Roundtable: Trump’s Unconventional Convention; Missing, Mangled Waterfront Plans
Friday, July 22, 2016
Not your father's RNC
The Republican National Convention in Cleveland turned out to be as unusual as its nominee for president.
It began a bit raucously, with a floor fight over a roll call vote and the walkout of Colorado's mostly anti-Trump delegation. But order prevailed, and nominations ensued.
The lineup of speakers, another indication of this convention's idiosyncrasies, included a still-grieving and very angry San Diego mother whose son was killed in Benghazi, Libya; stars from the worlds of sitcom, soap opera and reality TV; former presidential candidate Ben Carson, who linked Hillary Clinton with Lucifer; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose mock trial of Clinton produced cries of “Guilty!” and "Lock her up!" from the audience; and Trump's three adult children.
Perhaps most unusual of all, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz spoke Wednesday. His status as a rival for the nomination might have guaranteed him a much earlier slot in a more traditional party convention. (Think Monday of next week, for Bernie Sanders.) Cruz spoke, without endorsing Trump, just before vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. Unlike Pence, however, Cruz was booed off the stage.
The speech that got the most attention, hands down, was Melania Trump’s channeling of Michelle Obama. This was either a non-issue publicized by the Clinton campaign, Melania Trump’s doing (as reported by the New York Times Tuesday), or, finally, entirely a Trump staffer’s fault.
Trump accepted his party's nomination and spoke on the final night, preceded on the podium by PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, a Libertarian who has some unusual ideas about democracy and capitalism himself.
Waterfront development with an old master plan
Nearly all of the waterfront land downtown belongs to the public and is held in trust by the San Diego Unified Port District.
Among the most valuable port properties are Seaport Village and Harbor Island. Both are scheduled for makeovers.
How these premium properties will be redeveloped could be decided by the Port Commission this summer, but they'll be doing it with an outdated master plan that is being updated.
The port, which has been working on the plan for three years, wants to complete its master plan as these development projects are selected and proceed. This would mean that the blueprint defining the waterfront for future decades would be largely shaped by the private developers chosen to build it.
Attorney Cory Briggs has already notified the port he will sue under the California Coastal Act if it chooses any one of the Central Embarcadero proposals for Seaport Village or Harbor Island.
The port contends its preferred process of planning-as-you-go is not “piecemeal planning,” but is within the legal requirements for the comprehensive planning required by law.
Blurred vision of North Embarcadero
If Seaport Village and Harbor Island get makeovers on the Central Embarcadero, how will they then fit in with the historical grand vision for a world-class downtown waterfront?
Just fine, apparently, since San Diego’s visionary plan to use its waterfront “front porch” to showcase the city to the world has been ignored and worked around by developers and other interests for the past two decades.
The vision for a North Embarcadero of large parks, esplanades and public spaces to rival Sydney or Chicago was created by five government agencies and was approved by the California Coastal Commission in 2001. It is the law, but it doesn't exist.
Today, the North Embarcadero includes the B Street Pier, reserved for cruise ships; Broadway Pier, a concrete plaza with a steel and glass pavilion most often empty; Navy Pier, now a sea of parked cars; and several hotels, retail shops and more parking lots.
Through documents and interviews, inewsource found that two men played major roles in altering the plan for the waterfront in America’s Finest City: Steve Cushman, a port Commissioner and mayoral adviser, and attorney Briggs.
CORRECTION: The original version of this story incorrectly said the Port District does not have a master plan for development. In fact, it has a master plan that is being updated. The story has been updated.
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