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Balboa Park Centennial Committee Members Apologize For Failure

Credit: Joanne DiBona

The North Fountain in Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama.

Aired 3/25/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

GUESTS:

Jim Kidrick, President, CEO, San Diego Air and Space Museum

Peter Comiskey, Executive Director, Balboa Park Cultural Partnership

Transcript

Aired 3/24/14 on KPBS News.

(Part 1 of 2) The committee in charge of planning a yearlong party in 2015 at Balboa Park spent $2.6 million that came from taxpayers, and now the group is out of business. KPBS interviewed committee members, museum leaders and community members to find out what went wrong.

Aired 3/25/14 on KPBS News.

(Part 2 of 2) The committee in charge of planning a yearlong party in 2015 at Balboa Park spent $2.6 million that came from taxpayers, and now the group is out of business. KPBS interviewed committee members, museum leaders and community members to find out what went wrong.

After three years in operation, the nonprofit charged with planning a yearlong extravaganza to mark the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park is out of business. It spent $2.6 million in taxpayer funds with little to show but a stack of bills from consultants.

While questions about just what went wrong continue to swirl, the people who ran Balboa Park Centennial Inc. apologized to the public in an exclusive interview with KPBS.

Nikki Clay, co-chair with her husband, Ben, of the centennial committee, said the couple "especially want to apologize."

"We could not feel worse about having this not work,” she said. “We kept thinking one more phone call, one more meeting, would turn that tide.”

Clay and two other board members agreed to talk about their experiences and to respond to a firestorm of criticism from members of the public, museum directors and other stakeholders who say they were left out of the planning process.

INTERACTIVE: Broken Promises: How The BPCI Failed To Deliver

The committee and staff were downtown insiders, critics say, an insular group that lacked the leadership and fundraising skills to pull off an event of this scale.

The committee spent too much time outsourcing a “vision,” they said, and not enough time building a coalition among those who could actually make the event happen.

For the committee’s part, its members blame inadequate funding, turmoil at San Diego City Hall and an overbearing former Mayor Bob Filner for the failure.

KPBS interviewed or reached out to more than 30 people on the inside and the outside of the Balboa Park celebration to find out what happened and to ask: Can a celebration — with 2015 right around the corner — be salvaged?

The story starts with one man’s dream of turning back the clock to 1915 and filling the park with the charm of the Electriquette.

Special Feature Broken Promises: How The BPCI Failed To Deliver

Click on the image to learn more about the relationship between the BPCI committee and Balboa Park community members.


Projects For Event Go Nowhere Or Get Rejected

Evening Edition

The wicker-covered battery-powered carts were “classy, comfortable and luxurious,” according to a 1915 advertisement. And they seemed like a great thing to reintroduce at a centennial celebration.

Tooling at 3 mph, they ruled the roads in Balboa Park during the 1915 Exposition.

These Electriquettes were the only “transportation” permitted on exposition grounds. They were a hit. Two million visitors came to the exposition that year, descending on a city of only 40,000.

In 2011, San Diego developer Sandy Shapery decided to launch a fleet of Electriquettes as part of the centennial celebration.

He had a prototype built and went to China to oversee production. Shapery paid for it all himself.

He presented his idea to the Balboa Park Centennial committee members and everyone seemed on board.

But then nothing happened.

“So here we are with a fun little project everyone loves, but we can’t get enough traction to get this thing going,” Shapery said.

Just like with the Electriquettes, critics say, the centennial committee has left a trail of lost opportunities. Fits and starts.

Credit: Committee of 100

A family poses in an Electriquette, 1915.

John Wilson, director of the Timken Museum of Art, shakes his head in frustration as he talks about a project he headed to bring contemporary artwork to the park during the celebration. It was an information center designed by internationally acclaimed artist Mark Dion.

It had seed money, parkwide support and an artist with an international art tourism draw.

But Wilson said the BPCI members were worried the Dion project would hurt their own funding efforts, even though his team was going to raise money from international funders such as Switzerland’s UBS, known for sponsoring art exhibits at the Venice Biennale and Miami’s Art Basel.

Wilson needed BPCI to endorse the project to move forward. He didn’t get it.

“There was just total negativity,” he said of his meeting with Julie Dubick, the centennial group's most recent CEO. “There was a demonstrable negativity on the part of BPCI for any art project that was a collaborative venture by all the institutions in the park.”

