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Roundtable: Navy/Broadway; Orchestra Nova; Bilbray/Peters; Lightner/Ellis

Evening Edition

U-T San Diego reporter Michael Smolens talks to KPBS about the 52nd Congressional Race.

Aired 10/19/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Joanne Faryon, KPBS/INewsource

Michael Smolens, U-T San Diego

Katie Orr, KPBS Metro Reporter

Angela Carone, KPBS Arts Reporter

Navy Waterfront Project May Finally Sail: The Navy's downtown project, more than 25 years in the making, got a big boost this week when a federal judge ruled against a lawsuit filed by the Navy-Broadway Coalition.

The group sued to stop the project on the grounds that the issue of terrorism wasn’t properly addressed by the designers. The project features a new San Diego headquarters for the Navy and eight blocks of offices and hotels.

In 2006, the Navy selected developer Doug Manchester to develop the complex because he offered to build the Navy’s new San Diego headquarters for free in exchange for the right to develop the rest of the prime waterfront property located across from the Star of India.

Opponents have objected to Manchester’s plans for high-rise buildings as well as a lack of open space. Organized labor believes that Manchester will build and staff the complex with non-union workers who receive lower pay and benefits than union workers.

The California Coastal Commission has said it would like to review the plans it previously approved in 1986 because there have been many changes in the area since. Pending appeals or other legal obstacles, the project may actually get underway in the foreseeable future.

Jung Ho Pak Exits Abruptly: Having failed to get orchestra members to agree to his proposed hiring plan, Jung Ho Pak resigned as the artistic director and conductor of Orchestra Nova on Wednesday, two days before the season was to open. The opening concerts were cancelled.

After six months of talks, the orchestra and its musicians were still at loggerheads over Pak’s desire to reduce the size of the core orchestra and hire the remainder of the musicians on a concert-by-concert basis. Pak wanted to be able to hire musicians who would play with visible emotion.

Last season’s concerts sold out, even though the orchestra was filled with the very same musicians Pak wanted to replace. Nevertheless, the Orchestra Nova board was completely behind him in his desire to remake the orchestra.

Nova CEO Beverly Lambert has said she was worried worried the musicians would strike this weekend; the musicians say they were planning to play.

Peters, Bilbray Battle Over the 52nd: The race for who will represent the newly redistricted 52nd Congressional District is both close and contentious.

Republican Brian Bilbray has represented the 50th District since he won a special election in 2006 to fill the seat vacated by Randy Cunningham. Redistricting put him in the 52nd District and into a challenge by Democrat Scott Peters. Scott Peters has been a San Diego City Councilmember and is currently a Port Commissioner.

Negative ads placed by super-PACs and both parties have been a big part of the race. In puboic forums, including on KPBS, the candidates have disagreed on Social Security, border issues, the Affordable Care Act, taxes, releasing tax information, and pension reform.

Peters has a fundraising edge because he has loaned himself $2 million. Voter registration is close to even among Republicans and Democrats in the 52nd.

Lightner, Ellis Vie For Important City Seat: Technically non-partisan, the San Diego City Council is currently divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats.

The election for the District 1 seat will determine which way the Council leans, making it either easier or more difficult for the new mayor to get his agenda through.

Sherri Lightner, a Democrat, is the incumbent, but she has alienated labor. Republican Ray Ellis got more votes than Lightner in the primary and is seen as part of DeMaio’s slate of preferred candidates. The two differ on the Plaza de Panama project for Balboa Park and whether or not to build a bridge over Rose Canyon.

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Avatar for user 'my28opinion'

my28opinion | October 19, 2012 at 1:33 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

Sorry I didn't hear the beginning of the show, but I tuned in right after the Orchestra Nova discussion started. I heard a number of statements that gave me pause.
For one thing, the supposition that Mr. Pak is doing just fine with the Cape Cod orchestra is exactly wrong. Nearly the exact same thing is happening there at about the same time. The musicians from there are well aware of our situation too.
Also, thank you for mentioning that the cancellation of shows occurred AFTER Mr. Pak's resignation, which was tendered a very short time before the opening concerts. WHO pulled the plug?
... and by the way speaking of set ensembles, the Old Globe has a summer repertory program with a set group of actors who learn to be an ensemble together for a season of shows. Musical repertory is what orchestras are all about. You can add whatever activities you want around that, but the core of musicians who have given their lives to the literature and have learned to work together as an ensemble will be at the heart of it all, as Nova's advertising has always claimed.
Don't forget there were sold out concerts with eager patrons and willing musicians ready to start a new season. One person couldn't continue to work out the differences. He resigned.

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Avatar for user 'plak'

plak | October 20, 2012 at 4:21 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

I have noticed that there is not much mention of the efforts to subvert the musicians' union in this matter. The contract has always been for the season, not by each performance separately. This smacks of "union-busting'. It is not practical to hire musicians for each new event. As well, the fact that the season is already sold out proves that Mr. Pak's opinion that theatrical behavior during a performance would invigorate the public's response is false. I am a professional pianist who teaches my students to treat the music with respect and dignity, not with clownish, exaggerated movements that detract from the beauty of the music. Most musicians I know also agree, and the public obviously agrees, given their response to this issue. There are better ways to enhance the popularity of classical music. How about supporting the arts in education? Just a thought!

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