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Comments made by DanSoderberg

Caliente Sign On California Theater May Disappear

@ Crybaby. Falls flat? Let me explain it again. Personal taste or yours or anyone's personal standard for "awesome" does not figure into any criterion for historic designation. To see what those standards are simply go to the City's Website under historic resources, it will explain the standards in great detail the. Please study the City's register of historic sites. Historic landmarks can be as opulent as the Balboa Theatre or as utilitarian as a basic warehouse building near Petco Park, or as simple the Windansea surfer hut. Signs are on the register too. Frank the Trainman on Park Boulevard. Jimmy Wong's Golden Dragon on Universtity Avenue.

You can read Preservation Brief #25 issue by the Keeper of the National Register issued through the Secretary of the Interior to educate yourself on how a sign such as the Caliente Mural would have historic significance.

From there inform yourself about the history surrounding the sign, why and how it represents the cultural and economic development in San Diego's History. "The Agua Caliente Story" by David J. Beltran is a good place to start. The California Room of the San Diego Public Library has excellent resources about the mid century period of San Diego history, which the sign represents. I have already provided a small selection of historic points in my earlier comments.

But that aside, you miss one very crucial point. Not everyone has the time or energy to carefully study these issues and do research as a lot of us do. That's just one reason why we have a Historic Resources Board at city level and The State Historical Resources Commission in Sacramento. These positions are filled by individuals with advance degrees or professional experience in a wide variety of disciplines. Architecture, design, history, archeology, education, etc... who are trained to analyze history.

Let the process work the way it is supposed to. Let them weigh in to separate fact from fiction. To look beyond popular taste or narrow understanding. The circumventing of process, as is the case with the Caliente Mural, can not be justified whether you personally see the merits of the discussion or not. And if you truly feel strongly about arguing against the designation, use your right to comment for the Public Record at City Hall when HRB meets. But let the process work as it is mandated to do!

December 13, 2011 at 10:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Caliente Sign On California Theater May Disappear

Thank you Angela for giving the opportunity for me to "let loose" on this issue.

In regards to the comment above, "taste" has nothing to do with whether something is historical or not. The City, State, and Federal level have specific criterion and rules to determine historic value. The Caliente mural qualifies for at least one of many criterion at all three levels.

A stark concrete box which nobody has taste for could be designated historic if it meets the criteria and backed by research.

To suggest this is a property rights issue is a red herring. We all have to abide by the codes and laws pertaining to private property, which is why we don't have rendering plants in neighborhoods, liquor stores next to school yards, or having someone build a ten story add on to the house next to you.

In the case of the Caliente Mural, the City has not followed its own prescribed process and due diligence for vetting historicity.

December 13, 2011 at 6:05 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Caliente Sign On California Theater May Disappear

You are right. That is how it went down. The public's right to weigh in on this issue was circumvented. The HRB with its depth of expertise and professional credentials was cut out of the loop. Not good.

The best discussion of the significance of signage that lives beyond it original purpose comes from the Keeper of the National Register through the Secretary of the interior. It is Preservation Brief #25. Something City Staff seems to have forgotten about.

It states clearly in the Preservation Brief historic signs sometimes become landmarks in themselves, almost without regard for the building to which they are attached, or the property on which they stand! Not according to City Staff!

Historic signs give continuity to public spaces, becoming part of the community memory. Furthermore, in an age of uniform franchise signs and generic signs, historic signs often attract by their individuality: by a clever detail, a daring use of color and motion and other references.

They give concrete details about daily life of a former era, and allow the past to speak to the present in ways that buildings by themselves do not.

I call it a mural because of the sign's use of clever detail, use of color--and sense of motion with the horse seemingly charging towards us. This sign, and yes I call a mural, is a work of art in heart and minds of a community that associates it with a time and place in San Diego history that is long gone.

It is a rare glimpse at San Diego's mid century urban landscape when giant billboards--particularly those made by Caliente, were once a very common sight. Where else in San Diego is there an intact mid century billboard?

The billboard represents Caliente's once very prominent role in San Diego's economic engine. It was owned by one of San Diego's most dynamic individuals, John Alessio. "Mr. A." It was through his innovation that the Fabulous 5-10 became popular. The American Horse Racing Establishment disapproved of it because they considered it a "gimmick bet." But Alessio's vision ended up becoming mainstream, as the 5-10 eventually became the wildly popular and accepted "Pick Six." What other aspect of San Diego's built environment offers that teaching opportunity? Folks, that billboard represents where that all began, and it teaches it better than a forgotten document or photo lost on a dusty bookshelf.

It also speaks to a time when San Diego and Tijuana were real partners, both economically and culturally. The tourists that Caliente brought to San Diego.
How both cultures seemed more in tune and concert with each other than today with the giant concrete and steel fences,
and drug wars making the two cities seem very far apart.

Painting over this sign will truly be a heartbreaking desecration of history. And the loss of something very cool to look at as well. A mural, if you will.

December 12, 2011 at 9:39 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Caliente Sign On California Theater May Disappear

Angela, just because the City Staff says it is not historic doesn't mean squat. They don't decide if something is historic or not. That can only be done by the Historical Resources Board itself. THEY should be allowed to review this case. THEY are the ones who should make that determination. It's called proper review and public process. There is no excuse for the City Staff to circumvent that process and shut the public out of its right to weigh in on this issue. This is disgraceful.

And on the subject of the City Staff offering their evaluation on historic resources, their batting average is not so perfect. It's not all unheard of for the HRB itself to make findings contrary to City Staff.

City Staff is appointed by an anti historic preservation Mayor. This all starts from the top and trickles down.

December 12, 2011 at 8:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Caliente Sign On California Theater May Disappear

This mural is an important part of San Diego's cultural heritage. I say"mural" because it no longer advertises anything. Caliente horse racing is long gone.
I've started a "Save the Caliente Mural" Facebook page. I urge everyone to log in and "like" it. Help us stop this distruction of history and a horrible new beer billboard!

December 12, 2011 at 1:38 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Balboa Park Parking Plan Draws Fire

The appendage to the historic Cabrillo Bridge and its placement across the south facing walls of the historic buildings is jarring visually and incompatible with the atmosphere created by the Spanish Colonial architecture.

January 7, 2011 at 7:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )