The line to get into city hall on Monday afternoon, November 14, stretched out the door of 202 C Street and curved into the municipal plaza. Thank you to everyone who was willing to stand in this line and wait out the day to oppose the disastrously flawed and unnecessary Plaza de Panama project.
Over 200 of you were there to testify or cede time to SOHO and others. We also appreciate everyone who called, sent emails and letters to the mayor and city council, and created online petitions.
Together we made a strong case to the mayor and city council that this massive parking and traffic plan is not a worthy project for historic Balboa Park, nor a responsible use of the general fund; however, the council chose not to listen. They also ignored a five-page letter from Susan Brandt-Hawley, SOHO's attorney, that argued the project should not be approved because reliance on the city's EIR addendum is unlawful and that there is new information and changes to the environmental setting since 2013. Read the letter HERE.
After more than four hours of testimony from the San Diego community vs. park institutions and project team members, all of whom stand to gain financially from supporting the plan, it was déjà vu all over again. As was the case four years ago, only Council President Sherri Lightner opposed it.
Although this comes as small surprise, given the sham meeting of the Infrastructure Committee on October 27, it is still disheartening that the council would again disregard the community outcry and prioritize wealthy donors at the expense of our unique People's Park. And although there was surely a party afterwards for those who believe they finally won the Plaza de Panama battle, SOHO is highly optimistic that any celebration is premature, as this battle is far from over.
The most important way that you can help now to save the Cabrillo Bridge, Palm Canyon and Alcazar Garden from this destructive project is by donating to SOHO's Legal Defense Fund. Contributions go directly to fund SOHO's attorney and filing fees, in order to legally challenge this project. With financial support from our members and supporters, SOHO will exhaust all possibilities to defeat this misguided project for good.