Balboa Park History 1981
Summary of events in 1981
Fountain in Plaza de Balboa named after Bea Evenson (May 5, 1981)
Five bronze chimes stolen from Spreckels Organ (June 15, 1981)
Groundbreaking for new Naval Hospital in Florida Canyon (October 3, 1981)
Replacement for Electric Building to be called Casa de Balboa (October 16, 1981)
January, 1981, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 33, No. 3, 158-163, 247+.. Treasures of the Timken, by Elise Miller.
January, 1981, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 33, No. 3.. Citizens Coordinate for Century 3: Esther Scott and Dorothea Edmiston, environmental guerrillas, by Gordon Smith.
But while Citizens’ Coordinate undoubtedly lost popularity by opposing the Festival Stage, the group has gained both renewed popularity and respect by its tenacious opposition to the construction of a new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon. Summing up the group’s position on the hospital issue, Clare Crane, who has a doctorate in history from UCSD, says, “Balboa Park is one of the nation’s oldest and largest urban parks. Studies have shown that it’s the most important tourist attraction in San Diego, and that its value as a recreational center is greater than its value for any other use.”
It was partly through the efforts of Citizens’ Coordinate that a proposition offering the Navy an alternative site at Helix Heights in Southeast San Diego made the ballot last June. When that proposition was approved by the city’s voters, and the alternative site gained the support of Mayor Wilson and the County Board of Supervisors chairman Roger Hedgecock, it appeared the fight over the hospital might be over. But in early December the Navy announced that in spite of lower cost projections at the Helix Heights site, it would proceed with its plans to condemn park land and build the hospital in Florida Canyon.
Although surprised and disheartened by the Navy’s announcement, Citizens’ Coordinate and other groups still hope to forestall construction of the hospital on park land by virtue of a previously filed suit (which charges the Navy failed to produce an adequate environment impact statement for the project, and by an intensified grass-roots lobbying effort.
January 9, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:5-6. Navy Secretary Edward Hidalgo has responded to a series of questions from the Committee for Charter Protection for Parks about his relationship with Bob Wilson and about his decision on where to build a controversial new Naval Hospital in San Diego; the committee is plaintiff in a U.S. District Court case in San Diego in which it is seeking to ban construction in the park, adjacent to the present aging Naval Hospital.
January 10, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:5-6. President Carter’s White House aide can’t understand why the Navy, on the basis of available data, decided to build its proposed $293 million regional medical center in Balboa Park instead of Helix Heights, sources said January 9.
January 13, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:4-6. Congressional auditors, January 12, began a review of the Navy’s plan to build the new medical center in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon with an eye to anticipated cost overruns.
January 14, 1981, San Diego Union, B-6:3-4. The group opposing construction of the new
Naval Hospital in Florida Canyon took another step to personally interview Navy Secretary Edward Hidalgo in the matter.
January 17, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:3-4. President Carter has suspended the Navy’s decision to build a regional medical center in Florida Canyon instead of Helix Heights, giving the incoming Reagan administration and the General Accounting Office time to review the controversy.
January 19, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:5-8. A Canadian bagpiper entertained the crowd that turned out January 18 at the Organ Pavilion for the start of Maple Leaf Days, a month-long celebration saluting visitors from Canada, sponsored by the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
January 25, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:1-4. Radio Station KOGO sponsored a celebration at Balboa Park honoring Richard Morefield, former Iranian hostage, due to arrive here January 28.
January 25, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:1-4. The Bosco Boys bill themselves as “marvelous manipulators of multiple objects” and as experts in “buffoonery and bamboozlement”; Dan Hamilton turns his juggling pins into a maze of motion to delight onlookers in Balboa Park.
January 28, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:6. U.S. Magistrate Harry R. McCue ruled January 27 that former Navy Secretary Edward Hidalgo must answer further questions about how and why he chose Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon as the site for a new Naval Hospital.
February 1, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:6. President Reagan’s top adviser Edwin Meese III, of La Mesa, said January 31, the new Naval Hospital should be built in Balboa Park “unless there are some changed circumstances.”
February 3, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:5-6. Meese called wrong on hospital site issue.
February 6, 1981, San Diego Union, B-7:1-5. Rep. Clair W. Burgener, R-La Jolla, was named to the House Military Construction Appropriations Subcommittee, overseeing funding for the new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park.
February 14, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1-6. Councilwoman Lucy Killea next week will ask the City Council to formally withdraw its prior support for a land swap deal intended to pave the way for construction of a $308 million Naval Hospital in Balboa Park.
February 22, 1981, San Diego Union, F-1:1-8. James Britton II: Electric Building is all wrong for Historical Society; building could best be used by Natural History Museum and Museum of Man.
Of course, California’s Department of Transportation building in Old Town should become the Museum of San Diego History.
As discussed here, February 8, the giant CalTrans office block at Taylor and Juan streets is out of place, blocking the main entrance to Old Town, the site where Europeans first settled in California. The structure could justify its existence if transformed into a museum that gives dramatic focus to local history.
The San Diego History Center has been wandering as restless as a ghost looking for a proper place to spread out its huge horde of memorabilia.
When the city didn’t know what to do with the immense space newly created in Balboa Park (the Electric Building on the Prado), the Historical Society eagerly put in a bid and won a lease on about 50,000 square feet.
The space and the place are all wrong for their purpose, but the society is hard at work designing exhibits in a quite awkward pattern dictated by the unfortunate nature of the Electric Building.
Inside the building are two huge floors, uninterrupted except for columns every 32 feet. The Historical Society has plans to partition and partition until the sense of the space is lost in favor of a series of close-focus encounters with historical exhibits.
Director Richard Esparza and his devoted helpers may produce quite an engaging smorgasbord of history, but it hardly needs this particular space.
Should the Historical Society trade places with the CalTrans people? The Electric Building could be subdivided to house any number of highway men and the CalTrans building could easily accommodate the Historical Society displays, especially since these could logically spill out into the landscape surrounding the building and leading visitors to Exhibit A, Old Town itself.
Even an Indian Village, such as existed before the whites came, could be simulated at the front door as the introduction of introductions.
San Diego’s leading benefactor of all time, George W. Marston, was on the right track when in 1929 he built the Serra Museum in Presidio Park overlooking Old Town. The Historical Society was happy there for awhile until it found expansion in that spot impractical. Hence the hunt for a new home.
If you listen carefully you can hear the Hamletic ghost of Father Marston approving the idea of keeping the Historical Society close to Old Town, where it can set the pace for trustworthy interpretation of our past. He, by the way, was not fond of Balboa Park with buildings.
If CalTrans moved to the Electric Building, the freeway buildings would find themselves under the same roof with one of the world’s biggest spreads of miniature railroads, to be laid out in the same building by another tenant.
CalTrans could justify its presence in the park, and rise one up on its neighbors, if it set its engineers to designing a small car railroad to run throughout Balboa Park carrying passengers, so all the automobiles could be kept out of the park.
Dropping the facetious mask, one may note that CalTrans isn’t the right tenant for the Electric Building. The building could best be used by the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Man — or both. Yet both have already rejected it because they are not strong enough to make big moves.
Of all the misplaced museums in San Diego, the Museum of Man’s anthropology is the most crippled. By ingenious contortions it has managed to live in the California Building under the tower in Balboa Park. Moving would be literally a monumental proposition, and that’s one reason the management passed up a chance to take over the Electric Building.
Man’s new director, Douglas Sharon, has sounded off bravely about the need for a workable museum space. He’ll have a chance to expand along the Prado when, right next door to the museum’s present address, the House of Charm is rebuilt. Only tenant already lined up there is the Art Institute whose crafty artists might well be enlisted in developing museum exhibits.
In all the rebuilding that has gone on and will be going on along the Prado there was a chance to create a museum complex equal to anywhere. Unfortunately, no unified concept exists.
The new Electric Building is essentially an ugly place inside behind its charming facade.
Possibly blame can be placed on the limited budget. There also was limited thinking. There is no excuse to leaving the south wall practically windowless. There is little excuse for ignoring the possibility of skylighting.
When fully in use, the building will require enormous amounts of electric lighting. Perhaps this is the more easily swallowed because the building is named Electric, but it is a poor response to the energy conservation awareness of the times. On the credit side, there is to be a minimum of air-conditioning — though this may have to be added expensively when all the lights giving off hear are turned on and the employees wilt.
Worst fault, which indeed could be excused by the limited budget, is the failure to develop an indoor-outdoor relationship of the Electric Building to the canyon at its rear. A neighboring structure, the House of Hospitality, has such a relationship, which was generated at little expense and is popular as the Café del Rey Moro.
Again on the credit side, there is twice as much floor space as the original because a certain amount of digging was done to allow the two floors instead of the original one. With a suitable infusion of visionary money, the digging could have been continued to produce four floors instead of two. Because of height limits along the Prado, the additional floors would have to go down, not up. The southerly opening of the canyon would have made all floors light and airy.
The piecemeal work and lack of imagination in reconstructing the Prado chain of buildings compares most unfavorably with the unity of concept and the high imagination that went into the original construction of that site in 1915 — world-class enterprise when San Diego was a small town. Now that we’re a world-class city in size, we too often are crippled by small-town official policy.
Meanwhile, many cities that are faced with meaner problems overall than San Diego are bringing museum buildings along in fine shape. The latest issue of Perspecta, the Yale Architectural Journal (don’t ask why it’s published in Cambridge, Mass. by MIT Press) tells about museums of quality planned or built in Dusseldorf, Cologne, Stuttgart, Florence, New York and — yes — New Haven. What’s more it reproduces floor plans of 30 museums for comparison — none of them, alas, in California.
The Perspecta editors (or rather its advisers from the Yale faculty) assert that there is a “renewed interest in public architecture,” and also anew awareness of “the validity of the architecture of the past.” They find that the resurgence of the museum as a significant architectural image is “an important manifestation of these concerns.”
The clear star of the Perspecta discussion is the ancient complex of museum spaces in Florence that includes such famous names as the Uffizi, the Pitti Palace, the Ponte Vecchio, the Boboli Garden — none originally designed for museum purposes yet all gradually adapted by generations of architects. Comparison with our Balboa Park complex (and our CalTrans block) is most instructive.
A careful reading of issue No. 16 of Perspecta (the word means well-seen) will tell you that San Diego is far behind in the appropriateness of its museum facilities, though there is a great deal of rich material ready to be displayed here. Divisiveness and petty competition among the sundry museum leaders has to be replaced by a surge of higher vision. There could be no complaint if we reconstructed and adapted the conceptual power exercised here in 1915.
February 25, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:5-6. The City Council, February 24, warned the federal government that building a Naval Hospital in Balboa Park could be far more expensive than predicted.
March 1, 1981, San Diego Union, F-4:1-4. Richard R. Esparza, executive director San Diego History Center, replies to James Britton’s comments, February 22.
James Britton answers.
March 3, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:5-6. Plans for construction of a Central Division police station on a 17-acre site that once was part of Balboa Park were outlined March 2 at a park advisory group meeting; the Bartholomew Master Plan for Balboa Park called for park land diverted to other uses to be “returned to the park when available and appropriate”; the proposed police facility was termed “absolutely essential” to security because of recent muggings in the park.
March 5, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-14. Police station in Balboa Park.
Police authorities are seeking a site adjacent to Balboa Park for a substation.
They need 3-1/2 acres for a one-story structure that will be headquarters for 250 officers. The land the police have in mind now is a parking lot — once used to park the cars of football fans when the Chargers played in Balboa Stadium.
It is part of 17 acres of former park land, San Diegans voted in 1936 to turn it over to the Navy for recreational purposes. It reverted to city ownership in 1962.
The site on the southeast corner of Park Boulevard and President’s Way is a good selection. It slopes away from Park Boulevard and is partially hidden from view. It is adjacent to Interstate 5 and State 163.
March 5, 1981, San Diego Tribune,, B-3. State handout of $2.2 million may be boon to Balboa Park, Mission Bay.
Of the $6.5 million available to local agencies throughout the county, the city is expected to receive $2.2 million.
A large portion of that money, the City Council Public Facilities and Recreation Committee, agreed should go toward renovation of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. The money needed to pay the $1 million cost of the project has already been reduced by private contributions of $131,000 each from supporters of Bea Evenson and the Committee of 100.
March 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1. The Reagan administration will decide on the site of a new San Diego naval hospital after studying a General Accounting Office report, a new environmental impact statement and the rationale for the Navy’s decision last November to build in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.
March 17, 1981, Park and Recreation Board, Minutes.
- Casa del Prado Rental Fees – Rescheduled to April 21, 1981 Board meeting.
- House of Charm, Reconstruction
Mr. Roberts presented the staff report of March 9, 1981 recommending that the San Diego Opera Association be granted a three-year option on the House of Charm to permit the raising of funds to reconstruct the structure for its exclusive use and occupancy, etc.
Mr. Hal Williams, President of the San Diego Opera Association, spoke on behalf of his organization and stressed that the Opera would be constructing a Performing Arts Museum, library and rehearsal hall.
Mrs. Pat DeMarce, President of the Committee of 100, spoke in support of the Association’s proposal and indicated that the Committee would assist in the restoration of the building ornament.
Mr. Arnhym reported that the Balboa Park Committee recommended approval of the proposal.
Mr. Golden expressed concern that $185,000 would be spend by the City of a “one-purpose” design. Earl Hayden, the Project Officer, responded that the design would be good for several potential users, should the Opera be unsuccessful in its fund raising efforts.
Mr. Sadler expressed concern that a Request for Proposals was not issued to solicit input from other interested organizations. Mr. Campillo responded that when an organization or institution has offered to completely fund the reconstruction of a Balboa park building, it has not been past practice to put out a Request for Proposals. He cited the Briggs Cunningham Automotive Museum proposal for the Conference Building, as an example.
MOTION: Mr. Arnhym moved approval of the staff recommendations, but asked that the report to the Public Facilities and Recreation Committee include the Board’s concerns about, perhaps, going through a Request for Proposals process. Mr. Golden seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
March 20, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-1. Parks hurt by funding cutback; users’ fees are increasing; seniors may have to pay rent, by Reggie Smith.
Mary Duncan, chairwoman of San Diego State University’s Recreation Department, said, “The lower class can no longer afford basic recreation services. Areas of the city are paying higher fees and the services are deteriorating.”
March 20, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-9. Park enthusiasts can’t understand why city keeps pouring money into police protection at the expense of recreation, by Reggie Smith.
Those who have watched say that the park cutbacks over the years have caused the program to deteriorate, that parks are not being maintained, that new ones aren’t being developed and that vital programs are serving those who can afford to pay the fees.
March 24, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:6. A new environmental impact study released by the Navy March 23 rates Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon and Helix Heights in Southeast San Diego as “reasonable alternatives” for a new Navy hospital — without recommending either location.
March 27, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:6. Reps. Duncan Hunter, R-Coronado, and Robert E. Badham, R-Newport Beach, March 26 made a pitch to Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger for construction of a new naval regional medical center in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.
April 1, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:6. The city of San Diego, March 31, took the first step toward vacating land in Balboa Park that has been chosen for a new U.S. Naval Hospital — prompting criticism from one councilman that city leaders are “caving in” on efforts to move the $308 million project to Helix Heights in Southeast San Diego.
April 4, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1-2. Wearied by a controversy that has dogged him for nine years in office, Mayor Wilson said the fight to move the new Navy hospital project out of Balboa Park “may well be” over and that there is little more he can or will do to relocate the project to Helix Heights.
April 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1, B-20. Higher funds, private fees eyed; can city keep its parks “green”?, by Carl Ritter.
The extensive park and recreation areas adorning San Diego like a necklace — with Balboa Park as the 100-carat centerpiece — face the prospect of losing luster in the years just ahead.
Finding money to entertain the polish is the key problem, and that has spurred a debate which could result in altering the future Balboa Park.
Should the city, strapped for additional funding, levy or increase fees and turn to private sources for help and expand the park’s modest commercial base?
Parks and Recreation Department retrenchment is evident and administrators make no secret of the fact they are exploring ideas from groups on new way to cope with fiscal restraints.
“What ways are there to become a little bit more commercial while still retaining the park’s integrity?” was the way Balboa Park manager Dave Seyfarth phrased the issue.
Seyfarth emphasized that “we don’t want to turn the park into a fairground” while acknowledging that the question of permitting more vendors keeps surfacing.
Deputy City Manager Sue Williams reported to city officials that the preliminary price tag for Balboa Park rehabilitation is more than $40 million. That much also is needed for planned improvements in Mission Bay parkland and the park system’s overall needs exceed $100 million, her tentative report said.
Armand Campillo, parks department director, informed the City Council that a form of park and recreational department deregulation in general is on the way. Special interest groups will be encouraged to take over recreational programming previously handled by the government.
Recreation professionals will not remain the sole source of such programs, but will serve as catalysts for programs in the communities, he said. This is already being done in some other operations of the park department.
Campillo’s proposal for the 1982 parks department budget year, which begins July 1, is $20.7 million, up slightly from the current $20.2 million. With utility and other expenses soaring, 15 positions will have to be eliminated.
In addition to the staffing cutbacks, money is being saved by deferring tree-trimming for one year, and the lakes recreation program is being transferred to the Water Utilities Department.
Moves to encroach on parkland or open park policies to commercial interests in the past have been strongly countered in fights led by watchdog volunteer groups, such as the Committee of 100 and the Balboa Park Committee.
The parkland was deeded to the city nearly 113 years ago with the provision that it be “for the use and purpose of a free and public park.”
Despite zealous protection of the park since then 322 acres — about one-fourth of the total acreage — have been surrendered to freeways, streets, camps, schools, maintenance facilities, and the Naval Hospital. Leases have been granted to a wide range of tenants.
Seyfarth expects new guidelines to come from a current study of Balboa Park by a consulting firm with the ultimate purpose of updating the park’s Harland Bartholomew master plan of the early 1960s.
Several city departments and committees have been solicited for ideas on generating additional park revenues.
This last year the department dispatched letters to 11 service organizations asking if any were interested in operating city facilities. Henry Pepper, the parks department’s supervising administrative analyst, terms the response from the groups as “no rejection and no acceptance.”
So another set of letters is being sent, urging comments from such organizations as the Salvation Army, the YMCA, the YWCA, American Youth Hostels, Boys’ Clubs, Girl’s Clubs, the Jewish Community Center and the Camp Fire Girls.
Pat Perrin, a consultant to the park facilities and recreation committee, said it is proposed that the city lease or rent recreation centers and other public facilities to private service organizations which would provide programs for the public.
Private groups already have a hand in operating many of the city’s 37 community centers. And senior citizens virtually run their centers.
The parks department has withdrawn from supervision of 96 school playgrounds, and the initial impact of Proposition 13 brought the dismissal of 92 employees.
Strong protests surfaced after an announcement this month that three full-time and 30 part-time Balboa Park positions would be cut from next year’s budget.
This is because they jeopardize the jobs of instructors in dance and other cultural areas. Civic Youth Ballet, Junior Theater, Youth Symphony and crafts support is scheduled to end. With other measures limiting governmental spending, the parks department is moving toward changing participants in an effort to make the programs self-supporting.
Staunchly opposed to any commercial expansion in the park is the Committee of 100, which has a membership of about 2,000. Over the years, the group has proved to be the biggest helping hand for the park, showing proficiency in attracting funds from foundations and other sources.
The committee’s president, Patricia DeMarce, said the group has raised $591,000 toward restoring the organ in Balboa Park and refurbishing the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Members also have pledged to raise $131,000 to match an individual donation by the organization’s founder, Bea Evenson.
De Marce said the organization remains steadfastly opposed to commercialization in Balboa Park — especially in the Prado area. She said there are other ways of going, “whether by grants, bond issues, individuals and organizations pulling together . . .”
She pointed out that the Casa del Prado was rebuilt with bond money, the new Electric Building is nearing completion, the San Diego Opera Association is planning to erect a new House of Charm, the Aerospace Historical Center has been relocated in the refurbished Ford Building, the Museum of Man is ready to restore and expand into the old Administration Building, and the Committee of 100 and others who care about the park are looking toward eventual reconstruction of the House of Hospitality.
In other developments, the Briggs Cunningham Automotive Museum should in the next fiscal year complete its move from Costa Mesa in Orange County to a building it will construct on the site of the present Conference Building.
The San Diego Opera Association made a surprise proposal this month, asking for a three-year option to raise an estimated $4 million needed to replace the decaying House of Charm, condemned for occupancy and stripped of tenants.
Still the push for needed funding has led to several suggestions for additional revenue, although many of them are seen as having little chance of passage. The proposals, which would mean a percentage of revenue for the park, include:
— Charging motorists for entry in the park, and installing parking meters.
— Allowing trade shows, small conventions or seminars and other corporate activity.
— Offering more items for sale, with the city taking a percentage of profits.
— Revival of an effort several years ago for a new theater in the park.
— Allowing artisans — glass blowers for example — to give demonstrations and create new works while selling their wares.
— Adding more festivals, such as the foreign cottages’ first food fair.
— Having non-profit organizations take over operation of Balboa Park and Torrey Pines golf courses.
— Adding a surcharge on museum and Zoo admission fees, somewhat along the lines of the hotel-motel room tax, which already provides considerable help to the museums.
The parks department, with community service organization help, is continuing recreational and parkland expansion in the next fiscal year. Eleven new city park areas — for future development — will be added, with seven maintained under contract and the remainder maintained by the city.
Parks director Campillo said “it was music to our ears” when the Jewish Community Center” volunteered to take over development and operation of a University City area known as the Eastgate Mall, which will feature several playing fields, a theater and fine arts and crafts activities.
The La Jolla Theater Arts organization took over development of a recreation area in that community and he said the Rancho Bernardo Recreation Council proposes to transform extensive acreage the city holds there into park and recreation grounds.
“These are unsung hero types,” Campillo said of people lending the city a hand to alleviate the financial squeeze.
But Sayfarth make it clear that Balboa Park is the cornerstone of the city’s past and future recreational areas.
“The history of San Diego revolves around Balboa Park. It is a very special place,” said Sayfarth. “As Balboa Park developed, the city developed. It is unusual in that it has such a variety of interests compared with most major parks.
“It offers not only culture, concerts and museums, but dances and sports activity. It is active and passive, all rolled into one. That’s why people say, ‘Preserve it, let’s not lose something so unique.’”
April 7, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3.3-5. Balboa Park Committee recommended a 3.5 acre site at Park Boulevard and President’s Way near park be used for a police substation.
April 7, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3. Council voted to spend $60,000 to appraise 35 acres in park sought by Naval Hospital; land may be more expensive than originally estimated.
A majority of council members, who oppose construction of the hospital in Balboa Park, express hope that appraisals will show that the Navy estimate is far too low and thus push the project’s cost beyond what has been allocated by Congress.
April 8, 1981, San Diego Tribune, A-9. Park skate ban ordinance gains in Assembly, by Ron Roach.
Sacramento — A bill sought by San Diego to protect an ordinance regulating roller skating in Balboa Park from possible state preemption is on the Assembly floor.
The bill, by Assemblyman Larry Stirling, R-San Diego, would remove state preemption as grounds for a lawsuit challenging the city’s authority to ban roller skating on sidewalks adjacent to roadways.
Commercial roller-skating interests have won a preliminary injunction in San Diego County Superior Court to block a regulation issued by the city manager.
However, the City Council has since adopted an ordinance to prevent skaters from mixing with pedestrians in the Prado area of Balboa Park. This ordinance is in effect, although the manger’s regulation was blocked, said Deputy City Attorney Ken So.
April 8, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1-4. A bill that would allow San Diego and other cities to regulate roller skating on sidewalks was approved April 7 by the Assembly Transportation Committee; the bill by Assemblyman Larry Stirling, R-San Diego, was a response to problems San Diego has in trying to control the large number of skaters in Balboa Park.
April 8, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1-4. By unanimous City Council vote, the fountain at the Plaza de Balboa in Balboa Park is being renamed after Bea Evenson, founder of the Committee of 100; Evenson recently donated $131,000 for restoration of the park’s Organ Pavilion.
April 8, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-1. City is failing in its goal of preserving open space and is using money put aside to pay off open-space bonds for other purposes, according to a recent city manager’s report, by Vicki Torres.
April 9, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1. A private group’s proposal to build a youth hostel on city-owned land in Ocean Beach is stalled because of a disagreement among City Council members about non-profit groups using city lands, by Anthony Perry.
Sixty-seven non-profit groups are currently leasing city property, including the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Chicano Federation, House of Pacific Relations, YMCA, Civic Air Patrol and senior citizens organizations. The San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park at San Pasqual are run by non-profit groups leasing city land.
April 9, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:1-3. Opponents and supporters of putting a new San Diego naval regional medical center in Balboa Park repeated their arguments April 8 before House Military Appropriations.
April 13, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:1-4. Car vandals in Balboa Park anger performers, by Cheryl Clark.
Two moonlighting agents for a security company now regularly patrol the area parking lots for suspicious-looking characters who might be watching and waiting behind the trees as the performers leave their cars and enter the theater at the Casa del Prado.
The services cost each performer 50 cents a day for a total of $24 a night.
Although many of the troupe members insist they shouldn’t have to play extra for a job that ought to be gone by their Police Department, “we have no choice,” said one recent victim.
April 16, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2. Crumbling ornament on archway entrance of House of Hospitality has been repaired with volunteer efforts; money for the project came from House of Hospitality board representatives and the Committee of 100.
A safety trellis extending out within two feel of the curb is providing some building support as well as offering pedestrian protection.
Architects Don Goldman and Fred Blecksmith designed the trellis..
April 21, 1981, San Diego Tribune, A-8. A bill designed to help the City of San Diego’s ordinance regulating roller skating in Balboa Park withstood legal challenges halfway through the Legislature.
A 68-8 vote of the Assembly yesterday sent the bill to the Senate.
April 21, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:1-3. A bill that would permit the city of San Diego to continue its restrictions on roller skating in Balboa Park passed the Assembly, April 20.
April 25, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:6. The Government Accounting Office, April 24, declared its support again for the Navy’s decision to build a $308 million regional medical center in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon; opponents of the park site, including Mayor Pete Wilson, have been urging the Navy to build at Helix Heights.
April 28, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:6. Sen. Alan Cranston, April 27, criticized a recently released General Accounting Office report supporting the Navy’s selection of Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon as the site of its new $308 million regional medical center.
May 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:1-3. City named big central fountain in the Plaza de Balboa after Bea Evenson yesterday, by Carl Ritter.
May 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:2-3. Two environmental groups that have been fighting to keep a new Naval Hospital out of Florida Canyon were themselves recently threatened with eviction from Balboa Park, apparently because of involvement in political issues.
May 9, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:1-2. The dispute over where to locate a new Naval Hospital still finds San Diegans seriously split, according to a San Diego poll.
May 9, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:2-4 and May 11, 1981, B:3:5-6. Foes of the proposed Naval Hospital site are referring to it as the “Park Boulevard plan” instead of the Florida Canyon plan, but to the shifting of the design of the hospital to accommodate discovery of an earthquake fault in the area.
May 12, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:1-3. Opponents of building a $308 million Naval Hospital in Balboa Park, May 11, publicly chastised Mayor Wilson for not lobbying hard enough in Washington, D.C. to block the project.
May 12, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:2-3. Correction of map showing proximity of proposed Naval Hospital structures to existing Balboa Park buildings; maps appeared May 9 and May 11 in the San Diego Union were incorrect.
May 14, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:5-6. In what may have been its final opportunity to testify on the matter, San Diego’s city government May 13 tried to persuade a Senate subcommittee to overturn the Navy’s decision to build a new $308 million regional medical center in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.
May 20, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:1. The City Council has decided that further legal maneuvers to block construction of a new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park would be futile and has instructed the city attorney to negotiate the highest compensation for the loss of 37 acres of parkland, several council members indicated May 19.
May 21, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:1-3. Foes the plan to build a new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park are angered over city ending legal opposition.
May 22, 1981, San Diego Union, B-6. Balboa Park, a haven of plenty, by Carl Ritter . . . From the cultural to the mundane, Balboa Park is a place to blend into a crowd of find solitude; nature in its purest form exists here alongside cultural sheen; the park with its zoo, museums, plants, athletic events, organ recitals, and much more only a few minutes drive from the center of downtown is 1,074 acres of variety.