From all accounts, BPCI didn’t start out that way.

Public Asked To Brainstorm Ideas For Centennial Celebration

In 2011, BPCI held brainstorming forums with corporate executives, civic leaders, members of high tech and academics.

Ideas and networking opportunities for 2015 flourished at those meetings, said Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor for public programs and dean of the extension at the University of California, San Diego.

But that’s where it ended, she said.

“Thank you notes were sent and that’s it," Walshok said, who attended one of the half-day events. "Nobody heard anything from anyone again.”

Some of those participants — innovators from the Torrey Pines Mesa — should have been invited onto BPCI’s board, she said. The board would have benefited, Walshok believes, from a broader point of view.

The centennial committee was working with consultants such as Autonomy, an event production company based in Los Angeles, to develop an overall vision for the event. BPCI paid the company $467,000 and replaced it after eight months.

BPCI members say they needed a vision plan before they could go to funders to raise money.

And they needed money, especially for infrastructure, including staging, lighting and bathrooms, before they could fill the events calendar or make promises to local groups.

In 2012, BPCI announced a theme for the centennial: “Edge2015.” It didn’t last long. Filner, the incoming mayor, didn’t like it.

Filner wanted a “$30 million to $50 million world-class event” that would bring “heads of state” to San Diego, Clay said.

Loma Media Partners, a consulting group paid $463,766 for its services, created promotional videos that featured Filner. Those had to be re-cut when he resigned.

Because of the political tumult, including losing two CEOs in two years, BPCI didn’t start fundraising until after last Labor Day, which board members admit was too late.

“It should have started in January 2013,” Clay said.

Once it did start, it was very tough going.

BPCI board member Stephen Russell said the failure of the "Jacobs plan" for Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama poisoned the funding well. The San Diego City Council approved Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs' elaborate plan to remove parking from the heart of the park, but a judge struck it down as contrary to city code.

“The way that played out left such bitter feelings,” Russell said. “A lot of the corporate heads were really kind of shy about funding at that point.”

Those familiar with the situation said BPCI didn’t reach out to enough corporate funders and when they did it was handled poorly.

Developer Shapery said many of his friends who lead corporations were never contacted by centennial committee members.

“In fundraising, they had a tendency to take the moral high ground — saying you owe this to the city — instead of finding points of convergence and interest for donors," Walshok said. “You can shame people into giving money for things like the homeless. You can’t shame them into funding a light show.” (Walshok was referring to BPCI’s plans for an elaborate light show that included video projections on buildings.)

Clay believes the committee made tactical errors.

“I think we ran into problems in not talking to the foundation side of those businesses,” she said. “We were talking to the shareholder side, so they needed to show a return on investment.”

Russell said all the planning the committee did became useless when the funds didn’t materialize.

“If a client (the city) came to you and said we want you to build a palace and you designed a palace and then we find we have funding for a cottage, most of what you’ve done doesn’t apply,” Russell said.

Obtaining Funding Became The Committee's Priority

 Balboa Park on May 7th, 2009.

Above: Balboa Park on May 7th, 2009.

Developing an overall plan and securing funding were the priorities BPCI board members set for themselves and the staff.

That meant putting stakeholder and volunteer relationships on hold, including those with museum leaders, who felt left out of the planning process.

“We always felt that they had their own agenda,” Wilson said, of the Timken Museum. “It seemed they wanted to do something outside of the institutions and not use us and our expertise.”

During an interview on KPBS Midday Edition, BPCI transition director Gerry Braun suggested there was tension between competing groups in the park.

“There is no square foot in Balboa Park that doesn’t have a constituency ... and whatever we wanted to do in the park meant that somebody else might not do what they wanted,” Braun said.

But there is evidence the institutional leaders in the park do collaborate. The new Balboa Park Explorer pass is an example, said Peter Comiskey, executive director of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership.

The pass allows yearlong admission to 17 museums. “Many places I’ve worked before, it would have been impossible to make this happen with this many institutions,” Comiskey said.

BPCI members say they kept the museums in the loop. Comiskey served as an adviser to the centennial committee. Mick Hager, CEO of the San Diego Natural History Museum, sat on the BPCI board.

The committee also gave seed money to nine museums for 2015 programming.

But critics say that wasn’t enough. Over time, BPCI grew more secretive and guarded.

“The planning process was completely opaque,” said Nancy Carol Carter, a longtime volunteer in the park.

“They operated as lone rangers," Walshok said.

Event planning experts say building strong relationships with stakeholders and volunteers is crucial.

“You look at the Rose Parade, which is really the model for something like this, and even though it’s an annual event, it attracts over 700,000 people every year,” said Todd Uglow, an event planning adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “It’s almost entirely community and volunteer based.”

Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park lit up for December Nights.
Enlarge this image

Above: Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park lit up for December Nights.

December Nights in Balboa Park, which is now in its 37th year, relies on thousands of volunteers. Their investment is cultivated by Allison Rynne, who has served as an event planning consultant for December Nights for eight years.

“It’s absolutely about coalition building,” Rynne said, who fosters those relationships year round, from high-profile directors of institutions to the modest Swedish Women’s Education Association.

BPCI did not have a volunteer recruitment and development committee.

“We didn’t want to engage volunteers until we had something for them to do,” said centennial committee board member Patti Roscoe.

Committee members were confident, Braun said, that when the time came, they could mobilize volunteers quickly.

Special Feature Balboa Park Centennial Planning Group Disbands

Balboa Park's 2015 Centennial Celebration board of directors voted to disband and transfer all organizing authority to the city of San Diego. KPBS Midday Edition host Maureen Cavanaugh speaks with Gerry Braun, media outreach coordinator for the now disbanded Balboa Park Celebration Inc., and transition director for the event.

What Next Year's Celebration Will Look Like Still Uncertain

With the right leadership, Timken’s Wilson thinks a big yearlong celebration could have worked, especially if it capitalized on all the groups in the park, from the bikers in the velodrome, to the clog dancers, to the canyoneers.

He rattled off a list of ideas. “Let’s have the world championship track bike racing here in 2015. Let’s have the world lawn bowling championship here. Let’s try to make sure all the art museums can do an all-embracing example of what art was at the time.”

The 1915 exposition was a pivotal event in San Diego history. The outcome was the Balboa Park we know today, but the exposition was designed to show the capacity of the region to the rest of the country.

Walshok, who has written a book about innovation in San Diego, said the same could have been true of the 2015 celebration.

“A lot of people in global companies saw an opportunity to tell a bigger story about our region,” she said. But instead, Walshok said, the committee treated the event like “a Holiday Bowl.”

Walshok said she doesn’t doubt the integrity and hard work of BPCI’s committee members. The “point of view” she said, was the problem.

“I really think its important to point out that the board of directors is made up of volunteers, people in the community who have different strengths,” said centennial committee member Roscoe. “We all came together with the absolute best intentions to make this a success.”

“I’ve been in events my whole life and I’ve never had a failure,” she added. "This is stunning for all of us that this could have happened.”

When BPCI disbanded, planning was turned over to the city.

Mayor Kevin Falconer said in a statement he plans to work with City Council President Todd Gloria “to move forward with a more practical and realistic celebration.”

With less the 10 months to plan, museum leaders said the city should focus on the museums and groups that have 2015 programming ready to go.

Any additional money, they said, should go toward marketing those events.

They want the city, as it makes plans for the 2015 celebration, to avoid the mistakes they believe BPCI made.

“I want to see a more inclusive environment provided to those leaders that can make things happen,” Jim Kidrick said, president and CEO of the San Diego Air and Space Museum. “Because it’s not about politics any more.”

He’s optimistic.

“I can tell you we will get it done,” Kidrick said. "We’re going to stage a 2015 celebration that our community is going to be proud of.”

As for the Electriquettes, Sandy Shapery is still hopeful he can build a fleet for 2015.

On a recent sunny afternoon, he drove one down Balboa Park’s main promenade. Kids waved, people smiled.

Two amused park security guards pulled up in their golf cart and asked about the Electriquette. Shapery said he hoped to have them for the celebration next year. Of course, it’s all up in the air now because of the change in planning, he added.

At that, they shook their heads.

One of them said, “Don’t worry. We’re going to do this celebration on our own.”

Evening Edition

Above: Jim Kidrick, the president and CEO of the San Diego Air and Space Museum, and Peter Comiskey, the director of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, talk about the failures in planning the Balboa Park Centennial.

This story was edited by Lorie Hearn, executive director and editor of inewsource, a KPBS media partner.

