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City Council To Examine Role In Balboa Park Celebration Fiasco

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday will look at its role in the collapse of the 100th anniversary celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition at Balboa Park.

Photo by Jon Sullivan

The Botanical Building is seen between columns of a walkway at Balboa Park in San Diego in this undated photograph.

This week the San Diego City Council will look at its role in the collapse of the 100th anniversary celebration of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition at Balboa Park.

The council is expected to vote Tuesday on its response to a highly critical San Diego County Grand Jury report released in May, which questioned the city’s oversight of the nonprofit group setup to oversee this year’s events.

A draft City Council resolution released ahead of Tuesday’s meetings said members agree with the Grand Jury finding that the Balboa Park Celebration Inc. did not receive enough in return from the $2.8 million it received from the city.

Much of the money went to outside consultants.

The City Council rejected findings that the city did not provide enough direction when it created the outside group, and did not adequately monitor the nonprofit.

The City Council is required to respond to the Grand Jury. The Office of the Independent Budget Analyst will work with the council and mayor’s office to agree on its response, which will be made part of a report that must be submitted to the San Diego Superior Court by Aug. 18.

Leaders will discuss a total of six findings and recommendations made in the Grand Jury report.

The City Auditor’s Office released a performance report in October 2014, which found that planning around the 100 year celebration had largely fizzled ahead of the 2015 anniversary. Donations had not materialized. The report blamed an inexperienced board and the lack of a coherent plan.

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