May 23, 1981, San Diego Tribune, A-1, A-6. Automotive Museum at starting line, campaign will begin Tuesday, by Gary Shaw.
A campaign to bring the prestigious Cunningham Automotive Museum to Balboa park will begin Tuesday with the donation of a 1936 Triumph Square.
May 25, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:5-6. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said May 24 he has not ruled out Helix Heights in Southeast San Diego rather than Balboa Park as a site for a new Naval Hospital.
May 27, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1. 1936 Triumph Squire held in trust for Balboa Park museum; first step taken toward Automotive Museum to be constructed on the site of the present Conference Building, by Carl Ritter.
May 28, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:1-3. The San Diego City Council May 27 voted unanimously to ask a federal judge to delay indefinitely the eviction of the city from Balboa Park land proposed for a Naval Hospital.
June 1, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-10. Letter, “Farewell” to Conference Building, by Margaret Berube, Mission Gorge.
The thousands of petitions against losing this building from the various people who use it were turned over to the City Council and ignored!
My remark, “How money talks,” brings agreement from all I know.
June 4, 1981, San Diego Tribune, A-6. State’s big wheels persuaded to amend curb on roller skaters.
Sacramento (AP) — A group that skated from Oakland to Sacramento to protest against legislation that could restrict roller skating has scored a partial victory.
The skaters were concerned with a bill by Assemblyman Larry Stirling , R-San Diego, to let cities and counties restrict or ban skating on sidewalks and streets.
Their protests prompted some changes in the bill, which was sent to the Senate floor of a 4-1 vote of the Local Government Committee.
Stirling agreed to allow local governments to act only by ordinance, which requires a hearing at which members of the public can testify.
Stirling also agreed to give local governments the power to “regulate” skating rather than to “prohibit or restrict” it.
June 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1. With a decision still hovering on where the new Naval Hospital will be built, the city of San Diego June 4 won another reprieve on removal of its plant nursery from Florida Canyon, priority site for the new navy medical center.
June 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-14. Letter, Robert D. Wallace, San Diego.
If anyone looks closely at the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park he will be shocked to see how badly the stucco decor is crumbling away, despite its many coats of paint.
I hope that the city will see to it that specimens of this rich ornament are taken down, before it is too late, so that molds can be made and the ornament replaced when the building is eventually rebuilt, as was the case in the Casa del Prado, and currently in the new historical museum that is rising where the Aerospace Museum once was.
The holographs of this ornament made by the Committee of 100 will serve as excellent means of checking the accuracy of the molds, but it will be far easier to make molds from the actual ornament than to try to recreate them from holographs.
The House of Hospitality has become a symbol of San Diego’s magnificent heritage and leaves a deep impression on our visitors. I only hope that when the building is finally replaced, the interior will be worthy of the exterior, and of San Diego. so that when San Diego citizens receive official and unofficial visitors in its salons they can be proud of their beauty and charm.
A truly elegant House of Hospitality could well be a project of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. What better way to impress our city’s guests than in elegant rooms in a magnificent building set in the lush gardens of Balboa Park?
June 10, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1-2. The Navy June 9 issued its final environmental impact statement on the proposed 760-bed hospital for San Diego, reaffirming its stand that the hospital should be built in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.
June 4, 1981, San Diego Tribune, A-6. Changes in bill to let cities restrict or ban skating on sidewalks and streets made at the urging of skaters.
June 23, 1981, San Diego Union, B-5:2-5. The San Diego City Council would be able to enforce its restrictions on roller skaters in Balboa park under a bill sent to Gov. Brown June 22; the bill, by Assemblyman Larry Stirling, R-San Diego, gives cities and counties the power to regulate roller skating on local streets and sidewalks.
June 29, 1981, San Diego Union, B-4:5-8. Along 1,000 feet of Park Blvd. sidewalk June 28, colored ribbons strung from a wire flapped in the wind, attracting motorists’ attention to about 75 people standing vigil to protest the Navy’s plans to build a new hospital in Balboa Park.
July 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:1-3. The controversy will go on as to whether the Naval Hospital should be built in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon or Helix Heights; a private group is suing to keep the new hospital out of the park, although Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger’s decision is due this week.
July 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-12:1-4. Pedicabs now plying Balboa Park, by Kathryn Phillips.
For $1 passengers can ride for five minutes in one of the shiny blue or red cabs. Along the way, the operator, who pedals the five-speed cycle attached to the cab, will tell interesting bits of information about the park, including museum hours and the like, said Steve Clark.
June(July?) 5, 1981, San Diego Union, B-14. Letter, Stucco is crumbling at House of Hospitality, by Robert D. Wallace.
If anyone looks closely at the House of Hospitality in Balboa Park, he will be shocked to see how badly the stucco decor is crumbling away, despite its many coats of paint.
I hope that the city will see to it that specimens of this rich ornament are taken down before it is too late, so that molds can be made and the ornament replaced when the building is eventually rebuilt, as was the case in the Casa del Prado and currently in the new historical museum that is rising where the Aerospace Museum once was.
The holograms of this ornament made by the Committee of 100 will serve as excellent means of checking the accuracy of the molds, but it will be far easier to make molds from the actual ornament than to try to recreate them from holographs.
The House of Hospitality has become a symbol of San Diego’s magnificent heritage and leaves a deep impression on our visitors. I only hope that when the building is finally replaced, the interior will be worthy of the exterior, and of San Diego, so that when San Diego citizens receive official and unofficial visitors in its salons they can be proud of their beauty and charm.
A truly elegant House of Hospitality could well be a project of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. What better way to impress our city’s guests than in elegant rooms in a magnificent building set in the lush gardens of Balboa Park?
July 7, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:1-2. Roller skating on city streets and sidewalks, including the popular skating areas in Balboa Park, will be subject to local government control under a bill signed into law by Gov. Brown.
July 9, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:6. The Navy may offer to transfer to San Diego more Balboa Park land than the 35.9 acres of Florida Canyon it condemned last year for a site for a new naval regional medical center, it was learned July 8 in Washington.
July 9, 1981, San Diego Union, B-4:5. The Thursday club recently contributed $9,185 to activities relating to Balboa Park; of that sum, $5,000 went to the San Diego History Center for use by the San Diego History Museum in the new Electric Building.
July 15, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1. Spreckels Organ theft of five bronze, chrome-plated chimes mars the sound of music.
The disappearance of the chimes has been traced back to June 18, when the organ pavilion was unlocked for San Diego High School commencement exercises.
July 15, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:6. Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger will announce July 15 the selection of Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon as the site for a new Naval Hospital, sources said here July 14; Weinberger will also announce that the hospital plan has been redesigned to eliminate some features found objectionable by city officials.
July 16, 1981, San Diego Union, 1:4. Casper Weinberger, Secretary of the Defense Department announced July 15 that a new Naval Hospital will be built in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.
July 17, 1981, San Diego Union, B-10:1-3. EDITORIAL: Secretary Weinberger has added some “sweeteners” to make the Balboa Park site for the Naval Hospital more palatable for San Diegans; the Navy will trade 39.8 acres presently occupied by the Balboa Naval Hospital for the 35.9 acres it has condemned in Florida Canyon; the Navy will raze unwanted buildings and restore the site on Inspiration Point to a “parklike” condition and will bear the $300,000 cost of relocating the Balboa Park nursery.
July 23, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:1-2. Pekarek Group, a firm hired by the city to give recommendations for upgrading the master plan for Balboa Park, wants additional suggestions and ideas from the public; planners tend to view crowded parking lots and the resulting aimless traffic circulation in summer as the park’s highest priority problem.
July 26, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1. San Diego fighting losing battle against Golden Hill graffiti, by Ed Jahn.
The gang graffiti war goes on but the City of San Diego’s battle for the Golden Hill section of Balboa Park is over.
For three months last year the city fought to keep the restroom in that southeast corner of Balboa Park free of youth-gang insignia.
It was a test case that failed. Every morning a crew gathered at the restroom and began painting out the spray-painted titles, names and initials.
But when they returned the next day, the exterior walls again would be covered with the stylized writing.
Those results mirror efforts elsewhere in the city, but what are eyesores to the general public are definitive footnotes to others on the changing strengths and boundaries of street gangs.
Youths who lounged near the painted-and-repainted park restroom, which is circled by Golden Hill Drive didn’t readily admit to being the graffiti culprits. They did, however, tell city workers their efforts were futile.
“After three months we had to give up,” said Jim Slade, building maintenance supervisor. “They were getting back to the restroom before the paint was dry.”
A citizens’ group in the area then took up the challenge. For a whole those residents painted out the markings twice a week. Now they obliterate the markings only occasionally.
The city continues its endless efforts to rid overpasses, street signs, pubic buildings, sidewalks, and retaining walls of the markings, some of which are crossed out and written over numerous times by gang members themselves.
A two-person team equipped with a high-pressure washing device on the back of a truck travels around the city four-days a week trying to eliminate the marks with a chemical solution, Slade said.
The city also is looking for a type of paint that would leave a surface unsuitable for aerosol sprays. Unfortunately, Slade said the anti-graffiti paint now on the market has a high-gloss surface which makes it extremely difficult to paint over for normal upkeep. No satisfactory product has been found.
The yearly cost to the city for the project now is more than $25,000, he estimated. Graffiti appears to be holding its own, if not spreading.
Gang members say both the city and the citizens’ groups misread the markings. They aren’t simply idle scribblings, they say. Instead, the graffiti is an important part of territorial imperative.
And the Barrio Lomas gang is the reason the graffiti stayed up on the Golden Hill restroom, gang members say.
Frank Tafoya, 21, is still a member of the Barrio Sherman gang. He also is directing his energies toward uniting several gangs in and around his barrio to work for community needs.
Gangs organize partly for self-protection, they contend. Mostly though they form out of boredom, unemployment, frustration and a youthful sense of machismo. And much gang activity includes some kind of criminal behavior, Taylor and the police agree.
Since the area and the recreation center in the neighborhood of Golden Hill are located on hills, the gang members who organized there combined “barrio,” meaning district, with “lomas,” the Spanish work for hills. So they call themselves the Barrio Lomas gang.
“They haven’t got many guys, but they are trying to build a reputation,” said Tafoya. “If they don’t keep their name up in the park, they lose reputation. If they let someone else come in and put up their names over theirs, they ain’t ‘bad’ anymore.”
Since both the Shermans and the Logan Heights Luckies are located near the park, these gangs feel it necessary to paint their gang graffiti on the restroom to prevent the Lomas gang from getting too bold, Tafoya said.
Gang wall markings delineate the boundaries within each barrio. Sometimes the boundaries are strict, as along parts of Logan Avenue, where one gang claims the north side of the street and another the south.
Gang graffiti is common around gang hangouts, heavily traveled intersections and barrio boundaries, Tafoya pointed out.
He gave the seemingly meaningless phrase, “b SM R 1 X3” as an example.
Tafoya explained that it is the Sherman logo, with SH standing for Sherman. If the writer has time and space that work would be spelled out.
The lower case “b” preceding the name means barrio. The “R” at the right of the marking can stand for the Spanish word “regla,” meaning rule or ruler. Others interpret it as “rifa,” a slang term meaning that any writer who added further insults would find those insults directed back to himself.
The number 1 might be included to signify the gang is first among all gangs. Often times the wall painter will add the “X3” at the bottom to stand for “crazy” or “loco.” A gang member so tough he will attack any intruder is considered crazy, a term of pride.
Thus, Tafoya said the gang could be deciphered as “The Shermans rule the barrio because they are the craziest (meanest).”
Tafoya carries a constant reminder of the Shermans on his right arm. It’s a hand-made tattoo of the gang insignia with a forefinger extended to indicate they are number one. It’s an embarrassment to him now, he admits.
The wall insignias can become even more specific. Since the Shermans hang out at 20th and K, they sometimes put Roman numbers XX (20) – or “veinte,” the Spanish word for 20 — to show which street they are on. The Logan Heights Luckies are on 26th Street and their markings now have XXVI, the Romans numerals for 26, he said.
The graffiti provides the police with information about activity among the estimated 35 gangs and their 2,800 members, according to Sgt. Bill Campbell, supervisor of the department’s 10-man gang detail.
“Sixty percent of our responsibility is keeping information on gang members,” he said. Most of the gang members put their names, nicknames or initials on the graffiti, giving the police a roster of who is involved in which gang, he pointed out.
“If we see a lot of them X-ed out, we know there’s an impending feud,” Campbell said. “Gang members usually don’t snitch so it’s one way we have to get information.”
Occasionally another gang will blot out a rival gang’s insignia. That isn’t grounds for a rumble unless the second gang identifies itself with the graffiti, Tafoya said.
“Usually the other gang won’t put their names above something they crossed out unless the want something to happen,” he said. “There’s always something behind that like a fight or a girl or a problem.
“A gang member thinks it’s going to give him a bad reputation if people see his name crossed out, so he’ll get even.”
Tafoya said he resents it when all street people are accused of killings, robberies or vandalism actually committed by a small number of gang members.
“They think that just because you wear baggy pants, loose shirt, have a white T-shirt and have short hair and tattoos, you are bad,” he said. “Most of us aren’t bad, but people think we’re from outer space.”
Campbell was reluctant to talk about the gangs by name since he feels it only serves to enhance their notoriety.
“It’s difficult,” the officer said. “We need to tell the public about what’s going on but we don’t want to give gang members any publicity.
“What they should be reading about is gang members who go sent up for long terms.”
Fortunately, gang members seem to respect art, creativity and their native heritage, Tafoya said. Popular hangouts in the barrios, such as markets that once were covered with scribblings now are being whitewashed by some gang members.
“We’re trying to paint murals now,” Tafoya said. “We’re trying to give the younger kids some pride and a feeling that things can be different.”
July 29/ August 5, 1981, San Diego Newsline. Old Globe Eyes Balboa Park Canyon, by Virginia Bisek.
“I think Old Globe’s temporary theater is a major insult . . . Sticking up out the canyon with a bunch of fake, brown timbers, Elizabethan-style. It looks dumb.”
This was a statement made by Art Casey, executive director for Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (CCCIII), an organization made up of urban conservationists who could be deemed the conscience of San Diego’s plans for Balboa Park.
The Old Globe theater is currently in the process of applying to expand its site in Balboa Park. They were given a temporary lease in a canyon site about three years ago, in the aftermath of the tragic arson fire that burned the Globe to the ground. Now they want the land for keeps.
When asked how much Balboa Park land the Old Globe has already, James Milch, lawyer and negotiator for the Globe, said “I don’t know.”
Casey said that its not just a question of how much land the city leases. It’s how much land the proposed plan will require during use. “They are going to need at least 4 or 5 acres for the theater-goers to park in.”
Casey questions the validity of the “temporary” lease Old Globe was given in the first place. “Just look at the structure and you can see that the thing will last for a hundred years. I believe that Mayor Wilson supported the new stage from the beginning, so it zipped through the City Council with a passing vote.”
Casey says CCCIII has opposed the new theater from the start. “We tried to get them to build it elsewhere, like in La Jolla or UCSD, places where it would get more use, rather than tearing up land in a public park.”
Proponents of the new theater believe it to be a viable thing for the citizens of San Diego. Milch says that, “We’ve explored the economics and evaluated public response. Other agencies, such as ballets and schools will be able to use the facilities, too. Also, it has not blighted the landscape.”
An Environmental Impact Report assessing the impact of the new stage is currently in process and will be completed before the present lease expires in October.
As to what purpose it serves the citizens of San Diego, Casey states that there has been some research done that shows a large portion of the theater goers come from out of the city, a good portion from Los Angeles. “But try and get people to listen to this, and you can’t. No one will ever listen.”
Casey also contends that there have been many “lies over this issue. First of all, it was supposed to be temporary and they build something like an earthquake couldn’t knock over. They were supposed to replant trees and replace some vegetation they destroyed while building the new site, and they haven’t done it. I believe that there were plans for that new theater even before the old one burnt down. The way the lease kept getting continuations and the way it zipped through city council . . . it smells kind of fishy.”
The Old Globe’s temporary standing must come to head before October. CCCIII is reluctant to oppose the issue any longer without public backing or high placed officials’ support. They received a bad reputation for opposing the new stage shortly after the old one burned down. “The public was salivating left and right over the issue,” says Casey. “Everyone’s heart was open to the new theater because of the burning.”
Did you know that the local architects office gave its Orchid Award for the best “jewel” of a building to the new theater?” says Casey. “Just go look at it — they should have given it the Onion Award.”
July 29, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1. The Committee for Charter Protection for Parks July 28 filed a request in federal court for an injunction blocking construction of a Naval Hospital in Florida Canyon.
August 4, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-3. Encanto Boys’ Club will finally get their gymnasium from funds earmarked for city under Community Development Block program, by Reggie Smith.
Councilman Leon Williams won the council’s consent to fund a $150,000 study of present and potential uses of more than 65 acres of Helix Heights that may saw as the best site for a new Navy Hospital. The Navy says it will build in Balboa Park.
August 11, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-14. Letter, J. C. Hanselman, San Diego.
In Neil Morgan’s column of August 3, 1981, he seemed to believe that a bank and its parking lot would be obscene if located in Balboa Park.
I believe that most banks I have seen and their parking lots, are far more attractive than the city nursery, offices and truck parking recently put in the park just south of Morley Field.
August 16, 1981, San Diego Union, F-1:1-8. Feature by James Britton, II . . . the time has come for the city to trade off Balboa Park; parts of the park have been traded by the politicians ever since its original 1,400 acres were dedicated in 1868; sometimes the public got great benefit out of the deals, like when Kate Sessions set up a nursery business there in trade for planting trees in the park; currently the city is studying the future of Balboa Park — the firm with the contract is the Pekarek Group.
The time has come for the city to trade off Balboa Park — all of it.
Parts of the park have been traded by politicians ever since its original 1,400 acres were dedicated in 1868. Sometimes the public got great benefit out of the deals like when Kate Sessions set up a nursery business there in trade for planting trees in the park. Local businessmen got the middle of the park for an exposition in 1915, leaving behind a complex of buildings which to this day has served assorted educational and commercial special interests. Similarly with another exposition in 1935.
In the 1970s the Navy began considering moving Balboa Hospital out of the park and chose Murphy Canyon north of Mission Valley. But at the urging of San Diego’s congressmen, the Navy decided to rebuild in a section of the park. And even though another preferable site came along (Helix Heights), the Navy was so deep into the park plan that it decided, “Full steam ahead.”
There are those who still think they could get the courts to keep the Navy out. The Committee for Charter Protection for Parks has filed a request in federal court for an injunction blocking construction of the hospital. A hearing is set for August 24 on the request. Even if the Navy is permitted to build in the park, many opponents believe it ought to pay full market value if it takes park land. That would be an immense income for the city’s gaping treasury.