KPBS' Maureen Cavanaugh, Peggy Pico and Megan Burk contributed to the Midday and Evening Edition segments

Comments

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 24, 2014 at 8:49 a.m. ― 9 months ago

Were pigeons different back then? They are all over that electric cart and very close to the people. It seems like pigeons today avoid humans more than those old birds.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 24, 2014 at 9:03 a.m. ― 9 months ago

America's largest CowTown.

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Avatar for user 'DavidKing'

DavidKing | March 24, 2014 at 9:09 a.m. ― 9 months ago

Kudos to the promoters of this program for coming forward and answering, being accountable. The Clays are some of the most genuine and skilled citizens of San Diego, and I'd bet my house and dog that this didn't fail from mistakes on the part of the promoters. This was a big goof by others, SD apathy, and the tough realities of competition in fundraising.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 24, 2014 at 10:53 a.m. ― 9 months ago

DavidKing, kudos to them from apologizing?

Can I steal from you then apologize and get a "kudos"?

They need to pay te city back.

And as for Faulconer and Gloria, they need to scrap their stupid idea.

This city already looks backwards enough, we don't need some on the cheap event handed down as a pity party from 2 people who should have been monitoring this closer from the beginning.

These two corrupt charlatans have no problem flaunting themselves at their self proclaimed "month of sea world" garbage, but they let these incompetent groups run rampant with millions of tax payer money that's now gone forever with nothing to show for it.

This is a failure at many levels, from those who squandered to those who failed to monitor and oversee.

Faulconer and Gloria, two pro-animal cruelty SeaWorld on the take hacks can take their cake and balloon plan an stick it where shamu can't swim as far as I'm concerned.

It's bad enough the centennial is ruined ad millions of tax payer funds squandered, now the city is abou to be victimize again by horrid city leaders trying to throw together some two-pit embarrassment of a show.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 24, 2014 at 12:03 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Guys I really want to know about those pigeons.

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Avatar for user 'ducraker'

ducraker | March 24, 2014 at 12:36 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Peking_Duck,

Thanks for explaining to DavidKing the bitter taste, this group (BPCI) of inept, civic pickpockets, has left in San Diego's collective mouth.

As for the cause of this miserable failure being "a big goof by others" and "SD apathy",; Shame on You! Were you paid for this lame comment?

Maybe his house and dog might cover Julie Dubick's $100,000 "Bonus" she received for her "great" work as CEO of BPCI.

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Avatar for user 'TPartyHero'

TPartyHero | March 24, 2014 at 1:48 p.m. ― 9 months ago

What's needed is a Tea Party event, that would bring a lot of people!

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 24, 2014 at 2:02 p.m. ― 9 months ago

TPartyHero I would go! Make it a Tea Party Centennial Celebration of a constitutional America!!

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Avatar for user 'Syntropic'

Syntropic | March 24, 2014 at 2:04 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Thieves, Scoundrels, or just plain Stupid? The Board was entrusted by the Public, spent money on their friends, and threatened anyone that got in their way. The Politicians were the Architects, and now their Official Organization just wasted three years.
Syntropic Systems (me) and the "San Diego 2015: Celebrating a Century of Creativity" which includes "Balboa Park 2015", is ready to raise money and Make A Difference. My Team needs Official Status Recognition and base funding.
Time is ticking.

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Avatar for user 'DavidLundin'

DavidLundin | March 24, 2014 at 2:04 p.m. ― 9 months ago

This "Apology" from Nikki Clay and her fellow BPCI Board members is a joke.

BPCI, its Board and its current "Transition Director" Gerry Braun continue to assert taxpayer-funded BPCI is not subject to the California Public Records Act. BPCI continues to refuse to promptly disclose business and accounting records.

Braun will not participate in an open Press conference. No Board member will testify before the San Diego City Council.

We have done six different Public Records Act Requests to BPCI and the City. Now that BPCI is no longer represented by legal counsel, Gerry Braun seems to be engaging in the unlawful practice of law and is representing BPCI in the legal dispute over the production of records. This morning [24 March] he wrote:

" BPCI does not share your view that it is an entity covered by the California Public Records Act. Nonetheless, it is reviewing your request for a response. BPCI will need an additional 14 days to determine if it can comply. The records BPCI needs to consult to make that determination are not readily available.
As you are aware, BPCI is in the process of gathering and organizing its records for transferal to the City of San Diego for purposes outlined it [SIC] the Memorandum of Understanding with the City."

