this. Not only that, I also work in in real estate, which is very closely related to what we're trying to plan out. And I know that over the course of the next 40 years, we're going to need 400,000 new homes built just to support the up coming population.

CAVANAUGH: You can just hear it in people's voices. There's a lot of energy involved in this when people start to think about the fact that they can create the future for San Diego. But Peter, I'm wondering, do you take on any of the hard issues like how are we going to pay for this?

MACCRACKEN: That will come. That will absolutely come. First what we do is we set the framework. What are the pillars for tomorrow? The values, the priorities? Then you start figuring out what are the steps, what is the actionable plan to get there in then you're going to get into who pays for it, what are the environmental constraint, what are the entity that is need to come together to do this? The vision is just the starting point. It's just the framework. Once it's completed, it'll be given to the center for civic engagement the at the San Diego foundation that will convene the various entities and forces to make things happen. And cost them out and pay for them.

CAVANAUGH: Juan is calling us from Bakersfield. Hi, Juan.

NEW SPEAKER: Yes, thank you for taking my call. I just want to make a comment about adding more bicycle lanes to access the beach areas. And thank you very much.

CAVANAUGH: Well, thank you. Upon would there -- they're not going to have visions for Bakersfield. But if you ride your bike here in San Diego, thank you very much for that call. And Felicia is calling us from Ocean Beach. Hi.

NEW SPEAKER: Yes, hi. I've been an OB local for over 20 years. And basically I'm down at the beach every day, and they took out our restrooms, public restrooms down by dog beach about three years ago. And they put up porta-potties and left the showers, the building is just basically four walls and a chain-link fence. It's all graffitied out. And I wonder when they're going to install those new bathrooms. I heard they're putting restrooms in in mission beach, but ocean beach they're just kind of letting our community look deteriorated.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you very much for the call. We have everything from high-tech companies to restrooms. Is that the kind of -- is that the kind of wide birth, wide array of ideas that you're hoping to engender Peter?

MACCRACKEN: Absolutely, absolutely. It's everything about this community that's superintendent to you today that you hope will be there for your children and grand children tomorrow, and it's from jobs to transportation to where are the closest parks to how do I get to the beach, do I have to pay to be at the beach, all of that.

CAVANAUGH: Could you tell us once again about these workshops? They start today.

MACCRACKEN: Yes, the workshops start today. There will be six of them all around the county in different locations, today, tomorrow, and the fifteenth. They will include facilitated discussions, instant poling on issues, and then really small group exercises where they're going to layout large-scale maps of the region. And people are going to lay down on the maps where they think the housing, the jobs, and the transportation of the future should be. There'll be a lot of maps from a lot of groups, and all of that is going to have to be put together and pulled together at just one part of the input into the vision itself.

CAVANAUGH: Are they free?

MACCRACKEN: Yes.

CAVANAUGH: And do you have to register?

MACCRACKEN: You do have to register.

CAVANAUGH: And you do that the way we just told you, and the link is on our website, KPBS.org. That might be the easiest way to go about finding it. I've been speaking with Peter MacCracken and Xavier Lenyoun. I want to thank you both.

LENYOUN: Thank you.

MACCRACKEN: Thank you very much. Maureen, the only other thing I would say is, hey, San Diego, the future is yours for the making.

CAVANAUGH: Thanks.

Comments

Avatar for user 'MANNY3'

MANNY3 | September 13, 2011 at 12:27 p.m. ― 2 years, 11 months ago

I've lived in San Diego for 43 of my 50 years. During my college years @ SDSU, I began commuting by bicycle. I still commute by bike from my home in OB to my job @ NAS North Island.

In the 23 years I have been commuting by bike I have seen minimal infrastructure improvements benefiting the cycling community and promoting alternative transportation. During bicycle tours of other areas of the country, I am always amazed how many of these communities and cities have embraced alternative transportation in general and cycling in particular. Portland, OR, Vancouver, BC, Washington, DC, and many other cities have extensive cycling friendly infrastructure, even though they are in geographical regions where weather is less that optimal for bicycle commuting. In contrast, San Diego, with 355 days of sunshine per year and an average daytime temperature somewhere in the high 60's has a pitifully inadequate bicycle infrastructure (at least in the city).

There is no excuse for a city with our consistent climate not agressively promoting and facilitating cycling as alternative transportation. The community is primed for this change. The city should examine the plans of cities like those I mentioned and see how they could be applied in San DIego, AND APPLY THEM!

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