As a direct consequence of the shrinkage of tax sources, plus the rise in costs of everything, governmental bodies everywhere are looking for new gushers of income. There will be a universal increase of private operations on public land. Interior Secretary James G. Watt’s threat to the National Parks is merely watt’s in the air.
Thus, for example, the “Spanish Village,” where artists of sorts have been indulged for decades with cheap studios, is being eyed for conversion to another Bazaar del Mundo. The original Bazaar is a phenomenal multimillion dollar profit mill, created out of an old motel in Old Town. Call it Bonanza del Mundo. Call it what you will, it was this enterprise on public land that caused Old Town to come alive as a popular attraction which the state of California is now trying rather ineptly to glorify as a historical park.
Though there are two violently opposed schools of opinion about Bonanza del Mundo — purists believe it should be done away with — there is little doubt that sinking governments will be grasping at similar lifesafers.
Take your friendly county Board of Supervisors. Their elegant offices are in the historic (1936) and architecturally significant structure on the waterfront at the foot of Cedar Street, now called County Administration Center (CAC). CAC has two generous parking lots worth as much in land value as any site in San Diego. The supervisors are itching to get the maximum income from these by indulging the delirious dreams of enterprisers whose mouths water at the waterfront. For example, Holiday Inn would love to build another high-rise hotel in the south parking lot.
With the CAC scheme in the air, the stage is set for another of many confrontations between the county and the city of San Diego. These government bodies are supposed to cooperate in carrying out the adopted Center City Community Plan, which calls for parklike development of these CAC parking lots, with the parking either under the park or kept out of the area altogether. Banning would be possible if downtown transit matures as it should The city’s planners do not favor high-rise engulfing the historic CAC which ought to be shown off proudly as a park setting.
Comes now a bystander motivated to offer a solution. He is William Tyson, who descries himself as an architecture buff. He has plans for a four-story office building at Pacific Highway and Beech, across from the south CAC parking lot.
What’s more, though an old man himself, he is concerned about the Navy’s sinking image after the expropriation of Balboa Park, so he feels that the Navy itself should be involved in enhancing the beauty and public convenience of the waterfront., adding to our park system as well (or better) than subtracting from it.
Tyson and landscape architect Mike Theilacker dreamed up a park treatment for the south CAC parking lot. It is a two-level parking structure, heavily landscaped on top, something like San Francisco’s Union Square. Structures shown rising from the trees, to be contributed by the Navy, would include a sort of conning tower for viewing of the bay and an information center orienting visitors to the city, and, incidentally, telling them much of the Navy’s dynamic story.
Another possibility envisioned by Tyson is relocation here of the Scripps Institution’s popular aquarium, which is hopelessly impacted by parking problems in its present location in La Jolla.
How serious is the county about making money on its underutilized properties. This year the Board of Supervisors approved the idea these properties, the CAC parking here, the Pacific Building, Pacific Highway at Ash Street, Vauclain Point (choice view site overlooking Mission Valley). Also the supervisors approved selling large acreage the county owns in the back country. Revenues are expected to exceed $50 million.
Because of its waterfront site, the CAC building ideally should be headquarters of the Unified Port District, which could afford to pay handsomely for it. The rich port has led all the government bodies in raising income from leases.
The city of San Diego has been amazingly prodigal in giving away the lands it owned, but lately has been buying (dear) and selling (cheap) downtown acreage with an eye to income eventually far exceeding costs. The process has allowed the city to engage in urban environmental design to a limited extent — limited more by shortage of vision than shortage of opportunity.
The city’s biggest urban design success is Mission Bay Park, which also is a financial success, paying for itself and then some through leases, the most profitable of which is Sea World. By contrast, the city doesn’t get a dime from the zoo, which occupies so much of Balboa Park. Instead the prospering Zoo this year is getting a guaranteed $1.1 million of the city’s property tax revenues, a windfall left over from when the Zoo needed help to get started toward its worldwide fame.
Currently the city is studying the future of Balboa Park. The firm with the contract is the Pekarek Group. Though the group consists basically of landscape architects, its mandate is to produce a “development and management plan.” Project manager Steve Estrada, who grew up here and studied landscape and architecture at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Seeking ways to make the park self-supporting, the Pekarek Group has hit on the idea of generating the park’s electricity from the huge landfill south of Morley Field where restless miasmas of burnable methane are trapped under the surface.
Restaurants — including good ones (and let’s put in a word for cheap-goods) — will multiply in the park if Pekarek and pals have their way. Transportation finally will be handled to eliminate much auto visibility. Parking will be in pool areas, possibly even in discreet structures. Transit vehicles will wheel people around. Already Pedicabs are in operation, proving popular.
A piece of poetic justice in the design of the new park would be to require the backers of the new automotive museum to provide huge parking structures as an extended and reasonably concealed foundation for their show-off museum building. The museum will be near the Aero-Space Museum. The brutally ugly field of parking in front of the Aero-Space Museum, where vandals and muggers now operate, will be transformed into a landscaped public plaza.
“San Diego now has no such plaza,” says Estrada with fire in his eye as braces for the assaults on his play by the selfish.
The dauntless Estrada is even trying on fright masks to chase the Boy Scouts and Campfire Girls our of their cushy quarters in the park, possibly giving their choice acres to the Zoo for expansion. The kids could better set up camp in the more remote Mission Trails Park, he says reasonably.
Estrada hasn’t even dreamed of chasing the Zoo animals out of the park, though a good urban design case could be made for sending the beasties to the suburbs, specifically the Wild Animal Park, as the city fills up with humans who had have their fill of the suburbs. Possibly, however, the Zoo will be needed in Balboa Park to generate crowds who then will spend all the dollars expected to enter the city via the new Balboa Park.
Come to think of it, why shouldn’t the whole of Balboa Park, or what’s left of it be leased to the Zoo people, who know so well how to turn a buck and a panda to the public? Payments to the city could go on forever or until civilization has exterminated the last animal and the last blade of grass.
August 18, 1981, San Diego Union, B-4:1-2. The Committee for Charter Protection for Parks won permission August 17 to fire at least another round in its battle against construction of a new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.
August 25, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:5-6. The Committee for Charter Protection for Parks August 24 lost a last-ditch effort to delay preliminary construction work on a new 760-bed naval hospital in Balboa Park; Federal Judge Wm. B. Enright said he was convinced a “good faith decision” had been made in selecting Florida Canyon in the park and rejected the committee’s request..
September 4, 1981, San Diego Tribune, D-1. Conservation Art Center has new home, by Jan Jennings.
Once squeezed into 1,700 square feet of working space on the second floor of the San Diego Museum of Art, the Balboa Park Conservation Center (BACC) has taken a deep breath, exhaled and expanded into spacious quarters in Balboa Park’s new Electric Building.
After a brief slowdown during its recent move, BACC is back to full operation with 4,500 square feet of laboratory and exhibition space. It is the first of five tenants slated to occupy the building.
September 5, 1981, San Diego Tribune, C-1. Letter, Suggestions for park use, by Richard Amero. (Revision made while typing, rwa.)
As institutions occupying El Prado, the Palisades and the Zoo have turned sections of Balboa Park into self-contained units serving restricted uses, the Inter-Museum Council which presently acts as a consortium for these institutions, should be given ownership of El Prado and the Palisades.
Political manipulations will cease when the museums have to work together for their mutual success. The new owners can keep out roller skaters, charity solicitors, evangelists and political canvassers to the relief of those they currently molest.
As with the museums, so the Zoo should assume ownership of Zoo grounds, plus contiguous land now occupied by Girl and Boy Scouts.
Camp Fire Girls should be ousted, the fire alarm building torn down, trees thinned, new paths laid out, litter picked up, and peaceful users protected from criminals.
John Nolen’s 1926 plan for the east side of the park was only partially implemented. The landfill, begun in the 1950s, has changed the original up-and-down surface. While environmentalists were distracted by the Naval Hospital brouhaha, the Park Department laid asphalt and put up cyclone fencing for a transplanted nursery on the east side of the landfill. Park staff put up a sign proclaiming the site “Stalag 13.” Dog lovers secured another vast area for dog runs and shows. When the shows are held, the dog section is bordered by an equally large parking section for vans and automobiles. Combustible land in Florida Canyon and the desiccated landfill on the east edge of the canyon cry for remedial treatment.
Such activities as roller-skating, skateboarding and bicycle racing, which disturb nature lovers, should be transferred to the landfill. Viewers from the rose garden terrace on the west can watch the athletes execute their jumps and turns.
Switzer Canyon and 28th Street should be converted into through streets. This would relieve traffic on Pershing Drive and give the east side of the park a distinguishable border.
September 7, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1. Geronimo called example for Chicanos, by Ed Jahn
Why is an 18-foot tall picture of Apache chieftain Geronimo given prominence in the Centro Cultural de la Raza mural in Balboa Park?
“Because he refused to give up his land or his people,” says muralist Victor Ochoa, who designed the 1,260 square-foot wall painting and has been encouraging other artists working on the building for the last ten years.
“Chicanos must have the same attitude if we are to plan and design a future according to our values,” he told a crowd of well-wishers who gathered at the park’s Pepper Grove to celebrate the finish of the mural, which was dedicated yesterday.
Moments before, friends had lifted several parachutes covering Ochoa’s finished work and the crowd clapped and cheered as the steadfast and menacing figure of Geronimo, kneeling with gun in hand, appeared in vivid hues before them.
“Remember, he never gave up,” Ochoa repeated as the applause died down. “Our children should know they have a future.”