NOTE, Braun is not asking for 14 days to produce documents, but for an additional 14 days [in addition to the 10 under the California statute] to "determine IF it [BPCI] can comply." So after 14 days plus the statutory 10 [24 days total of delay], he would then say they can't comply. We have had enough of this fellow's delaying tactics and misrepresentations, so we declined his request.

The BPCI Board, all "warm and fuzzy" and talking nice to KPBS over the weekend, still take the position BPCI is not subject to the California Public Records Act, and is doing all it can to delay the production of any additional records. Nikki Clay and her Board members continue to attempt to play "hide the ball" with the facts and the documents. Their "Apology" is part of a transparent effort to both delay the day of reckoning, and to deflect the blame for their breeches of the public trust upon others.

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Avatar for user 'SDproud'

SDproud | March 24, 2014 at 5:19 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Shame on all involved, especially the Clay's for bungling a huge opportunity to bring the community together for a positive and significant civic celebration that has nothing to do with the Chargers or Padres.

Several years and over $2.6 million squandered with virtually zero accountability. What business person could take such fees and produce absolutely nothing and not end up in court?

The City's entire population was about 30,000 residents when they lobbied for, planned, and built the original exposition which was executed in 2.5 years on time and on budget and drew approximately one million visitors over a two year span. That is vision! Our forefathers would be embarrassed by the inability of the nation's 8 or 9th largest city to plan a mere commemorative celebration, far less than what they dreamed of and built.

Perhaps this group of consultants isn't aware our civic slogan is "A City worthy of our affection", maybe they would have felt a higher sense of responsibility on this important task?

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Avatar for user 'LindaTegarden'

LindaTegarden | March 24, 2014 at 7:59 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Just outrageous.This was a collaborative effort in failure and I believe it should be investigated to the fullest. Millions wasted and all they think necessary is an "ooh, I'm sorry"? Those committee people should be held accountable for their malfeasance of practicing their professions...Who in their right mind would ever trust any of them again--these people who are lionized by the political and business insiders? How many of them worked for the former mayor, the UT, Chamber of Commerce. Those tax dollars they spent, the 2-3 million, came from ordinary people like me. This is exactly why San Diego ends up humiliated and looking like a second rate town, every damn time. I think there should be a Grand Jury investigation into HOW selections were made to hire consultants--two of them earning nearly a half million dollars each with NO DELIVERABLES to show. Maybe we should get Cory Briggs to sue them and get our money back? He seems to be the only guy in town not owned by the Establishment.

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Avatar for user 'sideflareh46'

sideflareh46 | March 24, 2014 at 8:23 p.m. ― 9 months ago

I agree completely, grand jury investigation should be followed by criminal charges? It infuriates me when I hear about these shenanigans with tax payer dollars as I am sitting in the auto repair shop waiting for my car to get the alignment fixed because the pot holes in the streets have ruined the camber on my car once again!

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Avatar for user 'Frankie'

Frankie | March 24, 2014 at 9:17 p.m. ― 9 months ago

1. Love ya, Peking Duck.
2. Note that the public relations professionals -- Braun last week and Clay this week -- do all the talking, making the requisite "apologies."
3. Where is committee CEO JULIE DUBICK who pulled down big bucks for lunching with people? When she first started in politics (losing a school board race) she always used to say she wanted "to give back." Well, now's her chance.

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Avatar for user 'DavidLundin'

DavidLundin | March 26, 2014 at 9:20 a.m. ― 9 months ago

Balboa Park Celebration, Inc., debacle update for this morning, March 26:

This afternoon's 1:30 PM City Council Committee hearing should be interesting. Gerry Braun, the well-paid "Transition Director" for BPCI, and all BPCI Board members are "not available" to appear at the public hearing. Busy planning spectacular Centennial events ? Or consulting with their lawyers ?

I am carving out the time, and no one is paying me to do so. Hope YOU can also attend to let the political leaders and the Press know you give a damn. Participate as a speaker if you wish.

Hope to see many of you at the City Administration Building, 12th floor about 1 PM.

http://www.10news.com/news/san-diego-councilman-demands-transparency-with-balboa-park-transition-director-032614

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Avatar for user 'JackyC'

JackyC | March 26, 2014 at 11:08 a.m. ― 9 months ago

The original Panama-California Exposition ran from March 1915 to January 1917. How about starting next year's celebration in March 2015 (to buy some time to prepare) & let it run until March 2016? It sounds like people had lots of great ideas & projects were already in the works, such as the electriquettes & getting famous artists involved. Forget about BPCI and go forward. Worry about getting money back from the BPCI fiasco separate from making what can be a great event happen.

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Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | March 26, 2014 at 1:40 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Mike McDowell, who has been heading the planning effort for Balboa Park's yearlong celebration of its 1915 exposition, was only "on loan" from the Lodging Industry Association. "Recent events require a recommitted effort on my part to ensure the near-term survival and long-term health of the hospitality industry," he said (Feb. 19, 2013, UT).

Irwin Jacobs was on UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla's search committee. He paid millions to refurbish the Chancellor's mansion with its 20 private parking spaces. Jacobs offered $44 million for a parking structure in Balboa Park. Consistently, the Zoo has lobbied for more parking. There was to be a parking lot in Florida Canyon to the east of the current parking lot. The people rose in anger. Then the War Memorial building / lawn was to become a parking lot. Same reaction. Then Jacobs came to the rescue. But he, too, was rebuffed. Donor Darlene Shiley said: “When you have someone as well respected as Irwin leading a project like this and you slam dunk him, that doesn’t bode well for future projects,” she said.
Bob Filner eliminated parking in the central square of the park. But the dragon-slayer himself was slain.

We did get Peggy Shannon Day. (Great-grandmother Shannon accused Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment).
Obviously, the kiosks in Balboa Park with names of philanthropists starting with Richard C. and Rita Atkinson aren't meant to be associated in the public mind with perpetuating the legacy of the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition -- access to open space, gardens, celebration of our heritage, naval history, a reduced entry fee to the zoo for children in 2015 (as stressed in Ellen Browning Scripps' behests). It's about donor fatigue, sure. But mostly it about hoteliers who wanted a 39-year tax regime and who ousted a populist mayor to get it.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | March 26, 2014 at 2:54 p.m. ― 9 months ago

KPBS, tell me, have you put in a request to see all city emails and other correspondence related to this disaster?

I find it *interesting* to say the least that the city tried to enact a policy to delete all city emails after 1 year just before this squandering of tax payer money surfaced.

What's in those emails?

Sick city news service on them!! Bring the Journalism Diva Ms. Faryon down there to find out what's going on - something does not add up.

People have every right to be upset at those who squandered, but the question of who dropped the ball in the city and failed to oversee this needs to be researched.

Mr. Faulconers response to this scandal has been far too cavalier for my taste.

in his interview he seemed to say, "yeah, well it's bad, and sure we'll get to the bottom of it" in a brushed-off manner.

And no, saying "we were all too busy with the Filner scandal to notice" is NOT, I repeat NOT a sufficient excuse for letting millions of dollars go down the toilet with no oversight.

And as for the "plan" Faulconer and Gloria are talking about now, what's the difference between that and the annual December Night festival?

They need to just accept the fact this is a missed opportunity and not embarrass the city further with their bo-bo the clown and ice cream ridiculousness.

Maybe Mr. Faulconer and Mr. Gloria will go to Albertson's and order a cake that says "Happy 100th SD" and stick it in front of the art museum?

What a groovy party.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | March 26, 2014 at 6:12 p.m. ― 9 months ago

Isn't Kevin Falcouner's wife a professional party planner? Perhaps the city's new first lady can volunteer to put something together.

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Avatar for user 'casualobserver'

casualobserver | March 30, 2014 at 10:37 a.m. ― 8 months, 3 weeks ago

So where are all those self-appointed taxpayer advocate groups, the ones who are always claiming to protect taxpayer interests? Where's their typical vitriol and righteous indignation about waste in government? Oh wait, this was a conservative group of San Diego insiders appointed by former Mayor Sanders who wasted taxpayer money. No wonder the silence.

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Avatar for user 'PattyRangel'

PattyRangel | May 12, 2014 at 11:44 a.m. ― 7 months, 1 week ago

An apology is a start, but how about returning the $3M of tax-payers money? This deserves a full Federal investigation. This situation is a shame for our City. I just came back from San Francisco, Sacramento and L.A. where friends and extended circles knew about what happened in San Diego with the Centennial.

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