The air was filled with incense and the sound of drums as four members of the Danza Mexicayotl performed pre-Columbian Aztec Indian ceremonial dances for the audience.
Many were seeing the traditional dances performed for the first time by performers who constructed their outfits of embroidered cloth and feathered headdresses by hand.
“All the artists in dance, pottery, theater, music and the visual arts at the Centro are preserving their heritage,” Ochoa pointed out. “That’s why I picked Geronimo.”
The Chiricahua Apache holds an almost spiritual meaning for Ochoa, who said he had been studying the life of the much-publicized chief who eluded both the Mexican and U.S. governments until 1886 when he signed a truce.
Three years ago, when the Geronimo figure was partially finished, a Ku Klux Klan rally was held near the park and the mural was defaced, he said.
Now, with the finishing, vibrant colors on the warrior, Geronimo stares vividly from the Indian, Mexican and Chicano arts building.
Hermania Enrique, a Chicano folklore teacher at San Diego State University, pointed out other figures in the mural while selling empanadas (Mexican pastry) and Chicano literature from a nearby booth, while the Estrella mariachi band began playing.
“It’s history in a low-key way,” she said. “The musicians there in the corner are still singing. They played at Balboa Park when the first fair was here and they are living today.
“Some of them fled Mexico during the revolutions to be here, and they still sing the patriotic songs. They choke up and start crying, but that’s only because they can remember. It’s too bad the majority of the people don’t know what the murals mean.”
San Diego Tribune, B-14. Letter, A bank and its parking lot would be more attractive in Balboa Park than the city nursery, by J. C. Hanselman.
September 10, 1981, Park and Recreation Board Minutes.
- Proposed Occupant for the House of Charm
Mr. Roberts explained that in May of 1981, solicitations for rebuilding and occupying the House of Charm were mailed to 46 groups. In addition, there were two articles in national journals, plus a notice in the San Diego Daily Transcript. There were three responses from the direct mailing and two from the notice in the Transcript. Two of the proposals (San Diego Opera Association and Textile Arts and Conservation Center) were responsive. The other responses were from the San Diego Art Institute, the San Diego Association of Archaeologists and a group proposing a museum of the 1930’s.
At the September 14, 1981, Balboa Park Committee meeting, the San Diego Opera Association indicated that it was still interested, but could not make a long-term commitment at this time. The Textile Arts and Conservation Center, on the other hand, made a presentation that was well received and approved by the Committee.
Ms. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, Director of the proposed Textile Arts and Conservation Center, made a presentation to the Board and was assisted by a consultant from a management firm known as Meridian. The center would rebuild the 16,500 sq. ft. first floor, would add a 13,000 sq. ft. second story, and would possible construct a basement, with parking for the handicapped and staff. The center would have to galleries, one for a costume collection on a rotating basis, from Hollywood and other fashion centers; and the other for needle arts, both contemporary and historical. The cost would be in excess of $8 million and would require an interim facility. The center was seeking a one-year option to secure funding (one-half from one-time corporate donations and one-half for corporate pledges over five years), and 18 months for construction, for a total of two and one-half years.
The Balboa Park Committee approved the concept.
September 11, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:6. The Committee for Charter Protection for Parks September 10 made its third request for an injunction blocking construction of a new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon.
September 14, 1981, San Diego Union, B-8. Tide of roller skaters ebbing at beach, park, by Carl Ritter.
Weekend skating to music is permitted at Marston Point in the park’s southwest section and skating is possible daily in some areas on the park’s western and eastern sides.
The ordinance banning skating applies to most of the heart of Balboa Park, where the museums, the Zoo, the theaters and most other major park attractions are situated.
Violators are subject to fines up to $500, although authorities said few tickets have been issues.
September 17, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-3. City Council opposes plan for police substation near Balboa Park, by Reggie Smith.
The city has thrown a wrench in the Police Department’s 3-year old decentralization project by delaying indefinitely plans to build the newest substation adjacent to Navy Hospital near Balboa Park.
September 18, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3. Cabrillo Bridge to be closed to automobiles for repairs from September 28 to the end of January, by Anthony Perry.
September 20, 1981, Los Angeles Times, VII-1. Battle to restore Elysian Park, by Lynn Simross: The main problem is to get money to repair the damage that occurred during a brush fire that blackened 300 acres of the park’s 575 acres June 16.
September 22, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:6. The Committee for Charter Protection for Parks was dealt yet another setback September 21 in its struggle to block construction of the new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon; Federal Judge Wm. B. Enright denied the committee’s request for an injunction that would have delayed construction for several months.
October 2, 1981, San Diego Union, 29:1-2. The Committee for Charter Protection for Parks filed a petition October 1 to intervene in the lawsuit concerning compensation for the 36 acres in Balboa Park condemned by the Navy for a new hospital.
October 4, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1:1-8. Six persons protesting construction of a new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park were arrested as about 75 shouting demonstrators tried to disrupt October 3 1981, groundbreaking ceremony.
October 6, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3. Balboa Park building name sparks dispute, by Carl Ritter.
The new Electric Building in Balboa Park should be called “Casa de Balboa, not “The Museum of San Diego History,” a citizen advisory group recommended yesterday.
October 8, 1981, San Diego Union, B-5:1. Two Plans Submitted on House of Charm.
Two cultural groups yesterday submitted completing proposals for restoring the crumbling House of Charm in Balboa Park and turning it into a museum.
The San Diego Opera Association and the Textile Arts and Conservation Center both presented proposals to the San Diego City Council’s Public Facilities and Recreation Committee. Flummoxed by the opera’s association proposal, which had not been expected, the committee asked the city manager’s office to study both proposals.
The city is looking for a cultural or educational group willing to undertake the multimillion-dollar job of rebuilding the House of Charm in exchange for a long-term lease.
Located nearly across the street from the Museum and Man and Old Globe Theater, the House of Charm dates from the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. City engineers say the building suffers from rotting columns, a weak foundation and sagging beams.
The textile arts group want to use a reconstructed House of Charm for a museum featuring 18th and 19th century costumes, needlework, a textile library comprised of books and swatches of fabric, and rooms for classes in needlework, fashion and design.
Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, president of the Textile Arts and Conservation Center, said the museum would be only the second in the country dedicated to textiles. She said museums in Mexico, Europe and Japan have agreed to share their costume collections.
The opera association had forwarded a proposal last spring but later withdrew. Joseph Hibben, association president, indicated the group has now reconsidered.
October 10, 1981, San Diego Union, B-1-4. Closure of Cabrillo Bridge has caused a 50% drop in attendance at the Balboa Park’s Museum of Art and Museum of Man and business at Café del Rey Moro restaurant has fallen off about 20%; visitors driving to the park can still reach the parking lots near the museum by approaching from Park Blvd. and President’s Way.
October 14, 1981, San Diego Union, B-2:2-3. Two city council members who had opposed building the new Naval Hospital in Balboa Park were criticized by a group still trying to stop the construction in the park’s Florida Canyon.
October 14, 1981, San Diego Union, AA-5:1-8. Many San Diegans spend their spare time engaged in activities in Balboa Park: bicycling, skating, frisbee tossing, Roque, skateboarding and the martial arts go on at the park.
October 16, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3. New Electric Building in Balboa Park should be called “Casa de Balboa,” not “Museum of San Diego History,” by Carl Ritter.
October 18, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:1-8. Firefighters extinguished a 15-acre brush fire in Balboa Park’s Florida Canyon October 17; the blaze was apparently set by an arsonist and an investigation is under way.
October 20, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:6. A request by the Committee for Charter Protection for Parks to become an active party in court proceedings on the federal government’s condemnation of land in Balboa Park for the new Naval Hospital was denied October 19.
October 24, 1981, San Diego Union, A-3. Department of Motor Vehicles can’t ban Krishna soliciting; appeals court upholds group’s right to function on state property: The rights of religious groups to make speeches and solicit church funds on state property was upheld yesterday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
In a lawsuit brought by two members of the Hare Krishna sect against the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the appeals court upheld a decision by the late U. S. District Judge Albert C. Wollenberg of San Francisco that enjoined the DMV from enforcing a ban on solicitation and religious advocacy at its state offices.
The appeals court said the First Amendment ban against government establishment or advocacy of a religion does not prevent access to the department’s property by religious speakers.
Theodore Jaffe and Warren Havens brought the action against Doris Alexis, the DMV director, They challenged a department regulation which permits solicitation of signatures and distribution of handbills at state facilities, but prohibits solicitation of money.
After the lawsuit was filed, the policy was revised to prohibit religious advocacy and solicitation.
The appeal court said the two men were exercising their constitutionally protected rights of free speech by performing a religious ritual known as “Sankirtan” involving dissemination of material to the public and solicitation of funds to support the religion.
“We believe the department’s fears that the public will attribute the Krishna’s views to the State of California are not only unsubstantiated in the record, but have no basis in reality.”
The court said that Sankirtan is protected First Amendment speech and that the U. S. Constitution restricts a state’s power to discriminate between speakers with respect to ideas, subject matter or contest of messages in forums open to the public.
“An absolute bar to religious speech cannot be justified by this nebulous, undocumented and wholly speculative prospect that someone might infer state approval of the Krishnas,” the court said.
The court said that if the department wants to ally its anxieties it could post signs in the area where Krishnas congregate disavowing the state’s association and explaining the sect’s right to express its views.
October 26, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3. Textile Arts and Conservation Center makes offer to build a new House of Charm, by Carl Ritter.
When an organization called the Textile Arts and Conservation Center presented itself to the city recently and offered to build a new House of Charm in Balboa Park to replace the present dilapidated structure, official eyebrows rose.
Who or what, the officials wondered is the Textile Arts and Conservation Center?
But the city and other entities — like the Balboa Park Committee and the Committee of 100, not to mention consultants busy updating the park’s master plan — could not afford to listen to this proposal by what turned out to be a new non-profit California corporation. Otherwise, no immediate hope for a new House of Charm was in sight. The City Council is expected to act on this proposal within the next month.
Earlier, the San Diego Opera Association made a proposal under which it would undertake a drive for House of Charm rebuilding funds, but it backed off due to increasing financial concerns of its own. The city reiterated it was in no position to accept the financial obligation. And a city staff effort nationwide to elicit interested-party response came up dry.
Hence, the attention given the Textile Arts Center.
The textile group has projected a budget of $8.47 million with the building shell accounting for $4.2 million and the interior and other expenses estimated at $4.27 million. Half of total capital outlays would be raised from one-time contributions, with the other 50 percent coming from conventional mortgage money tied to a corporate gifts repayment guarantee and repayable over five years.
The building would be a museum and education research center.
Plans announced by Ilya Sandra Perlingieri, a college teacher and guest lecturer on costume history and related subjects who said she has devoted five years to working out details of a textile museum, call for”
— Two kinds of galleries, one displaying costumes and the other showing lace, embroidery, weaving, quilts and other examples of the needle arts.
— A library housing a collection of publications on design textiles, costumes and the needle arts, including history and techniques covering these areas. Students interested in theater, art, fashion and related areas could utilize the library’s facilities. Colleges might offer credit courses at the museum.
— The building would provide a home for a dozen or more need arts organizations in the county, with memberships reported in the thousands.
— Extensive programs for the handicapped are being drawn up. Staffers would use sign language in some classes.
— Special programs for older adults would be patterned along the lines of a Brooklyn Museum experiment through which experts in the needle arts share their expertise in skills in danger of oblivion.
— Temperature-humidity controlled environment storage facilities would be capable of preserving centuries-old material.
“This is an ambitious project for a financially weak group, yet financing prospects from major corporate donors appear to be good,” commented Jim Harris in a consultant’s report to the City Council Public Facilities and Recreation Committee. A lease option agreement would be involved, he noted.
“The progress in meeting identified financing goals would be closely monitored within the framework of the option agreement. A successful project would eliminate the city’s exposure for costs required to rehabilitate the structure,” Harris said.
Perlingieri is president and a director of the Textile Arts and Conservation Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and studied haute couture design at the French Fashion Academy; took specialized courses in textile conservation including microscopy at New York University and attended conservation-museum workshops in England, Germany and Czechoslovakia.
She established sewing schools in Miami, Fla., and here is a part-time Mesa College instructor and has been a guest lecturer at San Diego State University and Southwestern College here. She is assistant curator for the Natural History Museum.
“We would stress community involved in the new museum, ” she said.
Also on the five-person board of directors and serving as officers in the Textile Arts and Conservation corporate setup are:
- J. Spurgin, needlework teacher and past president of the San Diego Creative Stitchery Guild; Linda Tucker, fashion program coordinator, Southwestern College; Deborah Durham, trust officer, California First Bank and Marvin Freedland, attorney.
Meridian Capital Management is acting as an adviser.
The planners said major department stores — such as Bullock’s, the May Co., the Broadway, Robinson’s, Neiman-Marcus, Buffums’ and Nordstrom’s — are expected to identify with what the Textile Arts Center is hoping to preserve. This would be the first museum of its kind outside Washington, D. C.
An executive advisory committee includes Dr. Richard P. Wunder, president of Christies’ Appraisals and former director of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum; Jack Horwitz, co-founder of New York Fashion Institute of Technology, and Dr. Csilla Fabo Perczel, professor of art history, San Diego State University.
November 3, 1981, San Diego Union, B-6:1-3. Bea Evenson, founder of Committee of 100, died October 31.
November 17, 1981, Park and Recreation Board, Minutes.
- Balboa Park Railroad, Proposed Concession
Dick Randolph presented the staff report of November 10, 1981 recommending that the existing lease agreement of the Balboa Park Railroad be amended to include the sale of railroad related items.
Mr. David W. Weir, the present lessee, displayed the items and answered questions of the Board.
The Balboa Park Committee endorsed the amendment, reserving the right to approve additional items for sale.
MOTION Mr. Arnhym moved approval of the staff recommendation. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously.
- House of Charm, Use and Occupancy
Messrs. Campillo and Roberts discussed the staff memo of November 12, 1981 and attachments thereto, which detailed the history of the Request for Proposals process.
Mr. Joseph Hibben and Mr. Hal Williams, representing the Performing Arts Center Foundation, apologized for what may have appeared to have been the San Diego Opera Association’s “on again, off again” attitude toward the project. They stated that the Opera was always interested, but funding for the arts had become more and more limited. The change to the Performing Arts Center Foundation, they felt, would be in the best interest of the City and would involve use of the facility by all of the performing arts, not just the Opera. The Board of the Foundation has been expanded to include members of the other arts programs.
Mr. Arnhym noted a major difference in the proposal of the Textile Arts and Conservation Center and the Performing Arts Center Foundation; the former is requesting authority to proceed, while the latter is seeking a three-year option. In reviewing the proposal of the Textile and Arts Conservation Center, it was not clear that the organization has the wherewithal to proceed in a timely fashion. Finally, he noted that the Balboa Park Committee felt that the Performing Arts Center Foundation proposal was totally appropriate for Balboa Park and had exciting potential. The Committee approved the Textile Arts and Conservation Center proposal because it had no viable alternative at that time.
MOTION Mr. Golden moved that the Board note that the proposal of the Performing Arts Center Foundation would be of great benefit to Balboa Park and that the Board recommend the proposal to the Public Facilities and Recreation Committee, as being acceptable. Mr. Arnhym seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
Mr. Arnhym commented that the organization should develop something tangible with respect to financing, operation and maintenance.
December 12, 1981, San Diego Union, B-3:7-8. House of Charm urged for Navy Museum, by Anthony Perry.
The House of Charm in Balboa Park should be converted into a Navy museum, San Diego City Councilman Dick Murphy proposed yesterday.
The San Diego Opera Association and the Textile Arts and Conservation Center have presented competing proposals to restore the crumbling House of Charm for their own purposes. But Murphy said a Navy museum would have more significance to San Diego and be a bigger attraction for tourists and residents alike.
“I feel like we have not explored all the alternatives,” said Murphy, former chairman of the Park and Recreation Commission. “Before we make a decision between the opera and textile groups, I want to look at all possibilities. This will be a decision that will last for 50 years.”
The city has been looking for a private group willing to undertake the multimillion-dollar job of rebuilding the House of Charm in exchange for a long-term lease. Located across the street from the Old Globe Theater, the House of Charm dates from the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition and suffers from dry rot, a weak foundation and sagging beams.
“I would envision the (Navy) museum as a place where people could come and view the history of the Navy and its involvement in San Diego, where parents could take their children,” Murphy said.
Murphy asked City Manager Ray Blair to contact the Navy and Navy-oriented organizations, such as the Navy League, Fleet Reserve Association, and the Retired Officers’ Association, to see if they would be interested in developing and financing a proposal. Murphy also brought his proposal to a Navy League breakfast yesterday.
“On the surface, it sounds like an ideal project,” said retired Navy Capt. C. V. Wilhoit, first vice president of the San Diego Navy League. “If money has to be raised, we could probably raise it as well as anybody. It sounds like a great idea, but we need to study it further.”
Wilhoit has been assigned by Navy League officers to prepare a report on the feasibility of the Navy museum idea. The Navy League is a private group, not affiliated with the Navy or Department of Defense, dedicated to promoting the Navy. The league has an estimated 1,600 members in the San Diego area.
The Textile Arts and Conservation Center wants to use a restored House of Charm for a museum featuring 18th– and 19th-century costumes, needlework, a textile library comprised of books and swatches of fabric, and room for classes in needlework, fashion and design.
The San Diego Opera Association has proposed a performing arts museum with displays of miniature sets, famous costumes and stage props. Included in the proposal are a 250- to 300-seat theater, training rooms and an opera library.
The City Council is set to discuss the future of the House of Charm in early January.
December 15, 1981, San Diego Tribune, B-1. Bus shuttle catching on, by Ozzie Roberts.
They call veteran bus driver Carl Wood “Hoppie” around the San Diego Transit Corp. garage.
That’s because he operates one of four buses on Short Hop, the company’s new experimental shuttle service through downtown.
The service, now in its fourth week, begins at President’s Way, near Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park, and travels through to Seaport Village before returning to the park.
Buses run at 10-minute intervals from 10 a.m. to 2:20 p.m., Monday through Fridays, with each daily round trip taking about half an hour. The fare is 25 cents each way.
December 16, 1981, San Diego Union, B-5.
Council voted to invite bids to complete restoration of stage area of Organ Pavilion and the ornamented colonnades; work on the exterior of the pavilion was completed in April 1980; Committee of 100 presented the city $262,000 to complete restoration – $131,000 from Bea Evenson and $131,000 from the Committee; $20,000 grant received from State Historic Preservation Art program.
December 30, 1981, San Diego Union, B-6:1-3. EDITORIAL: A Navy Museum?
A number of proposals have been made for use of a rebuilt House of Charm, some of them interesting and attractive. A Navy museum appears to be the only one thus far of sufficiently wide interest to muster the community support needed to raise the four or five million dollars required. This fact alone makes Councilman Murphy’s suggestion particularly appealing.
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